The Highest of Low Points: The 15 Most Elevated Countries on Earth

There is a special place reserved in respective national consciousnesses for the highest point in a country. Everest, McKinley, Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc, Fuji, Olympus, Ben Nevis – the towering peaks that can be seen for miles across the countryside and are held up as national symbols. They form the basis for religious myths (and political…

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Looking Back at Bokassa

An old familiar name from the world of tyrannical despotism was thrust back into the spotlight last month when Central African President François Bozizé formally rehabilitated his late boss Jean-Bédel Bokassa. Or should I say Emperor Bokassa I of the Central African Empire, the man who spent one-third of his nation’s budget on his coronation…

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Lake Chad: Where Did It Go?

When it comes to globally-significant bodies of water disappearing before our eyes, the Aral Sea seems to hog the international spotlight. It’s a very glamorous story with lots of intriguing subplots: large-scale irrigation diversion, failed Soviet economic models, environmental contamination, health crises, horrendous dust storms, regional climate change. But by no means is the Aral Sea the…

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