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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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness