Richard Hall

Richard Hall is The Independent’s Assistant Foreign Editor. He was formerly Middle East Editor of The Daily Star, Beirut.

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German pianist Klavier Kunst (L) performs with an unidentified activist at Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey

Turkey protests: The 'peace pianist' trying to bring calm to Taksim Square

The soothing sound of a grand piano drifted across Taksim Square last night, bringing a welcome calm a day after violence rocked the area.

Riot police fire tear gas to disperse the crowd

Eyewitness: In Taksim Square, tear gas and bulldozers just add fuel to Turkish protesters' ire

Turks demonstrating in Istanbul tell Richard Hall that the brutal police tactics expose a dictatorship at work

Turkey protests: ‘Tear gas is not enough. If I was in power I would have used guns’

Demonstrators stockpiling face masks and goggles to protect against tear gas, and rebuilding barricades that have been destroyed

A member of the forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad rides a bike along a street piled with damaged buildings in Qusayr, after the Syrian army took control of the city from rebel fighters

A snapshot of Qusayr: Voices from a city ravaged by war

The Syrian city of Qusayr has seen fierce fighting during the past three weeks as government troops, supported by Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon, have sought to take it back from the rebel control.

Syrian rebels cannot be clumped into one group

They share the same aim - the removal of Assad from power - but they are not the same

US Senator John McCain crosses into Syria for talks with rebel leader

US Senator John McCain crossed the border into Syria for talks with rebel commanders, becoming the highest-level American official to enter the country since the civil war began more than two years ago.

The aftermath of an Israeli air strike in Syria

The parachute columnists are back with a vengeance

They can write about what they want from wherever they want, not needing to know much about their chosen topic so long as they write well - this time it's Syria

UN's Carla Del Ponte says there is evidence rebels 'may have used sarin' in Syria

UN officials insist inquiry 'has not reached conclusive findings'

Dozens of men have uploaded pictures to Facebook of themselves cross-dressing

Cross-dressing Kurds in Iran to support women’s rights

A group of men from the Kurdish community in religiously conservative Iran have found a novel way of supporting women's rights: cross-dressing.

A pro-democracy protest in Manama

Bahrain Grand Prix motors on as Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone says: 'What human rights? – I don't know what they are'

A heavy police presence on the streets of Bahrain ensured that pro-democracy protests did not disrupt the country’s controversial Grand Prix today – which activists had argued should not have taken place due to widespread human rights abuses by the ruling monarchy.

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Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
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Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
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Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
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A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
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Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
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Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
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Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
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The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
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New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
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For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
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Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on