January 27, 2014 |
YANJI, China - After the North Korean coal mine where she worked stopped paying salaries, Park Kyung Ok tried her hand at business. Buttons and zippers, candy and dried squid, fabric, plastic tarpaulins, men's suits and cigarettes. "I sold just about everything," said Park, 44. But it wasn't until she started hawking methamphetamine in 2007, she said, that she was able to earn a living. Methamphetamine, known as orum, or "ice," is a rare commodity manufactured and sold in North Korea, where most factories sit idle, the equipment rusted or looted.
August 19, 2013 |
PRETORIA, South Africa - On the night South African athlete Oscar Pistorius fatally shot his girlfriend, neighbors allegedly heard the sound of a woman screaming. Silence followed, and then gunshots. And more screams. That's the picture prosecutors are painting in the case against Pistorius, who was indicted Monday on charges including premeditated murder in the death of Reeva Steenkamp at his Pretoria home early Valentine's Day. A trial is expected to begin in early March. Pistorius, a double amputee who used carbon-fiber blades to run in last year's London Olympics, has said he thought Steenkamp, a reality TV star and law school graduate, was an intruder when he shot her repeatedly through a bathroom door.
October 23, 2013 |
MONTERREY, Mexico - It is one of those small, hopeful signs that this traumatized city may be awakening from the nightmare of Mexico's drug wars: Armando Alanis once again feels safe enough to stop off for a late-night nosh at Tacos Los Quiques, a beloved sidewalk food cart. "We couldn't have done this two years ago," Alanis, a 44-year-old poet, said recently as he chowed down on tacos gringas in the dim glow of inner-city streetlights. "It would be wrong not to recognize what we have regained.
April 5, 2010 |
One of Mexico's top drug lords, a fugitive for years, has given a clandestine interview to a Mexican magazine in which he says he would contemplate suicide rather than be taken alive. Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada says he lives "in panic" of being imprisoned but that if he were eliminated, there would be little impact on the flourishing narcotics trade. The report appears in Sunday's edition of Proceso, Mexico's leading news weekly, and was excerpted on the magazine's website. The author is Julio Scherer Garcia, the magazine's founder and first editor, who is also known for a series of books on drug traffickers.
February 23, 2014 |
The residence where Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman apparently had been hiding is a tidy, whitewashed house with spike-topped wrought iron fencing, a heavy metal door and blackened windows. It sits across from a high school and is surrounded by drainage canals that may have been part of a system officials said Guzman used as both a means of escape and to access a network of other homes. Guzman was nothing if not discreet. "I thought the house was empty," a neighbor told The Times on Sunday.
February 24, 2014 |
BADIRAGUATO, Mexico - Now that the Mexican government has nabbed the country's most-wanted drug lord, Fernando Antonio Robles is worried about the future. Robles is a 16-year-old bricklayer's apprentice in the wild drug-producing municipality where Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman grew up. In this hardscrabble patch of mountainous Sinaloa state, more than 74% of the people live in poverty. And yet the tiny county seat is full of fine new, freshly painted houses. Robles knows that many of them were built by El Chapo's men. "A lot of people are going to be unemployed," Robles said while loitering with a friend on the handsome town square, "because a lot of people worked for him. " The arrest of Guzman on Saturday in the resort city of Mazatlan, a few hours' drive and a world away from Badiraguato, was greeted with delight by the Mexican government.