Ruth Sherlock

The United Arab Emirates is known as a popular business destination that tends to punish those who transgress its conservative Muslim laws.

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When the Syrian migrants spotted Belarusian officials arriving at their hostel in Minsk, they knew their hopes of a better life in the West were over. Seven managed to escape through the windows. The rest were rounded up, brought to the lobby and had their passports taken from them.

They were among thousands of migrants lured into the country with travel visas and the understanding that they would be able to reach the European Union. But now they were given an ultimatum: Book a flight out of Belarus — the officials didn't care where to — or be put on a plane to Syria.

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CHIBAISH, Iraq — A water buffalo, her stomach bloated and haunches sunken, lies dying on a dry expanse of cracked earth. Her calf nuzzles her but she doesn't respond. A few yards away, another water buffalo, all skin and bone, wallows in the mud at the edge of the drying marsh waters.

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BAGHDAD — In 2019, thousands of Iraqis started taking part in huge demonstrations to demand change. They called for an end to rampant corruption that is siphoning their country's oil wealth, for better public services like reliable water and electricity, and for a bigger voice in a government.

The protest movement forced out Adil Abdul-Mahdi, then the prime minister, in May 2020, and triggered new elections. On Sunday, Iraqi voters will go to the polls to elect a new parliament for the fifth time since longtime dictator Saddam Hussein was ousted after the U.S. invaded in 2003.

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