n.37 July 2011

Drug abuse is growing in India. Illegal opium fields are fueling a steady production of heroin that is slowly making its way through all layers of society. Many of the users are poor and forced to depend on low-quality drugs, making health risks that much more serious. The incidence of HIV/AIDS is rising.

Four years ago, Australian aid worker Oliver Percovich came up with the novel idea of introducing the youth of Kabul to skateboarding. The effort led to the creation of Skateistan, a small sports complex that teaches the sport while also offering educational coursework.

In May, both bloggers and mainstream news sources reported that a 19-year-old Crimean Tartar beauty contest contestant had been stoned to death by Islamic radicals who objected to the pageant and swore by Sharia Law. The only problem is that it wasn’t true.

After years of tense trade relations, Japan and the European Union are working toward commercial détente,with a free trade agreement in the early phases of joint study. Tokyo’s softening comes in response to a trade deal reached between the EU and South Korea, which put Japan’s flagging economy on notice.