THE MIDDLE EAST ON THE INTERNET: Middle East News on the Internet

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THE MIDDLE EAST ON THE INTERNET: Middle East News on the Internet

Finding information on the Internet has been compared to taking a drink of water from a fire hose. The massive amount of information available, combined with easy and almost limitless access, has created an environment that has incredible potential, but often is awkward to navigate. The exponential proliferation of Web sites on the Internet, without the corresponding development of a means to search it effectively and intuitively, can leave travelers on the information superhighway bewildered.

To help overcome this problem, the Washington Report publishes in this column Web site addresses of interest to this magazine's readers, with brief descriptions of the Web sites' contents. And to help make finding them a little easier, the Washington Report will link these sites on the "Middle East Resources" section of the magazine's Web site, which can be found on the Internet at www.washington-report.org

MIDDLE EAST NEWS IN CYBERSPACE

There are a lot of reasons to get news from the Internet, including easy access at little or no cost, and saving a few trees from the pulp mill. An additional benefit of Internet-based news is that it allows readers virtually anywhere in the world access to information that originates anywhere else in the world. That means no more waiting for international or regional newspapers to be delivered, which can be well after their utility has passed.

Now a reader in the United States can browse a newspaper in the Middle East on the day it's published. And, unlike several years ago when the Internet was viewed only as a tool to promote the print or electronic media, entire texts of news articles rather than small "teasers" now are available on-line.

Consumers of general news about the Middle East can begin at Cable News Network's (CNN) home page (www.cnn.com). CNN World News has an outstanding section on the Middle East, with a main story, several top stories, and a lengthy list of news articles from individual countries in the region. CNN also maintains links to the previous five days of its coverage that contain all of the articles published on those days.

Aside from a user-friendly and extremely high-quality, fast-loading site, which is to be expected from the world's leader in international news, CNN also deserves praise for listing "Jerusalem" as a separate entity with Middle Eastern countries, rather than as a subheading of Israel as other organizations have done.

Several English-language newspapers in the Middle East also have created useful Web sites, many of them with regional and country-specific news. General news about the Persian Gulf can be found on sites for the Arab News published in Saudi Arabia (www.arabnews.com), the Bahrain Tribune/Al Ayam (www.alayam.com), Gulf News/Gulf Times (www.gulf-news.com), and the UAE daily Khaleej Times (www.khaleejtimes.com).

All of these on-line newspapers include sections for regional news that concentrate mainly on the Gulf region, with individual sections devoted to local news from Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, respectively. Except for the Khaleej Times, which is an unusually slow-loading site (with a standard 33.6 kbs modem Internet connection), each of these sites loads quickly. Offsetting that minor inconvenience is the financial section of the Khaleej Times, which is by far the best in the Middle East.

Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Palestine and Turkey also have useful Web sites for regional and local news. Egypt's Middle East Times (www.metimes.com), a weekly newspaper based in Cairo, has an excellent Web site with news and analysis about Egypt and the rest of the Middle East. …