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Coffee bean prices have collapsed, and it’s a humanitarian crisis

November 13, 2019

Small farmers are losing their shirts over the latest coffee-bean bust. Put in hard numbers, that’s about 100 million people — both farmers and their dependents — in 40 countries across the tropics who have seen their incomes cut by two-thirds in this decade. The reduction in coffee-bean prices is due to several factors, including […]

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Poverty makes plastic pollution worse

November 8, 2019

Guatemala City, the impoverished Central American metropolis, has almost no system for managing solid waste. As a result, huge surges of plastic trash wash down the Motagua river to choke the massive Mesoamerican Reef and many Caribbean beaches. Plague of plastic Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans; 90 percent […]

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Anti-immigrant Poland actually loves cheap foreign workers

November 6, 2019

Even as Poles stream out of their own country for higher-paying jobs elsewhere in the European Union and abroad, Poland has become one of the world’s most coveted destination for economic migrants. This is happening despite the rise of the right-wing Law & Justice Party, which has exploited anti-immigrant sentiment to gain power — but […]

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What’s the problem with Evo Morales?

November 5, 2019

By all accounts, modern Bolivia is an economic and cultural miracle — so what’s all this talk about coups and electoral fraud? The problem is that Evo Morales — a former labor-union leader and Latin America’s first contemporary indigenous president — appears to be behaving like a dictator. Extension denied — and appealed Morales is […]

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The schools of El Salvador are neglected and abandoned, with glimmers of hope

November 4, 2019

In one school, there is only one outhouse for 343 students — and no electricity, so the school must pirate it. Another school finds itself in a “neutral zone” between warring gangs, whose members play ordinary games of soccer against each other on school grounds. Yet educators there risk their lives if they try to […]

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Soon it will be hot enough to move to Duluth

October 28, 2019

On the shores of Lake Superior, the northern Minnesota city of Duluth is too cold to ever fulfill its dream of growing to the size of Chicago. But that was before climate change. According to a Harvard study, Duluth is one of a handful of northern American cities — Buffalo, New York, is another — […]

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