Anne Marie Houppert

The in-laws of Sahar Gul, a 15-year-old Afghan child bride, were sentenced in an Afghan court to 10 years, reported The Washington Post this weekend. Gul was imprisoned by her in-laws in a basement and then tortured, including being burned and having her fingernails pulled out, in an effort to force her to become a prostitute....

  The Google Doodle today is in honor of Eadweard Muybridge’s 182nd birthday. Happy birthday to a photographic pioneer, who in 1878 proved through his motion photos that horses do indeed have all four hooves simultaneously off the ground at one time when running. In honor of his achievement, download free wallpaper of the famous running horse, then...

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala announced a state of emergency in parts of the country early in December in response to protests over the construction of a huge gold mine in Cajamarca, reported CNN; the state of emergency was lifted in mid-December. The protesters cite potential adverse environmental effects on water and agriculture. The U.S. Denver-based Newmont Mining Corp., which...

  It has long been debated whether a Maya glyph found in the Mexican state of Tabasco refers to an apocalypse that will arrive in 2012, and now the Mexican Institute of Archaeology has acknowledged that there may be a second reference to the date on a brick discovered years ago at the Comalcalco ruin,...

    The latest movie in the Twilight saga, Breaking Dawn–Part 1, was just released with the 5th-best opening weekend ever, according to an Entertainment Weekly report. The saga follows the love triangle of a human girl, Bella, and the vampire (Edward) and werewolf (Jacob) who are in love with her. The characters live in the small...

    The U.S. and North Korea have reached an agreement concerning the search for remains of approximately 5,500 U.S. servicemen who died during the Korean War and are thought to be buried in what is now North Korea, according to a report from Reuters. Past searches have yielded some results, but difficult diplomatic relations with North Korea in recent...

  This past Thursday, Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck wed his long-time girlfriend, Jetsun Pema. The very popular King attended college in America and is a huge Celtics fan, according to ABC News. Known as Druk Yul, “land of the thunder dragon,” Bhutan was isolated until recent decades but is now in the process of evolving into a...

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill banning the trade of shark fins in California, the AP reported last week. The bill raised controversy in California’s Asian community, which is the largest consumer of shark fins outside of Asia, and which prizes the fins as an ingredient in a soup considered a delicacy. The shark...

  Walt Disney World opened forty years ago on October 1, 1971, in Orlando, Florida. The dream of Walter Elias Disney, it created a city out of orange groves and swamps. The new park dwarfed Disneyland, which opened in 1955 in Anaheim, California. Disney died in 1966 and did not witness the culmination of his Orlando dream, but his...

  In Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, two bodies were recently mutilated and left hanging with a note warning others about using social media to report on cartel drug activities. Blogs and twitter feeds have sprung up to facilitate anonymous reporting on cartel activities, CNN reports. Revisit National Geographic magazine articles on Nuevo Laredo and drug-related violence in Mexico for background on the area and issues....

  Indigenous groups in Bolivia have begun a march from Trinidad to La Paz, a journey of over 300 miles, to protest a highway now under construction that will bisect a biodiverse rain forest region, reports the BBC. The protestors reside in the Isiboro-Secure Indigenous Territory and National Park (TIPNIS) in the west-central region of Bolivia,...

Image from The World iPad app by National Geographic   The United Nations has declared a famine in southern Somalia, reports NPR, with tens of thousands dead and millions more in the Horn of Africa at risk. Al Shabaab militants have worsened the situation by blocking humanitarian aid. How did Somalia become a failed state, and are we facing a...

  Australopithecus sediba reconstruction by John Gurche; photo by Brent Stirton In “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” a new movie opening August 5th, the apes become smart enough to revolt against humans. Just how smart are apes, and how apelike are humans? Read a just-published report about Lee Berger’s fossil discovery which may shed new light on our ancestors. The fossils...

A map of Afghanistan.     Helmand province, Afghanistan was the scene this past weekend of the hanging of an 8-year-old boy whose father refused to supply militants with a police vehicle, according to a CNN report. The atrocity takes place amid the ongoing transfer of security from NATO to local and national forces, and ongoing attacks...

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” the latest installment in a series of movies based on a Disney theme ride, is currently in theaters. While the pirate character Jack Sparrow (played by Johnny Depp) is a rather dashing and romantic figure, the pirates of today are seen as exactly the opposite. Are they different? Revisit NG content and decide for yourself. Then...