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.
Sen. Bob Menendez says he will support Mike Pompeo if the CIA director wins Senate approval and becomes America's next top diplomat. But the Democratic senator from New Jersey says there are good reasons for him to vote "no" on Pompeo's nomination.
The right to life of the unborn is protected by Ireland's constitution. The Eighth Amendment was passed by national referendum in 1983. In May, Irish voters will take part in another referendum. This time, they're being asked whether they want to repeal the abortion ban.
Palestinians are protesting in the Gaza Strip, with demonstrations planned for several more weeks. One Palestinian man says people just want a better future. An Israeli who lives on the other side of the border fence says he just wants to live in peace with his neighbors.
The city of Derry/Londonderry in Northern Ireland is still healing from years of sectarian conflict. Two priests, one Catholic and the other Protestant, have written a book about how to get to true peace. The only way, they say, is through forgiveness.
Londonderry, or Derry, Northern Ireland's second-biggest city, borders the Republic of Ireland. Residents worry Brexit will bring changes at the border - and a return to the days of "the Troubles."