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August 2005





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Pakistan: In the Land of Conspiracy Theories

Gaza Settlers: Battalions move them out but what comes next?

Nicaragua: Crash

Resignation and Resistance: Israelis begin historic Gaza pullout

Dying to Compete: Inside Bangladesh's garment industry



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Pakistan: In the Land of Conspiracy Theories

Chanting children at rally.

Students from a local Islamic religious school in Karachi take part in a rally against President Pervez Musharraf.

As the Pakistani army continues to hunt for al Qaeda and Taliban extremists along the Afghanistan border, the militants are on an offensive of their own -- flooding the local markets with propaganda. In the alleys of the Kisa Kwani market in Peshawar, the main city in the mountainous northwestern region of Pakistan, shopkeepers sell cleverly packaged DVDs that show the militants are winning the war here. Dead bodies of women and children are intercut with images of President Pervez Musharraf shaking hands with President George W. Bush. A commentator talks of the horrors taking place in Waziristan and asks people to get behind the militant cause.

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Gaza Settlers: Battalions move them out but what comes next?

Israeli evacuation forces.

Israel sent approximately 45,000 soldiers and police to evacuate the settlers.

Deserted houses, smashed gates, garbage and children's toys are all that's left of what just a few days ago was a vibrant, blooming region of Israel.

Until the last moment, some of the Gaza settlers believed that the evacuation would be cancelled, that something would happen to change the course of events. Some even waited for the Messiah to appear. Most of them thought the soldiers wouldn't actually be able to pull them from their houses.

"If they come, they will find us all sitting around the table eating breakfast," Einat Yefet, a lively 18-year-old woman from Nezer Hazani, told me a few days ago. "They will see us, and they won't be able to expel us from our homes."

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Nicaragua: Crash

truck convoy

Farmers crowd into old trucks for the long, dangerous ride from Matagalpa to Managua. (Photo: Kate Miles)

Sometimes in our travels, the unexpected happens. We are off somewhere in a distant place, doing our work, when life intervenes. The unanticipated event can provoke mild surprise, momentary disorientation, even a sudden epiphany. And sometimes, as in the story recounted here, the intrusion is overwhelming and shattering.

Sara Miles has edited this Web site on many occasions over the past three years, often interviewing our reporters about their off-camera experiences. Now she shares her own harrowing experience in Nicaragua, an area she has covered since the war in the 1980s between the Sandinistas and the U.S.-sponsored contra rebels.

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Resignation and Resistance: Israelis begin historic Gaza pullout

Moshe Okonov.

Moshe Okonov arrived three weeks ago from Brooklyn, New York, to oppose the withdrawal.

Five days before the withdrawal, I visited Gush Katif -- the Israeli section of the Gaza Strip -- and found a surreal landscape. On the one hand, there were deserted houses, their windows and doors pulled out, roof tiles stripped, walls covered with slogans like "This was my house," "Sharon is a dictator" and "Never again." On the other hand, there were families still sitting on their porches, carrying on with everyday life -- their grass still shining green and their children riding bicycles through the deserted neighborhoods. Meanwhile, the army platoons had just finished their last drill before carrying out one of the hardest tasks they've ever been ordered to do -- that of evacuating more than 8,000 Israeli citizens from their homes.

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Dying to Compete: Inside Bangladesh's garment industry

Shafiqul Islam.

Shafiqul Islam lies in the paraplegic ward of a hospital in Dhaka.

Shafiqul Islam, a 20-year-old garment worker in Savar, Bangladesh, was about to finish his shift at 1 a.m. He handed a stack of sweaters to his manager and was heading back to his workstation when the floor underneath him ripped open, casting him into darkness. He woke up three hours later lying under a pile of rubble, his legs crushed by the machines he'd been working at 13 hours a day, six days a week.

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Northern Ireland: Are the Troubles Over?

city cabs in Belfast

Traditional British black cabs line up in Belfast city center.

We Irish love euphemisms. A "soft day" means that it's raining, "the Struggle" means armed insurrection, and "the Troubles" refers to 36 years of bombings, shootings and killings that claimed 3,700 lives. So you can be forgiven for wondering, "What does the IRA really mean when it says that it is ending its 'armed campaign'?"

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Sudan in Turmoil (Again)

man in refugee camp

A couple of weeks ago, we posted an update on Sudan from producer Casey Herrman, who filmed in the troubled Darfur region for us in late 2004. The country was thrown into fresh turmoil this week after Vice President John Garang died in a helicopter crash near the Ugandan border. He was on his way back from a meeting with Uganda's President Museveni.

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