LA bureau chief Bill Tarrant bows out with eight rules for getting a job - THE BARON

When I arrived in Bandung, Indonesia in July 1982 to visit my brother, I had meant only to stay awhile. Tour a bit around Southeast Asia, write some freelance travel features to finance my trip back to the States, perhaps resume my aborted newspaper career in Florida. It took 35 years to come back. One thing can lead to another in the Orient.

Rule #1 for getting a job: Timing is everything

While I was visiting my brother, I heard publishers in Jakarta were starting an English-language daily an
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What the gunman in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting didn't get

By Bill Tarrant (Reuters) -

In the 1960s, when I was growing up in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill district, we used to take the trolley up cobble-stoned Murray Avenue heading downtown, passing through a tableau of European-American Jewish life. There were Silverman's and Rosenbloom's, the two bakeries where we bought our dark rye bread. There were kosher butcher shops, delicatessens, synagogues and a Hillel academy, small jewelry shops and clothing stores. Back then, the synagogues and Hebrew schools bore signs that read "Save Soviet Jewry". We were all acutely aware that Pittsburgh, then the steel capital of the world, would most likely be hit by one of the first Russian nuclear missiles should World War Three erupt. But the plight of Soviet Jews worried my neighbors almost as much

SPECIAL REPORT-In Jakarta, that sinking feeling is all too real

"Jakarta is the world's worst sinking city," says hydrologist, as sea rises and water extraction causes land subsidence

By Bill Tarrant

JAKARTA, Dec 22 (Reuters) - The Ciliwung River flows from a volcano south of the Indonesian capital, through the heart of one of the world's most densely populated cities and almost into Jakarta Bay. Almost, because for the final mile or so of its course, the river would have to flow uphill to reach the bay.

The same is true for the rest of the half-dozen sewage-choked rivers
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Journalist Spotlight: Mike Williams on the Pulitzer Prize winning series 'The War on the Rohingya'

On Monday, Reuters was awarded its first-ever Pulitzer Prize for text reporting for the series, “The War on the Rohingya.” The Pulitzer committee recognized Reuters reporters Jason Szep, Andrew R.C. Marshall and team, including Bill Tarrant as lead editor, in the International Reporting category for “their courageous reports on the violent persecution of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority in Myanmar that, in efforts to flee the country, often falls victim to predatory human-trafficking networks.” For two years, the team tirelessly invest
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Mexico's Alfonso Cuaron wins best director Oscar for 'Roma'

By Bill Tarrant
LOS ANGELES, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron won the best director Oscar on Sunday for his semi-autobiographical film, “Roma,” which also won awards for foreign language film and cinematography.

He paid tribute to the 70 million domestic workers around the world and to indigenous women in his acceptance speech. “I want to thank the Academy for recognizing a film centered around an indigenous woman,” he said. “A character that has historically been relegated to the background
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Virginia governor apologizes for racist photo but resists growing calls to quit

By Bill Tarrant
(Reuters) - Virginia Governor Ralph Northam apologized on Friday for a photograph in his 1984 medical school yearbook showing him and another person in racist garb at a party, but said he would serve out his term even as pressure piled on from fellow Democrats for him to step down.

Northam indicated in a statement from his office he was one of the people shown in the photo, which depicted one person in blackface standing next to another in a Ku Klux Klan costume.

He did not identify which one

Bombs likely meant to scare rather than kill: experts

By Bill Tarrant
(Reuters) - A series of package bombs this week that targeted U.S. Democratic politicians, media and public figures who are unpopular with right-wing activists was probably more of a scare tactic than a murder plot, security analysts said.

Two weeks before the U.S. mid-term elections, experts differed on whether the packages were sent by one person or a group. Police were examining the devices for forensic evidence, which might yield some answers.

None of the 10 bombs exploded and there was no

Exclusive: Richardson quits Myanmar's 'whitewash' Rohingya crisis panel

By Bill Tarrant
YANGON (Reuters) - Veteran U.S. diplomat Bill Richardson has resigned from an international panel set up by Myanmar to advise on the Rohingya crisis, saying it was conducting a “whitewash” and accusing the country’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi of lacking “moral leadership”.

Richardson, a former Clinton administration cabinet member, quit as the 10-member advisory board was making its first visit to western Rakhine State, from where nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled in recent months.

“The m

A North Korea defector describes how she communicates with family still living there

By Bill Tarrant
UBUD, Indonesia (Reuters) - The girl with seven names is finding it hard these days to contact relatives in Stalinist North Korea on the underground mobile phone link defectors have used for years.

Hyeonseo Lee is also increasingly worried about her personal security since the July publication of the best-selling memoir about her escape from North Korea, "The Girl with Seven Names".

Defectors living in South Korea contact relatives in the North through Chinese mobile phones that are smuggled a
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Lonely Planet founder reprises original trip - on budget air

By Bill Tarrant
(Reuters) - Tony Wheeler famously started the Lonely Planet series of travel guides in 1973 after embarking from London in a minivan, driving through the “hippie backpacker trail” in Asia and finally arriving in Sydney, where he and his wife Maureen had 27 cents between them.

After selling the Lonely Planet enterprise for $133 million in 2007 to the BBC, Wheeler, 66, no longer needs to travel on the cheap.

Nevertheless, there he was taking 22 different budget airline flights earlier this year
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Novelist Michael Chabon readies script for 'Bob the Musical'

By Bill Tarrant
UBUD, Indonesia (Reuters) - A movie musical starring Tom Cruise could be nearing production after a decade languishing in development, the screenwriter, Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Michael Chabon, said.

“Bob the Musical”, directed by Michael Hazanavicius, (The Artist), tells the story of a man who hates musicals and then wakes up one day to find that his life and the world around him is one big extravaganza of singing and dancing.

“And everything he hates about musicals, that people sing a
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South Asia: One year on, tsunami survivors remember...and rebuild - Indonesia

By Bill Tarrant

BANDA ACEH, Dec 15 (Reuters) - One moment Sartinah Fatar is painting her lovely new traditional Acehnese house, chattering happily to her husband. The next she's in tears recalling the day the sea roared in and snatched away her mother and two children.

Remember. Rebuild. It's the slogan of the Indonesian reconstruction agency, set up after the Dec. 26 tsunami killed 231,452 people around the Indian Ocean rim, most of them in Aceh.

Sartinah and hundreds of thousands of other
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The Great Wall of Jakarta

By Bill Tarrant
JAKARTA(Reuters) - Two weeks after his narrow win in Indonesia’s presidential election in July, Joko Widodo, though still months away from taking office, jump-started an effort to save Jakarta from drowning.

Minutes of a July 25 meeting with city officials and ministers from the outgoing administration show that Widodo endorsed the most ambitious feature of a plan that had been on the drawing boards for nearly two years: a “Great Sea Wall” in the shape of Indonesia’s national symbol, the Garuda


By Bill Tarrant

Dr. Mahathir Mohamad sits at a vast desk cluttered with work, hands clasped before him and looking at his visitors with a slight smile.

Dr. M, as he is popularly known, was prime minister of Malaysia from 1981 to 2003, the first commoner to ever hold the post in a land with nine sultans. His demeanor suggests the country physician he once was, ready with a frank diagnosis -- and in his first interview with the foreign media in five years, he doles out prescriptions for what ails his nation.
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"Policy Adrift Over Rohingya, Myanmar’s Muslim Boat People," a Commentary by Bill Tarrant

By Bill Tarrant
The Rohingyas, a Muslim minority fleeing oppression and hardship in Buddhist-dominated Myanmar, have been called one of the most persecuted people on earth. But they have seldom hit the headlines — until recently, that is. More than 500 Rohingyas are feared to have drowned since early December after being towed out to sea by the Thai military and abandoned in rickety boats. The army has admitted cutting them loose, but said they had food and water and denied sabotaging the engines of the boats.
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Is Myanmar joining nuclear club with North Korean aid?

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A spate of reports that North Korea may be helping fellow pariah state Myanmar join the nuclear club has underlined concerns over Pyongyang’s proliferation activities since it renounced disarmament talks and tested a bomb.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton highlighted the issue at a regional security meeting in Thailand last month, saying she was worried about possible nuclear transfers to Myanmar -- though stopping short of saying any had taken place. Indian authori

Obama meets Myanmar PM, calls for Suu Kyi's release

By Bill Tarrant

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama called for the release of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi when he met the country’s prime minister at a meeting with other Southeast Asian leaders in Singapore on Sunday.

Obama shook hands with Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein at the meeting in Singapore’s Shangri-la hotel with the 10 leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the first ever with a U.S. president.

The United States has begun to re-engage with Sou
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