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Garbage piled up in the opposition-held city of Afrin, Syria, in March 2018. AP/Lefteris Pitarakis

Garbage collection in Syria is crucial to fighting the Islamic State

Keeping the water and power on, managing sewers and collecting garbage will help communities shattered by the Syrian civil war rebuild – and keep out the Islamic State, says a former aid official.
Scotland’s former first minister Alex Salmond legally challenged the SNP government under the leadership of his former protege Nicola Sturgeon, and won. Robert Perry/epa

Scotland: Salmond court debacle could kill off Sturgeon’s hopes of new SNP independence surge

With Brexit mired in doubt, it could be said the stars are aligning for Scottish independence. But now it looks like the SNP could self-combust after the government's humiliating court defeat.
Much is expected of South African President Jacob Zuma when he delivers his 2016 State of the Nation Address. Reuters/Sumaya Hisham

State of the Nation address: what Zuma needs to tell South Africa

The general loss of faith in the economy is the most important issue President Zuma must address. More radical social and economic transformation, with emphasis on land reform will be most critical.
Thousands of civil service employees gather during a protest march for higher pay at the Union Buildings in Pretoria in 2010. EPA/Jon Hrusa

Civil service pay: South Africa has some harsh choices to make

South Africa's government should urgently announce a moratorium on civil service employment growth. The country has reached its upper limit in the number of civil servants that can be sustained.

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