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Nepalese call for return of stolen statues after quakes

The massive earthquakes that recently hit Nepal caused the loss of thousands of lives, but they also destroyed numerous temples. In a strange twist of fate, some holy statues survived the two quakes and their aftershocks… because they were stolen and smuggled abroad several decades ago. Some Nepalese people are now calling for their immediate return. Read more...

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In a county of a million people and not one train, anger boils over


Linshui County, in southwestern China, is home to one million people – that’s roughly the population of Dublin, Ireland. And yet it doesn’t have a single train station. So when local residents heard that plans to bring a major new railway to the county had been scrapped, thousands of them took to the streets. Read more...
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Yemen conflict drives Somali refugees back home


Once a week, a merchant boat makes a 30-hour trip from Yemen to Somaliland. Instead of carrying livestock – its usual freight – it now carries hundreds of people fleeing the conflict in Yemen. Some of them are Yemenis, but many are Somalis who had once fled in the opposite direction. Read more...
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The battle over Burundi’s airwaves


In Burundi, a war for the country’s radio airwaves has unfolded, following General Godefroid Niyombare's announcement on Wednesday that President Pierre Nkurunziza had been ousted from office by a coup. Almost all of the country’s main radio stations – which are Burundians’ primary sources of information – stopped broadcasting after they were attacked, one after the other, by both loyalist and rebel forces. Read more…
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Cambodian workers 'keep fainting from heat' while making Armani jeans


Imagine working in temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius, all day long. That’s what workers at a Cambodian factory say they are forced to endure as they make Armani jeans, leading to frequent fainting. They're furious that the factory’s owners never installed a promised cooling system. Read more...
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Jihadists in Raqqa asked to give up their Nike shoes

Since the Islamic State organisation took over the Syrian city of Raqqa in March 2013, the jihadist group has imposed many strict laws on the population, including forcing women to wear not just a veil but a niqab, a cloth that covers most of the face. Recently, the group has gone a little further in their sartorial commandments by asking vendors to stop selling certain brands that they find immoral. Read more...

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The world's newest (micro) nation: Liberland

In mid-April a group of Czech citizens had the radical idea of proclaiming their own mini-state. Since then, thousands of people have asked to become citizens of the 'Free Republic of Liberland': a slither of land wedged between Croatia and Serbia some seven square kilometres in size. The rush to join the self-proclaimed micro-nation can be explained by its professed values of tolerance, but also a near-zero level of taxation. Read more...

What people smugglers tell migrants seeking to cross into Europe


Social media has become the new way for people smugglers to advertise their services. They often post ads on Facebook promising migrants a comfortable, safe journey to European shores. To find out more, a journalist from the Observers team posed as someone seeking to help his friend enter Europe and contacted the smugglers via phone numbers brazenly posted on the ads. This is what we found out...
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The Iraqi poets flirting with death


Torn apart by a civil war, a collective of poets from Babylon province, in the centre of Iraq, has recently conducted a series of performance pieces based on the theme of the violence that is destroying their homeland. During these performances, they literally flirt with death. Read more…
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Immigrant’s death shines light on 'hunt' for foreigners in Angola


An undocumented shopkeeper from Guinea-Bissau was fleeing Angolan police in the capital city Luanda when he was hit by a taxi and killed. His death has provoked anger and outcry from the country’s West African immigrant community, who say they are harassed on a daily basis by police. Read more...
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