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Clampdown on Tibet squeezes tourist destinations

The prefecture of Aba, located in China's Sichuan province, beckons visitors with the slogan "the hometown of panda." But these days, instead of the famously elusive black-and-white bears, the region's most hidden population may be its Tibetan community.

10/04/2008 10.00

Olympic official condemns anti-China protests

Caught between an outpouring of activism and an offended Chinese government, the top Olympic official condemned protesters disrupting the torch relay and insisted the Beijing Games won't be derailed

09/04/2008 9.30

Italy takes open-door approach to prisons

Less than two years ago, Italy's prison system faced a crisis: Built to hold 43,000 inmates, it was straining to contain more than 60,000. So the government crafted an emergency plan. It swung open the prison doors and let more than a third of the inmates go free.

08/04/2008 9.30

Lucky charms in Thailand are out of luck

To the list of speculative market bubbles popping around the world, add this: Thai religious talismans. Last year, prices for the small discs inscribed with an ancient mythological figure soared as ordinary Thais -- some hoping for good luck, others looking to make a fast baht -- forked over big-time. In this southern fishing town that is the center of the talisman industry, Saranya Nimitsomsakul supplemented her income from trading second-hand fridges, clothes and washing machines by buying up batches and selling them at a profit to her neighbors. Late last year, the 36-year-old mother of two raised $13,000 to reserve a new lot. "For a time we did well," she says, sitting on a bench in her backyard as her husband, Mungkorn Nimitsomsakul

07/04/2008 9.21

Modern times: India struggles to cast extras

As India rapidly modernizes, the country's filmmakers are struggling to find movie extras who look the part. The problem is that the unions that supply background actors to movie-makers haven't kept up with the times. They have fiercely restricted admission: Becoming a "junior artist," as extras are known, is often hereditary. As a result, the labor pool has remained homogenous and small at around 2,000 unionized extras in total.

04/04/2008 9.30

Alitalia's future is in doubt as talks collapse

Air France-KLM SA Chief Executive Jean-Cyril Spinetta broke off talks to buy Alitalia SpA after failing to reach an accord with labor unions Wednesday, leaving the Italian carrier with few options for survival.

03/04/2008 10.00

Cuba's opening marks shift away from Fidel

Cuba opened the doors of its tourist-only hotels to Cuban citizens this week and has ended its prohibition on private ownership of cellphones, the latest cracks to open in the Communist country since Raúl Castro took power about a month ago

02/04/2008 9.30

Basra battle strengthens sadr

The Iraqi government's inability to oust Moqtada al-Sadr's militia from Basra has boosted the fortunes of the Shiite cleric while damaging the standing of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

01/04/2008 9.30

Skilled-worker visa applicants expected to soar

U.S. businesses are bracing for another round of visa roulette, as applications for high-tech professionals -- accepted by the government starting on Tuesday -- are expected to far outstrip supply

31/03/2008 11.00

Freedom's ring: Kosovo covets a dialing code

Kosovo, which a month ago declared independence from Serbia, is working on a constitution. One problem: On the front page of the latest draft, the government phone number is Serbian

28/03/2008 9.30

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