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Jan McGirk
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Californian Jan McGirk yo-yos between the Middle East and America's Left Coast. Based in Jerusalem from June 2006 - July 2009, this writer and investigative journalist continues to be intrigued by the clash of religions and subsects in the Holy Land. And in La-la land. She has worked as a full-time foreign correspondent for the British press, filing dispatches from the sub-Continent, Southeast Asia and Latin America for more than a decade. Her book reviews, blogs and cyberpunditry have gained a wide following in the US, Europe, and Asia. She also has written extensively on human rights, sectarian violence, espionage, politics, natural disasters, health, conflict resolution and environmental issues.
A book about life in the world's megacities is in the works.

Entries by Jan McGirk

Meet You in Manhattan? Climate Activists Broaden Their Base

(0) Comments | Posted September 18, 2014 | 10:37 AM

Tens of thousands of green activists are heading to New York City to march in solidarity on Sunday (September 21), in a prelude to a high profile climate change summit called by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Determined "to galvanize and catalyze climate action" at the New...

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You Don't Have to Be a Rocket Scientist to Cook a Turkey, But It Helps.

(0) Comments | Posted November 26, 2013 | 12:57 PM

Thanksgiving used to be a no-brainer for me. All I had to do was come home to my parents' house, feast with the relatives, and be prepared to wash dishes and silver afterwards while the games were on TV. Some years, we even sneaked away after lunch to ski in...

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Review: Our Dying Planet

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2012 | 2:23 PM

Living coral reefs may no longer exist by the time our grandchildren reach maturity, before the end of this century. "We've wiped out a lot of species over the years. This will be the first time we've actually eliminated an entire ecosystem," laments ecologist Peter F Sale, in Our Dying...

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Review: Rimbaud in Java, The Lost Voyage

(4) Comments | Posted September 29, 2011 | 11:46 AM

Long before Rambo, there was Rimbaud.

In fact, the poet Arthur Rimbaud can be seen as a kind of anti-Rambo: a literary child prodigy, army deserter, and blue-eyed French fop who was up for adventure tourism some two centuries before annual swarms of young backpackers would dare to go...

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Feeding Frenzy -- No Winners in Coming Global Food Fight

(1) Comments | Posted May 23, 2011 | 5:23 PM

If you've been assuming that 21st century agronomists would be able to fine tune the Green Revolution and stave off world hunger, think again.

The Coming Famine, a sobering book by Julian Cribb, a veteran Australian science writer, warns that global food security...

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Fast and Furious Opposition to High Speed Rail Gets U.S. Off Track

(1) Comments | Posted May 4, 2011 | 11:58 PM

Why shoot down American bullet trains?

Federal plans to invest billions of dollars in a vast high-speed rail network are aggravating many right wing politicians, who refuse to be railroaded into support. As a focus of political division, high speed rail is gathering pace across the country. Conservative...

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Any Gauze in Gaza? Supply Shortages Add to Medical Misery Inside Strip

(7) Comments | Posted April 15, 2011 | 5:28 PM

The Gaza strip must cope with a drug shortage, even though Israeli and Egyptian officials talk about easing the blockade that has left this crowded enclave effectively isolated since July 2007. A political rift between Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank hinders communication and coordination between the...

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Wrong Revolution for a Hungry Planet That's Heating Up

(10) Comments | Posted December 2, 2010 | 4:09 PM

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows," the singer Bob Dylan once rasped. But a little guidance wouldn't hurt the growing portion of US voters who confuse the weather with the climate. A cold snap inevitably brings out the global warming deniers, and this should...

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Checkpoint: Backscatter Fears and Naked Aggression

(16) Comments | Posted November 23, 2010 | 11:24 AM

"Don't touch my junk" has a corollary: don't zap my gonads with radiation, either.

Americans on the go are increasingly upset about the intrusiveness of pre-boarding security checks at their airports, whether by full-body scanner or an enhanced pat-down. Perhaps lessons can...

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Challenge to California's Green Laws

(3) Comments | Posted August 31, 2010 | 8:09 PM

California is bracing for a battle over Proposition 23. Bankrolled mostly by two Texas oil companies, Valero and Tesoro, this controversial measure on the November ballot would suspend the state's groundbreaking global warming laws before they go into effect and "terminate" the green legacy of Governor Arnold Schwarzegger....

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Mexico's Mutant Kernels Ripen After GM Corn Ban Reversed

(13) Comments | Posted June 18, 2010 | 11:42 AM

Mexico's first crop of genetically modified maize - due to be harvested later this month - is stoking anxiety about the risks of biotechnology. Chinese environmentalists, concerned about the potential effects of gene-spliced rice in the world's rice bowl, now look to Mexico as a test-case of how to counter...

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Giving Up the Ghost Ships: Suisun Bay's Mothball Fleet

(2) Comments | Posted June 8, 2010 | 3:20 PM

In California, rusting U.S. navy ships that were poisoning bay waters for decades are being cleaned up, moved and recycled -- thanks to a legal victory by local environmental groups.

It's clear that the health risks from a fleet of decrepit U.S. navy troop ships and tankers, moored for nearly...

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Crumbs of Wisdom from The Bread of Angels

(2) Comments | Posted February 24, 2010 | 4:47 PM

Initially, I was reluctant to pick up Stephanie Saldana's stunning new book, The Bread of Angels, because of its twee title and all the blurbs likening it to that irritatingly neurotic travelogue, Eat, Pray, Love.

But once I started reading, I couldn't put this...

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Herding Big Cats Won't Save the Wild Tiger

(2) Comments | Posted October 21, 2009 | 6:47 PM

Tiger farming advocates say that legally selling body parts of the big cat could thwart the poachers. The profits for selling tiger bone wine to China's nouveau riche are so vast that now African lions are killed and smuggled into China in order to supply "mock tiger" for the...

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Flying Rabbis, Lady Gaga and the "Spiders of Allah"

(2) Comments | Posted August 18, 2009 | 6:24 PM

Fifty flying rabbis recently took to the sky in an aircraft, blowing on sacred ram's horns in an effort to purge swine flu from the airspace over Zion. And now Lady Gaga has arrived in Israel, wearing a spiked Star of David on her black leather fetish gear. Truth...

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Swine Flu Outbreak in Israel?

(10) Comments | Posted April 26, 2009 | 8:42 PM


Swine flu cases breaking out inside Israel? Sure, it's possible. An Israeli man, age 26, who had recently visited Mexico, has been hospitalized in Netanya, in the north of the...

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Israelis Line Up For Pizza Obama

(15) Comments | Posted January 16, 2009 | 5:22 PM

Right on cue for the inauguration, Israelis are starting to warm to the new leader of the free world. I spotted this harbinger of Pizza in the Middle East by the brash Jerusalem blogger, Israelity bites.



They deliver. And hope the new American President...

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Israeli Daily Denounced by French Government for Attack on Obama

(67) Comments | Posted October 29, 2008 | 12:00 PM

JERUSALEM --- Conservatives the world over are getting nervous as November 4th draws nigh.

A last-ditch attempt by the Israeli hawks to trash Barack Obama has appeared in the respected daily Haaretz, which has been noticeably tilting right in the past few months. An anonymously sourced news...

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Israelis Sending Word To U.S. Jews: We Prefer Obama

(49) Comments | Posted October 7, 2008 | 4:49 PM

JERUSALEM -- Ardent grassroots Obama-supporters from Israel are out to convince Jewish voters in the United States that the Democratic candidate would be a welcome change in the troubled Middle East.

Israelis across the political spectrum, from leftwing actors to retired spy chiefs and generals, are challenging...

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Phony Biden Broadcast And Disturbing Palin Church Sermon Raise Alarms Among Jews

(38) Comments | Posted September 4, 2008 | 10:40 AM

While the American media obsess about whether Alaska Governor and aerial wolf-sniper Sarah Palin is ready for prime time and national office, many Israeli political buffs have been scrutinizing the 2008 vice presidential candidates in light of foreign policy issues.

Today, Sen. Joe Biden's photo was splashed on the front...

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