Originally published on Sat April 21, 2012 10:46 am
International Monetary Fund officials and members of the G-20 nations announced Friday that member countries have pledged $430 billion to add to the Fund's crisis-fighting arsenal.
The Fund's managing director Christine Lagarde came into the annual World Bank-IMF spring meetings in Washington, D.C., with a goal of raising $400 billion from member states. She was clearly happy and relieved as she announced a number larger than that.
Mourners gather at the spot in front of the Greek parliament in Athens where 77-year-old retired pharmacist Dimitris Christoulas shot and killed himself on April 4. Christoulas left a note saying he did not want to end up scrounging for food in garbage bins.
The eurozone crisis has been under way for three years and has led to sharp welfare cutbacks and a credit crunch throughout the continent.
But one of the most serious effects of the financial crisis has been an alarming spike in suicides in debt-burdened Greece, Ireland and Italy.
Last Wednesday, about a 1,000 people gathered in central Rome for a candle-lit vigil to honor Italy's economic victims. Statics show that from 2009 and 2010, some 400 small-business owners took their lives.
There have already been 23 crisis-related suicides since January.
Pictured here on April 13, 2011, Barataria Bay — part of Louisiana's Barataria Basin — was one of the hardest hit areas in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. Today, obvious signs of the spill have faded, but communities are still reeling from its effects.
Credit Mario Tama / Getty Images
Orange Beach, Ala., Environmental Manager Phillip West holds a tar ball that has washed onto the area's sugar-white sand beaches. He says the clumps of weathered oil come in when the surf is rough — an indication that two years later, there's still oil lingering offshore.
Credit Debbie Elliott / NPR
Two years later, this Bay Jimmy island is part of 200 miles of Louisiana shoreline still fouled by the BP oil spill. A layer of oil has hardened along the coast, creating a thick layer of asphalt-like tar that's choking the edge of the marsh and accelerating an already alarming rate of coastal erosion.
It's been two years since the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 rig workers and unleashing the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The oil has long stopped flowing and BP spent billions of dollars to clean up oiled beaches and waterways, but the disaster isn't necessarily over.
Oil fouled some 1,100 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline, but today, in most spots, you can't see obvious signs of the spill. In Orange Beach, Ala., the clear emerald waters of the Gulf roll onto sugar-white sand beaches.
In the early 1990s, The Education of Little Tree became a publishing phenomenon. It told the story of an orphan growing up and learning the wisdom of his Native American ancestors, Cherokee Texan author Forrest Carter's purported autobiography.
Girls perform a traditional dance while celebrating Thingyan, Myanmar's new year water festival, in Yangon, on April 15. The new year has brought new hope as the country undergoes rapid political change.
Credit Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters/Landov
Par Par Lay, a member of the Moustache Brothers vaudeville troupe whose show includes biting political satire, performs recently in Mandalay, in northern Myanmar. Par Par Lay, who had been imprisoned, says he is not yet convinced the reforms are real.
Credit Michael Sullivan for NPR
A supporter cheers on Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar opposition leader, as she visits her constituency during new year festivities in Kawhmu outside Yangon on April 17.
In Myanmar, there are signs in the most unlikely places that people are starting to believe recent political reforms are for real, and aren't just a trick.
Take a recent performance of the Moustache Brothers vaudeville troupe in the northern city of Mandalay.
The troupe performs in the family home — it's not allowed to perform in public. Its biting political satire, aimed at the generals and their cronies, has made the troupe a favorite of Western tourists and diplomats.