Welcome to this week's ‘Best of The National’, your guide to our most compelling, important and exclusive content from the past seven days. Here you will find news, features, comment, video and podcasts we believe help in our mission of the "Middle East. Explained”.
This was the week assistant foreign editor Campbell MacDiarmid spent time with the Rohingya in the world's largest refugee camp and Kareem Shaheen in Istanbul spoke to people to discover the true cost of the unfolding financial crisis in Turkey. From Lebanon, we reported on the suspicion that grieving Syrians in exile share about the "official" accounts of their loved-ones' deaths, and we asked: is the besieged town of Idlib the Assad regime's final hurdle?
Closer to home, Abu Dhabi removed the long-standing 20kph buffer on the emirate's roads, a British tourist in Dubai caught speeding 33 times in a rented Lamborghini stumped up Dh125,000 of his Dh175,000 fines and we ventured to the camel-breeding village of Qoa.
'I saw them with our women, doing whatever they wanted'. So began one of Campbell MacDiarmid's vivid reports from Bangladesh, where he spent time with the Rohingya Muslims who have fled persecution and violence in neighbouring Myanmar. Reporting from the largest refugee camp in the world, Campbell uncovered personal tales of murder and sexual violence: "You won't find anyone around here who didn't lose at least one family member," said Mohammed Sadiq, a grey-haired farmer in a white skull cap, whose granddaughter and daughter-in-law were both killed. You can read his reports here and here.
At a barbershop on the European side of Istanbul, a week before Eid is usually busy with customers, wrote Kareem Shaheen. Men are anxious to look their best, whether it is a full cut or a beard trim, before heading to their hometowns for the holiday. But not this year. As the lira sank against the US dollar, he found people were curbing their spending and were worried for the future. "Things are not going in a good direction."
Many Syrians in exile have been informed of the deaths of relatives still inside the country. But, despite the death certificates, there are doubts and suspicions over the Assad regime's version of events, reported Sunniva Rose. Staying with Syria, Richard Hall, in a series of dispatches, said the government had begun what was likely to be a slow and difficult march to regain control of the northern province, the last remaining rebel-held area in the country. A link to our video on the future of Idlib is below.
We reported on three days of bloodshed – spurred by several deadly attacks and an ongoing militant offensive – that had shaken the internationally-backed government in Kabul just weeks after an Eid ceasefire offered a glimmer of hope for a resolution to the country’s 17-year conflict.
Ahead of Imran Khan being sworn in as Pakistan’s prime minister today, reporter Ben Farmer examined the challenges he is likely to face in office.
In the UAE, our collective love of cars was rich-pickings: Abu Dhabi removed the 20kph buffer (enjoyed by so many drivers over the years) in a move to make the roads safer, island-wide paid parking comes into effect today, and the British tourist in Dubai who ran up Dh175,000 in a rent Lambo? He's paid a lion's share of his fines.
In our ongoing Neighbour Watch community profiles, Anna Zacharias ventured to Qoa (pronounced like Goa) to find a rare glimpse of Bedouin life in the humble border town famous for the quality of its camel breeding. There are some great pictures too.
DIFC Courts in Dubai appointed liquidators to oversee the winding up of troubled private equity company Abraaj Capital Limited as Dubai Financial Services Authority said it had blocked the firm from initiating new work or moving money to other entities.
And, finally, goodbye Aretha Franklin, your voice filled our hearts and lifted our spirits.
In this week's Business Extra Podcast, assistant business editor Chris Nelson and The National's Andy Scott discuss Elon Musk's increasingly erratic behaviour. The maverick billionaire and chief executive of electric car maker Tesla tweeted last week that he was considering taking his company private - a move that caught the attention of the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Last year Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared: “The era of submissive Turkey, bowing to western demands, is over!” The US and Turkey are Nato allies, but tensions are growing between the two. Turkey now finds itself with a devalued and unstable currency. In Sightline, Tim Marshall asks what’s on Erdogan’s agenda?
It's Hajj season. But what does that mean? Here's everything you need to know about the pilgrimage.
And will the battle for Idlib, the rebels' final stronghold, herald the end-game in the Syrian civil war?
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