Drug trafficking keeping Maduro in power in Venezuela, analysts say

It has been more than three months since the U.S. accelerated its onslaught of economic sanctions, words of warning and announced it was backing a completely new interim President – heightening official expectation that the Nicolas Maduro-led regime of Venezuela would crumble within a few days, if not a few weeks. Only the socialist dictatorship has failed to fall. While there an array of factors to blame, analysts are pointing to illicit trafficking rings as a fundamental Maduro lifeline.

The aftermath of Syria’s chemical weapons attacks

One year ago, a chemical attack allegedly carried out by the Syrian government on the embattled nation’s Douma district left at least 43 people dead. Two years ago, more than 100 – mostly women and children – perished in another government-helmed chemical onslaught in Idlib’s Khan Sheikhoun district.

Lebanese girl gifts piggy bank savings to Hezbollah chief to “get a missile�

It was a gesture that has some experts in extremism and national security raising red flags. On April 1, has captured by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a Lebanese TV station aired a segment featuring a young Lebanese girl gifting all her piggy bank pennies to give to the head of militant and political group Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah.

Jailed Iranian musician rebuffs regime’s ban by releasing album about war and oppression

Mehdi Rajabian, 29, is on temporary bail from the brutality that lurks behind the walls of Tehran’s notorious Evin prison – but he wants the world to know the oppression and fear he and many more face at every moment under the iron thumb of the regime. His crime? A childhood love of music.

Brunei urges tourism while at the same time implementing draconian Sharia Law

Culture. Heritage. Nature. Contemporary Asia. A distinctive, exciting, and undiscovered travel destination in Asia. It sounds like a whimsical haven, and it is part of the marketing materials being issued by Brunei’s Tourism arm in a reinvigorated push to draw tourists to the tiny, oil-rich monarchy. Problem is, the glossy allure comes at the same time the country is being cast under an ugly international spotlight for implementing the harshest array of Sharia Law regulations.

‘Taliban Five’ traded for Bowe Bergdahl at center of Afghanistan peace talks

When U.S. Army private Bowe Bergdahl was brought back from captivity in 2014 – in a controversial exchange involving the release of five Taliban officials from Guantanamo Bay – it was hard to imagine that those five men would one day be rubbing shoulders with U.S. top brass in a bid to bring peace to blood-swathed Afghanistan. Imagine no more, it seems. 

Erdogan’s party suffer surprise defeats in Turkish mayoral elections in three biggest cities

Despite ruling Turkey with iron first and a years-long crackdown on opposition figures and free press in recent years, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice or Development Party – known as AKP – was delivered a surprise blow in local elections this week. However, the AKP’s secretary-general announced on Twitter Monday that they will be contesting the results of Istanbul and Ankara, citing voting irregularities.

Brunei’s crackdown on homosexuality: Why Kingdom is implementing draconian Sharia law

In an age when global awareness in decriminalizing homosexuality is gaining momentum, the excessively wealthy, Muslim-majority nation of Brunei is going in the opposite direction. On Wednesday, it will officially apply the final stages of its harsh interpretation of the Islamic Penal Code known as Sharia Law.

Azerbaijan ambassador warns of ‘dangerous escalation’ with Armenia

Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in a land battle for almost three decades, but some officials say that long-running feud has reached a dangerous tipping point – capped by casualties and daily cease-fire violations.

War of words: Oppressed English speakers targeted in escalating Cameroonian conflict

The conflict ignited almost three years ago; when minority English speakers in the Ambazonia region of Africa’s Cameroon started to speak out against the onslaught of persecution and discrimination of the dominant French-speaking government.

China’s ‘deadbeats’ barred from planes, high-speed trains, have special ring tones because of bad credit

Daily life has become pretty slow and sticky for the thirteen million Chinese citizens deemed “deadbeats� by their Communist ruling party. But despite little being known about the mysterious national database, curated by China’s Supreme Court, information has been trickling out in recent times as to the punishments inflicted on the blacklisted.