Stories written by Alexandra Di Stefano Pironti

Even Death Feels Weight of Crisis in Spain

Even in death, people in Spain cannot escape the economic crisis. Funeral services carry the highest VAT (value added tax) rate, alongside entertainment like nightclubs, and luxury products.

New Faces of Social Unrest in Spain

Economy professor Arcadi Oliveres has become a popular face of the growing discontent in Spain because he calls a spade a spade.

Mystical Islam Deters Fundamentalism

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, has found a deterrent to Islamic fundamentalists: they dress conservatively, sport short beards and Islamic caps and emulate the ways of the Prophet Muhammad.

Doha Faces an Indonesian Test

To most people, holes in the ozone layer or the melting of polar ice caps can sound like distant catastrophes. “But let's talk about concrete examples,” says an Indonesian director whose documentary film captures the lives of local farmers affected by a dramatically changing environment.

Indonesia’s Blood-Soaked Chapter Still Open

If the caste system existed in Indonesia the 10 elderly people who live in Jakarta's Kramat Street would surely be untouchables: for decades they and their families have been banned from jobs and access to education and, until 2005, their identity cards marked them as former political prisoners.

Poor Infrastructure Makes Imports Cheaper in Indonesia

Indonesia suffers from a malaise: an appalling lack of infrastructure which makes a mandarin orange that travels thousands of miles from Argentina cost nearly the same as another picked locally.

Equal Parts Tolerance and Extremism in Indonesian Islam

Scattered across 17,000 islands on the Indian and Pacific oceans, the world's largest Muslim country has found its own blend of Islam: equal parts religion, secularism and contradictions.

Poverty Rises With Wealth in Indonesia

If in the words of Gandhi ''poverty is the worst form of violence,'' then the Indonesian government is accountable to some 120 million citizens who live on less than two dollars a day.

Forestland being cleared for palm oil plantation in Palangkaraya in the Central Kalimantal province. Credit: REDD+Task Force

Indonesia Is Wilting

Unless the rapid deforestation in one of the world’s most richly-forested countries is controlled, Indonesians may one day wonder, "where are all the flowers gone." To those lyrics by legendary U.S. singer Joan Baez they might also have to add, and where are all the tigers, elephants, orangutans, birds and ancient forest communities gone.