Sep 23, 2010
via Global News Journal

At India’s Commonwealth Games, shame might be a blessing

This story by Jason Overdorf originally appeared in Global Post.

There’s still a chance that Delhi will pull off the Commonwealth Games next month. In India, anything is possible. There’s even a chance that people will call this futile exercise in mismanagement a success. But that would be a real shame.

Shame is the word of the week here, with 10 days left before the scheduled opening ceremony of what the erstwhile jewel in the British crown once hoped would be the largest and most impressive Commonwealth Games ever. Now, the growing fear is that the event may not come off at all, as the threat looms of a boycott by England, Scotland and Wales.

Sep 3, 2010
via The Great Debate

Italy pays its people to go on vacation

The following article by Silvia Marchetti first appeared in GlobalPost.

ROME, Italy — “Exploit your holidays to discover your unique, magical Italy,” intones Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in a new TV ad encouraging Italians to vacation at home this year.

For those Italians still unsure of exactly why they should “discover” Italy — according to Berlusconi, a land not just of “sky, sun and sea but also of history, culture and art — the state has thrown in a sweetener: it will help pay for citizens’ summer or winter breaks by granting “holiday vouchers.”

Aug 20, 2010
via The Great Debate

Italy: land of the rich Russian

The following article by Silvia Marchetti first appeared in GlobalPost.

ROME, Italy — Ischia and Capri, two tiny islands in the Gulf of Naples, are fighting over big money. That is, Russian money.

Ischia, a thermal baths and spa destination, complains that its Russian clients prefer shopping on the neighboring isle because it has a wider choice of luxury boutiques. On both islands, nearly all hotels and restaurants have menus written in Cyrillic and employ waiters whose mother tongue is Russian, while shops display price-tags in both euros and dollars.

Aug 19, 2010
via The Great Debate

Google street view: shades of Nazi spy era?

The following article by Krista Kapralos first appeared in GlobalPost.

FRANKFURT, Germany — It wasn’t too long ago that apartment dwellers in Germany assumed that someone, somewhere in the building, was taking notes on everything they did. Even people who owned their own homes could never be certain whether a government mole was listening in on their conversations.

“Making sure the law was kept,” said Jobst Krause, a 67-year-old Frankfurter, of the surveillance during the Nazi era.

Aug 16, 2010
via Environment Forum

In Gaza, it’s not easy being green

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– This story by Theodore May originally appeared in Global Post. –

In the small central Gaza town of Deir el Belah, one family has made a cottage industry out of green innovation.

“There was a period in Gaza when there was no gas or you had to wait for hours in line to get gas. So we made the oven according to our needs,” said Maher Youssef Abou Tawahina, who, along with his father, runs a hardware shop in town.

Jul 14, 2010
via Global News Journal

7 circles of Juarez: teenage assassins

This article by Ioan Grillo originally appeared in GlobalPost.


Caption: A police man walks at a crime scene where three people were gunned down in a drive-by shooting in downtown Ciudad Juarez April 28, 2010. REUTERS/Claudia Daut

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — At less than 5 feet 6 inches with acne and a mop of curly hair, 17-year-old Jose Antonio doesn’t look particularly menacing.

Jun 2, 2010
via Global News Journal

China suicides: 5 things you need to know

This article by Kathleen E. McLaughlin first appeared in GlobalPost.

BEIJING, China – Ten suicides this year at Foxconn’s electronics factory in southern China have cast a renewed spotlight on China’s migrant workers, who staff the production lines that make iPads, mobile phones and just about everything else for the world’s electronics consumers.

In an open letter this month, prominent Chinese sociologists called on the government to reform the country’s production model, which depends on churning through low-paid quasi-legal migrants. China has an estimated 150 million to 200 million domestic migrant workers.

May 28, 2010
via Global News Journal

Holiday in the “axis of evil”

This article by Stephen Kinzer originally appeared in GlobalPost.

YAZD, Iran —“You are American?” a surprised Iranian asked me as I sat down near him in a restaurant famous for eggplant and pomegranate stews. “How did you get a visa?”

Ever since 2002, when U.S. President George W. Bush named Iran a member of the world’s anti-American “Axis of Evil” — or perhaps since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the searing hostage crisis that followed — the idea that American tourists would visit Iran has seemed to border on the bizarre. Yet an adventurous few do come, and most find a welcome far beyond what they had imagined.

Apr 15, 2010
via Environment Forum

What’s up with all the earthquakes?

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This article by Julia Kumari Drapkin originally appeared in Global Post. The views expressed are her own.

The quake that hit China Wednesday was the latest in a string of earthquakes in the news lately. Many people are wondering what’s going on, so we decided to ask NASA. Eric Fielding is a geophysicist who uses satellites to study earthquakes at the Jet Propulsion Laboratories in California.

Apr 5, 2010
via Global News Journal

Outsourcing homework to India

This article by Saritha Rai originally appeared in Globalpost.

BANGALORE, India — Six days a week in the wee hours of the morning, Saswati Patnaik logs into her home computer. The homemaker — and tutor for a Bangalore company called TutorVista — rises early to help American high school students write English term papers, prepare S.A.T. essays or finish homework assignments.

Outsourcing, of course, started as a way for American companies to lower costs by shifting work to cheaper locations. After nearly two decades, that practice has become so mainstream that hundreds of U.S. businesses — from Wall Street banks to law firms, architects and others — routinely outsource to India.