Best reads of January

February 2, 2009

Gaza gets 180 minute respite to shop, bury the dead – “For 180 precious minutes, Israeli warplanes and tanks held their fire, giving 1.5 million shell-shocked residents of the coastal enclave a chance to check on family members, shop for essentials and bury their dead.”

Spain’s jobless lose homes, tensions mount – “‘One day this place is going to explode,’ said unemployed waiter Miguel Roa, a Spaniard. Since December, he has lost his job and his home as well as seeing his family split as economic crisis ended 14 years of growth in Spain.

Stoic Gaza claws back to what passes for normal – “For 1.5 million Palestinians trapped in Gaza, the westward sea is like the fourth wall of a crumbling prison bounded to the north, east and south by an Israeli-led blockade, and now smashed in key places by a three-week Israeli military assault.”

Morocco tackles painful role in Spain’s past – “Slimane Betmaki smiles at the memory of the terror he inflicted on Spanish villagers on behalf of former dictator Francisco Franco.”

Pakistani newlyweds live in fear of honor killing – “Pervez Chachar and his young wife live in the police headquarters in the Pakistani city of Karachi. Their crime? They fell in love and married without their families’ permission.”

Antarctic sea creatures hypersensitive to warming – “Thriving only in near-freezing waters, creatures such as Antarctic sea spiders, limpets or sea urchins may be among the most vulnerable on the planet to global warming, as the Southern Ocean heats up.”

High-risk riches for Mexico’s “narco wives” – “Each year, dozens compete in beauty pageants in the sun-baked hills of Sinaloa state where their legendary good looks draw wealthy drug traffickers who will sometimes pluck one out and spirit her off to a mountain hide-out.”

Sharks, not humans, most at risk in ocean – “Sharks are the top of the marine food chain, a powerful predator which has no match in its watery realm, until man enters the ocean.”

Sunni anti-Qaeda sheikhs vie for west Iraq in poll – “They rose up against al Qaeda, flushed out suicide bombers and brought relative peace to western Iraq. Now, the Sunni Arab sheikhs of Anbar province want to take charge of it, through the ballot box.”

Ancient Polynesian seafaring renaissance – “A Polynesian voyaging canoe will set sail from Hawaii in March and head into the South Pacific, aiming to reach tiny Palmyra Atoll near Kiribati using only an ancient seafaring skill known as ‘wayfinding.'”

Indian Muslims under pressure in Mumbai aftermath – “The Mumbai attacks have generated a groundswell of public anger across religious and political fault lines against Pakistan for providing refuge for militants on their soil.”

Despite slowdown, polo is big business in Argentina – “Celebrities were on hand to help promote a multimillion dollar project aimed at capitalizing on Argentina’s position as the world’s top destination for polo, a game that could be described as field hockey on horseback.”

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