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Pulitzer Center Update May 11, 2012

This Week in Review: Boy Finds Harmony in Juarez

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Pulitzer Center grantees Dominic Bracco II and Susana Seijas have been chronicling one of the saddest, most frightening stories of our time—the drug-related violence in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, a city of 1.5 million just across the border from El Paso. Life is cheap in Ciudad Juarez—a murder for hire costs less than $50. In 2010, an astounding 3,100 homicides were recorded. The situation appears to be improving, but during one weekend this month, there were eight murders. Out-of-work teenagers, most of them school drop-outs, are often the perpetrators and the victims. Amid this tragedy, Dominic and Susana discovered a story of hope, a 15-year-old boy rescued from the mean streets by his love for the clarinet. His story was featured this week on the BBC.

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In the 1980s, the socialist orthodoxies of Daniel Ortega, leader of the Sandinistas, gave the Reagan administration fits. Ortega is back as Nicaragua's president—he has been since 2006—but as Pulitzer Center grantee Tim Rogers reports in GlobalPost and Tico Times, Ortega is now sporting a new free-market outlook that would not be out of place in today's GOP.

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A brief story by Pulitzer Center grantee Tariq Mir has generated a lengthy debate on the Boston Review's website. Tariq, one of our 2011 Persephone Miel fellows, writes about how the disputed territory of Kashmir, historically a bastion of Sufi Islam, a mystical and tolerant branch of the faith, has recently been invaded by a more puritanical and "aggressively expansionist" strain of Islam—Salafism—imported from Saudi Arabia. Foreign policy scholar Walter Russell Mead, highlights Tariq's piece in his blog on The American Interest's website, noting that this transformation "does not just have implications in radicalizing Muslims against their Indian overlords, but also in cultivating distrust of the West and its clients—Israel, most obviously."

Until next week,

Tom Hundley
Senior Editor