In years gone by, Algerians who used the term "women's work" would probably have been referring to tasks such as weaving, the manufacture of terra cotta pots, and the production of traditional cakes. Custom in this predominantly Muslim country of North Africa ensured that women were first and foremost wives and homemakers. But, no longer.

In Algeria, the good news is that citizens no longer live in fear of being butchered by Islamist militants at makeshift roadblocks, or of being "disappeared" by hooded policemen who break down their front doors. But after turning the corner on a conflict between government forces and Islamist rebels that claimed more than 100,000 lives, mostly civilian, since 1992, Algeria is moving toward less, not more, freedom. The extraordinarily broad new "law implementing the charter on peace and more

The Algerian regulator ARPT took the brave step of allowing 24 ISPs an experimental licence at the end of April 2004. After the revision its licensing framework, the first VoIP operator (EEPAD) was granted authorization to operate a year later in April 2005. Russell Southwood reports on how this legalisation has begun to transform the market.

A presidential decree in Algeria will consecrate impunity for crimes under international law and other human rights abuses, and even muzzle open debate by criminalizing public discussion about the nation’s decade-long conflict, four human rights groups cautioned. The organizations are Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Center for Transitional Justice, and the International Federation for Human Rights.

Floods that uprooted 50,000 refugees are a reminder that the world urgently needs to solve Africa's longest-running territorial dispute, the leader of the Western Sahara independence movement has said. Heavy rains over the past few days washed away the homes of about 50,000 of the 158,000 refugees who have lived in desert camps near the Algerian town of Tindouf for 30 years since fleeing the disputed Western Sahara territory.