News Nearly half the people surveyed in Lebanon thought no head covering should be worn by women

A major new social-attitudes survey on head covering in the Middle East finds that few people are in favour of the burka

Protesters calling for an Islamic state in Tunis at the weekend

Poisoned spring: revolution brings Tunisia more fear than freedom

The hopes vested in last year's uprising have ended in continued censorship, growing intolerance and unemployment, says Robert Fisk in Tunis

Bahrain set for fresh protests on revolt anniversary

Bahraini protesters dissatisfied with the government's reform moves prepared for a fresh attempt to retake a landmark roundabout today, the first anniversary of a pro-democracy uprising crushed by the Gulf Arab kingdom.

Inspector Montalbano, BBC4, Saturday
How to Grow a Planet, BBC2, Tuesday

Who would want to fill the 'Borgen' slot on BBC4? Sadly, mouth-watering views of Sicily and oodles of pasta do not a detective drama make

Travelex eyes Thomas Cook's Indian business

Struggling holiday company could raise more than £100m from stake in foreign exchange

Hague condemns 'unacceptable' Syria

Syria's ambassador in London was today summoned to the Foreign Office for rebuke over the "utterly unacceptable" violence being inflicted on civilians in the country as President Bashar Assad's regime cracks down on dissent.

Syrian monitors' mission 'a farce'

Arab League observers in Syria have come under fresh scrutiny after a former monitor called their mission a "farce."

Simon Calder: How Tunisair put a spanner in the works

The man who pays his way

Colour coded: The harbour at Bizerte

Tunisia one year on: Simon Calder explores the source of the Arab Spring

The Arab Spring dawned in Tunisia a year ago, yet tourists have been slow to return to this multi-faceted North African country.

Ten people who changed the world: Mohammed Bouazizi, an ordinary man who became the Arab Spring's figurehead

Whether in the cut-throat field of politics or the fashion industry's corridors of power, this year they left our planet a better place. Celebrate 10 of the best, nominated by Independent writers
Protesters gather at the headquarters of Tunisia’s former ruling party last January

After the spring, the thaw: Tunisia

The year of revolution: In the second part of our series, Rachel Shabi sees grounds for cautious optimism in the new Tunisia

Dozens of new publications have sprung up in Tunisia since the uprising against President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January

Simon Kelner: Foundation aims to put trust back into journalism

It was like being scheduled against the Christmas special of Downton Abbey.

The slick California educated Prince, worth $19.6bn (£12.6bn), has been dubbed the Arabian Warren Buffett. His Kingdom Holding Company has stakes in companies from Apple to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and owns numerous hotel chains. His media interests include Rotana Group, which broadcasts Fox channels in Saudi Arabia. He has announced the launch of a new pan-Arab 24-hour news channel that should be on air by the end of 2012. The head of the channel has said the Prince – one of the most reformist voices in the Saudi royal family – intends to use it to push his liberal agenda

OMG! Saudi Prince Alwaleed buys $300m stake in Twitter

The Saudi billionaire, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, has bought a $300m (£193m) stake in Twitter, the social-media site that was instrumental in spreading the pro-democracy message of the Arab Spring.

The group also revealed it had slumped to a £398 million pre-tax loss in the year to September 30

Thomas Cook set to close 200 stores

Thomas Cook today said it will close 200 stores over the next two years as it battles to turn around its ailing UK business.

A foundation that journalism needs

I work in an office in central London which has a communal area in which fellow tenants can make coffee and tea. There's also a television on constantly, tuned to BBC 24's news coverage, and every time anyone here boils a kettle, they turn to the TV, watch the live coverage from the Leveson Inquiry for a few minutes, and murmur quiet disapproval.

Joy as Tunisians prepare for their first free vote

"Today, I'm going to the hairdresser and the hammam [steam baths]. I have new clothes – just like for a big celebration," says Jannet, in Tunis. "I won't be able to sleep and tomorrow I'll go to the polling station at 7am, first thing." At that thought, the 57-year-old starts crying, tears of joy: "I'm so proud, so excited" she says. "And so relieved the fear is over."

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