A crackdown in Zimbabwe exposes the instability of the Mnangagwa regime

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Who ordered this? IN THE early hours of August 5th four men broke into a house in eastern Zimbabwe known to be home to activists for the MDC Alliance, the country’s main opposition bloc. They dragged the husband and wife outside before beating them with sticks on their back and buttocks. Two of the assailants took turns raping the wife; the other two raped the husband. All the while the children of the couple watched. After holding peaceful elections on July 30th Zimbabwe has again descended into violence. At least six people were killed on the streets of the capital two days after the vote. Since then human-rights groups have recorded more than 150 alleged cases of abuse against opposition supporters (including that of the husband and wife above), most seemingly at the hands of soldier

Is the Western Wall falling down?

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Between a rock and a holy place EVER since the Roman army tried to topple it in the 1st century, knocking a few slabs from the top, the Western Wall in Jerusalem has remained largely intact. A relic of the second Jewish temple, most of which the Romans did destroy, the wall attracts thousands of Jewish worshippers each day. One called Daniella Goldberg was standing in front of it when a big slab of the wall came crashing down next to her on July 23rd. Ms Goldberg was unharmed, but engineers were left wondering if worse is to come. Several explanations have been put forward as to why the slab broke off. Rainwater erosion and recent seismic activity may have loosened the wall’s stones. A study done in 2014 found that some parts of the wall were eroding much faster than others. Vegetation

Saudi Arabia picks a pointless fight with Canada

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QUEBEC’S proudly Francophone separatists may want to learn some Arabic. On August 5th, as Canadians enjoyed a long weekend, Saudi Arabia abruptly expelled their ambassador and froze bilateral trade and investment. Its state-run funds have reportedly been ordered to dump their Canadian assets, no matter how much it costs to do so. The kingdom is angry about tweets from Canada’s foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, criticising the arrests of Saudi human-rights activists. For Saudi Arabia, this was unacceptable “foreign interference”. If anyone is qualified to opine on meddling abroad, it is the Saudis. Since 2011 they have helped quash an uprising in Bahrain, backed a coup in Egypt and detained Lebanon’s prime minister. If Canada keeps up its criticism, “we are allowed to interfere in Can