What can memorizing the Quran buy you in Gaza?

Gazans who have memorized the Quran can have their weddings paid for through a new, controversial program in Gaza.
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 Rasha Abou Jalal on February 17

Can economic opportunity bring Turkey, Egypt closer?

Turkey and Egypt are making investment overtures toward one another despite lingering political animosity that is unlikely to be resolved.
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 Khalid Hassan for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 17

Resumption of Iranian oil shipping off to slow start

While many are hailing Iran's first oil tanker reaching European shores as an important development, the country's energy sector must still overcome several more hurdles.
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 David Ramin Jalilvand for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 16

Gaza barber plays with fire

A Palestinian barber in Gaza is giving his clients a unique haircut by straightening and styling their hair with fire.
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 Najlaa Eskafi on February 17

Do Iranian MPs want to send working women back home?

The Iranian parliament’s approval of a law to allow women to apply for early retirement after only working for 20 years triggers heavy criticism of the economic and social consequences.
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 Alireza Ramezani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 14

Controversy surrounds hijab during Swedish visit to Iran

Iranian hard-liners took the government to task for allowing an event where female Swedish diplomats did not wear the hijab, while the Swedish women faced blowback at home too.
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 Rohollah Faghihi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 14

Syrian actors look for fresh start in Egypt

Dozens of Syrian actors who were forced to leave Syria because of the conflict are trying to reassemble their lives and careers in Egypt.
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 Mohammed Othman on February 14

Egypt's publishers hope book fair can boost slumping sales

The high number of visitors to the Cairo Book Fair, the second largest of its kind in the world, came as a pleasant surprise.
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 Menna A. Farouk for Al-Monitor on February 10

How far is Egypt willing to go to have strong grip on media?

Egypt's former armed forces spokesman is now the head of a media outlet, which is sparking much controversy and raising questions about the Egyptian state's tight grip on the media.
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 Khalid Hassan on February 12

Will Saudi Arabia expel Egyptian workforce?

The fate of 2 million Egyptian workers in Saudi Arabia is on the line in light of Saudi measures to charge expat fees amid several political crises between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, including the dispute over Sanafir and Tiran islands.
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 Amr Mostafa for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 12

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