Articles by John Daniszewski



Britian Is Baffled by Mysterious Musician

  • 19 May 05
  • NEW YORK TIMES SERVICE
The 6-foot stranger was found wandering in a rainstorm on the Isle of Sheppey in a dark business suit and tie.

Hussein Tape Urges Resistance

  • 18 November 03
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
An audiotape purportedly made by Saddam Hussein and aired Sunday by an Arab satellite channel urged Iraqis to step up an insurgency against U.S.-led coalition forces and predicted that the fugitive former dictator would return to power.

Nimrud Treasures Found in Bank

  • 09 June 03
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
U.S. occupation authorities announced the recovery Saturday of most of the items feared looted from the National Museum here, after museum officials revealed where the artifacts had been taken for safekeeping.

U.S. to Select Iraq's Interim Leadership

  • 03 June 03
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
In a major shift, U.S.-led occupation authorities have abandoned the idea of letting a national conference of Iraqis select an interim government, instead opting for a plan that gives the United States a direct role in choosing the country's leaders.

Shiites Getting a Chance at Power

  • 22 April 03
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
After being suppressed for 35 years by Hussein's Baath Party, the Shiite branch of Islam are moving into the power vacuum left by the collapse of Iraq's secular government.

Key Trio Doubt Case For War Against Iraq

  • 25 December 02
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
Three key members of the UN Security Council -- Russia, France and China -- say they are not yet convinced that an Iraqi declaration this month failed to fully disclose any weapons of mass destruction, an indication that the United States might face an uphill battle building the case for war against Baghdad.

Hanging on the Edge of HIV Epidemic

  • 13 September 02
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
Yury took a job chauffeuring prostitutes. He becomes close to one, has an affair with her, and one evening while drunk accepts her challenge to shoot up ""just once.""

Hanging With Endangered Siberian Cranes

  • 06 September 02
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
Angelo d'Arrigo is embarking on one of the most ambitious -- and unusual -- wildlife rescue plans ever devised in the hope of saving the western Siberian crane from extinction.

Catholics Locked Out of Moscow Church

  • 05 July 02
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
The imposing pale yellow building with the Soviet stars on its cornices is officially known as the Coal Industry Machine Building Design and Research Institute Joint Stock Co.

Sounding Out Russia on Hussein

  • 23 May 02
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
Can the United States get Russia on board for a war against Iraq if UN sanctions fail to drive President Saddam Hussein from power?

On the Trail of Elusive Viktor Bout

  • 20 May 02
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
The files on Viktor Bout in government agencies around the world brim with accounts of how he hunted game with rebel leaders, threw beer parties on jungle landing strips and consorted with dictators to build his business empire.

Art of Ice Sculpting Comes in From the Cold

  • 26 February 02
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
As winter's dim sun rose over the northern capital's golden towers and palaces, tens of thousands of people gathered on the banks of the half-frozen Neva River, braving the chilly wind whipping in from the Gulf of Finland.

Calls From a Garbage Truck Go Dead

  • 28 January 02
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
The young man was intoxicated but on his feet when he left a billiards hall early Jan. 9. But he later awoke to find himself tumbling inside a moving garbage truck, dodging massive blades slowly grinding collected refuse into pulp.

One of Last Dissidents Sees Reason for Hope

  • 10 September 01
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
PERM, Ural Mountains -- Of the millions of people suppressed by Soviet power since 1917, dissident writer Lev Timofeyev was among the last. Taken from his home a few days after Mikhail Gorbachev assumed the helm of the Communist Party in 1985, the critic of Soviet economics was tried, convicted and eventually transported to the infamous Perm 36, a Ural Mountains labor colony for political prisoners. He traveled in a rail car that was packed so tightly he was infested with huge body lice by the time he arrived. The camp commandant vowed to turn him into a ""Soviet man,"" and he punished Timofeyev severely when he resisted. Within two years, however, as perestroika stirred the country, Timofeyev was freed and plunged into an unimaginable new world of liberty and political activism. In a few short years, the Soviet Union itself was dead. A decade later, many Russians are ambivalent about the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Changing Places on The Chinese Border

  • 07 September 01
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
BLAGOVESHCHENSK, Far East -- Xu Yan remembers what she felt when she first entered the Far East of Russia from her native China 10 years ago and saw the empty green land stretching forth in every direction. ""I was amazed -- such a waste,"" she recounted recently. ""I thought: ?This land is good, but no one cultivates it. How can you possibly live on the land and not work it?'"" At the time, Russia and China were just opening up to each other again after having fought a series of border skirmishes in the 1960s and 1970s. Xu, who had studied Russian, was coming to Russia as part of a delegation to do business. But that first impression of space and waste never left her. Today, the 39-year-old Chinese citizen -- who now calls herself Natalya -- can be found in her leased field, directing a brigade of Russian and Chinese farm workers, planting watermelons, cabbages and tomatoes in the rich black soil of Russia.

Destitute, Desperate Nation Deserts Itself

  • 14 May 01
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
CHARENTSAVAN, Armenia Ч Masis Kocharian is a typical resident of this town, which is to say that he is tired, poor and yearning to be gone. He is so desperate to get away Ч like half of the town before him Ч that given the chance he will offer you his two-room apartment in a workers dormitory and all the furnishings. All he asks for in return is bus fare to Russia and a few dollars to get settled there Ч maybe $250 at most. ""And I promise,"" he adds, ""you will never see me again."" To Armenian patriots, Kocharian is an all too common example of a national dream gone sour. For centuries, Armenians were a people without a state, ruled over by Turks, Persians, Mongols and Russians. In World War I Ч their blackest hour Ч they were rounded up, starved, raped and murdered in a genocide that foreshadowed the worst crimes of the century.

Grozny Digs for Oil in Backyards, Basements

  • 13 March 01
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
GROZNY Ч Oil-stained Movsar Muzayev looks his visitors over closely and then gestures for them to follow him to a trash heap at the back of his house, overlooking the smoke-gray Sunzha River. He kicks aside a few garbage bags and lifts a scrap of sheet metal to reveal, unexpectedly, a cylindrical steel boiler about the size of a small car buried in the riverbank. From it protrudes a Rube Goldberg agglomeration of pipes and tubes. Beneath the tank burns a carefully tended fire. Next, he points to a hose that emerges from the contraption, disappears into the river and reemerges on the riverbank, where it runs into a steel drum a few meters away. A clear, bluish liquid is dripping from the hose: gasoline. Desperation is the mother of invention in Grozny, a place where former taxi drivers, mechanics and bricklayers like Muzayev are turning themselves into amateur petroleum engineers.

Former FSB Chief Downplays Spy Mania

  • 05 March 01
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
There's one espionage suspect on trial, a U.S. Fulbright scholar being held on drug charges after being branded a spy-in-training, and the United States is accusing Russia of buying surveillance secrets from a high-level FBI agent. Into this ferment, Russia's former spymaster emerged Friday from semi-retirement to say that all the ""spy mania"" is overblown. In a break with Moscow rules, former Federal Security Service chief Nikolai Kovalyov presented the closest thing yet to an official response from Russia's espionage establishment to the arrest of FBI agent Robert Philip Hanssen in the United States last month and the recent rash of spy-vs.-spy stories. He argued that Russian spy-catchers have not returned to a Cold War footing and have been ""totally restrained and balanced'' in their pursuit of Western spies on Russian soil. Kovalyov, who served as FSB director under former President Boris Yeltsin, dismissed the importance of any secrets that his agency might have obtained from Hanssen.

Gluck Tells of His Days in Captivity

  • 28 February 01
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
Confined to a dark, chilly basement room, offered a nighttime trip to the latrine only every few days, forced to endure the nearby sounds of artillery with no hope of fleeing, American humanitarian worker Kenneth Gluck never was certain he would emerge alive. The official of M?decins sans Fronti?res, or Doctors Without Borders, said he discovered something about himself during his 27 days as a captive in January and February: ""You learn how scared you can actually get."" But he vowed during an interview with the Los Angeles Times on Monday that the experience of being kidnapped at gunpoint would not deter him or his Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization from helping endangered people in Chechnya and other ignored corners of the globe. ""I think it is important for people to know what humanitarian action is,"" said Gluck, 39, speaking from New York in one of the first interviews he has granted to a newspaper since his Feb. 5 release.

Scavengers in Rubble and Ruins

  • 16 February 01
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
GROZNY Ч Walk through the soot-covered entryway and up the dank stairwell, negotiate the loose rubble, pass anti-war graffiti scratched into the cinder blocks and turn a corner where a tiny flickering gas flame is the only light. Pound on the door and hear the rustle of fear inside. When it opens, carefully step across the 50-centimeter board blocking the sill, a barrier against the rats. You have reached the home of Zara Zukhairayeva and her children, the last two-legged tenants in their bombed-out, 14-story apartment building in the center of this ruined city. Zukhairayeva once taught Russian literature and lived in a clean, warm apartment with her husband, a baker. Looking at her thin, begrimed face, it is hard to see that far back. Now she is a denizen of one of the strangest, saddest, most tortured places on the planet: Grozny.

Unemployed Woman Wins $1M

  • 02 February 01
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
A few weeks ago, she was an unemployed factory worker scraping by with her equally jobless husband and two sons in a three-room apartment in the rump end of the country. Today, she might well be the wealthiest woman in all of the republic of Bashkortostan. And, unlike many seriously rich New Russians, Nadezhda Mukhametzyanova can say she came by her money honestly. Mukhametzyanova was presented to the public Wednesday as the winner of the first television lottery prize in Russia to exceed $1 million. To be precise, her jackpot totaled 29,814,000 rubles, the equivalent of about $1,050,000. Although a million dollars may not mean so much in some parts of the world, it remains a very tidy sum in the regional capital, Ufa. Under tax law governing gambling winnings, the state will claim 35 percent of her take. Mukhametzyanova, a small 47-year-old with hennaed hair, was still somewhat in a daze when she faced the cameras in Moscow. ""I think that I still have not fathomed the whole thing yet,"" she said.

Maskhadov Convinced of Success

  • 24 January 01
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
GROZNY Ч Since he was chased out of Grozny by Russian artillery a year ago, Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov has been a hunted man, hiding out in the southern mountains of his rebellious republic. To Moscow, which deposed his government and imposed federal control over most of Chechnya, he is a bandit and a terrorist. But tens of thousands of troops have been unable to extinguish his much smaller band of determined fighters. And Maskhadov, a former Soviet military officer who was elected president in 1997, remains defiant. In a rare communication to a Western newspaper from his mountain hide-out, Maskhadov Ч responding on audiotape to written questions from the Los Angeles Times Ч predicted this month that his forces will deal Moscow a humiliating defeat in Chechnya. Saying his loyalists were fighting with ""extreme hatred"" against ""barbarism,"" Maskhadov asserted that federal forces will suffer the same fate in Chechnya as the Soviet Red Army did in Afghanistan more than a decade ago.

Ex-Klansman Finds an Audience

  • 10 January 01
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
Lost track of David Duke, who first made a name for himself in the 1970s as the supposed fresh, modern face of the Ku Klux Klan? If so, his latest opus can be found here in Moscow, on sale at the State Duma. For the past two years, the man who promised to move the Klan out of the cow pasture and into the hotel meeting room has been spending more and more time in a rented Moscow apartment, building bridges to local right-wing nationalists. He has signed autographs at the Russian Writers Union and met with members of parliament, including retired General Albert Makashov, who is known for his public anti-Semitic remarks. And the preface to Duke's book was written by one of Boris Yeltsin's former ministers. Since last month, bookstalls operating next to the cafeteria in the Duma have been selling Duke's first book in Russian: ""The Jewish Question Through the Eyes of an American.

U.S. Sociologist Held For Defaming Egypt

One Out of Every 180 Kosovars Died

Zaire Dictator Mobutu Dies in Exile

Religious Zeal Delays Israeli Victim's Burial

Light in Algeria's Tunnel of Strife

Saudi Law Falls Under Scrutiny

Israel Teen Club Idolizes Rabin Assassin