Ravi Somaiya

Stories by Ravi Somaiya

  • cell-phones-tanzania-hsmall

    How the Cell Phone Is Changing the World

    The phones allow Masai tribesmen to bank proceeds from selling cattle; Iranian protesters to organize; North Koreans to communicate with the outside world; and Afghan villagers to alert Coalition soldiers to Taliban forces.
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    In France, Rising Fears of Islamic Terror

    When a 78-year-old French aid worker was executed by Al Qaeda's North African offshoot this summer, France declared war on Islamic terror. Further kidnappings and a heightened threat level in Paris, a city already tense over a ban on the Islamic veil for women, have brought the battle home in recent weeks.
  • The Rise of Al Qaeda in North Africa

    Five French citizens were kidnapped in Niger this morning. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a terrorist franchise endorsed by Ayman al-Zawahiri, is suspected. If the group is responsible, it would mark the third time this year that it has taken European citizens hostage.
  • obama-islam-cairo-wide

    Obama's 'New Beginning' Derailed

    Just more than a year ago the fledgling president of the United States stood before a capacity crowd at Cairo University in Egypt and promised "a new beginning" for relations between America and the Muslim world. But now controversy over the proposed Muslim center near Ground Zero, the much-publicized flap over Pastor Terry Jones's planned Quran burning, and allegations of atrocities by U.S. troops in Afghanistan seem to have dashed such hopes.
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    Should We Cover the Quran Burning?

    Hillary Clinton has called for the media not to cover a planned Quran burning by a Florida church on Sept. 11 as "an act of patriotism." But can reporters and cameramen turn away from a story they have magnified into one of worldwide significance? And, with bloggers poised to go viral, would it make any difference?
  • Petraeus: 'Burn a Koran Day' Could Endanger U.S. Troops

    On September 11, pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., will lead a ceremonial burning of Qurans at his church. Amid protests in Kabul, Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has now said that the book burning will endanger troops.
  • tease-dolphins-killed-cove

    Japanese Hunt Dolphins Into the Cove, Once More

    When the eyes of the world are not on them, the hunters typically select the best dolphins to sell, and harpoon the others "until the waters turn red with blood," according to AP.
  • iran-crackdown-karroubi-hsmall

    Oppression Continues in Iran

    The world's attention may have wandered from Iran, but recent reports from the country reveal a government that is as willing as ever to suppress dissent and a judiciary that still plans to kill a woman saved from a stoning sentence last month.
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    Why No Amount of Reporting Can Hurt Sarah Palin

    Vanity Fair has released not one, but two damning articles investigating the woman and the brand that is Sarah Palin. But even the magazine admits that the reporting will not damage a woman whose credibility seems "incidental," it says, to fact.
  • Wikipedia: A New Battleground in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

    Earlier this month it was reported that right-wing Israeli groups were teaching courses on editing Wikipedia entries to give them a Zionist slant. Now some Palestinians say they'll be watching the online encyclopedia and editing in the other direction.
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    Sudan Poised Between Peace and Civil War

    Sudan, for so long the focus of the world's humanitarian attention, is back in the news. Deaths continue to rise, the country is splitting in two, and foreign workers are kidnapped with alarming regularity. It remains to be seen whether the nation can survive these latest challenges.
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    Leaked U.N. Report Implicates Rwandan Troops in Possible Genocide

    Rwandan President Paul Kagame was reelected with 93 percent of the vote in the country's elections earlier this month. But there were widespread reports that journalists and opposition politicians were imprisoned or killed. Now a leaked U.N. report suggests that Rwandan troops may have committed war crimes and massacred tens of thousands in the late 1990s.
  • Jimmy Carter Secures Release of American Prisoner in North Korea

    An American prisoner, held in a North Korean prison camp since crossing into the country earlier this year, boarded a plane for Boston today after former President Jimmy Carter succesfully negotiated his release. North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-il, meanwhile, is still on a mysterious visit to China.
  • chile-miners-keeping-sane-wide

    How Will Chilean Miners Stay Sane?

    They have been trapped a mile underground for 20 days, their only lifeline to the surface a bore hole the diameter of a grapefruit. For 33 miners, alive but imprisoned underground after an earthquake in Chile, it will take three months to be rescued. A former NASA official explains how they will survive in dark isolation for so long.
  • kim-jong-china

    Why Has Kim Jong-il Gone to China?

    As Jimmy Carter arrived in North Korea to help negotiate the release of an American prisoner, the country's leader and his son Kim Jong-un took a private train into China, according to South Korean officials. Is it a diplomatic snub, a cry for aid from the North's only real ally, or medical emergency for the sickly dictator?
  • In Colombia, Teens Killed From Facebook Hit Lists

    Earlier this month two teenagers were shot to death in the town of Puerto Asis, Colombia. Their names were among 100 or so that subsequently appeared on three "death lists" posted on Facebook. Another of those named was killed five days later.
  • equatorial-guinea-executions-obiang-hsmall

    Equatorial Guinea Condemned for Suspicious Executions

    Human-rights groups and opposition parties have condemned the execution of four of President Teodoro Obiang's rivals, found guilty of plotting a coup and killed just an hour later. They allege that the deaths were essentially "political assassinations."
  • carter-north-korea-vl

    Jimmy Carter Will Visit North Korea to Help Secure Release of American

    A 30-year-old man from Boston has been serving an eight-year hard-labor sentence in a North Korean prison camp since April of this year. A State Department team failed to secure his release. Now, reports the journal Foreign Policy, former president Jimmy Carter will visit.
  • naomi-war-crimes

    The Naomi Campbell Guide to War Crimes Trial Appearances

    Naomi Campbell's PR agency has outlined its methods for getting the supermodel through allegations, in court, that she'd accepted blood diamonds from a dictator. Here, based on the advice, is our handy guide for any supermodels called to appear before war crimes tribunals.
  • Rabid Bats Kill Four Children in Peru

    Emergency teams have been dispatched to a remote section of the Amazon rainforest to stop rabid bats from spreading their deadly disease. Four children of the Awajun tribe have already died in an outbreak.
  • The 'Gray' Wealth of China's Super-Rich

    A report today reveals that a third of China's wealth may go unreported, and that most of that "gray income" ends up in the hands of the rising power's richest 10 percent.
  • mm-100812-iran-woman-confes

    Iran Stoning Woman 'Confesses' on State TV

    A 43-year-old mother of two, granted a reprieve from being stoned to death on dubious adultery charges after an international outcry, has appeared on TV to 'confess' to complicity in murder and denounce the lawyer who previously saved her life.
  • zimbabwe-blood-diamonds-hsmall

    Zimbabwe Begins Selling Alleged Blood Diamonds

    A controversial stash of stones from a mine that could yield up to $2 billion a year, and that human-rights organizations allege were unearthed by virtual slaves threatened with death, goes on sale today in Zimbabwe.
  • tease-naomi-defends-testimony

    Naomi Campbell Defends Her War-Crimes Testimony

    Naomi Campbell has been under fire for telling a war-crimes trial that she did not know whether diamonds given to her at a dinner party were from former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor. She's now released a forceful rebuttal, saying she had nothing to gain by lying.
  • Legalize Drugs, Says Mexican Ex-President

    Vicente Fox, who has watched a national drug war claim 28,000 lives in less than four years under his successor, Felipe Calderón, says "radical prohibition strategies have never worked" and calls for drugs to be legalized.
  • Another Witness Refutes Naomi Campbell's Blood-Diamonds Story

    Earlier today the actress Mia Farrow disputed Naomi Campbell's claim that she was not sure she had received blood diamonds from former Liberian president Charles Taylor. Now Campbell's former agent has also presented a different version of events than the model's.
  • Iran Stoning Lawyer Flees as New Client Faces Execution

    An Iranian lawyer who helped orchestrate a campaign to stop one of his clients from being stoned to death in Iran has fled, under threat of arrest, to Norway. It has since emerged that another young man he is defending will likely be executed on dubious charges.
  • farrow-testifies-campbell-diamonds-hsmall

    Mia Farrow Contradicts Naomi Campbell

    Actress Mia Farrow took the stand in the trial of former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor and said that supermodel Naomi Campbell boasted of a "huge diamond" given to her by Taylor.
  • celebrities-international-affairs-wide

    Do Celebrities Help or Hinder When They Hijack Serious Issues?

    This week former Fugees musician Wyclef Jean declared he would run for the presidency in Haiti, and supermodel Naomi Campbell testified at a war-crimes trial in The Hague. Last month Lindsay Lohan found herself in the middle of a story about the imminent stoning of an Iranian woman. So is it a good thing when celebrities wander into the middle of serious issues?
  • wyclef-haiti-vision-wide

    Wyclef's Uphill Battle

    The former Fugee touts programs put forward by Bill Clinton in the aftermath of the quake. But the Port-au-Prince–born singer, who is running on the Viv Ansanm party ticket, has an uphill battle to prove to Haiti and the world that he can make the transition from musician to national leader.

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