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Ben Barber
Ben Barber has been a journalist and photographer for 30 years for the London Observer, LA Times, USA Today, United Press International, the Washington Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Legion magazine and McClatchy newspapers. He also served as senior writer for USAID and is a communications consultant. His photojournalism book GROUNDTRUTH: Work, Play and Conflict in the Third World is to be published in 2013 by de.MO Design.

Entries by Ben Barber

Greeks Struggle to Pay Bills

(0) Comments | Posted April 9, 2014 | 11:42 AM

The t-shirt in an Athens store said it all: "No job, no money -- NO PROBLEM."

Unemployment is at 27 percent. But youth unemployment is at a heartbreaking 60 percent.

Greeks may smile and enjoy the Mediterranean winds and sun but inside they are suffering...

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Russia's Shadow Returns

(1) Comments | Posted March 21, 2014 | 11:59 AM

A few years after my father died in his adopted Canada, the Russian tanks occupying his homeland, Czechoslovakia, finally pulled out. I remember walking the cobbled streets of Prague and Brno, wishing he had lived to see that day.

Now that I see the return of Russia's shadow over Eastern...

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During Crimea, Remember the Sudetenland

(2) Comments | Posted March 6, 2014 | 8:24 AM

I know all too well what happened when a great power claimed it wanted to protect its ethnic cousins in a neighboring country and sent troops to take over.

My parents were Czechoslovak citizens in 1938 when Adolf Hitler said he only wanted to take one little piece of land...

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When Nations Divorce

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 8:45 PM

From the firebombs in Kiev to the religious killing in Syria to the ethnic battles in Sudan to the Scottish drive for separation from Britain we are witnessing a return to the tribal legacy of mankind.

These struggles based on ethnicity, religion, language and tribe have driven away all the...

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Afghan Apology Leads to Peace

(0) Comments | Posted November 20, 2013 | 11:10 AM

As Afghans ponder whether to accept American troops remaining in the country after 2014 to assure against a Taliban return to power, the Afghans have asked for an apology for U.S. military mistakes, including home invasions, that have rankled Afghan pride.

U.S. officials would be wise to recall what the...

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Food Aid Crisis as Typhoon Victims Hungry

(0) Comments | Posted November 15, 2013 | 4:35 PM

The rush to deliver food to the Philippines for survivors of the massive Typhoon Haiyan Nov. 8 has renewed pressure on Congress to end a requirement that most U.S. food aid be bought from U.S. farmers and delivered thousands of miles on costly U.S. ships.

That requirement, which is being...

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The Top 10 Toxic List

(1) Comments | Posted November 5, 2013 | 9:01 AM

Some 200 million people around the world are increasingly threatened by toxic wastes such as lead, mercury, chromium and radioactivity according to a new report listing the ten most dangerous threats in the world.

Blacksmith Institute based in New York City and Green Cross Switzerland, two non-profit organizations dedicated to...

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Pakistan Plans Anti-Terror Fight

(1) Comments | Posted October 24, 2013 | 5:06 PM

Pakistan plans to unleash a new anti-terrorist strategy within two weeks in the violent commercial capital Karachi, said a senior advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif hours after Sharif met President Obama at the White House Wednesday.

"Terrorists are a threat to us -- we lost 40,000 casualties,"...

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Jungle Dentist Treats Thai Kids

(4) Comments | Posted October 21, 2013 | 7:26 PM

When a petite Thai-American dentist in suburban Maryland learned that 90 percent of the children in her ancestral country lacked dental care, she traveled to remote jungle regions to fill cavities, pull teeth and treat abscesses.

Smiles on Wings, the non-profit dental care group she founded 10 years ago,...

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Getting Lead Out of Mexican Pots and Kids

(0) Comments | Posted October 16, 2013 | 2:10 PM

We've known for nearly 100 years that Mexican pottery is often finished with lead glaze, which poses a threat to those who produce the pots as well as those who eat from them.

But it was only in 1991, when the daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico was found...

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Mormon Show Paints Africa Down

(1) Comments | Posted August 23, 2013 | 8:32 PM

Watching The Book of Mormon recently was an ordeal I had not expected.

It's not simply that despite the acclaim it has received -- hailed as greatest musical of the century -- there was not a single memorable tune such as I'd heard in West Side Story, Cats or other...

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State Ties Religion to Diplomacy

(1) Comments | Posted August 21, 2013 | 4:21 PM

As religion fuels conflicts in Burma, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and elsewhere, the U.S. State Department has decided to drop its long-term opposition to religion as part of its diplomacy. A newly-created Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives defies a long-term taboo at State against working with religion and...

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UN Says 30 Million African Girls Face Genital Mutilation

(10) Comments | Posted August 7, 2013 | 4:53 PM

In gloomy, mud clinics from Nigeria to Egypt, ritual native healers whet rusty blades to slice off the clitoris' of baby girls despite years of efforts by the UN and modern doctors to halt the ancient practice.

A new U.N. report in July finds that nearly 100...

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Pakistan Taliban Kill Mountain Climbers in Himalayas

(4) Comments | Posted July 25, 2013 | 4:44 PM

When the Taliban killed 10 mountain climbers in northern Pakistan June 22, it was a special source of pain and tragedy.

For a journalist to get something wrong is always a source of discomfort and humiliation.

But to predict that death would stalk the epic heights of...

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After 300 Years, Scotland Threatens to Leave Britain

(59) Comments | Posted July 18, 2013 | 2:50 PM

INVERNESS, SCOTLAND -- In a crowded bar Scottish folk singer Davy Holt plays a hymn to Scotland's centuries-old yearning for independence -- a yearning that Scots will vote on in 2014.

"From every angle I look the British are through," he sang.

"I wait for bonnie Scotland to give me...

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Lead Poisoning Linked to Violence

(1) Comments | Posted June 11, 2013 | 6:40 PM

Some 30 years ago, scientists in Boston discovered that children exposed to lead from gasoline exhausts, dust and paint became impulsive, aggressive and had trouble learning in school.

Now scientists report that when those children grew up, they unleashed a wave of crime on the country.

And while our wave...

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Indian Coal Tax Nets $850 Million for Environment

(2) Comments | Posted June 3, 2013 | 5:28 PM

In an effort to finance green energy and clean up vast deposits of toxic wastes, India has imposed an innovative one dollar tax per ton of coal mined or burned. In just two years the environmental tax fund has grown to nearly $1 billion.

The decision by India to create...

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Death Finally Came to Vera

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2013 | 5:06 PM

Death finally came to Vera on Mother's Day -- 70 years after the French and Germans tried to kill her.

In 1943, Vera and her brother hiked over the Alps from Nazi-occupied France into Switzerland. And since then Vera has stood proof to the resilience and goodness of human beings.

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Lead, Chromium Rob Millions of Health

(0) Comments | Posted May 10, 2013 | 3:50 PM

The damage to the mental and physical health of children and adults from lead, chromium and other toxic wastes has emerged as equal to the risk of malaria in three Asian countries -- India, Indonesia and the Philippines -- a new report shows.

The study, by experts from New York...

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Sheltering Youths

(2) Comments | Posted April 22, 2013 | 6:16 PM

In the rambling, suburban Alternative House in Northern Virginia, just a half hour drive from the nation's Capitol, thousands of runaways, throwaways, and homeless youth have found shelter, counseling and a new start on life in the past 44 years.

But now the cuts in federal funding known as...

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