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The Washington Post

Good Intentions, Thwarted

Photos and audio reporting by Vanessa Gezari

Additional photos courtesy of U.S. Army Task Force 2-2

Editing by Megan Rossman of The Washington Post

U.S. soldiers are working with civilian anthropologists in the Human Terrain project to find new ways to win the trust of villagers in Afghanistan. But one Army unit's efforts to refurbish a mosque in a strategically important village are frustrated by Taliban interference.

Little Keeps Nigeria From a Crisis of Hunger

The nation blessed with Africa's largest oil reserves and some of its most fertile lands has a problem. It cannot feed its 140 million people, and relatively minor reductions in rainfall could set off a regional food catastrophe, experts say.

In the Wheat Fields of Kenya, a Budding Epidemic

A virulent new version of a deadly fungus is ravaging wheat in Kenya's most fertile fields and spreading beyond Africa to threaten one of the world's principal food crops, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization.

Stem rust, a killer that farmers thought they had defeated 50 years ago, surfaced here in 1999, jumped the Red Sea to Yemen in 2006 and turned up in Iran last year. Crop scientists say they are powerless to stop its spread and increasingly frustrated in their efforts to find resistant plants.

Now the Terror Has Returned

How much lower can Zimbabwe sink? Chronic food shortages, hyperinflation, a cholera epidemic, people abducted for speaking out against President Robert Mugabe's regime -- all this is the stuff of daily life for ordinary Zimbabweans, as related here by a journalist in Harare, the capital. She reports for PBS's Frontline/World, with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Her name is withheld for her safety.

Dec. 5, 2008 -- Disappeared

China Unlikely to Loosen Its Grip in West (Photo by Ryan Anson)

By Jill Drew

Photo by Ryan Anson

Violent outbursts are continuing in the Xinjiang region of western China, with the latest resulting in the deaths of two policemen who were attacked Wednesday while searching a cornfield for a woman they believe is involved in a separatist cell.

State media reported Saturday morning that police found the alleged assailants and shot six of them dead after they tried to defend themselves with knives, wounding two security officials.