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.
Bitter political divisions in Ukraine have created a split in Orthodox Christianity.
There’s a high stakes game of chicken going on in the South China Sea, and neither the US nor China is showing any sign of backing down.
The Chinese government has gone to great lengths to keep a lid on its policies in the northwestern province of Xinjiang, the historic home for the Uighur Muslim population. But the details of what human rights advocates say is a massive crackdown on an entire culture are becoming more widely known.
Pope Francis visits Ireland this weekend for the first time as head of the Catholic Church. In a country where 4 out of 5 people identify as Catholic, the trip will not be easy.
Watching the historic summit in June with Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, North Korea expert Andrei Lankov says he was not very hopeful about Kim giving up his country's nuclear weapons. But he says there are still opportunities for success.