Special Report: Meth gangs of China star in Philippines drug crisis

ARAYAT, Philippines – It was around 10 a.m. on September 22 when the raid on the pig farm began. Accompanied by fire and sanitation officials, a police team entered the compound at the foot of the extinct volcano Mount Arayat, north of Manila, on the pretext they were conducting a safety inspection. They didn’t find any pigs. What they did uncover, in a hangar larger than a football field, was a raised platform supporting a…

"Special Report: Meth gangs of China star in Philippines drug crisis"

Special Report: Stronger ‘superbugs,’ and no new drugs to fight them

– For nearly two years, a killer stalked the patients of Providence Alaska Medical Center. It was a bacteria called Acinetobacter baumannii, a common cause of infections in hospitals. This one was different. After a rash of mild cases in early 2011, doctors began seeing highly drug-resistant infections in patients, said Dr Megan Clancy, an infectious-disease specialist at the Anchorage, Alaska, hospital. And the bacteria was attacking more patients than just the severely ill ones…

"Special Report: Stronger ‘superbugs,’ and no new drugs to fight them"

Hezbollah, other Shi’ite allies helped Assad win in Aleppo

BEIRUT/AMMAN/GENEVA – When rebel fighters launched a last desperate attempt to break the siege of Aleppo in October, they were beaten back – not by the Syrian army but by the Lebanese Shi‘ite group Hezbollah fighting on its behalf, a senior official in the pro-government alliance said. In the build-up to the final battle for Syria’s second city, scores of fighters from a single Iraqi Shi‘ite militia were killed in just two days of combat…

"Hezbollah, other Shi’ite allies helped Assad win in Aleppo"

Special Report: They escaped Islamic State. But their horror hasn’t ended

SIRTE, Libya – One mild morning in October, when the roar of fighter jets over Sirte had died down and the crackle of gunfire had paused, Minya Mesmer decided to break free. After 14 months as a slave in Libya, the 33-year-old Eritrean had to get away. She could no longer let her Islamic State captors rape, sell and exchange her or her 14-year-old daughter. Her previous attempt to escape had left her with two…

"Special Report: They escaped Islamic State. But their horror hasn’t ended"

Britons in Spain fret over health care, may come home after Brexit

MIJAS, Spain – British pensioner Judy Swatridge’s spine is held together by titanium pins and plates since breaking her back over 10 years ago. She needs regular check-ups and takes prescription drugs for illnesses including diabetes and high blood pressure. The 75-year-old is one of tens of thousands of British retirees in Spain worried that they might lose their free access to Spanish health care, currently assured by European Union law, as a result of…

"Britons in Spain fret over health care, may come home after Brexit"

Special Report: College Board faces rocky path after CEO pushes new vision for SAT

NEW YORK – Shortly after taking over the College Board in 2012, new CEO David Coleman circulated an internal memo laying out what he called a “beautiful vision.” It was his 7,800-word plan for transforming the organization’s signature product, the SAT college entrance exam. The path Coleman laid out was detailed, bold and idealistic – a reflection of his personality, say those who know him. Literary passages for the new SAT should be “memorable and…

"Special Report: College Board faces rocky path after CEO pushes new vision for SAT"

A $30 million splurge on Putin’s daughter’s favorite sport

MOSCOW – Russia is building a $30 million complex for acrobatic rock‘n‘roll, a niche sport in which President Vladimir Putin’s daughter is a leading dancer and has a senior role for development, a review of public documents has shown. The Zhavoronki Acrobatic Rock‘n‘Roll Center will be built on the western outskirts of Moscow at a cost of 1.9 billion roubles, according to state tender documents available online, and will be funded by the municipal government.…

"A $30 million splurge on Putin’s daughter’s favorite sport"

Special Report: Puerto Rico’s disabled fend for themselves amid U.S. neglect

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Juanita Gomez Cruz irons clothes and fries pasteles to help support her family. At 77, she is the sole caretaker for her elderly husband Pedro and her adult son Dafner, both of whom are disabled. Pedro, 65, lost part of his foot three years ago to diabetes. Dafner, 51, suffered so many seizures as an adult that his mind turned off, she said. Now, he can’t dress or feed himself…

"Special Report: Puerto Rico’s disabled fend for themselves amid U.S. neglect"

Who knew? Modi’s black money move kept a closely guarded secret

NEW DELHI – Prime Minister Narendra Modi handpicked a trusted bureaucrat, little known outside India’s financial circles, to spearhead a radical move to abolish 86 percent of the country’s cash overnight and take aim at the huge shadow economy. Hasmukh Adhia, the bureaucrat, and five others privy to the plan were sworn to utmost secrecy, say sources with knowledge of the matter. They were supported by a young team of researchers working in two rooms…

"Who knew? Modi’s black money move kept a closely guarded secret"

Special Report: A family challenges the official story of a killing in Duterte’s drug war

MANILA – It’s a Friday morning in late October, and Florjohn Cruz’s body lies on a metal table at a funeral parlor in the Philippine capital of Manila. A forensics team is about to perform an autopsy on him – his second. His widow, Rita, glances at the tidy stitches running up his torso from the previous examination. Then she poses for the picture that will serve as proof of Florjohn’s identity in the report…

"Special Report: A family challenges the official story of a killing in Duterte’s drug war"