Correspondent / behind the news

From Gaza to Sweden: covering deadly attacks

Nov 25 2015

The masked attacker poses for a photo with students. who didn't realize who he was, before launching his assault/ (AFP)


"I knew I was in a different world when my daughter didn’t even cross my mind as I rushed to cover a deadly attack on a school," writes AFP reporter Mai Yaghi, who reported for years on violence in her native Gaza Strip and is currently on leave in Sweden, where she recently covered the bloody assault on a school in Trollhattan. " In Gaza, my children were my first worry when I headed off to cover attacks and wars."

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Turkey divided after a summer of blood

Nov 23 2015

Nighttime Istanbul, October, 2013. (AFP/Bulent Kilic)

(AFP/Bulent Kilic)

Months of blasts, explosions and clashes that have shaken Turkey since June have left the country scarred and divided, writes Ankara-based correspondent Fulya Ozerkan. 

"In 2008, Turkey's renowned filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan dedicated his award for best director at the Cannes Film Festival to "my beautiful and lonely country, which I love passionately". But I now fear for the future of my beautiful and lonely country, which remains alarmingly uncertain despite all the government's proclamations."

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The inescapable past

Nov 20 2015

A child outside a memorial to victims at the Petit Cambodge restaurant. (AFP/Alain Jocard)

(AFP/Alain Jocard)

"A good part of my life has been spent among people who have gone to bed wondering if their neighbours might kill them in their sleep. This is not a feeling I moved to Paris for," writes AFP's lifestyle correspondent Fiachra Gibbons

And then came last week's Islamist attacks on those most Parisian of places -- cafe terraces and a boho concert hall in one of the city's most vibrant districts. Now there are soldiers on the streets and talk of "war," and of "them" and "us". It's all fearfully familiar of another place and time.

"Parents owe their children certain basics: food, clothing and love. We are not supposed to inflict our pasts on them."

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The truths, the half truths and the lies

Nov 19 2015

Police take up positions during the attacks. (AFP/Dominique Faget)

(AFP/Dominique Faget)

The November 13 attacks in Paris unleashed an unprecedented storm of rumour and speculation on social media, surpassing the tidal wave that accompanied the Charlie Hebdo assaults in and around the French capital in January, writes Gregoire Lemarchand, the head of AFP's social media unit. This time around, the late hour of the strikes and the fact that they occurred almost simultaneously in several locations helped feed the rumor mill. But at the same time, there was less irresponsible content and less conspiracy theories than ten months earlier. It was as if lessons had been learned.

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Lives cut short

Nov 18 2015

The makeshift memorial at Le Carillon. (AFP/Loic Venance)

(AFP/Loic Venance)

Their names were Bertrand, Chloe, Halima or Thierry. They were a student, a banker, a mechanic or a waiter. Most were in their 20s and 30s. All died in the Paris attacks of November 13 or in the days that followed from their injuries. 

A small team of AFP journalists was put in place after the tragedy to try and collect at least a few personal details about each of the victims. The result is an interactive database, so that the death toll is not just a number, and so each victim has a face.

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'War' in Paris

Nov 15 2015

People run near Place de la Republique late on November 13. (AFP/Dominique Faget)

(AFP/Dominique Faget)

"Over the past few days I’ve heard a lot of people speak of “scenes of war,” of “a situation of war,” of “war medicine,” writes AFP photographer Dominique Faget, one of the first to get to the scene of the Paris attacks on Friday, November 13. "But you have to put things in perspective. On Friday... we witnessed a series of terrorist attacks in Paris, blind massacres, the worst attacks the French capital has seen since the liberation in World War II. But this is not a war."

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Fighting to inhale

Nov 13 2015

A fisherman by the river in Palangkaraya in October. (AFP/Haris Sadikin)

(AFP /Haris Sadikin)

When she was asked if she wanted to go cover Southeast Asia's worst smog disaster in nearly two decades from ground zero, AFP's Jakarta correspondent Dessy Sagita wasn't so sure. Why go to a place where air pollution levels were soaring to up to ten times hazardous levels and a poisonous yellow smog hung over the land? 

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Omayra haunts Armero 30 years on

Nov 13 2015


(AFP/El Espectador/Jairo Higuera)

The destruction of the Colombian town of Armero in a landslide after a nearby volcano erupted 30 years ago has been seared into history by an image, writes AFP's Bogota bureau chief Florence Panoussian. The image of a girl named Omayra Sanchez, who would spend 60 hours pinned down in the debris before eventually succumbing to her injuries, in a plight that captivated the world.

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War in peace

Nov 6 2015

Children huddle under emergency blankets after arriving in Lesbos in October. (AFP/Aris Messinis)

(AFP/Aris Messinis)

AFP's chief photographer in Greece Aris Messinis knows what a war looks like. He's covered conflicts in Syria and Libya. He has seen death and suffering. But covering the migrants arriving in their hundreds on the shores of the Greek island of Lesbos has affected him more.

"You constantly realize that you're not in a warzone. That you're working in a place where there is peace...  the human pain is the same as in a war, but just knowing that you are not in a warzone makes it much more emotional. And much more painful."

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In Cuba... at last

Nov 4 2015

Havana, December 2014. (AFP/Adalberto Roque)

"Havana, December 2014. (AFP/Adalberto Roque)

AFP's Joshua Howat Berger finally gets to Cuba, 15 years after first booking his tickets.

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The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin

Nov 2 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)

On the 20th anniversary of the assassination of then Israeli prime minister Yitzak Rabin, AFP's head of multimedia Patrick Anidjar recalls how he was among the first journalists to learn of the killing that would shake the country.

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At 97, matador at heart, journalist by trade

Oct 30 2015

Don Neto as a bullfighter in the 1930s. (Photo courtesy of Don Neto)

(Photo courtesy of Don Neto)

Having covered bullfighting for more than seven decades, AFP's Mexico journalist Don Neto can tell you pretty much anything about the tradition. And at 97 years old, he shows no signs of slowing down. Bureau chief Sylvain Estibal reports on a living legend who has worked through 21 Mexican president, 17 US presidents and 14 AFP bureau chiefs.

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Twinkle-toed Japan sprinter still breaking records at 105

Oct 29 2015

Hidekichi Miyazaki strikes his 'Golden Bolt' pose after the race. (AFP/Toru Yamanaka)

(AFP/Toru Yamanaka)

Hidekichi Miyazaki may be 105, but keeping up with him is no easy task, as AFP's Alastair Himmer has learned. As well it should be -- he just set a world record for running 100 meters for someone in the over 105 age category.

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Bond. Photographer Bond.

Oct 28 2015

What is he really thinking? Daniel Craig at the premiere. (AFP/Leon Neal)

(AFP/Leon Neal)

So you think James Bond is happy being 007? Think again. AFP's Leon Neal has learned his secret.

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On El Chapo's trail

Oct 28 2015

An image of "La Santa Muerte,

(AFP / Ronaldo Schemidt)

When the Mexican military launched a raid in the remote mountains in northwest Mexico recently as part of its hunt to recapture fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, hundreds of civilians fled what they called “a rain of bullets” from the marine helicopters.

Video journalist Daphne Lemelin reports on what an AFP team found when it went to investigate.

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Becoming an unwitting part of the story

Oct 26 2015

Israeli security forces at the site of a knife attack near the central bus terminal in Jerusalem. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)

Israeli security forces at the site of a knife attack near the central bus terminal in Jerusalem. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)

In her two years working as an AFP correspondent based in Jerusalem, Daphne Rousseau has gotten used to covering attacks. Then one day she unwittingly became part of the story.

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Leaving in a Spanish state of mind

Oct 22 2015

It's pulp galore at the "tomatina

It's pulp galore at the "tomatina" festival in the village of Bunol, near Valencia. (AFP/Biel Alino)

Roland Lloyd Parry is leaving in a Spanish state of mind after a four-year assignment in Madrid.

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Nerve-wracking Nobels

Oct 20 2015

Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, announces the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature on October 8, 2015 in Stockholm (AFP / Jonathan Nackstrand)

(AFP / Jonathan Nackstrand)

"Covering the annual Nobel Prize announcements in Stockholm and Oslo is a little like writing a major exam at school", writes AFP correspondent Pia Ohlin.

"With one big exception: you’d never studied the subject before".

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Great weather for bombing

Oct 19 2015

A saleswoman wipes a TV screen in a shop in Moscow in 2014 during a broadcast of President Vladimir Putin's televised address to the nation. (AFP/Alexander Nemenov)

(AFP / Alexander Nemenov)

Up until a few weeks ago, most Russians didn't know much about Syria, where a civil war has raged for four years. The conflict in Ukraine has dominated the state-controlled airwaves. But a few weeks ago, the Kremlin launched a bombing campaign in its Soviet-era ally Syria. And then Moscow's mighty propaganda machine swung into action.

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The All Blacks blues

Oct 16 2015

The All Blacks perform their feared Haka pre-match war dance. (AFP/Gabriel Bouys)

The All Blacks perform their feared Haka pre-match war dance. (AFP/Gabriel Bouys)

A rugby enthusiast for years, AFP photographer Gabriel Bouys should be in seventh heaven covering the world's number one team, the New Zealand All Blacks at the Rugby World Cup. Then why does he have the blues?

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