New life breathed into Algeria's French colonial heritage


Algeria's thorny relationship with its French colonial heritage is starting to change. In Oran, residents have founded a non-profit organisation to renovate a former military hospital that they say is part and parcel of the country's history and identity. Half of the hospital has already been renovated. Read more...

Mexicans in shock after retired teacher's 'murder' by police


A retired teacher was killed during bloody clashes between teachers and police three days ago, in the southern Mexican city of Acapulco. Thirteen protesters have also disappeared. The teaching community is in shock, as our Observer explains. Read more…
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How migrant smugglers evade patrols to reach French island of Mayotte


An amateur video showing a migrant boat from the Comoro Islands landing on the French island of Mayotte has made headlines in France's overseas territory. The footage shows the vessel landing in broad daylight without any sign of border police – evidence of a serious problem, according to media outlets. Our Observer, who has made the Comoros-Mayotte journey several times, reveals the smugglers’ tactics. Read more...
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India's indigenous tribes caught between rebels and army


Several thousand people from India’s Adivasi tribe protested against the arrest of ten local villagers in eastern India last week. The local population feels persecuted by authorities, who for their part suspect tribe members of supporting the Naxalites, a Maoist rebel group formed in the 1960s. Read more...
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People unwittingly locked into ruling party rally in Tajikistan


Tajikistan's ruling party organised one of its final rallies last Sunday before key parliamentary elections scheduled to take place on March 1st. Yet many students and civil servants present at the meeting at a park in Dushanbe, the nation’s capital, didn't know why they had been invited there. When they finally realised it was to take part in a ruling party rally, some tried turning back... only to find the park gates locked. Read more...
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Desperate copper hunters putting DR Congo trains in danger


Copper diggers are everywhere in Kolwezi, in the southeast Democratic Republic of Congo. The precious mineral is such a sought-after commodity in this part of the country that some diggers are now excavating railway tracks – a dangerous practice that puts both trains and themselves at risk. Read more…

Gazans flee floods, as Palestinians and Israelis squabble over cause


Hundreds of Palestinians were forced to flee their homes in the Gaza valley this weekend when flooding caused water levels to rise to more than two metres high in some areas. Read more…
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Mexicans seek missing relatives in mass graves


Exasperated by the authorities' lack of effectiveness, residents of Iguala, in the state of Guerrero, are excavating numerous mass graves to try to locate the bodies of hundreds of locals who have gone missing in recent years. It’s a risky endeavor, since the region is plagued by criminal organisations. Read more...

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Syrian shock campaign mimics IS videos – using children


Frustrated by what they see as total indifference from the media, Syrian opposition activists in Douma staged a scene mirroring the grisly death of the Jordanian pilot burned alive by militants of the Islamic State jihadist group. The chilling photo shows children dressed in oversized orange jumpsuits, squeezed together in a cage, with a burning torch in the foreground. Read more…
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Iranians defy ban on images of reformist ex-president Khatami


Earlier this week, Iran’s federal prosecutors decreed that it was illegal for the media to publish photos or news about former president Mohamed Khatami. This quickly backfired: Iranians promptly launched an online campaign titled “We are Khatami’s media” on Facebook, garnering nearly 30,000 likes in 24 hours, and many of them published photos of him under multiple hashtags. Read more…
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