French woman arrested in Tehran: “A pathetic diplomatic game”

Clotilde Reiss, a young French woman who taught French at the University of Isfahan, was stopped by the police in Tehran on July 1. A close friend of hers responds to accusations calling Reiss a spy. Marina El Khoury graduated from the Institut d’Etudes Politique in Lille the same year as Clotilde Reiss. The 23-year-old Lebanese woman has set up a Facebook group asking for her friend’s release. Read more...

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Xinjiang riots: official version v Internet version

140 people have been reported killed in clashes between Chinese police and protesters from the Uighur Muslim ethnic minority in the north-western region of Xinjang yesterday. Like each time this kind of unrest occurs in the country, two versions have emerged: the state television shows only images of Han victims, while on the Internet the story is one of a bloody crackdown against the Uighur people. Read more..

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Harley Davidson trying to cause offence?

One of our Observers in Japan, Lee Chapman, photographed this motorbike, complete with Swastika-shaped spokes, outside a Harley Davidson shop in Tokyo. Depending on how you look at it, it could represent the ancient Buddhist symbol for universal harmony, the infamous emblem of Nazi Germany, or, as Lee tells us, simply being "cool". Read more...

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Basij militiaman: 'I hoped it would never come to shooting them'

The Basij militia has been blamed for extreme brutality in the violent aftermath of the contested June 12 election in Iran. A Basij commander who volunteers for one of the Tehran branch of the militia, describes his account of one the bloodiest clashes, on June 20. Read more...

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Cheating their way into uni, Bond style

Cheating is as old as exams themselves. In China however, cheating involves a cunning blend of technology, innovation, and acting. Rubbers with miniature screens, rulers with inbuilt cameras, earpieces... we're a long way from cheat sheets and writing on the inside of your pencil case. Read more...

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Doomed Yemenia Airways flight: “For us this was inevitable”

One of our Observers from the Comoros Islands tells us about his experiences as a frequent flyer with Yemenia Airlines — the company whose plane crashed en route to the Comoran capital on Monday morning. Read his account...

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Areva, Sarkozy, and the Niger crisis: “No coincidence”

Niger President Mamdou Tandja dissolved the country's constitutional court on Tuesday, removing yet another obstacle to his plans to stand once more for the presidency, in defiance of a constitutional ban.

Two months earlier, Niger's government granted French state-owned nuclear giant Areva a crucial uranium contract. Coincidental timing? Although France has condemned Tandja's actions, a specialist on the subject tells us that there's still cause for concern.

UPDATE (3 July 09 - 11am Paris time): Areva has responded to Daniel's comment. Read the statement.

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Protestor crushed by military, caught on amateur video

Violent clashes continue in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa after President Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a military coup on Sunday. An amateur video, filmed on Monday, appears to show a presidential supporter run over by a military vehicle. Watch the video...

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Tehran riot police go on the rampage

This video was posted online on Tuesday afternoon. Despite there being no protestor in sight, Tehran riot police storm a small street, indiscriminately vandalising private property. Watch the video...

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Thirty years in Michael Jackson’s skin

Walking the streets of Mexico City, you might bump into what looks like Michael Jackson. Don't panic, he hasn't risen from the grave. It's just Victor Jackson, an MJ impersonator for the past 30 years. Here's his reaction to the King of Pop's death. Read more...

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