Dropdown menus, when used well, are a very useful form of interaction. While the pros and cons of dropdowns have been well discussed elsewhere, it’s useful examining them in the context of language/region selection.
When a user interacts with a dropdown menu, it’s a reasonable expectation that there are a certain degree of choices contained within the menu — hence the designer’s choice in hiding the content.
But looking at the region selection dropdowns at The Guardian and Moo, the dropdown only reveals one extra choice: wouldn’t this be far simpler (and more obvious) as either a radio button or list of links? CNN has more regional choices than The Guardian or Moo, yet they have opted just to list the options available.
CNN’s approach is simple and effective: don’t complicate selections of anything on your site with a dropdown unless there are numerous options that would otherwise clutter the page.
(Note: while CNN is very well designed, linking to the Arabic edition of its content would be better done with Arabic written in its localised form rather than just the English).