The earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the woes of UN's peacekeeping troops in Ivory Coast and the protection of Ethiopia’s forest by Orthodox churches

This week our Observers tell us about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the UN's peacekeeping woes in the Ivory Coast, and the protection of Ethiopia’s Church forests.


Presentation: Derek Thompson. Editorial  team: Julien Pain, Lorena Galliot, Ségolène Malterre, Sarra Grira.


We begin in Sendai, northern Japan. It's a city of one million people, with a major university and around 10,000 expats. It's also the city that was closest to the massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11. Our Observer lives in the city centre. He didn't see the waves coming in, but he felt the quake - and will never forget it.

Observer: Gwénaël Le Youdec in Sendai


Now to Ivory Coast in West Africa, and the standoff between President Laurent Gbagbo and his rival, Alassane Ouattara. The United Nations has recognised Ouattara as the rightful president and has been protecting him at a hotel in Abidjan. That has made the UN's peacekeeping troops a target in the streets - for Gbagbo's supporters. We asked the UN mission about Philippe's concerns. A spokesman reiterated the UN force's neutrality in the standoff.

Observer: Philippe in Abidjan


To East Africa now... the ancient civilization of Ethiopia, whose people depended for thousands of years on their dense forests. But the country has lost at least two-thirds of its forests in the last 100 years, as the population grows. There's been one exception though - little pockets of preservation - around Ethiopia's Christian Orthodox churches.
We head to the region around Lake Tana, in the Ethiopian highlands.

Observer: Margaret Lowman, who's known as 'Canopy Meg'

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