Stories from Matthew Bell
I'm spending a lot of time these days reporting on religion, based here in the newsroom in Boston. I still pay attention to events in the Middle East and Asia, especially China. But the religion beat has kept me most busy.
By way of background, I studied comparative religion and Chinese history at the University of Vermont. That led me to Mandarin language classes and UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, and then to KQED Radio in San Francisco. From there, I started freelancing for The World and joined the team full-time here in Boston in late 2001.
I've been blessed to be able to cover a huge range of stories for The World. But some of the most memorable ones involved taking a trip on a Louisiana shrimping boat in the Gulf of Mexico, covering events in Egypt during the so-called Arab Spring, and meeting North Korean refugees in Seoul, South Korea. I've reported on foreign policy in US presidential politics, the rise and fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and housing demolitions in Shanghai. I'd rather be playing drums for The Roots, but that position is filled quite competently for the time being. So, I'm sticking with radio.
Israelis laid its former prime minister Ariel Sharon to rest on Monday. The military commander-turned-politician stunned Israelis by making a political turnaround in 2005 and pulling thousands of Jewish settlers out of the Gaza Strip. To some, though, the move was totally in line with his focus on the country's security.
As Iraqi government forces battle militiamen linked to al-Qaeda in Anbar Province, US veterans are confronted with old memories. The American military lost more soldiers in that province than in any other part of Iraq during the war. The World's community of veterans share their feelings and frustrations.
What will happen with the Obama administration's ballyhooed "Asia Pivot"? And what will come of the recent brinksmanship over disputed islands in the East China Sea? Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn of the Sinica podcast share their predictions of how US and China relations will play out in the coming year.
Conflict & Justice
Cambodian police have killed at least three people during protests by garment workers in the nation's capital, Phnom Penh. Garment workers have launched a national strike to demand higher wages. Kate O'Keeffe of the Wall Street Journal says there is a political dimension to what's going on as well.
Conflict & Justice
Mike O'Connor grew up on the US-Mexican border. After spending a career as a reporter in numerous conflict zones, O'Connor joined the Committee to Protect Journalists in 2009 and moved to Mexico City to work as advocate for press freedom. O'Connor died of a heart attack this week. Host Marco Werman speaks with the CPJ's Carlos Lauria about O'Connor's legacy.