Things are getting better for half of us(women) in Saudi Arabia

I do hope this one comes true. I am persuaded that things are actually hopeful having read an article about opportunities for women in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi minister of planning and economy, in remarks published recently noted that the eighth five-year development plan (2005-9) aims to improve the situation of Saudi women by providing them with more job opportunities.

He expects the percentage of women in the Saudi work force to increase from a mere 5.4 per cent to 14.2 per cent by the end of the plan’s period.”

Solar Power Tower

towerOver at Gear Factor there is a short and sweet post on a tower that uses solar energy to power itself, and to make it rotate.

“We didn’t want to build just another building or tower, we wanted to create something unique – a precious place to live – a genuine contender to be one of the great buildings in the world,” said Tav Singh, director of Dubai Property Ring, the Dubai arm of UK-based property investors UK Property Group.

How High?

Rising construction equals rising profits.  The Dubai Tower, or “Burj Dubai”, is slated to become the world’s tallest tower.  Located in downtown Dubai,  it reaches 79 floors so far.  By the end of 2008, it will extend at least 700 metres, and cost 1 billion dollars.


However, Emaar Properties, the company promoting the tower, refuses to reveal the end goal.  Only when construction is finished will the general public find out how high the tower reaches.  “At the moment, we are not answering. We’ll say it (will be) more than 700 metres and more than 160 stories … The people who need to know, know,” says Greg Sang, the Emaar official in charge of Burj Dubai.

Every week, two stories are added to the tower.  It is expected to be the centerpiece of a 20-billion-dollar venture featuring the construction of a new district, “Downtown Burj Dubai”.  This new community will have 30,000 apartments and the world’s largest shopping mall.

Currently, the world’s tallest inhabited building is “Taipei 101” in Taiwan, which is 508 metres tall.

1000’s of Ethiopians Emmigrate to Israel

Israel Coat of Arms
In 1984 and again in 1991, the IDF air-lifted thousands of Ethiopian jews to Israel under the Law of Return. Called Falashas (strangers) by their neighbors but more properly known as Beta Israel, the immigrants were secretly flown out of famine and rebellion to the Holy Land.

Today in Ethiopia, there is a group of people called the Falash Mora. They are the christian descendants of ethiopian jews who converted out of fear of persecution. They are returning to Isreal now in a much slower process than their relatives the Beta Israel, the Canadian Jewish News reports. The Falash Mora are able to return because of family reunification laws in Israel.

These people will be leaving their dirt-floored huts and their $1US/day jobs for life in the only true liberal democracy in the middle east. It will be a difficult adjustment, but the Israeli ministry of Immigrant Absorption is on the job.

Many of the Falash Mora have converted back to Judaism. They are seen to practise the faith with a strong piety not seen amongst many jews. The chief Rabbi in Israel has declared them as jews, because they originally converted out of fear and persecution.

As with almost everything that occurs in the middle east, the immigrations are controversial. They are certainly taxing on Israel, and as the process drags on, it becomes less and less clear who are really jews and who have taken up the mantle in order to gain entry to Israel.

Kuwaiti Election: Mixed Results

Kuwait just had its first election that women could run and vote in, which is more than a little late. Better late than never I guess. Not only did women get the vote (and were 57% of the electorate), the people of Kuwait has send a clear message to their government by electing reformists. There has been some corruption in the government and the reformists want to change that.

“By electing reformist candidates, the voters have sent a clear message to the government that they want change in Kuwaiti society, our correspondent says.”

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