MOGADISHU // Mohamed Abdulla Hersi reclines on a foam mattress in the Habeb Rehabilitation Treatment Center’s crowded mental ward. His eyes are glazed over from antipsychotic drugs, probably some combination of chlorpromazine and haloperidol, but we can’t be sure.
HARGEISA, SOMALILAND // Frankincense wafts through the air of a quiet building on the outskirts of Hargeisa, in the self-declared republic of Somaliland. It masks the odour of the remains of 38 men, whose skeletons are packed into cardboard boxes.
ROSIA MONTANA // Andrei Gruber lights a cigarette and points through his kitchen window to where a Canadian mining firm wants to set up Europe’s biggest open cast gold mine and change the face of this sleepy Romanian town forever.
NEW YORK // The slogan “make poverty history” has been used by development pundits and pop star philanthropists for years. Now, in a bid to turn words into deeds, it is being discussed as a universal global target to be met within a generation.
NAIROBI // As Kenyan commandos fought pitched battles against the remaining few gunmen inside Nairobi’s burned and blood-splattered shopping mall, questions began arising about what blowback the sensational siege would have upon a turbulent region.
NAIROBI // When she heard the first crackle of shots, Fiona Herbert thought she was listening to fireworks, rather than the bullets that signalled the start of a bloody siege on an upmarket shopping mall here in Kenya’s capital.
NAIROBI // Barack Obama’s first extensive trip to sub-Saharan Africa as US president is a week-long diplomatic safari aimed at allaying concerns that Washington has little interest in some of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
PORT-AU-PRINCE // The tent cities that sprang up after Haiti’s earthquake began as flimsy structures of sticks, tarps and string. One year on and these squalid labyrinths are sturdier, with 800,000 survivors building wood and metal shacks for an inevitably long stay.
NANYUKI, KENYA // When Amisero was rescued, the young chimpanzee was standing in a pool of vomit and diarrhoea, close to death after spending her childhood locked behind bars in the home of a private collector in Burundi. Believe it or not, she is one of the lucky ones. Conservationists say that growing numbers of chimps are dragged from West African forests each year and shipped abroad to spend their lives performing crowd-pleasing stunts.
NEW YORK // In his lyrical polemic about 1970s America, the songwriter Gil Scott-Heron famously declared: “The revolution will not be televised”. Four decades on, and the Arab political revolts are not only screened around-the-clock, but also spread via Facebook, Twitter and a host of online media.
NEW YORK // Although it has probably escaped your notice, tomorrow is World Philosophy Day. The annual dedication to history’s great thinkers may not be the only commemorative day you have missed. The month of November has no less than a dozen celebratory days designated by the United Nations.
NAIROBI // For tourists, Kenya’s traffic-clogged capital, Nairobi, has traditionally been a short, overnight stop in a secure hotel compound before heading on out to some of East Africa’s most renowned safari parks and Indian Ocean beaches.
NAIROBI // For Wambuga Nyingi, it is not about the money. Britain’s decision to compensate thousands of Kenyans who were tortured during an anti-colonial uprising in the 1950s is important because it re-writes the history books, he said.
NAIROBI // Sitting on a mattress in her cramped flat in eastern Nairobi, Ubah Abdi Warsame, a refugee from war-torn Somalia, points to her left ear and says that is where a Kenyan police officer booted her in the head.
NAIROBI // A vulture-like politician sits in Kenya’s parliament, scoffing at the tribespeople who vote for him despite his money-grabbing ways. This eye-catching graffiti image, decorating a wall in downtown Nairobi, attacks voting along ethnic lines and corruption in national politics.
NAIROBI // The shopping malls and market stands of a Somali-dominated suburb in eastern Nairobi have been quieter than usual. Taxi drivers in Eastleigh, a lucrative trade hub known locally as “Little Mogadishu”, say business is drying up as Somalis leave Kenya to return home.
NAIROBI // Following lethal attacks on two Kenyan churches, community leaders are stepping up efforts to stop their country from falling victim to the internecine religious bloodshed that has plagued many other African countries with mixed populations.
NEW YORK // The United Nations is often criticised for failing to protect civilians from belligerent leaders, but current interventions in Libya and Ivory Coast suggest the world body is starting to shoulder its responsibility to protect.
KIBATI, DRC // The cramped shack of plastic sheets and scrap wood belonging to Sindi Luza bears little comparison to the village home in Rumangabo he was forced to flee during one of Congo’s frequent violent flare-ups. “There was shooting everywhere. There was no way to stay with so much shooting,” said Mr Luza, recounting the clash between Congolese government and rebel forces that saw his simple family life come crashing to an end.
MANIK FARM, SRI LANKA // With fellow Tamils huddled around him, A Sivalingam describes the stench from filthy latrines and water shortages that blight the lives of those who fled the brutal endgame to Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war. The retired engineer has endured Manik Farm, the sprawling home to some 220,000 displaced people, for five days since fleeing an army bombardment of his hometown, in Mulattivu, as Tamil Tiger rebels made their last stand.
NEW YORK // The United Nations is struggling with two contagions: bed bugs at its Manhattan headquarters and a Caribbean cholera outbreak that many Haitians blame on UN peacekeepers. The world body needs to clean up its act on both counts.