Monday, May 30, 2016


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The Hidden Dangers Of The Fight Against Islamic State

Even if Islamic State is defeated quickly in Fallujah, there is a risk that sectarian tension could be inflamed further in the process. Defeating IS militarily is just the first step toward healing Iraq's and Syria's sectarian wounds and ensuring that another, similar group does not emerge.


Russia First Person: Anna Kondratyeva, Veterinarian

"I believe that animals are the best barometer of a society's well-being, of its economic and social health…I'm not always happy with what is happening in Russia. But to solve our bigger problems, we should start by improving the little things around us. Small deeds can change the world." More

Video The Daily Vertical: The Cost Of War

Russia is suing to recover a loan it granted to the regime of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, just months before he was ousted by a popular uprising. The strategy is a long shot. More

The Briefing

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In Focus


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Tajikistan Police Incinerate Cache Of Illicit Drugsi
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May 27, 2016
Police have destroyed a large cache of illegal drugs in Tajikistan. On May 27, the head of the country's drug enforcement agency helped incinerate over 370 kilograms of narcotics, including more than 16 kilograms of heroin. (RFE/RL's Tajik Service)
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Video Tajikistan Police Incinerate Cache Of Illicit Drugs

Police have destroyed a large cache of illegal drugs in Tajikistan. On May 27, the head of the country's drug enforcement agency helped incinerate over 370 kilograms of narcotics, including more than 16 kilograms of heroin. (RFE/RL's Tajik Service)
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Video Politicians Join Activists To Mourn Transgender Death In Peshawar

Pakistanis gathered to mourn a transgender person who was shot and killed in the northern city of Peshawar. The person, named Alisha, was shot eight times by unidentified gunmen on May 21 and died in a Peshawar hospital on May 25. (RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal)
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Video Belgrade Property Development Sparks Mass Protest

There was anger on the streets of the Serbian capital, Belgrade, over a controversial property development on the city's waterfront. Protesters on May 25 accused officials of sending masked gangs to demolish buildings to make way for the multibillion-euro project. (RFE/RL's Balkan Service)
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Video Georgians Celebrate Independence Day

Thousands of people crowded into the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, to celebrate 25 years of independence from the Soviet Union. (RFE/RL's Georgian Service)
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Video RFE/RL Journalist Ismayilova Walks Free From Azerbaijani Prison

RFE/RL journalist Khadija Ismayilova has been released from an Azerbaijani prison. She had already been jailed for 537 days on what press-freedom groups and international lawyers called politically-motivated charges. (RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service)
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Video Taliban Bomb Kabul As New Leader Announced

Taliban militants marked the announcement of their new leader with a deadly suicide attack in Kabul. (RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan)
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Video Macedonian Protesters Spray Parliament Gates, Police Question Activists

Macedonia's parliament was the latest target for antigovernment protesters, as some were later called in for police questioning. On May 24, Several used toy water guns to spray paint on the gates of parliament and other government buildings, in what activists call their "Colorful Revolution."
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Video Georgia 'Huge Step Closer' To NATO As Drills Conclude

A Georgian unit joins NATO's rapid response force at the close of military exercises, hailed by the country's defense minister as a ''huge step'' closer towards the alliance. (RFE/RL's Georgian Service)
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Video Refugee Uptick In Belgrade

Volunteers provided food, clothes, and shoes to refugees in central Belgrade -- amid indications that people smugglers are finding routes around the fences constructed to stop them. (RFE/RL's Balkan Service)
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Video Serbs Protest Journalist Sackings

Protesters said the dismissals of journalists at a public TV broadcaster in northern Serbia were politically motivated, following electoral gains by the country's governing party. (RFE/RL's Balkan Service)
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Video 'Puppet Politicians' Behind Bars In Skopje

Macedonians made puppet effigies of politicians they want prosecuted for alleged wiretapping, and put them behind bars -- as nightly protests continued in Skopje. (RFE/RL's Balkan Service)
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Video Referendum Bolsters President's Power In Tajikistan

Tajik authorities said constitutional amendments that allow President Emomali Rahmon to strengthen his grip on power have been approved in a referendum.
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Video Moldovan LGBT March Ends After Attacks By Antigay Demonstrators

Gay-rights activists in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, clashed with a counterdemonstration of Orthodox Christian and traditional-family activists. Police said they were forced to stop the march due to security concerns, and the LGBT march participants were bused away for their own safety.
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Video Pakistani City Struggles To Cope With Rat Infestation

The northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar continues to struggle with an infestation of rats. The problem has become so bad that a hospital has opened a special ward to deal with rat bites, with over 350 cases reported in May alone. (RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal)
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Video Kyrgyz Broadcaster Defends LGBT Coverage

Kyrgyzstan's national public broadcaster defended programming that featured lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues. It came as protesters marched on May 19 to denounced media coverage of the LGBT communities. (RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service)
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Video Pakistan Suffers Blistering Heatwave

Pakistanis struggled to stay cool as temperatures rose above 45 degrees Celsius. Officials warned the early heatwave could lead to rapid melting of glaciers in the mountainous Kashmir region. (RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal)
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Video Macedonia Protests Continue As Government Cancels Snap Election

Macedonia's embattled government canceled early parliamentary elections scheduled for June 5. It came as protests in the capital, Skopje, continued on May 18. For more than a month demonstrators have been demanding the resignation of the country's President. (RFE/RL's Balkan Service)
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Video Ukrainians Remember Victims Of Tatar Deportation From Crimea

Ukrainians gathered in Kyiv on the evening of May 18 to commemorate the mass deportation of Tatars from Crimea in 1944. Some 200,000 people from the minority group were sent to Central Asia on the orders of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. (RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service)
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Video Georgian, U.S. Tanks Train In NATO Exercise Near Tbilisi

Day eight of the joint NATO-Georgian military exercise known as "Noble Partner" featured live tank drills. At the Vaziani military base near Tbilisi on May 18, Georgian troops in Soviet-era T-72 tanks trained alongside their NATO counterparts in U.S. Abrams tanks. (RFE/RL's Current Time TV)
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Video Locusts Destroy Large Area Of Crops In Southern Tajikistan

Tajik farmers in Farkhor, near the border with Afghanistan, said on May 18 that they had lost hundreds of hectares of wheat, watermelon, vegetables and other crops, due to an infestation of locusts. They said that the government had not provided funds to fight the pests as in past years.
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Video Students, Artists Mark Anniversary Of Crimean Tatar Deportation

Students at Kyiv's National University marked the anniversary of the 1944 mass deportation of Crimean Tatars by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. While in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, artists commemorated the anniversary. (RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service)
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Video Policeman Killed, Several Injured In Pakistan Double Bombing

Two blasts in the northern Pakistani city of Peshawar killed one police officer and wounded 18 other people. The wounded included other police officers, rescue workers, and members of the media. (RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal)
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Video Macedonian Activists Use Paint Slingshot To Target Government Building

Antigovernment protesters in Macedonia escalated their demonstrations in Skopje. On May 17, they used a giant slingshot to target the government headquarters with paint bombs, in the latest of nightly protests. (RFE/RL's Balkan Service)
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Video 'Natural Family' Congress Opens In Tbilisi, Countering LGBT Actions

The 10th World Congress of Families has started in Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, bringing together Christian activists from around the world. The WCF was founded in the United States with the aim of protecting what organizers call "the natural family based on a marriage between a man and a woman."
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Video LGBT Activists March With Politicians In Bosnia And Kosovo

In Sarajevo and Pristina, activists marked the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. Kosovo's President Hashim Thaçi marched with LGBT support groups, as did the U.S. and British ambassadors, and a vice president of the European Parliament. (RFE/RL's Balkan Service)
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Video Power To The People: Hazaras Hold Mass Protest In Kabul Over Electricity Project

The Afghan capital, Kabul, was flooded by tens of thousands of protesters from the country's Shi'ite Hazara minority. They are outraged that a major power project won't be going through the province of Bamiyan. (RFE/RL's Afghan Service)
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Video Pakistan's Pagans Celebrate Spring From Mountain Perch

Sheltered by rugged mountains and treacherous roads, Pakistan's ancient pagan Kalash tribe celebrates spring. (RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal)
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Video Protests For And Against Bosnian Serb Government In Banja Luka

Thousands of people demonstrated in Banja Luka, calling for the president of the Bosnian Serb entity, Milorad Dodik, and the government, to resign due to the poor economic situation and widespread corruption. Meanwhile, thousands of Dodik supporters rallied elsewhere in the city.
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Video Four Countries Launch $1 Billion Power Project In Tajikistan

Leaders of four countries launched a major power transmission project in Tajikistan that aims to supply energy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. They used golden wrenches to tighten bolts on a transmission tower about 70 kilometers west of the Tajik capital, Dushanbe. (RFE/RL's Tajik Service)
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Video Floods Destroy About 1,000 Homes In Dushanbe Suburbs

Heavy rains triggered floods in the suburbs of Tajikistan's capital, Dushanbe on May 12. Residents watched helplessly as the rising waters submerged roads, fields, and houses. (RFE/RL's Tajik Service)
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Video Georgia Hosts Military Exercises To Bolster NATO Cooperation

Joint military exercises with U.S., British, and Georgian troops have begun near Tbilisi. The formal opening ceremony on May 11 included a mass air drop of paratroopers. The exercises, named "Noble Partner 2016", are being held through May 26. (RFE/RL's Georgian Service)
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Video Son of Former Pakistani PM Thanks Rescuers

The son of a former Pakistani prime minister has left Afghanistan after being held by Al-Qaeda militants for three years. Ali Haider Gilani, the son of ex-premier Yusuf Raza Gilani, was freed in a joint operation by Afghan and U.S. commandos near the border with Pakistan on May 10.
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Video Ghani In Tajikistan For Hydroelectric Launch

The Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, begins a two-day visit to Tajikistan as a major hydroelectric project is due to launch. (RFE/RL's Tajik Service)
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Video Parades, Flags and Stalin -- Victory Day In Former U.S.S.R.

Parades were held, flags waved, and Stalin celebrated -- as the anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II was marked across the former Soviet Union.
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Video Donetsk Parade May Violate Ukraine Peace Deal

A Victory Day parade in Donetsk by Russia-backed separatists featuring tanks, artillery, and rocket systems may violate the Minsk peace agreement, according to the OSCE. (RFE/RL's Current Time TV)
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Video Funeral For Assassinated Pakistani Activist

Pakistani human rights activist Khurram Zaki, a vocal critic of Islamic extremism, was laid to rest after being gunned down in Karachi. (RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal)
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Video Three Arrested Near Red Square In Latest Putin Mask Protest

Performance artist Roman Roslovtsev has inspired others to protest against Russian laws restricting public demonstrations by wearing a mask of President Vladimir Putin. But on May 5, he was met by police as he exited the metro station near Red Square, before he could even attempt to protest.
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Video Macedonians Protest Alleged Cover-Up Of Student Killing

Macedonia's ''Colorful Revolution'' protests continued, with opposition supporters marking the fifth anniversary of a police killing that they say the authorities sought to cover up.
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Video U.S.-Moldovan Military Exercises Begin

Moldovan and U.S. troops began military exercises at a base near the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, aimed at strengthening inter-operability between the two countries' armed forces.
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Video Jailed Iranian Activist Given Press Freedom Award In Absentia

On the eve of World Press Freedom Day, Reporters Without Borders honored imprisoned Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi at an event in Paris.
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Video Crowds Greet Pakistani PM's Speech In Bannu

Security was tight as large crowds gathered in the Pakistani city of Bannu for a visit by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. People flooded the city center to learn about his government's plans to develop the region. (RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal)
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Video 'Martians' And 'Free Insults' At Absurd Parade In Russia

Wacky costumes and weird signs were on display at a parade in the Russian city of Novosibirsk. Artists and others gathered for the May 1 event to express their creative freedom and absurd sense of humor. Local police, however, were not amused. (RFE/RL's Current Time TV)
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Video Kazakh Protests Spread As President Warns of Social Unrest

Protests in Kazakhstan against the planned privatization of agricultural land spread to other cities, as the president warned of the consequences of social unrest. Protesters in the city of Kyzylorda confronted local officials at a theater on May 1.
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Video New Kyrgyz Maximum Security Prison Opens In Bishkek

Kyrgyzstan has opened a new maximum security prison in the capital, Bishkek. It took about nine years to complete. The government demanded an acceleration in construction after a prison break at an older nearby facility last October. (RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service)
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Video Police Disperse Kazakhs Protesting Land Privatization

More people gathered in Kazakhstan to protest against a government decision to privatize agricultural land. In the coastal town of Aktau on the Caspian Sea, police intervened and forced people to leave. (RFE/RL's Kazakh Service)
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Video Kazakh Police Break Up Activists' News Conference

Police in Almaty, Kazakhstan shut down a news conference called by activists who were discussing plans for protests in the city. About a dozen activists were detained when police intervened on April 29 outside Almaty's Press Club. (RFE/RL's Kazakh Service)
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Video Civilians Die As Shells Rip Apart Cars Near Donetsk

Ukrainian government and Russia-backed separatist forces traded accusations about responsibility for a deadly shelling of civilians on a roadway near Donestsk. Local authorities reported at least five people died near a checkpoint in the separatist-controlled area.
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Video Activists Call For Belarusian Nuclear Project To Be Scrapped

Activists in Minsk protested against the ongoing construction of a nuclear power plant in Belarus, on the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. Protesters used the annual "Path of Chernobyl" demonstration on April 26 to speak out against the plant being built in Astravets.
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Video Belgrade Site For Refugees Demolished

A site in Belgrade that provided help to migrants and refugees has been demolished as part of a $3 billion waterfront development. Some of the refugees in the Serbian capital witnessed the dismantling of "Miksaliste" site by construction workers, who were accompanied by police.
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Video Macedonia's "Colorful" Protests Enter Third Week

Thousands marched again in the center of Skopje on April 26, with some setting fire to pictures of President Gjorge Ivanov. The protesters are calling this a "colorful revolution," and again some of them hurled paint at government buildings -- this time the justice ministry.

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Photogallery Photos Of The Week

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond.

Video In Breakaway Abkhazia, An Alternative World Cup

Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia is hosting a World Cup in soccer -- but it's not the tournament that the world knows well.

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May 25, 2016

Ismayilova Freed From Prison But Intent On Justice

Elated but defiant, RFE/RL journalist Khadija Ismayilova walked out of prison in Baku today -- and vowed to take the Azerbaijani government to court to hold it accountable for concocting a case against her on political grounds.
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May 12, 2016

Video UPDATE: Crimea Realities Chief Says Ban Won't Stop Website

The chief of RFE/RL’s Crimea news website says that neither the website’s editors nor RFE/RL was warned of claims against the site before Russia's internet regulator began to block access to it.
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April 26, 2016

Video Nurgazy Dreams Big... And Wins (A Webby Award)

A feature video produced by RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service has won the prestigious Webby People’s Voice Award.
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