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Game in Washington
DESPITE all the bluster about an impending default on the government's debt, most observers in Washington and on Wall Street still believe the two parties will reach a crisis-averting agreement. That's because the practice of American politics assumes that all players will negotiate according to predictable patterns _ that they will realise they can get more from compromise than by demanding everything and winning nothing. Under that assumption, President Obama is right to keep pressing for a compromise, because eventually the Republicans will fall in line. But as two wildly different fields _ game theory and the study of elephant mating patterns _ show, there are limits to the usual assumptions: Sometimes players simply refuse to play the game, and when that happens, the best advice for their opponents is to do the same.
THERE is only one thing worse than Republicans and Democrats failing to agree to lift the debt ceiling, and that is lifting the debt ceiling without a well-thought-out plan and with hasty cuts totalling trillions of dollars over a decade. What business do you know _ that is still in business _ that would operate this way: making massive longterm cuts, negotiated by exhausted executives, without any strategic plan? It certainly wouldn't be a business you'd expect to thrive.
Al Watan - Arabic Newspaper
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Four Qatari students participate in Ocean for Life programme


DOHA QATAR Foundation International (QFI) and Ocean for Life (OFL) will partner for marine conservation programmes in Doha as part of the QFI’s cultural exchange programme in October. Maggie Mitchell Salem, executive director of the QFI, made the announcement at the closing ceremony of the OFL’s summer programme in California. “Ocean for Life is a unique programme that focuses on young people from the West and from Muslim countries on their shared responsibility for preserving the environment, and marine ecology, in particular,” said Salem. “We hope to bring the OFL to Qatar this fall to focus on the unique marine issues in the region and to work with our partners to make this exciting cross-cultural educational opportunity a reality,” the QFI executive director added. OFL is an educational field study programme that brings together students from Qatar, the greater Middle East and Western countries to enhance cultural understanding through studying ocean conservation and science under the theme of ‘One World, One Ocean’. “OFL is a unique and powerful cross-cultural programme that brings students together to learn about the ocean in a way that they also learn about each other,” said Jason Patlis, president and CEO of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. “We are grateful to the QFI for its invaluable support and initiative to expand OFL to the Middle East,” Patlis added. Four Qatari students were selected this summer to participate in the Ocean for Life programme at the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in California. Encompassing the ocean environment surrounding Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel and Santa Barbara Islands, the sanctuary protects a rich diversity of marine life. The students who travelled to the US this summer are Noura al Jurdi of Al Bayan Educational Complex for Girls, Essa A al Malki from Doha Independent Secondary School for Boys, Nasser Marzook of Al Yarmouk Preparatory School for Boys, and Ibrahim al Sulaiti of Doha Independent School. Thirty students out of hundreds of applications were selected for the 2011 OFL summer programme in the US through a highly competitive process. Twelve students were selected from the United States and Canada, representing American Samoa and the states of Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Tennessee, Alabama, Michigan, Rhode Island and Washington, with 18 students from the greater Middle East representing Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The US OFL programme is a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, The GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) Program, National Geographic, and SCUBAnauts International, sponsored by Qatar Foundation International.

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