Holy places in Israel: Constant competition

THE tomb of David, a king for Christians and Jews and a prophet for Muslims, on Mount Zion, is one of Jerusalem’s architectural gems. But the site has become an example of how some believers in the disputed Holy Land hope that their faith can dominate.

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Conflict in South Sudan: Back with a vengeance

THE second chapter of South Sudan’s civil war began with characteristic brutality on February 18th. The White Army, an ethnic Nuer militia, announced its return to Malakal, the capital of oil-producing Upper Nile state, with the wholesale slaughter of civilians. Shocked aid workers reported marauding gunmen raping and murdering the patients at the town’s only functioning hospital

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Uganda’s anti-gay law: Deadly intolerance

Misusing the colour pink IF UGANDA’S president, Yoweri Museveni, felt any qualms about signing Africa’s most draconian anti-gay legislation on February 24th, he did not show them. The law introduces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for those convicted of homosexuality and requires Ugandans to report anyone they suspect of being gay. Days earlier he had signed the “miniskirt law” banning “indecent” dress, sparking protests.Pleading and threats from donor countries, who finance more than half of Uganda’s budget, were ignored

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Egyptian politics: Musical chairs

Keeping us waiting THE abrupt resignation of Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi’s government on February 24th, after just seven months in office, perplexed not only ordinary citizens. Seasoned analysts scratched their heads. Several outgoing ministers also expressed bafflement about their sudden departure, which comes just months before expected elections for a new president and parliament that will necessitate the naming of yet another new cabinet.Many assumed it was part of an elaborate manoeuvre to pave the way for the widely anticipated announcement by Field-Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s minister of defence and the leader of last July’s coup that ousted the Muslim Brotherhood, that he will run for president.

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Algeria’s presidential elections: Standing, in one sense

APPEARANCES count for a lot in politics. Except in Algeria, it seems. When President Abdelaziz Bouteflika rebuffed critics on February 22nd by declaring he will run for a fourth five-year term, the announcement came not from the statesman himself, but in an almost offhand comment by his prime minister, Abdelmalek Sellal.The last time the 76-year-old president spoke in public was in May 2012

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