Publications

The San Francisco Chronicle

Olga's Girls

For the past two decades, Sausalito's Olga Murray has worked to free Nepal's domestic slaves, or kamlaris. The girls are sold by their families to work in the homes of strangers.

China Cracking Down on Muslim Minority Uighurs

Following a spate of political violence, security has been so tight around here that a 25-year-old Muslim jade dealer agreed to talk to a reporter only if they met 20 miles outside this historic Silk Road town in remote northwestern China.

"I wanted to study teachings like the Hadith," said the man who identified himself only as Hussein, referring to a collection of the prophet Muhammad's sayings. "I'm too old now. It makes me sad."

Sri Lanka Pushes Back on Rebel Forces

For the first time in more than a decade, government forces are making inroads into rebel strongholds and are within striking distance of their capital, according to military officials who insist an end to Asia's longest civil war is near.

Ex-Rebels Integrated into Nepal's Democracy

(06-30) 04:00 PDT Chitwan, Nepal — Four years ago, a science student who goes by the nom de guerre Hardik dropped out of a Kathmandu university to join Maoist insurgents. Today, the 25-year-old rebel idles in a U.N.-monitored camp, studying English grammar or playing the flute between training drills.

Lake Victoria Beset by Environmental Problems

As the morning sky lightens, the sound of machetes hacking through thick grass echoes along the lake's coastline. Fishermen, stripped to their underwear in the already stifling heat, are looking for silvery baby fish along the shoreline in defiance of laws against taking them in breeding grounds.

Has War Worn Itself Out in Kashmir?

Srinagar, India -- Bullet holes are still visible along the commercial heart of Kashmir's capital, reminders of past gunbattles, bombings and suicide attacks that used to be an almost daily occurrence here.

Today, the only din is traffic and protesting bus drivers, who say the state owes them back wages. "It's been more than two years since we had any kind of explosion here," said Amir Amin, a shopkeeper. "We Kashmiris are so fed up with fighting, it's time we enjoyed business as usual."

Burma Artists Hide in Shadow Their Sad Work

It's midmorning, and Thein Soe is hard at work on a new canvas. A leader of Burma's underground art movement, he has been an artist for more than four decades.

Soe, 61, who asked that his real name not be used for fear of arrest, is bone-thin with a face that resembles Edvard Munch's expressionist painting, "The Scream." Over the years, he has weathered the junta's 46-year rule, watching the military run one of the wealthiest Southeast Asian economies into the ground, crush pro-democracy demonstrations and ban most freedom of expression.

Young Tibetans Impatient with Nonviolence

Dharamsala, India -- Palgay spent more than two weeks dodging Chinese authorities to fulfill his lifelong dream - a face-to-face meeting with the Dalai Lama.

His journey to the seat of the spiritual leader's government-in-exile high in the Indian Himalayas began earlier this month when he paid a driver nearly $800 to hide inside a pile of luggage headed for Nepal. From there, he sneaked across the border, feeling his way along treacherous rocky terrain under the cover of darkness.