Mullah Omar and the art of hiding in plain sight – Q&A

A new book on the elusive former leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, revealed that the one-eyed rebel chief has not been hiding in Pakistan, as US officials and many in Afghanistan and beyond had said. Omar, instead, lived near a US base in Afghanistan for years, Bette Dam, author of the book, Op Zoek…

Trump: Time for US to recognise Israeli sovereignty over Golan

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday it was time to back Israeli sovereignty over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, an announcement that signals a shift in US policy and comes before the Israeli prime minister's planned visit next week to the White House. "After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize…

‘Suffocating smell of death’ as SDF attacks last ISIL pocket

Asmar al-Bahr says he saw scores of bodies strewn across ISIL's last encampment in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz and stockpiles of weapons. However, it was the "suffocating smell of death" that he worries he may never forget. Bahr is a photographer with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the US-backed group fighting ISIL in Baghouz. He says…

What legacy did Karadzic and the war leave behind for Bosnia?

United Nations judges have sentenced former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic to life in prison, ending one of the most momentous trials over genocide and war crimes committed during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.  The Hague-based tribunal ruled his initial 40-year jail term was too light and decided to increase it to life…

Vietnam’s last public letter writer, ‘a witness of Saigon’

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam - As Ho Chi Minh City's iconic French colonial architecture fades away and shiny skyscrapers punctuate the new skyline in the Southeast Asia megacity of 13 million people, there is one man who might be the last vestige of Vietnam's colonial past. Duong Van Ngo is the only remaining public…

Anatomy of a ‘caliphate’: The rise and fall of ISIL

Samer recalls the gruesome shock of seeing his friend's headless corpse strung up above Raqqa's main square. It's this memory, from a hot summer day in 2015, that defines his time living under ISIL's rule in Syria. "No one was allowed to touch it, nor bring it down for a proper burial," Samer says of…

Smile and wiggle: Thai PM Prayuth tries to charm his way to a win

Bangkok, Thailand - An aerobics class is under way as a sober-suited Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha walks briskly into central Lumphini Park, accompanied by city officials and a pack of journalists. The instructor gives up on her routine as the class of mostly older men and women peels away to greet the general who led…

‘Festival of colours’: Hindus celebrate Holi

Millions of Hindus across India and other South Asian countries are celebrating Holi - the festival of colours - to mark the arrival of spring. Celebrants daub themselves in brightly coloured powder, or gulal, to celebrate the victory of good over evil, fertility and love. The festival, observed for centuries, holds mythological importance. It is…

Australia says tensions with Turkey ease after WWI remarks

A diplomatic spat between Turkey and Australia over the mosque mass shootings in New Zealand appeared to ease on Thursday after controversial comments by the Turkish leader were said to be "taken out of context". Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said tensions between his country and Turkey had ebbed after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office…

Israeli forces kill rock-throwing Palestinian in West Bank

An Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli gunfire in the occupied West Bank, marking the fourth Palestinian killed in 24 hours. The Palestinian Red Crescent said one of its crews treated a man with two bullet wounds at an Israeli military checkpoint near the city of Bethlehem on Wednesday and that Israeli forces had shot…

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