Hey Diddle Diddle, the Cat’s on the Griddle

A new vogue for eating domestic cats is sweeping Vietnam, and the resulting cat shortage may be causing plagues of crop-destroying rats and mice. Which raises the obvious question: are housecats and feral cats which would otherwise be out killing rats actually being rounded up and cooked? The question is unasked and unanswered by these reporters.

On a sunny afternoon, Nguyen Thi Thanh Hang wields her cleaver over a stack of freshly skinned carcasses, expecting a busy evening. Today's special is the same as every day, and business is booming, she says, although not all locals share her enthusiasm for cat meat.

Youssou N’dour In The Sights Of Power

Senegal, long seen as a democratic model in West Africa, has begun an unexpected slide toward autocracy. The country’s 85 year old president, Abdoulaye Wade, in power for 12 years, has amended the constitution to allow himself another term in office.

Astou, who resides in Dakar and is a fan of the singer, put it this way :" He has too much to lose. He's a community figurehead. Everybody loves his music, no matter the generation to which they belong. By getting involved in politics, he would, of course, make enemies. In Senegal, politics really a

The Barefoot Doctor in Tunisia’s Presidential Palace

The enigmatic Tunisian President, Moncef Marzouki, draws criticism and praise. But will this doctor-turned activist-turned political leader push the limits of power as far as he can, or will he succumb to pressures from Ennahda and stand down to his convictions?

Moncef Marzouki, the new Tunisian president, is a mystery-a political and psychological enigma. This 66 year-old physician, human rights activist, inflexible opponent to Ben Ali's dictatorship, who came to dissent through force of circumstances, is one of the most controversial political figures on

The Nearer Shore

His father was a hero to the British during the 1982 war with Argentina over possession of the Falkland Islands. Last year artist James Peck became an Argentine in a public ceremony with the Argentine president, bringing notoriety on the islands and a moment of fame on the mainland. But Peck seems to be a man at ease with his place in the world and the choices he has made.

Hidden away in his dark bedroom, the Arctic wind buffeting the cold outpost where he was born, James Peck finds consolation in the punk cassettes a cousin brought him from England.

Congolese Pop Stars Forced To Migrate Back to Africa

Among the Congolese diaspora in Europe, opponents of President Joseph Kabila call themselves “the Combatants.” Accusing Congolese pop stars of supporting Kabila, they have systematically attacked their concerts in Brussels, Paris and elsewhere, turning them into battlefields. Unexpectedly, this has been a boon for their fans back in Africa.

Fleeing the hostile atmosphere that the Combatants movement succeeded in creating, more and more artists among the European Congolese diaspora are returning to Africa for their concerts. Because of recurring violence, the Combatants have indeed made it harder for these musicians and artists to perfo

USAID Goes to School in Lebanon–Or Is It the CIA?

Lebanese teachers and school officials suspect that a USAID educational assistance program is a cover for spying by American intelligence agencies.

On 20 December 2010, the Lebanese government under Saad Hariri and the US Ambassador to Lebanon, Maura Connelly, signed a memorandum of understanding between the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Lebanon and the Lebanese education ministry. The memorandum was billed as a means of su

MTV Lebanon Launches Anti-Palestinian Campaign

MTV Lebanon is becoming an openly xenophobic and sectarian channel, writes the Lebanese daily Al Akhbar: foreign workers, domestic employees and Lebanese farmers have all been targeted with racist and sectarian content.

Social media activists have been sharing a Youtube clip from a show on Lebanon's Murr TV (MTV) called "Ktir Salbeh" along with angry comments such as "shame on you MTV," "such a disgrace," "MTV being racist again," and "another low for MTV."

The Asshole

The definitive book on the Dominique Strauss-Kahn sex scandal has already appeared in France. Better yet, it is a novel.

Using free tone and bad taste that might make certain readers scream, the author revisits the whole scandal, starting with the rape scene inside room 2806 and ending with DSK's performance on TF1 news journal, mentioning in between the details of his quarrels with Anne Sinclair, whom he transforms i

The Passage Back

Americans in search of their African origins relive and revive a history that is barely remembered here in Cameroon.

Bimbia is a small village that you only reach after an hour of driving on a rocky trail across forested slopes. It perches on the heights above the city of Limbe in southwest Cameroon. After reaching Bimbia you leave your car behind and descend on foot through a bamboo forest to reach the old port.

On Patrol With The Free Syrian Army

The ongoing bloodbath in Syria seems in some ways a recurrence of the violence which wracked the country a generation ago, and which ended in the massacre at Hama in 1982. One difference is the emergence this time of the shadowy “Free Syrian Army”, which has rallied defectors from the military and others to an apparently nationwide armed revolt.

In this series of articles, a reporter from Lebanon's Al-Akhbar provides a searching account of the Free Syrian Army from the inside: wracked by factionalism, poorly disciplined, and remarkably sectarian in outlook.

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