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Health

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Dove isn't the only skin-care company caught up in a controversy about its ads.

Nivea, a German company with global reach, has been called out on social media for ads in West Africa that many described as racist, colorist and tone-deaf.

The ads promote Natural Fairness Body Lotion, a cream that promises, according to the tagline, "visibly fairer skin." The social media storm erupted after the Ghanaian musician Fuse ODG posted the ad on Instagram this week.

When the drinking water in Flint, Mich., became contaminated with lead, causing a major public health crisis, 11-year-old Gitanjali Rao took notice.

Editor's note: The archived video of the polio panel discussion will be posted next week.

The world is incredibly close to wiping out polio. This year the number of polio cases has shrunk to fewer than a dozen. And those cases are in just two countries- Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Exposure to polluted air, water and soil caused nine million premature deaths in 2015, according to a report published Thursday in The Lancet.

The causes of death vary — cancer, lung disease, heart disease. The report links them to pollution, drawing upon previous studies that show how pollution is tied to a wider range of diseases than previously thought.

There are 2,666 emojis available for tweets and texts.

Everything from a butterfly to a croissant to a unicorn.

But global health advocates think there's one important emoji that's missing: the mosquito. It is, after all, the world's deadliest animal. The diseases it spreads, like malaria and dengue, cause one million deaths a year.

Rob Vos has been tracking global hunger for years, and he says until recently the mood among his fellow hunger experts was almost giddy.

Since 1990 the world had made so much progress curbing hunger that in 2015, leaders met at the United Nations and vowed to eliminate hunger for good by 2030.

India is set to celebrate Diwali this week, but the Indian capital could be in for a different sort of celebration.

Once illuminated with clay lamps, the festival of lights has morphed into a festival of sound and fury.

It's estimated some 50,000 tons of fireworks are exploded during Diwali, which marks the homecoming of the Hindu god Lord Ram from exile. But a public health alarm was sounded in Delhi after Diwali last year, when a toxic haze blanketed the city for days.

How White Cane Day Makes A Difference

Oct 16, 2017

On an early Sunday morning, before the sun has even risen, Zaw Lin Htun walks down the middle of what is usually one of the busiest roads in downtown Yangon, the capital of Myanmar.

He strolls past a golden pagoda. He taps his white cane back and forth on the pavement, making sure to avoid the potholes, loose electrical wires and debris that fill the street and sidewalks.

Not long ago, two Americans caused a scene in a Mozambique village. Locals were mystified by the tourists spending several days photographing a single tree.

"Sometimes we have to explain to people what we're doing but often they just think, 'Okay these guys are nuts,'" says New York photographer Len Jenshel.

Bacquerette woke up early. She made breakfast for her 2-year-old daughter, left the child with her neighbor and started the long walk to the village of Ambohitsara. Bacquerette wanted to make sure she was one of the first people in line for a one-day-only family planning clinic.

She walked almost two hours on footpaths that snake along the sandy bank of the Canal des Pangalanes in eastern Madagascar. And she managed to arrive at the event just after it started.

The 33-year-old single mother had come to get an IUD.

Ingenuity, inspiration, an elaborate ruse and a touch of madness. That is what it took for Zainabu Hamayaji to protect her family from Boko Haram.

The terror network in northeastern Nigeria has killed 20,000 people, abducted thousands more and driven more than 2 million people from their homes during its eight-year insurgency. The 47-year-old mother of 10 — four biological and six orphaned children ranging from age 5 to 15 — had to feign insanity to keep the insurgents away.

The bond between humans and dogs isn't just psychological or the common love of bacon.

It's also genetic.

For about 15,000 years, dogs have migrated in lockstep with humans around the globe. They have followed us from Asia into Europe, North America and back to Africa — all the while hunting, protecting and snuggling us.

Now it looks as though dog DNA has evolved in lockstep with our DNA.

Scientists in China have found evidence that dogs developed protection against malaria in the same way that people in West Africa have.

India has made a significant change to its laws about rape. The Supreme Court has ruled that if a husband has sex with his wife and she is under 18, he is committing an act of rape.

Up until now rape was illegal, but there was one glaring exception. A wife could not bring charges of rape against her husband unless she was under age 15 — an age set in a 1940 law.

An outbreak of the plague is growing in Madagascar.

In just over four decades, obesity levels in children and teenagers have risen dramatically worldwide, though that rise has been far from uniform. In a new study published online Tuesday, British researchers and the World Health Organization say those levels have plateaued lately in high-income countries, "albeit at high levels," while the rise in obesity rates has only accelerated in regions such as East Asia and Latin America.

Oct. 11 is the "International Day of the Girl" – proclaimed by the U.N. as a time to look at the challenges girls face and to promote their "empowerment" and human rights.

What kind of year has it been for girls? We looked at the stories we've done over the past year, and the headlines alone captured both the tragedies and the triumphs. In many ways a horrible year for girls. But even at the bleakest moments, there are stories of hope and triumph.

Here is a sampling of our stories about the world's girls:

What will it take for the people of this world to drop their prejudices, to move past intolerance — and just get along?

That's a question Princeton psychologist Betsy Levy Paluck — one of the 24 MacArthur Fellows announced on Wednesday — has dedicated her career to answering.

With so much going on in the world right now, we wanted to know from our audience: Which global problem keeps you up at night?

In a wealthy suburb in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, a group of young Pakistanis veered between laughter and distress as they played a board game that echoed their lives in both funny and painful ways.

The name of the game is "Arranged" and the goal is to avoid at all costs an arranged marriage – and the matchmaker who sets them up. She's known as Rishta Aunty, slang in Urdu and Hindi for a certain kind of middle-aged, busybody matchmaker who knows all the single men and women.

Sometimes you can see the smoke of Myanmar's burning villages from across the border in Bangladesh.

For Muslim Rohingya who have fled their predominantly Buddhist country, it's a reminder of the violent crackdowns they faced. Since late August, half a million Rohingya have escaped Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh.

In the spring of 2016, there was a frenzy over the threat of Zika virus at Brazil's Olympic Games. As infections reached their peak, a group of scientists called for the games to be moved somewhere else. A number of athletes, worried about sexually transmitting the virus to pregnant partners, chose to stay home.

But a group of researchers with University of Utah and the United States Olympic Committee announced Saturday that they weren't able to find any evidence that U.S. Olympians, Paralympians or staff got Zika virus at all.

Last weekend's massacre in Las Vegas is only the latest reminder of the persistent gun violence in the United States. And a new set of statistics on the rates of gun violence unrelated to conflict underscores just how outsize U.S. rates of gun deaths are compared with those in much of the rest of the world.

His School For 540 Needy Kids Earns Him A U.N. Prize

Oct 5, 2017

"Once upon a time, I was a child," says Zannah Mustapha. And a fortunate one, at that, adds the 58-year-old Nigerian lawyer.

This is not the case for many young people today in his city of Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria's Borno State — and the epicenter of the Boko Haram insurgency.

An estimated 1 million kids have been displaced, and too many of them have lost their parents to violence.

Mustapha's response? "I have to protect them."

Where can people expect to live the longest?

The answer to that question is usually pretty predictable and often dependent on wealth: People generally live longer in richer countries. Like Japan and Switzerland, where average life expectancies exceed 83 years.

In lower income countries, expected years of life are often far shorter — hovering below 55 in a number of sub-Saharan countries, including Chad, Mozambique and Sierra Leone.

This past weekend, basketball players from island nations across the Indian Ocean converged in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, to face off in the regional championships. But no one was to cheer on the teams. The bleachers were empty — because of the plague.

Of the 56 million annual abortions performed around the world, nearly half, or 25 million, posed some threat to the health or life of the woman. The vast majority of unsafe abortions – 97 percent — were performed in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Most people have had some exposure to mercury. Fish is one source. So are mercury vapors from workplaces and factories. That's what the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say.

At very low levels, the mercury isn't likely a problem (although it's hard to say exactly how low is "safe.")

Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young are the joint winners of the 2017 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, winning for their discoveries about how internal clocks and biological rhythms govern human life.

The three Americans won "for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm," the Nobel Foundation says.

There's an idea percolating up from the anthropology world that may make you rethink what makes you happy.

The idea is not new. It surfaced in the popular consciousness back in the late 1960s and helped to galvanize a growing environmental movement.

And now several books are bringing it back into the limelight.

Editor's note: The original version of this story said that the iguanas on the U.S. Virgin Islands feed on mosquitoes and that Hurricane Irma decimated the iguana population, which would most likely result in a proliferation of mosquitoes. In fact, iguanas do not feed on mosquitoes and there is no correlation between their reduced number and the mosquito population. We have updated this story.

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