AP Top Stories January 10 P

(10 Jan 2019) Here’s the latest for Thursday January 10: President Trump visits border to make a case for his border wall; Pompeo assures Arab partners that U.S. is not abandoning the Middle East; Unions protest 20th day of the partial government shutdown; and a teen survives a shark attack in California. (Jan. 10)

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UAE reopens Damascus embassy after seven years

The United Arab Emirates reopens its embassy in Damascus, the latest sign of efforts to bring the Syrian regime back into the Arab fold.

UAE reopens its embassy in Damascus

The United Arab Emirates reopens its embassy in Damascus, the latest sign of efforts to bring the Syrian regime back into the Arab fold. 1ST IMAGES

Today in History for November 19th

(19 Nov 2018) Highlights of this day in history: President Abraham Lincoln delivers Gettysburg Address; Egypt’s Anwar Sadat becomes first Arab leader to visit Israel; Ford halts Edsel production; Bandleader Tommy Dorsey and actress Jodie Foster born. (Nov. 19)

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Macron in Morocco for opening of high-speed railway

French President Emmanuel Macron joins King Mohammed VI of Morocco in Tangiers, to inaugurate a high-speed railway line , that boasts the fastest journey times in Africa or the Arab world. IMAGES

Today in History for October 17th

(17 Oct 2018) Highlights of this day in history: Arab oil embargo fuels energy crisis; Americans clinch revolutionary victory at Saratoga; Deadly quake hits northern California; Mobster Al Capone convicted of tax evasion; Playwright Arthur Miller born. (Oct. 17)

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Legendary Arab poet Antara rises as comic book superhero

Egyptian writer Mumen Hilmi presents his comic book where famed 6th century Arab poet Antara, becomes a superhero. Hilmi collaborated with renowned Indian illustrator Ashraf Ghuri.

Golden-age glitterati return on canvas to old Lebanon hotel

Inside the abandoned century-old Sofar Grand Hotel near Lebanon’s capital, paintings of the Arab world’s once powerful and famous hang around a worn poker table, testimony to its glamorous past before the civil war.

AP Top Stories September 22 P

(22 Sep 2018) Here’s the latest for Saturday, September 22nd: Christine Ford accepted the Senate Committee’s request to appear; The Vatican and China make agreement on appointment of bishops; Arab separatist group carried out Iran attack; 185th Oktoberfest underway.

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India Shuts Down The Internet More Than Any Other Country (HBO)

Last week, India celebrated 71 years of independence from Great Britain, marking its birth in 1947 as the world’s largest democracy. But in 2012, it started taking a not-so-democratic approach at enforcing public safety: turning off the Internet.

Internet shutdowns were first notably used during the Arab Spring in 2011, when some regimes tried to prevent protestors who relied on social media from organizing online.

Today, India employs more internet blackouts than any other country in the world. The Internet has been turned off 97 times already this year, 18 more times than in all of 2017.

The first documented shutdown happened six years ago in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, where battles between separatists and the military are commonplace. Officials here feel that blackouts are an important part of maintaining security and turned off the internet ahead of Independence Day celebrations.

With at least 37 blackouts this year, the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir have their internet cut off more than residents of any other state in India.

“It’s a human right for every person to use internet” says Iqra Ahmed, a Kashmiri fashion entrepreneur. “I don’t have a physical store, so if Internet is banned, my whole business does not work properly, actually.”

A recent study estimates that from 2012 to 2017, Internet blackouts have cost the country over $3 billion in lost revenue.

India has taken massive steps to expand its digital infrastructure through Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Digital India” program. In 2015, India overtook America as the second largest nation online and now has more than 462 million internet users.

Last August, the government codified rules to the colonial-era telegraph laws to regulate Internet blackouts, which have since only increased, both in scope and frequency.

“These shutdowns seem to be spreading from border states to much more of mainland India” says Apar Gupta, a co-founder of the Internet Freedom Foundation. “It’s becoming a regular tool of administrative practice.”

This year, the state of Rajasthan has shut the Internet down on three different occasions in attempts to prevent cheating on exams. Gupta worries that more shutdowns will affect Indian democracy.

“Internet shutdowns are completely unacceptable in any democratic system. It eventually only causes a greater amount of lack of trust between citizens and the government itself and gives them a sense that they’re not being heard.”

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