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How did Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever come to strike in Spain? And how worried should we be?

That's the question a team of epidemiologists and microbiologists has been trying to answer for the past year.

The disease is a tick-borne, Ebola-like virus. Because it's a lesser-known illness, it is often misdiagnosed. So there aren't very good official statistics on the number of cases in many parts of the world.

Public discussion of periods is still a taboo in many parts of the world. But this week in India, everybody's talking about the topic.

The reason: an announcement by a Mumbai media firm called Culture Machine: The company has announced that its 75 women employees could take the first day of their period as a paid day off if they experience pain or discomfort. Some reactions have been supportive — and some not.

New legislation signed into law by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday makes female genital mutilation a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The laws apply both to doctors who conduct the procedure and parents who transport a child to undergo it.

At a press conference at the G20 summit in Hamburg on July 8, French President Emmanuel Macron answered a question from a Cote d'Ivoire journalist.

The reporter asked why there was no Marshall Plan for Africa.

In 2014, Boko Haram seized the town of Gwoza in northeast Nigeria, killing hundreds of people. The insurgents declared that Gwoza would be the seat of their self-proclaimed caliphate. It was a perfect place for them, protected by a mountainside, with caves and tunnels for hiding out.

Not that long ago, Maria Nalubega, 16, suspected she was pregnant.

The teen from Mbuya-Kinawataka, a slum in Uganda, had not been using contraception with her boyfriend of two years. She feared what her neighbors might think if they saw her buying condoms at the local shop. She was terrified to ask for advice from her single mother, who expected to her to abstain from sex until marriage.

And she simply thought she was too young to become pregnant.

If you happen to be a cancer patient needing radiation in Senegal, getting past the shock of the diagnosis and onto treatment is a major hardship at the moment.

The country's only radiotherapy machine — indeed for a long while the only one in French-speaking West Africa — is broken. That's the machine whose radiation is used to treat primarily breast, head and neck tumors and bone cancer.

Political tension between the United States and Mexico is making headlines with talk of disrupting longstanding trade deals and constructing a border wall.

And then there's the story of Antonio Garcia.

A mechanic from southern Sonora, he had been limping around on crutches for three years. His right leg was amputated below the knee after a motorcycle accident and buying a prosthetic leg was beyond his financial reach.

Six years ago Sunday, South Sudan's flag was hoisted in Juba.

Amid an atmosphere of optimism and hope, South Sudan became the world's newest country, breaking away from its longtime rival, Sudan.

The moment marked the end of decades of fighting between rebels in the predominantly Christian south of Sudan and their northern Arab rivals in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, who was in Juba that day, reported that with the parades and children singing, there was a mood of excitement.

Last week, Beyonce broke a year-long hiatus from tweeting by announcing a new initiative, BeyGood4Burundi — a partnership between her charitable foundation and UNICEF.

"Mothers in Burundi want to provide clean, safe water for their children. Let's help them, together," she wrote on June 30.

Zachariah Ibrahim dreams of being a pilot. That's not so unusual for a 13-year-old kid. But not that long ago, Zachariah didn't have many dreams for the future.

Two young Nigerians helped give him hope again.

Shhh, we just can't talk about that.

Omigosh: We. Just. Don't. Do. That.

If you haven't guessed, we're talking about taboos.

Taboos are part of every culture, every family, every circle of friends.

We're planning to explore taboos in an upcoming series of stories. We'd like to hear from our audience about taboos they've encountered in the world of global health and development.

So tell us: What global taboos should we consider? Share your ideas in the tool below.

Tap into Snapchat's newest feature, Snap Map, and get a peek into people's lives around the world. You might see a woman playing with her puppies in Guatemala or a view from the car window on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean.

They're called snaps — these ten-second video clips or photos that disappear after a day. To take a look, pinch two fingers on the app's main screen. A world map will open up with a heat map of snaps that submitted to a public stream in the last 24 hours. The biggest hot spots are in North America, Europe and the Arabian Peninsula.

They were teenage brothers. They had big dreams to be doctors. But there was no way it could happen. They were living in the middle of the Iran-Iraq war, studying in classrooms set up in tents.

"We thought we were forgotten," says Kamiar Alaei. But that was a long time ago. He's now 42 and an internationally recognized doctor.

Cholera is spreading rapidly across Yemen, where civil war has decimated the public health services needed to contain the outbreak.

Nearly 1,600 people have died from the disease in the last two months; an estimated 5,000 are infected every day.

Dr. Sherin Varkey of UNICEF speaks with NPR's Kelly McEvers about the humanitarian response to the crisis.


In the the 1960s, a Stanford psychologist ran an experiment to study children's self-control.

It's called the marshmallow test. And it's super simple.

Kids ages 3 to 5 choose a treat — an Oreo cookie, a pretzel stick or a marshmallow. Then researchers give the child brief instructions: You can eat the treat now, but if you can wait for me to return, you'll get two treats.

The researchers leave the room. And the child just has to sit there staring at a marshmallow — and deciding whether to exert self-control or to dig in.

When he was 10, a war injury put him in a wheelchair. His spine was permanently damaged. He was so depressed there were days he refused to get out of bed.

Now Mohammadullah Amiri can't wait to get up in the morning.

It's all because of wheelchair basketball. Since the 36-year-old from Afghanistan discovered it, he has become a changed man, says Jess Markt, his coach.

Chibok Girls And Trump Appear In Unannounced Photo Op

Jun 30, 2017

The White House usually picks a photo of the day. On June 28, the image they chose showed two girls from Nigeria who were abducted in 2014 by Boko Haram but managed to escape: Joy Bishara and Lydia Pogu. They're flanked by President Donald Trump and his daughter, Ivanka Trump. The photo had been taken the day before.

Trump is giving a thumbs up.

How To Stop The World's Worst Cholera Outbreak

Jun 30, 2017

Yemen is struggling to control a cholera outbreak that the U.N. is calling "the worst ... in the world."

As of June 26, the World Health Organization estimates that there have been nearly 219,000 cases and 1,400 deaths since the start of the outbreak in late April. The outbreak is adding to a humanitarian crisis brought on by a civil war that's lasted more than two years.

Three people in New Mexico caught the plague, according to health officials there, who reported the two most recent cases this week.

Yes, this is the same illness that killed an estimated 50 million people across three continents in the 1300s, though these days common antibiotics will get rid of it.

When Alika Kinan was a teenager in her native Argentina, she thought was going to go on a great adventure. A woman offered to buy the 18-year-old a plane ticket to Ushuaia, a port city about 2,000 miles away from her hometown. Kinan imagined she'd work at a shop in the bustling tourism or industrial district.

Instead, she was trafficked — stripped of her travel documents and taken to a brothel, where she was expected to have sex with 15 to 30 men a day.

For the first time, the number of children paralyzed by mutant strains of the polio vaccine are greater than the number of children paralyzed by polio itself.

So far in 2017, there have been only six cases of "wild" polio reported anywhere in the world. By "wild," public health officials mean the disease caused by polio virus found naturally in the environment.

Cooking wasn't a matter of choice for Wilma Consul when she was growing up. Raised in the Philippines, she lost her father when she was 5 years old. A couple of years later, her mother, working long hours to provide for her four children, entrusted her second-born with the task of cooking for the family.

Advocates for ending child marriage are trying a new tactic: Show governments just how much the practice is hurting their own bottom line.

You can catch cholera from drinking contaminated water.

You can catch it from raw or undercooked shellfish.

And you can catch it from soft-shell turtles.

That's the finding of a study published this month by scientists at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. And it's a particular concern in China and many other countries in East Asia, where turtle meat is often used in stews and soups.

In many ways, parenting newborns seems instinctual.

We see a little baby, and we want to hold her. Snuggle and kiss her. Even just her smell seems magical.

Many of us think breast-feeding is similar.

"I had that idea before my first child was born," says Brooke Scelza, an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of Los Angeles, California. "I definitely thought, 'Oh, I'm going to figure that out. Like how hard can it be?' "

The man who fought to make child labor a crime against humanity came to Washington, D.C., last week with a message for America and its new president.

Kailash Satyarthi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for his efforts to end child labor, urged U.S. lawmakers to fight for the freedom of 168 million children forced to work due to poverty, trafficking or slavery.

Snakebites Make The List Of 'Neglected Tropical Diseases'

Jun 24, 2017

Snakebites kill more than 100,000 people per year, the World Health Organization estimates. The organization recently took a step to reduce that number by adding venomous snake bites to its list of neglected tropical diseases – a classification that could help get more resources allocated to fighting this public health problem.

(WHO did acknowledge that snakebites aren't a disease but "an injury" but the "envenoming" — the injection of the snake's venom — can be considered a disease.)

Planet Earth is a vast place, with humans scattered all over it.

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Truth And Lies.

About Michael Specter's TED Talk

Michael Specter explores why some deny scientific evidence — such as the safety of vaccines and GMOs, or climate change. He says denying can provide a sense of control in an unsure world.

About Michael Specter

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