LONDON — Walking around her design studio in London’s elegant Chelsea neighborhood, Jennifer Manners pulled out a box stocked full of all different-colored yarns, from deep blues to warm grays and spirited reds. “It’s like a doctor’s kit bag,” she said jokingly, opening up one of the trays filled with a palette of green to point out a few specific yarns. “Greens can be tricky. You would be surprised how many times we debate over which two of these colors is better.”

Ms. Manners, who moved into her studio a few months ago, uses the space for client meetings and as a place to display her custom carpets, which she designs and then has handmade in India and Nepal. She started her company, which bears her name, only a few years ago, and already has an upscale client base spread across London as well as a boutique hotel in Hampshire that will be using her carpets throughout the property. Read more


NYAUNG SHWE, MYANMAR — Across the marshes and open waters of Inle Lake, in Myanmar’s Shan State, motorboats and traditional canoes carry monks to temples and villagers to market, while fishermen with spherical wooden nets pull fish from the murky waters. Lately, another sight has also appeared — boatloads of tourists, cameras readied for the perfect shot of a rapidly disappearing traditional way of life.

Tourism in Myanmar, formerly Burma, is readying for takeoff, with new hotels, airports and restaurants under construction all over the country. Yet development in places like Inle Lake risks being held back by a major constraint: Decades of isolation and repression under the former military junta have left a shortfall in higher education and vocational training in essential skills, not least a working knowledge of foreign languages. Read more


BELGRADE, Serbia — Around Belgrade, they are jokingly referred to as Megatrendusas — a take on the Serbian word “namigusa,” meaning flirty and a dig at the alleged frivolity of some of the more fashion-conscious female students attending the private Megatrend University, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year.

Controversies have swirled for years around Megatrend, which offers degrees in everything from media to economics and has campuses across Serbia.

When Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the late Libyan leader, was granted an honorary doctorate in 2007, Srbijanka Turajlic — the then deputy minister for higher education — was quoted as saying, “This is not something this university should be proud of.” Read more


LODZ, Poland — Andac Karabeyoglu, a third-year student at the Lodz Film School, sat in a campus cafe on a recent day and explained why she had come all the way from her home in Ankara to study in Poland.

Part of the draw, she said, was that Lodz was one of the few film schools left in the world where students still learn on 35-millimeter and 16-millimeter film; but another attraction was the school’s unique way of teaching. Read more


NAIROBI, Kenya — The Dadaab refugee camps in northern Kenya sit in a bleak landscape; remote, dusty and arid, they are sun-scorched by day and whipped by fierce dust storms that blow up seemingly out of nowhere.

The first three camps were opened in the early 1990s, when the civil war in Somalia brought thousands streaming across the border. Two more camps have since mushroomed out of the desert. In total they are home to about 500,000 people, making them the largest refugee complex in the world.

Proximity to Somalia makes Dadaab a sometimes dangerous place. Several aid workers have been kidnapped there in recent years, including two seized in 2011 who were freed only this summer. One incident ended last year in a shoot-out between kidnappers and Kenyan soldiers. Read more