Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
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.
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.
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.
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.
Barack Obama’s American admirers are not the only ones who compare former U.S. President John F. Kennedy to the current U.S. leader. Leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a vociferous critic of the United States, also invokes the charismatic late president when he talks about Obama, who, like Kennedy 48 years earlier, was a young senator when he was elected to the White House.
Chavez brought up Kennedy again this week, as he railed against Washington over the coup in Honduras, which many observers have called an unwelcome reminder of the ousters of Latin American leftists during the Cold War — waged partly under Kennedy.
from Africa News blog:
I hesitate to blog again on Eritrea, given some of the vitriol that greeted a post last year. For some, Reuters was an apologist and mouthpiece for Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki, simply for interviewing him in May 2008. For others, we were doing the CIA’s work by taking some awkward lines of questioning to Asmara.
The passion on both sides reminded me of the torrent of deeply felt responses I used to receive when reporting on Fidel Castro from Cuba between 1998 and 2002.
Hi, is that the Somali pirates?”
Your best source is jailed. You track high-sea hijacks by text and email, get through to captors on a satellite phone. Reporting on Somali piracy can be surreal. During the saga of American Richard Phillips, Reuters reporters in Somalia contacted Phillips’ captors on their lifeboat stalked by U.S. warships.
Online ‘blood plague’ offers lessons for pandemics
In 2005, a plague called “Corrupted Blood” caused mayhem in the online game World of Warcraft. An estimated 4 million players were affected by the pandemic. The Corrupted Blood plague accidentally provided something unprecedented — a chance to safely study a pandemic in a uniquely complex virtual environment in which millions of unpredictable individuals were making their own decisions.