Correspondent / behind the news

Embedded in Mali

Tuesday 30 June 2015

A French armoured vehicle leaves Goundam on June 3, 2015 in the Timbuktu region, northern Mali, during a joint operation with Malian army forces as part of the anti-terrorist Operation Barkhane (AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZES)

(AFP Photo / Philippe Desmazes)

"The thermometer in the foyer is stuck on 50 degrees Celsius. The highest it can go," writes AFP's Michel Moutot. "It’s not yet noon on the French army base at Timbuktu airport."

"Why did AFP ask to follow a French army unit into Mali's lawless north? Two reasons. Firstly, to report on the soldiers actions on the ground. Secondly to gain access, under the protection of the army, to one of a rising number of places in the world where reporters can no longer venture alone without risk of kidnapping or death."

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In Karachi heat, the stench of death

Friday 26 June 2015

A Pakistani resident helps a heatstroke victim at a market area during a heatwave in Karachi on June 23, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / Rizwan TABASSUM)

Passers-by help a heatstroke victim in a market area of Karachi on June 23, 2015 (AFP Photo / Rizwan Tabassum)

As Pakistan's sprawling metropolis Karachi finally cools off after a deadly heatwave that killed more than 1,000 people, AFP's correspondent in the city Ashraf Khan reflects on covering - and living through - one of the hottest weeks in living memory.

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European hostages: mining the data

Friday 26 June 2015

Members of French army special force take part in a mock hostage release exercise, on April 15, 2015 on a beach in Arcachon, southwestern France, as part of the Special Operations Forces Innovation Network Seminar (SOFINS). (AFP PHOTO / MEHDI FEDOUACH)

(AFP Photo / Mehdi Fedouach)

"How many times have I heard this refrain since joining AFP nearly 20 years ago: ‘With millions of stories in our archives, we’re sitting on top of an information gold mine’," writes the journalist Marlowe Hood. "The European Hostage Project is a serious attempt to extract some of that buried treasure. A case study in data journalism, it uncovered patterns in the terrible traffic in hostages from Europe that up to now remained elusive if not invisible."

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Street photography in a city of masks

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Two women wearing face masks take a 'selfie' as they walk in the grounds of Gyeongbokgung palace in Seoul on June 18, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / Ed Jones)

(AFP Photo / Ed Jones)

"The culprit of this story is hardly an ideal subject for photographers," writes AFP photographer Ed Jones. "Invisible to the naked eye, microscopic images of the coronavirus responsible for an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in South Korea are fascinating enough, but they do little to illustrate the fear the virus has spread among the population of 50 million. It’s a dramatic threat but my attempts to photograph it have been quite the opposite - largely involving prowling the streets, where most of us photographers like to spend our time anyway."

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Slashed by a sea monster

Thursday 18 June 2015

A racing officials' boat is hit by part of the Spindrift 2 Multihull (L) on June 16, 2015, just before the start of the 9th Leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, off the coast of Lorient, western France (AFP PHOTO / JEAN-SEBASTIEN  EVRARD)

(AFP Photo / Jean-Sebastien Evrard)

"The Spindrift 2 is the world’s largest racing trimaran. An extraordinary sailboat. Forty metres long, it holds a round-the-world record and frequently hits speeds of more than 45 knots – or 85 kilometres per hour," writes the AFP photographer Jean-Sebastien Evrard. "At full speed, its rudders and daggerboards are sharp as razor blades. Not something you wish to see hurtling towards you out at sea. Yet that is what I witnessed, on June 16 in the afternoon, off the coast from Lorient in Brittany."

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Backstories: the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin

Wednesday 17 June 2015

An Arab man weeps in front of a portrait of late Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin on November 6, 1995 in Jerusalem, shortly before the funeral of the Israeli leader. (AFP PHOTO / MANOOCHER DEGHATI)

(AFP Photo / Manoocher Deghati)

In Backstories, a new video series by Laurent Kalfala and Sylvain Estibal, AFP journalists take us behind the scenes of a powerful moment in their career.

For the second instalment, Patrick Anidjar recalls how while based in Jerusalem, he was among the first journalists to learn of the assassination of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish extremist on November 4, 1995.

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Fleeing through the eye of a needle

Monday 15 June 2015

Syrians fleeing the war rush through broken down border fences to enter Turkish territory, near the Turkish border crossing at Akcakale in Sanliurfa province on June 14, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC)

(AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)

"We have been on the Turkey-Syria border for a week now, within sight of Tal Abyad where Kurdish forces are battling Islamic State jihadists for control," writes AFP's Bulent Kilic. "On Sunday, June 14, thousands of people fleeing the fighting suddenly appeared from behind the hill and swarmed down towards the border fence. Everything happened in five minutes. It was like a Hollywood film."

"I have been photographing this refugee crisis for nearly four years now, but yesterday was different. Almost every woman had children with her. I have never seen anything like it."

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Flight 847, into the hell of Beirut

Friday 12 June 2015

One of two heavily-armed Lebanese Shiite militants, his face hidden with a bag, who hijacked a TWA passenger Boeing 727 aircraft, looks out from the door of the jetliner on June 20, 1985 at Beirut airport (AFP PHOTO/JOEL ROBINE)

(AFP Photo / Joel Robine)

"On Friday June 14, 1985, Flight 847 of the US carrier TWA was travelling between Athens and Rome with eight crew and 145 passengers on board when it was diverted towards Beirut airport, opening one of the longest hijacking crises in aviation history," writes AFP's Patrick Rahir.

"Three days earlier I had watched three hijackers blow up a Boeing at Beirut airport. A day later a young Palestinian threatened to set off a hand grenade on a flight from Beirut to Cyprus. At first I thought it was a joke. Another hijacking, this time of an American plane?"

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Cycling to a better life

Thursday 11 June 2015

A group of migrants push their bicycles on a highway near the town of Veles on their way to Macedonia's border with Serbia on June 9, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / ROBERT ATANASOVSKI)

(AFP Photo / Robert Atanasovski)

"We have our fair share of problems here in Macedonia. The country is in deep political crisis," writes the photographer Robert Atanasovski. "Alongside this another crisis, a humanitarian one, is playing out day by day on the main road running north to south through the country, along the Vardar valley."

"For thousands of destitute people, the road is a passageway towards what they hope will be a better life in one of the countries of the European Union."

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Slow travel to Saint Helena

Tuesday 9 June 2015

A statue of Napoleon is seen at the Consulate hotel in Jamestown on the British island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean on March 10, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / JEAN LIOU)

(AFP Photo / Jean Liou)

"When Saint Helena appears on the horizon at dawn, after five days at sea, I can’t help but feel privileged. For years I have dreamed of travelling to this remotest of islands, all but cut off from the world out in the South Atlantic," writes AFP's Jean Liou. "A few months from now, an airport will be opening on the British islet. But until then it remains one of the last places on Earth accessible only by boat. And the crossing from Cape Town, a case study in slow travel for our hyper-connected world, only adds to the sense of anticipation."

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A tale of two strongmen

Friday 5 June 2015

A combination shows Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Ergodan (AFP PHOTO / RIA NOVOSTI / ALEXEI DRUZHININ / KAYHAN OZER)

(AFP Photo / Ria Novosti / Alexei Druzhinin & AFP Photo / Presidential Press Office / Kayhan Ozer)

"I arrived in Turkey just under a year ago expecting something very different from what I experienced during five years in Putin’s Russia," writes AFP's Stuart Williams. "The differences between Turkey’s genuinely democratic and Russia’s more authoritarian political systems are very real. But the more time I spend in Turkey, the more I am struck by the growing similarities between Turkey and Russia in the early part of the 21st century, parallels that are fascinating but also very troubling. They have become all the more telling in the run up to June 7 parliamentary elections."

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The Fall

Wednesday 3 June 2015

President Sepp Blatter leaves after a press conference at the headquarters of the world's football governing body in Zurich on June 2, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / VALERIANO DI DOMENICO)

(AFP Photo / Valeriano Di Domenico)

"When AFP calls at five pm on Tuesday evening, to ask me to cover a last-minute press conference at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich, I have little idea I will be getting a front-row seat to football history," writes the photographer Valeriano Di Domenico. "When Sepp Blatter announces his resignation, I can’t believe my ears. But suddenly I realise none of the shots I have taken so far illustrates the magnitude of what is taking place. THE picture, the one that symbolises the fall of the boss of world football, will be the one of him leaving the room."

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Rio, I wish you peace

Tuesday 2 June 2015

A boy with the word 'Peace' written on his forehead at a march in Rio's Alemao favela on April 4, 2015 to protest at the death of a ten-year-old boy shot dead by police during a showdown with drug traffickers (AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE SIMON)

(AFP Photo / Christophe Simon)

"It’s another sunny morning in the Flamengo park, a lush oasis of palm trees and talkative parrots opposite the Guanabara Bay – where the sailing races will be held during next year’s Olympic Games," writes AFP's Laura Bonilla. "Two friends bump into each other and stop for a chat. As they part I hear one say to the other: ‘Muito amor, muita saúde, muita paz’ – much love, much health, much peace. 'Peace?' But Brazil is not at war... Or is it?"

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‘Somehow, they made it’

Monday 1 June 2015

Combination shows (TOP) Rohingya migrant Ronji, 21, and her six year old son on a boat drifting off Thailand on May 14, 2015 and (BOTTOM) at a camp in Indonesia's Aceh province on May 24, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / Chaideer MAHYUDDIN)

(AFP / Christophe Archambault / Chaideer Mahyuddin)

On May 14, AFP's Christophe Archambault photographed a boat adrift off the coast of Thailand with 400 starving migrants on board, most of them members of the persecuted Rohingya minority from Myanmar. A week later, the vessel reached the coast of Indonesia's Aceh province, where his photographer colleagues Romeo Gacad and Chaideer Mayhuddin were finally able to put names to the faces captured in his dramatic images.

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Elephants, hunters and storybooks

Friday 29 May 2015

A photo taken on March 20, 2015 shows an elephant splashing at sunset in the waters of the Chobe river in Botswana Chobe National Park (AFP PHOTO/CHRIS JEK)

(AFP / Chris Jek)

"I have never hunted, and I never will. Especially not an elephant," writes AFP's Johannesburg correspondent Julie Jammot. "People willing to defend hunters are few and far between these days. Those who hunt for hunting's sake, for a 'trophy', are widely seen as criminals."

But when she travels to Botswana to report on a recent hunting ban, she sees villages hurting from lost tourism revenue, harvests destroyed by elephants emboldened to trample over fields. "By this point I have had to review some of my certainties," she writes.

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The best pizza in Mogadishu

Thursday 28 May 2015

A man carrying a sailfish walks through Hamarweyne district in South Mogadishu on March 25, 2015 (AFP PHOTO/Carl de Souza)

(AFP / Carl de Souza)

"The first time I went to Mogadishu there were soldiers on the roof of the airport terminal and a crashed cargo plane on the apron with a rocket-sized hole in its fuselage. I wore body armour pretty much all the time, was woken by explosions at night and ducked rifle fire by day," writes AFP's Tristan McConnell. "That was five years ago. I was back again recently and went out for a pizza, at night."

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On tour with Hezbollah

Wednesday 27 May 2015

A Hezbollah fighter monitors an area as he stands on a hill in the Lebanese side of the Qalamun mountains on the border with Syria on May 20, 2015 ( AFP PHOTO / JOSEPH EID)

(AFP / Joseph Eid)

"The Hezbollah fighter grimaced as a bank of photographers kneeled in front of him, struggling to take pictures that complied with the group's strict media rules but would still have news value," writes Sara Hussein. "The interaction was part of an unusual media tour organised by the powerful Lebanese Shiite group of their positions in the Qalamun region on the porous Syria-Lebanon border."

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‘Journalist scum’ and the Cannes glitterati

Tuesday 26 May 2015

A photo taken with a mobile phone shows a woman distributing the local newspaper's festival edition outside the Festival palace during the 68th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southeastern France, on May 14, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE)

(AFP / Valery Hache)

"Two floors above us is an impossible level of glamour, people of such mind-bending charisma that the mere sight of them walking on carpet can set off a frenzy of shutter clicks and hysterical screaming," writes Eric Randolph, fresh from covering the 68th Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera. "But pan down through the floors into the basement, and things are decidedly less glamorous."

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Patience and resilience in quake-hit Nepal

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Nepalese civilians and police personnel clear rubble at the Narayan temple in Kathmandu on May 2, 2015, one week after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake which struck the Himalayan nation on April 25 (AFP PHOTO/MENAHEM KAHANA)

(AFP / Menahem Kahana)

"Two words tweeted by a Nepali journalist friend moments after the second quake last Tuesday summed up the mood in Kathmandu: 'Enough already'," writes AFP's Claire Cozens. "Few people slept that night. Like the buildings imperceptibly weakened by the first quake that crumbled in the second, the city's stoicism appeared to falter. And yet just a day later, residents were out helping the army clear rubble from the streets. No one expected the government to help, so they were helping themselves – and each other."

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The extraordinary life of 'Doña Anna'

Tuesday 19 May 2015

Anna Kipper, AFP's first female bureau chief, in her office in Bogota in the 1970s (Photo: El Tiempo)

(El Tiempo)

She was an extraordinary journalist, who lived an extraordinary life. Anna Kipper was a Polish Jew driven from Europe during World War II who went on to become AFP’s first female bureau chief, in Bogota in 1946. A reporter whose career mirrored the upheavals of the 20th century, from Europe to Latin America. This is her story, told by Yves Gacon, AFP's director of archives and publishing.

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