More killed and wounded as pro-regime rockets and barrel bombs fall on eastern Ghouta
Rockets and barrel bombs dropped by pro-regime forces have killed dozens of people on the fourth day of an intense assault on the besieged opposition enclave of eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus.
Terrified residents were sheltering in caves, dugouts and basements, as a rain of explosives hit homes, roads and hospitals. Monitoring groups say the attack has been among the most intense in a war already marked by extreme brutality.
Defectors reveal crippling extortion by Islamist terror group and ?€?brainwashing?€? of boys, as it suffers apparent crisis of morale
Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia are extorting huge sums from starving communities and forcibly recruiting hundreds of children as soldiers and suicide bombers as the terror group endures financial pressures and an apparent crisis of morale.
Intelligence documents, transcripts of interrogations with recent defectors and interviews conducted by the Guardian with inhabitants of areas in the swath of central and southern Somalia controlled by al-Shabaab have shone a light on the severity of its harsh rule - but also revealed significant support in some areas.
Israeli media report that Shlomo Filber has made a deal to testify after being arrested
The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who is battling for his political career in the face of various corruption allegations, has suffered a potentially devastating blow after a former confidant reportedly agreed to turn state witness.
A week after police recommended the country?€?s second-longest serving prime minister be indicted for bribery, Israeli press reported that Shlomo Filber would testify against his former boss to avoid jail.
Alessandro di Battista, main rival in Italy?€?s election, launches scathing attack on former PM
Accusations about Silvio Berlusconi?€?s historic ties to a close associate of the Sicilian mafia are being revived by his main political rival as Italy heads into the final stretch of campaigning before the general election on 4 March.
Alessandro di Battista, a top official in the Five Star Movement, asked followers on Twitter to share his scathing takedown of the former prime minister, delivered at a rally earlier this month, in which he cited a court ruling against a former longtime aide to Berlusconi and the founder of Forza Italia, Marcello Dell?€?Utri, who is in jail because of his ties to the Cosa Nostra.
Alex van der Zwaan charged with making false statements to special counsel investigating Trump campaign and its ties to Russia
A lawyer who previously worked with Paul Manafort, Trump?€?s former campaign manager, has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, marking another major development in the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump election campaign and the Kremlin.
Alex van der Zwaan, who married the daughter of a Russian-Ukrainian oligarch last year, admitted making false statements in connection to work he did in Ukraine, as part of a plea agreement with the special prosecutor on the Russia investigation, Robert Mueller.
MPs tell boss Mark Goldring that charity treated vulnerable women in Haiti ?€?like trinkets?€?
Oxfam has lost 7,000 regular donors since it was revealed that staff sexually exploited victims of the Haiti earthquake in 2010, its chief executive has told a committee of MPs, which accused the charity of treating vulnerable women ?€?like trinkets?€?.
During questioning by the international development committee, Mark Goldring apologised to MPs for the actions of staff who were dismissed for their use of sex workers in Haiti, and acknowledged that the charity?€?s actions had damaged the whole aid community, as well as the people of Haiti.
Niece of far-right Front National leader Marine Le Pen to address conference after vice-president Mike Pence on Thursday
Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, the former young star of France?€?s far-right Front National, is to speak at a high-profile US gathering of conservatives and Republicans outside Washington this week, addressing the event shortly after the US vice-president, Mike Pence.
Maréchal-Le Pen - who is more religious and socially conservative than her aunt, the far-right leader Marine Le Pen - has been invited to speak an hour after Pence at the event, the day before Donald Trump appears on the same stage.
Nick Griffiths of Bolton suffers frostbite in -40C temperatures during world?€?s coldest marathon
Two athletes, including a British runner from Lancashire, are facing the prospect of amputation after bitterly cold temperatures in northern Canada marred the world?€?s coldest ultra-marathon.
This year?€?s Yukon Arctic Ultra, a gruelling trek of 300 miles, experienced delays due to extreme cold. Most nights of the nine-day race saw temperatures dip below -40C. Organisers had temporarily halted the race early on when the cold was so bad that it prevented snowmobiles meant to rescue runners from operating. This year?€?s event was the coldest in its 14-year history. Only one athlete, Jethro De Decker of South Africa, finished the race.
Nezhat Amiri?€?s recent high-profile performance caps a 38-year fight for recognition
In her 38-year career, which is as long as the history of the Islamic republic, Iran?€?s first and only female conductor had led as many public performances as the number of fingers that hold her baton.
Last month, however, Nezhat Amiri conducted a 71-member orchestra performing at Tehran?€?s most prestigious concert hall - a remarkable milestone in a country where it is considered taboo for state TV to show musical instruments, women are not allowed to sing solo and female musicians have been prevented from going on stage in provincial cities.
From highways carved through thriving ?€?ghettoes?€? to walls segregating black and white areas, US city development has a long and divisive history
It?€?s a little after 3pm in Detroit?€?s 8 Mile neighbourhood, and the cicadas are buzzing loudly in the trees. Children weave down the pavements on bicycles, while a pickup basketball game gets under way in a nearby park. The sky is a deep blue with only a hint of an approaching thunderstorm - in other words, a muggy, typical summer Sunday in Michigan?€?s largest city.
?€?8 Mile?€?, as the locals call it, is far from the much-touted economic ?€?renaissance?€? taking place in Detroit?€?s centre. Tax delinquency and debt are still major issues, as they are in most places in the city. Crime and blight exist side by side with carefully trimmed hedgerows and mowed lawns, a patchwork that changes from block to block. In many ways it resembles every other blighted neighbourhood in the city - but with one significant difference. Hidden behind the oak-lined streets is an insidious piece of history that most Detroiters, let alone Americans, don?€?t even know exists: a half mile-long, 5ft tall concrete barrier that locals simply call ?€?the wall?€?.
Ten years since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, Pristina struggles with corruption and pollution - but the youngest capital in Europe is full of fresh energy
Pristina is a city of constant renewal. Not only is Kosovo?€?s main city the youngest capital in Europe - 42% of the population is under 24 years old - but it has been completely rebuilt twice since the second world war. The first rebuild was as part of an exhortation to build a modern, socialist city as part of Yugoslavia; the second after the 1998-99 conflict with Serbia.
Although the war emptied the city of most of its ethnic Albanian inhabitants, the physical damage was confined to a few buildings. Following the war, most of the Serb residents left for nearby Gracanica or points further north, and the UN assumed control over government institutions. But crime and corruption reigned, including over the city?€?s urban landscape. In 2000, architect and urban planning chief Rexhep Luci, who was trying to impose law and order in a city where wealthy individuals were developing property illegally, was gunned down. His murder has still not been solved, and in 2014, when mayor Shpend Ahmeti assumed power vowing to take on powerful interests, there were some 40,000 illegally built constructions.
Italy?€?s refugee crisis has reached its peak in Rome, where thousands of migrants are being evicted from squatting in the city?€?s abandoned buildings
Mobile phones lie idle, drawers dangle from chests and documents scatter the rooms. On the walls hang photos of weddings and children, all left behind in the rush to leave when the police stormed in.
Six months ago the former office block in Via Curtatone, overlooking Piazza Indipendenza in central Rome, became a flashpoint of Italy?€?s migrant crisis when police evicted the 800 Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees who had been living there for four years.
I?€?ve seen for myself how agencies operate, and the toxic and exploitative relationships that can so easily develop
A century ago doctors began to take notice of a disturbing condition affecting white men in ?€?the tropics?€?. These men, hard at work with empire-building and civilising natives, were suffering from a kind of nervous breakdown: a mysterious condition that was so widespread it accounted for as many medical discharges as better known illnesses, such as malaria. Symptoms included incompetence, melancholia, paranoia, nervousness, alcoholism and sexual deviance.
In 1905 Charles Woodruff, an American army doctor in the Philippines, decided that these men were suffering from ?€?tropical neurasthenia?€?. As a diagnosis, it placed the blame squarely on the burden of civilising work in uncivilised spaces, on the heat and humidity. Colonial officers were overexerting themselves, and at the same time deprived of important distractions such as ?€?five-o?€?clock teas?€?, and ?€?ball-room dancing?€?. As a result, they were succumbing to the temptation to have sex with natives. As the colonial historian Kim Wagner has pointed out, in India ?€?British brutality could be explained and even justified with reference to the climate, physical exhaustion and, ultimately, the savagery ascribed to their Indian victims?€?.
They have lived nearly all their lives in the UK, working and paying taxes. But in the draconian new immigration climate, an increasing number of elderly people are being told that they are here illegally
For the past year, Renford McIntyre has been homeless, mostly sleeping on a sofa in an unheated industrial unit in Dudley. Although he has lived in the UK for almost 50 years, and spent 35 years working and paying taxes as a tool setter, a delivery man in the meat industry and an NHS driver, he has been told that he is not British - and consequently is neither permitted to work nor eligible for any government support.
McIntyre, 64, has no shower and nowhere to cook, and has to visit friends if he wants to eat hot food or wash. ?€?It?€?s an appalling place to live. I?€?m a proud man; I?€?m embarrassed at my age to be living like this,?€? he says.
Activists say proposals to speed up requests threaten rights of asylum-seekers in France
Tough proposals to crack down on immigration and asylum in France have been unveiled by Emmanuel Macron?€?s government amid complaints from human rights groups and street protests by some public agents in charge of asylum procedures.
The legislation is aimed at speeding up the process for asylum requests and for expelling migrants who aren unable to claim asylum. It would also double to 90 days the time a person without papers can be kept in a holding centre.
A horribly readable account of the US military deserters who found asylum in Sweden during the Vietnam War, and their group?€?s infiltration by the CIA
It is almost forgotten now what a decisive role Sweden played in the Vietnam war. Even at the time, the armies doing the fighting and the million or so Vietnamese doing the dying may have underestimated the importance Swedish public opinion had on their struggle. But in Sweden it was never in doubt. The starting point for this weird, sad, horribly readable story is the arrival in Stockholm in May 1968 of six misfit and confused US deserters from the Vietnam war after they had been shepherded across the Soviet Union from Japan, where a fishing vessel had smuggled them on to a Russian ship.
They had been transported across the USSR ?€?on a current of vodka?€? and with women supplied by the KGB; they had even been questioned by Yuri Andropov, later to rise to supreme power, and helped to make a propaganda film in which one of them, according to Sweet?€?s account, who had been a ship?€?s cook and never landed in the country, gave wrenching testimony of all the atrocities he and his unit had committed on the ground in Vietnam.
A recent Canadian documentary promoted a fringe idea in American archaeology that?€?s both scientifically wrong and racist
Last month?€?s release of The Ice Bridge, an episode in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation series The Nature of Things has once again revived public discussion of a controversial idea about how the Americas were peopled known as the ?€?Solutrean hypothesis?€?. This idea suggests a European origin for the peoples who made the Clovis tools, the first recognized stone tool tradition in the Americas. As I was one of the experts appearing on the documentary, I want to share my thoughts about it and why I see the ideas portrayed within as unsettling, unwise, and scientifically implausible.
First, in addition to the scientific problems with the Solutrean hypothesis which I?€?ll discuss shortly, it?€?s important to note that it has overt political and cultural implications in denying that Native Americans are the only indigenous peoples of the continents. The notion that the ancestors of Native Americans were not the first or only people on the continent has great popularity among white nationalists, who see it as a means of denying Native Americans an ancestral claim on their land. Indeed, although this particular iteration is new, the idea behind the Solutrean hypothesis is part of a long tradition of Europeans trying to insert themselves into American prehistory; justifying colonialism by claiming that Native Americans were not capable of creating the diverse and sophisticated material culture of the Americas. Unfortunately, the producers of the documentary deliberately chose not to address this issue head-on, nor did they include any critical perspectives from indigenous peoples. While supporting the agenda of white nationalists was not the intent of the producers or of the scientists involved, it would have been appropriate for the documentary to take a stand against it, and I and many archaeologists are disappointed that they did not.
Analysts liken trip to Winter Olympics by US president?€?s daughter to that of Kim Yo-jong
The South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, will welcome Ivanka Trump, daughter of the US president, to South Korea for the Winter Olympics closing ceremony on Sunday - a trip that analysts have likened to an appearance by Kim Jong-un?€?s sister earlier this month.
South Korea sees the trip as an opportunity to convince Donald Trump its recent rapprochement with Pyongyang should continue. Its leadership hopes Ivanka can play a moderating role in White House policy - which at times has taken a bellicose stance towards the North.
Deputy PM says media must ?€?move on?€? and that some coverage has been ?€?malicious?€?
Barnaby Joyce and Vikki Campion have appealed to the public and the media to ?€?move on?€? after two weeks in which revelations about their affair has dominated Australian politics and threatened to tear the Coalition government apart.
The deputy prime minister and Nationals leader has faced repeated calls to stand aside after his relationship with his former staffer - now pregnant with his son - was made public.
Prime minister defies calls to scrap UK commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on aid
The UK?€?s aid budget will not be cut as a result of the sexual exploitation scandal affecting the sector, the prime minister has confirmed in a push back against the right wing of her party.
There have been calls for the government to scrap the commitment to spend at least 0.7% of gross national income on foreign aid, including from the MP some Tories have touted as Theresa May?€?s potential successor, Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Head of UN agency for Palestinian refugees fears new generation could be radicalised as food aid to Gaza and Syria approaches critical low
The head of the main United Nations agency supporting Palestinian refugees has warned that the organisation is facing the most severe funding crisis in its history, threatening its support to an estimated 5.3 million people, including more than 400,000 inside Syria.
Pierre Krähenbühl, commissioner general of the UN Relief and Works Agency, added that cuts in support to the already impoverished and demoralised population his organisation supports - many of them victims of recent conflict - risked radicalising a new generation of young Palestinians.
Zainab Fayez, the sole woman in Kandahar?€?s attorney-general?€?s office, wants greater equality in the Afghan justice system
Zainab Fayez, the only woman serving as a prosecutor in Afghanistan?€?s southern province of Kandahar, has resolved 50 cases of abuse against women, and helped detain 21 men accused of violence against women, including police officials, over the past year. But she still longs to see other women join her in the legal profession.
?€?My aim is to see the next generation of Afghan women empowered,?€? said the 28-year-old, who has worked in Kandahar?€?s attorney-general?€?s office for the past two years. ?€?In Kandahar, it is very hard for a woman to work alone in an office, which is predominantly occupied by male staff members and where women as workers are taboo.
Shadow development secretary Kate Osamor questions depth of Foreign Office inquiry as project funding Free Syrian Police is reinstated
The government has resurrected a controversial multimillion-pound aid scheme to train a civilian police force that was alleged to have given cash to extremists in Syria, the Guardian can reveal.
The UK-backed project was suspended in November last year, after an investigation found that the Free Syrian Police were paying off militants, listing dead and fictitious people on their payroll, and working with courts engaged in human rights abuses.
Unicef expresses alarm over figures that show five newborn babies a minute die from preventable causes worlwide
The risk of dying as a newborn in the US is only slightly lower than the risk for babies in Sri Lanka and Ukraine, according to Unicef.
A report by the UN children?€?s agency found that five newborn babies die around the world every minute - a total of about 2.6 million a year. The figure was described as ?€?alarmingly high?€?, not least because 80% of the deaths were from preventable causes.
Teenagers?€? use of Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram is social media at its best - a cudgel against political discourse that desperately needs to change
High schools have dances, they have cafeterias, they have midterm exams and, in the United States, they have shootings.
?€?Our school is having a shooting,?€? tweeted Heather, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida, on the afternoon of Wednesday 14 February. ?€?I?€?m not even kidding I?€?m about to die.?€?
The horror of the Bosnian Muslim massacre of 1995 is being repeated today in Syria
With every child who dies, with every act of brutality that goes unpunished, eastern Ghouta more closely resembles what Kofi Annan once called the worst crime committed on European soil since 1945. Eastern Ghouta is turning into Syria?€?s Srebrenica.
Billy Graham, who has died aged 99, was a Southern Baptist minister with celebrity status. His evangelical rallies were compared to pop concerts, and he preached the gospel to live audiences of over 210m people in 185 countries
Mark Goldring, Oxfam?€?s chief executive, tells MPs that about 7,000 individuals have cancelled their regular donations to the charity after revelations of the Haiti sex scandal. Goldring also said that 26 new sexual misconduct allegations have been reported as a result of the disclosures
Footage from the White Helmets, a volunteer rescue group, shows children being saved from a house purportedly hit by a Syrian regime airstrike in rebel-held eastern Ghouta. The video, filmed in the town of Hamouriya, is said to be from 19 February and has been verified by the Reuters news agency
Gun owner Scott Pappalardo has destroyed his AR-15 rifle in response
to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school shooting. Pappalardo posted a video of himself
explaining his decision before chopping up the semi-automatic weapon. He asks:
?€?Is the right to own this weapon more important than someone?€?s life? ?€? I don?€?t think so?€?
The Addis Ababa massacre or Graziani massacre, in which 20,000 to 30,000 Ethiopians were killed by Italian occupying forces on 19 February 1937, is commemorated at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in the Ethiopian capital
Dozens of teenage students lie down in front of the White House to demand gun reform in the wake of the Florida school shooting. The children were joined by parents and educators, one of whom read aloud the names of the victims of the attack
The Codificator now provides: - automatic code wrapping in DC board format - conversion of regular HTML-formatted text to DC board formatted text - link extraction from HTML to DC board format - auto fetch of webpages, with on-select conversion of content to DC board format.
It won't boil your coffee or knit you a warm sweater for the winter, but it may help you to be more efficient when you're online discussing politics.
**** Bug fix, new release **** Bug in bbsFunctions.php, xAuth.php and some language fixed. For fix of existing installation, download the package, then extract progs/bbsFunctions.php and progs/xAuth.php to replace your current versions. **** Bug fix, new release ****
**** Bug fix, new release **** Bug in cFunctions.php fixed. For fix of existing installation, download the package, then extract progs/cFunctions.php to replace your current versions. **** Bug fix, new release ****
Large number of US citizens demonstrated against the war in Iraq (and the possible war in Iran) during this October weekend. Massive turnout in Boston and San Fransisco, and also in Chicago, LA and DC people took to the streets. The message was: NO more war in Iraq! NO to a war with Iran!