A photo taken by Discovery astronauts in 1991 shows the thick haze over the central Andes in Bolivia. The pollution is caused by the extensive dry seasonal burning in the Amazon basin. The hase is trapped in the lower atmosphere by a stable layer of air. The forests are being burned, in many cases, for coca production. AP/Wide World Photo.

Coca Fields: Better than Devastation?

Ichoa, Bolivia – The yap of a toucan sounded from a treetop near the Ichoa ranger post in Bolivia’s Isiboro-Secure National Park. From the cabin’s porch, park director Hans Rocha picked out the bird’s long-billed silhouette, framed against the foothills of the Andes,

Jose Santos (left) and Salvador Valdez (right) in a Hidalgo jail this spring. These traveling stamp salesmen were falsely accused of kidnaping in rural Mexico. Photo by Jorge Muedano

Lynching in Huejutla

Looking back, people say they didn’t much notice the two men – one fat and one thin – lurching along the unpaved roads in their gray 1980 Chevrolet pickup early on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 24. Like most days in Huejutla, Hidalgo

The Lessons of Ida Tarbell

The Lessons of Ida Tarbell 2

When Ida Tarbell left home in 1876 to attend Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., she was doing more than advancing the independence of women during an era when most were denied higher education. Tarbell was also preparing herself, unwittingly, to produce the most

A portable sign warns motorists that they are approaching a Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 19 in southern Arizona.

Border Patrol Catches Flak at Arizona Checkpoint

Photos by Jeffry Scott A spring shower has just ended, and as the sun sets over southern Arizona, five United States Border Patrol agents work quickly to reopen a traffic checkpoint on the main highway north from Nogales. The checkpoint, which is taken

Against the backdrop of war ruins, a young widow — one of the thousands in Abkhazia — waits for a bus in Sukhumi, the capital of the self-proclaimed republic. With public transport scarce, the wait can stretch to an hour. Much of the city center, once lined with palms and oleander, now lies in rubble. Although the fighting ended four years ago, thanks to the post-war economic free-fall, few of the many ruined buildings have been restored.

Report from Abkhazia

By Andrew Meier with photos by Mia Foster SUKHUMI — One afternoon not long ago in the beleaguered capital of Abkhazia, a tiny self-proclaimed republic on the Black Sea, its reigning satrap, Vladislav Ardzinba, paced his spartan office, nervously awaiting a call from

Douge Cook

Are Regulators Being Bought Off by the HMO Money Machines?

Florida health czar Doug Cook said he was “sick for a week” after he learned two of his HMO regulators had accepted more than $90,000 in consulting fees from two Medicaid health plans. “Common sense would indicate this is extremely improper,” said Cook,

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The United States, Libya and the Liberian Civil War

Note: The pictures published with this story are copyrighted and not available for reproduction.    MONROVIA, Liberia — The Liberian civil war strikes many Westerners as a incomprehensible jumble of tribes, feuding warlords and senseless mayhem. How else can one describe what began

At age 18, Edgar Bolaños, known as Shy Boy, lives in fear of death. “There are lots of people who want to kill me.” he says. “I don’t mean homeboys. I mean really bad people from the organized crime rings and other people who just hate us. They think because I used to live in Los Angeles that I am the leader here. They are wrong, but they have lots of guns, big guns and we don’t have much of anything.”

How Edgar Bolaños Became Shy Boy in El Salvador

Text and photos by Donna DeCesare Soyapango, El Salvador — During pre-dusk hours when school children in crumpled uniforms race home, past the maquila factory workers wearily descending from buses, Shy Boy and his friends emerge alert and ready for business. They scatter

Ida Tarbell

The Lessons of Ida Tarbell 1

It does not look like anything especially impressive today. It sits on an out-of-the-way shelf, one of millions of volumes in a cavernous university research library. Its green cover has faded after 93 years of heavy use, occasional abuse and, ultimately, lack of

Russian peacekeepers line up for lunch at the Transdnestria border. Since the 1992 conflict subsided, in addition to Russia's reconstituted 14th Army based in Tiraspol, Russian and Moldovan soldiers have kept a joint watch on the border zone.

Independence Free Fall: The Collapse of Moldova’s Industrial Engine

Story by Andrew Meier with photographs by Mia Foster Tiraspol may be the bleakest of cities in the former Soviet Union. A gray town of some 50,000 beleaguered souls, it has not witnessed the destruction visited upon the Chechen capital, Crozny, nor the

Newly-cut stone will be used to replace damaged sections of the Temple at Luxor.

Is Modern Egypt Obliterating its Past?

Built along the Nile in Southern Egypt, the town of Luxor is near the ancient city of Thebes, which served as the capital of Egypt during the period known as The New Kingdom (1,539-1070 BC). In just a few square miles, it contains

Bruce C. Vladeck, the outgoing administrator of the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration.

The Medical Gold Rush for Poor Patients

Just a few short months ago, a New York medical insurance plan called AssureCare, Inc. hoped to reap hearty profits caring for thousands of society’s poorest people. Bankrolled by a Florida entrepreneur with a $480 million personal fortune, the HMO seemed likely to

Miguel Tejada, of the Class A Modesto Athletics, stretches before a game, his teammates in the background. An amazing defensive shortstop, Tejada also shows great power at the plate. It is early in the 1996 season and he is showing the confidence of a player on the way up.

The Prospect

By Marcos Bretón with photos by José Luis Villegas CERES, CA. – Ninety acres of Stanislaus County alfalfa swayed in the late summer breeze as four shirtless young Dominican men walked in bare feet to the field’s edge. With three carrying kitchen chairs

A Dutch member of the International Police Task Force in Bosnia talks to Muslim villagers at a NATO barricade erected to keep villagers out of the zone-of-separation and from the Serb territory, where their prewar homes are located.

The City of Brcko: The Key to Bosnia’s Future

The billboard signs along the roadways of northeastern Bosnia say it all. Superimposed on a map of the country is the outline of a key with “Brcko” on it. The old river city, historically a crossroads between Europe and the East, holds the

Two Azeri girls are displaced persons following the war.

The Spoils of War: Report From Nagorno-Karabakh

Story by Andrew Meier with photos by Jacqueline Mia Foster You’ve won the war, now win the peace.” The words come to me from an old hand in the tangled politics of the Caucasus. We are sitting in a well-appointed foreign embassy in

Though rusty from not playing daily, Santana still shows signs of brilliance as a smooth-fielding shortstop. His knee injury plagues him when he jogs. Young Latin players with injuries are replaced quickly in the American minor league system with other, even younger, recruits.

Lost in New York: Baseball’s Latin Ghetto

By Marcos Bretón with photos by José Luis Villegas NEW YORK – They are discards and runaways, lost souls and drug dealers, day laborers and illegal immigrants, and to a man, old before their time. José Santana, 24, waits for a snack at

A schoolgirl photograph of Shirley Ann Davidson at age 15, in 1967.

Integration’s Victims: When Virginia Slammed the School Doors Shut

Six-year-old Shirley Ann Davidson had looked forward to starting school for a long time. Her mother had prepared her well, giving her the basics of arithmetic and reading from a Dick-and-Jane book to teach her the alphabet. During the summer before Shirley was

Alberto Fujimori, president of Peru, has agreed to work with the president of Bolivia to remove coca from a United Nations blacklist. Photo by AP/Wide World

The Dialogue of the Deaf Over Coca

Quillabamba, Peru – The decrepit old theater, filled with hand-lettered signs and women in bowler hats passing out coca leaves, seemed worlds away from the high living associated with the illegal drug trade. So did the calls for all-out war on “el narcotráfico.”