In countries where many are performing surgery without any formal training, a Christian organization is educating surgeons who stay around despite little pay or prestige- sometimes despite real danger.
See more. [Images: Brian Till]
When an eight-month-old baby elephant fell into a well, it was up to a team of conservationists at Amboseli Trust for Elephants to figure out a way to get her out. They captured the rescue operation on video and the story has gone viral, thanks to a beautifully happy ending and rather hilarious commentary from off camera: “So this is Zombe’s calf, who we’re all delighted is so big and fat and healthy until we have to pull her out of a hole!” The nonprofit works to protect and study elephants in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park and they have a fantastic YouTube channel documenting their work.
Protests against the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims have erupted in cities from Morocco to Somalia and Pakistan to Indonesia, an agglomeration of otherwise disparate societies that we sometimes refer to as “the Muslim world.” That phrase appears today in headlines at, for example, CBS News, the U.K. Telegraph, Radio Free Europe, and many others. […]
But, looking into the severity and frequency of the protests, their occurrence doesn’t seem to correlate as directly with the presence of Muslims as the phrase “protests erupt across the Muslim world” might lead you to believe. Even if that’s generally true, we might learn a bit more by looking also at who is protesting violently and who isn’t.
In a map above, I’ve charted the violent protests in red and the protests that did not produce violence in yellow. It’s an imperfect distinction; I’ve counted the stone-throwers in Jerusalem as a violent protest but the flag-burners in Lahore as non-violent. But it gives you a somewhat more nuanced view into who is expressing anger and how they’re doing it than to just say that the “Muslim world” is protesting. To help show what “Muslim world” means, I’ve used a map (via Wikimedia) that shows countries by their share of the world Muslim population. The darker blue a country, the more Muslim individuals live there.
Read more. [Image: Wikimedia/The Atlantic]
Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, will come to a close this weekend with the observation of a fast called Eid al-Fitr. Throughout this ninth month on the Islamic calendar, devout Muslims must abstain from food, drink, and sex from dawn until sunset. The fast, one of the five pillars of Islam, is seen as a time for spiritual reflection, prayers, and charity. After sunset, Muslims traditionally break the fast by eating three dates, performing the Maghrib prayer, and sitting down to Iftar, the main evening meal, where communities and families gather together.
Gathered here are images of Muslims around the world observing Ramadan this year.
See more. [Images: Reuters/Esam Al-Fetori, Reuters/Beawiharta, Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images, Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar, Reuters/Hassan Ali]
“Near the city of Morondava, on the West coast of Madagascar lies an ancient forest of Baobab trees. Unique to Madagascar, the endemic species is sacred to the Malagasy people, and rightly so. Walking amongst these giants is like nothing else on this planet. Some of the trees here are over a thousand years old. It is a spiritual place, almost magical.”
[Image: Ken Thorne/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest]
A new law in Ethiopia criminalizes the use of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services such as Skype or Google Talk, the latest in this East African country’s increasingly tough Internet restrictions. Getting caught can carry a prison term of up to 15 years, the severity of which is perhaps meant in part to deter Ethiopian web users from trying to simply get around the ban, for example with proxy servers.
Read more. [Image: AP]
Getting textbooks into classrooms can be expensive and challenging anywhere, all the more so in rural sub-Saharan Africa — where those textbooks are in direly short supply. In five African schools a non-profit organization called Worldreader is piloting a high-tech solution: a Kindle for every student. Though the initial cost is higher than a set of textbooks, it’s much easier to add new textbooks and offer a huge variety of content.
Worldreader has already distributed a thousand Kindles to schoolkids in Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana, each already stocked with hundreds of e-books: everything from storybooks and “Easy English Learning for Junior High School” to Crime and Punishment. They’ve particularly worked to make books by local authors available, by establishing publishing partnerships with Ghanaian and Kenyan publishers.
But there’s some irony in the fact that the top item on the list of Worldreader books is a short story called “E is for E-Waste.” School children didn’t just get to read about e-waste, they got an unanticipated firsthand education in the delicate lifecycle of electronics. Over the course of the pilot study in Ghana, 40.5 percent of the Kindles broke. In their report (pdf) Worldreader called this breakage rate “unexpectedly high”; Andrew Webster of The Verge called it ”a surprisingly large amount.” […]
A broken Kindle is disappointing, yes. Expensive, yes. But unexpected? How could it be?
Read more. [Image: Worldreader]
We don’t know much about Maria. A photographer named Marcus Bleasdale met her in the Democratic Republic of Congo in August of 2003. She was breastfeeding one of her three children, resting the infant’s head on her good arm. Her other arm ends at the elbow, where it’s capped by a fresh cast that reads “31/8,” probably meaning that it can be removed on August 31. Her older son is also in the frame, bandages dangling from his scalp.
Maria told the photorapher that she lost the limb defending her children from one of the militant groups then terrorizing Ituri province, her home. Soldiers hacked it off at the elbow and ate the flesh. Maria does not say if the soldiers forced her to watch as they cooked and consumed her arm, but she would not have been the first in Ituri’s war. When the sub-conflict of the Congolese Civil War peaked from 1999 to 2003, stories of cannibalism started to trickle out.
Stories like Maria’s, and the larger Congolese conflict of which it was a part, are something we still talk about today. An art exhibit, meant to raise awareness, is currently shuttling Maria’s photo around the globe, showing it and others to people in the highest levels of government. But the reasons we talk about Maria are nearly as complicated as the story itself, which is now mostly over, and risks over-simplifying our understanding as much as aiding it.
Read more. [Image: Marcus Bleasdale, VII]
Damon: I would kiss George W. Bush on the mouth for what he did on [the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief].
Goldberg: How long would you kiss him?
Damon: Three seconds. No tongue.