When Fahad A. Alhomoudi was studying for his doctorate in Islamic studies at Canada's McGill University in 2000, he discovered something that bothered him.
"There is, in almost every American and European university, a center for Middle Eastern or Islamic or Arab studies," the Saudi professor recalled in a recent interview in his office in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. "But there was not a single center with a focus on the West in the Middle East."
Kazakhstan's Maria Dmitrienko took gold at the Arab Shooting Championships last week in Kuwait. As she stood to hear her national anthem, out blared the parody anthem from the movie Borat. Organizers apologized. They got Serbia's anthem wrong, too.
The preparations for Pope Benedict XVI's three-day visit to Cuba have produced some unusual sights and sounds there lately.
A church van with a megaphone drove around one Havana neighborhood recently, calling Cubans out of their homes to a gathering in a nearby park, with the message that God loves them.
The number of churchgoing Catholics on the island is growing again, but it remains less than 10 percent, and the call to gather was a rare exception to the Communist government's ban on public acts of religious proselytism.