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Pakistan’s ghost schools… "partly funded by the World Bank"

One of our Observers in Pakistan tells us that in the Sindh province alone there are more than 7,000 schools - partly financed by the World Bank - which don't actually exist. The money is pouring into the local authorities, but the schools are never opened. Read more...

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No job, no visa

Obtaining a French work visa was already an ordeal but the financial crisis made life even tougher for foreigners in France. Read more....

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The origin of influenza A (H1N1)?

Where did the A (H1N1) flu come from? Residents of the Mexican town where the first case was diagnosed say that a US-owned factory just a few miles down the road, which produces 950,000 pigs a year, is to blame. A blogger from the area went to the factory to look into the conditions. Here are his findings...

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Swine flu – are the masks really protecting people?

As the first cases of swine flu are confirmed in Europe and the first fatality in the US, everybody wants to know how best to protect themselves from the virus. Are the masks we see worn in Mexico City efficient? Not really, according to a specialist... Read more.

Mexico City under quarantine

"El Zocalo", Mexico City's main plaza, deserted on Sunday. Image © Enrique Torices.

The outbreak of swine flu in Mexico City has turned the world's second largest city into a ghost town. Universities, schools, bars and shops are closed; those who venture out do so with a protective mask. Our Observers there give us their accounts. Read more...

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'In Kinshasa, we live like beggars'

Stéphanie Nyota Muliri, 50, is still officially employed as public relations officer by the Bakwanga mining company (Miba) in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. But the company has not paid its employees’ wages in months and its 7,000 staff are left without work. Read more.

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Watch yourself... Google's watching you

This scantily-dressed Londoner is the latest victim of unwanted fame that Google Street View can bring you as you go about your daily business. The image has reignited the debate over the legitimacy of Street View - a topic we looked at in December. Read more and see other "Street View celebrities"...

The Algiers metro – 26 years on and it’s almost ready

This time, it's not a joke. Twenty-six years after the idea was drafted, the Algerian capital could, perhaps, have its very own metro by 2010. Our Observer tells us that it's almost ready - he's even got the photos to prove it. Read more...

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Black or white? Which do you prefer?

Despite being boycotted by several countries, the UN convention on racism opens in Geneva today. A hard topic to tackle; racism exists under many forms, in every continent, and to varying degrees. But how do you know if you're racist? Take this test...

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Standing unemployed under the Liu Li bridge

Jia Ze Wei is one of 150 million Chinese "Mingong" -modern slaves or workers - who leave their village in search of work in Beijing, one of the richest regions in China. Jia Ze Wei comes to Beijing's Liu Li bridge area every morning in a bid to make some money to support his family back in the village.
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