Few places are more exotic in the imagination than Papua New Guinea. The romantic images it conjures up are the stuff of a National Geographic cover story, complete with deadly animals and, of course, cannibals.
But once I stepped off the plane, I entered a land that was wrestling with its past and its present.
The Sepik River basin, deep in the heart of the country, is a popular tourist destination. It's the perfect place for a jungle river tour, with dense greenery, massive birds and stops at tribal villages.
There's a new mystery on Broadway — one about the musical Rebecca, based on the Daphne du Maurier novel.
You can't see it yet on the New York stage. In fact, it hasn't even started rehearsals. That's because the production is short $4.5 million after one of its investors died before he could hand over the money.
About a dozen men prayed recently at Darkei Shalom, a Hasidic Jewish synagogue in the working-class neighborhood of Otradnoye in north Moscow.
Except for the Star of David on its squat tower, the building is as plain and utilitarian as the linoleum on the floor. It sits — along with a Russian Orthodox church and a mosque — on a leafy stretch of land surrounded by towering apartment blocks.
Greece is in the fifth year of a painful recession, and it doesn't look like it's going to end anytime soon. One big problem the country faces is a shortage of strong companies that know how to compete on the world market. And nowhere is this more painfully apparent than in the challenges faced by the country's olive oil business.
Near the mountain city of Potosi in the southern highlands of Bolivia, the cone-shaped peak of Cerro Rico stands as a 15,800-foot monument to the tragedies of Spanish conquest. For centuries, Indian slaves mined the mountain's silver in brutal conditions to bankroll the Spanish empire.
Today, the descendants of those slaves run the mines. But hundreds of years of mining have left the mountain porous and unstable, and experts say it is in danger of collapsing.
Football fans are furious. Bettors are out an estimated $150 million. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin — the Republican who's famous for battling with organized labor — is on the side of the referees union. And the NFL is in something of a "prevent defense," saying that nothing can be done to change the outcome.