Obama hearts Arab entrepreneurs, Skype is coming, unless it isn't, and a new breed of bustard

- Following up on his commitment in the Cairo Speech to embrace Arab and Muslim innovators, scientists and entrepreneurs, the US President Barack Obama hosted a Presidential Summit in Washington this week. The luminaries of the regional web and tech community were there, alongside investors, venture capitalists and big-thinkers. Our Washington correspondent, Steven Stanek, has a nice story on the event, and here are Hillary Clinton's closing remarks to the conference and another interesting wrap-up from the Christian Science Monitor.

- South Africa's MTN, the biggest mobile operator in Africa has confirmed it is in talks to acquire all or part of Egypt's Orascom Telecom, the biggest Arab mobile operator by subscribers. I blogged my thoughts on all of this yesterday, in case anyone missed it. Orascom is yet to make a statement, and its shares are suspended from trading until it makes one, which should be pretty soon.

- Beep Beep co-blogger David George-Cosh has a story today on the progress of Skype's efforts to do deals with Middle Eastern telecom companies, including the UAE's du. I'm a skeptic on the likelihood of these deals doing anything meaningful, but hey, at least they are possibly, maybe, happening. More interesting for me is the news that Skype is preparing to establish a regional lobbying presence to deal with government's across the region, many of whom are outright hostile to the notion of disruptive innovation in their telecommunications industries.

- And last but not least, the most interesting science story in the UAE today is in Gulf News. After falcon hunting led to the near extinction of a species of bird, some crazy-awesome science is working to bring it back, GN reports. The story contains the best sentence published by the UAE media this week: "the rooster, complete with red comb and other chicken-like characteristics, is able to produce houbara bustard semen."


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