Help! Still need subscribers for my reporting on Beacon Reader!

I hope you’re all enjoying the holiday weekend!  I just wanted to post my pitch for my new project once again since many have you have a bit of free time right now.



Here are some stories you can expect me to report on IF I can get your support to join Beacon Reader:


– Do you know the environmental records of the corporate sponsors of the United Nations’ latest climate change conference?

– Do you really know what’s going on with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive trade agreement?

– The World Trade Organization says they promote development and economic growth, but do their latest policies really help the world’s least developed markets?


Again, I won’t be able to do any of this unless I get 12 more subscribers in the next 7 days so any help is greatly appreciated!

I’ve joined Beacon Reader! Help support freelance journalists around the world!

imagesReaders, I have signed on to an innovative online platform that hopes to support and cultivate quality journalism from freelancers like myself.  You can fund the reporting you want to see.  I only have 13 days to get 24 more sponsors so your continued support of my work now in this new venture and sharing my profile link will be a big help!

You can find the details of my project here!

Another journalist from the site put it best: “For a mere $5/month subscription you’ll get an new, exclusive story from me every week on this topic and much more international news.   But that’s not all, you’ll also get access to EVERY story by Beacon’s worldwide team of accomplished freelance journalists, folks who report regularly for NYT, Time, the New Yorker, Harpers, and more. There are no ads and this isn’t a polished collective blog. It’s serious, high-quality journalism. The majority of your subscription fee goes directly to me and the rest lets Beacon provide the infrastructure and network to distribute our stories.”

While I will continue to post here and freelance for some other clients, I am eager to spend my time reporting on the Beacon platform and subscribing will be the best way to help me keep going!

Cafes, Churches, and Chilling Continental winds

On my way to covering the UN Climate Change conference in Warsaw late last year, I also made a stop in beautiful Paris.  I could wax poetic on the city on the Seine’s charm and beauty, but for now take a look at my pics from the trip on my Instagram account by clicking on the picture below.  More to be added soon!


Rest in Peace Madiba

It was November 14, 2001 and I was sitting in Row 10, Seat X in the Cole Field House at the University of Maryland.  That was Nelson Mandela’s first trip to the United States after the attacks of September 11th.   I still remember that speech.  He had accidentally skipped a page during his speech and started giggling like a school boy, asking us to kindly forgive “this old bear.”  We obliged, of course.

At 95, he has passed away and so, hopefully, will apartheid.  The UN Secretary General addressed the UN press corps minutes ago saying “he was a giant for justice” but still so down to earth.  After the Secretary General had thanked him for a lifetime of work, Mandela said “it was not just me.”

Here are some tweets I thought captured the feeling:



And on that fateful February 2,1990 when de Klerk of South Africa agreed to free the one who fought for everyone’s freedom…here is Madiba and his wife Winnie upon his release from jail February 11, 1990:

So you don’t think much about the environment….

…do you care about your personal health?  Well then, you should care about climate change too.  

As if natural disasters like tsunamis, hurricanes in unlikely places, typhoons, etc are not enough to make you think about global warming and the planet, there’s an even more personal reason now.  

It’s your body.  

There are several contributing factors to drought and floods, malnutrition, famine, and cancer – now climate change is one of them.  

My latest reporting from Warsaw and COP19 (yes, I’m still here!) for UN Dispatch

Warsaw hosts the climate change conference!

As some of you know, I have been reporting from sunny, tropical Warsaw this month! It’s the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change/19th Conference of the Parties.

The irony of not having seen much sun at a climate change conference is not lost on me or the many layers of clothing and winter gear I have donned in the past week.

These kinds of events are always a little overwhelming as a relatively new journalist. A tumultuous sea of acronyms and jargon to swim through, a big picture to maintain, and deadlines to meet have kept me quite busy and sometimes bleary-eyed. What makes it more challenging is that I normally don’t write about climate change or environmental issues.  I figured throwing myself into a COP is the best place to learn though!  It’s like a crash course in bureaucracy and the science of climate change with several hundred events taking place these ten days.

I’ve been very lucky to get an opportunity to report from Warsaw for the lovely team at UN Dispatch, a site I highly recommend you check out for your international/UN news and opinion fix.  They are also on Twitter @UNDispatchDSC_0472  

Here’s a roundup of my pieces that have been posted thus far:

In the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan and the devastation caused by it, the Philippines’ Representative Naderev ‘Yeb’ Sano, declared a hunger strike until negotiations made real progress.  That was almost a week ago today!

Australia is a controversial player in this year’s climate change negotiations because of new Prime Minister Abbott and his administration’s stance on all issues environmental.  

As with any development issue, climate change is no different when it comes to having funding issues.  Developing countries feel they unfairly bear the burden of the effects of climate change that is caused largely by developed countries.  Much of the negotiations focus on who pays for what, how much they should pay, and where the money will actually go.

I’ll post more pictures, videos, and stories in the coming days about the conference and my personal travels!

I’m back!

After a long hiatus, I have several upcoming posts planned to update you on my travels, writing, and reporting! Please stay tuned…

Boston Marathon blasts

By now you have heard many of the details of the tragic and unexplainable bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Inspiring tales of human spirit, bravery, and resilience have been coming out of Boston – like that of Carlos Arredondo.

Heartbreaking tales abound as well as the victim’s names were released this morning, among them 8 year old Martin Richard, who was just there to see his dad finish the race.

And then there is the story of the Saudi student who was a spectator at the Marathon.  Many may disagree after reading the piece, but his treatment was not of the heroic tales coming out of Bean Town.  Although it points to an understandable fear and panic in many respects, it also shows us how far we really have to go in this world, just how much we have to grow as a society.

I ask those that think the young Saudi’s treatment was justified, even fair, what if that was your son, brother, relative, friend?  What if he was a kid ‘barely out his teens,’ studying in a land where is a minority, where there are preconceived notions about Americans?  What if he was the one hurt in the blast, bleeding, scared, and running?  Would you have wanted him to be helped up to the hospital or tackled to the ground?

“Was it just the way he looked, or did he, in the chaos, maybe call for God with a name that someone found strange?”

I know from personal experience there are many non-Muslim South Asians who think, ‘well, obviously we are different.  That would never happen to one of us. Hindus are not…the same’  Overwhelming evidence of extremism in the subcontinent aside, what makes you think ‘Allah’ sounds any more ‘strange’ in that chaos than ‘Rama,’ ‘Narayana,’ ‘Bhagvan,’ or any of the other myriad of names for the higher being shouted to the sky in times of fear?

I’m not pointing that out as a prediction or incitement, I’m genuinely asking.  Isn’t it just better that we all work at not making ‘strange’ and ‘scary’ the same?

Syrian refugees and the food crisis

From the United Nations World Food Programme website:



Poll! Let me know what you think!

Please take 30 seconds to fill out my one-question survey!  I would love to hear what people think about reading a news aggregation site about South Asia (similar to  If you have any further thoughts, comments, suggestions, feel free to leave a comment or email me at restlessrani at

Would you read a news aggregation site about South Asia?