Culture & Society

Rights groups unmoved by Turkey's softened state of emergency

As Turkey's state of emergency continues, the government has passed measures establishing a commission for grievances and reducing the period police can hold detainees without charges in what critics call a cosmetic move.
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 Amberin Zaman for Al-Monitor on January 24

Egypt's new public service mandate has some women wanting more

The Egyptian government has just mandated that Egyptian youth perform a year's worth of public service, but some Egyptian women say the government's decision doesn't go far enough.
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 Youssra el-Sharkawy for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 23

Iranian soccer players face intensified crackdown

A recent string of suspensions of soccer players for discussing corruption and taking pictures with female fans stirs controversy in Iran.
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 Zahra Alipour for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 23

Why was pro-government Egyptian TV host taken off air?

Another talk show has been banned in Egypt, but this time the offender is staunchly pro-regime, suggesting the Egyptian government's already low tolerance for dissent is reaching extremes.
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 Ayah Aman on January 23

When will Egypt's soccer fans be allowed to return?

Whether Egypt's Interior Ministry will lift the ban against club supporters is far from decided.
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 Amira Sayed Ahmed for Al-Monitor on January 22

Critical film unnerves Egypt's religious scholars

Many Egyptian clerics are up in arms over a new film that takes on the nation's sheikhs and mosque preachers, saying it harms the reverence and respect they are due and calling for it to be pulled from theaters.
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 Salwa Samir for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 20

Turkey offers citizenship to foreigners with deep pockets

To attract much-needed foreign currency to the country, Ankara is offering Turkish citizenship to wealthy foreigners, but given Turkey’s gloomy economic and political outlook, the plan may lead to disappointment.
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 Zülfikar Doğan on January 22

What is Turkey’s problem with Darwin?

The elimination of the theory of evolution from Turkey's high school textbooks seems to be the latest round in the country's century-old culture war.
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 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on January 20

Israeli far-right's new target: Arab bus drivers

Activists of the far-right Lehava have launched a hate campaign against Arab bus drivers.
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 Shlomi Eldar on January 20

Goldfinch trainers seek to spread wings beyond Gaza

Palestinian trainers of singing goldfinches hope to one day take part in international competitions, but have been limited so far because of closed borders.
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 Moath al-Amoudi on January 23

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