Getting to Know Mediterranean Farmers: Agritourism Hits Sicily

BELPASSO, Italy — The Oasi di Francesca farm-stay hotel is situated in an unlikely spot here in Sicily, about a kilometer from an Italian naval air base and a half hour to the large port city of Catania in the east, facing the Ionian Sea. Among the acres of low-lying artichoke plants — as well … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Mass Tourism: Bad for Culture but Good for Women?

FLORENCE, Italy — This month, Italy’s tourism season kicks into high gear. Florence, which receives more than 16 million tourists a year, is one of many cities to be marred by mass travel. In the famously picturesque Piazza della Signoria, groups plod through the cobblestoned square, shepherded by flag-waving guides. Vendors peddle selfie-sticks in broken … Read more

Timbuktu’s Ancient Manuscripts Are Being Saved but Not Translated

TIMBUKTU — Down the road from the 700-year-old iconic Djinguereber mosque in this north-central Malian city lies the Al Qadi library, a private, family-owned collection holding hundreds of manuscripts from nearly a millennium ago. The manuscripts are priceless treasures of African history that experts say cover a range of topics, from minute religious law disputes to … Read more

Sudan, the Enigma

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Arriving at the Khartoum airport near midnight, as I did a few weeks before the American presidential election, one is struck by the lineup of aircraft parked near the terminal. There is not a single Western airline among them, though one sees several from across the Arab world and parts of Africa. … Read more

Murders of Journalists by Militants Just Keep Coming, a Report Finds

Somalia, Iraq and Syria lead the world in the killing of journalists by Islamic extremists who get away with their crimes, but militants also continue to target the media with impunity in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Pakistan, according to the latest report from the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit group based in New York. … Read more

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Failing Public Schools Spur Global Boom in Private Education

Chinese Children

While governments bask in data showing that the development goal of universal access to primary education has largely been achieved, attention is turning to what that really means in the classroom. Educators and human-rights advocates question whether acceptable standards are being met in many schools, as evidence mounts of the proliferation of private education in … Read more

Saving Scholars Who Become Victimized in the Middle East

Khalid al-Asaad, an internationally recognized Syrian scholar of antiquities, was beheaded by ISIS on Aug. 18 for refusing to disclose the location of archeological treasures apparently removed for safekeeping from Palmyra, one of the Middle East’s most important archeological landmarks and a Unesco World Heritage Site in Syria. This latest tragedy inflicted by ISIS highlights the … Read more

A Peruvian Paradise, Sensitive to El Niño and Other Climate Effects

ICA, Peru — Located in the Pisco Province of the southern Ica region of Peru, the Paracas National Reserve is a Unesco World Heritage Site because of its rare natural diversity. Rich in marine life and wildlife, its unique ecosystem is one of the most biologically productive on the planet. Encompassing the Atacama Desert, the Pacific … Read more

Eastern Europe Presses Its Claim to the Secretary-General’s Office  

In 70 years of United Nations history, Eastern Europe has been the only regional group in the organization that has never filled the position of secretary-general. Western Europe has had three secretaries-general; Asia and Africa, two each; and Latin America and the Caribbean, one. The 23 nations of the Eastern European region, determined to win … Read more

Sacking of Iraq’s Cultural Heritage Takes Yet Another Turn

The shocking scenes of irreplaceable centuries-old treasures being smashed and toppled from their pedestals in a museum in Mosul — with the rabid acts of destruction proudly videotaped by fighters who call themselves the Islamic State — has provoked global outrage. But for Iraqis, who have seen decades of losses over centuries of intermittent war, … Read more

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Caribbean Nations Preserve a Complicated Heritage

DORADO, Puerto Rico — When Europeans first invaded the Caribbean beginning in the late-15th century — more by chance than by design — devastation soon followed. Local populations were decimated by diseases from another world, and native people’s doomed attempts to repel the fearsome strangers met with only more death. Within two centuries, the slave trade … Read more

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