Last week, I spent a few days at the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, a contest for college teams to design and build energy effecient, solar-powered homes all within $250,000 and 1,000 square feet. Some of the projects were inspiring, and incredible to see where technology and green homes are headed. I followed the Kiwi team of New Zealand’s Victoria University of Wellington in this report for PRI’s The World which includes a slideshow of images I took.
Last month, I also reported for The World on the controversy over the Keystone XL project, which would pipe oil from Alberta’s tar sands deposits south through the Midwest to Texas refineries. The 10-day protest at the White House saw celebrities and environmentalists join religious leaders and college students.
I’ve been doing some reporting for PRI’s The World over the past few weeks, and found a Filipino teacher who had been teaching in nearby Prince Georges County since last August on an expired visa. The county told him he was overstaying his visa, and was fired in the same meeting. He’s a special education teacher who helped start an autism program. Here’s his story on The World, one that keeps happening across the country.
I met this week with attorneys for Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former CEO of Yukos oil, formerly Russia’s wealthiest man, and now a prisoner for the past six years. He was jailed on fraud charges in 2003, now federal prosecutors want to give him another 15 years on additional charges. Talk about double jeopardy! It’s an interesting look at the character-driven world of Russian politics, and the Greek tragedy (or Hollywood-like script) of a guy who had it all, lost it all (except for his offshore bank accounts), and is now looking for redemption. Here’s my report for the Public Radio International program “The World.”
Mexico is celebrating its 200th anniversary of independence from Spanish rule this month, a celebration that many Mexicans think may be out of place given the troubles facing the nation right now. Things have gotten so bad for the press that journalists are now asking narco-traffickers to tell them what they can and cannot print, reports today’s New York Times. I spent some time in Queretaro recently on a family trip and spoke with many residents who say their main concern is security. Some even questioned the timing of the bicentennial, since Mexico didn’t really become a free country until 1821, and didn’t have a real revolution until 1910, with a modern constitution signed in 1917. Here’s a report I filed for PRI’s The World about the Mexican Independence Day, which coincides with my birthday!
It sounds like a story right out of Hollywood: British prime minister meets with dictator of rogue nation to swap convicted terrorist for $900 million oil drilling deal. Guy goes free, oil flows and Realpolitik trumps moral outrage. Fill in Tony Blair, Quadafi and British Petroleum and you’ve got a real-life thriller. Now with the focus on BP here in Washington, the story is spilling out and its not pretty. The families of Lockerbie bombing victim are upset, so are a group of Democratic Senators who want hearings on the deal. I put together a quick news piece on the deal in the desert yesterday for public radio program PRI’s The World. The Washington Post followed up this morning with the added comment – anonymous bien sur– that the U.S. government knew what was going on all the time. If that wasn’t enough to stoke the fires of conspiracy, think about this. One interview that I didn’t have time to include was a conversation with Jim Swire, a British man whose daughter was killed on Pan Am 103. He believes that the bomber actually didn’t do it and has written a book about it. He told me that American government officials told him back in the early 1990s that al-Megrahi was a scapegoat. He wants another investigation with modern forensic techniques and DNA fingerprinting. Whatever the case, it’s clear that skullduggery and double-dealing isn’t just the property of spy novelists.