Stories: Conflict

  • Hanging by a Thread

    On the night of Dec. 5, 2013, Fatou Sall was asleep in the front room of her mud-brick house in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, when she awoke to the sound of her 37-year-old daughter screaming. Sall smelled smoke and ran outside, turning to see her house engulfed in flames. Inside, her daughter and 6-year-old grandchild were...

  • How Teflon Is Vladimir Putin’s Popularity?

    I’m currently in Moscow thanks to a fellowship from the International Reporting Project at Johns Hopkins. I’ll be posting some lengthier dispatches from here in the coming weeks as well as keeping up the blogging on general world news. What, me worry? Photo: Kirill Kudryavstev/AFP/Getty Images The violence in Ukraine...

  • Vladimir Putin Ramps Up His Postmodern Non-Invasion Invasion of Ukraine

    The Russian government and the pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine used to denythat they were cooperating. All that advanced weaponry, including tanks and anti-aircraft systems, were simply captured from Ukrainian government forces, the explanations went. The Russians fighting with the rebels were simply private citizens and the Russian government had no control over them. This is...

  • Kazakhstan’s Lesson for Iran

    Due to the diplomatic deal reached in Geneva, the theocracy running Iran has half a year to decide if its potential nuclear-weapons program would make the regime more, or less, secure. Sure, if the country keeps its capability to weaponize, it may be harder for regional rivals or Western powers to push for regime change. But internal collapse...

  • Love in a Time of Fear: Albino Women’s Stories From Tanzania

    For reasons still unknown to scientists, albinism seems to be most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. At a rate of roughly 1 to 35000, Tanzania has one of the highest incidents of albinism in the world. Here albinos live in fear for their lives. Everyday they protect themselves, some with wide-brim hats to hide from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays...

  • Myanmar Talks With Kachin Rebels Yield Agreement But No Cease-Fire

    One day after a seven-point agreement was signed between ethnic Kachin rebels and the Myanmar government, analysts and members of the Kachin community expressed skepticism that this represented much of a breakthrough. The two sides failed to agree on a cease-fire over three days of talks that ended Thursday in the Kachin state capital, Myitkyina, instead signing a pact...

  • ‘There Are Thousands of Malalas’: What Pakistan’s Teenage Activist Has Already Won

    When the news came that Malala Yousafzai missed out on the Nobel Prize for Peace, there were groans of disappointment across Pakistan. In the lead up to the announcement, Pakistan’s lively news channels had been running clips of her speeches, and keenly promoting the cause of education—a cause for which Malala was...

  • Rats! The Best Noses for FInding Landmines

    Rain makes for hard conditions when sniffing out explosives. Abraham’s nose is strong enough and he smells the landmine buried below. A giant pouched rat, he furiously digs at the ground below him. A loud click breaks the activity and Abraham sprints straight across for his treat, a small sweet banana.   After a hard day of...

  • Meet Abraham, a Hero Rat

    This morning I met Abraham: He has just detected an anti-tank mine. As soon as he sniffs TNT, one of his trainers sets off a clicker. When the rat hears the sound, he scurries over to be hand fed a miniature banana.  This five-month old African Giant Pouched Rat, so named for its chubby cheeks, is only...

  • A Gunmaker in Nigeria

    Mmemme’s friends gave him his nickname, an affectionate, long-held one, which means “to boast”; they said he would show off incessantly as a boy, like a precocious rapper.Mmemme is an Igbo word; the Igbos are one of Nigeria’s more than two hundred and fifty ethnic groups, and are mainly found in...