Raqqa activists slyly defying its jihadist rulers


The Islamic State group has ruled Raqqa with an iron fist since it seized control of the Syrian city more than two years ago, forcing its residents to abide by a radical vision of Islam. But activists, risking almost certain death if caught, are defying the jihadists by putting up posters on storefronts to denounce them. Read more...
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The world's newest (micro) nation: Liberland

In mid-April a group of Czech citizens had the radical idea of proclaiming their own mini-state. Since then, thousands of people have asked to become citizens of the 'Free Republic of Liberland': a slither of land wedged between Croatia and Serbia some seven square kilometres in size. The rush to join the self-proclaimed micro-nation can be explained by its professed values of tolerance, but also a near-zero level of taxation. Read more...

The tale of Mecca's 'halal sex shop': Racy, clicky... fake


The international media went into a frenzy after news broke that a “halal sex shop” was expected to open in Mecca, Islam's holiest site. It was certainly a juicy story (and undeniably clickable), but it turned out to be almost entirely false. Read more...
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The Iraqi poets flirting with death


Torn apart by a civil war, a collective of poets from Babylon province, in the centre of Iraq, has recently conducted a series of performance pieces based on the theme of the violence that is destroying their homeland. During these performances, they literally flirt with death. Read more…
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Woman's lynching re-enacted in Kabul


A little over a month ago, Farkundha, a 27-year-old student, was killed by a mob in the middle of Kabul in broad daylight. She had been falsely accused of burning a Koran. Monday, she was killed again, in the very same spot. But this time, it was symbolic; Farkundha and her attackers were all actors. Read more…
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Striking amateur videos of the Baltimore riots


Residents of Baltimore have filmed unsettling scenes as rioters and looters took to the streets Monday, following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a young man who died from spinal injuries after being taken into police custody. Watch videos…
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Iran’s underground restaurants serve up pork, wine and a pinch of freedom


In the Islamic State of Iran, restaurants are not allowed to serve items forbidden by sharia law, like alcohol and pork. And yet, it is possible to find underground establishments that serve them. Read more…
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A family’s flight – on foot – from Islamic State jihadists


In the past few weeks, thousands of people have fled Iraq’s central Ramadi region, where clashes continue between Iraqi security forces and fighters from the Islamic State (IS) group. Fearful that jihadists might infiltrate the stream of refugees, Iraqi authorities have imposed draconian restrictions on these civilians, most of whom are trying the reach Baghdad, the capital. Abou Abdallah, 50, and his family have just arrived at the end of this difficult journey. Read more...
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