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Mobile homes and odd jobs bring Syrian refugees much-needed boost


When Al-Qusayr, a bastion of the Syrian resistance, fell to the army in June 2013, thousands of civilians fled across the border to Lebanon. Most now live in makeshift camps and depend entirely on international aid. This situation inspired one NGO to launch a project called “We will return,” a program that gives refugees the ability to be more self-sufficient as they wait for the day when they will be able to return to Syria. Read more...
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Maids-for-hire "on display" in Singapore malls


The scene is peculiar. In a Singapore shopping mall, a young woman rocks a baby doll in her arms. Another pushes around a wheelchair – in which a third woman sits, looking bored – in endless circles. This is billed as “live training” by agencies hiring out domestic workers, who mainly come from Indonesia, Burma, and the Philippines. Our Observers in Singapore are horrified by this display, which they say make women look like mere merchandise. Read more…

Bizarre rivalry: Which DR Congo town is the real ‘Little Paris’


Residents of Bandal and Lemba, two districts of Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, have both laid claim to the nickname of Congo’s “Little Paris.” The rivalry may seem odd but it has had surprisingly positive effects: it has sparked a competition to beautify both neighbourhoods to make them even more similar to the ‘City of Lights’. Read more...

Israelis opposed to Gaza air strikes face violence, intimidation


It’s never easy time be an Israeli opposed to the country’s policies in the Palestinian Territories. But after a week of escalating IDF attacks, with Israel carrying out air strikes on Gaza and Palestinian militants firing rockets into Israel, Israeli activists are ramping up demonstrations to decry the violence – on both sides. And they are facing increasingly violent and agressive opposition.  During their latest protest on Saturday, they were attacked by an angry mob. Read more...
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Air raids on Gaza: "There are no warning sirens or shelters here"


The Israeli army launched airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on Monday. Named 'Operation Protective Edge', the Israeli Defence Forces say it is a counter-terrorism operation against Hamas and other militants. But unarmed civilians seem to be the ones suffering the consequences. Our Observer in Gaza told us about the panic sweeping across the region...
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Video: ultra-nationalist militants fighting alongside Ukraine’s army


The Ukrainian army made stunning gains over the weekend, overrunning pro-Russian insurgents in the eastern towns of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk after months of bitter fighting. But according to new video, members of Right Sector – an extremist group - are battling alongside regular army soldiers. Read more...
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How Tel Aviv residents take cover from rockets


Since Tuesday, the Israeli city of Tel Aviv has been the target of rocket fire from Gaza for the first time since November 2012. While the scream of sirens and the deafening noise of explosions have both surprised and scared residents, our Observer says that people know how to protect themselves. Read more...

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Preaching jihad with a Hello Kitty notebook


Zahran Allouch is a jihadist fighting against Bashar Al-Assad’s army in Syria. Sounds pretty tough, right? Except that when he gives motivational speeches to his troops, he uses a Hello Kitty notebook. Read more...
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Иранские истребители в Ираке.

Истребитель Sukhoi в Иранском флоте.
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Eastern Ukraine shelling: 'I'm afraid to leave my basement'

Following Ukraine’s decision not to renew a ceasefire – which had already been broken on numerous occasions – hostilities with pro-Russian separatists in the country’s east intensified on Tuesday. Amateur photos taken in the town of Kramatorsk reportedly show a minibus damaged by the shelling, in which four civilians were killed and five wounded Tuesday morning, according to local authorities aligned with Kiev. A local resident tells FRANCE 24 how difficult life has become there. Read more...

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