The Pakistani businessman braved the rugged Karakoram Highway, crossed the freezing Khunjerab Pass, and spent an hour undergoing security at China’s border to reach the city of Kashgar, in the frontier region of Xinjiang. Instead, he ran up against China’s paramilitary surveillance state and its anti-Muslim policies. Mohammad soon learned that, as a Muslim and foreigner, he would be met with intense suspicion and harassment by authorities in Xinjiang.
As Democrats prepare to take over the House, the spotlight has been on Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi of California. One of them is Rep. Karen Bass, from Los Angeles. Back in 2008, as California was facing the Great Recession and a state budget crisis, she became the first female African-American speaker of the California Assembly – or any state legislature. Two years later, she was elected to Congress.
High hopes preceded a two-week gathering of some 14,000 delegates from nearly 200 countries that concluded Dec. 15 in Katowice, Poland. The conference, known as COP24, was expected to reignite worldwide efforts to curb climate change. The conference chair, Poland’s Michał Kurtyka, was so pleased at the conclusion he leapt off the podium to congratulate delegates.
From the concrete overpass, Mike Taylor watches the traffic that trundles through the bucolic countryside, bypassing villages like his own. Nearly all the trucks on this four-lane highway, the M26, are headed to and from the southeastern ports that are Britain’s gateways to Europe and beyond. Just out of sight are the “gates” recently installed in the road’s central barrier so that thousands of trucks can be diverted and held back.