Tunisia museum attack tests transition

  • 22 March 2015
  • From the section Africa
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi lays a wreath in memory of those killed at the Bardo museum attack, 22 March 2014
The president says "we need national reconciliation"

"Degage!" One word says a great deal.

Four years ago, in Tunisia, you heard this forceful command, in French, a lot. It was the rallying cry of "go away" against authoritarian rule during the unprecedented uprising that came to be known as the Arab Spring.

Now you hear that same demand hurled at extreme Islamist groups like Islamic State which have gained a foothold in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and now neighbouring Libya.

The cry resonates in street protests in Tunis against the attack last week said to have been carried out by gunmen linked to IS. The assault on the country's exquisite Bardo National Museum killed 23 people, most of them foreigners, and inflicted a crippling blow on a vital tourism industry.

Thousands of young Tunisians did "go away" to fight in Iraq and Syria, or to train with radical Islamist groups in neighbouring Libya. But now some who are armed and radicalised are coming home.

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Searching for light in war-torn Syria

Residents of Syria's besieged Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp, south of Damascus. File photo
Millions of people across Syria are now relying on international humanitarian aid

A dark shadow falls across Syria as a punishing war enters its fifth year.

It's not just that satellite imagery has revealed the night sky is 83% darker because so much infrastructure has been destroyed, and millions forced to flee their homes .

Read full article Searching for light in war-torn Syria

Lahore Literary Festival: Book lovers defy the bombers

  • 24 February 2015
  • From the section Asia
Crowds at the Lahore Literary Festival
The Alhamra Arts Centre hosted the third Lahore Literary Festival

A suicide bomber struck in the Pakistani city of Lahore, just two days before its annual literary festival was due to start.

The night before, the provincial government tried to stop the three-day festival from going ahead, insisting it was not safe.

Read full article Lahore Literary Festival: Book lovers defy the bombers

Ukraine conflict: Marathon in Minsk

  • 13 February 2015
  • From the section Europe
Fractures between the negotiating parties' positions were reflected in the body language on display
Fractures between the negotiating parties' positions were reflected in the body language on display

There's something about Minsk's opulent Palace of Independence. Even in the dark of night, its shimmering chandeliers and opaque windows can trick you into thinking it's still broad daylight.

Little escapes the bright glare of this cavernous complex.

Read full article Ukraine conflict: Marathon in Minsk

Ukraine conflict: Back to Minsk with so much at stake

  • 11 February 2015
  • From the section Europe
An elderly woman walks past vehicles destroyed in shelling between Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian government forces in Donetsk on 11 February 2015
Civilians have been caught up in intensifying violence in Donestk

It is five months since Minsk gave its name to a peace deal for Ukraine.

Now key players are meeting here for what has been widely called "one of the last chances" to stop a widening trail of destruction and death, which threaten the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Read full article Ukraine conflict: Back to Minsk with so much at stake

Paris attack: From 9/11 to 1/11

  • 12 January 2015
  • From the section Europe
Man holding a sign with "Je suis Charlie" in Paris
There is hope that France has found a new solidarity after the attacks in Paris

In France, many reached for the phrase recognised by all - 9/11.

"Le onze Septembre Francais" declared the banner headline in France's Le Monde newspaper. "A French September 11th."

Read full article Paris attack: From 9/11 to 1/11

A broken system for a broken people

A Syrian Kurdish woman crosses the border between Syria and Turkey at the south-eastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, 23 September 2014
Millions have been forced to flee their homes because of the Syrian conflict

"They're no longer living. They feel they are dying. That's why they're willing to take the risk."

That's what I heard from Metin Corabatir, founder of the Ankara-based Refugee Centre for Asylum and Migration, in the last hours of 2014 as a rusting livestock freighter, packed with nearly 1,000 exhausted Syrians, was rescued off the coast of Italy.

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The year of living far too dangerously

  • 29 December 2014
  • From the section Africa
from left, Mohammed Fahmy, Canadian-Egyptian acting bureau chief of al-Jazeera, Australian correspondent Peter Greste, and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed appear in a defendants' cage along with several other defendants during their trial on terror charges at a courtroom in Cairo. The United States and other countries on Wednesday, 5 November 2014
Three journalists who were working for al-Jazeera remain behind bars

There's an old thriller called The Year of Living Dangerously, set in Indonesia's civil war during the 1960s. It tells a suspenseful tale of an Australian journalist despatched to replace a colleague at a dangerous time.

In the end, injured and in hiding, he makes a narrow escape from Jakarta in the wake of a failed military coup.

Read full article The year of living far too dangerously

Pakistan school attack: Blazers flecked with blood

  • 23 December 2014
  • From the section Asia
vigil remembering Pakistan school victims 17 December 2014
The attack on the army school in Peshawar shocked and outraged the world

The smallest of uniforms can be the most powerful of symbols.

In Peshawar, the boys who survived last week's massacre defiantly wear their emerald green school blazers with blackened spots of blood.

Read full article Pakistan school attack: Blazers flecked with blood

Could Aleppo plan cut Syrian bloodshed?

  • 15 December 2014
  • From the section Asia
Damaged buildings in Aleppo's al-Shaar district
Aleppo - Syria's second-largest city - has suffered massive damage after years of war

Four years into a punishing war, the West is still in search of a Syria strategy.

Now the EU is trying to find its own voice on this deepening crisis as its foreign ministers sit down with their new foreign policy chief in Brussels.

Read full article Could Aleppo plan cut Syrian bloodshed?