Anita Desai's new collection of stories, The Artist of Disappearance, reads a bit like three symphonic movements in a minor key. They're three novellas, set in modern India, where the past is giving way. In one story, a government official inspects the forgotten treasures left behind in a fated mansion. In another story, a translator becomes a little too creative; and in the third, a man living in solitude finds his world upset by roving visitors.
The world's forests act as massive sponges, sucking carbon from the atmosphere. Above, an aerial photo from 2009 shows massive deforestation in the Brazilian state of Para.
Credit Rodrigo Baleia / LatinContent/Getty Images
Deforestation and forest fires are responsible for 75 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions in Brazil. Above, smoke from a fire on livestock pastures in Brazil's Mato Grosso state breaks into the forest, September 2009.
Some climate strategists are looking beyond the United Nations and the idea of remaking the energy economy — and toward the world's tropical forests.
The basic idea is to provide rich countries that emit lots of climate-warming gases another way to reduce their carbon footprint besides replacing or retrofitting factories and power plants. Instead, they could just pay poorer countries to keep their forests, or even expand them. Forests suck carbon out of the atmosphere. It's like paying someone to put carbon in a storehouse.
A Krampus procession takes place on Dec. 4 near Merano, Italy. People around America are also taking up the European Alpine folklore tradition, dressing like the creature who steals naughty children around Christmastime.
Credit Peter Crimmins / WHYY
Janet Finegar wears her costume of rib bones that she's prepared for Saturday's Krampuslauf in Philadelphia. She'll be among other parade participants dressed as the mythical Christmas demon Krampus.
This week, the governors of New York and California proposed tax hikes to plug major holes in their state budgets. Governors Andrew Cuomo and Jerry Brown are both Democrats, and both are asking their states' wealthiest residents to pay higher income taxes.
That's pretty much where the similarities end. The execution of their tax proposals is a study in contrasts.
'We Have To Talk'
In New York, Cuomo's tax reform proposal followed a carefully crafted script, including a recorded video message to his constituents.
While nations wrangle over a new global treaty on climate change, the question on many minds is: What happens next?
Key portions of the Kyoto Protocol are set to expire at the end of 2012. But many of the world's major greenhouse gas emitters have already set national targets to reduce emissions, and they're forging their own initiatives to meet those goals.