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Reflections: The End of a Divided Germany

Cambodia: Confronting Its Past

At Siemens, Bribery Was Just a Line Item

Mumbai's Days of Terror

Zimbabwe: The Deal that Never Was

 

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Reflections: The End of a Divided Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former Polish leader Lech Walesa (center) and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Berlin for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. PHOTO: EPA.

Some dates are so significant that they define the identity of whole nations. For Germans, November 9, 1989, is such a date. It was the day the heavily mined border known as "the death-strip" between East and West Germany was opened or, as popular shorthand would have it, the day the Berlin Wall came down. It was a day of celebration, hope, incredulity, and exhilaration.

As the German magazine Der Spiegel wrote from Berlin this week: That night, the whole city celebrated a new Day of German Unity.

The fall of the wall changed the lives of millions of people so profoundly that even after 20 years, some are still struggling to make sense of the day that united a nation but divided their lives into two chapters: before and after the wall.

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Cambodia: Confronting Its Past

Cambodia, News

Editor's Note: This week, and 30 years in the waiting, an international tribunal was convened in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to try leaders of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime responsible for the death of an estimated 2 million Cambodians in the late 1970s. In 2002, reporter Amanda Pike traveled to Cambodia in search of the infamous leaders and to find out what happens to a country where perpetrators of a genocide still live side by side with the families of their victims. She found the second most powerful man in the former regime, Nuon Chea, known to some as "Pol Pot's Shadow," living deep in the country and showing little remorse. In the dispatch below, Pike explains why she doubted that he and others would ever be brought to trial in a country where the prime minister once urged everyone to simply "dig a hole and bury the past."

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At Siemens, Bribery Was Just a Line Item

Siemens building

Siemens headquarters in Munich, Germany. Photo: EPA

Editor's Note: This reporting is the result of a joint investigation of international bribery by PBS FRONTLINE, ProPublica and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley. A documentary will air on FRONTLINE on April 7, 2009 at 9 P.M. ET on PBS. Check back on this website beginning January 2009 for a series of investigative reports and in-depth features on international corruption.

This story was published by The New York Times on Sunday, Dec. 21, 2008.

MUNICH - Reinhard Siekaczek was half asleep in bed when his doorbell rang here early one morning two years ago.

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Mumbai's Days of Terror

police on the streets

Mumbai police patrol in front of the Mumbai CST railway station, a day after terrorists stormed the station.

Editor's Note: As U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made diplomatic stops in India and Pakistan on Wednesday and thousands took to Mumbai's streets blaming their own government's handling of the crisis, we asked Mumbai-based reporter Dev Chatterjee, who works in the Times of India building in the heart of the city, to recall how last week's reign of terror unfolded for him. Included are cellphone images he took as he crisscrossed the city reporting the attacks.

It was a late-night dinner party that may have saved my life. At around 9:50 in the evening on November 26, 2008, I walked out of my office at the Times of India Building opposite the 150-year-old British-built Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) Railway station and boarded a commuter train to my house, 5 kilometers away in Central Mumbai.

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Zimbabwe: The Deal that Never Was

child picking among trash

A young girl scavenges for food in the town of Chitungwiza, east of Harare. Photo: EPA.

On September 15, 2008, the cellphone networks were so jammed, I couldn't reach any of my friends in Zimbabwe or abroad to share the news that I was covering first hand. What a day in the history of our country! After months of anticipation, the political deal was signed.

Almost everyone I spoke to was joyous and expectant. President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party, in power since Zimbabwe's Independence in 1980, had at last agreed to share power with the opposition MDC and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

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Afghanistan: Women and the Silent Addiction to Opium

child addict

One of three young siblings addicted to opium at a treatment center in Kabul.

Freshta stared blankly at her children as they lay listlessly on the bed. She picked one of them up, a scrawny shaven-haired boy who is 4 but looks more like 18 months.

"I had five boys," she explained. "I only have three left."

Freshta and her surviving children are all opium addicts -- just one family among tens of thousands of women and children addicted in Afghanistan.

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Mexico: Fugitive Border Agents Apprehended

Raul Villareal

Former U.S. Border Patrol agent Raul Villareal is suspected of assisting human smuggling operations.

Two former U.S. Border Patrol agents suspected of accepting bribes to help smuggle Mexicans and Brazilians into the U.S. now sit in a Mexican prison awaiting possible extradition following their arrest Saturday in Tijuana -- two years after fleeing the United States just as an investigation was closing in on them.

But it could take months or even years before brothers Raul and Fidel Villarreal return to the United States to face charges, a law enforcement official in the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City told FRONTLINE/WORLD.

The brothers were featured in the May 2008 FRONTLINE/World story "Mexico: Crimes at the Border," as part of a feature profiling corrupt border agents.They fled the U.S. more than two years ago after apparently learning of the investigation.

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Burma: The Resource Curse

As part of a class at the UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, I traveled to Burma last spring to report on China's growing trade with Burma, which is rapidly depleting forests and has created a thriving trade in exotic animals.

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China: Beijing's Vanishing Hutong

Beijing's historic hutong neighborhoods

Some of Beijing's historic hutong neighborhoods date back to the 13th Century.

Since 2004, photographer Dan Eckstein has traveled to Beijing four times, chronicling the city's massive renovations in preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games. "I keep coming back to Beijing because you never know what is going to be here next time you come," he says.

Almost by chance, he found himself staying in a hotel in one of Beijing's historic hutong neighborhoods, some of which date back to the 13th Century. Their narrow, jam-packed alleyways and streets are filled with traditional courtyard homes.

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Obama: Awakening the African Vote

ELECTION 2008

African Vote

Al Constantino displays Obama T-shirts for sale outside the African International Mall in the Cedar-Riverside area of Minneapolis, a neighborhood predominantly inhabited by African immigrants.

The candidacy of Barack Obama has galvanized a small but rapidly growing group that had previously avoided any involvement in American politics: African-born immigrants to the United States.

There are now at least 1.3 million African immigrants living in the United States, and Obama's rise has reminded some that as they settle in America and raise their children here, they have a civic duty to participate in politics. Since I moved to Minneapolis a year ago to take a job editing and writing for a paper aimed at the African diaspora in America, I have had a front-row seat for watching the entry of Africans into American politics.

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