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EGYPT INDEPENDENT(Egypt), SAUDI GAZETTE (Saudi Arabia)

Worldcrunch

Egypt and Saudi Arabia moved one big step closer to connecting two of the Arab world's most pivotal countries -- and biggest economies -- in a very real way. The Saudi Binladin Group, the world's largest construction company, has given its final approval to a project to build a 33-kilometer-long bridge to link the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to Ras Hamid in northwestern Saudi Arabia.

Projected to span the Gulf of Aqaba across the narrow Strait of Tiran, the bridge was first proposed in 1988, and its estimated cost will be $4.5 billion. The Saudi Binladen group, which has historically been closely linked with the Saudi royal family, approved final plans on Wednesday, and is expected to cover $3 billion of the cost of the bridge. The bridge will be named after Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud.

The project was put on ice five years ago by then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak because of security concerns reportedly voiced by Israel. Egypt's current President Mohammed Morsi has made the project a priority, calling for the "revival of a common Arab market, the Saudi Gazzette reported.

The Egyptian president sees the bridge as a major economic opportunity, as a way to increase trade and travel between the two countries, especially in the pilgrimage seasons of Hajj and Umrah, as well as for Saudi tourists to reach the resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.

“We must fight as an Arab and Muslim nation the drawbacks of globalization together, through mutual cooperation,” Morsi said during his opening speach at last month's Economic Development Forum in Riyadh..

Still, like any other major infrastructure project, there are environmental concerns. Abby Stevens, a graduate student of Egypt's Red Sea Environmental Center in Dahab told Al-Masry al-Youm that Tiran, one of three protected islands in the area, is an important breeding ground for sea turtles and seabirds, and is surrounded by coral reefs that provide critical habitats for a variety of marine life.

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Injecting Feminism Into Science Is A Good Thing — For Science

Feminists have generated a set of tools to make science less biased and more robust. Why don’t more scientists use it?

As objective as any man

Anto Magzan/ZUMA
Rachel E. Gross

-Essay-

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, a mystery played out across news headlines: Men, it seemed, were dying of infection at twice the rate of women. To explain this alarming disparity, researchers looked to innate biological differences between the sexes — for instance, protective levels of sex hormones, or distinct male-female immune responses. Some even went so far as to test the possibility of treating infected men with estrogen injections.

This focus on biological sex differences turned out to be woefully inadequate, as a group of Harvard-affiliated researchers pointed out earlier this year. By analyzing more than a year of sex-disaggregated COVID-19 data, they showed that the gender gap was more fully explained by social factors like mask-wearing and distancing behaviors (less common among men) and testing rates (higher among pregnant women and health workers, who were largely female).

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