Mary Lawlor, founder and director of Front Line Defenders: “Ireland and the EU must be as strong speaking up for human rights defenders in countries where they have political and strategic interests as they are when it comes to the usual suspects,” she said. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Some 157 human rights activists were killed or died in detention in 25 countries last year, according to the advocacy group Front Line Defenders. T(...)

A vendor sells sausages prepared from horse meat at Bishkek’s Osh Bazaar: Scotsman Michael McFeat faces jail after  commenting on  the  spicy delicacy’s appearance on Facebook.      Photograph: Evan Harris/AFP/Getty Images

A British mine worker has reportedly been arrested in Kyrgyzstan after comparing its national dish to a horse’s penis on Facebook. Scotsman Michael (...)

Horse wrestling: a traditional nomad existence gave the Kyrgyz the horseback prowess associated with the most famous central Asian, Ghengis Khan. Today the national sport of Kyrgyzstan is wrestling  and a gory form of polo involving a sheep’s headless carcass. Photograph: Jonathan Korowicz

The market in Bishkek is a mayhem of spices, meat and dowdy attire. You want a lock, glue or fresh pistachios? Some “atum” ground chilli or perhaps a (...)

Post-kidnapping Kyrgyz women: a quarter of all marriages in Kyrgyzstan are believed to involve bride kidnapping. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images

Kyrgyzstan is an Islamic former Soviet republic of 5½ million people, 800,000-odd of them in Bishkek, the capital. Ethnic Kyrgyz have a history of ho(...)

Iranians walk past a banner showing a portrait of  soldiers killed by Islamic State militants during a mission in  Aleppo in Syria. Photograph: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

Iran will be invited to participate in talks in Vienna on Friday to discuss ending the conflict in Syria and establishing a framework for political tr(...)

Dubliner Mark Walsh: “My break came when I was asked to work on a documentary about Salman Rushdie”

In the mid-1980s, Dubliner Mark Walsh, following college, was “attracted to the louche cosmopolitanism of West Berlin”, preferring to live “on a wa(...)

Afghan military personnel walk near the airport during fighting between Taliban militants and Afghan security forces in Kunduz. Photograph: Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images

Afghan government forces on Thursday rallied for the first time to try to retake the city of Kunduz from Taliban fighters, engaging in heavy fighting (...)

One in eight students attending Ireland’s second-level schools last year was born overseas, figures for the 2014-2015 school year show. Almost 45,000 (...)

‘The US Supreme Court will decide before the end of this month whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry. If the court says yes, all state laws against equal marriage will fall. The outcome would represent another major step towards the vindication of LGBTI rights generally (and, as a trivial aside, would allow us to congratulate American friends on their judiciary having caught up with the plain people of Ireland). Supporters of same-sex marriages  outside the US Supreme Court on April 28th, 2015. Photograph:  MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images

The US Supreme Court will decide before the end of this month whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry. If the court says yes, a(...)

File photograph of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was convicted of 30 federal charges relating to the twin bombings  at the  Boston Marathon finishing line in 2013. Tsarnaev’s lawyers have urged the jury in the case not to grant him the death penalty.   Photograph: FBI handout/Reuters

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers have urged the jury in his trial to spare his life, portraying him as “a good kid” who was led down(...)