Shelly Kittleson

KABUL -- In Afghanistan’s northern Takhar province, 120 girls and 3 teachers have been hospitalized after toxic substances were sprayed into the classrooms - only a month after 150 others fell ill from contaminated water in another of the province’s schools.  On May 15 in eastern Khost, some 600 middle school students were reportedly poisoned not long after a primary school in the same province was burnt to the ground. Last week the Afghan Ministry of Education announced that 550 schools had been shut down in zones where support for the Taliban is significant.

24 May 2012
Philip Willan

ROME—Life has not been unduly kind to Enzo Condelli, but it has given him perhaps the most beautiful art gallery in Rome.
 The 65-year-old painter from Calabria sells his works – colourful still lifes on surplus wood panels – on the white steps of the 16th century Church of Santa Caterina dei Funari.
 His materials are stored discreetly in a corner of the square under an improvised shop sign with his name and cellphone number.

23 May 2012

ROME –Tens of thousands of struggling migrants, many providing services for tourists in the Eternal City, live in squalid windowless basements, some rented by landlords linked to the Vatican bank, housing association activists say.

Hidden amid Rome’s glittering arts and swanky residences of its notoriously rich politicians, in restaurant kitchens young men prepare one meal after the other. At dawn, when the partying is over, herds of middle-aged women enter hotels via the back door. Who are these people? Why do they disappear after work? Where do they live?

15 May 2012

UN World Food Programme (WFP) staff work through gunfire, shells, earthquakes and radiation alerts in the field. The 2012 Awards of Merit, described in WFP’s latest edition of the internal magazine ‘Pipeline’, tell the stories of these courageous workers.

 The team in Japan had to work in dangerous and unprecedented conditions when they sent aid to help the country recover from a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

7 May 2012
Insider reporters

 ROME – As many as 17 staff at the UN World Food Programme (WFP) were dismissed for fraud or embezzlement during a year of disciplinary proceedings, WFP sources say.

 It is unclear whether the dismissals are related to the widely reported incident of diversion of WFP funds in Somalia that year. Diplomatic sources revealed that up to half the agency’s aid to Somalia was diverted to local staffers, Jihadists and food transporters.

4 May 2012

ROME – A corrupt FAO employee in Sri Lanka used connections to Tamil Tigers fighters to intimidate bosses and avoid dismissal for bilking as much as dlrs 1.57 million from the agency by setting up fake companies, a senior development source on the troubled island says.

26 Apr 2012


ROME -- A book hospital located in the centre of Rome has taken on the mission of restoring all kinds of works.

 Among its many patients are parchments, manuscripts, drawings and books weathered by time or bacterium, devoured by insects or mice and damaged by water, fire and war.

24 Apr 2012

ROME – Dr Richard Hodges was warmly welcomed at a lecture he delivered on Butrint in his first American University of Rome appearance ahead of his inauguration as the university's President in July.

The Scientific Director of the Butrint Foundation who previously was director of the prestigious British School in Rome, Dr Hodges’ background in archaeology is not to be argued with, and his knowledge of the tiny man-made Albanian landscape of Butrint was impressive in his lecture this month entitled ‘Butrint: At the Crossroads of the Mediterranean’.

19 Apr 2012

ROME -- In 100 days of office as FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva has impressed staff by his determination to turn around the UN agency but raised questions over an "autocratic" style.

17 Apr 2012