Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Allah, Antarctica and Ancient Inca-The best reads of 2009


When I have time to lavish on reading something other than news, I want to spend it on stories that leave me saying, “Wow!” A great read should tell readers something they don’t already know, enlighten them about the world and its people, inform them about the human condition. Readers should be moved to laughter, tears, anger, action through superb writing and extraordinary reporting.  Here are my picks for the best reads of 2009.

As Spain’s jobless lose homes, tensions mount


A packet of cigarettes is enough to cause a fight among the Spaniards and immigrants shivering in the dark outside an emergency homeless shelter in Madrid, set up for a bitter winter and depression-era unemployment. Police push past jobless Romanian and Hungarian construction workers.  ”One day this place is going to explode,” says unemployed waiter Miguel Roa, a Spaniard.

Pakistani newlyweds live in fear of honour killing

Pervez Chachar and his wife Humera Kambo sit in a makeshift room in police headquarters in Karachi January 16, 2009. REUTERS/Athar Hussain

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. In traditional rural society in Pakistan, getting married without permission is such a serious slight to the “honor” of a family or a tribe that death is seen as fitting retribution. They share a cramped room with another young couple in the same position.

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. Isolated for millions of years by the chill currents, exotic animals on the seabed around Antarctica are among the least studied, but scientists are finding signs that they can only tolerate a very narrow temperature band.