Islam in Egypt: Manipulating the minarets

Let’s hope they’re saying the right prayer TWO months ago worshippers at Al-Rahman, a small mosque in the Ain Shams district in eastern Cairo, turned up for prayers on Friday, the Muslim day of rest, to find the doors shut. From now on, they were told, they would have to go to one of the city’s main mosques for the most important prayers of the week. Soon after, another restriction was added when a group that met for discussions about Islam was told to stop

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The Syrian war: A pincer move

WHEN an alliance of disgruntled Sunnis led by the Islamic State (IS), an extremist group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), streaked across Iraq in June and proclaimed a caliphate in the territory it holds on both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border, Syrian rebels with a more national focus thought their day had come. Surely, they surmised, America and its Western allies would not sit by and allow to prosper a group that had grown out of al-Qaeda in Iraq and killed American soldiers during the war there in 2003? Bar the Americans getting involved militarily, the only way for them to push back IS in Syria would be to bolster the more moderate rebels there.A little more weaponry, mainly anti-tank missiles, did indeed arrive for eight vetted groups that have been supplied by a covert programme that since last year has been run by America and states in the Gulf and Europe that want to see the back of Bashar Assad, Syria’s president.

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Libya: Out of control

Why Tripoli is short of petrol THE evacuation, when it came, was not by helicopter from the embassy roof but in a convoy of cars from its front gate. Yet the effect of America’s withdrawal from Tripoli, Libya’s capital, on July 26th was almost as grim. It was a signal that for the moment international diplomacy to stem Libya’s strife had ground to a halt.The embassy had endured two weeks of rockets landing close to its fortified building near Tripoli’s international airport

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Ebola in west Africa: Death and disbelievers

WHEN Ebola came to the Kailahun district of eastern Sierra Leone in late May, the government put out a series of messages telling people how to recognise and avoid the disease—among other things by avoiding exposure to victims’ blood, sweat, saliva or to dead bodies.

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South Africa: Up the creek

A WHITE woman in the fluorescent-yellow jacket of a freelance parking attendant steps into the road, gesticulating at an empty bay outside a restaurant in Johannesburg’s rich northern suburbs, as black drivers in luxurious German cars swish past, their darkened windows sealed against the chill evening air. Few scenes illustrate more starkly the erosion of white privilege since the end of apartheid two decades ago.Inequalities remain—the median wage of whites is still four times higher than that of blacks.

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Africa: What’s the Game Plan for U.S.-Africa Summit? – Thomas-Greenfield

[allAfrica]Since President Obama invited African heads of state and government to the United States for summit during his Africa visit last year, administration officials have been scrambling to organize a meeting that could accomplish the president’s stated goal “to help launch a new chapter in U.S.-African relations.” As the first U.S.-Africa Leaders

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Central African Republic: Statement by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the Cease-fire Agreement for…

[State Department]I welcome the announcement of a cease-fire agreement for the Central African Republic between ex-Seleka, anti-Balaka, and other armed groups that was signed July 23 in Brazzaville in the presence of the Transitional Government of the Central African Republic, political parties, civil society groups, and religious leaders.

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