Correspondent / behind the news

Behind the image

Health workers dance to try to cheer up an Ebola patient at Kenama treatment center run by the Red cross Society on November 15, 2014 (AFP Photo / Francisco Leong)

(AFP Photo / Francisco Leong)

The Ebola dance

Health workers dance in front of a severely ill Ebola patient at a treatment center run by the Red Cross Society in Kenema, Sierra Leone, on November 15, 2014. "The scene lasted two minutes", said AFP reporters Ann Chaon and Céline Cléry, who witnessed it. "A way to distract the patients — and try to bring some relief to their sorrow and fear. A moment of grace in a world hungry for it, in these dark days of Ebola. And we, too, were grateful for it."

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Above the fold

Raising the cost of lies, across two continents

Tuesday 25 November 2014 - Decoding

A graffiti in a street of Buenos Aires in October 2014 (Photo: Peter Cunliffe-Jones)

Fact-checking – not simply reporting accurately what people say but investigating, and reporting on, the accuracy of what they say – has been around for a while. It is said by most to have developed as a major force in the United States in 2004 with the creation of the website, followed a few years later by In the recent years, it has spread to Africa and Latin America, two regions where lack of trust both in politicians to tell the truth and in traditional media to report it are endemic, writes Peter Cunliffe-Jones, founder and director of Africacheck, Africa's first fact-checking website, and deputy director of the AFP Foundation.

(AFP Photo / Peter Cunliffe-Jones)

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Rare moment in spotlight for Romania’s Saxons

Thursday 20 November 2014 - Decoding

Klaus Iohannis adresses the media shortly after exit polls of the second round of Romania's presidential elections were announced in Bucharest on November 16, 2014 (AFP Photo / Daniel Mihailescu)

"Likely it was news to many that there even is an ethnic German minority in Romania", writes Stuart Williams, an AFP reporter now based in Istanbul. "A community that proudly dates back its history to the twelfth century, that once numbered hundreds of thousands of people and for long defiantly held onto traditions that had evaporated elsewhere."

"But the surprise victory of Sibiu mayor Klaus Iohannis, a member of Romania’s German minority, in the weekend’s presidential elections was a startling reminder of the existence of the community, who are known as the Transylvanian Saxons (Siebenbuerger Sachsen in German). It was also a sign that the community -- which has reduced at least ten fold in size since before World War II -- had defied predictions of its imminent demise."

(AFP Photo / Daniel Mihailescu)

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Syria's 'hospital' of horrors

Wednesday 12 November 2014 - Eye witness

An injured girl is treated at a makeshift hospital in the besieged rebel bastion of Douma, northeast of the Syrian capital Damascus, on September 24, 2014, following reported airstrikes by government forces (AFP Photo / Abd Doumany)

Douma is a Syrian rebel Bastion. A city of 200,000 just northeast of Damascus, it has been under siege for more than a year by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, and has been hit practically every day by heavy artillery fire and air and ground raids.

"I head to the hospital each time an intense bombing or air raid hits Douma to document the attacks", says Abd Doumany, a freelance photographer that works for AFP. "At times when I arrive, it is as if I've entered a nightmare".

(AFP Photo / Abd Doumany)

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At the playground in Aleppo

Tuesday 11 November 2014 - Behind the image

Shuruq (R), a nine-year old Syrian girl without legs,  plays on a swing with another child in a park in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on November 3, 2014 (AFP Photo / Baraa Al-Halabi)

"I came across Shuruq by chance one day, while walking in a playground in Aleppo", writes photographer Baraa Al-Halabi. "The nine-year-old little girl was playing with her brother, two sisters and mother. Since she has no legs, her big brother was pushing her on the swing".

"Aleppo was once Syria's economic capital. The town has been ravaged by more than two years of merciless fighting between rebels and Syrian government forces. Daily bombings by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have left thousands of people dead and caused mass destruction. Shuruq's mother says she lost her legs when a bomb destroyed her home".

(AFP Photo / Baraa Al-Halabi)

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From AFP beirut to First Lady of Afghanistan

Friday 7 November 2014 - Eye witness

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, also known as Bibi Gul, at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on October 30, 2014 (AFP Photo / Shah Marai)

She is one of the key personalities of the new Afghanistan. First lady since September, the former AFP journalist of Lebanese Christian heritage Rula Ghani has already broken some taboos. The AFP correspondent in Kabul Emmanuel Parisse writes about his interview of Mrs Ghani, also known as 'Bibi Gul', in the Afghan presidential palace.

(AFP Photo / Shah Marai)

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Watching a world come tumbling down

Friday 7 November 2014 - Eye witness

Berlines party in front of the Wall at the Brandenburg Gate on November 15, 1989 (AFP Photo / Gerard Malie)

Twenty five years ago, on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came crumbling down in a rush of euphoria. Torn down in the space of a few hours by tens of thousands of Berliners come to claim back the freedom stolen from them 28 years earlier, on the night of August 13, 1961, when the Wall of Shame went up.

That night an ecstatic crowd chanted "Open the door!" (Tor Auf! Tor Auf!) before the amazed eyes of AFP reporters who knew they were witnessing history in the making.

(Photo: AFP / Gérard Malie)

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Musical discoveries on 1,300-band week

Wednesday 5 November 2014 - Debriefing

Bass player and vocals, Paula Cullen, of the Irish Band September Girls (AFP Photo / Don Emmert)

"I'm an obsessive music-lover, someone who would rather be at a concert than almost anywhere else (with a few exceptions)", writes New York-based reporter Shaun Tandon. "But even for me the five days of CMJ offer daunting choices".

CMJ is a 33-year-old annual institution in New York in which dozens of clubs across the city transform into testing grounds for up-and-coming (or hoping-to-be up-and-coming) bands that want to gain notice. Here are a few highlights that, in Shaun's opinion, stood out.

(AFP Photo / Don Emmert)

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The terrible beauty of a Mexican mass grave

Tuesday 4 November 2014 - Eye witness

A cross with no name is seen at the area for unidentified corpses in the municipal cemetery in Iguala, Guerrero state, Mexico on October 12, 2014 (AFP Photo / Yuri Cortez)

As night falls over the slopes of the Cerro Gordo, the kaleidoscope of colours from yellow to black should be a delight for a photographer. But the stunning natural beauty of the site in southern Mexico conceals a horrific hidden truth. "The majestic mountain is a mass grave", writes AFP photographer Yuri Cortez, "a dumping ground for dozens -- if not hundreds -- of people fallen victim to the hellish violence of the Mexican drug trade."

(AFP Photo / Yuri Cortez)

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