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Dayak girls feed a forest friend. (Photo by Branden Eastwood)
Dayak girls feed a forest friend. (Photo by Branden Eastwood)

It is a shock to think of Indonesia as the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

How could a country that boasts one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems be spewing out more carbon and methane than economic powerhouses such as Germany and Japan?

The answer lies in the forest. Or what’s left of it. Indonesia has cleared close to half of its forested land for agricultural development. The country’s peat forests, which sequester immense quantities of carbon are often targeted by developers, resulting in a disproportionate amount of emissions.

The Mumelo siblings, recent immigrants from Kenya, represent what recruiters hope will be a new face of the US military. (Photo by Sarah Stuteville)

Turns out you don’t pack much for boot camp.

When I asked Belindah Mumelo if I could hang out with her while she prepared to head off for basic training this week, I imagined huge duffel bags stuffed with gear.

Instead, she showed me a backpack the size of a school bag, full of white athletic socks.

But gear doesn’t matter. The most important thing Belindah is taking with her when she boards the plane and the series of buses that will deliver her to basic training at Fort Jackson, SC, is her sister Barbrah’s advice: “Don’t eat the candy.”

“Seriously, that first day, in the mess hall, they’ll put out all kinds of cakes and candies and cookies, but it’s a trick,” warns Barbrah in a heavy Kenyan, almost British-sounding accent. “They’ll make you do push-ups if you eat them.”

Three Mumelo siblings have signed up to join the Army this year. Belindah’s twin brother, Benson, is currently in basic training in Missouri.

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Jess Mack, a Seattle native working in Bangkok, was excited to don Americana colors to watch the election returns. (Photo by Sara Stogner)

BANGKOK, Thailand–As the elections unfolded yesterday in the US, a small huddle of Americans glued their eyes to the CNN report, broadcasting the returns in a mostly empty bar here in Bangkok.

The American-owned Roadhouse BBQ was one of only two bars in the city advertising an election watch. Yet in a city packed full of expats, only a dozen trickled in around 10am.

Among them was Jess Mack, a Seattle native working on a campaign with the UN to end violence against women in the region.

“It’s been interesting being here and talking to people from around the world and in Bangkok,” Mack said. “People really care about what’s happening in the US because our foreign policy has an impact on everyone in some way.”

Mack was ecstatic when the news came via her twitter feed that same-sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana had been approved in Washington State.

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The 9th Congressional District (shown in green) was redrawn this year to be Washington’s first ‘majority-minorty’ district. (Image via Google Maps and Washington State Redistricting Commission)

When Washington’s congressional districts were redrawn last January, the State Redistricting Commission made a bold move:

They split the city of Seattle between two districts in order to create the state’s first ever “majority-minority” district.

The 9th Congressional District was shifted northward, leaving behind the Fort Lewis area and rural Pierce County to take in both South Seattle and a growing population of immigrant and minority voters in South King County.

Now 51 percent of residents in the new 9th district identify as ethnic minorities.

Majority-minority districts are usually created with an eye to boosting the number of minorities in Congress.

But that’s not going to happen this election.

Eight-term incumbent Adam Smith, a Democrat, is facing GOP challenger Jim Postma to be the face of Washington’s most diverse district. Both are white. Both are Christian. Both were born in the US.

The legions of Americans taking their winter workouts inside to the warm sanctuary of yoga classes are part of a global trend taking to the Indian physical-spiritual practice.

A love of yoga took one Ashtanga instructor from Abu Dhabi to Finland, pushed her physical limits and brought her in to a whole new community. But another renowned instructor says the study of yoga has actually separated her from her fellow Indians.