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NEW DELHI, India — Madi is a bully. He has three-inch canines that glisten when he snarls.

And that’s a good thing, says his owner, Niraj.

Madi is a langur — a large, grey monkey with a black face and ears, endemic to South Asia.

Big and menacing, he’s able to scare off this city’s 30,000 smaller, red-faced rhesus monkeys, to protect the local human population from their naughty and dangerous antics.

Niraj earns his living hauling Madi around India’s capital on his bicycle to scare away monkeys that hang around parks, rob offices (really) and terrorize people.

It’s hard to over-emphasize this point: India’s rhesus monkeys are derelicts. They regularly steal food, alcohol, glasses, medical equipment, and clothes. They even break into cars.

Read the full story here.

Photos by AFP/Getty

July 21st — and with 73 notes


Straightening Sisay’s Spine: A Twist Of Fate Saves A Boy’s Life

One dewy morning back in May 2013, a dozen children gathered in an elementary school courtyard to play soccer in Addis Ababa. Seven-year-old Sisay Gudeta stood alone on the balcony above them.

Sisay poked his head through the arms of a rusty, blue guard rail, staring down at his classmates as they kickedan empty plastic bottle across the pavement. The kids rarely ask him to play, Sisay says. They are afraid to touch him, afraid of the bump on his back that stretches out his neatly pressed school sweater.

"He is such a beautiful child," Sisay’s grandmother says. "I ask God what I did to do this to him."

For reasons unknown, thousands of children in Ethiopia suffer from congenital spine conditions so severe that humps grow from their backs. Their spines resemble flattened pancakes and roller-coaster tracks, says Dr. Rick Hodes, an American who runs the onlyspine clinic in Addis Ababa, a city of 3 million people.

Such extreme scoliosis cases are found in many poor countries. But Hodes thinks that lack of screening and access to basic medical care leaves Ethiopia with some of the worst spines in the world.

If not effectively treated, scoliosis can lead to permanent deformity, disc injuries and neurological damage. Here in the U.S., the National Institutes of Health recommends doctors use a brace to help straighten a child’s back when the spine curves more than 25 to 30 degrees. When the curve reaches more than 45 degrees, surgery is often needed.

Yet thousands of Ethiopian children receive no medical treatment for their scoliosis. In villages, a traditional healer may try to flatten the child’s back by pressing hot rocks to the skin. Others with twisted spines and humpbacks are ostracized or abandoned and left to die.

Continue reading and view a slideshow at NPR.

Photo: Sisay Gudeta, then age 7, sits on his bed at his home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 2013. At the time, his spine curved about 120 degrees. Without surgery, Sisay’s scoliosis would have killed before age 18, doctors said. (Andrew Dickinson for NPR)

July 21stvia and with 106 notes


'They move one meter by one meter, on their knees. They do this for 10 hours a day, every day, with incredible dedication and effort.' - Marco Di Lauro, Photographer, on clearing landmines in Iraq.

In Iraq, as violence continues to flare, the legacy of old conflicts still remains in the form of buried landmines. The work of clearing the mines is painstaking and dangerous, but is of great importance in the protection of local civilians. Landmines stay active and continue to maim and kill long after wars have ended.

See Di Lauro discuss his work documenting landmines in Iraq for ICRC.

July 15thvia and with 289 notes

BEIRUT, Lebanon — As the Iraqi government struggles to contain a Sunni militant advance on Baghdad and hold the country together, more and more Iraqis are blaming Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki for their country’s increasing resemblance to neighboring Syria.

Maliki isn’t just responsible for the Iraqi army’s poor showing against the Islamic State, critics say: Like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, he’s responsible for the violence itself, for having ordered a military crackdown on a public demonstration, triggering the recent wave of unrest. And now, he’s relying on a military strategy that guarantees high civilian casualties.

Is Iraq’s Maliki taking a page out of Assad’s playbook?

Photo by AFP/Getty Images

July 14th — and with 12 notes


Daily chart: A quantified look at the situation in Israel and Gaza

July 14thvia and with 354 notes

IDP camps in Iraqi Kurdish region are overwhelmed by civilian influx

by Rebecca Lee Sanchez

“The Kurdistan region has never harbored any terrorists, now or ever, because we have been the victim of them before,” said Safeen Dizayee, a spokesman for the Kurdish Regional Government. “What Mr. al-Maliki is talking about is far from reality.”

The reality, humanitarian aid workers on the ground in Erbil are saying, is that while the Iraqi military has in the last week launched air raids in the oil-rich village of Baiji and reportedly bombed the main water resource tank in Mosul, Kurds have let thousands of fleeing civilians into the Kurdish-controlled areas, which also houses a tightly operated internally displaced persons (IDP) camp.

“The Iraqi minister of migration and immigrants just opened an office in Erbil and they do nothing, just looking at the people,” said Ala Ali, a women’s rights and peace activist with the International Civil Society Network (ICAN) and board member for the Al-Amal Association. “They don’t move.”

Full story here.

Photo by Getty Images

July 11th — and with 23 notes

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — If Zoya Kolosovksaya had her way, the national anthem would be ringing out each morning from the central square of this tattered former rebel stronghold in eastern Ukraine.

Now that security forces have chased out the armed separatists who’d made this provincial outpost of around 120,000 their nerve center, the 51-year-old resident believes the anti-government hysteria that was recently so prominent here should quickly fade.

“People are capable of getting used to anything,” Kolosovskaya said. “They should get used to the fact that Ukrainian statehood exists.”

In ‘liberated’ eastern Ukraine, the hard work lies ahead

Photos by Dan Peleschuk/GlobalPost

July 11th — and with 20 notes


"Maasai Warriors: Caught Between Spears and Cellphones" via Linda Poon

In the dusty savannah, Maasai warriors go about their day dressed in vibrant red and magenta robes, or shukas. Elaborate beaded jewelry dangle from the necks and faces of men and women — members of one of Kenya’s oldest tribes. And some of them can be seen carrying a spear in one hand and, in the other – wait, is that a cellphone?

Images: Ryan Kellman/NPR

July 11thvia and with 535 notes


Even before his accession, Sanusi is speaking out about the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls from the village of Chibok, 366 miles east of Kano. In the weeks since they disappeared, northern Nigeria has become a bloodbath. Almost 1,000 people have been killed since the girls were taken, making more than 3,000 this year. More or less every day, it seems, Boko Haram is massacring another village, slaughtering people and burning their huts to the ground. The attacks are often reprisals for the assistance the villagers have provided to Nigeria’s army, either in the form of intelligence or self-defense groups of village hunters.

Further afield, hundreds more Nigerians have died in a series of bomb attacks on the country’s cities, including a twin blast in the city of Jos, which killed 130; another twin bombing in Abuja, which killed close to 100; a third on June 25, which killed at least 21; and another in Kano, which killed five.

Though Nigeria’s latest civil war has already lasted five years and cost at least 12,000 lives, the Chibok abductions and subsequent protests by the girls’ parents outside government offices in Abuja have drawn global attention. Among those moved to demand #BringBackOurGirls have been Jesse Jackson, Angelina Jolie, the Iranian government, the Coca-Cola Co. and the prime minister of Nepal. Michelle Obama used her husband’s weekly address to tell Americans: “In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters.” The U.S., Britain, Israel and China have offered drones, spy planes and advisers to assist Nigeria’s government in the girls’ recovery.

None of this has done anything to bring the girls home.

July 9thvia and with 702 notes

JUBA, South Sudan — Birthdays are a time to reflect, even for countries. South Sudan turns 3 years old today and this year it has decided to take stock of its estimated 9,000 child soldiers.

It’s a staggering figure and one that has motivated the world’s youngest nation — also one of its most troubled — to try to change its image amid brutal war.

Full story here: 

This year, on its birthday, South Sudan would like to take stock of its estimated 9,000 child soldiers

Photo by AFP/Getty

July 9th — and with 20 notes

BANGKOK — Members of the 0.1 percent have long used their vast wealth to obtain yachts, armies of servants and even laws of their choosing. But the ability to bend space and time to their will has proven elusive.

Until now.

In the not-so-distant future, the global elite will be able to zip between practically any major city — London to Sydney, New York to Beijing — in a mere two hours or less.

Coming soon: Flights from New York to Beijing in just 2 hours!

Photo courtesy of Virgin Galactic

July 7th — and with 18 notes

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — In his rotating wardrobe of team jerseys and visors, Jose Aquiles often stalked the sidelines of his students’ soccer games, shouting instructions and praise.

A pro in his younger days, Aquiles lived for the sport, never missing a chance to play or coach. But at a tournament one Friday in April, he appeared pensive, foregoing his usual perch for an out-of-the way bench — a towel slung across his head to block the sun.

“That was the last time I saw him,” said Luis Winfredo Montoya, a fellow teacher at the school in rural Santa Lucia, in western El Salvador, where Aquiles taught English and social studies.

The following Monday, word spread through school that Aquiles’ body had been found dismembered and buried in a scrubland controlled by the notorious Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, street gang. His eighth graders sobbed and refused to enter his classroom. At his funeral, days later, hundreds filled the streets and thronged his casket, which was closed because of the damage to his body.

Aquiles’ murder outraged his teachers union, which demanded justice. In the past several years, 27 Salvadoran teachers have been killed, and thousands extorted, as gangs have gained hold over even remote areas of the country, said Paz Zetino, the union’s director.

Some have been killed over as little as a failing grade.

El Salvador gangs kill teachers over as little as a failing grade

Photo by Seth Robbins/GlobalPost

July 7th — and with 15 notes


The overcrowded slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh, are just the latest stop for Ken Weiss on his journey to explore the causes and consequences of rapid population growth. Ken’s work has been focused mostly on the developing world—that’s where 97 percent of population growth will come in the next 40 years. Globally, more than 3 billion people worldwide are under the age of 25; about 1.2 billion of them are adolescents just entering their reproductive years. Weiss has come to see unrestrained population growth not just as an environmental issue but also as a human rights issue.

View Ken’s project: Beyond 7 Billion

This chart shows which World Cup teams have been given the most red and yellow cards

Infographic created Simran Khosla/GlobalPost

July 7th — and with 29 notes

Ending violence against women: It’s not just about being ‘nice’

Photo by AFP/Getty Images

July 1st — and with 100 notes