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Rocks, sticks and AK-47s: The weapons of Ukraine’s protests

 
Clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces reached unprecedented levels of violence in the streets of Kiev Thursday. One one side, the authorities no longer hesitate to use snipers. On the other, more protesters are using makeshift weapons, and in some instances light firearms. Read more…
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In Kiev, 'titushki' thugs shoot live bullets at protesters

As fighting raged between Ukrainian security forces and protesters Tuesday night, “titushkis”, who are thugs for hire, were spotted causing trouble in Kiev. Two of our Observers saw them shooting live bullets at protesters. Read more…

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Video of horse being beaten shocks Saudis

 
In a country where the horse is king, the following video has caused a real scandal. Two men were filmed violently striking a horse’s forehead and laughing. The video has widely circulated online, prompting many Saudis to call for the men to be brought to justice. Read more...
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Chinese “re-education camps” change name, but practices remain

 
This fall, Chinese authorities announced the abolition of “re-education through work” camps (“laojiao”), believed to be centres where dissidents are arbitrarily detained and tortured. However, some recent detainees report that these centres still exist but under a different name. Read more...
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African migrants decry police raids on Bulgarian refugee centre

 
A series of videos surreptitiously filmed from the window of a refugee centre in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia last month shows a standoff between police and dozens of African migrants, who had been kicked out of the centre for staying there without permission. The men chant “racists, racists” at the police before being taken into custody. The scene captures how tensions are now regularly boiling over in a country grappling with a surge in asylum seekers. Read more...
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'Urban ninjas' climb China's tallest skyscraper in death-defying feat

 
Two Russian photographers – and self-proclaimed ‘urban ninjas’ – have taken daredevil stunts to breathtaking new heights. Vitaliy Raskalov and Vadim Makhorov both secretly climbed Shanghai and China's tallest skyscraper… and filmed their daring exploit. Read more...
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Activists block hotel construction to protest Tbilisi's shrinking green space

 
Day and night, activists in the Georgian capital are manning roadblocks in Vake Park to stop work on a new hotel. In a few months, a protest camp has grown around the site of the proposed hotel that protesters say would wreck one of Tbilisi’s last recreational areas. Read more...
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Did the Syrian army and rebels join forces to operate a checkpoint?

 
In the past month, there have been several cases of temporary truces in the fighting between Syrian soldiers and the armed opposition, notably in the suburbs of the capital Damascus. In this context, Internet users have shared a screen grab from a video presented as being a checkpoint manned by both rebels and the army. According to some Syrian Observers, this collaboration, which would be unprecedented, is plausible, but seems to be embarrassing the rebels. Read more…

Mystery surrounds Ukraine’s ‘special forces’

 
A video showing several men dressed up in full combat gear refusing to explain who they are has stirred curiosity in Ukraine. These men are not wearing any known police or army insignia, which has led to rumours swirling about their identity. Read more…
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