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February 2006





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World Closes in on Bosnian Serb War Criminal

Valentine's Day in Iran

Iran: Religion and Love

Lebanon Shaken by Cartoon Furor



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World Closes in on Bosnian Serb War Criminal

General Ratko Mladic

General Ratko Mladic

General Ratko Mladic has made himself scarce. For 10 years he has lived underground, a wanted man, indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for his role in the "ethnic cleansing" of Muslims in Bosnia, including the massacre at Srebrenica in 1995.

Still the missing Mladic went positively viral on the Web this week, with a burst of rumors from Serbia that he had been captured. By the afternoon of February 21, 805 reports of his possible arrest put Mladic at the top of the charts on Google News.

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Valentine's Day in Iran

A smiling Iranian couple sitting in a cafe

As much of the world celebrates Valentine's Day this week, we bring you a snapshot of how people mark the day in Tehran, Iran's capital. The holiday is not approved by Iran's Islamic government, but unofficially Valentine's Day has caught on, especially among the young. In her short video, Iranian-American filmmaker Shaghayegh Azimi captures the giddy atmosphere of the day, as she speaks to people on the streets, in the malls and gift shops, and in cafes where couples are out on dates.

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Iran: Religion and Love

Iranian women jostle through the doorway of a Valentine's Day gift store

A store in Tehran's Tajrish bazaar, draws middle-class Iranians looking for Valentine's Day gifts.

For Iran's young population, celebrating a solemn religious holiday while also gearing up for the excitement of Valentine's Day created an enthralling cultural dichotomy on the streets of Tehran last week. The two-day religious festival of Tassoua-Ashura is an essential date in the Shi'iah Muslim calendar. In cities throughout Iran, thousands of Iranians dressed in black march in the streets flagellating themselves to the beat of a drum in tribute to the suffering of Hussein, grandson of the Prophet (PBUH), who was slain in battle in 680 C.E. The backs of many in the procession are red, swollen, even bloodied by the end of the day. For non-Muslims, it's certainly a strange and overwhelming sight to behold.

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Lebanon Shaken by Cartoon Furor

A woman stands in the street by a car with a smashed windshield

A young woman in the Christian area of Achrafieh returns to her car, which was smashed along with hundreds of others during Muslim rioting.

It's not every day that bands of angry men waving green Islamic flags jog up my quiet Beirut street shouting "God is great." But the morning of Sunday, February 5, fifty or so men and a few women ran beneath my balcony, in this predominantly Christian neighborhood, past my local bar, and up to the main street, where I catch my taxis.

I had just woken up and was struggling to make sense of what I'd seen. Lebanon is a highly sectarian country and while Muslims and Christians mix, they certainly don't go running through each other's neighborhoods unless they are trying to provoke.

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