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A blog devoted to on-the-ground reporting around the world.

Libya opposition's challenge to Muslim Brotherhood reminiscent of Egypt showdown

With charges pending against the alleged killers of US Ambassador Chris Stevens, militias show who's really in charge.
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Libyan protesters display documents they have ransacked from the offices of Muslim Brotherhood-backed Party of Justice and Construction, in the Libyan capital Tripoli on July 27, 2013. Protesters attacked offices of Libya's Muslim Brotherhood as demonstrations sparked by a wave of assassinations in the eastern city of Benghazi turned violent. (Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images)

Correspondent Bill Wheeler was awarded the first annual GroundTruth fellowship for field reporting on emerging democracies in the Middle East. In this running blog series for GroundTruth, Wheeler goes inside the militias that are still holding sway in the chaotic aftermath of Libya’s civil war.

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Sound Byte: Pope Francis changes the conversation about homosexuality and the church

Pope Francis' news conference on the flight home from Brazil this week made headlines - and sparked a new discussion.

 

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

After Pope Francis held an 80-minute conference with journalists on his return flight from Brazil on Monday, this quote made headlines around the world, with everyone scrambling to unravel what it means for the Catholic Church.

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Hip-hop can't stop, won't stop in Burma

As Myanmar opens up to the rest of the world, foreign influence — in the form of hip-hop culture — has already taken hold.
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Burmese hip-hop artist Ash poses in front of graffiti art in Yangon, Myanmar. (Van Patrick King/GlobalPost)

YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar’s reforms over the last two years are opening the nation to the wider world, experts say, allowing the once-cloistered nation to experience greater foreign influence as it eases restrictions on its people.

But throughout Yangon, from political graffiti tags on walls, to teens breakdancing in clubs, to the throbbing sounds of Burmese rap coming from the open windows of passing cars, cultural exchange in the form of hip-hop culture is already alive and well.

In a cafe in downtown Burma, 21-year-old rappers Ash and X-Box explain the challenges that came with creating hip-hop culture in a military dictatorship. Part of an underground scene here in Yangon, their clothing would fit in seamlessly in any hip-hop concert or video in the United States.

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Christians keeping the faith in Pakistan despite 'intimidation and violence'

Amid ongoing persecution, what remains of Lahore’s Christian minority keeps tradition alive on Sunday mornings.
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Pakistani Christian devotees gather around a Crucifix as they attend a Good Friday service at the Saint Francis Church in Lahore on March 29, 2013. (Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images)

LAHORE, Pakistan — It was a strange, almost jarring sight to see a group of adults chatting and sipping tea outside in the broad, muggy daylight last Sunday morning. The fasting month of Ramadan – or Ramzan as it is known here in Pakistan – is well underway, which means that even in Lahore, a city famous for its food, public eating and drinking, has come to a halt during daylight hours. Ever since former President Zia ul-Haq’s 1981 Ehtram-e-Ramzan (respect for Ramadan) Ordinance, even the country’s non-Muslim minority population is expected to refrain from public consumption.

But hidden inside the heavily guarded grounds of the Cathedral Church of the Resurrection in central Lahore, Pakistani families and a handful of foreigners gathered around a table of biscuits after the end of the Anglican service. Rajil Joshua, a restaurant manager, tells me that his family has been attending services at the Cathedral for over 80 years.

“Coming here is a tradition within my family,” he explains, noting that his grandfather attended the same English service throughout his entire life.

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Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood heads back underground, starts 'Tahrir 2.0'

After the military ouster of Mohamed Morsi and the arrest of several senior leaders, the Brotherhood is playing a familiar role: pariah.
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Supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi hold a sit-in outside Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque on July 25, 2013 in Cairo. (FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)

CAIRO, Egypt – Under a waxing crescent moon, we pushed through the crowd of Muslim Brotherhood supporters at the Raba’a al-Adawiya Mosque, still camped out by the tens of thousands in a courtyard and in the nearby warrens of alleys and side streets.

The mosque has been transformed into the epicenter of a protest movement against the military’s decision to oust and detain Mohamed Morsi, the first-ever democratically elected president in the nation’s 5,000-year history and a political leader who emerged from the once-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

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Returning to Cairo — and an Egypt divided

The military's reassertion of power over the Muslim Brotherhood has polarized Egypt. GlobalPost's Charles Sennott returns to Cairo during a particularly turbulent time.
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A supporter of Egypt's ousted president Mohamed Morsi is held back by riot policemen during a rally on the road leading to Cairo's Tahrir Square on July 17, 2013. Egypt's new government is faced with a raft of daunting challenges including restoring security as angry loyalists of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi rallied against the military-backed administration. (Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images)

Deadly clashes that killed seven and wounded more than 260 on Monday night are the product of an increasingly divided Egypt, two weeks after the military intervened against President Mohamed Morsi to the outrage of the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters.

On Wednesday, thousands of Morsi supporters gathered in Cairo for a "Day of Steadfastness" after the military formed an interim cabinet that included no Brotherhood members while Morsi remains under arrest at an unknown location.

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Getting Ready: Workers unionize in Myanmar

Kyu Kyu Win was fired after organizing for better working conditions at Esquire Shoe Factory, even though citizens have legally been allowed to organize since October 2011.

 

YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar is changing. In June, the International Labor Organization lifted all restrictions on trade and investment in the country. The Myanmar Investment Commission says foreign investment in the country is five times greater than what it was last year. As the demand for labor increases, workers are beginning to organize for better working conditions.

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Launching 'A Burmese Journey'

On Monday, GlobalPost launches a Special Report produced by 20 young reporters who gathered in Myanmar last month as part of an ambitious journalism fellowship carried out in partnership with the Open Hands Initiative.

 

YANGON, Myanmar — A group of 20 top, young journalists — 11 from Myanmar and 9 from the United States — set out on a series of journeys last month through a country undergoing dramatic change.

They formed five teams chosen for a highly competitive reporting fellowship which was put together as a partnership between GlobalPost and the New York City-based Open Hands Initiative. 

One team set out to navigate the great capitals of Myanmar, also known as Burma.

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With Egypt divided about its future, US government emerges as a common foe

Conflict in the streets boils down to supporters of deposed President Morsi versus supporters of the military that removed him from power. Many on both sides think they see President Obama behind the scenes.
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An Egyptian man holds a sign against US President Barack Obama as opponents of ousted president Mohamed Morsi gather to break their fast with the iftar meal outside the presidential palace in Cairo on July 12, 2013. Tens of thousands of Morsi's supporters gathered vowing to keep fighting for his reinstatement, as rival rallies defending his overthrow underlined Egypt's bitter divisions. (Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images)

CAIRO, Egypt — On the first Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, rival protest rallies packed the streets as Egypt careened into yet another fateful intersection on a revolutionary road that stretches out into an uncertain future.

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Egypt, it is too early to celebrate

Opinion: Why it's dangerous to treat President Mohamed Morsi's ouster by the military as a victory for Egypt.
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People dance and cheer at Tahrir Square, the day after former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, the country's first democratically elected president, was ousted from power on July 4, 2013 in Cairo, Egypt. Adly Mansour, chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court, was sworn in as the interim head of state in ceremony in Cairo in the morning of July 4, the day after Morsi was placed under house arrest by the Egyptian military and the constitution was suspended. (Spencer Platt/AFP/Getty Images)

CAIRO, Egypt — Toppling Mohamed Morsi was mostly easy, at least compared to his predecessor Hosni Mubarak.

Instead of blinding protesters with tear gas and targeting their eyes with birdshot, the Egyptian police distributed juice boxes and water bottles to the June 30 protesters.

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