Al Jazeera America
Deal or no deal, US debt problem lingers (10/15/13) Even if America puts a band-aid on the budget this week, bigger battles loom large for policymakers.
Shutdown showdown: Endgame Scenarios (10/4/13) Five ways Washington could deal with political gridlock, fiscal chaos and the debt ceiling.
Shutdown showdown: A Glossary (9/30/13) Explaining the confusing fiscal terminology at the heart of America’s political quagmire.
Al Jazeera English
Q&A: Deconstructing the chaos in Bangladesh (5/31/13) Recent events in turbulent South Asian nation have called into question the essence of political and religious identity.
Timeline: Israeli attacks on Syrian targets (5/5/13) Recent strikes allegedly hit Iranian missiles bound for Hezbollah, amid growing fears of chemical weapons transfers.
Revealing N Korea’s gulag and nuclear sites (1/29/13) Google’s newly updated maps show unprecedented detail in aerial imagery of labour camps and missile launch pad.
Requiem for a Red State Road Trip (10/16/12) Reflections on two-week reporting odyssey through under-covered swath of US, a month before presidential election.
Immigrants thrive in US country music capital (10/15/12) Foreign-born residents in Nashville, Tennessee, lean to the Democrats in a state often dominated by Republicans.
Southerners on race and the White House (10/13/12) Generational gap afflicts black voters in Memphis, city of Civil Rights turmoil, King’s assassination and blues music.
Primer: Europe’s dire debt crisis (12/16/10) A look at how the European debt contagion spread from southern Europe and by 2010 had engulfed much of the continent.
Resilient Haitians Battle Chaos and Despair in Quest for Normalcy (07/28/10) In May, four months after Haiti was struck by a massive earthquake, we searched for signs that life in Port-au-Prince had returned to normal. What we found was that the rebuilding process was in many ways a building process for so much of the country’s infrastructure.
(Hear Marc Steiner show radio appearance with Marie Saint Cyr on the situation in Haiti from 05/18/10).
Mass Protests Begin in Haiti (05/12/10) In the Haitian capital’s first major opposition rally since the devastating January 12th earthquake, protesters demanded Monday that President Rene Preval step down. Angry demonstrators marched several miles from Cite Soleil, the capital’s poorest area, to the destroyed Presidential Palace, calling for the reinstatement of exiled leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Haitians Surrender to Destiny But Battle for Better Tomorrow (05/11/10) Upon arrival in Haiti, I was struck by the nonchalance of the first baggage handlers, street vendors, and cops that I saw. Despite a harrowing natural disaster that befell the dirt-poor Caribbean country just four months ago, the humdrum of daily life here goes…
In Middle East, leaders on religious left offer reconciliation (03/25/10) Religious politicians are usually considered to be on the right of the ideological spectrum. However, we look at several who advocate pacifism and pluralism yet are grounded in traditional spirituality.
Q&A: Arab world experiences rapid population explosion (03/23/10) Compared to other regions, the Arab world has been experiencing one of the fastest population growth rates — over 2% per year — which has led to more than its doubling within the last 30 years. Worldfocus discusses Middle Eastern demographics with Patrick Gerland, a demographer at the United Nations Population Division.
Q&A: India launches countrywide slum mapping campaign (02/25/10) The government of India announced plans earlier this week to do comprehensive mapping of slums in the entire country — to further the ambitious goal of making India slum-free within five years. Worldfocus spoke with Pratima Joshi of Shelter Associates for more on slum mapping.
Marijuana laws loosen gradually around the globe (02/19/10) During a recent upswing in drug violence in Mexican border towns, many critics of the drug war called for a change in U.S. policy toward marijuana use. Meanwhile, New Jersey just became the 14th U.S. state to allow marijuana for medical use. View our maps to compare current U.S. marijuana policy to laws in Europe and the rest of the world. (co-reported by Geneva Sands-Sadowitz)
Drone war forces resurgent al-Qaeda to rely on franchises (02/16/10) The drone war in northwest Pakistan has brought attention to the attenuated al-Qaeda core that moved from Afghanistan in late 2001. But two events in December — a failed Christmas Day bombing and an attack on CIA operatives in Afghanistan — have led analysts to re-assess al-Qaeda’s perceived decline. Worldfocus takes a look at the organization’s evolution. (Blog)
Drones continue to eliminate major foes in NW Pakistan (02/12/10) This week, Pakistani Taliban finally confirmed what the Pakistani army had claimed many days ago — that Hakimullah Mehsud was killed last month by U.S. drones. While there are conflicting reports about which strike dealt Mehsud the mortal blow, the Pakistani Taliban are leaderless for the second time in six months. Read how commentators are assessing the drone war. (Blog)
China surges past competitors in clean energy technology (02/11/10) China is rapidly becoming the leading manufacturer of clean energy. The country has become the largest producer of wind turbines and solar panels and also provides almost 97 percent of the world’s supply of rare-earth materials. The world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter could also make the rest of the world reliant on its alternative energy products. (co-reported by Geneva Sands-Sadowitz)
N. Korean paid informants risk lives but send dubious news (02/04/10) In North Korea, radio signals are jammed, internet connections blocked and cell phones monitored. Outside news organizations pay underground stringers to smuggle news out. Read how U.S. newspapers treat this info, and see our list of North Korean news websites. (co-reported by Geneva Sands-Sadowitz)
Q&A: Morocco shuts down magazine that criticized government (02/02/10) Aida Alami is a Moroccan freelance journalist who wrote for Le Journal Hebdomadaire until the magazine was shut down by the government last week. Worldfocus interviewed her about why the Moroccan government closed one of the country’s most independent news outlets.
Q&A: Born in Africa, crisis-mapping site comes of age in Haiti (01/29/10) Ushahidi, which is Swahili for “testimony,” is an innovative computer platform that crowd-sources crisis information. Worldfocus spoke with Ushahidi about their efforts in Haiti to map out reports from the ground and help disaster relief organizations to provide aid to those in need.
‘Drone porn’ develops a cult following on the internet (01/28/10) As unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become increasingly central to America’s wars, “drone porn” has taken the internet by storm with captivating aerial images of death and destruction. The Defense Department actually posts its drone attack footage on YouTube via public relations firm DVidsHub. Some of the videos have caught the attention of millions. (Video blog)
China commits massive funds to future high-speed rail (01/19/10) High-speed train travel is set to take over in China. New lines linking major cities are providing faster and faster routes. China has committed almost $300 billion over the next decade to build the planet’s most expansive high-speed network. The world’s fastest train covers the 664-mile Guangzhou-Wuhan trip in just three hours — an average speed of 217 mph. (Co-reported by Geneva Sands-Sadowitz and James Matthews).
Q&A: In turbulent Israel-Palestine, Samaritans strive to do good (01/19/10) The Samaritan community, numbering around 740 people, is split between Holon, Israel, and Kiryat Luza, near Nablus in the West Bank. Neither Muslim nor Jewish, they have been in the Holy Land for over three millennia. Worldfocus spoke with Benyamin Tsedaka, editor of the Samaritan newspaper and chairman of the Samaritan Medal project.
U.S. intensifies drone attacks on Pakistan’s tribal region (01/12/2010) In 2009, the U.S. launched at least 50 missile strikes against al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives in northwest Pakistan. While drone attacks are more frequent than ever before, there is wide disagreement about civilian deaths. View our interactive map of Pakistan drone attack locations since 2004.
China’s Great Firewall falls briefly, allowing YouTube & porn (01/05/10) In an effort to curb exposure to unsavory web material, China has massively strengthened its Great Firewall. Internet censorship in China targets perceived threats to the government: political sites, social networks and more. But during brief periods in the past few days, internet users have been able to access forbidden sites — even without going through a proxy.
Pashtunistan faces huge escalation of U.S. anti-terror war (12/31/09) Worldfocus multimedia producer Ben Piven writes about the U.S. war in Pashtunistan, a misunderstood place not found on any world map. The knee-jerk American reaction after September 11th was to strike at the Taliban-ruled nation that harbored a huge al-Qaeda contingent: Afghanistan. But the U.S. has widened its campaign to the region of Pashtunistan.
Human rights group condemns UN eastern Congo mission (12/15/09) A new 183-page report by Human Rights Watch faults the U.N.’s largest and most expensive peacekeeping operation for supporting the Congolese Army’s murderous tactics. The report calls for the embattled U.N. mission — whose mandate is set to expire in two weeks — to cease backing the Congolese military, which is accused of serious human rights violations.
Teddy bear, bumble bee indoctrinate youth on Hamas TV (12/11/09) Since 2007, a propaganda show called Tomorrow’s Pioneers has taught young Palestinians about the alleged sins of Israel and the West. This week, a Washington D.C.-based NGO released a dispatch on this children’s TV program produced by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Watch videos with the show’s 4 costumed co-hosts, including Farfour, a Mickey Mouse look-alike…
Q&A: Jerusalem serves as disputed 2009 Arab ‘culture capital’ (12/04/09) For 2009, UNESCO and the Arab League designated Jerusalem as the year’s Arab culture capital. But Israeli authorities forbade events associated with the program, prompting a series of secret indoor gatherings. Worldfocus interviewed the Dutch organizer of Al Quds Underground.
Q&A: Calling the world’s attention to the caste issue in India (12/01/09) For more on the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Washington D.C. last week, Worldfocus spoke with Ramaiah Avatthi, a professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai. Currently a Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University, Ramaiah contends that Manmohan Singh has ignored the caste issue during his stewardship of India.
Q&A: One year later, taking Mumbai’s pulse inside taxis (11/25/09) India’s largest city is commemorating the one-year anniversary of vicious terrorist attacks that killed more than 170 people. Journalist Vandana Sood uses Mumbai taxicabs to report on how people from a wide cross-section of Indian society view the aftermath of the attacks.
Q&A: Jerusalem’s undying ethnic strife deepens urban divide (11/20/09) One of the world’s holiest cities is also one of the most divided. For more on Jerusalem’s unique situation, Worldfocus spoke with Hussein Ibish, a senior fellow at the American Task Force for Palestine, a non-profit dedicated to a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Articles from Inside the Hermit Kingdom, a 6-part Worldfocus series on the people and culture of North Korea:
North Korean economy sandwiched by the dragon and tiger (11/20/09) “Why does South Korea produce Samsung, LG, and Hyundai?” I asked Jong, our 25-year-old North Korean tour guide. She said that North Korea will manufacture sophisticated goods once the essentials — electrification and rice production — are covered. But the blank look on her face suggested that she better not discuss the issue.
Kim Jong-il’s North Korea welcomes legal U.S. tourists (11/13/09) Air Koryo stewardesses with delicately coiffed hair and impeccable red suits directed us to our seats in the stuffy Tupolev aircraft. Flimsy seat backs folded completely forward onto the seat cushions. Pyongyang-bound tourists, businessmen, and North Koreans fanned themselves ferociously, as the temperature hit 80 degrees. (w/ video)
Sweet dreams of Beyonce in N. Korean people’s paradise (11/11/09) On my second day in North Korea, our guide asked if it was true that Michael Jackson had died. We pictured her doing the moonwalk as Michael blared from her in-house PA that never sleeps. After we confirmed the star’s death, she asked whether Michael Jordan had also passed away. She was relieved to hear that America’s greatest basketball player was doing fine. (w/ slideshow)
Straddling the two Koreas: DMZ diplomacy with Major Im (11/03/09) Since 1953, it has been the world’s most militarized border. Bill Clinton has called it the scariest place on earth. Undoubtedly, my most compelling moment in North Korea was at the DMZ — Demilitarized Zone. Many Americans visit the south side of the 2.5-mile wide buffer zone that runs across the 38th parallel, dividing the Communist north from the democratic south. But our group was given a rare glimpse of the north side.
Communist North Korea clings to ‘Juche’ ideology (10/30/09) North Korea is a Cold War relic, but its communist roots alone do not explain the widespread adoption of the ideology knows as Juche — essentially a hybrid of East Asian Confucianism and East European Stalinism. Despite the fact that state literature decrees “man is the master of all things,” Juche (”self-reliance” in Korean) is relentlessly collectivist. (w/ slideshow)
100,000 North Koreans dazzle at mass games spectacle (10/06/09) Worldfocus discussed the meaning of the Arirang Games with two North Korea experts: Charles Armstrong, a history professor and director of Columbia University’s Center for Korean Studies and Leon Sigal, director of the Social Science Research Council’s Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project. (w/ video)
Q&A: Rights group says terminally ill suffer needlessly in India (10/30/09) This week Human Rights Watch released Unbearable Pain, an extensive report on palliative care in India. The organization believes that denying sick people pain relief violates a basic health care right, and that the Indian government should require hospitals to provide terminally ill patients with morphine.
Hindus celebrate Diwali holiday in India and beyond (10/19/09) round the world, from India and Mauritius to the United Kingdom and Guyana, Hindus gathered with friends and family to celebrate the festival of lights: Diwali. Also known as Dipawali, which means “row of lamps,” the holiday commemorates the victory of good over evil within individuals. (w/slideshow & video, co-reported with Parul Malik)
Over 12 million people worldwide have no citizenship (10/16/09) Around the world, an estimated 12 million individuals lack nationality or citizenship in any nation. This means they have no legal right to a passport, employment, or housing. (with amMap)
Mapping out refugees and asylum seekers worldwide (10/14/09) There are estimates of 16 million total refugees and asylum seekers living throughout the world. Refugees fall under the responsibility of different global agencies. There are 10.5 million refugees under the auspices of UNHCR, while UNRWA has responsibility for the estimated 4.7 million Palestinian refugees…
Q&A: Dying during childbirth in India (10/13/09) Last week, Human Rights Watch released an extensive report detailing the maternal mortality problem in India – whose rate is 16 times Russia’s and 10 times China’s. Worldfocus spoke with Aruna Kashyap, the lead researcher of the in-depth study, “No Tally of the Anguish.”
Violence in Guinea shocks international community (10/08/09) A number of Western governments have stepped up their condemnations of violence and brutality in Guinea. An estimated 157 died last week as government troops shot demonstrators voicing their disapproval of Captain Moussa Dadis Camara.
Guinea security forces crack down, kill more than 100 (09/29/09) Almost one year after a bloodless coup in December 2008 — during which Captain Moussa Dadis Camara took power several hours after the death of Guinea’s 24-year leader — violence has begun to rock the West African nation’s capital city of Conakry.
Day Two at the U.N. (09/23/09) Heralding a “new chapter of international cooperation,” U.S. President Barack Obama delivered his maiden speech to the U.N. General Assembly today. Obama remains very popular around the world, although he has not yet elicited any major concessions in global geopolitical conflicts.
Reporting from the U.N. (09/22/09) Here at the U.N. on the first day of the 64th session of the General Assembly, over 100 heads of state have gathered to discuss climate change in the run-up to December’s Copenhagen conference. U.S. President Barack Obama headlined the plenary session, which featured eight world leaders.
Chinese diplomats promote ‘harmonious world’ policy (09/17/09) “Thirty years ago, you couldn’t find anything in American supermarkets made in China. Now, when an American friend shops for a gift, he can’t find one not made in China.”
Rome Metro’s Line C runs into ruins (09/17/09) Rome is currently building its third metro line, which will pass through the gaping hole in the middle of the city not covered by the A and B lines. (w/ map)
Q&A: A Kuwaiti Bidoon suffers from statelessness (09/03/09) Bidoon literally means “without” in Arabic and refers to a group of Bedouin, formerly nomadic Arabs, who are perceived as socially and culturally inferior to the dominant “merchant” tribes of the Gulf States.
Kurdish sanctuary ages in Brooklyn (09/02/09) Flowing headdresses and silver amulets from Kurdistan fill the dusty glass cases of the exhibition room. Over 2,000 erudite books fill the shelves. Faded photographs of Kurdish peasants cover the walls. (on InsideThirteen)
Head-to-toe Islamic veil rare in France (09/01/09) Six years ago, I was looking for an apartment in the French capital. Searching for the 5-A buzzer, an American friend and I came across an old French man who thought we were trespassing…
Q&A: the challenges of entering and exiting Gaza (08/10/09) Nizar al-Wazir came to the United States on a Fulbright grant from Gaza in 2007. He currently works in Washington D.C. at Chemonics, a development consulting firm. He joined Worldfocus to discuss the hardship of coming and going from the Gaza Strip.
Ambitious Dane takes the reins at NATO (08/05/09) His youthful chuckle echoed throughout the reception chamber. The premier was delighted that I used the Danish term for “tax daddy” in a question about windmill subsidies…
Israel not a ‘sucker’ for Obama foreign policy (07/30/09) Beyond all else, the one thing that all visitors to the Holy Land recognize immediately is that queues don’t work properly. Israelis hate waiting in line. In the queue for a spot on President Barack Obama’s world tour…
China promises to execute fewer criminals (07/29/09) In an announcement that is well-timed with the conclusion of bilateral talks between the U.S. and China, Beijing declared that it would drastically cut the number of executions. But China accounted for the vast majority of worldwide executions in 2008…
Warming Greenland moves towards Independence (07/28/09) I read two weeks ago how midsummer’s day was the occasion for big celebrations in Greenland’s capital of Nuuk, a small town snuggled between fjords on the southwestern coast. Clad in sealskin boots and waving red and white Greenlandic flags…
Curvaceous cartoon heroine banned in India for racy exploits (07/27/09) Indian netizens are mourning the passing of an Internet comic heroine, weeks after the country’s Ministry of Telecommunications banned this contemporary take on Kama Sutra for violating public decency. (SavitaBhabhi.com and HuffingtonPost link)
Indian Nationalism Begins to Challenge Caste Identity (04/03/09) The peppery aroma of snack carts permeated the humid air. Workmen gathered under a corrugated tin overhang to sip on mango lassis and sweet lime juice. (HuffingtonPost link)
NY Daily News
Bronx-based service cleans out hoarders’ cluttered homes (05/03/09) Catharine harvests rainwater for bathing and uses a litter box as her toilet. She has had no plumbing for seven years. The Georgetown University alumna sleeps on massive rubbish piles next to her 10 cats. (Cover article of Sunday Metro section)
You Can Take the Slum Out of Slumdog But Not Out of Mumbai (02/26/09) Aside from the usual criticisms about “Slumdog Millionaire” — regarding its essential truthfulness, or whether the title demeans its subjects–some Mumbai-centric commentators have accused the film of unfair characterization of the Indian slum in general, and Dharavi in particular.
(Hear SAJAforum radio appearances #2 and #3 in the series produced after the 11/26/08 Mumbai terror attacks).
Pinkslips Instead of Hongbao (02/10/09) Chinese New Year celebrations ended inauspiciously on Monday, as one of Beijing’s most critically acclaimed hotels built in the pre-Olympic construction boom sizzled. Indeed, this year may be off to a rough start – and not just for the Mandarin Oriental.
Claudio’s Barber Shop (11/11/08) Claudio Caponigro is one of the last relics of a bygone era. Yet, almost 60 years of snipping the locks of East Harlem residents might come to an end. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, maybe next year.
Ultra Healthy Hebrews (06/25/07) Ruffling his distinctive beard and directing a regal, pacific gaze towards the growing crowd of Shavuot revelers, Sar Elyashuv…
African Diaspora in the Holy Land (06/04/07) In a spacious, mellow room in Jerusalem’s Old City, a crew of Arabic-speaking youngsters chats about football, oud, and Allah.
Falls Road Relics Link Past, Present (08/13/02) The inn is a few hundred yards north of the spot where the last 25-cent tollgate on the Falls Road Turnpike stood, giving the inn an important…
Game Masters Unite (08/03/02) Despite her humble attitude, Rebecca Hebner won four tournaments at last year’s World Boardgaming Championships.
Making a Wooly Debut (07/13/02) Alpacas: the smaller cousins of llamas make their first appearance at the Baltimore County 4-H Fair…
God & Bible (05/10/06) I’m not certain what to think about an Enlightenment type of rationalism, which was always prevalent in American history…
Happy 3rd Anniversary, Mr. President (03/20/05) Multicolored banners waved atop the impassioned crowd, each festooned with clever slogans…The protestors were booming adamantly.
(09/16/06) This challenge to define the essence of Burning Man will evoke a plethora of different reactions to the psychedelic, ephemeral, and brutal qualities of the unique phenom. To start, it is necessary to label Burning Man as an event. As such, it takes place during a set time period every year (around Labor Day weekend), in a specific location (Black Rock City, Nevada, 40^45’32.70N, 119^14’14.03W). This year was in fact the 20th Annual Burning Man, which actually began as a small-time neo-hippie gathering.