n.45 December 2012

In this issue we publish a series of reports on the increasingly complex global issue of waste management and disposal titled The Smell of Money. Massive dumping has become a lucrative business, with Asia and Africa becoming the planet’s favorite landfill sites.
We open reporting with Simone Pieranni’s “Taking out the Trash 2.0,” with photos by Luigi Baldelli. Next up is Bruno Perini’s report on a different kind of waste, online data dumps that allow hackers access to sensitive personal information. Pietro Veronese probes the darker side of Steve Jobs’ Apple legacy, which includes acres of iWaste, while Karima Moual and
Eduardo Di Blasi look at how garbage has fouled Morocco and Naples, respectively.

On other subjects, senior writer Giuseppe Scognamiglio examines what Barack Obama, elected to his second term in November, needs to do reduce his country’s sprawling budget deficit and underscores the need to comply with European banking reform.
Flavio Fusi probes the human and economic cost of the Spanish housing bubble collapse, Matteo Tacconi looks at China’s “bailout” of troubled European states, Astrit Dakli and Luisa Betti trace the plight of disabled children in Russia, and Massimo Di Pasquale combines a Ukrainian travelogue with insight into that country’s recent election.
On Middle East and African themes, Farian Sabahi reports on Iran’s economic crisis, Giuliana Sgrena on Islamism in Tunisia, and Amedeo Ricucci on embattled Mali.

Our portfolio section focuses on Syria’s ongoing civil strife with photos by Seamus Murphy of Agency VII, which has won six World Press Photo awards. Worth noting is a stunning black and white photo report on Afghanistan compiled by Monika Bulaj. Finally, Andrea Milluzzi reports from Cyprus, which is marrying Lebanese nationals by the hundreds. Her report has shots by Linda Dorigo.

As always, we publish Roberto Santaniello’s Western Shore and Stefano Bottoni’s Eastern Shore, which tracks European highlights, and Manuela Dviri’s furnishes her Notes From Tel Aviv. Francesca Lancini That’s Incredible and Carlotta Magnanini By the Numbers round things out.

As always, east is available at most major newsstands or to download in PDF form. The website contains subscription information, but we also include a handy card.
East is a great gift throughout the year, so why not share it with friends and family?

Emanuele Bevilacqua


A vast floating waste island that's so immense it seems like a continent unto itself. The subversive idea emerges from the mind of French playwright Daniel Pennac. in an otherwise pristine ocean, he portrays a continental “raft” piled high with plastic bags, bubble-wrap, broken phones, old computer parts, used clothes, dirty toothbrushes, and an assortment of cables. Pennac conjures up this drifting mountain of floating garbage to offset the illusion of cleanliness and order of the inhabited world.

The United States will need to follow up on Europe's new banking regulations if it wants to help repair the global economy.


The  European  Commission  recently took  an  important  new  step  on  the road  to  greater  economic  and  financial integration  by  employing  the  concept of  "enhanced  cooperation"  to  forge  an agreement  on  a  financial  transactions tax.

The Spanish housing calamity is bad enough alone. But put in the context of the lack of warning signals and the resulting economic desolation, it becomes nearly apocalyptic.

Beijing is softly working to "bail out" some of southeast Europe's most beleaguered states, investing in them by the billions with an eye toward ensuring future influence.

Russian society, burdened with Soviet-era prejudices, is gradually coming to terms with giving its disabled citizens a day-to-day role in life, but facilities and educational training still lag far behind.

The historically vibrant Ukrainian region of Podolia is remarkable for its religious, cultural and ethnic diversity, though some of its pearl-like cities struggle for 21st-century relevance.


Is  it  conceivable  to  accept  a  partial and  incomplete  democracy  to  avoid war? Yes, absolutely. But let's take the notion a step further. To preserve peace is it possible to pull out a band-aid called  fake  democracy  and  apply  it  to a wounded state that’s really a fiction, one  that  exists  in  name  alone  amid unresolved  and  probably  insoluble problems.

Since Tunisia's first democratic elections 18 months ago, Islamic factions have increased their social and political power in the North African country, raising questions about its future.

A Tuareg bid for independence from Mali has inadvertently allowed three powerful and opportunistic Islamic militias to establish a sharia dominion in that country's desert north.

With a devalued currency and spiraling inflation, embargoed Iran faces a serious domestic quandary, one that has put President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's future in jeopardy. But the way out remains unclear.

Though many outside analysts insisted long ago that the Damascus regime of President Bashar al-Assad regime faced imminent collapse, the military realities suggest a less clear-cut scenario.


For most Syrians the Arab Spring is a distant memory, a faded hope. Real hopes for supplies, engagement, intervention even just some form of help from foreign powers have been long abandoned.


There  are  days  when  I  want  to  pick up  the  morning  paper  (in  my  case "Haaretz") and then toss it out the window

Though China is shrewdly boasting its investment in much-desired solar and wind energy, the health and wellbeing of own people isn't part of the agenda.

Nearly two years after the March 2011 tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan is beginning to take stock of what went wrong, with both institutions and governance coming in for intense criticism. What remains unclear is which energy path Japan wishes to take.

China and India are the main destination for growing global e-waste, taking in millions of tons annually.Both nations have begun setting up roadblocks, but the technological detritus just keeps on coming.

Have contributed to this issue:
Claudia Astarita
Luigi Baldelli
Antonio Barbangelo
Luisa Betti
Emanuele Bevilacqua
Stefano Bottoni
Monika Bulaj
Marco Casolino
Maria Cuffaro
Astrit Dakli
Massimiliano Di Pasquale
Linda Dorigo
Manuela Dviri
Antonio Ferrari
Flavio Fusi
Francesco Guarascio
Lev Gudkov
Francesca Lancini
Carlotta Magnanini
Andrea Miluzzi
Anna Momigliano
Karima Moual
Seamus Murphy
Simone Pieranni
Amedeo Ricucci
Bruno Perini
Farian Sabahi
Roberto Santaniello
Giuseppe Scognamiglio
Giuliana Sgrena
Matteo Tacconi
Pietro Veronese