Ruxandra Guidi

With one of the highest murder rates in the world — an average of 15 homicides a day — El Salvador has long had a reputation for violence. Back in the 1980s, the country was ravaged by a civil war and displacement. Today, it’s a hotspot for criminal gangs. 

But amidst all of this, there is a region in the northwestern part of the country where a cluster of municipalities report almost no homicides, year after year. It’s called Chalatenango. 

REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

"If you go to the bars or the islands you will see that there is no crisis in Greece. Everyone is out having fun," claimed 21-year-old Vagelis Papadopoulos of Athens, when I spoke to him a few months ago.

And if you walk around the Greek capital at night you can see the logic. Usually every bar is full, with people spilling out onto sidewalk seating with their hand-rolled cigarettes and beers. During the day Greek young people fill the public squares and coffee shops. Ostensibly everything is business as usual.

In recent weeks, cultural events across the US had to cope with the sudden disappearance of international performers from their lineups.

The Nigerian musician Sunny Adé, for example, had to cancel a US tour when his band’s visas didn’t come through in time. So did the Peruvian electronic psychedelic band Dengue Dengue Dengue!

And Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival abruptly lost all four of its British vocal soloists — leaving their replacements just one week to learn the music.

Bitcoin wants to be the answer to Greece's prayers

Jun 29, 2015
Stefanos Rapanis/Reuters

The Bitcoin community is having an "I told you so" moment.

The value of the virtual currency has been on the rise this past month amid the growing panic about Greek’s financial future. Across the country, banks are shuttered and capital controls are in place until the referendum on Sunday. By Saturday, a rush emptied as many as 500 ATMs, Bloomberg reported

Joshua Roberts/REUTERS

I called my mom after news broke that the Supreme Court had upheld Affordable Care Act subsidies.

“Did you hear the news about Obamacare?” I asked.

I could sense the panic in her voice. “No,” she replied in Spanish. “¿Que paso? What happened?”

“Don’t worry,” I reassured her in Spanish. “You’re OK. The court said it was OK.” Perhaps an oversimplified response, but it was exactly what she needed to hear at the moment.

“Thank God,” she replied in relief. “Thank God.”

SpaceX rocket blasts apart after liftoff

Jun 28, 2015

NASA suffered its third resupply failure in seven months when a SpaceX rocket headed to the International Space Station apparently blew up about two minutes after liftoff in Florida on Sunday morning.

There were no astronauts on board.

Stunned space observers watched the breakup live on NASA TV, and this video captures it beginning at the 3:21 mark. The SpaceX narration goes silent, and within 10 seconds the rocket is gone, about 27 miles above the Earth.

Was it President Barack Obama's best speech ever?

He sang "Amazing Grace." And Obama used that word — grace — 35 times in his eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, among nine people slain during church Bible study by a self-avowed white supremacist.

While gay people in America can marry, gay people in India face jail time

Jun 26, 2015
Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

When Manil Suri left India in 1979 and immigrated to America, he was drawn to the freedoms the country offered. But he was still denied the freedom to marry someone he loved. Until today.

"I was just overjoyed. I mean, it's been such a long time coming," Suri says. 

REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot

Another terrorist attack shook France this morning.

After the attacks at the newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, the Lyon offices of Air Product, an American company that makes gas for industrial uses, was targeted.

This attack reopened old wounds — but also found new ways to shock the conscience of French people. A man was found decapitated, his head displayed on a fence of the factory, covered in inscriptions written in Arabic.

Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Look for Australia, Italy and Germany to follow America's move on Friday to legalize gay marriage. And maybe Colombia, too.

But the US Supreme Court decision may actually impede efforts toward marriage equality in other countries, says J. Lester Feder of BuzzFeed, who covers LGBT issues internationally.