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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oil, Islam, and Women, Depression's Evolutionary Roots

Women have made less progress toward gender equality in the Middle East than in any other region. Many observers claim this is due to the region’s Islamic traditions. I suggest that oil, not Islam, is at fault; and that oil production also explains why women lag behind in many other countries. Oil production reduces the number of women in the labor force, which in turn reduces their political influence. As a result, oil-producing states are left with atypically strong atriarchal norms, laws, and political institutions. I support this argument with global data on oil production, female work patterns, and female political representation, and by comparing oil-rich Algeria to oil-poor Morocco and Tunisia. This argument has implications for the study of the Middle East, Islamic culture, and the resource curse. Oil, Islam, and Women MICHAEL L. ROSS University of California, Los Angeles

Depression's Evolutionary Roots - Two scientists suggest that depression is not a malfunction, but a mental adaptation that brings certain cognitive advantages By Paul W. Andrews and J. Anderson Thomson, Jr.

Poets give chapter and verse on caring - In Society
Although award-winning poet Sally Read generally does not like doing commissions, as a former psychiatric nurse she thought she could write with ease about social care. But she admits: "When I found out I was going into a children's hospice, I was absolutely horrified. I was unprepared to deal with sick children and screaming parents." Read is one of a quartet of poets who each spent the day at a hospice or care home, then translated their experiences into a poem dedicated to the role of British carers. The poems accompany images of carers as part of a booklet entitled People Who Care, which will be distributed free to 7,000 carers in recognition of their efforts.

Racist measures against Palestinians in Israel lead to strike call In Human Rights
The increasingly harsh political climate in Israel under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing government has prompted the leadership of the country's 1.3 million Arab citizens to call for the first general strike in several years. Jonathan Cook reports.

Miguel Guadalupe: Obama's Rookie Mistake - Negotiating Against Himself By Miguel Guadalupe
Obama "opened his Kimono" too early to show he had nothing to hide, thinking they'd open up too. Instead, the Right took that opportunity to kick him right up the middle.

Come clean on encounters, Supreme Court tells Gujarat
‘Why not agree to SIT probe in Sohrabuddin case?’

Stolen room offers a split view (Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler, Inter Press Service)
In the early morning sunlight, the smoky window of the plush new apartment reflects back a golden tinge from the Dome of the Rock that stands at the heart of Islam's third holiest shrine. Down across the valley from the walled Old City, families have already started moving into some of the 91 apartments in this new 240-family compound of Jewish settlers. On the balcony, a woman in a light blue dress and white kerchief is hanging her laundry. She waves away any attempt to strike up conversation.

The Elders' view of the Middle East (JImmy Carter, The Washington Post)
During the past 16 months I have visited the Middle East four times and met with leaders in Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza. I was in Damascus when President Obama made his historic speech in Cairo, which raised high hopes among the more-optimistic Israelis and Palestinians, who recognize that his insistence on a total freeze of settlement expansion is the key to any acceptable peace agreement or any positive responses toward Israel from Arab nations.


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