international politics

Lashkar Gah is the capital of the volatile province that alone grows half of Afghanistan's opium poppy. Cultivation here grew by 34 percent over last year.

On Fridays, hundreds of men gather at the bazaar along the Helmand River, the lifeblood of this arid province. Vendors sell everything from livestock to boxes of artisanal medicine.

There's no sign of poppy here. In fact, the farmers we talk to like 26-year-old Khairullah, who goes by one name, say they are actually too poor to grow it.

Big Life Foundation Photo/Nick Brandt

They’re calling it The Crush.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service plans to destroy six tons of elephant ivory on Thursday to draw attention to the ongoing decimation of wild elephants by poachers. Wildlife service officials will grind up tusks, trinkets and carvings seized from traffickers over the past 25 years. The tusks are typically trafficked in the illegal Chinese and Japanese ivory market.

Gun-toting militiamen man the steel gate that leads into the Tripoli zoo. A sign promises a garden of animals. Inside, there are paths that meander through a maze of cages and animal habitats. Monkeys climb trees; hippos submerge themselves in water and lions lounge in the heat.

Just a few hundred yards away, there's a different kind of cage: Inside there are people — migrants waiting to be deported or to prove they are in Libya legally.

AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin

Former pro basketball player Dennis Rodman has returned to North Korea for another so-called “basketball diplomacy” tour. Yet just last week, North Korea canceled the visit of US envoy Robert King, who was attempting to secure the release of Lynnwood resident Kenneth Bae.

In the past, North Korea has attempted to use detentions of Americans to win diplomatic concessions. Why did they cancel King’s trip? And what does North Korea gain by inviting Dennis Rodman back? David Hyde spoke with Charles Armstrong, professor of history at Columbia University, to find out.

Dennis Rodman: Kim Jong Un is "awesome."

Does Rodman's attitude toward the North Korean leader help legitimize his regime? North Korean media has been playing up the unlikely duo's relationship, but Armstrong had this to say about Rodman's testimony:


Peter Blair Henry
Courtesy/NYU

A handful of third-world countries have turned themselves around from numerous hardships in the past 30 years: China rose from seemingly hopeless poverty, Mexico bounced back from the Third World Debt Crisis, Brazil overcame hyperinflation. 

Ask Americans to point out Cyprus, and most would have to spin a globe several times before noticing the small island nation, east of Greece and south of Turkey.

But whether or not you have ever given a thought to the 1.1 million people living there under the warm Mediterranean sun, Cyprus might send a chill up your spine this week.

US Attorney General Eric Holder is pondering what to do about Washington and Colorado’s legalization of marijuana, a substance still illegal under US law. But it’s also become an international issue. Last Thursday, the United Nations issued a press release stating Washington state’s legalization actually violates international law. This statement comes amidst criticism from Latin American leaders calling America’s inconsistency between foreign and domestic drug policies hypocritical. The Obama administration has said a legalization strategy — at least abroad — is off the table. Ross Reynolds talks with Bruce Bagley, a professor of international studies at the University of Miami and expert on US-Latin America relations.

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