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Bassel, a photojournalist from Homs, has documented what he calls the “intentional destruction” of his city, the third largest in Syria, over two years of siege and battles. He says he has noticed a pattern: Certain buildings with no military value have been targeted. (More…)

I often wonder if Toby Young really exists. I mean he could be real, or he could be a piece of advanced satire. It’s hard to say these days. It may be plausible that he does exist, but somehow it’s hard to believe. (More…)

Right now, the American media is dominated by discussion of Michael Wolff’s forthcoming book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. Towards the end of the incendiary excerpt published in New York Magazine, Katie Walsh, Deputy Chief Staff until March, 2017, is quoted saying that working with the president was “‘like trying to figure out what a child wants.’” (More…)

It should come as no surprise as a secularist, atheist and a communist that I am opposed to the religious theocracy that currently governs Iran. The governing theocrats hijacked the popular revolution of 1979 led by communists, workers and students. (More…)

In an environment of pervasive media coverage of violent crime perpetrated by immigrants (despite a significant statistical decrease in crime from 2007 to 2008), the Northern League (LN) has made political hay out of initiatives to bolster security, including its controversial initiative to found and promote volunteer neighborhood security patrols. (More…)

As world powers push ahead with diplomatic attempts to end the war in Syria, any potential political settlements must address the key component of power distribution, according to Imad Salamey, associate professor of political science at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. (More…)

One hears a lot of talk these days about the existential threat to Republican Party posed by Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, Roy Moore and a host of other figures who, in another political season, would have been considered well beyond the lunatic fringe. But claims about the imminent demise of the Republicans are, to say the least, overblown. (More…)

When I walked into the Giant Sand show on Boxing Day, midway into the band’s first number, I was taken aback. Howe Gelb, the group’s sole permanent member, is a man of many moods, with performances that vary accordingly. But this time he seemed more interested in playing guitar than in playing himself. The music was still languid, but ferociously so. (More…)

Inflammatory statements by Italian politicians fall on fertile ground. Recent surveys indicate that Italians dislike and fear Roma, often on the basis of little or no experience with them. At the heart of Italy’s treatment of Roma is racism — the entrenched conviction, often unconsciously held and acted upon in ignorance, that Roma are strange, biological others who do not belong in Italy and whose presence in the country is unfortunate. (More…)

Few dub imprints make an aesthetic difference like ZamZam. Reconstituting the reggae-derived idiom in its own image, Raz Mesinai’s Underground Producers Alliance blog spoke to the Portland label about keeping the genre alive and on schedule. (More…)

BERLIN – On religious holidays, Sadiqu al-Mousllie, a devout Muslim who has been living in Germany for most of his life, closes his dental clinic and takes his children out of school so they can attend mosque together. (More…)

Russians who reside in England are agreeably impressed by the fact that the English political world and English society of today show cordial appreciation of the actual progress of Russia and of her culture in general. They are, moreover, deeply touched by the warm recognition of the efforts of Russia to do her duty by her allies in the present war. (More…)