This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Saudi Hajj ends successfully with no reports of MERS virus
- ‘Year of Dutch-Russian Cooperation’ fails as relations spiral downward
Saudi Hajj ends successfully with no reports of MERS virus
The Grand Mosque in Mecca last week (Reuters)
Saudi Arabian officials and officials at the World Health Organization(WHO) are breathing a sigh of relief, with the three-day Hajj celebration ending on Thursday with no reported cases of the Middle EasternRespiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). In the last 18 months,there have been 119 people in the Kingdom infected with MERS, with 51deaths including two last week. Each year, the Hajj brings millionsof Muslims from 188 countries around the world to Saudi Arabia fortheir once in a lifetime pilgrimage, and it was feared so many peoplein close proximity to one another might cause a worldwide pandemic aspilgrims carried the disease back to their home countries.
Because of this fear, the Saudis went to extraordinary lengths to doeverything possible to prevent spread of the deadly virus. Hajj visaswere cut back for the young, elderly, pregnant women, andchildren under 12. Country quotas were also sharply reduced; as a result,1.98 million pilgrims performed Hajj this year against 3.2 millionlast year.
‘Year of Dutch-Russian Cooperation’ fails as relations spiral downward
2013 was supposed to be the year when the Netherlands and Russiashared their centuries-long rich history and encouraged mutualinvestments and tourism. But a series of undiplomatic incidents arecausing relations between the two countries to spiral to a low level.
The latest incident occurred late on Tuesday, when two Russiansattacked Dutch diplomat Onno Elderenbosch in his own apartment inMoscow, beating him, tying him up, destroying his apartment, and writing homophobic symbols on the mirror with pink lipstick. The Netherlandswas the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriages andhas also been at odds with Russia over gay rights.
This attack was apparently in revenge for an attack last week by Dutchpolice on Russian diplomat Dmitry Brodin, when they entered hisapartment in The Hague, knocked him down, hit him, and dragged him tothe police station.
This all happens in the context of Russia’s detention of 30 Greenpeaceactivists and charging them with piracy, and their Dutch-registeredboat the Arctic Sunrise, after Greenpeace attacked a Gazprom offshoreoil platform in the Arctic Ocean. The Netherlands has instigatedlegal action against Russia at the International Tribunal for the Lawof the Sea for the release of boat and crew. Dutch Consulate and CS Monitor and Ria Novosti (Moscow)
KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Saudi Arabia, Hajj,Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, MERS-CoVRussia, Netherlands, Onno Elderenbosch, Dmitry Brodin,Greenpeace, Arctic Sunrise, Gazprom,International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea