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Musical maestro Philippe Jordan on bringing passion to the Paris Opera

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IN THE PAPERS

Has the Weinstein scandal 'freed' women from their silence?

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Europe’s newest face: Kurz’s election win indicates rightward shift for Austria

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Turkey's brain drain: Turning their backs on limited freedom, declining economy

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REVISITED

We return to places which have been in the news - often a long time ago, sometimes recently - to see how local people are rebuilding their lives. Sunday at 9.10 pm. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

Latest update : 2016-09-09

Video: Timbuktu, Mali’s ‘City of 333 Saints’, still in the shadow of Islamists

Despite its liberation by French forces in early 2013, Timbuktu is still fighting crime and terrorism. Aside from the presence of security and defence forces, public services are scarce or have only partially returned, and armed groups proliferate. Our reporter returned to this city full of history, an intellectual centre of Islam, which still bears the scars of jihadist occupation and where UN peacekeepers are trying their best to keep the peace.

For more than 700 years, Timbuktu, the "Mysterious City", has been a key location for camel caravans. Before the Islamists seized control of it in 2012, this historical city in central Mali, on the edge of the Sahara desert, also attracted tourists from around the world. Since its liberation at the end of January 2013 after the intervention of French forces, Timbuktu has had a new lease of life, but the city is still struggling to recover from the dark period when Sharia law was applied to the letter. Ten months of repression, imprisonment, looting, rape and destruction – in particular of mausoleums classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites – have left deep wounds.

Our report provides a rare overview of daily life for residents of the "Pearl of the Desert". Yehia, Mahamane and the other Malians we met denounce the insecurity that has taken root at the gates of the city and elsewhere in the region. Criminal attacks and bombings are increasing on the main roads, which are vital to the local economy. However, the police, gendarmes and national guard constantly patrol this famed city torn apart by violence. And 3,000 UN peacekeepers are deployed alongside a unit of the French army and the Malian defence forces, in order to fight against terrorist holdouts, drug trafficking and rampant crime.

Given the very real risk of kidnapping and murder, our exclusive report was made possible thanks to the armed protection of the UN’s MINUSMA peacekeepers.

By François RIHOUAY

Archives

2017-09-28 Asia-pacific

Video: Indian city of Pondicherry proud of its French touch

Our reporters returned to the Indian city of Pondicherry, in the Gulf of Bengal, a former trading post of the French East India Company. Fifty-five years after it was handed back...

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2017-09-15 Asia-pacific

Video: Dried-up Aral Sea springs back to life

Straddling the border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the Aral Sea was once the fourth-largest saline lake in the world, an inland sea of 66,000 square kilometres. But in...

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2017-09-01 Nigeria

Shadow of Nigeria’s Biafra war still looms large, 50 years on

On May 30, 1967, General Emeka Ojukwu declared Nigeria’s southeastern Biafra region an independent state, sparking what would become a bloody civil war that claimed more than one...

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2017-07-07 Americas

From Rust Belt to Tech Belt: US city of Youngstown set on reinventing itself

The US city of Youngstown, in the state of Ohio, once symbolised the glory days of the "Steel Belt", an industrial area in the northeast. For decades, the US steel industry put...

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2017-06-23 Africa

Senegal’s Casamance hopes for new era of peace

"Neither war nor peace." That’s how residents of Casamance, a region in southern Senegal, describe the conflict that long blighted their fertile land. With the lull in violence...

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