Leela Jacinto is an award-winning international news reporter who has doggedly pursued stories across the globe. Along the way, she has harangued some officials, wined and dined with others, but has always kept her eyes on what’s in it for ordinary folks. A graduate of New York University, Leela has previously worked for ABC News in New York before joining FRANCE 24. In this blog, she provides insights on things you don’t necessarily see in the news bytes.

Americans get past mourning fast, and get set to organize

Donald Trump’s election victory may have shocked his critics. But many of them have recovered quickly and are determined to mobilize, organize and not give up the fight in the next four years.

Afghanistan gets aid, refugees get a ride back home from Europe

In a pinstriped suit and pristine white shirt, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani looked like he meant business in Brussels today when he proclaimed, “Enemies of freedom can affect the news cycle..."

Brothers in arms make rival claims for Quetta attack

The Pakistani Taliban has claimed the deadly attack on a Quetta hospital and so has the Islamic State group. But it doesn’t matter because in Pakistan, they’re all brothers in arms.

Erdogan rises from ordinary autocrat to a very good one

That Bashar al-Assad and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, they get what they’ve long railed against, in a perfect example of wish fulfillment, and it always works to their advantage. That’s the difference between a good autocrat and an ordinary one.

Sins of the father do not apply to the Orlando nightclub attacker

The media spotlight has focused on the father of the Orlando shooting suspect, Omar Mateen. But if we’re looking for a “sins of the father” scenario, the closest we can get is that the Mateen father and son are both nut jobs.

Dead Man Slamming: Notes on the Death of Salesman Chalabi

Whether it's Ahmad Chalabi in Iraq or Bernard-Henri Levy in Libya, history occasionally throws up these men impassioned with the righteousness of their cause, who have banged the drums of war.

Another video of another Afghan woman killed, this time for adultery

Earlier this year, it was Farkhunda, an Islamic studies student who was lynched in Kabul. Now, it's Rokhsahana, a young Afghan woman whose death by stoning was captured on video.We’re in an era of one-name victims of gruesome gender violence.
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Iran at the table: When foes come together over Syria

A week after top diplomats from Russia, the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia met in Vienna for “constructive” talks on Syria, they’re doing it again. Only this time, Iran will be at the table.

When heads (and secretaries) of state get by with a little help from officious friends

In April 2011, as Libyans were in the thick of their uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, a Frenchman in a white shirt unbuttoned to reveal swathes of chest arrived in Benghazi to hold yet another meeting with opposition leaders.

Another shooting, another case of US exceptionalism

From the Civil War-era Confederate states of the Deep South to the white supremacist political ideologies once practiced on a continent from which his victims were shipped and enslaved, the Charleston church shooting bears the burden of history.

Moqtada al-Sadr and Pentagon concur: It’s the wrong name at the wrong time

You know you’re in trouble when firebrand Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr thinks your operation codename is…well, a bit too firebrand Shiite for his taste.
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A new brute takes over Palmyra’s notorious Tadmur Prison

Situated in Palmyra, near some of the world’s most beautiful ancient ruins, Syria’s notorious Tadmur Prison has fallen from one brutal boss to another.

If the Taliban is hooking up with IS, who’s talking peace in Qatar?

Afghan officials say Taliban insurgents are linking up with Daesh (ISIS) militants in Kunduz while thousands of miles away in a Gulf seaside resort, some Taliban honchos are talking peace. So, what exactly is going on?

Jordan’s warrior king ‘suits up’ to fight ISIS – on Twitter

Photographs of Jordan’s King Abdullah suited up in full combat gear, apparently ready to personally take on ISIS, appeared on Twitter this week. They seemed too good to be true – and they were.

The King Is Dead, Long Live His Geriatric Brother

In conservative Saudi Arabia, where change comes glacially, the new king has extended the royal succession line to a new generation. And that’s a big deal by Saudi standards – even if it really isn’t.

Al Qaeda wins this round against Daesh, but what’s with the rival claims?

Al Qaeda’s most dangerous branch, AQAP, has claimed responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attack, edging arch jihadist foe Daesh (IS) for the moment. So why were there rivals claims in the Paris two hostage crises?

Lessons from the Peshawar army school attack

The year that saw Malala Yousafzai win the Nobel Peace Prize is drawing to a close with a horrific attack on schoolchildren in Peshawar. So much for our dreams of a world where kids can go to school without fear.

Why Turkey’s ‘Kasimpasa man’ can’t get tough with Putin

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also known as the “Kasimpasa man” after the tough Istanbul neighborhood of his childhood. But when it comes to tough man of the region, Vladimir Putin, the Turkish leader can be surprisingly soft.

Unraveling the mystery around the ‘French agent' turned bin Laden cohort

From a seaside French town to the badlands of Pakistan and Syria, David Drugeon rose up the jihadist ranks. This we know for sure. But was he a French agent and is he dead or alive?

Two days, three leaders and a tricky transition for Burkina Faso

In 48 hours, Burkina Faso went through three leaders following Blaise Compaore’s ouster, including rival claims to power by two military men for a few hours. In the end, the junior officer won. But can he steer the country on the road to democracy?