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Are 'agent provocateurs' infiltrating Ukraine’s protest movement?

 
Since anti-government protests first broke out in Kiev, social media networks have been awash with rumours that so-called 'agent provocateurs' are provoking disorder in order to tarnish the image of the protest movement. Several amateur videos and photos appear to indicate that these individuals are linked to Ukraine's ruling party. Read more...
 

Video: Illegal dumping spoils Algerian tourist site

 
This video, shot in the province of Béjaïa, shows sanitation workers emptying dumpsters in the Kherrata gorges, one of northern Algeria’s most beautiful tourist sites. According to our Observer, this has been going on for several years now. Read more...
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'I was beaten up by customs agents' says Lebanese journalist

 
Customs agents in Beirut beat up four Lebanese journalists on Tuesday. The journalists had gone to the customs office to request — via megaphone — an interview with the customs office about an investigation into corruption at Beirut airport. This did not go down well. Riyad Kobeissi, one of the journalists who was attacked, shares his story. Read more...
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Israeli stages one-man protest to highlight migrants’ plight

 
He’s already been arrested five times in the past three months, and hopes to be arrested again. Ido Naveh is a young Israeli man who has made it his goal to attract attention to the African asylum seekers that are currently locked up in a detention centre in the Negev desert, where many of them have been held for years. Read more…
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Luxury hotel offers ‘fake’ shanty town experience

 
Sleeping under a corrugated iron roof, relying on candlelight rather than electricity, cooking on an old gas stove… This is the ‘shanty town’ experience offered by a hotel chain in Bloemfontein, a city in central South Africa. Tourists are encouraged to experience the lifestyle of “millions of South Africans living in precarious housing situations” — but in fake surroundings, not in a real township — for 80 euros a night, no less. Our Observer, who has spent some time living in a real township, found this to be in rather poor taste. Read more...
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Video shows kids narrowly escaping shelling in Damascus

 
Local activists in Jobar, a suburb of Damascus, were interviewing a group of children hanging out in the street about all the horrors of war they had witnessed, when what appears to be shelling hits just metres away. In a video of the incident released Sunday, the panicked kids are seen scrambling to get away from the blast site. Later in the video, they are interviewed again, this time about their lucky escape. Read more…
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Iranians' mixed reactions to nuclear deal, online and in the streets

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was greeted by cheering crowds at Tehran’s airport Sunday evening, as he and his team of negotiators returned home after brokering a historic agreement to curb uranium enrichment in exchange for a partial lifting of international sanctions. But Iranians have expressed mixed emotions online as to whether this is a good deal for their country. Read more...

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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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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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Pakistanis 'embrace' YouTube mascot to protest internet censorship

Pakistani activists are turning to humor as a weapon in their fight against state internet censorship. YouTube may have been banned for over a year, but it still managed to make an appearance on the streets of Karachi: as a mascot offering hugs to those who want it back. Read more...

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