Articles worth reading
Image : Moody's warns of UK downgrade if Brexit deal weakens growth

Moody's warns of UK downgrade if Brexit deal weakens growth

person Orange Themes access_time Nov 02,2016

LONDON (AP) — Britain was warned Wednesday that it will have its credit rating cut if the country fails to get a good-enough deal on access to the European single market during its upcoming negotiations to leave the European Union.

Image : Japan in talks to deliver two coast guard ships to Philippines

Japan in talks to deliver two coast guard ships to Philippines

person Orange Themes access_time Aug 14,2016

The ships could be transferred to Manila to help patrol the disputed South China Sea, known in Vietnam as the East Sea.

Image : Comey faces complicated path under Trump administration

Comey faces complicated path under Trump administration

person Orange Themes access_time Nov 10,2016

WASHINGTON (AP) — FBI Director James Comey faces a complicated path under a Donald Trump administration. Does he try to serve out the remaining seven years of his term under a president who has publicly questioned the FBI's integrity? Or does he

Latest blog articles

How Saudis claim freedom

access_time May 18,2017 chat_bubble_outline 21 views

For his first official trip abroad, President Trump will be in Saudi Arabia this weekend, attending a dizzying number of public events. Yet much of his experience, like that of many other visitors, will be staged by the Saudi government – one that still limits basic freedoms for its people. If Mr. Trump were to visit a local bookstore, however, he might take note of a book that has been a top seller among Saudis for weeks, “The Art of Thinking Clearly.”

Written by Swiss entrepreneur Rolf Dobelli with tips for independence in thought, the book’s popularity speaks volumes about what Saudis want in a society long controlled by a monarchy and clerical authorities. Also popular in neighboring Iran, the book affirms a phenomenon that is essential to create a free society: The desire to think for oneself is the first step in removing any mental shackles imposed by an autocracy.

In recent years, Saudis have taken to Twitter to speak out against government – despite the threat of a public lashing if they go too far in criticizing the monarchy. Among Middle Eastern countries, Saudi Arabia has the highest rate of online TV watching. And as might be expected, much of the independent thinking comes from women, one of the most oppressed groups.

“Don’t speak in the name of the people,” wrote Nora Shanar in the Saudi newspaper Elaph about recent government attempts to stage Western-style entertainment for young people. Tamador Alyami, a famous blogger, wrote this about a religious ban on women driving: “I’m calling on men to think for themselves, not to simply follow clerics, and for the government to act.”

Much of what is written in the Western press about change in Saudi Arabia assumes that it comes from the top and is driven by the need to adjust to low prices for Saudi oil exports and to reduce spending. Indeed, a powerful prince, Mohammed bin Salman, issued a plan last year called Vision 2030 that aims to create a non-oil economy and to loosen up on some social restrictions. But his plan is widely seen as a way for Saudi royalty to stay one step ahead of the country’s restless youth. More than 60 percent of the population is under 30 years old.

Societies that encourage people to think for themselves do so because they know truth cannot be imposed. It must be discovered and nurtured in each person’s thinking. When leaders don’t yet understand that, their people will seek out books and other ways to claim their mental autonomy.

Related stories

  • The Monitor's View
    A Mideast rivalry worth watching
  • The Monitor's View
    Syria is not a black hole for international law
  • Between US and Saudi Arabia, a growing clash of values

Read this story at

Become a part of the Monitor community

  • Become a Facebook fan!
  • Follow us on Twitter!
  • Follow us on Google+
  • Link up with us!
  • Subscribe to our RSS feeds!
Vietnam widens ASEAN trade gap

Vietnam imports 23,900 cars worth $440 million from Thailand during the first nine months this year. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Quan Vietnam’s ASEAN trade deficit increased 9 nine percent from a year ago to more than $4.5 billion in the first nine months of 2016, according to customs figures. The country exported over $12.2 billion worth of goods to fellow members of the Southeast Asian bloc while importing $16.7 billion during the same period, the Customs General Department reported. During the… chat_bubble_outline Read More...

Nature's tradeoffs: brawn v. brains, looks v. loyalty

Biologists assessing the natural world sometimes sound like hard-nosed executives weighing the costs and benefits of an investment opportunity. Species, they reason, can't be endowed with every possible trait. Instead, they get the ones that help them to survive and hand on their genes, even if this comes at a cost. Two studies published Wednesday by Britain's Royal Society shed light on these intriguing natural tradeoffs. Examining 647 types of mammals, Theodore Stankowich and Ashly Romero… chat_bubble_outline Read More...

Ex-Dodger Guerrero signs with Japan's Chunichi Dragons

TOKYO (AP) — Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero has signed a one-year deal with the Chunichi Dragons of Japan's Central league.The deal is worth $1.3 million plus incentives, the Central League club announced on its website.The 30-year-old, who can also play outfield, played in 117 major league games for the Los Angeles Dodgers over the 2014 and '15 seasons batting .224 with 11 home runs.He missed most of the 2016 season with a knee injury and was released during the summer.Guerrero was used… chat_bubble_outline Read More...

Obama 'heartbroken' by deadly Florida airport shooting: report

Washington (AFP) - US President Barack Obama said Friday he was "heartbroken" for the families of the victims of the deadly shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport in Florida.In his first public comments since a gunman opened fire in the afternoon, killing five people and wounding eight, Obama said it was too early to know what motivated the attacker or whether the shooting was an act of terrorism."I don't want to comment on it other than just to say how heartbroken we are for the… chat_bubble_outline Read More...

Syrian troops capture east Aleppo neighborhood from rebels

BEIRUT (AP) — A Syrian official blasted Turkey Saturday saying it is to blame for the death of its soldiers because it sent them to Syria, as the Syrian army said troops have captured a neighborhood in the northern city of Aleppo days after the government resumed its offensive on the besieged rebel-held eastern part of the city.Syria's deputy foreign minister Faisal Mekdad's comments were the first by a Syrian official since Thursday when three Turkish soldiers were killed in northern Syria in… chat_bubble_outline Read More...

folder_open Assigned tags



Trends in Singapore

Trends in Indonesia

Trends in Philippin