We return from Ke village well after dark. Where we're staying is closest to the village of Nuoc Sot, really nothing more than an intersection in the road, an army barracks, and a hot springs resort, which seems a bit overbuilt, considering the size of the local population.
Fierce fighting has displaced tens of thousands of people in northern Sri Lanka, as government troops advance deeper into the Tamil rebels' last stronghold in an aggressive bid to crush them by the end of the year.
More than 112,000 ethnic Tamils have fled from their homes over the past two months amid daily gunbattles, shelling and air attacks, aid agencies say.
The United Nations estimates the total number of displaced in rebel-held areas is now around 145,000, an unprecedented level in the island nation's long-running conflict.
Reproduced with permission from The Christian Science Monitor.
Twelve-year-old Reem has done so many interviews with journalists, she's lost count. "She's like Nancy Ajram now," her mother joked - referring to a famous Lebanese singer.
I visited Reem in her mum's Sana'a appartment for my Christian Science Monitor story on child brides. Reem's parents are separated. Since the start of her summer vacation in June, Reem has been kidnapped by her father, married, repeatedly raped by a man twice her age, rescued by police and reunited with her mother - but she is still waiting for a judge to annul her wedding contract.
Ask Abbas Adam Ibrahim whether he is Arab or African, and he does not quite know how to respond. "Both," the Sudanese man says, after slight hesitation.
Excerpt translated by Elena Kristalinski
US President George Bush considers Russia's actions towards Georgia "absolutely unacceptable". In Bush's opinion, Russia has to act decisively to put an end to the crisis, and repair the damage that was inflicted on Russia's relations with the neighboring countries, European Union and USA. Independent Polish journalist Zigmund Dzincholovsky, who happened to be in Tbilisi during the military standoff, compared how the events in the Caucasus were viewed by the different countries.
The three hotels in this suburb of Basra, the largest city in southern Iraq, are always full. "We don't have tourism here," says Jabbar Mubarak, the clerk at the Bourj al-Babil, Zubair's largest hotel. "Everyone who comes to our hotel comes to visit their sons."
The "sons" are in Camp Bucca. A half-hour's drive from Zubair toward the Kuwaiti border, Bucca is the U.S. military's largest detention center in Iraq. It currently holds about 18,000 Iraqis, the majority of those in U.S. custody. An additional 3,000 are at Camp Cropper at Baghdad Airport.
"You're much more likely to die in a traffic accident than get caught up in a terrorist attack," said a friend, who works here as a private security consultant.
If you've ever found your taxi driver hurtling the wrong way down a dual carriageway or seen little boys behind the wheel of their dad's car struggling to see over the dashboard, you'll know you're on the road in Yemen.
A recent article in the Yemen Times reported 43 deaths and 396 injuries in traffic accidents in a single week.
On this side of the Ca Tang River we're now in Ke village, home of about 70 Malieng families. The Malieng are the smallest ethnic group in Vietnam – about 1400 left in Vietnam, maybe another 1000 living in Laos. Traditionally they're forest dwellers – hunter-gatherers, and practitioners of swidden agriculture.
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.
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.
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.