Chinese authorities clean rivers by polluting fields


Local authorities launched a massive effort to clean the waterways running through the Chinese province of Zhejiang in December 2013. While the rivers are visibly cleaner, our Observer says that some of the waste removed from the water has been tossed into fields belonging to local farmers. Read more...

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No, ISIS doesn’t issue passports


Over the past few days, a photo said to show one of the first passports issued by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), the jihadist organisation that currently occupies a large swathe of Syria and Iraq, has been making the rounds on social media networks. Read more...
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The state of African schools seen through the eyes of our Observers


We asked several of our observers across Africa to tell us about the state of schools in their countries. They came back to us with stories of rundown classrooms and overcrowded facilities. Read more...

Israeli police beat up handcuffed protester in East Jerusalem


Videos have emerged showing a handcuffed and limp protester being beaten up by two Israeli police officers in an alley. The scene, shot from two different angles by people filming from their windows, took place Thursday evening in Shuafat, a neighbourhood in East Jerusalem that’s been under high tension since the murder of a Palestinian teenager. Read more...
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How I unraveled an African statue hoax

If there was a ranking of the craziest Internet swindles, this one might just win first place. A week ago, I got a call from a stranger who tried to convince me to buy a collection of small statues in order to save a village in northern Gabon. I smelled a rat, but, intrigued, decided to play along...

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Preaching jihad with a Hello Kitty notebook


Zahran Allouch is a jihadist fighting against Bashar Al-Assad’s army in Syria. Sounds pretty tough, right? Except that when he gives motivational speeches to his troops, he uses a Hello Kitty notebook. Read more...
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Plan to ban vasectomies in Iran mocked online

Iran’s parliament approved a bill last week that, if adopted into law, would make getting tubectomies or vasectomies punishable by two to five years in prison. This stunned many Iranians, who have mocked the plan relentlessly online. Read more…

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Why are Nazi symbols suddenly popular in Indonesia?


First there was the reopening, with big fanfare, of the “Soldiers’ café”, a gloomy place in the city of Bandung where you can drink coffee dressed in an SS uniform. Now there is an election video in which an Indonesian singer rocks outwearing Heinrich Himmler’s uniform. Why are these Nazi-era references suddenly popping up in Indonesia? We asked our Observers in Jakarta…
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Image analysis shows Iraq's new jets are from Iran

The Iraqi air force appears to be using Sukhoi fighter jets camouflaged to hide the fact that they were sent from Iran. Read more...

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Eastern Ukraine shelling: 'I'm afraid to leave my basement'

Following Ukraine’s decision not to renew a ceasefire – which had already been broken on numerous occasions – hostilities with pro-Russian separatists in the country’s east intensified on Tuesday. Amateur photos taken in the town of Kramatorsk reportedly show a minibus damaged by the shelling, in which four civilians were killed and five wounded Tuesday morning, according to local authorities aligned with Kiev. A local resident tells FRANCE 24 how difficult life has become there. Read more...

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