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Taco Bell storms vegetarian India

BANGALORE, India — Praful Desai celebrated his 65th birthday last weekend by doing something special with his family. Desai, a retired chemical engineer and an avowed vegetarian, took his two brothers-in-law, their wives, children and grandchildren to Bangalore’s latest hotspot — the country’s first Taco Bell. “I’m trying Mexican food for the first time in my life,” Desai said, adding, “Never too old to try something new."

India: radioactive in Delhi

NEW DELHI, India — In the post-apocalyptic West Delhi junk market of Mayapuri, Ram Kumar sits with a group of laborers like himself in the scant shade provided by a ramshackle shed. Due to a mysterious radiation leak that has sent seven neighborhood residents to the hospital with radiation poisoning over the past week, business is slow, and there's no work for these loaders. But Kumar says he has no choice but to wait.

Floating toilets to clean up Cambodia's act

KAMPONG LUONG, Cambodia — Residents of this “floating village,” a spine of stilted shacks and huts crammed atop a tributary of the Mekong River, depend on the water below them for cooking, bathing and gathering fish for meals. Too bad they defecate in that water — a practice that helps make diarrhea one of the three leading causes of death in Cambodia for children under five.

For India, US health care a sea of opportunity

MUMBAI, India – U.S. healthcare reform gave 32 million new Americans insurance, the new U.S. president a feather for his cap and a good seven years' boon to the workload of India's $61 billion outsourcing industry.

Rape on the rise in Cambodia: Amnesty

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – For Meas Veasna, as with many survivors of sexual violence, rape brought only the beginning of the horror.

Helping Kabul's female heroin addicts

KABUL, Afghanistan — The bed trembles in rhythm with Marzia’s body, which has been denied heroin for nine days. At the age of 14, she married a drug smuggler working between their home country of Afghanistan and Iran. “We were well off but I was always alone and I was tired of always worrying about my husband,” says the frail woman, whose gaze is alert, and curious, despite the abstinence-induced shivering.

Is the iPad a killer app?

The media coverage this week has been breathless: "Four suicide attempts in a month at Foxconn, the makers of the iPad," screamed the headline of a Telegraph article. "Is Pressure at iPad Maker Foxconn Behind Four Recent Suicide Tries?" wondered Fast Company.

India smoking: A ban in Mumbai sticks.

MUMBAI, India — The comedian wraps up his act, and announces a seven-minute intermission. Audience members rise and file towards the door. Seven minutes – exactly enough time to get in a smoke. A group of friends forms a circle on the street. All light up. Such a scene is common in cities like New York, San Francisco and London. But this is India. It’s Mumbai, to be precise, a city not exactly known for its cleanliness and public hygiene.

India: The orphans of HIV

Editor's note: The names of the teenagers in this article have been changed to protect their identities. MUMBAI, India — Three teenage girls pull up chairs and form a semi-circle around me. Sabeena, whose pigtails and wide eyes make her look younger than her 15 years, carries a bowl of grapes and offers them to me. No, no, I tell her, I’m fine. “Take one,” she insists. I oblige. Her friend, Amrita, also 15, tells me she is in her last year of high school. How long have you lived at this orphanage, I ask.

India: Community journalism in the slums

MUMBAI, India — Zulekha Sayyed sits with the men. They talk about the garbage dump directly behind their community and how the children have been playing in it and getting sick. As the wife of one of the men serves the group tea, the men say the dump’s stench gets worse when night falls. The wife returns to the kitchen. The mother-in-law sits on the floor and serves her grandchildren breakfast. She tears off a piece of roti, kneads it in a metal bowl of milk and sugar and then places the bite in the toddler’s mouth.
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