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News from the Middle East

*+-Many left-wing Israelis are concerned that anti-democratic legislation is pushing Israel towards fascism. Right-wing Israelis have recently taken to the streets to express their views, but the question remains as to whether left-wing Israelis be able to make their voices heard.

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*+-If the revolutions of 2011 succeed, they will force the creation of a very different regional and world system. Many commentators are comparing Egypt to Iran of 32 years ago, mostly to warn of the risks of the country descending into some sort of Islamist dictatorship.

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*+-As the world watches Egyptian society transform, various interest groups jockey for position in the new political order. Read this excellent analysis to get an understanding of what is really going on behind the scenes and why the West has not yet called for his Mubarak’s departure.

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*+-Protest organisers held their first meetings with Shafiq late Friday, underlining that they met him only to discuss how to arrange Mubarak’s departure. The problem is in the president, he is not getting it that he has become a burden on everybody,” saidAbdel Rahman Youssef.

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*+-Beyond clichéd plots, Muslim writers and actors hope to show their own true stories to Hollywood. After years of watching Muslims portrayed as terrorists in mainstream TV and movies, an advocacy group hopes to change that image.

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*+-President Hosni Mubarak’s family fortune could be as much as $70bn (£43.5bn) according to analysis by Middle East experts, with much of his wealth in British and Swiss banks or tied up in real estate in London, New York, Los Angeles and along expensive tracts of the Red Sea coast.

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*+-An anti-Mubarak protest held outside Lakemba Mosque In Sydney Australia after Friday Prayer.

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*+-Australia has told Egypt’s much despised leader the time for political change has come. “Clearly, a transition is required in Egypt,” Ms Gillard told reporters. “It is up to the people of Egypt to shape their future but the time for change has come.”

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*+-Whilst daily losses from the blockade ran at about $18M, the Mubarak government conceded a loss of $90 million in a foolish move to block internet access.

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*+-Mubarak may be down but he’s not out. And judging by today’s events in Tahrir Square, he and the military-dominated clique around him clearly feel they have done enough, for now, to get the Americans off their backs, flex their still considerable muscle, and reclaim the streets for the regime. All the talk about reform and elections and negotiations can wait, whatever Barack Obama says.

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