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The Iraqi gypsies living on the fringes of society


Iraq's gypsies are one of the country's tiniest minorities. They're also one of its most scorned. Deprived of work and education, the gypsies live like pariahs in ramshackle villages completely cut-off from major cities. Our Observer visited one such village in the region of Diwaniya, 200 kilometres south of the capital Baghdad. 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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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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Graffiti artist calls on religions – and Parisians – to 'Coexist'


In the past week, the word “Coexist” has appeared on walls all over Paris. These graffiti messages are in homage to Combo, a street artist who was attacked in the French capital on January 30 while hanging up a poster advocating coexistence between the world’s religions. Combo’s goal is to use art to both incite reflection and combat stereotypes. Read more...
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Fake jihadists at Belgian Carnival for 'comic relief'


The yearly carnival held in Alost, a town in the Belgian region of eastern Flanders, is known for its political incorrectness and its zany, over-the-top costumes. This year, one costume on show was particularly surprising to onlookers – a group of festival-goers dressed up as militants from the Islamic State jihadist organisation (IS). Our Observer, who went to festival, wasn’t shocked. Read more...
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