Jason Beaubien

Jason Beaubien is NPR's Global Health and Development Correspondent on the Science Desk.

In this role, he reports on a range of health issues across the world. He's covered mass circumcision drives in Kenya, abortion in El Salvador, poisonous gold mines in Nigeria, drug-resistant malaria in Myanmar and tuberculosis in Tajikistan. He was part of a team of reporters at NPR that won a Peabody Award in 2015 for their extensive coverage of the West Africa Ebola outbreak. His current beat also examines development issues including why Niger has the highest birth rate in the world, can private schools serve some of the poorest kids on the planet and the links between obesity and economic growth.

Prior to becoming the Global Health and Development Correspondent in 2012, Beaubien spent four years based in Mexico City covering Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. In that role, Beaubien filed stories on politics in Cuba, the 2010 Haitian earthquake, the FMLN victory in El Salvador, the world's richest man and Mexico's brutal drug war.

For his first multi-part series as the Mexico City correspondent, Beaubien drove the length of the U.S./Mexico border making a point to touch his toes in both oceans. The stories chronicled the economic, social and political changes along the violent frontier.

In 2002, Beaubien joined NPR after volunteering to cover a coup attempt in the Ivory Coast. Over the next four years, Beaubien worked as a foreign correspondent in sub-Saharan Africa, visiting 27 countries on the continent. His reporting ranged from poverty on the world's poorest continent, the HIV in the epicenter of the epidemic, and the all-night a cappella contests in South Africa, to Afro-pop stars in Nigeria and a trial of white mercenaries in Equatorial Guinea.

During this time, he covered the famines and wars of Africa, as well as the inspiring preachers and Nobel laureates. Beaubien was one of the first journalists to report on the huge exodus of people out of Sudan's Darfur region into Chad, as villagers fled some of the initial attacks by the Janjawid. He reported extensively on the steady deterioration of Zimbabwe and still has a collection of worthless Zimbabwean currency.

In 2006, Beaubien was awarded a Knight-Wallace fellowship at the University of Michigan to study the relationship between the developed and the developing world.

Beaubien grew up in Maine, started his radio career as an intern at NPR Member Station KQED in San Francisco and worked at WBUR in Boston before joining NPR.

Yes, the drug war has created an image problem. But Mexico has launched an aggressive publicity blitz to try to attract more tourists, and it seems to be succeeding.

Even President Felipe Calderon is involved in the full court press to tout the wonders, delicacies and marvels of Mexico to potential visitors.

On the PBS program The Royal Tour of Mexico, Calderon serves as the on-camera guide for TV host Peter Greenberg. The president leads a zip-line tour across a rain forest, rappels into a cave, climbs Mayan ruins and snorkels along a coral reef.

In the coastal Mexican city of Acapulco, teachers are out on strike — not over wages, working conditions or pensions, but because of crime.

Teachers say they're being extorted, kidnapped and intimidated by local gangs and they're refusing to return to their classrooms until the government does something to protect them. Over the last two years, drug cartels fighting for control of Acapulco have terrorized the once-popular tourist resort.

In Tripoli, residents are painting the town red, green and black, the new colors of the Libyan revolution.

Under Moammar Gadhafi, the regime strictly controlled the images that were allowed in public. Storefronts had to be painted green. English was banned on signs. Anti-regime graffiti was quickly painted over and could be met with a harsh response.

The fall of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi has brought about a dramatic change on the radio dial in Tripoli, the Libyan capital.

In the past, Libyans could only tune in to the government stations. Foreign broadcast signals were blocked. And what the state-run stations offered was tightly controlled and laden with pro-Gadhafi propaganda.

Now, the airwaves that used to only carry four state-run stations — broadcasting only in Libyan Arabic as a mouthpiece for the Gadhafi regime — are filled with broadcasts from across the Mediterranean and neighboring Tunisia.

In Libya, there's growing concern over the vast arsenals of weapons that have flooded on to the streets since Moammar Gadhafi's ouster. Warehouses of surface-to-air missiles, mortars and anti-tank mines have been looted.

Soon after the rebels overran the headquarters of Gadhafi's much feared Khamis Brigade on the south side of Tripoli, rebels and ordinary citizens scavenged through a bombed-out warehouse on the base.



And let's turn now to Libya, where the capital Tripoli is rapidly rebounding from the fighting that ousted Moammar Gadhafi from power. Less than three weeks after the rebels launched their assault on the city, shops are re-opening, the water and electricity are back on, and garbage is being picked up. Tripoli's new city officials are also working to re-establish security. NPR's Jason Beaubien is in the city and sent us this report.

Rebels in Libya have encircled the pro-Gadhafi stronghold of Bani Walid and are threatening to attack the town. Bani Walid is one of only a handful of towns still controlled by Gadhafi forces.

Rebel forces in Libya have surrounded the town of Bani Walid, southeast of the capital Tripoli. The rebels are still hoping to negotiate a peaceful takeover of the town, a stronghold of embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi, and avoid further civilian casualties. But Gadhafi loyalists are refusing to surrender.

Last week, Matthew VanDyke, a freelance journalist and travel writer from Baltimore, went from solitary confinement in one of Moammar Gadhafi's most notorios prisons to one of Tripoli's most luxurious hotels.

VanDyke acknowledges that in early March, shortly after the uprising against Gadhafi began, he arrived in Libya in order to help the rebels.

"I was here to do whatever I could to help the revolution and I'll leave it at that," said VanDyke, who is now a guest at the Corinthia Hotel in the Libyan capital.

Libya's Transitional National Council is calling on police to return to the streets of Tripoli. The police fled as rebels took control of the capital. Despite being associated with Moammar Gadhafi's regime, and no money to pay them, some police are returning to work.

Though rebels have consolidated control over Tripoli, life in the Libyan capital grows more difficult by the day. Residents scramble just to get basic supplies, such as food and water.

The city's tap water normally comes from what Moammar Gadhafi touted as the "Eighth Wonder of the World," the Great Man-Made River. The system channels water from deep wells in the desert to Tripoli and other parts of Western Libya.

Over the last four years of the Mexican drug war, the country's northern border has become one of the most violent parts of the country. Yet recently that same part of Mexico has been booming economically.

The duty-free maquiladora assembly plants along the border are rapidly adding jobs, and exports to the United States are reaching record levels.