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 An Egyptian Orthodox Christian priest give communion during the Palm Sunday service inCairo, Egypt. Mohamed El-Shahed / AFP

Region in focus - April 18, 2014

The best images of the last seven days from around the Gulf and across the Middle East.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is pictured before the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on March 1, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

 The new Bentley GT Speed convertible on display at a press event of the New York International Auto Show. Jason Szenes / EPA

In pictures: Hot cars at New York International Auto Show

With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the US car industry. Here are some of the vehicles to be shown in this year’s edition.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.


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Bitter sweet: how small Cambodian farmers are paying the price for the West’s sugar policies

April 16, 2014

Someof the country's poorest people have had their lives turned upside down by global sugar companies - aided by the government.

Counter intelligence: the West’s silly and sinister approach to radicalism

April 16, 2014

The West’s approach to identifying potential terrorists has been somewhat absurd, argues Arun Kundnani in his new book, which suffers itself from being insufficiently argued.

It’s a funny business, as Saudi Arabian comedians get ready to visit the capital

April 16, 2014

Saudi Arabia's comedy scene is booming - and some of the nation's leading laughter merchants are on their way to the capital for a show at du Arena next weekend.

Animal magnetism: PEN/Faulkner winner Karen Joy Fowler discusses ethics, experiments and the novel she was always meant to write

April 16, 2014

Fowler's new novel challenges our deepest preconceptions about family, love and parenthood.

Box set of the seminal Spiderland by Slint blows away the cobwebs

April 16, 2014

Slint’s Spiderland - now remastered and reissued in a box set – was never going to top the charts, but it has proved profoundly influential in the decades since its release.

Shorter and sweeter: Mai Al-Nakib’s debut collection of short stories hits the mark

April 16, 2014

With her grasp of the dynamics of life in the Gulf, Al-Nakib is a new voice worth attending to.

The knowledge economy: Zia Haider Rahman’s debut novel is epic in scale and reach

April 16, 2014

This hefty novel about a banker and his long-lost college friend is stuffed full of ideas, discourses and bravura prose.

What female police officers in Dubai think of their abilities

April 10, 2014

A new study in a British academic journal asked female police officers in Dubai what they thought of their jobs, their skills and their duties.

Indie filmmaker Desiree Akhavan is riding high on a wave of unexpected success

April 10, 2014

Iranian-American filmmaker Desiree Akhavan is somewhat overwhelmed by the hype around her debut feature, but simply achieving recognition as a woman and an outsider in the US film industry is a remarkable feat.

War is a friend only to the undertaker? Historian Ian Morris thinks war has been good for humanity

April 10, 2014

Morris's contentious thesis is that, far from being completely negative, war has on balance been a boon to humanity, advancing progress and prosperity.

Over the threshold: Israel’s new ‘governability’ laws entrench the settlements even further

April 10, 2014

Israel’s new suite of laws – the ‘governability bill’ – has made it harder for smaller parties to gain access to power and entrenches the settlements even further.

A murder and a drowning give Linn Ullmann’s Nordic noir a route into family secrets and stresses

April 10, 2014

Ullmann’s latest isn’t strictly a crime thriller, but it does contain much of what we’ve come to enjoy from Scandinavian outings in the genre.

The inescapable past: novelist Kamila Shamsie unearths some beauty from the darkness of history

April 10, 2014

Shamsie's new novel moves across continents and across history to tell a story of how the past effects the present.

A sound of freedom: a compilation of Mestre Cupijó’s music introduces the Brazilian fusion of escaped slaves

April 10, 2014

In Brazil, escaped slaves founded their own communities and developed their own music, music which is celebrated in a joyous new compilation.