"They gave me electric shocks and called me a b*tch": Life for Afghan women under Taliban rule

Before Afghanistan fell, Wajiha Amiri, now 29, was working for a radio station in Kunduz, in the north of the country, on a show that promoted women’s right to education and employment. While such topics might sound ordinary here in the UK, in Afghanistan, a country with a complex history when it comes to women’s education, Wajiha’s work was risky. But she wasn’t scared.

These people have decided to become real-life mermaids

Mermaids, sirens of the sea with breasts and fishtails, are creatures of folklore and myth, and may not be a typical sight on a bank holiday. But earlier this month, while landlubbers celebrated the platinum jubilee, a shoal of mermaids washed up on England’s southern shores. On 2 June, hundreds of people gathered in Plymouth’s Tinside Lido to take part in an attempt to break the world record of the largest gathering of people dressed as merfolk.

Withernsea pier: a beacon of hope for all seaside towns

When native Norwegian Torkel Larsen first washed up on the shores of East Yorkshire, he never imagined he would be the one to rebuild its most significant pier. But for the last six years, Larsen has led residents of Withernsea in a battle to recreate the lost pier – and to resurrect the spirit of the town. Council delays, spiralling costs and successive lockdowns have all got in the way, but the team remains undeterred.

Food clubs wade in to deal with the hunger crisis in Britain

The UK, one of the world’s wealthiest nations, is going hungry – and food poverty is on the rise. About 5 per cent of the population cannot afford enough food to meet their basic needs and avoid hunger. Hospitals are seeing a recurrence of deficiency diseases such as scurvy and rickets due to poor nutrition. New data released just this week by the Food Foundation showed that food insecurity had risen nearly 1 per cent in the past month alone.

Pam & Tommy’s wildest moments: what really happened?

Before Paris Hilton (and Rick Salomon), before Kim Kardashian (and Ray J), there was Pamela Anderson (and Tommy Lee), with the first celebrity sex tape scandal. The Lumière brothers of internet porn, the OG viral sensation. An intimate home video of the couple on holiday was stolen in 1995 and sold on the nascent internet. Now a Disney+ and Hulu miniseries, Pam & Tommy – starring Lily James and Sebastian Stan, and directed by Craig Gillespie – tells the tale of pop-culture history in eight episodes.

The Birdman of the Tower of London and the missing ravens

Nothing in Edgar Allan Poe’s majestic poem The Raven prepares you for their smell. But Christopher James Skaife, Yeoman Warder and Ravenmaster of the Tower of London, knows it only too well. “Ravens are quite smelly, especially babies, it’s quite pungent, and I only have a small house tucked into the walls of the Tower of London … the ravens like to walk around our house, and they poo everywhere. That was the first thing my wife moaned about.”

Across the universe

Some historians are thinking big – and they want the rest of us to do likewise. Harriet Marsden reports In the beginning there was David Christian, a Brooklyn-born teacher and originally a scholar of Russian history. In 1989 he was hired to teach a general history introduction at Macquarie University, Sydney, and developed a multidisciplinary course collaborating with colleagues from other academic fields. He called it “Big History”. Biology, physics, geology, politics, history, anthropology,

Child sex abuse, corruption and cover-ups: How football can and must move on from its darkest time

Andrew Woodward has no idea how many times he was raped as a child. In November 2016, the ex-footballer waived his right to anonymity and revealed that he had been a victim of sexual abuse for more than six years in the 1980s. The one-time Crewe Alexandra defender named his former coach, a convicted paedophile who police would later say had “almost an insatiable appetite” for young boys: Barry Bennell.

I went to Nigel Farage's booze-free Brexit celebration with a bottle of vodka and an open mind

They’re certainly not the only European voices I’ll hear through the night, along with American, Japanese and – more surprisingly – Irish, but the crowd is overwhelmingly white and English. It’s a controlled vibe, not too much shoving, but there’s an underlying tension and a lot of angry shouting. That surprises me from a group of people so firmly convinced they have “won” their heart’s desire. There’s the odd waft of gunpowder and a smell of weed in the air. I hope it’s been through customs.

Even for Pussy Riot, gender equality must begin at home

In Pussy Riot, male members are in short supply. But while the Russian punk feminist collective does not have a defined list of participants, one man, Pyotr Verzilov, is usually included. The husband of Nadezhda “Nadya” Tolokonnikova (the group’s most famous member), is well known thanks to fighting with his wife while she was in prison, gatecrashing the 2018 football World Cup final in Russia and the fact that he was poisoned last year, allegedly by intelligence agents.

‘This is not what we fought for’: The battle to end Iran’s ban on female football fans

When Iran beat Cambodia 14-0 in its home qualifier for the 2022 Qatar World Cup last night, only one corner of Tehran’s stadium cheered. A small section, ringed with metal fencing, was packed full of jubilant Iranian women, sporting painted faces and national flags. Hundreds more queued up outside. It was a pocket of celebration in a nearly empty stadium. Because for the first time in four decades, Iran had allowed women to buy tickets to a match. It was too late for Sahar Khodayari. Almost a m
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