A life-and-death struggle for asylum in America

By Susan Ferriss and Amy Isackson

Teens' tortured road to asylum in America.

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… om violence so chilling her family thought it better to smuggle her to the United States in the spring of 2013. “Two years ago a friend of mine died in a very c …"

"… whatever they need to say to get to stay here because the President of the United States has told them, in no uncertain terms: If they get here, he won’t enforce …"

"… illed him. She also said she was threatened for testifying and fled to the United States. Her case had previously reached the Board of Immigration Appeals, the BI …"

"… , fearing his son would be killed, arranged to have him smuggled up to the United States. The asylum officer asked Francisco details about various parts of his st …"

Prison bankers cash in on captive customers

By Daniel Wagner

Private company profits by helping prisons squeeze inmates' families for cash.

Excerpts from this story referencing "JPay Inc.":

"… f last year, the Virginia Department of Corrections informed her that JPay Inc., a private company in Florida, would begin handling all deposits into inma …"

Afghans don’t like soybeans, despite a big U.S. push

By Alexander Cohen and James Arkin

Washington ignored warnings that Afghans were unlikely to embrace protein-rich soy products.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Washington":

"… t the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonprofit group in Washington. The funds allocated to rebuild the country mostly went to “short-term a …"

"… hain.” The association had, moreover, forged close ties to officials in Washington. Its annual conference in Washington, typically held at a hotel on Capito …"

"… r, forged close ties to officials in Washington. Its annual conference in Washington, typically held at a hotel on Capitol Hill and co-hosted with agriculture …"

Federal complaint challenges Texas town's new ban on housing any border kids

By Susan Ferriss

Civil rights groups are challenging ordinances that prohibit cooperation with federal officials if they ask to shelter kids in towns.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… y’s ban on providing housing to “refugees” or foreigners such as the Central American children who’ve been turning themselves in at the border. The complain …"

"… -interest law group. Appleseed has researched dangers faced by Mexican and Central American migrant children. The complaint argues that the ordinance — one of a n …"

"… ” said Maddie Sloan, an Appleseed attorney. The number of children from Central America showing up along the U.S.-Mexico border has surged this year.  Since …"

"… — an allegation that has also not been proved or linked to the influx of Central Americans. “Be it resolved,” the ordinance says, that all agencies in League …"

Trains, amputations and the roots of why kids are on the run

By Susan Ferriss

Reports have long warned of chaos in Central America many minors say they want to escape.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… Since I reported those stories, the grip that organized crime has on Central American countries has tightened further. Justice systems remain notoriously incap …"

"… . Here is some illuminating information about deteriorating conditions in Central America, long in the making, and the U.S. debate over how to deal with the influx …"

"… rs. Changes to the law could give Border Patrol agents a role in screening Central American children shortly after they're detained and then deporting them …"

"… perilous conditions in Mexico. For years, researchers who study Central America have warned that organized crime was gaining strength. A Congressional Re …"

Class-action suit: Wrong to put kids into immigration court with no lawyers to help

By Susan Ferriss

Kids whose dad was killed by gangsters are among the plaintiffs in a suit arguing that children should have lawyers in immigration court.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Department of Justice":

"… n deportation proceedings. In June, in response to the surge in kids, the Department of Justice announced that a project called Justice AmeriCorps would provide legal aid …"

Herbicide ban on hold in Sri Lanka, as source of deadly kidney disease remains elusive

By Sasha Chavkin

After Sri Lanka's announced ban on a Monsanto herbicide, opponents challenged the action and convinced the president to put the ban on hold.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… ned a rare form of kidney disease devastating agricultural workers in Central America, Sri Lanka and India. Scientists suspect the malady is caused by a combina …"

Sri Lanka bans Monsanto herbicide citing potential link to deadly kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

Sri Lanka orders ban on glyphosate, an active ingredient in Roundup, citing kidney disease outbreak; Monsanto said the evidence is unproven.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Sri Lanka":

"… e chemical may be linked to a kidney disease killing agricultural workers, Sri Lanka this week ordered a ban on glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto …"

"… rbicide Roundup. The move comes weeks after publication of a new study in Sri Lanka suggesting glyphosate as the leading culprit for the illness. The paper di …"

"… t has killed tens of thousands of agricultural workers in Central America, Sri Lanka and India. The malady is suspected by scientists to be caused by a combina …"

"… its origins have yet to be fully uncovered. Wednesday’s announcement by Sri Lanka was the most dramatic measure taken to date to combat the illness. The leg …"

CDC launches industry-financed studies of deadly kidney disease in Central America

By Sasha Chavkin

The CDC launches industry-funded research into a kidney disease killing thousands of Central American agricultural workers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… Launching its deepest review yet into a mysterious kidney disease striking Central America, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is organizing three s …"

"… rs. The research will be funded by $1.7 million in contributions from the Central American sugar industry — a setup raising concerns with some about how fully the …"

"… ic kidney disease, CKD, is afflicting agricultural workers along Central America’s Pacific Coast, as well as in Sri Lanka and India. A recent study& …"

"… tudy estimated that the ailment has killed more than 20,000 people in Central America alone. Most scientists suspect the disease is caused by a combination of …"

Money, research target mystery kidney disease in Americas

By Sasha Chavkin

Escalating a search for the cause of a mysterious kidney disease, health ministers from the Americas target money and research to CKD.

Excerpts from this story referencing "India":

"…  along Central America’s Pacific Coast, as well as in Sri Lanka and India. A recent study estimated that the ailment has killed more than …"

Countries target pesticides as suspected link to rare kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

Governments from El Salvador to Sri Lanka explore the role of pesticides in a malady killing laborers, as other scientists eye heat stress.

Excerpts from this story referencing "director":

"… fer from this distinctive form of kidney disease. Dr. Carlos Orantes, the director of El Salvador’s national research program into the mysterious disease, …"

"… used in India. Dr. Ajay Singh of Harvard University, one of the study’s directors, said the findings warranted closer examination of silica but were not ye …"

World Bank approves loan to sugar plantation amid concerns about kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

World Bank approved $15M loan to Nicaraguan sugar plantation, even as industry is ravaged by disease.

Excerpts from this story referencing "India":

"… rkers along Central America’s Pacific Coast, as well as in Sri Lanka and India. Scientists have yet to definitively uncover the cause of the parallel epi …"

Center kidney disease series honored by Society of Environmental Journalists

A CPI examination of a rare kidney disease that has afflicted laborers and vexed researchers across continents is honored.

Excerpts from this story referencing "India":

"… the similarity of kidney disease afflicting primarily male farm workers in India, Sri Lanka, and Central America,” judges wrote. “This work is also not …"

New urgency targets mysterious kidney disease in Central America

By Sasha Chavkin

In El Salvador, health ministries formally recognize a kidney disease killing laborers — and vow deeper scrutiny of its causes.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pesticide":

"… ome the leading cause of hospital deaths among adult men. The Debate over Pesticides Although the declaration reflected broad agreement to take action, the t …"

Federal initiative to help schools recognize youth sex trafficking

By Susan Ferriss

Students can be exploited more if they are suspended or expelled for misbehavior and left unsupervised alone.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… gangs, Hill said, is MS-13, the transnational crime group with networks in Central America and the United States. Hill said gangs have started putting tattoos on gi …"

In Sri Lanka, new steps target mysterious kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

In Sri Lanka, the president vows controls on chemicals potentially linked to chronic kidney disease, as hospitals take steps for patients.

Excerpts from this story referencing "reporter":

"… ’s Director General of Health Services, Dr. Palitha Mahipala, told a CPI reporter he would share the technical report, but the WHO then indicated it would n …"

Separated by law: Families torn apart by 1996 immigration measure

By Susan Ferriss and Amy Isackson

Immigration measure has split husbands from wives, children from parents.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Oklahoma":

"… y. And that’s that. The bar has begun, and the applicant cannot return. Oklahoma lawyer Douglas Stump, president-elect of the American Immigration Lawyers …"

In India, verdant terrain conceals clues to a fatal kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

How a rare kidney disease is killing laborers and vexing researchers in three countries.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Harvard Medical School":

"… lsewhere in the district, according to unpublished results from a study by Harvard Medical School.As the death toll mounts, the seemingly idyllic region has become stigmati …"

"… r both, is responsible for this,” said Dr. Ajay Singh, a nephrologist at Harvard Medical School and the co-leader of the Harvard study.The research has yet to offer defin …"

About the 'Mystery in the Fields' project

By Ronnie Greene

About the Project: Mystery in the Fields

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… illing laborers and crippling communities in three different regions, from Central America to Sri Lanka to India. As death tolls mount, researchers remain puzzled, u …"

"… kin exposed how chronic kidney disease was so prevalent in some regions of Central America it left communities filled with widows and scientists searching for answer …"

As kidney disease kills thousands across continents, scientists scramble for answers

By Sasha Chavkin

How a rare kidney disease is killing laborers and vexing researchers in three countries.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Catharina Wesseling":

"… familiar with the problem or skeptical whether it even exists,” said Dr. Catharina Wesseling, the regional director for the Program on Work and Health (SALTRA) in Cent …"

Support our new investigation into a deadly disease killing agricultural workers

By Ellen Weiss

Support our investigation of a disease that is killing workers around the world.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… mostly affects older people with diabetes and high blood pressure. But in Central America, each year thousands of agricultural laborers — almost all men, lacking …"

"… are killing some of the world’s poorest and most marginalized workers in Central America to other parts of the world — across several continents.   Now, we …"

Costa Rica to study kidney disease afflicting sugarcane workers

By Sasha Chavkin

In Costa Rica, health officials and one company step up against a disease that's claimed thousands of lives in Central America

Excerpts from this story referencing "occupational disease":

"… h experts call an epidemic: whether the illness should be classified as an occupational disease. Many workers believe the malady is caused by pesticide exposure and worki …"

The weekly watchdog: Dec. 12 - Dec. 16

By Bill Buzenberg

In case you missed them, catch up on this week's top investigations from iWatch News

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… CKD — is a manageable illness that primarily affects the elderly. But in Central America the condition is instead devastating whole communities, according to a new …"

Thousands of sugar cane workers die as wealthy nations stall on solutions

By Sasha Chavkin and Ronnie Greene

Mysterious kidney disease has killed thousands of men in an isolated region of Central America, but why?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Columbia University":

"… pulation impact,” said Victor Penchaszadeh, a clinical epidemiologist at Columbia University and frequent consultant to the Pan American Health Organization on chronic …"

About this project

A look at the reporting process behind 'Island of the Widows'

Excerpts from this story referencing "El Salvador":

"… ein (CPI) …"

"… 2005 to 2009, CKD claimed more than 2,800 men each year in the region; in El Salvador it is now the second-leading cause of death among adult men.This was the p …"

"… heehy for Public Radio International’s The World. Sheehy is based in the El Salvador offices of El Faro, an investigative website edited by Carlos Dada, a memb …"

"… )Univision (television)El Nuevo Herald, MiamiLa Nacion, Costa RicaEl Faro, El SalvadorSemana, NicaraguaHoy, ChicagoAl Dia, DallasLa Opinion, Los AngelesProject e …"

Methodology

A note of the data and analysis for 'Island of the Widows'

Excerpts from this story referencing "World Health Organization":

"… idney disease (CKD) in Central America is based on mortality data from the World Health Organization. Our goal was to obtain to a conservative estimate of the epidemic’s imp …"

"… being classified in different ways. It is also because prior to 2000, the World Health Organization presented data in only a single category that indicated overall deaths cau …"

Hotter, drier, meaner: Trends point to a planet increasingly hostile to agriculture

By Douglas Fischer

A host of data point to one conclusion: Our increasingly hotter, drier planet is going to be a tough place to farm

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… es both rose.Meanwhile, researchers probing the climate in pre–Colombian Central America figure that widespread deforestation had a hand in the droughts thought to …"

"… izations.More than 1,000 years ago, "significant deforestation" throughout Central America suppressed rainfall upwards of 20 percent and warmed the region 0.5ºC, sa …"

Cartels carve new drug routes in Central America

By Nick Miroff

In a Belizean town known for its trade in contraband, illicit drugs cast a new shadow

Excerpts from this story referencing "Caribbean":

"… kative. “Bobby,” he said, extending a hand.Bobby was from Roatán, the Caribbean island that’s part of Honduras, and he delivered small talk equally well …"

FACT CHECK: Paul ‘stood with Reagan,’ but not long

By FactCheck.Org

Attempting a jab at Perry's support of Al Gore, Paul highlights his relationship with Reagan, but not the fair-weather part

Excerpts from this story referencing "Vice-President":

"… what we had with the Democrats.''Paul, who has signed photos of Reagan and Vice-President George Bush in his office, says he was an early supporter of the President …"

Child advocates say more should be done to assist immigrant minors crossing the border

By Susan Ferriss

Child advocates say assistance needed to keep young border crossers away from criminals

Excerpts from this story referencing "New York":

"… er clues that suggested she was probably headed for forced prostitution in New York. In the end, Chung won the girl a special juvenile visa on the grounds tha …"

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