Thousands of people attend a demonstration  at the old port in Marseille, southern France. Photograph: Claude Paris/AP Photo

The much-vaunted harmony of France’s second city is under increasing strain

The Sule Pagoda, located in the heart of downtown Yangon, is 2,500 years old. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

On the verge of huge transformation, Burma’s former capital has a rich architectural legacy

Rohingya  have been described as “among the world’s least wanted and one of the world’s most persecuted minorities”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / THE IRISH TIMES

Stateless and unwanted Rohingya are an easy and vulnerable target

Buddhist monks in a hotel in Mandalay, Burma’s second largest city. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Controversial Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu has been stoking hatred against Muslims to poisonous effect

Bustle: Buddhist monks in Mandalay, Burma’s second-largest city. Images of Aung San Suu Kyi are everywhere, from newspapers  to bags and fridge magnets. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons
Inside Burma

The country is emerging from the shadow of a military dictatorship, but life is far from settled. This rare report from the former(...)

Journalist: James Foley films an attack on Muammar Gadafy’s home in Sirte, Libya, in 2011. Photograph:  John Cantlie/Getty

James Foley was a generous man, committed journalist and stoic hostage. His beheading by a masked fighter is part of Islamic State(...)

Libyan government says Saadi Gadafy will receive “just and fair” treatment following his extradition to Libya from Niger. Photograph: Reuters

Saadi Gadafy extradited to Tripoli to stand trial for role in suppressing protests

Ugandan entrepreneurs Cedric Babu and his wife Alison, from Northern Ireland, with their children in Kampala. Photograph: Mary Fitzgerald

Uganda’s growing middle class may not be as wealthy as it would like to seem

Visitors to Lubiri Palace, home of the Buganda kabaka, or king, in Kampala, Uganda. Photograph: Michele Sibiloni/The New York Times

There is debate about the number of middle classes there are on the continent but the reality is that the aspirational, smartphone(...)

A sign for the China Juba People’s Hospital in Juba, South Sudan. China stepped up its engagement with the newly-independent country this year. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Beijing’s interest is not simply about multibillion-dollar investment deals

South Sudanese rapper Lual D’Awol: “I’m not a politician but I’m talking about the government. Things are not moving as swiftly as we would like.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Oil-rich state lies near the bottom of almost every development index

Former vice-president of South Sudan Riek Machar at his home in Juba in November. ‘We are going through a very unpredictable period, the most unpredictable since independence,’ he says. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

There are fears that recent unrest could trigger a wider ethnic conflagration

South Africans have gathered outside the house of  Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg to sign a board of condolence. Photograph: EPA/DAI KUROKAWA

State funeral announced for December 15th with burial at ancestral home

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni (left) is welcomed by his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, at a meeting of leaders from the Southern African Development Community in Pretoria this week. Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

President insists corruption is being tackled and Uganda is not reliant on aid

Suspected al-Shabaab militants being rounded up earlier this year during an operation against the fundamentalist group in Mogadishu. Photograph: Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP/Getty Images

Group has managed sophisticated attacks elsewhere in east Africa

Life in Mogadishu: children play on an abandoned truck in front of the destroyed former parliament building. Photograph: Feisal Omar/Reuters

After decades of war, piracy and famine, and despite continuing attacks by al-Shabaab militants, the east African nation is cautio(...)

Gustav Klimt’s painting The Kiss superimposed on a building in Syria in a work by Syrian artist Tammam Azzam.

Damascus-born Tammam Azzam has named the series Syrian Museum

Social media is the peaceful weapon of choice for a plucky Syrian community

Libya’s Prime Minister Ali Zeidan places his hand on his forehead as he addresses a news conference after his release and arrival at the headquarters of the Prime Minister’s Office in Tripoli yesterday. Photograph: Reuters

The fledgling government has struggled to impose its authority

Senior al-Qaeda figure Anas al-Liby was indicted by the US for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in East Africa – one of which was the Nairobi building (above). Photograph: Antony Njuguna/Reuters

American media reports quote officials saying Libyan government was involved in the snatch operation of al-Qaeda operative

Emma Jane Geraghty of the Liberian Solidarity Group and Ifrah Ahmed, campaigner on the issue of Female Genital Mutilation at yesterday’s  Africa-Ireland Economic Conference at the Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School in Dublin. Photograph: Frank Miller

Scholarship set up in memory of murdered son of former Kenyan ambassador

Ibrihim Halawa with sisters Fatima, Omaima and Somaia. They have so far been detained in Egypt for more than six weeks. Photograph: PA

Four Irish citizens brought before Egyptian prosecutor at weekend

Karen Griffin, a member of the Passport Office, with  a sample version of the new travel document. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Passport features map of Ireland without Border

Tom Carew, chair of the Ireland-Israel Friendship League, came under a barrage of hostile comments after postings to his  Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Tom Carew criticised by pro-Israeli ‘extremists’ after social media post

Embassy couple: the Israeli ambassador to Ireland, Boaz Modai, and his wife, Nurit Tinari Modai. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

The ‘provocative’, ‘offensive’ approach of the country’s Dublin mission has drawn international media attention

Free Syrian Army fighters fire their weapons as they take cover during clashes with what activists say are government forces, in the village of Aziza, in the southern countryside of Aleppo. Photograph: Reuters

Body calls for Sharia law and is against secular and foreign-composed opposition

Kenyan soldiers combing the  the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi yesterday for militants.  Photograph: Noor Khamis/Reuters

Irish aid agency’s offices close to Westgate

A copy of the fake South African travelling passport of Samantha Lewthwaite in this handout photograph released by the Kenyan police.  Photograph: Reuters

Widow of London bomber known to be in Kenya

Female members of the “Mother Aisha” battalion sit together along a street in Aleppo’s Salaheddine district. Photograph: Loubna Mrie/Reuters

Almost half of rebels adhere to hardline ideologies

Smoke rises from behind a building in Jobar, Damascus. Most of the 100,000-plus killed since early 2011 have died by what could be described as more conventional means: including aerial bombardment, shelling and sniper fire. Photograph: Msallam Abd Albaset/Reuters

UN report only a glimpse of the horror and brutality on the ground

Mr Gimore: the Damascus attack represented “a new low in [an] endless litany of horrors” during the two-year conflict in Syria which has resulted in more than 100,000 dead and more than six million displaced.

Calls on UN Security Council to refer Syria to International Criminal Court

Ebraheem Halawa with sisters Fatima, Omaima and Somaia will be held in Cairo for 15  more days.

Siblings in custody since unrest last month

A Free Syrian Army fighter walks through a damaged street in Aleppo’s Sheikh Saeed neighbourhood.

Plea in open letter to ‘Lancet’ to allow full humanitarian access

Photograph: Patrick Swan/Design Pics/Getty

With more than 20 Irish Ambassadors taking up new posts in the coming weeks, seven diplomats about to embark on key missions expla(...)

Irish siblings (left to right) Ibrihim Halawa with sisters Fatima, Omaima and Somaia.

Omaima, Fatima, Soumaia and Ebraheem have been in custody since stand-off at Cairo’s al-Fath mosque

Ebraheem Halawa and his  sisters Fatima, Omaima and Soumaia have been in custody since they were rounded up with scores of others after a stand-off at Cairo’s al-Fath mosque earlier this month. Photograph: PA

Tánaiste expresses concern at reports of Egyptian inquiry into four unnamed Irish

The Irish-Egyptian Halawa siblings, from left, Ebraheem,  Fatima, Omaima and Somaia. Photograph: PA
The Cairo four

The Irish-Egyptian Halawa siblings became increasingly politicised during a summer holiday in Egypt, and have now been detained by(...)

 Nusayba, sister of the Halawa siblings, outside the Department of Foreign Affairs calling for the release of her sisters and brother. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Halawa siblings rounded up during unrest in capital

A Syrian refugee boy sits on the ground at the Domiz refugee camp in the northern Iraqi province of Dohuk. The number of Syrian children forced to flee their devastated homeland reached 1 million this week.  Photograph: Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters

Figure a ‘shameful milestone’, says UN

Lebanese and Syrian civilians take part in a candlelight vigil in solidarity with Syrian civilians killed by a gas attack in the suburbs of Damascus, in front of the offices of the UN headquarters in Beirut. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Greater intervention could follow if regime found to be behind massacre

Zekia Abdelghari joined protesters outside the Egyptian embassy in Dublin yesday protesting at the reported detention of four Irish citizens  in Cairo. Photograph: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

‘Our primary concern is their welfare,’ says Gilmore of four detained siblings

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton talks to the media during an emergency EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels yesterday. Photograph: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

Foreign ministers agree to curbing trade but insist aid efforts will continue

A man and his son drive past a building once used as offices for the Freedom and Justice Party that was linked to the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo. The Egyptian police yesterday arrested Mohammed Badie, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, hours after a court ordered the release of former President Hosni Mubarak. Photograph: Bryan Denton/The New York Times

Tánaiste says no details yet about charges brought against the four Irish citizens

The Halawa siblings, Ibrahim, Fatima, Omaima and Somaia

Journalist detained with Irish siblings describes conditions in prison

 Ibrahim Halawa with his sisters Fatima, Omaima and Soumaya, who have been detained  at the security forces headquarters in the Tora district of Cairo. Photogrzaph: PA Wire

Diplomat meets four siblings at security forces headquarters in Tora district of Cairo

Pro-government supporters clash with friends of the Halawa family as they gather at the Egyptian embassy in Dublin yesterday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Irish diplomats visit security facilities in vain attempt to locate Halawa siblings

The four siblings who were caught up in the mosque crises in Cairio. From left  Ibrihim Halawa with his sisters Fatima, Omaima and Somaia, who were among hundreds of people forced to leave the Al Fateh mosque in Cairo by Egyptian security forces.

The four Irish citizens are said to be in good health

Medical personnel help a pro-Morsi demonstrator at Al-Nour mosque on Ramses Square. Photograph: Bryan Denton/The New York Times

Tens of thousands take to streets in defiance of army’s state of emergency

Heroes and villains: a wall hanging of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, on sale in Alawite-dominated Harbiye, close to Turkey’s border with Syria. Photograph: Mary Fitzgerald

For the family of Abdullah Comert, a 22-year-old killed during protests in Turkey this summer, the increasingly sectarian nature o(...)

In Kayseri, where Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AK Party’s much-vaunted ‘democratic conservatism’ and its strong pro-business approach have proved popular with the city’s pious capitalists, most of whom have made their fortunes from textiles and furniture manufacturing.

Conservative heartland benefits from strong pro-business policy of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party

Riot police guard the entrance of Gezi Park as anti-government protesters shout slogans at Taksim square in central Istanbul.

The big rallies may be over but unease at the PM’s growing power still lingers

Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah addresses supporters in southern Beirut via a video link during iftar, the breaking of fast meal, last Friday. Photograph: Reuters/Sharif Karim

Hizbullah’s role in the Syrian conflict marks a departure for the Lebanese Shia militant group

Mo Ibrahim: the Sudanese-born entrepreneur who created Celtel, the first pan-African mobile phone network

He became a billionaire by creating the first pan-African mobile phone network. Now Mo Ibrahim is giving away millions in an effor(...)

A woman walks over shattered glass, past damaged cars near the site of an explosion last week in Beirut’s southern suburbs. Photograph: Khalil Hassan/Reuters

Gulfs between Shias, Sunnis and refugees are widening over the Syrian crisis

Supporters of Lebanon’s Hizbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah near the site of an explosion in Beirut earlier this month. Photograph: Reuters/Khalil Hassan

Lebanese request comes as foreign ministers meet to discuss designation

With an empty coffin representing some of those killed on Monday, pro-Mohamed Morsi supporters rally in Cairo yesterday.

Party has found itself centre stage in the machinations that have followed the removal of president Mohamed Morsi

Egyptian army soldiers wear gas masks before clashes with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi at Republican Guard headquarters in Nasr City, a suburb of Cairo, yesterday. Photograph: Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Analysis: Egypt has mutated from poster boy for free elections to a ballot-failed nation

Young Palestinians taking part in a military-style graduation ceremony organised by Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip. Hamas, a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot, will be considering its options after recent events in Egypt. Photograph: Suhaib Salem/Reuters

Changes a severe setback to Islamists, while UAE, Saudis and Israelis relieved

Islamist protesters, one with a picture of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, show bloodied hands after troops opened fire in Nasr city, Cairo. Photograph: AP

A movement with a long memory of repression, and a long history of survival

Eamon Gilmore: “I don’t think anyone who values democracy can be very happy about what is in effect a military coup in Egypt.” Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Language used by Tánaiste to describe ousting of Morsi stronger than that of other governments

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood stage a rally in support of Mohamed Morsi in Cairo earlier this week. Photograph: Yusuf Sayman/The New York Times

Amid competing narratives, there are questions over where Islamists sit in Egypt’s political order

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. It is not clear why he  picked Ireland as a possible destination. Photograph: Reuters, the Guardian

Letter was one of 21 requests to states across Europe, Asia and South America

An employee distributes newspapers, with a photograph of US former  spy agency contractor Edward Snowden seen on a page, at an underground walkway in central Moscow yesterday. The headline reads: “Snowden will be nominated for Nobel”. Photograph: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

Hopes of escaping prosecution fade as asylum requests rejected

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore fears EU citizens who take up arms in Syria could return radicalised.

Up to 20 from Ireland estimated to have joined uprising against Assad

The accession as emir of Qatar of Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the youngest leader in the Middle East, will have repercussions far beyond the tiny monarchy’s borders given its rise as a regional powerhouse. Photograph: Reuters/Fadi Al-Assaad

Sheikh Tamin becomes leader of country that punches above its weight economically and diplomatically

The circumstances surrounding the death of Hisham Habbash remain unclear given the difficulties of obtaining reliable information from inside the country. His family, who live in Dublin, learned of his death on Friday through a post on Facebook.

Libyan-born man shot dead during fighting between rebels and regime forces

Palmyra is among the six ancient sites in Syria that have been added to Unesco’s list of endangered world heritage sites as the ongoing conflict takes its toll on the archeological wonders of the country, in addition to claiming many thousands of human lives. Photograph: Francisco Lozano Alcobendas

UN cultural agency says are ‘of outstanding universal value for humanity as a whole’

Iranian president-elect Hassan Rohani speaks to the media following a visit to the Khomeini mausoleum in Tehran yesterday. Reuters/Fars News/Seyed Hassan Mousavi

Analysis: election of Hassan Rohani raises hopes of more pragmatic policies at home and abroad

The Turkish Minister for EU Affairs Egemen Bagis. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

Demonstrations have spread as a result of anger sparked by police use of force in dealing with a protest in Istanbul last month

Protesters shout anti-government slogans as they gather for a demonstration at Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, yesterday. Photograph: Osman Orsal

“There are those who cannot stomach Turkey becoming greater and stronger,” claims PM

A protestor  in Taksim Square yesterday. Photograph:  Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Turkish PM Erdogan in audience as Stefan Rule makes remarks

Mixed reception: supporters of the Turkish prime minister,  Recep Tayyip Erdogan,  wave the national flag on Friday as Erdogan returns to Istanbul from a tour of North Africa. At the same time, thousands of people protested at  Taksim Square, in the centre of Istanbul. Photograph:  Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

What started as a protest about the development of an Istanbul park is now an anti-government movement, and the scene is set for(...)

An anti-government protester raises a poster depicting Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan during a demonstration in central Ankara yesterday. Photograph: Umit Bektas/Reuters

The people of Kasimpasa, Erdogan’s own district, are divided over their famous son

Anti-government protesters shout slogans and wave Turkey’s national flags during a demonstration in central Ankara. Photograph: Umit Bektas/Reuters.

Erdogan vows to press ahead with plans to redevelop Taksim Square in Istanbul

Protesters sing and shout slogans during a demonstration at Taksim Square in Istanbul on June 5, 2013. Photograph: Reuters

After more than a week of demonstrations, the epicentre of the protests is starting to take on an air of permanence

A dancer holding a gas mask performs in Istanbul’s Taksim Square yesterday as tens of thousands of Turks joined protests against prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rule. Photograph: AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis

Two major trade unions add weight to protests against prime minister Erdogan’s rule

A combination photo of a Turkish riot policeman using tear gas against Ceyda Sungur, “the woman in red”, as people protest against the destruction of trees in a park  in Taksim Square in central Istanbul.   Photographs: Osman Orsal/Reuters

Police officer fires pepper spray at Istanbul academic Ceyda Sungur

Friends and former colleagues of  human rights worker Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja,  protesting in Dublin over his imprisonment in Bahrain following the repression of pro-democracy protests. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Tom Collins resigned over cancellation of ethics conference in aftermath of state crackdown on pro-democracy protesters

Prof Cathal Kelly (far right), who rejects accusations the RCSI’s Bahrain campus is not fit for accreditation by the Irish Medical Council due to abuses that have taken place in Bahraini hospitals where RCSI students receive training

College rejects claims that Bahrain outpost is not fit for accreditation

Rights group highlights abuses at RCSI-affiliated hospitals

Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn arriving at the African Union headquarters – the challenge today is how to realise “Africa’s socio-economic emancipation”, he said. Photograph: Tiksa Negeri/Reuters

Many question body’s ability to tackle widespread poverty and inequality

Syrian refugees wait in line for a daily bread ration distributed by the World Food Program at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. Photograph: Lynsey Addario/The New York Times

Influx testing neighbouring states

Syrian opposition figure Rafif Jouejati. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Non-violent Syrian opposition network now backs call for military support

 Former prime minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland: met more than a dozen young people from Northern Ireland in Dublin yesterday

Elders told serious challenges remain

Former US president Jimmy Carter and former president Mary Robinson at the Department of Foreign Affairs Iveagh House during a visit hosted by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Middle East peace process discussed at Dublin meeting of the Elders

Former Irish president Mary Robinson and former US president Jimmy Carter. Photograph: Jeff Moore/The Elders

Our independence is so much of what we are - Mary Robinson

Saadi Gadafy, son of Libyan leader Muammar Gadafy. Two of his children were educated at the International School of the Martyrs. Photograph: EPA/Filippo Monteforte

Former staff criticise Irish Government for continuing to facilitate Leaving Certificate curriculum at International school

Members of armed revolutionaries stage a protest in front of the Libyan Justice Ministry in Tripoli. Photograph: Reuters/Ismail Zitouny

Some see the move as an abuse of civil rights, others as a necessary evil

Alaa Ciymeh (26), a Jordanian-born man who grew up in Ireland has been killed fighting with rebel forces in Syria

Circumstances surrounding the death of Alaa Ciymeh (26) remain unclear

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamonn Gilmore with Nora Owens and Joe Costello TD. Photograph: David Sleator

New international development policy aims to ‘open doors’ to future trade

European troops training members of the Malian military. Eight Irish Defence Forces personnel are participating in the EU mission to train Mali’s army to fight militants in the country’s north. Photograph: Mary Fitzgerald

Will the EU training programme be able to bring the country’s military up to scratch?

Al Gore told his Dublin audience of more than 350 delegates from 60 countries: “Even with glaring evidence [of extreme weather patterns] people still do not connect the dots of climate change. We have to win the conversation about climate change. When you hear denial, speak up.”

Nobel Peace Prize winner challenges climate change deniers

Former US vice-president Al Gore praised Ireland as a “world leader” in tackling hunger and poor nutrition. Photograph: Eric Luke

Tánaiste to push for greater focus on links between climate change, hunger and poor nutrition

Ireland signs a three-year € 21m partnership agreement with the UN World Food Programme in Dublin Castle yesterday. From left: Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the UN World Food Programme; Minister for Agriculture, Food and Development Simon Coveney and Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

President Higgins addresses delegates from 60 countries at Dublin Castle

French soldiers in Mali on patrol at Gao's port, near the Niger river, on Thursday. The UN expressed concern over reprisal attacks against ethnic Tuaregs and Arabs in Mali, where a French-led intervention recently routed Islamist rebels. Photograph: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

The jihadist experiment in governance in Mali last year amounted to ‘10 months of hell’ for the city’s inhabitants and revived ag(...)

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