When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.



Swamped By Toxic Seaweed, The French Antilles' Cry For Help

Since 2011, the Caribbean islands have been attacked by rafts of algae which give off a pungent odor as they decompose.

PETIT-BOURG — First, a stench catches you even before you can see the shoreline. Then a tide of red algae comes, which pours onto beaches, rocks, the mangrove. Coming from the deep and carried by marine currents, this algae is known as sargassum.

"This is no longer an emergency, it is a calamity," said the Minister of Ecological Transition and Solidarity, Nicolas Hulot, on his arrival in Petit-Bourg, Guadeloupe, where a hundred protesters from the local anti-sargassum collective were waiting. He was accompanied by the Minister of Deep Seas, Annick Girardin.

Watch VideoShow less

My Kind Of Tree

This big plant we came across in Guadeloupe is nicknamed "traveller's tree," supposedly because its sheaths can hold rainwater. But the murky and foul-smelling water this one held made me glad I never was that thirsty.

Endangered Symbol

On the Saintes archipelago in the Lesser Antilles live the green iguana (which appears on the coat of arms of the Terre-de-Haut municipality) and the local Iguana delicatissima. Everything was going just fine until the two started to mingle, giving birth to a hybrid iguana threatening both species.


No one knows why the people of Morne-à-l'Eau in Guadeloupe have chosen to bury their dead in these checkered black-and-white tombs — perhaps because both black and white are colors of mourning in different parts of the world? Anyway, the famous cemetery's design naturally brought me back to my chess-playing days.

Martine Valo

How Massive Canal Projects Threaten The Caribbean

With the Panama Canal set to expand and Nicaragua planning its own huge canal, the Caribbean is bracing for big shifts in shipping traffic. On the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, hard questions from both fishermen and environmentalists.

POINTE-A-PITRE— It's a construction site unprecedented in scale for Guadeloupe, the French island in the Caribbean. The dredging boats arrived in late February and are now working 24/7 on the Jarry site in the bay of Pointe-à-Pitre. If all goes well, the island will have a mega-terminal for containers in early 2016. That will require increasing the depth of port waters from 11.5 to 16 meters, which in turn means extracting seven million cubic meters of sediments from the seabed.

Guadeloupe seems to have succumbed to an imperious construction fever sweeping the entire Caribean region. In Jamaica, in Cuba, everywhere, there is digging and upsizing of discharge platforms designed to be ready when the new locks in the Panama canal become operational in 2016. These will allow the biggest container ships to sail through, meaning ships that can carry 16,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) of cargo, or 16,000 boxes measuring 38.5 cubic meters.

Watch VideoShow less