On Sept. 25, King Abdulla of Saudi Arabia gave a five-minute speech granting women the right to vote, run in municipal elections and be appointed as full voting members of the Majilis Al-Shura. These rights have been denied to women in Saudi Arabia for too long, and the King’s announcement was met with surprised reactions all over the world. But as progressive as the decision appears, the King’s announcement is motivated by self-interest rather than a belief in woman’s liberation.

Last week, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas submitted a petition for statehood to the United Nations. Clearly a two-state solution is imperative to ending the conflict. Both sides realize this — according to a March 2010 poll, 72 percent of Israelis and 57 percent of Palestinians want a two-state solution. It’s the only hope of ensuring a lasting peace, delivering justice to the Palestinians and it’s necessary for the survival of Israel as a Jewish state.

What if John McCain had won the last presidential election? An infrequently considered point is not so much what this would have meant for the United States, but rather what it would have meant for the world at large. What would the people of the world have thought about the new Commander-in-Chief, and how would they have reacted?

Oct. 16 will be a very important day in the history of the College. That morning, we will inaugurate Biddy Martin as the College’s first female president. The ceremony should be a grand event, with the crowd facing the Holyoke Mountains while the band and choir proclaim the historic moment. Representatives from the other schools in the NESCAC, local leaders and other dignitaries will all be present as witnesses to the grand event. The ceremony sounds like a wonderful thing, save for one thing — it’s outside, and Massachusetts is rainy.

Defensive medicine is a practice that is both wasteful and costly. In order to protect himself from being sued, a doctor will perform expensive, complicated and unnecessary procedures. One of the goals of President Obama’s healthcare bill was to make it harder for doctors to be sued in order to eliminate this wasteful practice. Healthcare, however, isn’t the only place where one can find elements of preventative law intruding upon effective practice.

Walking into Val for the first time since my arrival on campus, I immediately questioned whether or not I was in the right building. Was I dreaming? Surely this couldn’t be the Valentine Dining Hall of yesteryear: where was the tacky carpet? The sweaty clump of sports teams who just got out of practice? Perhaps somebody had spiked the coffee with some sort of psycho-hallucinogenic drug concoction?

On Sept. 23, the Palestinian Authority (PA), led by Mohamed Abbas, will formally submit its application for statehood to the United Nations (U.N.). This appeal for statehood began after the tectonic shifts in Middle Eastern politics following the popular uprisings last spring. The PA’s new approach, a U.N. bid, marks yet another transformation in the Arab World, a transformation which may leave Israel, the United States and diplomats puzzled over their former Middle Eastern policies.

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