In the last parched weeks of the dry season before the monsoon arrives-- an eight month drought that has starved the fields, wells, and power generators on which Nepal depends-- the villagers of Pattan take the hulking figure of a rain god from his temple home and parade it through the streets in a plea for better hydrological fortunes.
A collection of reporting from Pulitzer Center grantees featuring international news stories published by media outlets from around the world, as well as reporting original to the Pulitzer Center website.
Unlike every other breakaway state in the world Somaliland is more functional than the territory it wants to decouple from. The fact that Somalia is the country it wants shot of makes its case even more compelling because today it is impossible to find a better example of a failed state.
Somaliland's argument for recognition rests on two pillars: peace and democracy, but both are more fragile than they seem.
The car came to an abrupt stop. "Get out," the driver said. My friend and partner in journalism Tim Patterson and I stumbled in the moonless night through an uneven, bulldozed field toward the sound of a river. When we reached the river, we crossed a creaky bamboo footbridge and scrambled up a loose-dirt hill to an older SUV with its lights off.
"Welcome to Free Kachin," our contact said, smiling broadly.
(Editor's note: This is the second of eight dispatches, recounting events surrounding the double assassinations of Guinea Bissau's president and army chief of staff last March and the country's emergence as a 'narco state.')
Iran's guardians of the Islamic revolution struck back Tuesday by sending thousands of supporters of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the streets and ordering foreign journalists to stay indoors.
But rival rallies quickly turned the capital into a schizophrenic panorama of competing demonstrations.
Backers of Mr. Ahmadinejad filled the screens of state-run television while supporters of rival candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi took over Vali Asr Avenue, the city's north-south spine, for the second consecutive day.
Based on his resume, Mir Hossein Mousavi is an unlikely hero to have sparked the massive protests that have paralyzed Iran's capital since presidential elections Friday ended in allegations of fraud.
A supporter of the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in 1979, Mr. Mousavi was Iran's prime minister in the 1980s when the nation revived a nuclear program that now worries its neighbors and the West.
I was drinking a coffee at Baiana when the Afropop music played by the local radio suddenly stopped. A frantic speaker was trying to report about a blast that had just killed a few soldiers, destroying the military headquarters.
The dusty, potholed streets of Hargeysa in Somaliland are filled with battered cars and ambling pedestrians. The tangled birds' nests of wires that cling to every telegraph pole are testament to a boom in telephony, informal stalls line the roads, selling imported goods and Ethiopia-grown khat, a plant chewed as a stimulant - and behind bricks of local currency sit the money changers.
In an outpouring of people power not seen here since the 1979 Iranian revolution, tens of thousands of Iranians marched through the streets of Tehran on Monday to protest allegations that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won re-election through massive fraud.
Opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who many here think was the real victor of Friday's elections, emerged from seclusion for the first time since the vote to address the crowd, which was estimated to number as many as 1.5 million people.