Bryan Pearson

Angelina Jolie calls for aid to refugees on Iraq visit

United Nations goodwill ambassador and Hollywood megastar Angelina Jolie visited Iraq on a humanitarian mission on Thursday and met top officials to demand help for people displaced by the war. "There are over two million displaced people and there never seems to be a real coherent plan to help them," she said.

Iraqis mock US soldiers (and themselves) on YouTube

United States soldiers are lampooned, police officers are shown as buffoons and Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is irreverently cheered by penguins ... Iraqis are turning more and more to YouTube to express their dark-edged humour. The main butt of send-ups posted by Iraqis on the popular internet video site is, as one might expect, the US military.

UN report slams humanitarian crisis in Iraq

Iraq's humanitarian crisis is worsening and the plight of millions of displaced Iraqis is critical, says a grim United Nations report on human rights in the war-torn country that was released on Thursday. ''Daily life for the average Iraqi civilian remains extremely precarious,'' said the human rights report of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq.

Iraq vows to punish Blackwater guards

Iraq has vowed to punish United States security firm Blackwater after a probe found that its guards were not provoked when they opened ''deliberate'' fire in Baghdad three weeks ago, killing 17 civilians. The US embassy was tight-lipped on Monday on whether those involved in the September 16 killings would be handed over for prosecution.

‘Chemical Ali’ executed villagers in batches, court told

Saddam Hussein's notorious hatchet man ''Chemical Ali'' was accused on Monday of ordering villagers executed in batches of 25 at a time as he brutally crushed a Shi'ite rebellion in Iraq in 1991. Ali Hassan al-Majid and 14 others returned to the dock for their trial on charges of crimes against humanity after a month-long break.

Baghdad by night — gunfire and television

Television, DVDs and computer games -- that's entertainment in war-torn Baghdad. That's, if you're lucky. Even the simple pleasure of sharing dinner with friends and relatives has fallen victim to fear of sectarian death squads and, more recently, by a strictly enforced 8pm to 6am curfew.

Iraq urges neighbours to halt terror as bombs kill scores

Iraq urged its neighbours, including Iran and Syria, to halt their alleged support for violent extremists on Saturday as insurgent attacks slaughtered at least 35 more Iraqis. The urgency of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's appeal was underlined when, in a suspected insurgent attack, three mortar rounds detonated next to the Foreign Ministry while peace talks took place inside.

US to join foes at Baghdad peace huddle

Envoys from the United States and its arch foes Iran and Syria were to sit together to discuss the crisis in Iraq for the first time on Saturday at talks called by the Iraqi prime minister. Diplomats from Iraq's neighbours and from the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council were expected at the Foreign Ministry in war-torn Baghdad.

Market Theatre – 25 years on

Twenty-five years after it was born, in response to some of the worst oppression of the former apartheid regime, Johannesburg's Market Theatre remains an alternative artistic voice in South Africa, writes Bryan Pearson.

Aid flows into quake-hit Pakistan

Relief teams raced food and supplies into earthquake-hit areas of northern Pakistan on Wednesday as desperate survivors readied for a fifth straight night of cold and hunger. A child, a mother-of-three and an elderly man came out of different areas of devastated Pakistani-held Kashmir alive after being buried by the quake.

Rainstorms add to misery in Pakistan

Huddling under bits of plastic, survivors in quake-hit Muzaffarabad faced fresh heartbreak on Tuesday as torrential rain halted aid efforts hours after they got into gear. Helicopters were forced to stop their mercy flights bringing aid to the Pakistani Kashmir capital and evacuating the worst of the injured from Saturday's earthquake to hospitals in Islamabad.

Thousands go for joyride on Delhi’s new underground

The escalators proved as much a novelty as the hi-tech underground trains on Sunday as tens of thousands of joy-riders crammed Delhi's new metro line connecting key transport hubs with the main business district. Though it officially opened on Saturday, the public had to wait a day before being allowed on the 6,3km ''yellow line''.

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