Georgian government "trying to gain favour with Orthodox Church"

When a prank video clip of Patriarch Ilia II sounding off about President Mikheil Saakashvili emerged on YouTube on October 13, the nation was outraged. But so to was the government. As one of our Observers in Tbilisi explains, their strong reaction only highlights their weakness alongside the Orthodox Church. Read more and see the video...

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Kosovars celebrate local hero, Bill Clinton

On November 1 the streets of the Kosovan capital Pristina were crowded with people waiting to see one of their favourite icons, former US president Bill Clinton. During his visit, a three-metre-tall bronze statue was unveiled on a corner of the same street that carries his name. The bronze Clinton clutches documents with the date 24 March 1999 stamped on them, marking the day NATO began its bombing of Serbian posts in Kosovo. Read more and see the photos...

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Egypt vs. Algeria – the “hate match” has already kicked off online

The Algerian Fennecs take on the Egyptian Pharaohs for a place in the 2010 World Cup on November 14. With a week still to go before the game, things have already turned nasty, both countries accusing the other of corruption. Read more...

Buy back your virginity for just ten euros

Question: What are these thin strips of plastic encapsulating a reddish liquid, and why have they prompted such outrage in Egypt? Answer: an artificial hymen, made in China and complete with fake blood. Read more...

Is snorting coke an art form?

Renowned Cuban artist Tania Bruguera surprised a Bogota audience in September when she lined up three people directly involved in the Colombian conflict for a chat. The real performance however, started when a waitress emerged with a tray of neatly organised lines of cocaine, and began offering them to members of the audience. Read more and see the video...

A dangerous desire to have fairer skin

Baking yourself in a tanning booth remains a popular activity among the vain and pasty of Caucasian descent, despite increasing health warnings. But at the other end of the spectrum, skin tempering practices are just as risky, and ever growing in popularity. Read more...

First images of Tehran clashes

The opposition movement born in the wake of Iran’s presidential disputed election in June is back on the streets of Tehran today, marring the anti-American celebrations organised to mark the 30th anniversary of the storming of the US embassy in 1979. See the videos...

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No Halloween for “stupid foreigners”

For some years now expats and travellers in Tokyo have been piling into metro carriages on October 31 to celebrate Halloween. This year however, the masked partygoers were stopped in their tracks by groups of exasperated locals. Read more...

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The cinema that turned into a church

In an attempt to do away with religion, Soviet Russia turned its churches into swimming pools, warehouses and sobering-up clinics. Now, the trend is being reversed - schools, cinemas and hotels are being transformed into churches by Orthodox parishioners. Read more and see the photos...

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A far from Catholic calendar

A Madrilenian LGBT group has just published what it describes a "non-religious" calendar. Quite. The images enclosed have caused something of a controversy in Spain, where 79% of the population consider themselves Catholic. Read more...

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