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Experts worried about Middle East economies in 2019

By: Simon Constable Source: Middle East Eye Falling oil output together with restrained government spending looks set to blight some key economies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) over the coming year, with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman expected to be particularly hard hit. However, analysts say whether the economic slowdown results in more political instability across the region will depend on how governments choose to react. “The region’s recovery is set to falter in 2019 and growth is likely to be weaker than most expect,” a recent report from London-based research firm Capital Economics found. In Gulf states in particular, “tighter fiscal policy and oil...

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China’s war on Islam

By: Lily Kuo Source: The Guardian The Luopu County No 1 Vocational Skills Training Centre is hard to miss. It emerges suddenly, a huge campus towering over hectares of farmland. Outside the compound, surrounded by tall white concrete walls lined with barbed wire and surveillance cameras, a police car patrols while several guards carrying long batons stand watch. The centre, which straddles a highway, is bigger than most of the surrounding villages – about 170,000sq metres. A banner on one building says: “Safeguard ethnic unity.” Half a dozen people stand on the roadside, staring at the buildings. No one is willing to say exactly what this prison-like facility is or why they are waiting on...

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Yemen: Some normalcy returns to Hodeidah after ceasefire

By: MEE Source: MEE SANAA – The ceasefire in Yemen’s Hodeidah may be fragile, occasionally threatened by skirmishes and just days old, but it has breathed new life into the Red Sea port city. More and more, people are walking in the streets without fear of bombardment or snipers. Shutters are rising in abandoned shops, while the once-ubiquitous sounds of explosions and air strikes have become a scarcity since the truce took hold on 18 December. It is a happy outcome for Hodeidah’s residents, who, before United Nations-brokered talks between pro-government forces and Houthi rebels resulted in the truce, were suffering under a ferocious battle for control of the city....

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