• What's the Message? Officials at Al Aqsa TV and Mohammed Ramadan, the pupeteer who portrays Nahool the Bee (and portrayed Nahool's predecessor, the "martyred" Mickey Mouse look-a-like Farfur) told staff writer Dan Murphy that the point of the character's often naughty antics is to teach children what not to do (see story). Nahool fails to look twice before crossing the street; Nahool almost gets run over; Nahool is admonished and learns.
But in a recent episode designed to teach children not to be cruel to animals, Nahool spends about two minutes being just that and is only criticized for his "horrible" behavior in the last 30 seconds of the segment. "It makes me wonder if Hamas has all the kinks worked out of its strategy for childhood outreach,'" says Dan. "I mean, they didn't even send Nahool to his room."
This week's look ahead
Santiago, Chile – US Education Secretary Margaret Spelling arrived Saturday for a week-long visit to Chile and Brazil to encourage Latin American students to seek higher education in the US.
Colombo, Sri Lanka – Eighth International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific began Sunday and will continue until Aug. 23.
•Monday, Aug. 20
Quebec, Canada – US President George W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Mexican President Felipe Calderón meet to discuss regional issues, including a proposed US aid package to Mexico to help fight drug trafficking.
The Hague, Netherlands – First witnesses called in trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.
Harbin, China – 2007 World Conference on Disaster Reduction.
•Wednesday, Aug. 22:
Accra, Ghana – Trial resumes of two British teenage girls accused of being drug mules.
•Friday, Aug. 24: Mexico City – Pilot program giving Mexican trucks unrestricted access to US highways begins in last week of August.
– Amelia Newcomb
Assistant World editor