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Afghan female rapper: “I’ve received threats, but won’t stop”

“I wanted to run and they hit me on the back; I wanted to think and they hit me on the head; they burned my face in the name of Islam, cut my nose for revenge; poured acid on my hands and body; sold me because I am only a woman” -- these are the daring lyrics of a song by rap duo 143, whose singer Paradise Sorouri was the first female Afghan rapper. Read more…

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Exchange student targeted in homophobic Russian video

 
A video recently posted online by a group of homophobes based in Belgorod, Russia, shows an attack on a young exchange student who is beaten, undressed and forced to imitate sex scenes. The video of his ordeal lasts 33 minutes. Afterwards, the student tried to complain to his host university. However, he was reportedly dropped from the school’s roster and is now back home in Swaziland. Read more...

Some schools begin to reopen in restive Central African Republic

 
Most schools have been closed for months in the Central Africa Republic, where growing lawlessness and sectarian tensions have led French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to warn that the country may be on the “brink of a genocide”. However, a few brave districts, with the help of charitable organisations, are slowly reopening their schools, despite facing challenges every step of the way. Read more...
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'Islamist posturing' is a strategy to raise funds, says Syrian rebel

 
The Free Syrian Army was once the main armed opposition force against Bashar al-Assad, but its influence has diminished as its fighters defect to Islamist brigades, which tend to be better financed and, as a result, better armed. The rebels who defected said their decision was based on pragmatism rather than religious belief. Read more...
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HIV-positive women in Iran face ignorance, stigma

A new wave of HIV infections is well underway in Iran. This is cause for serious concern in a country where knowledge on preventing its spread is in short supply, while the age at which people start having sex has gotten lower, according health workers. For women infected with the virus, life can be especially difficult. Read more...

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Disturbing photos of abuse of mentally disabled patients in a Saudi centre

 
The photos, taken in a centre for the mentally disabled in the city of Douasser, have been making the rounds online in Saudi Arabia. They reveal the degrading conditions in which some mentally handicapped people must live in the Saudi kingdom. Read more...
 

In pictures: Protest against armed militias in Tripoli turns bloody

Armed militiamen have fired on a crowd demonstrating against their presence in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. Photos of the incident began appearing on social media networks as soon as the first shots were fired. Read more...

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Nailed testicles, giant phalluses: The shock tactics of Russian protest art

 
Muscovites were treated to a surreal sight on Sunday: a naked man who had nailed his testicles to the cobblestones in Red Square, in protest at what he sees as apathy in contemporary Russian society. In Russia, where modern art is rarely political, a handful of artists are resorting to ever more shocking methods in order to be heard. Read more...
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Celebrating the ‘everyday achievements’ of China’s leaders

 
You might expect these inscriptions to commemorate events of historic grandeur: the site of a famous battle perhaps, or a political assassination. In fact, these monuments aim to immortalize the more ‘everyday’ achievements of China’s ruling class. Read more...
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Erasmus becoming an unaffordable dream for Spain's students

 
Austerity has hit Spanish students particularly hard. The Government’s decision to cut scholarships for participants in the European study abroad program – known as Erasmus – is yet another example. But on social networks, angry students are rising up in rebellion. Read more...
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