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ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing

The Arab world's eyes and ears continue to strain to better gauge the situation in Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi appears to be using all means at his disposal to hold on to power.

A R A B I C A ارابيكا

By Kristen Gillespie


FUZZY PICTURE

*The Arab world's eyes and ears continue to strain to better gauge the situation in Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi appears to be using all means at his disposal to hold on to power. There are reports of a major assault underway by loyal Gaddafi troops on rebel forces, and the Colonel gave another rambling televised discourse, accusing protesters of serving the interests of Al-Qaeda and trying drugging the coffee and milk of Libyans "to take control of them." Meanwhile, defections from his regime continued, with Libya's ambassador to Jordan announcing his resignation and support for the revolution.

*Lebanon reportedly refused to allow a private plane carrying the wife of Gaddafi's son, Hannibal, among others. Aline Skaf is of Lebanese origin.

Hannibal and Aline were arrested in Switzerland in 2008 for allegedly abusing their servants, sparking a serious diplomatic crisis between Libya and Switzerland.

‘SHOCKING" (IN THE GOOD SENSE) VIDEO

*This YouTube video shows an elongated Egyptian flag connecting a church to a mosque in the port city of Alexandria as people in the streets honk horns, applaud and cheer. Referring to widespread beliefs that the Egyptian government fomented sectarian strife between Muslims and Christians, one commentator wrote, "people in the state intelligence video would have a heart attack if they saw this video."

A QUESTION

*Democracy activist Wael Ghonim reminds his 94,000 Twitter followers about former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's son, Gamal Mubarak, a former adviser to his father who reportedly helped amass those hidden billions of dollars: "Gamal Mubarak is still free although all his friends are being tried or have had their assets frozen… Why?"

VIOLENT CLASH IN JORDAN

*The Jordanian government arrests two people in connection with violence against protesters last Friday; 11 more arrest warrants issued. Another opposition protest is scheduled for this Friday following afternoon prayers.

NON-VIOLENT CLASH IN JORDAN

*Employees of Jordan's state-run newspaper, Al Rai, staged the first sit-in in the paper's history, demanding higher salaries – and journalism standards. Omar Assaf, the former assistant editor who resigned in protest against the paper's editorial policies, said "We tried to reform the paper and make it more professional, but ran into a wall."

Feb. 24, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

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