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Cover for September 2009 - Issue 425

September 2009's Issue

Do you know what apples, almonds, broccoli, cashews, garlic, mangoes, peaches, raspberries and tea have in common? Give up? They all depend on bees to help with their sexual reproduction.

In fact, did you know that every third bite of food that you consume depends on our buzzing buddies, the bees? The busy little gals (the workers are unfertilized females) do a lot for us by pollinating plants and flowers worldwide.

Unfortunately, they’re dying by the millions and no-one knows why. It’s safe to say our world won’t be the same without them.

‘No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more… people’ is a quote often attributed to Albert Einstein, though there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that he actually said it. Not that it matters. The attribution is less important than the content.

This issue examines the mystery of the disappearing bees.

Every month, we put up a selection of articles from the magazine. To enjoy the complete magazine, subscribe and receive three free issues and a world map. Or buy a digital subscription which gives you unlimited access to all magazines since 2007 and for a year after purchase on your computer or mobile device, in their original full-colour design.

Featured in issue 425

Cage dinners

Returning to Britain was the start of a difficult new journey for the detainees held without charge at Guantánamo. They meet every six months at a London restaurant to swap anecdotes and shake off memories of imprisonment. Oliver Shah reports.

Norman Borlaug: another subjective obituary

Called the ‘Father of the Green Revolution’, Norman Borlaug died on 12 September. Paul H Johnson argues that the glowing obituaries are only telling half the tale.

Interview with Reverend Billy

Reverend Billy is a bleached-blond dog-collar-wearing cross between Elvis and a televangelist; he’s also a candidate for the New York Mayoral elections this November. NItalks to him about his hopes, fears and crazily eccentric dreams.

Big Bad World 425 - Mass suicide

Mass suicide the CO2 way in Polyp’s cartoon.

Wealth in abundance

Make do and mend’ is a time-honoured Egyptian talent, discovers Maria Golia.

Boon or burden?

Some call it ‘live aid’. Some call it ‘dead aid’. The debate is raging. Vanessa Baird and Jonathan Glennie tell the story so far…

Three Miles North of Molkom

At a new age festival in Sweden, a group of people who’ve never met before explore tree-hugging, sweat lodges, shamanism, tantric sex.

Looting of a small planet

It won’t be easy but Philip Chandler argues that beekeepers themselves need to lead a revolution in sustainability.


The top tourist destination in Niger until the late 1980s, the city of Agadez – located in the dead centre of the country – is today no more than a shadow of its former self.

A stressed world

Extinction is forever. Can we stop the slide in bio-diversity?

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Why children work

Jeremy Seabrook visits Bangladesh to better understand the roots of child labour.

Backyard beehives

A walk on the wild side with Hadani Ditmars.

Also worth a mention...

CDs that didn’t quite make a full review, but are still worthy of a mention.

Why are they dying?

Wayne Ellwood investigates the case of the missing bees.


It takes a singular talent to make a book of 1,000 pages that is as hard to put down as it is to pick up. Despite its size, 2666 retains the agility of a thriller.

The Rough Guide to Afrobeat Revival

Starting where founding father of afrobeat Fela Kuti left off, this album features energetic tracks of sweaty inventiveness.

Interview with Mike Bonanno

Mike Bonanno is a cultural activist and one half of the Yes Men. Five years ago he and sidekick Andy Bichlbaum were invited on to BBC World News pretending to represent Dow Chemicals, whose environmental legacy included the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster.

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For all its ancient antecedents, Siwan is a very modern album and a joyous meditation for that.

Best of the web -

The editor’s picks from the NI website

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10 ways to help save the bees!

Illustrated by Scott Ritchie.

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A graphic adaptation of the book by Studs Terkel by Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle.

Carbon cowboys

No international agreement exists on reducing emissions from forests, but that hasn’t stopped companies attempting to profit from it

Goodbye to Guy

Guy Stringer, director of Oxfam, chair of Devopress who initially published New Internationalist magazine in 1974.

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Out in the open

Landmark ruling in India delights activists

The canvas revolution

Climate camps around the world.

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Honey is life

Gathering wild honey is an age-old tradition in South India. Mari Marcel Thekaekara and her husband Stan see how it’s done.

The Bees' Knees - The Facts

Facts and figures on bees, honey & the food connection.

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Making me crazy

The treatment of Afghans with mental illness is only adding to their trauma.

Jungle orphans

Nick Harvey reports on the position of the Hmong – both inside Laos and the bleak refugee camps of Thailand.

Everything is a world market

Charlie Parker operates Charlie Bee Honey near Niagara Falls, Ontario. He reflects on his 50 years as a beekeeper.

Why Pakistan's Taliban win as they lose

Pakistan’s army offensive has wrongfooted the Taliban. But the larger war of ideas has yet to be won. Pervez Hoodbhoy explains.

Summing up...

Vanessa Baird draws a few conclusions.

Sin Nombre

A road movie cum Western. Or, rather, it’s a railroad movie and the ‘West’ - where innumerable migrants are headed on railroad wagons - is more accurately the ‘North’, the US.

The case for real aid

Jonathan Glennie takes on both the aid optimists and the pessimists.

Cover of the Three decades of change in an African village of New Internationalist

On Newsstands

Three decades of change in an African village

In the January-February 2017 issue of New Internationalist Chris Brazier completes a unique journalistic project by returning to the village in Burkina Faso, in west Africa, that he first visited in 1985 while making a film.

He visited in 1995 and 2005 to report on changes in the lives of individuals and on the progress of development in the community. The previous magazines have offered an intriguing insight into the lives of people battling against poverty and have reported on substantial positive changes in the life of the community – from the opening of a health centre and a primary school in the village to the first appearance of mobile phones.

Have the past 11 years of change brought further progress? And are the individuals that we have tracked over the three decades still healthy and happy?


Online now

The coming war on China

The coming war on China: A major US military build-up – including nuclear weapons – is underway in Asia and the Pacific with the purpose of confronting China. This is provocative and dangerous, argues John Pilger in his special report. Tax avoidance: An in-depth and global look at how corporations and rich individuals are looting the public purse – and why governments are allowing them to get away with it. Edited by Josh Eisen and Richard Swift.

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– Emma Thompson –

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