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Looking back at 'The Summer of Love'

This weekend, I’m hosting an hour-long special on the BBC World Service, looking back at that wild revolutionary moment in the cultural and political life of America. And really the world.<p>I met some fascinating people in San Francisco making this radio documentary for the BBC, and I want to share …

Summer of Love

Closing the State Department's war crimes office could send the wrong message

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has ambitious plans to streamline and restructure the State Department. And the first thing on the chopping block could be the war crimes office.<p>Foreign Policy magazine reported that a member of Tillerson’s team informed the Office of Global Criminal Justice …

War Crimes

A super-simple strategy may be key to fighting climate change

A key strategy in the fight against climate change is slowing the rapid destruction of the world’s forests.<p>When trees burn or decompose, they release carbon. About 10 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted every year are from this newly freed carbon rising into the atmosphere.<p>In recent years, …

Climate

'Why are Americans so fat?' And other questions Russians have about us.

The Washington Post's Moscow bureau chief, David Filipov, is a frequent guest on Russian TV talk shows — an experience he lovingly calls "a suicide mission."<p>"When you go on those shows, you're the token Westerner. And everybody who has ever had a gripe about America can sound off on you."<p>Even if …

Russia

Chester Bennington's death is more than a headline for me

When I learned about the passing of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington on Thursday, while I was sitting in a coffee shop, an influx of thoughts invaded my mind.<p>My mind drifted back 12 years to my high school in Tehran.<p><i>Our earlier story: A rock band from California helped me get through tough teenage</i> …

Chester Bennington

Women and girls are a new frontier in the fight against HIV

At the ninth annual conference on HIV science, happening in Paris right now, there's a lot to celebrate.<p>AIDS used to be one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide — no more. A report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAIDS) shows that deaths have fallen from 1.9 million in 2005 …

Women's News

This Canadian oil pipeline could cause the next great controversy

The Westridge Marine Terminal overlooks a finger of water that separates Vancouver, BC, from the deep green hills of the nearby provincial parks. It’s where oil tankers come to fill up, at the terminus of the TransMountain Pipeline, which winds down through the trees and straight out onto a …

Environment

Syrian rebels say they feel ‘betrayed’ by the US ending its aid

Unpublished<p>The Central Intelligence Agency is shutting down its program to support rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, The Washington Post reported.<p>Citing unnamed US officials, the Post said the four-year-old covert operation has had limited impact, especially since Russian …

Syria

The radicalization of a surfer dude

The subculture of southern California surfers has long fascinated novelist Laleh Khadivi.<p>She calls those who ride the waves there a "tribe unto themselves."<p>"These surfers have found their God, it is the ocean, and they will come every day and pay homage to it," she says.<p>But for Rez, the surfer dude …

Radicalization

France approves a wolf cull — to save its sheep

The French government on Thursday gave the green light for the cull of dozens of wolves in mountainous areas where sheep are under sustained attack.<p>Over 8,000 farm animals, mostly sheep, were killed in attacks blamed on wolves in the past year — mainly in the southeast of the country.<p>Farmers say …

France

A small German city finds it's not easy welcoming hundreds of Syrian refugees

I met Christa Schmidt over dinner with the Daas family, refugees from Palmyra, Syria, who are now living in Traunreut, Germany.<p>The Daases have been in Traunreut for almost six months, but the 76-year-old German tutor is the only German person in town whom they feel a personal connection with. With …

Refugees

How Putin learned to stop worrying and love internet espionage

Vladimir Putin came late to the cyber arena.<p>Up until a few years ago, the Russian leader seemed to all but ignore the internet and spoke out loudly against it. He called the web a "CIA project," with interests that opposed Russia.<p>Author Richard Lourie says that's basically because Putin is "a …

Vladimir Putin

What happened when 'The Bachelorette' featured a Sikh convert

On Monday night, fans of the reality show "The Bachelorette" saw something rare on prime-time reality TV: a practicing Sikh.<p>One of the finalists, Dean Unglert, took his date, Rachel Lindsay, to meet his father, whom he had not seen for two years.<p>"I am doing my best to make sure she's as prepared as …

Sikhism

Climate warrior? Champion of 'Big Oil'? Canada's leader wants to be both.

For a lot of Americans these days, Justin Trudeau is the anti-Donald Trump, especially on things like climate change.<p>While President Trump moves to pull America out of the Paris climate accords, Canada’s prime minister describes carbon pollution as one of the globe's biggest dangers. And not long …

Climate

For businesses that boom in the summer, Trump’s H-2B visa expansion is too little too late

Business has been booming at the Home Port restaurant in Menemsha Harbor on Martha’s Vineyard. On any given evening, the place is packed, with a long line for seafood takeout. But the restaurant’s co-owner, Sarah Nixon, isn’t celebrating.<p>“It’s really rough,” she says about operating this …

Martha's Vineyard

Iran hits back at US sanctions with ‘reciprocal actions with a high cost’

The US and Iran traded tit-for-tat sanctions on Tuesday over ISIS's ballistic missile program, just hours after Washington admitted Tehran was complying with a landmark nuclear deal signed two years ago.<p>After the US announced its new sanctions, Iran hit back, calling them "worthless" and "illegal" …

Iran

Photographer hopes intimate portraits of wildlife will prove they’re worth saving

When wildlife photographer Joel Sartore photographed northern white rhino Nabire, she was one of only five of her species left on Earth.<p>Since then, she’s died, and there are only three northern white rhinos remaining.<p>“People ask me all the time if I get depressed,” Sartore said of photographing …

Wildlife

The Brits are in the midst of a great big cheddar cheese caper

It’s a scene worthy of a classic heist movie — an overnight break-in with mysterious criminals. What was their haul?<p>All the cheddar you can carry. Actual cheddar. Cheese from southern England.<p>Rich Clothier of Wyke Farms was a proud man: His traditional vintage cheddar had just won first prize at …

Cheddar Cheese

The royal-turned-warlord and opium pioneer of the Golden Triangle dies at 90

<i>This piece is courtesy of Coconuts Media. More of their reporting on Myanmar can be found at "Coconuts Yangon."</i><p>Olive Yang, the royal-turned-warlord, whose CIA-supplied army consolidated opium trade routes in the Golden Triangle in the 1950s, had tabloid-fodder romances, and later in life served as …

Travel

Astronomers try to decipher 'peculiar signals' from nearby star Ross 128

Some very "peculiar signals" have been noticed coming from a star just 11 light-years away, scientists in Puerto Rico say.<p>The mystery has gripped the internet as speculation mounts about the potential for a discovery of alien life on the red dwarf star known as Ross 128 — despite the best attempts …

Planetary Habitability

Seven million Venezuelans voted against the president's constitution reform. Will it make a difference?

Venezuela's opposition has called a nationwide strike for Thursday to press President Nicolás Maduro to back off a rewriting of the constitution. The move is ratcheting up tensions after an unofficial vote rejecting Maduro's plan and amid months of deadly protests.<p>The strike call, issued on Monday, …

Venezuela

Climate change research can be risky. But not doing it is even riskier.

You might say Paul Mayewski has been around the block. He’s a climate researcher who’s led more than 50 expeditions to such places as the Antarctic, Greenland, the Himalayas, the Tibetan Plateau, the Andes and more, most recently as the director of the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute.<p>…

Climate Change

A world zombified by George A. Romero

George A. Romero died on Sunday at the age of 77 after a battle with lung cancer. The Pittsburgh filmmaker was revered as the godfather of the modern zombie film. With "Night of the Living Dead" (1968), he set the rules for zombies that still hold fast today for many films about the undead. You …

Horror Movies

Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo remembered

On a hot July 4 in Beijing, in 2005, I met a brave man in a near-empty restaurant.<p>He wore shorts and a T-shirt. He had a close-cut haircut, glasses, and a stammer. He was Liu Xiaobo, a former professor of literary criticism who had spent years in prison and in workcamps for challenging China’s …

China

This man spent his life challenging stereotypes of Arabs in film and television

Jack Shaheen, one of the most vocal critics of the way Arabs are portrayed in movies and television, passed away last week.<p>Shaheen, a Lebanese-American, got interested in the way Hollywood portrays Arabs and Middle Easterners by accident.<p>It was a Saturday morning in 1974 and his kids were watching …

TV

Chinese censors are blocking images of Winnie the Pooh

China's censors are blocking some mentions of the lovable but dimwitted character Winnie the Pooh on Chinese social networks.<p>Authorities did not explain the clampdown, but the self-described "bear of very little brain" has been used in the past in a meme comparing him to portly Chinese President Xi …

China

Iranian newspapers honor math 'genius' Maryam Mirzakhani — some with pictures of her without a hijab

Iranian media are hailing trailblazing Iran-born mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani following her death from cancer, splashing her picture across newspaper front pages on Sunday.<p>In some cases, newspapers even broke with tradition and portrayed Mirzakhani without her hair covered by a hijab — mandatory …

Iran

Archaeologists will use 'CSI'-like technology to study 2,500-year-old remains near Athens

More than 2,500 years ago, an Athenian nobleman named Cylon — the first recorded Olympic champion — tried to take over the city of Athens and install himself as its sole ruler.<p>According to Thucydides and Herodotus, Athenian and Greek historians who wrote about the coup, Cylon enticed an army of …

Archaeology

On Bastille Day in Nice, it’s 'difficult' to celebrate

Gaetan Onteniente is a volunteer tour guide in the southern French city of Nice who thinks often about how lucky he is.<p>Last year, he and his family decided to celebrate independence day at home, instead of going out to Promenade des Anglais, the beachside promenade by their house, to see the city’s …

France

In Venezuela, even an economist can't afford to fill her shopping cart

Rosalba Diaz pushes her shopping cart through what, at first glance, seems like a well-stocked supermarket in Caracas. But looking closer, she can see that many of the shelves are jammed with bottles of vinegar, boxes of salt and cans of sardines.<p>“There is nothing to eat. I mean, you're not going …

Shopping