Iraqi offensive: in Tikrit slowed but not halted

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_ISR120808aa001.jpegON THE OUTSKIRTS OF TIKRIT, Iraq – Government troops paused in their advance on this critical Sunni city Tuesday as security forces prepared to clear explosives-lined streets and eject several hundred committed Islamic State militants still holed up here.

"We ceased the advance on the city to avoid the casualties among the civilians who are stuck in the city," said Abbas Al Khuzaie, a Shiite militia fighter in Tikrit. "We managed to limit (Islamic State) movement inside the town."

Read more at USA Today

Netanyahu takes: Strong lead in Israeli election

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_ISR130226AA001.jpegJERUSALEM -- Benjamin Netanyahu's conservative Likud Party held a clear lead over its major opposition party in Israel's elections Tuesday, boosting the prime minister's bid for a fourth term.

Nearly complete results showed Netanyahu's party leading the center-left opposition Zionist Union, which is headed by Isaac Herzog, giving Likud a strong position to try to form a coalition government.


Read more at USA Today

New Egyptian: Law firm fights for student rights

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_EGY151515aa001.jpegCAIRO—A Cairo University student, Mohammed Abdel Khalek, was pulling up in a metro car to a station near the university, planning to buy a book on campus that would help him with his next exam. Instead, he was arrested and swiftly imprisoned.

He said was caught in the crossfire of clashes on that day last winter. When the doors on his metro car opened, he witnessed the chaotic aftermath of a demonstration. “I found a lot of people there running from police,” Abdel Khalek said. “I didn’t understand what was going on.”

Read more at Al-Fanar Media

Early efforts: Seek to solve the Gulf gender gap

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_MOR130415AA001.jpegDOHA—With opportunities to access world-class higher education and procure generous financial aid, an increasing number of Qatari students are pursuing higher education in their country.

But rising enrollment isn’t reducing a persistent gender gap, educators say, as more women than men get university degrees in Qatar and across the Gulf region.

Read more at Al Fanar Media

Mosul waits: For battle against Islamic State with hope and anxiety

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_IRQ130228JR011.jpegBAGHDAD — Despite living under the brutal reign of the Islamic State jihadis since June, residents of Mosul are watching the battle to liberate nearby Tikrit with a mixture of hope and dread.

They know they’re next.

Read more at The Washington Times

Despite booby traps: Human shields ISIL near 'collapse' in Tikrit

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_JOR150213aa002.jpegSALAHUDDIN PROVINCE, Iraq — Islamic State fighters killed the prominent leader of a Shiite militia in the battle of Tikrit on Saturday, but Iraqi officers said the dwindling band of extremists were in "total collapse."

Iraqi government leaders predicted ISIL fighters in the city will be defeated in two or three days.

Read more at USA Today

Death is: This week's headline in Egyptian Education

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_EGY130304AA001.jpegCAIRO - Egyptians woke up to a series of headlines detailing violent student deaths this week, with one university student and two schoolchildren dead by Thursday.

On Monday, German University in Cairo (GUC) engineering student Yara Negm died in the campus parking lot after a school bus backed up and pinned her against another bus, crushing her to death before an ambulance arrived at the scene.

Read more at Al-Fanar Media

Iraqis in: Tikrit feel trapped by war with ISIL

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_IRQ150315aa002.jpegBAGHDAD — Omer Al Juburi could have left Tikrit a few weeks ago, but he stayed because he didn't want to abandon his home and grocery store or force his wife and three children to become refugees.

He's been trapped, as Iraqi Shiite militias and government forces wage a pitched battle to wrest back control of Saddam Hussein's hometown from the radical Islamic State group.

Read more at USA Today

Dropping the: Right to free education?

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_EGY141212aa001.jpegAya Morsi never wanted to study law, but like thousands of other Egyptian students, her high-school grades gave her no other option. Enrolled in a college she didn’t choose while also working in a private company, she ended up failing her second-year exams.

Under normal circumstances, this failure wouldn’t undermine her free university education—but the Cabinet’s recent proposal to restrict free tuition to the top percentile of students may get her and thousands of others in trouble.

Read more at Al Fanar Media

Qatar's universities: Are too expensive for many expats

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_QAT150315AA001.jpegDOHA—Optimism filled the air as prospective students and their parents gathered at an education fair last fall to learn about some of the nation’s best universities.

That enthusiasm, however, quickly turned to distress for some like Um Hussein, a Lebanese expatriate whose sons just graduated from universities in Malaysia. Seeking to send her daughter, Nour, to a university in Qatar, much closer to home, she inquired about the costs, which shocked her.

Read more at Al-Fanar Media

Theoretical swimming: Iraqi student life under religious rule

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_IRQ150315aa001.jpegAs Islamic State militants impose their harsh theological rule on campuses in much of northwestern Iraq, conservative religious forces have also been increasingly holding sway in higher education throughout the rest of the country.

The depth of religious influence on Iraqi campuses varies from university to university. But stricter religious-based dress codes, curricula, events and other policies began after the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. Soon after, religious posters often replaced pictures of former dictator Saddam Hussein. In recent years, the religious climate has grown even more strident.

Read More at Al Fanar Media

A conversation: With UAE's largest university's chancellor

UAE130409AA001DUBAI — With 22,000 students and 17 campuses nationwide, Higher Colleges of Technology is the largest higher education institution in the United Arab Emirates.

Its chancellor, Mohammad Omran Al Shamsi, was appointed chairman and chancellor of the university in April last year, granting him the status of a minister and marking the first time three different Emiratis led the nation’s three federal universities.


Read more at Al Fanar Media

Student Union: Elections canceled in Egyptian universities

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_EGY141212aa001.jpegCAIRO - Students across Egypt are outraged after the Supreme Council of Universities canceled this year’s student union elections for “legal reasons.”

The elections can’t take place because the electoral period mandated by university bylaws has already passed, explained the Higher Education Minister, Sayed Abdel Khalek, who also heads the council.

Read more at Al-Fanar Media

Israel's ultra-Orthodox: Haredi women form political party

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_ISR130226AA002.jpegJERUSALEM — Israel's first political party created by ultra-Orthodox Jewish women is running a novel campaign for parliament: no media ads or endorsements by key rabbinical authorities, just word-of-mouth recommendations and faith.

Yet the fact that women in the Haredi sect are running at all is historic and radical for a community where politics — and decision-making — are traditionally left to the menfolk.

Read more at USA Today

New Afghan: Militia sets its sights on ISIL

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFG15225AA001.jpegAFGHANISTAN - Every day they hear the thunderous sound of motorcycles approaching their houses.

Minutes later, residents of Balkh province see a group of about 25 armed men - their faces covered with black scarves, the Afghanistan national flag wrapped around their bodies - performing security checks.


Read more at Aljazeera

For universities: Faking quality control

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_1111.jpegA phony quality control agency helps universities it’s affiliated with to extract money from students for degrees with little or no value. But it also has a second business on the side.

The second business of the International Accreditation Organization, as it calls itself, is to give the veneer of respectability to independently run institutions that are also “diploma mills,” cranking out degrees that won’t advance students’ careers.

Read more at Al Fanar Media

Stay in: University or join the Islamic State?

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_EGY130705aa002.jpegMA’AN, Jordan—King Abdullah founded Al-Hussein Bin Talal University six years ago to counterbalance the radical Islamic Salafist movement that has deep roots in the isolated desert around the city of Ma’an in southern Jordan.

The king’s bid to inject a moderate intellectual influence into the community has been lost, however, on Mrowan Alenaimat, a 20-year-old mechanical engineering student at the university.

Read more at Al-Fanar Media

Many Jordanians: Back ISIL despite pilot's killing

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_JOR150213aa002.jpegMA'AN, Jordan — Sitting in a café, Abu Mohammed sadly but proudly told the tale of his 20-year-old son, Mustafa, joining the Islamic State.

"One night, he was not in bed," said Mohammed. "Three days after his disappearance, a masked man came to our home and told us he went to Syria to fight the Shiite infidels."

Read more at USA Today

Afghan addiction: To opium ravages adults, infants

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFG150213aa001.jpegMAZAR-E-SHARIF, Afghanistan — Men, women and children sit listlessly on the unkempt lawn of a hospital for drug addicts in this northern Afghan city. Inside, the waiting area is packed with women clad in light blue burqas, each with three or four kids in tow.

Ana Gul, 35, an opium user for eight years, says she came here after failing to kick her habit because opium cures her head and body aches. "No other medicine works effectively on me now," she said. Her 3-year-old daughter is also addicted because Gul smoked opium while pregnant.

Read more at USA Today

Algeria moves: To halt the tutoring trade

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_EGY141212aa001.jpegTLEMCEN, Algeria—More than a decade ago, tutoring was only for those students falling behind in school. Today, nearly every Algerian student wanting to advance to university has to get tutoring.

It’s a practice that has become lucrative for teachers and exploitive for many students, one pervasive across much of the Arab world. But in Algeria, education officials are moving to stamp it out.

Read more at Al-Fanar Media

"Free" education: Calculating the cost

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_MOR130415AA001.jpegCAIRO—Costs associated with attending Egypt’s “free” public universities often make higher education a financial burden for the nation’s poor, restricting opportunities for equality in higher learning, a study found.

Books, tutoring and transportation—among a slew of other expenses—cost Egyptian public university students $658 to $1,054 a year (5,000 to 8,000 Egyptian pounds), according to research conducted by the Population Council, a U.S.-based organization with an office in Egypt.


Read more at Al-Fanar Media

In Egypt: Atheists considered a 'dangerous development'

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_EGY130705aa003.jpegCAIRO — In Egypt, there is seemingly no place where atheists or those thought to be non-believers are safe.

They've been targeted at cafes, harassed on the streets and fired as part of a broader backlash by society and the state against atheism and blasphemy.

Read more at USA Today

Revolutionizing education: A Conversation with IBM’s Naguib Attia

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_1111.jpegDUBAI – Naguib Attia has a rich history in academe.

He has taught in the computer science departments of Johnson C. Smith University, in North Carolina, where he served as chair, the American University in Cairo, in Egypt, and the University of Essex in England, where he received his Ph.D.

Read more at Al-Fanar Media

Tunisia's student: Unions should stay out of politics

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_EGY130826aa001.jpegTunisia’s student unions have a history of blurring political activism on and off campus, often with violent results. To promote peace and improve higher education in their fledgling democracy, Tunisian student unions must change with the times and turn away from national politics.

They appear to be taking steps in that direction now. But we must remain vigilant to ensure they complete the transition.

Read more at Al-Fanar Media

Expert says: King Tut's mask can be restored after epoxy used

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_EGY130924aa001.jpeg

CAIRO — Egypt sought Saturday to calm concerns that King Tutankhamun's famous burial mask had been permanently marred after its beard broke off and was glued back on with epoxy.

German restoration specialist Christian Eckmann told reporters at a news conference at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo that the mask is not endangered, adding it can be properly restored after the glue is removed.

Read more at USA Today

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