FROM Cecilia Gardner
Conflict Diamonds At least one million African workers earn pennies a day in the backbreaking effort to find diamonds, which themselves have no intrinsic value at all, but serve as symbols of love, wealth and power, and that makes for an industry worth $60 billion a year. By the time they get to a jewelry store, there's no way to identify these stones that have been used to finance brutal conflict in Africa. Bad publicity has driven the industry to reduce smuggling and try to improve the appalling conditions of diamond miners. But the new Hollywood film, Blood Diamond , is raising disturbing questions. What are the human costs? How much smuggling is still going on? How important are diamonds to the economies of countries including Sierra Leone, Botswana and South Africa?
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.
In Janesville, WI, Middle America meets the new American dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn't prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. We hear what's happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.