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.
In what might be a first, Israeli settler leaders will be attending the inauguration of Donald Trump on Friday. And these settlers see hopeful signs for big changes in US policy toward Israel and the Palestinians.
Development & Education
Compared to the rest of Germany, the economy in the former East Germany has struggled. In the small village of Golzow, the population had shrunk to the point where authorities were considering closing the village's only elementary school. That's when the town mayor invited Syrian refugee families to move in.
Conflict & Justice
After accepting more than a million migrants, mostly from Muslim countries, Germany now is wrestling with the issue of child marriage.
Arts, Culture & Media
Over several years in the 1940s, Michael Dillon underwent a groundbreaking physical transition from female to male through a series of surgical operations. It was just one part of his remarkable story of personal transformation. But all of that was just part of this Englishman’s remarkable story of personal transformation. Michael Dillon was outed by the newspapers after he transitioned from female to male in the 1940s. Dillon's pioneering journey is a fascinating story about gender, identity and spirituality.
Germany is facing an unprecedented wave of cyberthreats. The government is considering new rules that would impose hefty fines on social media sites that fail to rein in fake news. But is that the best way forward?