UN peace deal for Yemen ‘too vague’, Oxfam says

UNITED NATIONS // The UN’s peace deal for Hodeidah, in war-ravaged Yemen, is unravelling because the text lacked specifics on how rebel forces should vacate the Red Sea port city, the British charity Oxfam says.

Radio station of slain Syrian activist faces shutdown

NEW YORK // Only weeks after the murder of Syrian activist and satirist Raed Fares, the radio station that he founded faces closure amid ongoing death threats to staff members and a cash-flow crisis as western donors scale back funding.

Saudi-funded art show in US extols freedom as Khashoggi crisis rages

NEW YORK // Riyadh has funded a series of art shows in New York’s top galleries, touching on religion, feminism and refugees, amid a crackdown on government critics, including journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared last week in Istanbul.

The seven biggest threats to Donald Trump’s presidency

NEW YORK // US President Barack Obama’s inauguration shows featured the likes of Beyonce and Bruce Springsteen. Country singer Toby Keith, who is perhaps the top name at Donald Trump’s welcome bash, does not come with quite the same stardust.

Crazy Town: mental illness in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU // Mohamed Abdulla Hersi reclines on a foam mattress in the Habeb Rehabilitation Treatment Center’s crowded mental ward. His eyes are glazed over from antipsychotic drugs, probably some combination of chlorpromazine and haloperidol, but we can’t be sure.

Could Syria’s ‘prosecutor without a tribunal’ work?

UNITED NATIONS // When Mahmoud Nowar was released from detention, doctors told his father that he was so withered and malnourished that he would only have survived a few more days of starvation and torture at the hands of Syrian government forces.

Rocket man and Zionist penguins: The week in UN diplomacy

UNITED NATIONS // Over the years, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has hosted some standout moments of political theatre. The key event this year was United States President Donald Trump’s debut speech, in which he threatened North Korea’s “rocket man” with annihilation.

Right-wing speech hides refugee realities in the US

BUFFALO // When Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a halt on Muslims entering the United States, he was probably not thinking about Nadeen Yusuf, a hard-working Iraqi refugee who lives in Buffalo with her family.

Egyptian comic Bassem Youssef takes on America

NEW YORK // Back in the heady days of the Arab Spring, record numbers of Egyptians tuned in to Bassem Youssef’s weekly current affairs show, which broke new ground by satirising the then-ruling Muslim Brotherhood and the military-backed government that followed.

Will the real Pocahontas please stand up?

NEW YORK // She is among the best known Native Americans in history, but the modern-day descendants of Pocahontas, who four centuries ago married an English colonist and sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, show little interest in her.

Barack Obama: So long, and thanks for all the speeches

NEW YORK // Back in 2004, Barack Obama, then a fresh-faced senate wannabe from Illinois, burst onto the political scene with a rousing speech stressing national unity in the face of racial tensions and a controversial war in Iraq at a big party meet in Boston.

Investigating genocide in Somaliland

HARGEISA // Frankincense wafts through the air of a quiet building on the outskirts of Hargeisa, in the self-declared republic of Somaliland. It masks the odour of the remains of 38 men, whose skeletons are packed into cardboard boxes.

Romania split over Europe’s biggest gold mine

ROSIA MONTANA // Andrei Gruber lights a cigarette and points through his kitchen window to where a Canadian mining firm wants to set up Europe’s biggest open cast gold mine and change the face of this sleepy Romanian town forever.

Can the world really end poverty by 2030?

UNITED NATIONS // The slogan “make poverty history” has been used by development pundits and pop star philanthropists for years. Now, in a bid to turn words into deeds, it is being discussed as a universal global target to be met within a generation.

Al-Shabab’s Westgate raid: Game-changer for East Africa?

NAIROBI // As Kenyan commandos fought pitched battles against the remaining few gunmen inside Nairobi’s burned and blood-splattered shopping mall, questions began arising about what blowback the sensational siege would have upon a turbulent region.

Westgate siege: ‘This is not Kenya’s war’

NAIROBI // When she heard the first crackle of shots, Fiona Herbert thought she was listening to fireworks, rather than the bullets that signalled the start of a bloody siege on an upmarket shopping mall here in Kenya’s capital.

Obama launches week-long Africa jaunt

NAIROBI // Barack Obama’s first extensive trip to sub-Saharan Africa as US president is a week-long diplomatic safari aimed at allaying concerns that Washington has little interest in some of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

Fear rules the night in Haiti’s tent cities

PORT-AU-PRINCE // The tent cities that sprang up after Haiti’s earthquake began as flimsy structures of sticks, tarps and string. One year on and these squalid labyrinths are sturdier, with 800,000 survivors building wood and metal shacks for an inevitably long stay.

Trafficked apes strive to return to the wild

NANYUKI // When Amisero was rescued, the young chimpanzee was standing in a pool of vomit and diarrhoea, close to death after spending her childhood locked behind bars in the home of a private collector in Burundi. Believe it or not, she is one of the lucky ones. Conservationists say that growing numbers of chimps are dragged from West African forests each year and shipped abroad to spend their lives performing crowd-pleasing stunts.

Arab filmmakers at Tribeca festival hope for more artistic freedom

NEW YORK // In his lyrical polemic about 1970s America, the songwriter Gil Scott-Heron famously declared: “The revolution will not be televised”. Four decades on, and the Arab political revolts are not only screened around-the-clock, but also spread via Facebook, Twitter and a host of online media.

The UN should set aside a day for common sense

UNITED NATIONS // Although it has probably escaped your notice, tomorrow is World Philosophy Day. The annual dedication to history’s great thinkers may not be the only commemorative day you have missed. The month of November has no less than a dozen celebratory days designated by the United Nations.

Tourists in Kenya brave ‘Nairobbery’

NAIROBI // For tourists, Kenya’s traffic-clogged capital, Nairobi, has traditionally been a short, overnight stop in a secure hotel compound before heading on out to some of East Africa’s most renowned safari parks and Indian Ocean beaches.

Kenyans celebrate Mau Mau compensation win

NAIROBI // For Wambuga Nyingi, it is not about the money. Britain’s decision to compensate thousands of Kenyans who were tortured during an anti-colonial uprising in the 1950s is important because it re-writes the history books, he said.

“10 weeks of hell” for Somalis in Kenya

NAIROBI // Sitting on a mattress in her cramped flat in eastern Nairobi, Ubah Abdi Warsame, a refugee from war-torn Somalia, points to her left ear and says that is where a Kenyan police officer booted her in the head.

Kenyan satire takes aim at ‘corrupt leaders’

NAIROBI // A vulture-like politician sits in Kenya’s parliament, scoffing at the tribespeople who vote for him despite his money-grabbing ways. This eye-catching graffiti image, decorating a wall in downtown Nairobi, attacks voting along ethnic lines and corruption in national politics.

Kenya tensions spark Somali refugee flight

NAIROBI // The shopping malls and market stands of a Somali-dominated suburb in eastern Nairobi have been quieter than usual. Taxi drivers in Eastleigh, a lucrative trade hub known locally as “Little Mogadishu”, say business is drying up as Somalis leave Kenya to return home.

Kenyan Muslims help protect Christians after church attacks

NAIROBI // Following lethal attacks on two Kenyan churches, community leaders are stepping up efforts to stop their country from falling victim to the internecine religious bloodshed that has plagued many other African countries with mixed populations.

The world’s ‘responsibility to protect’ is tested

NEW YORK // The United Nations is often criticised for failing to protect civilians from belligerent leaders, but current interventions in Libya and Ivory Coast suggest the world body is starting to shoulder its responsibility to protect.

Congo’s shattered refugees are kept waiting

KIBATI, DRC // The cramped shack of plastic sheets and scrap wood belonging to Sindi Luza bears little comparison to the village home in Rumangabo he was forced to flee during one of Congo’s frequent violent flare-ups. “There was shooting everywhere. There was no way to stay with so much shooting,” said Mr Luza, recounting the clash between Congolese government and rebel forces that saw his simple family life come crashing to an end.

Tamil refugees pick up the pieces

MANIK FARM, SRI LANKA // With fellow Tamils huddled around him, A Sivalingam describes the stench from filthy latrines and water shortages that blight the lives of those who fled the brutal endgame to Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war. The retired engineer has endured Manik Farm, the sprawling home to some 220,000 displaced people, for five days since fleeing an army bombardment of his hometown, in Mulattivu, as Tamil Tiger rebels made their last stand.

Contagion stalks the UN and there’s not a cure in sight

NEW YORK // The United Nations is struggling with two contagions: bed bugs at its Manhattan headquarters and a Caribbean cholera outbreak that many Haitians blame on UN peacekeepers. The world body needs to clean up its act on both counts.

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