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Anne Hyland - journalist-correspondent-writer
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Recent stories by Anne Hyland

Here on the banks of the Mekong River, a New York socialite is trying to fashion Cambodia’s future.

The siege of Thailand’s key airports ended with a whimper this week, but there’s nothing to stop it happening again.

I went to visit Mao Tse-tung the other day. The embalmed body of the Father of communist China lies in a mausoleum in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. There he rests in his trademark grey suit – the same grey of Beijing’s toxic 21st-century skies.

The Olympic torch is supposed to be a potent reminder of the unifying force that sport has on the world’s nations, but instead it is in danger of becoming a rallying point for anti-China protests.

When Sor Vann fled Cambodia in 1979, he was an 11-year-old boy and the sole survivor in his family of Pol Pot’s murderous Khmer Rouge regime. The next time he saw his former homeland, two decades had passed and Mr. Vann was an unwilling passenger on a flight from the U.S., where he had resettled as a refugee.

What makes a person kill? It is a question that never ceases to enthral and fascinate and will once again be asked as prosecutors, who are investigating the crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge, delve into the mind of Kaing Guek Eav, who is better known by his nom de guerre Duch.

The battered taxi, a candidate for a car-wrecking yard, rattles along the streets of Tehran, Iran’s bustling capital. Multiple passengers get in and out every kilometre or so, paying 10¢ for their short trip. The under-30 driver has gelled his long hair so it stands electrified on his head.

Past stories by Anne Hyland

It is April and grey outside as a caller to radio Hong Kong’s RTHK 3 station dials in to request Queen’s Somebody to Love. The DJ flips on Queen’s melancholic track, but he isn’t happy about it – the request doesn’t fit the Blues Buster theme he is supposed to be playing in an effort to cheer up the city’s 6.9 million residents. And they do need cheering up.

The military helicopters that buzzed over the Thai capital's skyscrapers for days should have been a warning that a coup was in the air. But the city's 10 million residents awoke yesterday stunned, and later elated, by the news that Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had been ousted from office.

‘Death to the terrorists!’’comes the ear-splitting scream of Carmen Garcia-Perez. Her 56-year-old body shakes angrily as she spits out the words. ‘‘Death to the terrorists,’’ she cries again. Tears fall down her face and those of many of the thousands who stand near the site of the massacre – the Atocha railway station, a hub for subway, commuter and long-distance trains in the Spanish capital.

Gary Prado Salmon, paralysed from the waist down, straightens his athletic torso in his wheelchair, which belies his 65 years, and grimaces at the mention of the name Ernesto ‘‘Che’’ Guevara. ‘‘Che’s been a burden I’ve carried on my back for 37 years but I’m proud of what I did,’’ says Prado Salmon.

It’s late afternoon on a sweaty July day in Hong Kong. The air is fat with humidity, and pollution, belched out by the city’s oversupply of public transport, is turning the sky white-grey, as if a storm is brewing. Perspiration is running down the face of Meiling’s husband, as his feet stay rooted to the footpath outside the super-high apartment building. He’s getting a sore neck from craning his head back too far to see if his wife is doing as instructed. She’s in place now, ready to throw herself out of their bedroom window.

In Cambodia, the hunting horn has sounded for a wily kind of fox. It's strongman Prime Minister Hun Sen has been busy flushing out government officials’ mistresses, blasting them “evil foxes”. John Prescott take note.

Just imagine. In New York, there is no Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, Broadway, Greenwich Village, Macy’s or New York Yankees. In London there is no Big Ben, Tower of London, Tate Modern, British Museum, West End, Harrods or English Premier League. Now ask yourself: Would you visit or live in either of these cities?


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