John Reed

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Palestinian children wounded in an air strike are brought to Shifa hospital in Gaza on Wednesday © Ali Mahmoud/AP

The moment Nadav Peretz began to lose hope was when he finally got through to the emergency helpline.The Hamas militants embarking on what would become the deadliest ever attack on Israeli territory had burst into his kibbutz, or communal village, of Nahal Oz. Peretz and his partner had been hiding in the safe room of their house for hours, desperately trying to call in help from Israel’s security forces.

“I was begging [the woman who answered my call] ‘send the army, send them’”, Peretz recalls. “And she told me: ‘We know, we’ll be there.’ And then she must have thought I had hung up, because I heard her start crying and say to a colleague: ‘I can’t answer any more calls like this.…  Seguir leyendo »

Crackdowns, lawsuits and intimidation: the threat to freedom of expression in India

The income tax officials arrived at the Bangalore office of the Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation on Wednesday, September 7, and stayed until 4:30am on Friday. They combed through records, took statements from senior staffers and removed the organisation’s laptops and mobile phones to clone the data. As they worked through the first night, the chief executive, Sunil Rajshekhar, caught a few hours’ sleep in his office.

Across India, in the capital of Delhi, tax inspectors were simultaneously swooping on two more non-profits: Oxfam India and the Centre for Policy Research, a sober think-tank known for holding debates and publishing papers on such worthy topics as health and nutrition, federalism, and the regulation of India’s urban trees.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters storm the Sri Lankan prime minister’s office in Colombo. While the country appears to have moved away from violent confrontation, the economy is mired in a profound crisis © Rafiq Maqbool/AP

In a more optimistic era, the overthrow by Sri Lankans of a feckless government they blamed for their country’s economic collapse might have been called a Velvet Revolution. It began last Saturday when tens of thousands descended on the largest city Colombo and poured into public buildings, including President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s official residence, amid chants of “Gota, go home”.

The president had fled for his safety, but in scenes reminiscent of many 20th-century regime collapses, the crowds hunkered down in the palace, sitting behind the president’s desk, bathing in his pool, and showering in his bathrooms.

By week’s end Rajapaksa was indeed gone — first on a military jet to the Maldives, then to Singapore, from where he finally tendered his resignation via email.…  Seguir leyendo »

Makeshift graves in Bucha, where civilians were targeted by Russian forces. © Getty Images/Reuters

When the last Russian troops in Bucha found themselves cornered by advancing Ukrainian forces in late March, they began shooting civilians, says Serhiy Konovalov.

“My brother was killed right here on these steps”, says the 46-year-old. “He was going to the basement in the evening and stopped to light a cigarette when one soldier just shot him for the sake of it”. He believes his brother Dima’s corpse deterred Russian soldiers from entering the basement and prevented the killing of three people sheltering underground without heat and electricity for a month.

Konovalov, who witnessed his brother’s shooting from the ground floor of the house, points to graves around his neighbourhood marked with makeshift wooden crosses.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘The birth of a new Ukraine’: how Russia’s war united a nation

At an aid distribution centre in Ukraine’s embattled capital Kyiv this week, people were collecting and dispatching donations of emergency food, medicines, clothes and children’s toys for cities under attack by Russian troops, missiles and bombs.

While about half the donations came from abroad, where Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion has created a groundswell of global support for President Volodymyr Zelensky and his people, the rest came from quieter parts of Ukraine.

“Look at these boxes”, says Oleksandr Horbach, an activist, pointing to food packages from Bibrka in western Ukraine. A box of baked goods was intended for the eastern city of Kharkiv, which has withstood some of Russia’s heaviest bombardment in three weeks of war.…  Seguir leyendo »

How Myanmar coup fuelled rise in illegal drugs trade

In a predawn operation on August 13, Thai police seized 1,000kg of crystal methamphetamine, commonly known as “ice”, alongside a highway in Hat Yai province in the south of the country. The seizure — with a street value of 300m Thai baht ($9m) — was one of several in recent weeks in Thailand and across south-east Asia that officials and analysts who track drug trafficking and addiction in the region are watching with growing alarm.

They say the narcotics originate from neighbouring Myanmar, which has spun into political chaos and civil conflict since February’s military coup toppled Aung San Suu Kyi.…  Seguir leyendo »