Special Report

From Tigers to Barbers: Tales of Sri Lanka’s Ex-Combatants

People are willing to wait a long time for a few minutes in the hands of Aloysius Patrickeil, a 32-year-old barber who is part-owner of a small shop close to the northern town of Kilinochchi, 320 km from Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo.

Violence Casts Shadow Over ‘Himalayan Viagra’ Harvest in Nepal

Intense competition during harvest season for a fungus dubbed ‘Himalayan Viagra’ – coveted for its legendary aphrodisiac qualities – has sparked violence in Nepal’s remote western mountains, causing concern among security officials here about the safety of more than 100,000 harvesters.

Zimbabwe’s Unfolding Humanitarian Disaster – We Visit the 18,000 People Forcibly Relocated to Ruling Party Farm

As the villagers sit around the flickering fire on a pitch-black night lit only by the blurry moon, they speak, recounting how it all began. They take turns, sometimes talking over each other to have their own experiences heard. When the old man speaks, everyone listens. “It was my first time riding a helicopter,” John Moyo* remembers.

India’s ‘Temple Slaves’ Struggle to Break Free

At 32, Nalluri Poshani looks like an old woman. Squatting on the floor amidst piles of tobacco and tree leaves that she expertly transforms into ‘beedis’, a local cigarette, she tells IPS, “I feel dizzy. The tobacco gives me headaches and nausea.”

Rural Costa Rican Women Plant Trees to Fight Climate Change

Olga Vargas, a breast cancer survivor, is back in the countryside, working in a forestry programme in the north of Costa Rica aimed at empowering women while at the same time mitigating the effects of climate change.

A Honduran Paradise that Doesn’t Want to Anger the Sea Again

At the mouth of the Aguán river on the Caribbean coast of Honduras, a Garífuna community living in a natural paradise that was devastated 15 years ago by Hurricane Mitch has set an example of adaptation to climate change.

Brazilian Innovation for Under-financed Mozambican Agriculture

Some of the technological excellence that revolutionised Brazil’s tropical agriculture is reaching small producers in Mozambique. But it is not enough to compensate for the underfinancing of the sector.

Rich Railroad Brings Few Opportunities in Brazil

The Carajás railroad, regarded as the most efficient in Brazil, runs a loss-making passenger service for the benefit of the population. But this does little to make amends for its original sin: it was created to export minerals and crosses an area of chronic poverty.

North Korea Doing Fine Without the South

If the North Korea of the 1990s was seen as a starving nation that produced an exodus of hungry people, then the picture should be even gloomier now – six years after it stopped receiving South Korea’s generous aid. But it’s not. The nation of 24 million people, widely said to be the most secretive in the world and a nuclear threat, appears to have weathered the years well.

Where Would You Like Your New Glacier?

The idea sounds like harebrained science-fiction, but the accelerated retreat of glaciers due to global warming and the effects of mining is leading scientists to seek to restore or recreate these valuable reservoirs of fresh water.

Refugees Ski Too, in Iraq

No one here has heard of the Sochi Winter Olympics. But the snow conditions are perfect in these Kurdish mountains of Iraq and 11-year-old Syrian refugee Hassan Khishman is thrilled to glide on skis for the first time.

Iron Hell in Brazil’s Amazon Region

“My nephew was eight years old when he stepped in the ‘munha’ [charcoal dust] and burned his legs up to the knees,” said Angelita Alves de Oliveira from a corner of Brazil’s Amazonia that has become a deadly hazard for local people.

A Google for India’s Poor

Deep in the forests of central India live the Gond tribals, an almost forgotten lot, neglected as much by the state as by mainstream media. Many cannot read or write. But thanks to a new technology, and the rapid spread of mobile phones through India, they are now picking up their cell phone and making their voice heard.

Libya’s Fragile Peace Cracks

Car accident in Omar Mokhtar Avenue in downtown Tripoli. Nobody was injured but there’s a bumper hanging off the back of a car. In just a few seconds, a group gathers around.

Las Pavas Extracts a Miracle from God

The rural community of Las Pavas in northern Colombia received this year’s National Peace Prize Wednesday in recognition of its peaceful struggle for land that is claimed by an oil palm company, in a case that became an international symbol of the conflict over land in this country.

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