Now that I have some time to trawl the international media, I will choose my top picks of essential reading every day or so.
(1) MIDDLE EAST PROTESTS -
(a) Country by Country - the BBC has created an interactive map where you can compare corruption levels, literacy rates, unemployment, poverty levels and the average age of protestors across the Middle East.
(b) Bahrain Tense Ahead of Funerals.
(c) Why Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Isn't The Islamic Bogeyman
Western fears of Islamist takeover in post-Mubarak Egypt are unfounded, according to the authors Faris and Yadav from Roosevelt University. During recent protests, the Muslim Brotherhood demonstrated a commitment to peaceful political participation. They argue the US and other nations now have an opportunity to support a truly democratic Egypt, including the Brotherhood.
(d) ROBERT FISK - Is The Army Tightening Its Grip on Egypt
As Fisk and others have argued this week, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that elements of the old order are still in control. Senior members of the military owe their positions to the former Mubarak regime. Until they set a clear date for free and fair elections and grant other concessions, such as the repeal of emergency laws, release of political prisoners, there is little room for complacency.
(2) The Forgotten Man: Bradley Manning
Reporter: Quentin McDermott, Four Corners
Video - ABC Australia - Broadcast: 14/02/2011
While WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange has been cast as a heroic champion of free speech, his ongoing expose of US foreign policy would not have been possible without the work of Private Bradley Manning, who now languishes in a US military prison.
Quentin McDermott tells the inside story of Bradley Manning and his intelligence heist. David House is one of the few civilians allowed to visit Bradley Manning in jail. He describes the young soldier's mental deterioration and his struggle to deal with long hours of confinement. This is the only recording of Bradley Manning's voice and we listen to the logs of alleged conversations with the man who ultimately betrayed him.
3) Obama’s Budget: Freezing the Poor
Obama has called for a freeze on annual domestic spending over the next five years. This freeze would cut the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade. Education, health and other essential service are the obvious targets. Amy Goodman examines the current state of defence and intelligence spending in the US. Her figures apparently do not include spending for drone attacks in Pakistan. Neither does it include the increased military aid to Israel which the Congress approved in late 2010. The article is shocking but accurate.