Valerie Hamilton reports on the west coast and the US-Mexico border for US and European public media. She lives in Los Angeles.
More than 200 years ago, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire took a large part of the decorative marble sculptures and architecture off the outside of the Parthenon and brought them to London, where they now sit in the British Museum. For nearly 200 years, Greece has been asking for them back, to no avail.
For decades, RWE has been slowly razing the forest and surrounding towns to expand its adjacent coal mine, among Europe’s largest producers of lignite coal and greatest sources of carbon dioxide pollution. And earlier this fall, the company moved to start cutting a new section that protesters have been occupying.
Take-out coffee cups are a popular American import that are filling up the country's trash bins. Now there's an effort in Munich to replace throwaway cups with cups you borrow and return, inspired by the longstanding practice at the city's famous beer gardens.
North Korea owns City Hostel Berlin building and leases it to a German hotelier for 38,000 euros per month — despite UN sanctions. It's just one way this unusual landlord brings in hard currency to support the regime.
Germany is shutting down the last of its underground coal mines next year, and the the way it's handling the end of this once-dominant industry could be a model for the US and other countries.