- The Washington Times - Monday, November 16, 2009

EGYPT

Arabic domain sought for Internet

SHARM EL SHEIK | Egypt will apply for the first Internet domain written in Arabic, its information technology minister said Sunday at a conference grouping Yahoo’s co-founder and others to discuss boosting online access in emerging nations.

Tarek Kamel said Egypt on Monday would apply for the new domain - pronounced “.masr” but written in the Arabic alphabet - making it the first Arab nation to apply for a non-Latin character domain. The effort is part of a broader push to expand both access and content in developing nations, where the Internet remains out of reach for wide swaths of the population.

Mr. Kamel spoke at the start of the Internet Governance Forum - a U.N.-sponsored gathering that drew Net legends like Yahoo Inc.’s Jerry Yang and Tim Berners-Lee, known as one of the Internet’s founding fathers.

IRAN

First lady gives rare public speech

ROME | Iran’s first lady made a rare public appearance and even more rare, a speech, at a Rome forum on the eve of a U.N. summit to fight hunger beginning Monday.

The wife of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad almost never appears in public with her husband and is thought never to have previously addressed a public gathering.

First lady Azam al-Sadat Farahi came to the forum of wives of heads of state Sunday, before the start Monday of the three-day summit on strategy to fight world hunger at the Rome headquarters of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO.

With a black chador wrapped tightly about her, Mrs. Farahi did not take the podium but spoke from her seat among the rows of spouses of some of the 60 heads of state expected to attend the summit, FAO spokesman Christopher Matthews said.

IRAQ

Vice president wants election law changes

BAGHDAD | Iraq’s Sunni Arab vice president says he cannot approve the country’s election law unless changes are made giving Iraqis living abroad more guaranteed seats in parliament, throwing the country’s national vote in January into question.

Tareq al-Hashimi said in a letter to lawmakers Sunday that the bill passed by parliament earlier this month “did not give fair treatment” to Iraqis outside the country.

Most of the estimated 2 million Iraqis who fled the violence in their homeland are Sunni Arabs. The vast majority now live in Jordan and Syria.

GERMANY

Terror suspect converted to Islam

BERLIN | Authorities have identified a 27-year-old German convert to Islam as an al Qaeda associate suspected of traveling to Afghanistan and planning to attack German targets.

The report could fuel concerns about European converts being recruited by Islamist terrorist groups for attacks.

The Federal Criminal Police Office confirmed a Spiegel Online report Sunday that it had posted notices across Afghanistan warning that Jan Schneider - also known as Hamza - may plan attacks on German military or civilian institutions in Afghanistan.

The posters of the ethnic German, who was born in Kazakhstan, were published in several languages and included a description of the suspect and his picture.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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