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Volume 50, Number 3 May/June 1999

In This Issue

May/June 1999
Bangladesh Calling
Written by Louis Werner
Photographed by Kevin Bubriski

In rural Bangladesh, only one person in five has electricity, and fewer still have access to a telephone. Pioneer microcredit lender Grameen Bank has made cellular phones available to "phone ladies," whose village-based entrepreneurship brings their neighbors increased autonomy and economic opportunity.

The Dhow of Racing
Written and photographed by Jeff Harris

The lateen-rigged dhow made possible centuries of wide-ranging maritime trade from the western Mediterranean to beyond India. In recent years, weekend sailors in the United Arab Emirates have adapted their ancestors' designs into two classes of racing sailboats. But no speed logs, wind gauges or satellite locators are allowed—just wind, water and tradition.

Moonglow from Underground
Written by Tim Mackintosh-Smith

Alabaster is called qamari, or "moonstone," in Arabic, and in Yemen, for at least 1000 years, the fine, translucent, moon-colored stone has been mined, sliced and polished to serve as beautiful window glazing.

Restoring Old Aleppo
Written by William Graves
Photographed by Jamil Zarnaji

The oldest neighborhood of Syria's second-largest city is architect Adli Qudsi's birthplace, and his passion. He's mustered support for its restoration and renewal from colleagues, governments and the residents themselves.

Revolution by the Ream: A History of Paper
Written by Jonathan M. Bloom

A millennium before Chinese papermaking techniques finally reached northern Europe, paper was known along the Silk Road. By 800 it was being manufactured in Damascus; by 1000, paper had eclipsed papyrus in Egypt and established itself as an indispensable tool for commercial, legal and religious communication.

Sinai's Watchmen of the Wilderness
Written and photographed by Joseph J. Hobbs

Drawing on tribal law, Bedouins in Egypt's newest and largest protected natural area came up with parts of a plan to balance relations among themselves, the wildlife around them, and growing numbers of tourists. Now, "community guards' enforce a conservation ethic in one of Egypt's most spectacular and fragile regions.