Rise in Arab applications to UK universities

After the US, the UK is the next most sought-after destination for students from the Middle East, who make up around 6 percent of all international students in British universities. (Courtesy Ucas Facebook)
Updated 06 February 2018
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Rise in Arab applications to UK universities

LONDON: The number of foreign students applying to British universities has hit an all-time high, with some of the biggest increases coming from the Arab world, according to figures released by Ucas, the body that processes applications to UK universities.
After several years of declining numbers, applications from Saudi Arabia increased this year by 10 percent to 640 applicants.
The number of international students wanting to continue their education in Britain has surpassed 100,000 for the first time in 2018, a rise of more than 8 percent from last year.
Applications from the UAE numbered 430 in 2009, 1,550 in 2017 and 1,800 this year, up 16 percent in a year. The upward trend is repeated in almost every Arab country, from Morocco to the Gulf states.
Applications from Jordan are up 16 percent from 2017, and up 7 percent each from Oman and Kuwait. Applications from Lebanon and Morocco have surged by 25 percent each.
Only Bahrain and Egypt submitted fewer applications in 2018, from 310 to 300 and from 610 to 570, respectively.
After the US, the UK is the next most sought-after destination for students from the Middle East, who make up around 6 percent of all international students in British universities.
The biggest increases in international applications were from India (36 percent), Brazil (35 percent), Turkey (39 percent) and Mexico (52 percent).
And far from being put off by Brexit, more students from EU countries applied to British universities in 2018 than last year.
“The weaker pound makes the UK a cost-effective place to study … and the UK’s universities are highly popular with international students because of the quality of teaching and experience they offer,” said Helen Thorne, director of external relations at Ucas.
But sources say there are other factors at play — notably, a perception that under President Donald Trump the US has become more xenophobic and Islamophobic, evidenced by the travel ban against seven Muslim-majority countries, and his pledge to build a wall to halt immigration from neighboring Mexico and other Latin American countries.
The single biggest increase in the number of foreign students applying to British universities this year is from Mexico.
There are around 33,700 students from the Middle East enrolled in American universities and postgraduate schools, out of more than 690,000 foreign students.


Military parade ordered by Trump postponed after costs spiral

Updated 17 August 2018
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Military parade ordered by Trump postponed after costs spiral

  • The US normally holds military parades to mark the end of a conflict, such as in 1991 when president George HW Bush held a National Victory Parade in Washington to celebrate the end of the first Gulf War
  • US media were quick to highlight how the ballooning costs of the proposed parade stood in contrast to his concern about the expense of conducting joint military exercises with South Korea

WASHINGTON: A military parade ordered by US President Donald Trump for later this year has been postponed until at least 2019, a defense official said Thursday, following reports the cost had soared to over $90 million.
The announcement was seen as a setback for the president, who had ordered the show of air power after being impressed by France’s Bastille Day parade last year.
The idea had been popular among many Americans but drew scorn from critics, who said it would be a waste of money and was akin to events organized by authoritarian regimes.
“The Department of Defense and White House have been planning a parade to honor America’s military veterans and commemorate the centennial of World War I,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning said in a statement.
“We originally targeted November 10, 2018 for this event but have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019,” he added.
When the White House in February announced the commander-in-chief’s desire to hold the parade in Washington, the budget director said it would cost between $10 million and $30 million.
But a US official told AFP earlier Thursday the planning estimate had now gone as high as $92 million, though no final figure has been reached.
The request for the event came after Trump’s visit to France in July 2017, where he was hosted with great fanfare by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Sitting on the Champs-Elysees during the Bastille Day parade, the American president had marveled at the Republican Guard on horseback and jets flying overhead.
He had initially hinted at plans to transform America’s Independence Day celebrations — usually associated with fireworks and barbecues — on July 4 into a vast military parade.
“To a large extent, because of what I witnessed we may do something like that on July Fourth in Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue,” he said in September 2017.

Even before becoming president, aides reported that Trump had considered a military parade to mark his inauguration — although that idea was eventually scrapped.
Trump has also embraced military backdrop for several speeches and presidential visits. However, he received deferments from carrying out military service of his own during the Vietnam War.
US media were quick to highlight how the ballooning costs of the proposed parade stood in contrast to his concern about the expense of conducting joint military exercises with South Korea.
“We will be stopping the war games, which will save us a tremendous amount of money,” Trump said in June after meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
It later emerged that the drills cost about $14 million, a fraction of the price of a military parade.
Others suggested the money could be better spent improving the lives of destitute veterans.
“Until such time as we can celebrate victory in the War on Terrorism and bring our military home, we think the parade money would be better spent fully funding the Department of Veteran Affairs and giving our troops and their families the best care possible,” said the American Legion’s national commander Denise Rohan.
The United States normally holds military parades to mark the end of a conflict, such as in 1991 when president George HW Bush held a National Victory Parade in Washington to celebrate the end of the first Gulf War.