Media

Article

Vietnam: The Price of Rice

It's late morning, hot, cicadas are buzzing at full throttle already. Water buffaloes are slowly making their way down into the river. Dogs are sleeping in the shade beneath the bamboo. We're well off the highway, having made our way in low gear down a steep rutted four wheel drive path, and we're now at the river which the locals call Ca Tang. We're about ten kilometers from the Laos border, and just north of the former DMZ – the demilitarized zone, the demarcation line created between north and south Vietnam during what the Vietnamese call The American War.

Yemen: Family values

A while ago, when I first came to Yemen, there was a TV adv run by a cell phone manufacturer on the Arab satellite channels. It started with a close-up shot of an Arab woman's face. She seemed to be writhing with pleasure, but the camera pulled back to show her wriggling into a pair of skin-tight jeans. The new slim-line handset was thin enough to fit into the tightest pocket – that was the message.

Yemen Divided on Vice and Virtue

A hairdryer whirrs. Teenage girls reach for sequins, glitter and hairpins. It's the weekend in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, and seven sisters are dressing for a wedding.

The eldest, Ashwaq, 21, a university graduate, wants to be a journalist.

Asked what she thinks about Yemen's new self-appointed morality authority, she looks up from styling her sister's hair.

"The first thing they'll do is stop women from working. Then they'll force us to wear the veil."

Yemen is a conservative Islamic society, where parliament boasts only one woman out of 301 MPs.

Georgia's President Saakashvili, on the Eve of War

TBILISI, Georgia -- For the Russians he is a scary figure. A cunning eastern despot whose main purpose is to humiliate and to outsmart them. They have disliked Mikheil Saakashvili, young president of Georgia, since he grabbed power following the famous Rose Revolution in November 2003.

Yemen divided on vice and virtue

A hairdryer whirrs. Teenage girls reach for sequins, glitter and hairpins. It's the weekend in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, and seven sisters are dressing for a wedding.

The eldest, Ashwaq, 21, a university graduate, wants to be a journalist.

Asked what she thinks about Yemen's new self-appointed morality authority, she looks up from styling her sister's hair.

"The first thing they'll do is stop women from working. Then they'll force us to wear the veil."

Yemen is a conservative Islamic society, where parliament boasts only one woman out of 301 MPs.

Sudan: "Because we are peaceful, they neglect us"

Beads of sweat run down Rajaa Tag's face, as she crouches in the dark mud room that serves as her bathroom in a small village in northern Sudan. Her young son is screaming wildly - he hates being washed. She holds the small, malnourished boy in one hand, resting him against her hip, and washes him with the other. "It's ok. It's ok," she insists to him gently.

Yemen: Peace breaks out in Saada

President Ali Abdullah Saleh's July declaration that the four-year, stop-go guerrilla war in the northern province of Saada was "over" took everyone in Yemen by surprise.

Now, rebel leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi has agreed to come down from the mountain.

In a letter publicised by Yemen's state-run media today, al-Houthi accepted Saleh's peace terms. The rebels will surrender their strategic mountaintop positions and hand over their heavy and medium weapons to the authorities.

Yemen: Reform or bust

Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world. Its 22 million-strong population is set to double by 2035 at the current rate of growth, but it's fast running out of water – and oil. Yemen's state structures are weak and incomplete, and the country faces substantial development challenges.

I reported from Yemen for a year – from 2006 to 2007 – and now I'm back to see whether recent reforms are diffusing social, political and economic pressures in this fragile state.

Sudan: From Rebels to Soldiers? The SPLA's Transformation

At the new headquarters of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), some 10km north of Juba town, signs mark the finance, administration and operations directorates.

Laminated name plates with Southern Sudan's official colours line the desks in the new air-conditioned offices. Laptops and internet service are coming soon.

It is a new look, and a new way, for the former rebel movement that fought for liberation in the forests of Southern Sudan for two decades.