2008 Pro Tour season, with 20% less World Champion

In his Star City column this week, crack podcast coverage reporter Rich Hagon tells us that brand-new World Champion Uri Peleg will not be playing in the first Pro Tour of 2008 in Kuala Lumpur.
Not by choice, but because he’s Israeli, and Malaysia doesn’t recognize Israel.
They’ve mentioned Russian players having visa issues in the past, but this is likely the first time it’s simply been impossible, for political reasons, for a “star player” to make it to a Pro Tour.