Dharamsala, India - Jigshe Tsering spends nearly every day inside a wire enclosure outside the Dalai Lama's residence. Like most of his fellow student hunger-strikers, who have vowed to remain inside their mock cages until China eases its crackdown, he fled Tibet hoping to find a better life close to the man who has long stood as the bulwark of Tibetan identity.
My search for truth in Burma began in a sleepy embassy in Vientiane, Laos, where I sat sweating on a patent leather sofa in a crumpled silk shirt and tie, pulling phony business cards from my wallet and lying through my teeth. It was two months after the monk-led anti-government uprisings of last September, and I had already been rejected a tourist visa twice in Hong Kong and Bangkok. I decided to hit the diplomatic backwaters with a different tack.
The scene is Kechene, Addis Ababa - one the poorest slums in Ethiopia. Mena Suvari, one of Hollywood's eminent stars, strides across a trench of sewage. She approaches a mud-walled shack where a woman is selling charcoal and heaps of green grass for the Sunday coffee ceremonies, which characterise this eastern Africa city.
One of the first pieces of advice I received before leaving on this reporting project was from an Ethiopian diplomat in the States who requested that I "not be a typical journalist" in my coverage of Africa. What he meant, and what he went on to say more specifically, was that he didn't want to see any more stories about African poverty in the news.
"Why don't you write about positive things, like investment opportunities," he suggested cheerfully as we toasted with Ethiopian honey wine in his spacious suburban home.
SRINAGAR, India — Bullet pocks are still visible along Lal Chowk, the commercial heart of Kashmir's main city, reminders of the gunbattles, bombings and suicide attacks that used to be an almost daily occurrence.
Pakistan and India both claim Kashmir, which is divided and has been the cause of two of three wars between the countries since partition in 1947.
Today, though, there is only the din of traffic, disturbed by a crowd of bus drivers protesting the back wages they claim the state owes them.
Palestinian refugees are beginning to return to the Nahr el Bared refugee camp, 10 months after it was reduced to rubble in a battle between the Lebanese army and Muslim terrorists holed up inside.
"We want to go back now," said Nael Abu Siam, 40, a Palestinian displaced by the conflict. "We have everything there — memories of births, our friends, our houses, even our kids' toys."
Mr. Siam now lives in a school room in a nearby camp and awaits a call to move back to Nahr el Bared.
Chala Ahmed, 26, hit the jackpot eight years ago when he won the U.S. visa lottery in the bustling eastern Ethiopian town of Haramaya.
His first thought was that he would build his mother a big, beautiful house. His next thought was that the new home, painted a rosy pink behind a high white gate, should be erected on the shore of Lake Haramaya, the huge stretch of placid water that gave his hometown its name.
The past several months have been Lebanon's coldest winter in 25 years, and Hanin Rafae is struggling to keep her family warm. Since her home has no fireplace, she and her five sons and six daughters huddle nightly around a fire on the patio overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
Nashik, India -- On a recent afternoon, Seetabai Atthre heard a faint cry from the edge of a vineyard that her family has cultivated for more than 40 years. Through the furrows, she found her husband, Vishal, smoldering on the ground next to an empty can of kerosene. He had lit himself on fire and died three days later in a local hospital.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Today is World Water Day. To mark the critical importance of water, the P-I is featuring two articles by Sarah Stuteville, a Seattle native and lead reporter for The Common Language Project, a Seattle-based media nonprofit. For more of Stuteville's reporting from Ethiopia, visit clpmag.org. Funding for these articles was provided by The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
“Just breathe,” I tell myself as I slowly shuffle up the dusty gravel path. “One breath with each step.” I have a muddy yellow plastic can strapped to my back. It is filled with water and weighs 50 pounds, close to a third as much as I weigh. It is hard for me to walk, but I am trying to follow the cracked plastic sandals in front of me.
Three decades ago, oil was discovered under parts of the moist tropical rain forest along the border of Peru and Ecuador and by the mid-70’s, Occidental Petroleum had found its way here.