SOUTH TARAWA, Kiribati—It's rare to find the leader of a country who speaks as passionately about climate change as Anote Tong does. Then again, his country of 110,000 people makes the short list of places most vulnerable to climate change.
The president of Kiribati, Tong has become best known for admonishing wealthy countries for burning through fossil fuels at the expense of low-lying atolls scattered across the equatorial Pacific. On Kiribati's 33 islands, the average land height rises little more than six feet (about 2 meters) above the sea.
The timetable may be slipping, but still Sri Lanka’s new government has been hailed for arresting the country’s rapid descent into the quagmire of corruption, repression and Sinhala ethnic triumphalism that characterized the preceding regime of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. Under the new President, Maithripala Sirisena, there have been significant moves towards restoring the rule of law, freedom of the press and ending nepotism and corruption. There has also been a significant shift away from Rajapaksa’s mercenary accommodation with China to a pivot back toward India and the West.
Living under armed guard, Arkar Min received one meal a day—a bowl of rice with some oil and salt. He had no bed and slept on the concrete, using his lungi as a pillow. There were six other conscripts, most of them 15; the eldest was 17. None of them had joined voluntarily—they'd been offered work, hoodwinked, kidnapped, and sold into service.
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone—A great quarrel followed the death of a pregnant Guinean woman in June. Mourners refused to allow a team of outsiders dressed in what looked like white space suits to bury her Ebola-infected corpse. If she was to be saved from eternal wandering and reach the village of the dead, they insisted, her fetus must be removed.
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FREETOWN, Sierra Leone—A sea of rusted, tin-roofed shanties cascades chaotically to the Atlantic. Between the makeshift shelters of Kroo Bay, a slum in the capital of Sierra Leone, people wash, cook, urinate, and repair roofs, radios, and engines.