Blood Diamonds

It’s been 15 years since the global effort to ban conflict diamonds began. But the industry is still tainted by conflict and misery

Photograph by Lynsey Addario for TIMECongolese miners working one of the thousands of artisanal mines that cover the country

Max Rodriguez knows exactly how he is going to propose marriage to his long-term boyfriend, Michael Loper. He has booked a romantic bed-and-­breakfast. He has found, using Google Earth, a secluded garden where he plans to take Loper for a sunset walk. The only thing that troubles him is the issue of the ring. Rodriguez has heard about how diamonds fuel distant conflicts, about the miserable conditions of the miners who wrest the stones from the earth, and he worries. The 34-year-old slips on a gold signet-style ring in the 12th-floor showroom of Vale Jewelry in

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How Bangkok’s Khao San Road became the world’s most famous travel hub

Once upon a time, the locals peddled rice on Bangkok’s Khao San Road. Lots of it.



a group of people walking down a busy city street: Khao San Road, pictured in this file photo taken in 2015.


© CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Khao San Road, pictured in this file photo taken in 2015.

Barge after barge paddled, and later motored, down the vast Chao Phraya River and into the mouth of Banglamphu Canal, where they dropped off thousands of tons in jute sacks to wholesalers in the neighborhood.

By the end of the 19th century, Banglamphu district was by far the largest rice market not only in Bangkok, but anywhere in Siam, the world’s largest rice growing nation.

Smaller vendors opened shops south of the canal, where a dirt-track alley became so thick with the rice trade that King Chulalongkorn ordered a proper road built in 1892. Running only 410 meters, the cobbled strip wasn’t grand enough to be named after a historic Thai figure or nation-building principle,

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As lawmakers take up forfeiture reform, local police say current safeguards are enough | News

As police reform continues to be a hot button issue, State Auditor Julie Blaha took to the Capitol this week to discuss the “big story in the small numbers” with legislators: forfeitures.

“In 2019, the average size of a forfeiture under $1,500 was $473,” Blaha said. “While having a minimal financial benefit to the public safety system, to a Minnesotan this could mean the difference between making rent and experiencing homelessness.”

Blaha argued at legislative hearings this week that forfeitures do not seem to be disrupting crime, but local law enforcement in Rice and Steele counties disagree with Blaha’s stance.

“Forfeitures impact the community more than the Police Department,” said Owatonna Police Capt. Eric Rethemeier. “When we make a vehicle seizure from a DWI or a drug offense, the seizing of the vehicle is a result of a threat to public safety. These are typically high-level DWIs or multi-time offenders

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Donald Rabin left a $22,000 flute on a Chicago train, and a homeless man helped him retrieve it

“FLUTE EMERGENCY,” Rabin, 23, wrote. “My flute was left on the train. … I’m desperate to find it because it is my joy, career, and sole passion in this world. … I just hope that a kind soul is out there with my instrument.”

Against all odds, Rabin got a message back. A homeless man had found the silver and 18-karat-gold flute, but there was a catch: He’d have to accompany him to a pawnshop and pay $550 to retrieve it.

“There was no way that was happening,” Rabin told The Washington Post in an interview late Thursday.

It would take a conscientious pawnshop owner and the help of the Chicago police, but Rabin eventually got back his prized flute, without having to pay the $550.

“I really do empathize with the homeless couple,” Rabin told The Post. “I believe in second chances, and I wanted to give him the

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