At U.N., Israel’s Netanyahu Warns of Iranian Nuclear Threat


Originally posted on World:

Updated at 3:48 p.m., Oct. 1

Benjamin Netanyahu began his career in politics talking toward the glossy black eye of the television camera. With no particular background in the give-and-take of retail politics back home in Israel, the voluble young diplomat made his mark articulating the country’s position in countless live shots, first from Washington D.C., where he was number two in the Israeli embassy in the 1980s, and then from New York, where he served as Jerusalem’s ambassador to the United Nations. It’s a body that Israelis, for assorted reasons, typically regard askance—“Um-Shmum” is how Israel’s founding Prime Minister David Ben Gurion once dismissed its judgment, using the Hebrew abbreviation. Still, with that stone-façade rostrum and the fixed cameras, the General Assembly hall is also a television studio (especially the temporary version where this year’s annual convocation was held). And Netanyahu — now in his third term…

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Carry a Passport From an Arab Country? Get to the Back of the Line


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Aspiring globetrotters from the Muslim world continue to have a difficult time. In a recent study published by Henley & Partners, seven out of the ten worst nations in terms of unfettered access to other countries were Arab or predominately Muslim.

Afghanistan occupies the bottom rung in the 219-strong list, followed by Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan, Palestine and Eritrea. But even Muslim states less fraught with conflict fared poorly in the survey, like the United Arab Emirates (in joint 56th place), Qatar (57) and Bahrain (59).

The study spawned a flurry of comedic comments among Arabs on Twitter, such this one from @AmerZahr: “Today I heard the Palestinian passport is the 5th-worst in the entire world. I was shocked! We have passports?!?”

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The World’s Most Expensive Coffee Is a Cruel Cynical Scam


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The costliest coffee on earth has a humble proletarian beginning. As folklore has it, civet coffee, or kopi luwak in Indonesian, was discovered by plantation workers in colonized Indonesia. Forbidden from consuming coffee beans picked from the plants, they picked up, cleaned and then roasted the beans excreted by wild Asian palm civets that entered the plantations to eat the ripest coffee cherries. The civets’ digestive systems gave kopi luwak a uniquely rich aroma and smooth, rounded flavor — so much so that the Dutch plantation owners soon became die-hard fans.

In the past 10 years, kopi luwak has won the hearts — and wallets — of global consumers. A cup sells for $30 to $100 in New York City and London, while 1 kg of roasted beans can fetch as much as $130 in Indonesia and five times more overseas. The ultimate in caffeine bling is civet…

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