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RFI France

RFI goes behind-the-scenes of one of the week's major stories.

RFI goes behind-the-scenes of one of the week's major stories.
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Paris, France


RFI France


RFI goes behind-the-scenes of one of the week's major stories.




Returning to Raqqa

In the Syrian city of Raqqa much of the infrastructure remains flattened. The four-month push in 2017 to oust the Islamic State armed group destroyed 90 percent of the city. Some 20,000 bombs, rockets and missiles were dropped between June and October last year, that’s according to Airwars, a UK-based not-for-profit organisation that tracks international air wars against IS and other groups in Syria and Iraq. Nevertheless local authorities continue to clear munitions and other improvised...


Raqqa’s underground caliphate

In October of last year the rebel Syrian Democratic Forces with support of the US led coalition entered Raqqa, the former capital of the Islamic State armed group. Civilians returning home not only found their property marked and vandalised but also underground tunnels. The vast underground complex was not only built to provide cover from coalition aerial bombardment; it housed bunkers, storage facilities and escape routes for Islamic State fighters. In this fourth part in a series of 5,...


How Islamic State armed group ran Raqqa

Syrian city of Raqqa was hardly known internationally before Islamic State (IS) armed group claimed it as their capital in 2014. The sixth largest Syrian city was one where people of different religions lived together peacefully. But since the arrival and subsequent departure of IS, Raqqa’s foundation has been shaken. In this third report of a five-part series, Filip Warwick explores the Raqqa of today.


Healing the traumatised children of Raqqa after three years of IS armed group

Last year tens of thousands of internally displaced people, or IDPs, fled from areas controlled by the Islamic State Armed Group. Many of those families with children escaped from Raqqa and the Deir ez-Zur region - areas that experienced three years of IS control and subsequent U.S and Russian air bombing campaigns. Exposed to airstrikes, artillery shelling and having witnessed violent deaths and executions, children risk developing mental disorders. With few NGOs providing medical...


Raqqa reaps the fruit of three years under Islamic State armed group

For nearly three years the Syrian city of Raqqa served as the de facto capital of the Islamic State Armed Group. Last year IS fighters were ousted by a US-led coalition air campaign. Now in the hands of the Syrian Democratic Forces-- part of the US-led international coalition-- the city is still experiencing the devastating death toll reaped by three years of IS control and the subsequent coalition. In this five-part series from Raqqa, Filip Warwick has this first report.


Booming cafe culture emerges in Kabul despite the risks

In Afghanistan, a booming café culture has emerged in recent years and many successful entrepreneurs have emerged by establishing western-like cafes in the big cities across the country. In the absence of recreational places in Kabul, cafes have become a major place for the youth to gather, but it also faces serious challenges like being targeted by insurgent and extremist groups. Zakarya Hassani has this report from the capital Kabul.


Israel's Arab Druze demand equality before the law

Military service in Israel is compulsory, but there are exemptions for Arab citizens and ultra-orthodox Jews. However, secular Israelis and Arab Druze serve in the army upon reaching the age of 18. The Druze are Palestinian Arabs, and their religion is said to be an offshoot of Shia Islam. In July the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, passed a piece of legislation called the nation-state law. The bill defines Israel as a Jewish state and exclusively gives the right of national...


Palestinian musicians play from new Jerusalem pit

East Jerusalem has its first orchestra pit. Twenty five Palestinian classical musicians serenaded an audience from the new pit inside the Yabous Cultural Centre at a recent concert. Correspondent Ibrahim Husseini was at the inauguration and has this report.


Interfaith marriage in Tunisia

Tunisia has been at the forefront of the debate on women's rights across the Arabic-speaking world since the adoption of the 1956 Personal Status Code that is considered one of the most progressive in the region. In September of last year, the Tunisian president revoked the 1973 administrative order preventing Muslim women from marrying non-Muslims. But despite the ban lift, there have been several reported cases of women encountering difficulties in marrying outside of the Muslim faith....


Afghan women entrepreneurs defy tradition

Women in Afghanistan are increasingly launching their own businesses, despite the violent conflict and a weak economy that has crippled the country for decades. They are defying the conservative society's traditional gender roles by becoming financially self-sufficient entrepreneurs, Zakarya Hassani reports from Kabul.


What to do if you want to go to the beach in Dakar

In Senegal at least 40 people drowned at beaches in Dakar and its suburbs this summer. The capital is surrounded by water but most of the beaches are prohibited due to strong currents and lack of lifeguards. The calmer beaches have been privatised by hotels or blocked off by developers, leaving people with few places to cool off during the summer. But the main problem is a combination of poor urban planning and teaching children from a young age how to enjoy water sports. Emmanuelle...


Clearing landmines in eastern Ukraine, Part 2

After four years of conflict, Ukraine remains one of the world’s most mine-affected countries. International demining operators, such as the Halo Trust and the Danish Demining Group, encourage local women to apply for demining positions. This push for women deminers has also come from international donors who see them as key elements regarding demining efforts in the region. Our correspondent Filip Warwick was in eastern Ukraine and spoke to two local woman deminers working for...


Clearing landmines in eastern Ukraine, Part 1

According to demining NGOs operating in eastern Ukraine, the conflict zone is one of the five most mined regions in the world. With the war entering its fifth year, between 600,000 and a million civilians continue to cross the front line each month. Mines, munitions and other unexploded devices have been responsible for nearly 2,000 deaths. Two international NGO’s operating in eastern Ukraine describe the dangers and obstacles that landmines pose to the local population.


How Mozambique is combatting high child marriage and teen pregnancy

As the African continent faces a demographic explosion, governments are realising the urgency of sustainable family planning policies. But applying such policies is a slow process, especially in rural areas with little access to healthcare and low levels of education. Mozambique has one of the highest instances of child marriage and teenage pregnancy in the world. The UN Population Fund is working alongside the Mozambican government to help reduce child marriage and teenage pregnancy, but...


Controversy over financial donation to Gambian pilgrims

In The Gambia, this year’s Hajj or the annual pilgrimage to Mecca by Muslims has been overshadowed by controversy over a financial donation to Gambian pilgrims. In the third of a five-part series on the Hajj, Sheriff Bojang Jr reports from Banjul.


Logistical challenges for Kenya’s Hajj travel agents

Kenyan Muslims have joined millions from around the world in performing the annual Hajj pilgrimage to the holy Saudi Arabian city of Mecca, one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith. In Kenya, many pilgrims faced daunting logistical challenges until the very last minute. Correspondent David John Bwakali spoke to some Hajj travel agents and Islamic leaders to file this report, the second in RFI’s five-part Hajj series.


How India’s new Hajj policies affect Muslim women

For the first time in India, Muslim women over the age of 45 can make the Hajj pilgrimage without a male guardian. As a result, over 1,300 women this year applied to travel alone on the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Although the Indian government's scrapping of a Hajj pilgrim subsidy may have prevented some from making the trip, authorities' decision to reallocate the funds towards education and job opportunities for women and girls has been welcomed by many...


Senegalese beach sellers in Spain

As this year's summer holiday season swings into full gear, Spain's southern coasts are as busy as ever. But the same thing can't be said for the many undocumented migrants from Africa that ply the beaches, selling fake handbags, sunglasses and watches. As most counterfeit goods are bought online these days, these "lookie lookie" men and women are often lucky to scrape a few euros profit each day. And over the next few months, there's likely to be more of them, as Spain has surpassed Italy...


Nasa prepares historic probe 'to touch the sun'

Early August, NASA will launch a mission to touch the sun’s atmosphere. The main objective of the Parker Solar Probe is to reveal the mysteries of corona, the sun’s outer atmosphere. A number of French agencies have collaborated in this important mission, as RFI’s Dhananjay Khadilkar reports.


Discrimination in one of India's biggest Hindu temples

The temple of Lord Jagannath in Puri, located in eastern India, has likely garnered more controversies than any other deity in India. The gigantic 12th century edifice has been the scene of several conflicts and debates. A decision by the temple board has put it out-of-bounds for non-Hindus, though India’s Supreme Court has suggested it reconsider. The famous annual procession of chariots known as the Rath Yatra, which attracts over a million devotees to this famous temple town, has once...