It's 3:00 p.m. on a Tuesday, the first day of the climate change conference in Bolivia, and for the last hour the participants in a panel discussion have been arguing about the definition of a forest.
Among dozens of other brightly dressed women, Eugenia Urbina has been waiting on the stairs of the main hospital in this central Chiapas town for nearly two hours. Nine months pregnant with her third child, the 24-year-old seeks prenatal care. The long wait makes her worry that when the time comes to give birth, the hospital will not have room for her.
"It happens a lot," Urbina said, and if it does, she'll have to pay more than she can afford to drive around in a taxi for up to an hour to find a clinic that can take her.
It is widely believed that being openly gay in Jamaica is essentially a death sentence. That if you put your face on camera and admit you are gay, someone will come along and kill you.
As Sudan gears up for Sunday's national elections, another landmark vote is on the horizon -- a referendum in January that will determine whether the south splits from the north.
Like the elections, the referendum is a key requirement of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, intended to give southerners a chance to decide if they will remain in a unity government with the north, or become an independent country.
But several major related issues are still up in the air, including where the north-south border actually is.
The village of Abyei had a population of about 30,000 when, in May 2008, violence broke out between government forces from the north and soldiers from the south, leveling the town and forcing the residents to flee to surrounding areas.
In the months since, the residents have been gradually moving back and rebuilding their lives. We spoke with some of the villagers and recorded their thoughts in the following Flipcam videos.
In May 2008, long-simmering tensions between the Sudan People's Liberation Army of the south and government forces from the north boiled over into violent clashes in the town of Abyei, causing an estimated 25,000 people to flee their homes.
They are gradually moving back to Abyei, located along the north-south border of Sudan. And efforts are underway to rebuild the town, including repairing roads and replacing the mud and thatched roof homes, known as tukuls. But still there are large swaths of barren land.
The burn ward at Herat regional hospital is the best public facility of its kind in Afghanistan. It was opened with American aid money to handle the influx of women setting themselves on fire to escape domestic abuse, a countrywide phenomenon most acute in the hardscrabble villages of the western plains. The first time I visited the hospital, in the spring of 2007, a dozen teenage girls were crowded into a dank hallway of the former building. Some were covered with third-degree burns, wrapped mummylike in gauze dressings, still breathing but condemned to die.
Sudan's first multi-party presidential and parliamentary elections in 24 years are set for April 11, but with just days to go, the main opposition presidential candidate has withdrawn from the race, throwing the legitimacy of the election into question.
The elections are mandated under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended two decades of civil war between the primarily Muslim and Arab-speaking north and rebels in the south. Another requirement of the CPA is a referendum in January 2011 in which the south will decide whether to split from the north.
Photographer Sean Gallagher's 12-page photo-essay 'China's Growing Sands' is featured in the April 2010 edition of National Geographic China. The work focuses on the subject of environmental crisis of desertification and its effects on northern China.
The Kolahoi glacier in Kashmir is receding at a rate of nearly 10 feet (3 meters) a year.
In March 2010, the Pulitzer Center again partnered with Helium to produce the Global Issues/Citizen Voices Writing contest. In this round, contestants were challenged to craft essays related to international water issues with the following prompt:
Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation claims 4,500 lives a day. What should we do about it?
SANAA, Yemen — On the streets of Sanaa, an angry crowd gathers around a gas delivery truck. Children run down the alleyways rolling gas canisters in front of them, men wave their money at the deliverymen and veiled women who have been standing in line for hours shake their heads in exasperation.