Portfolio: George Steinmetz

A third of the Earth's land surface is classified as desert, from the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica to the North African Sahara – and it is a subject that represents a life's passion for landscape photographer George Steinmetz. Inspired by a hitchhiking trip across North Africa in the 1970s, the American aerial artist has spent the past 15 years documenting deserts from above.

Bolivia: Dazzled by a white world

Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt flat, a landscape so bright, you've got to wear shades. Graeme Green gets an eyeful

Rewriting Wild West history – did Butch Cassidy survive

Butch Cassidy, the Wild West bandit and leader of the Wild Bunch gang, did not die in a shootout 1908 in Bolivia as popularly believed but survived and lived the rest of his days in Washington state, according to a book collector and a writer.

Portfolio: Nick Ballon

The apparent serenity of these two women, dressed in traditional Bolivian attire, offers no hint as to the scripted violence about to be unleashed.

Lidia Gueiler Tejada: Politician who became only the West's second

Many outside her native Bolivia may never have heard the name Lidia Gueiler. But women politicians such as Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin might still like to emulate her as their nation's first female president. Although it was for just eight months in 1979-80 – between two of her nation's traditional coups d'état – Gueiler became only the second female president in the western hemisphere. That was five years after Argentina's Isabel Peró* broke the masculine mould, though she was not averse to playing the grieving-widow card on the back of her late husband Juan Perón's popularity.

More headlines

Chile celebrates as first miners make greatest escape

There were few words, in the end, that Florencio Avalos could find to express the joy he felt when he finally reached the surface of the San Jose mine shortly after midnight. Just a smile as wide as the Atacama Desert as he stepped out of the Phoenix escape capsule and fell into the arms of the wife and two children that he’d last embraced almost seventy days ago.