India has been home to vegetarians for centuries. Many Hindus and most Buddhists do not eat meat, but commentator Sandip Roy says in today's India, meat is what's for dinner.
When my friend Lakshmi, a lifelong vegetarian, went to America as a student more than 20 years ago she knew she was in for a hard time. Vegetarian dorm food meant a lot of cheese pizza, french fries, pasta and if she was lucky, grilled vegetables.
After 10 years in San Francisco's vegetarian mecca, when she returned to live in India a few years ago, she had an unexpected identity crisis.
Charles Wiwa fled Nigeria in 1996 following a crackdown on protests against Shell's oil operations in the Niger Delta. Now a resident of Chicago, Wiwa and other natives of the oil-rich Ogoni region are suing Shell for human rights violations.
Human rights are front and center at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday in two cases testing how American law intersects with international law. At issue in both cases is whether foreign nationals in the United States can sue corporations or other entities in U.S. courts for alleged violations of human rights.
The case that has corporate teeth chattering is a lawsuit against Royal Dutch Shell Oil, which is accused of aiding and abetting the Nigerian government in committing atrocities in the 1990s.
Terry Francona, who managed the Boston Red Sox for eight seasons and led the team to two World Series, says the teams' new ban on booze could backfire.
"I think it's a PR move," Francona told ESPN. "I think if a guy wants a beer, he can probably get one. You know, it's kind of the old rule ... If your coach in football says no hard liquor on the plane — I mean, you serve beer and wine — somebody's going to sneak liquor on the plane.
The latest violence in Afghan has raised doubts about the U.S. strategy. Here, Afghan demonstrators shout anti-U.S. slogans as they carry a wounded man during a protest in the Western city of Herat on Feb. 24.
Credit Aref Karimi / AFP/Getty Images
Two U.S. troops guard the gate at the Bagram Air Field north of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, on Feb. 21. U.S. officials say troops inadvertently burned Qurans at the base, which has touched off violent protests around the country.
Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 7:27 pm
The violence against U.S. forces in Afghanistan has called into question the American exit strategy, which is set to play out steadily over the next three years.
It was only a few weeks ago that the second-ranking American military officer in Afghanistan laid out a new phase of that strategy. Small groups of U.S. advisers would team up with larger Afghan units to train them, said Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti.
The first of these U.S. assistance teams will head into Afghanistan this spring to train Afghan police and soldiers.
A man burns a portrait of Syrian President Bashar Assad during a Sunday demonstration on the outskirts of Idlib in northern Syria.
Credit Rodrigo Abd / AP
Syrian rebels gather in front of a Syrian government military vehicle that was destroyed during clashes in the central city of Homs on Feb. 23. The city has been the scene of the heaviest fighting in recent weeks.
Monday was a rough day for the opposition in Syria. Senior officials in the main opposition group announced that they're forming a new organization. The development was the latest sign of the divisions within the Syrian opposition that's trying to oust the government of President Bashar Assad.
At the same time, Assad's government said that nearly 90 percent of voters endorsed constitutional reforms in a referendum a day earlier, even though the Syrian opposition and international critics called the balloting a farce.
Rick Santorum is trying to shake up the Republican primary by winning the primary Tuesday in Michigan — and many polls show him neck and neck with Mitt Romney. He's a former senator from Pennsylvania best known as a culture warrior. What's less well known is what he did after losing his re-election bid in 2006.
A spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross tells NPR's Newscast Unit that ambulances from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent were able to evacuate three people from the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, which have been heavily shelled in recent days.
One of the people evacuated was "a pregnant woman in urgent need of care," said Simon Schorno, who added the ambulances "also brought in emergency medical supplies to be distributed immediately."
In Honduras, female relatives of inmates killed during a fire at a prison argue with soldiers as they try to enter the morgue in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, on Feb. 20. The fire at Comayagua prison on Feb. 14 killed more than 300 inmates.
Credit Esteban Felix / AP
In northern Mexico, relatives of inmates at Apodaca prison outside Monterrey attack the security fence, Feb. 21. Violence at the prison on Feb. 19 left 48 inmates dead; the transfer of three prisoners to another criminal center prompted more violence two days later.
Credit Julio Cesar Aguilar / AFP/Getty Images
The warden and guards of the Apodaca prison are escorted away after a press conference in Monterrey, Mexico, Feb. 22. The director, deputy director and the chief of security along with 26 guards are under arrest for allegedly assisting members of the Zetas drug cartel orchestrate an escape and the killing of members of the rival Gulf cartel.
Not everyone wants to buy a mold-infested foreclosure, but Dan Grohs does.
He and his Realtor are walking through a three-bedroom house in Minneapolis. The copper pipes have been stolen by vandals and the heat doesn't work, but Grohs recently bid on the house — and he sees potential.
"It's got a nice flow to it," Grohs says as he moves through the home. "You walk in — living room, dining room, kitchen. Good spacious rooms."
Wang Shu's design for the Ningbo History Museum came to him at 3 in the morning. He realized his job was to show people what their city used to look like, and the design recalls an ancient Chinese fortress.
Credit Lv Hengzhong /
In 1997, Wang Shu founded the Amateur Architecture Studio in Hangzhou with his wife, Lu Wenyu.
Credit Zhu Chenzhou /
Wang's Five Scattered Houses in Ningbo, China, received acknowledgment from the Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction.
Credit Lang Shuilong /
The Pritzker Jury citation said Wang is "capable of creating buildings on an intimate scale," as demonstrated above in his Ningbo Tengtou Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo.
Credit Lu Wenyu /
Wang's design for the Ningbo History Museum came to him at 3 in the morning. He realized his job was to show people what their city used to look like, and the design recalls an ancient Chinese fortress.
Credit Lv Hengzhong /
In Wang's Vertical Courtyard Apartments, residents plant small trees that are special to them, to differentiate their tower from others.
For the first time, the Pritzker Architecture Prize has been awarded to an architect based in China. Wang Shu, 49, is interested in preservation, working slowly and tradition — ideals that sometimes seem forgotten in today's booming China. Wang says in the 1990s he had to get away from China's architectural "system" of demolition, megastructures and get-rich-quick — so he spent the decade working with common craftspeople building simple constructions.
"I go out of system," Wang says, "Because, finally I think, this system is too strong."
Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 3:34 pm
By this point, as virtually everyone knows, Mitt Romney has fed a stereotype of himself as an out-of-touch plutocrat through a series of comments the news media have labeled "gaffes."
The word gaffe, of course, as Michael Kinsley once observed, has at least two meanings: the generally used one of something that's a social faux pas, and the Washington one, which the journalist said was "someone telling the truth by accident."
Miriam Lasso, sister of police sergeant Cesar Augusto Lasso who was kidnapped by the FARC in Nov. of 1998, holds a candle next to pictures of several police and military hostages of the FARC, in January in Cali.
Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 2:05 pm
The rebel group that has made kidnapping a central part of its operating procedure in Colombia says it is halting the practice and releasing 10 security force members it has held for as long as 14 years.
"From this day on we are halting the practice in our revolutionary activity," the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) said in a statement released on its website.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos issued a cautious message on Twitter.
An Iraqi jet fired missiles that hit the USS Stark in the Persian Gulf in 1987, killing 37 U.S. sailors. Iraq and Iran were at war at the time, and the U.S. wanted to keep open the regiion's vital oil shipping lanes. The current friction between the U.S. and Iran has again raised tension in the Gulf.
Credit U.S Navy / AP
Iranian Navy boats take part in exercises in the Strait of Hormuz on Jan. 3, 2012. Amid the current tension with the West, Iran has threatened to close the strait, a major export route for oil coming from the Middle East.
History never repeats itself exactly. But the current escalation in tension and rhetoric between the United States and Iran has revived memories of the Persian Gulf tanker war of the 1980s.
As an offshoot of the war taking place back then between Iran and Iraq, the U.S. offered protection to Kuwaiti ships carrying oil through the Straits of Hormuz. This led to attacks on multiple military and civilian ships. In addition, the U.S. Navy in 1988 shot down an Iranian airliner that was mistaken for a jet fighter.
Advances in genetic testing have improved the prediction, diagnosis and treatment of disease. But having increased information about your genetic makeup can raise some difficult questions and decisions.
Farmer Alan Madison fills a seed hopper with Monsanto hybrid seed corn near Arlington, Illinois, U.S. A group of organic and other growers say they're concerned they'll be sued by Monsanto if pollen from seeds like these drift onto their fields.
Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 10:37 am
A New York federal court today dismissed a lawsuit against agribusiness giant Monsanto brought by thousands of certified organic farmers. The farmers hoped the suit would protect them against infringing on the company's crop patents in the future.
The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and several other growers and organizations do not use Monsanto seeds. But they were betting that the judge would agree that Monsanto should not be allowed to sue them if pollen from the company's patented crops happened to drift into their fields.
After a proposal to build an oil pipeline from Canada to Texas was denied by the Obama administration, TransCanada says it will start building the Oklahoma-to-Texas portion of the Keystone XL pipeline.
If you remember back in January, the administration told TransCanada to reapply for a permit on the 1,700 mile pipeline when it had plans to avoid the environmentally sensitive Sandhills of Nebraska.
The Somali Civil War that began in 1991 destroyed the country's agriculture; that led to widespread starvation and poverty, thousands of people died, warlords took over clans. The United States and other countries tried to help, but all efforts have failed. Now 20 years have gone by. And with piracy and the threat of terrorism from the group al-Shabab becoming a global problem, the British government held a summit last week in London with 55 delegations from Somalia and the international community.
In a 2003 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to uphold affirmative action and said it expected that in 25 years, "the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary." The court will hear a case involving race-conscious admissions at the University of Texas in the fall.
And now, The Opinion Page. Jessica Olien has neither a husband nor a child, but she would eventually like to have one without the other - meaning she wants to be a mom, but she does not want to be a wife. She intends when she has a child to raise it on her own, as her mother raised her without a man around. Her piece titled "I Want to be My Child's Only Parent" ran in the online magazine Slate. It was in response to new numbers that show that more than half of the children born to women under 30 are now born to single mothers.
After an engine room fire, the Costa Allegra is adrift in the Indian ocean. The Allegra is owned by Costa Concordia, the same company that owns the cruise ship that ran aground off the coast of Italy and killed 25 people and left seven missing.
The AP reports the Costa Allegra is adrift in the area of the Indian Ocean where Somali pirates have been active.
Jim Yardley is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has served for eight years as a <em>New York Times</em> foreign correspondent and bureau chief in China and India. He is also an avid basketball fan.
"Linsanity" is the magical byword of this basketball season. As anyone who is even semi-conscious knows, Jeremy Lin, the NBA's first Taiwanese-American player by way of Harvard, was passed over for college athletic scholarships and ignored in NBA drafts. Then, he landed with the New York Knicks and has since proved to everybody that athletic prejudice against Asians is Lincredibly stupid. Except, as journalist Jim Yardley points out in his new book on basketball fever in China, Chinese players and coaches happen to endorse that prejudice.