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Best of the web:14 May

Best of the web:14 May

The continuing saga of Dubai’s kiss girl; Child is sole survivor of Libyan airliner crash; Israeli welfare state going broke, warns economist; Lost in translation: Signs of life; Technology empowers society’s disadvantaged, research finds.

May 14, 2010 4:31 by



The continuing saga of Dubai’s kiss girl

The clash of cultures gets a thorough treatment in this consideration of the sometimes odd marriage of expats and the UAE.  Different cultural standards, particularly in terms of social conduct and dress, continue to plague the relations between the many different communities that call the UAE home.

Charlotte Adams, who was imprisoned and deported for kissing a man, told a tabloid newspaper that UAE hotels offer free alcohol to guests despite laws against public drunkenness.  “The laws need to evolve to match the culture here,” she said, according to a story in France 24.

In September 2008, a British couple were deported for having sex on a beach in Dubai.  But it doesn’t take such an extreme act to warrant prosecution.

Last year alone, the Dubai police arrested 6,000 people for breaking its “code of conduct.” This document, published by the executive council of Dubai, states: “Holding hands for married couples is tolerated but kissing and petting are considered an offence to public decency. (…) Beachgoers shall wear conservative swimwear (…) nudity is strictly forbidden and is liable to be punished by imprisonment or deportation,” reports France 24.

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Child is sole survivor of Libyan airliner crash

The Dutch Foreign Ministry had a representative waiting at the hospital to identify the 8-year-old Dutch child who was the only survivor aboard the Libyan airliner that crashed upon arrival at Tripoli International Airport Wednesday. All others aboard were killed, including the crew of 11, CNN reported.

The child, identified as Ruben van Assouw, suffered multiple fractures in his lower limbs and underwent an operation at Al Khadra Hospital in Tripoli, according to the report.

Jerzy Buzek, president of the European Parliament, said the child’s survival, “given this tragic event, is truly a miracle,” CNN quoted.

The flight recorder from the Afriqiyah Airways plane which originated in Johannesburg has been located, media reported Thursday.

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Israeli welfare state going broke, warns economist

“When people talk these days about Israel’s economy, they use words like booming, resilient, even ’miracle,’” reported the LA Times.

“Weaning itself off socialist-influenced policies that once brought 400 percent inflation and 60 percent income-tax brackets, Israel’s economy is now growing despite the international financial slowdown,” the report added.

But, generous social spending programs in Israel are threatening to bankrupt the Jewish state, according to Israeli economist, Dan Ben-David.  He contends that all the economic coddling is threatening to bankrupt an otherwise vibrant economy.

With too few Israeli citizens pulling their own weight, Ben-David says that nearly 27 percent of Arab men and 65 percent of ultra-Orthodox Jews don’t work.

“The non-employment rate for ultra-Orthodox men has tripled since 1970,” Ben-David said.

“We support a lifestyle of nonworking that is pretty unparalleled in the Western world,” said Ben-David, who is also a Tel Aviv University professor. “On the one hand, we have this state-of-the-art part of the economy. Then there is the rest of the country that is like a huge drag,” the LA Times quoted.

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Lost in translation: Signs of life

Check out this eclectic mix of wacky signs from around the world. Talk about a “loose translation.”

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Technology empowers society’s disadvantaged, research finds

New global research finds that access to IT has an “enabling and empowering role”, which leads to greater “life satisfaction,” the Telegraph reported.

“IT appears to empower the disempowered,” according to the report. “In fact, much of the improvement in life satisfaction that arises from information technology flows to those who are less well-placed in society.”

Women especially demonstrate benefit from IT access, with researchers attributing this to the more “central” role of women in families and social groups.

“Those on lower incomes or with fewer educational qualifications appear to benefit more from access to IT than those on higher incomes or with higher educational backgrounds. This appears to be the case across the globe,” the report added.



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