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Silk Road

High in the jagged Pamir Mountains, where wolves and snow leopards prowl a desolate no man's land, small squads of men are fighting a losing battle against a rising tide of opium and heroin sweeping toward the West. Foot soldiers in the war on drugs, these police and customs agents stand sentinel along the remote alpine highway that threads north from Afghanistan into the rock-ribbed underbelly of Central Asia.
Bao Xueli has two dreams. One is to make a pilgrimage to Mecca before he dies. The other is that his village will build him a real mosque. Bao, 81, is the imam, or Muslim religious leader, of a recently established village on newly irrigated land in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of north-central China. His two dreams tell something of a people's faith--a faith that is struggling to survive and, perhaps, reassert its primacy.
New excavations at the Egyptian Red Sea port of Berenike show that an extensive sea trade existed between India and the Middle East from the 3rd century BC to the 7th century AD, supplementing the much more widely known Silk Road.
January 27, 2014 | By Andrew Tangel and Chris O'Brien
NEW YORK - The federal government has arrested one of the biggest names in the bitcoin community in the latest crackdown on digital currencies and their illicit use. Charlie Shrem, chief executive of digital currency exchange BitInstant, stands accused with a Florida man of laundering money through a notorious drug-trafficking website. Shrem is also vice chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, a nonprofit group aimed at promoting the digital currency. He and codefendant Robert M. Faiella of Cape Coral, Fla., are accused of selling more than $1 million worth of bitcoins to people attempting to buy and sell illegal drugs on the Silk Road website, which the FBI shut down in October.
October 16, 2011 | By Benjamin Haas, Los Angeles Times
As a child growing up in Kaifeng in central China, Jin Jin was constantly reminded of her unusual heritage. "We weren't supposed to eat pork, our graves were different from other people, and we had a mezuza on our door," said the 25-year-old, referring to the prayer scroll affixed to doorways of Jewish homes. Her father told her of a faraway land called Israel that he said was her rightful home, she recalls. But "we didn't know anything about daily prayers or the weekly reading of the Torah.
March 7, 2005 | Lynne Heffley
As a U.N. refugee affairs officer in Jerusalem in the late 1980s, Arab American Jamil Khoury experienced the first Palestinian uprising "literally between the rocks and bullets," he says. Fast-forward to 2003 and the inaugural production of the Chicago-based Silk Road Theatre Project: Khoury's play, "Precious Stones," inspired by his tumultuous time in the Middle East.
December 9, 2007
Last September I visited the same places as Susan Carpenter described in "Revved Up for the Silk Route" [Dec. 2] but came away with very different impressions. One needs to have some understanding of Chinese history in order to appreciate the significance of the artifacts along the Silk Road. For example, the Flaming Mountain was the site of the Monkey King legends of the Tang Dynasty. When one tours China, its 4,000 years of continuing history is an important part of the package.
March 25, 2014 | By Shan Li
This post has been corrected. See the note below for details. The Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday that bitcoin would be treated and taxed as property, a decision that is part of wider efforts to bring more oversight to the controversial digital currency. In its first big ruling on bitcoin, the agency noted that "it does not have legal tender status” and will be taxed under codes that apply to property transactions. That means wages paid to workers in bitcoins will be subject to federal income and payroll taxes.
October 2, 2013 | By David Ng
Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph have been named the winners of the 6th Annual Steinberg Playwright Award, an annual theater honor organized by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. The awards, which will be handed out at a ceremony in New York on Nov. 18, are intended to recognize young and mid-career playwrights. The winners receive a monetary prize of $50,000 each.  Baker, whose play "Circle Mirror Transformation" had its local debut at South Coast Repertory in 2011, presented her most recent play, "The Flick," at the off-Broadway Playwrights Horizons in March.
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