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NOWHERE TO GO
Pulitzer Center grantees Jeanne Carstensen and Jodi Hilton have been reporting for PRI’s The World from Greece where tens of thousands of refugees from the Middle East have been trapped for months with nowhere to go. Last week, Jeanne and Jodi watched as tensions boiled over in the squalid Idomeni camp when some refugees tried to rush the border with Macedonia. Greek police responded with tear gas and soon the entire camp was engulfed in a noxious cloud. The EU’s asylum system is broken, leaving the refugees with no options. “This is really a cauldron of unhappiness,” says Jeanne. “They are really stuck in a terrible, terrible limbo.”
DEMOCRACY, REAL AND FAKE
From Islamist violence in Egypt, Libya and other Arab Spring countries to the startling rise of Donald Trump in the U.S., there is growing alarm that democracy does not always produce the most reasonable outcomes. But in a thoughtfully argued essay for The New York Review of Books, Pulitzer Center grantee Helen Epstein makes the case that fake democracies—often supported by actual democracies in the West—are even worse. Helen reports from corruption-ridden Uganda where President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled for 30 years through a combination of bribery, blackmail, and brute force, was sworn in for yet another five-year term, having supposedly won a national election last February. “His main challenger, Kizza Besigye, is now in prison, charged with treason, which is punishable by death,” writes Helen.
RACE AND ABORTION
At last week's Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen, Pulitzer Center grantee Laura Bassett caught up with Dr. Willie Parker, an African-American doctor and one of the very few abortion providers in Mississippi and Alabama. In a report for Huffington Post, Laura notes that the toxic political climate around abortion, intertwined with simmering racial tensions in the South, represents a frightening occupational hazard for Dr. Parker. Once, while preparing to walk past protesters outside his Mississippi clinic, Dr. Parker warned a white reporter that he was the one who should be afraid: People looking at the two of them would assume the white man is the doctor. “I told him, because he had never been to the South before, ‘When we walk out this door, just so you know, if they’re gonna shoot somebody, it’s probably going to be you and not me.’”
AID THAT PAYS
Haiti has been the recipient of billions of dollars in reconstruction aid following the deadly 2010 earthquake that devastated Port au Prince, but good intentions don’t necessarily result in good aid projects. Pulitzer Center grantees Jamie McGee and Larry McCormack explore a poultry farming initiative in Haiti that has tried to create sustainable jobs while addressing food insecurity. In this reporting project for The Tennessean in Nashville they show how farmers who are offered loans, training and chicken coop equipment, can then develop an income stream.
Until next week,