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Mali trembles from revolution

Amadou Cisse had been working for several months on opening his new venture, a restaurant in Djenne, one of Mali’s most famous places after Timbuktu. A Unesco World Heritage site, it is the oldest known city in sub-Saharan Africa, and the magnificent Great Mosque of Djenne is the largest mud brick structure in the world….
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Kabul Diary

I have already overstayed by several weeks my planned journey of only a few days, sucked into the Kabul vortex. Despite the fact that it’s a warzone and talk is that the country is going to hell in a hand-basket, life is good. It’s probably really good for those who are laundering money, and a…
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Mecca of resistance

Outside a nan shop, just as evening falls, a woman sits on the pavement in her ragged burqa. The cheap blue garment is worn thin, it’s tattered with small holes. Her legs curl up underneath her, and her body rests against the wall. Her feet have collected the filth and grit of the Kabul summer,…
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God save the queen

The Australians have it right when they call the Brits ‘whingeing poms’. It’s one of the things that as a nation they do brilliantly, and something of which they are fiercely proud. Every once in a while, they let go of their cynicism and go full steam ahead for the spirit of the blitz. The…
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Palace of mirages

Vast tracts of sand stretch alongside the tarmac road that leads to Saudi Arabia, where most of the Empty Quarter can be found. The drive from Dubai takes roughly three hours through part of the Rub al Khali, the longest sand desert with some of the highest dunes in the world. The hypnotic stillness hasn’t…
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Homes: Comfort in Kabul

Down dirt roads and inside anonymous walled compounds, a handful of Kabul’s faded town houses, left ruined by decades of war, poverty and uncertainty, are being restored. Trina Ibrahimi, an interior designer, lives in one. Built in the late 50s, it has survived the current mania for knocking down traditional homes and replacing them with the enormous…
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