This post, written by Hugh Macleod and Annasofie Flamand, originally appeared on GlobalPost.
BEIRUT -- Homs is now a war zone, a city under siege by the army of Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad. It is a city where rebel soldiers are being joined by jihadis to fight a guerrilla insurgency, and where once mixed communities have begun to split along religious lines as the seeds of a civil war take root.
"We're working by candlelight because there is no electricity and our generator is running out of fuel," a doctor known as Abdel Rizk from Homs' easterly Karm Zeitoun neighborhood told GlobalPost.
This story originally appeared on Global Post.
DAMASCUS, Syria -- As parts of Syria suffer the effects of the regime's vicious military assault, Damascus is a city looking on. A faltering economy, however, has put many thousands out of work and daily life is slowly deteriorating.
The most widespread sight on the streets of Damascus these days is the plastic sheeting that covers miles of pavement. Sheltered from the rain, underneath men sell cigarette lighters, pirated DVDs and trinkets. The customs police that once hounded such illegal peddlers are nowhere to be seen. It is a sign of what has become a wider breakdown in organized economic life in the capital.
Recent explosions at several fuel pipelines in the Homs region have severely disrupted supplies of diesel, particularly to the huge generators providing electricity to Damascus and to dozens of towns around the capital.Continue »
This article, by Suzanna Koster, originally appeared on GlobalPost.
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan - Mullahs, militants and retired military men in Pakistan are forming a powerful alliance to promote an anti-US agenda, pressuring the Pakistani government at a time when relations with the United States are dangerously frayed.
Among these men, Hafiz Saeed is the most notorious.
Saeed leads the charity group Jamaat-ud Dawah, which the United Nations says is a front for Lashkar-e-Tayba, a group widely held responsible for killing 166 people in the Mumbai attacks in 2008. In Pakistan, however, a court absolved Saeed of all terrorism charges.
PORT-AU-PRINCE - To see where the enormous sums of humanitarian aid directed to Haiti after its catastrophic earthquake in 2010 went, a good place to start is the ocean harbor. That's where the island's shore meets the rest of the world. And the best place for that is here at the seaport in the nation's capital: Port-au-Prince, near the earthquake's epicenter.
There, at this moment, a gigantic "supermaritime" cargo ship called the Sarine is off-loading more than five metric tons of rice that has just arrived from Miami.
If you think of the rice as post-earthquake assistance money - the individual grains as donated dollars - you might get some idea about what's happened since the earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010. Not to mention a sense of where the individual rice grains (or the dollars) have gone.Continue »
This post originally appeared on Global Post. It was written by Casey Scieszka and Steven Weinberg.
Mali police arrested three suspected terrorists this week accused of kidnapping five Westerners and killing one other near Timbuktu in late November.
Authorities said the gunmen belonged to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and that several others involved in the abductions, which took place on Nov. 24 and 25, remained at large.
Timbuktu and its tourism industry have been reeling from the violence.
Although soldiers are now patrolling the streets of Timbuktu, many residents said such security measures weren't enough to save Mali's tourism industry.Continue »
BEIRUT, Lebanon - The whip cracks against the prisoner's back as the man with the moustache and the military uniform repeats his accusation: "You want freedom, right? Freedom?"
The whip comes down again and the prisoner punches the wall in pain.
"What kind of freedom is it you want?" demands the torturer. The freedom the puppet protester seeks, he tells his torturer, is "one where you and I wouldn't be here. You'd be with your kids and I'd be with my family."
And then a reply that explains why this small scene from a series of dramatic vignettes played out by finger puppets is among the boldest works of art to have grown out of the unprecedented upheaval in Syrian society.Continue »
This post originally appeared on GlobalPost and was written by Aamir Latif.
CHAMAN, Pakistan -- Little progress has been made to resolve a dispute between Pakistan and NATO as two key routes supplying troops in Afghanistan remain closed for a record 13th day. The standoff is raising fears of shortages, and is further fraying ties between Pakistan and the United States.
For the thousands of truckers stranded along the border, however, it's a cause for celebration.
"We usually don't find the opportunity to enjoy life like this," a smiling Arbaz Khan told GlobalPost. He has worked for a NATO supply contractor for the last three years.
The transport workers, left with no other option, have thrown up their hands and have decided to party. Undaunted by the security concerns, they have turned the border into a carnival, complete with music, barbeques and raucous parties that go until the early hours of the morning.
"Late night parties, dancing to Pashtun music around the bonfire and sunbathing, that's all we have been doing here for the last two weeks," Arbaz said with a smirk.Continue »
This post originally appeared on GlobalPost.
HAJI SAINDAD RIND, Pakistan -- It could have been an Arab Spring moment. Taking an apparent cue from the young Tunisian who, tired of the poverty in which he lived, set himself on fire and launched a protest movement around the world, Raja Khan, 23, went to Pakistan's parliament late last month and did the same.
But in a country where poverty and unemployment is more a norm than an exception, the reaction has been muted.
A frame by frame analysis of this exclusive GlobalPost video clearly shows the rebel trying to insert some kind of stick or knife into Gaddafi's rear end.
GlobalPost correspondent Tracey Shelton said there is some question as to whether the instrument was a knife from the end of a gun, which Libyans call a Bicketti, or a utilitiy tool known as a Becker Knife and Tool, which is popularly known as a BKT.Continue »
This story was written by GlobalPost's Noga Tarnopolsky.
JERUSALEM, Israel -- Mitzpeh Hila is a village of just over 525 residents.
Located on a bucolic, breezy hilltop in the Western Galilee, it offers hitchhikers and weekend visitors breathtaking vistas of the Hula Valley, in Israel, and of the southern Lebanese countryside.
Its principal source of income is tourism, especially that of the bed and breakfasts operated by individual families. Weekend after weekend they attract urban dwellers thirsty for a weekend of birdsong, green hills and organic brunches.
In 1988, when their middle child, Gilad, was two years old, Noam and Aviva Shalit moved to this remote outpost like many others who sought a clean, quiet life in tune with nature. They own and run one of these small hostelries.
Gilad, a scholarly boy who graduated high school with honors, was always a little sickly. His medical profile was sufficiently low to enable him to opt out of combat service in the army, but he chose to volunteer and follow his older brother, Yoel, into the armored corps.Continue »
This story was written by GlobalPost's Jodi Hilton.
ISTANBUL - On the walls of buildings and along the back alleys of the trendy Tunel neighborhood here in an old part of the city, graffiti art of a ruggedly handsome man with a beard and gentle eyes first began appearing in 2008.
Three years later the black-and-white image, drawn by a renowned Japanese manga named Gengoroh Tagame and carrying the slogan "Ahmet Yildiz is My Family" has become ubiquitous.
An international community of friends, activists and civil rights supporters have posthumously adopted Ahmet Yildiz as a brother and as a cause, they say, after his father killed him for being gay.
"Ahmet's so-called family killed him," reads a blog established in the wake of his death. "Fortunately, he still has a real one: Us."Continue »
GlobalPost looks at the rise of the drones, which the U.S. has used increasingly over the last few years against terrorist targets. Remotely operated, armed drones have been responsible for the elimination of many of the most wanted terrorists in Afghanistan, Yemen and Pakistan. However, questions of legality, civilian deaths and the development of lethal drones in China and other countries is creating controversy around the "Drone War." This article was written by Peter Gelling.
The Drone Wars are the new black.
The once covert, highly-secretive and little talked about strategy of using unmanned aerial vehicles to target suspected terrorists in Pakistan and elsewhere has gone mainstream. And now everyone is talking about it.Continue »
The horrific acts attributed to Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik appear to have been motivated by a hatred of Muslims and distaste for cultural diversity. While Breivik distanced himself from organized politics, his rhetoric has put Europe's growing far-right parties in the spotlight. Below is a roundup of what's happening on the extreme right in some key European countries:Continue »
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