Links February 18th to February 19th

Links from my del.icio.us account for February 18th through February 19th:



  • Finding Osama bin Laden: An Application of Biogeographic Theories and Satellite Imagery - The abstract of this MIT academic paper in which they narrow down OBL's location to a couple of villages near the Pak-Afg border: "One of the most important political questions of our time is: Where is Osama bin Laden? We use biogeographic theories associated with the distribution of life and extinction (distance-decay theory, island biogeography theory, and life history characteristics) and remote sensing data (Landsat ETM+, Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, Defense Meteorological Satellite, QuickBird) over three spatial scales (global, regional, local) to identify where bin Laden is most probably currently located. We believe that our work involves the first scientific approach to establishing his current location. The methods are repeatable and can be updated with new information obtained from the US intelligence community." Hmmm or perhaps OBL is trying to not be predictable? [PDF]

  • Tayeb Salih (1929-2009) - Literary Saloon provides a few links for the late Sudanese writer.

  • Breaking News : Ayman Nour on TV - Zeinobia's notes on Ayman Nour's appearance on Dream TV

  • New York Post has gotta apologize over offensive chimpanzee cartoon - This is ridiculous - only racists would say a chimpanzee automatically means a black man. George W. Bush, with his simian face, was often compared to a chimpanzee. What's rather tasteless in this cartoon is that the chimpanzee is shown riddled with bullets.

  • Atwood pulls out of Dubai festival in censorship protest | Books | guardian.co.uk - "Margaret Atwood has pulled out of the inauguraul Emirates Airline international festival of literature in the wake of a novelist being blacklisted for potential offence to "cultural sensitivities". Other authors due to appear at the festival, including bestselling children's authors Anthony Horowitz and Lauren Child, are now also reconsidering whether to attend." [Thanks, SP]

  • al-Shorouk: MB has decided to drop bar on women, copts for presidency - Apparently the Muslim Brothers have dropped some of the most criticized aspects of their platform. This is being held as a victory for "reformists". This is good (notwithstanding that most believe Egyptians would never elect a Copt or woman), and they are also reiterating that any Ulema Council would be under Azhar and issue non-binding opinions. I wonder whether this signals a willingness to make themselves more acceptable to the secular opposition after the recent meeting. [PDF]


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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.