Go North, Young Man!

How I got in touch with my inner Canadian

Dear President Bush,

Americans want, and need, to move on from the debate over torture in Iraq and Afghanistan and close this tragic chapter in our nation’s history. Prosecuting those responsible could tear apart a country at war. Instead, the best way to confront the crimes of the past is for the man who authorized them to take full responsibility. An open letter to President George W. Bush. (Photo by Christopher Morris/VII)

Why I Love Al Jazeera

The Arab TV channel is visually stunning, exudes hustle, and covers the globe like no one else. Just beware of its insidious despotism.

China At Its Best

James Fallows visits the Lindens in Xizhou

Bovine Intervention

How cows can help win the peace in Fallujah

The 12:39 to Matanzas

A chocolate baron’s train shows tourists the real Cuba.

The Next Breadbasket?

How Africa could save the world—and itself

Buddha’s Savage Peace

After 26 years and 70,000 casualties, Sri Lanka’s civil war has ended—for now. The key to easing the fears of the country’s historically beleaguered Buddhist majority while protecting its Hindu minority? Rediscovering the blend of faiths that laid the foundation for the ancient kingdom of Kandy.

Flight Risk

When a U.S. company ignored pilot warnings in Colombia, four Americans died, and three were taken captive

Where Birds Rule the Earth

In Russia’s vast far east, most of the people are gone, but feathered inhabitants are abundant

How Moldova Escaped the Crisis

Europe’s poorest country is a paragon of financial stability

How Iran Could Save the Middle East

The definitive Middle East cliché is “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” With Shiite Iran growing stronger, Jews and Sunni Arabs suddenly have a potent basis for friendship. Could leveraging Sunni fears of rising Shiite power finally solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem? The case for a Sunni-Jewish alliance.

Dr. Doom Has Some Good News

Nouriel Roubini, the New York University economist who accurately forecast the bursting of the housing bubble and the resulting economic contraction, has become famous for his pessimism—he has been the gloomiest of the doomsayers. Which is what makes his current outlook surprising: Roubini believes that the Obama administration’s policy makers—and especially the much-maligned Tim Geithner—have gotten a lot right. Pitfalls may still abound, but he is now projecting an end to the recession, and he sees growth ahead.

As Go the Hippos …

Under the weight of Congo’s civil war, an ecosystem collapses.

Beijing’s Almost-Perfect Hotel

The Opposite House is an idealistic island in a country that rarely worries about details

Jacob’s Ladder

Jacob Zuma is a former goatherd, a master of traditional Zulu stick-fighting, a resistance hero, a one-time spymaster, a graceful dancer, and the father of some 20 children. He has been tried for rape and indicted for corruption, racketeering, and fraud. He has been called the next Mandela and the next Mugabe, a black Jesus and a crass rube. By the time you read this, he will almost certainly be the new president of South Africa. Here is the story of his sometimes troubling rise—and what it portends for the future of his country.

Turkish Smoke-Out

Will Istanbul’s way of life survive a smoking ban?

Pakistan’s Fatal Shore

With its “Islamic” nuclear bomb, Taliban- and al-Qaeda-infested borderlands, dysfunctional cities, and feuding ethnic groups, Pakistan may well be the world’s most dangerous country, a nuclear Yugoslavia-in-the-making. One key to its fate is the future of Gwadar, a strategic port whose development will either unlock the riches of Central Asia, or plunge Pakistan into a savage, and potentially terminal, civil war.

Facebook Group: World Leaders

Heart of Darkness

Delphine Schrank visits the empty lakes and scattered elephant bones left behind by the DRC's ongoing violence.

The Mugabe of the Andes?

Why President Evo Morales’s racial politics in Bolivia may backfire

Saunas and Silence

In the countryside of Finland, solitude is a national pastime

China's Way Forward

Idle factories, moored container ships, widespread bankruptcies, massive migration back to the hinterlands, strangely clean air—the signs of depression are everywhere in China. Because it makes so many of the goods the world isn’t buying now, China stands to be worse hit than the rest of the world —just as America was during the Depression, when it was the world’s sweatshop. But like America then, China will use tough times to design innovative products that will get it the high profits and the high-value jobs Americans kept to themselves for decades. And that is very bad news for the United States, unless it uses tough times to reinvent itself, too.

India’s New Face

Meet Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat and the brightest star in the Hindu-chauvinist Bharatiya Janata Party. Under Modi, Gujarat has become an economic dynamo. But he also presided over India’s worst communal riots in decades, a 2002 slaughter that left almost 2,000 Muslims dead. Exploiting the insecurities and tensions stoked by India’s opening to the world, Modi has turned his state into a stronghold of Hindu extremism, shredding Gandhi’s vision of secular coexistence in the process. One day, he could be governing the world’s largest democracy.

One World, Under God

For all the advances and wonders of our global era, Christians, Jews, and Muslims seem ever more locked in mortal combat. But history suggests a happier outcome for the Peoples of the Book. As technological evolution has brought communities, nations, and faiths into closer contact, it is the prophets of tolerance and love that have prospered, along with the religions they represent. Is globalization, in fact, God’s will?


Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more


Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.


What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world



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