n.31 July 2010

Since the death of Enver Hoxa in 1986, Albania has been portrayed as country down on its luck with a citizenry desperately eager to flee. But the image is flawed. Tirana is booming. The country is growing.  Most important, the nation's youth is increasingly inclined to succeed on its own soil.  Though EU visa restrictions will be liberalized this fall, few foresee a new Western exodus, largely because economic opportunity is better at home than abroad.

Most travelers to Simferopol see it as a jump-off point on the way to the popular seaside spots of Yalta or Sevastopol. In fact, the Ukrainian city is a remarkable cultural melting pot that combines deep Tatar roots with a Soviet-era population that has finally come of age in the 21st century. A close look at the city reveals not only its multiethnic roots, but also an unforgettably brutal history.

Usually an oasis of peace and stability, Bangkok was brought to its knees in April and May as anti-government Red Shirt protestors occupied parts of the city and demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. Though they were finally forced to back down, damage to the Thai capital was considerable and there'sno plausible reason to believe the situation can’t happen again. At the root of the quarrel is the unwillingness of government and army officials to take rural votes seriously. 

The Kinner people live in the Indian Himalayas on the border with Tibet and see themselves as communing constantly both with gods and malevolent spirits, whose mischief dictates their day-to-day existence.Most of their villages arelocated in the proximity of Mount Kailash, considered the ancestral home of Lord Shiva. Entering into their world means putting Western concepts on hold and making room for oracles, nature-worship, exorcism, animal sacrifice, and the casting of spells.