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The long-running breast milk vs. formula debate made headlines earlier this week.

The New York Times reported that the Trump administration had tried to remove language from a WHO resolution that would, according to reporter Andrew Jacobs, "promote and protect breastfeeding around the world, especially in developing countries" and limit the promotion of infant formula.

The Dreams Of Today's Teen Girl Activists

Jul 12, 2018

When Shennel E.P. Henries was a little girl growing up in Liberia, maybe 5 years old, she remembers seeing a woman speaking out to get help for people who needed it. For people displaced by the country's civil war. For homeless people. For kids who didn't have enough to eat.

Henries told her mom she wanted to be just like that lady.

And that's a dream that she hasn't given up. This week, Henries, now 19 and a college student in Monrovia, was in Washington, D.C., as part of Girl Up's annual leadership summit.

As a parent, did you ever push your child in ways you now regret – or not push enough? Or when you were a child, did you ever feel pushed too hard or not enough?

The population of Madagascar has more than doubled over the past generation, from 11.8 million in 1990 to 25 million today. And with more mouths to feed, residents are cutting down rainforests so there will be more land for agriculture.

That's a threat to the rainforest ecosystem. Madagascar rainforests are home to rare and endangered species like the black-and-white indri, the largest known lemur, topping out at about 20 pounds.

Like millions of global citizens, Abraham Leno has been riveted by the story of the 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a cave in Thailand.

"I sat around the radio with my family and we wanted to hear the recent updates of the kids, every little detail," he says. "To see all the governments sending their best divers, giving them equipment, offering their moral support — it was a beautiful thing to see."

How Postcards Solved The Problem Of Disappearing Rice

Jul 10, 2018

Imagine if you had a rice delivery system that was supposed to deliver grain from point A, a government warehouse, to point B, homes of low-income residents.

But for every 100 kilos of rice that left the warehouse less than 50 kilos were actually reaching people's kitchens. This was the situation in Indonesia for nearly two decades as the government tried to provide a nutritional safety net to the nation's poorest citizens.

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From June to September, monsoon rains fall on Mumbai, India's largest city, delivering relief from stifling heat and vital nourishment to surrounding farmland. But they also bring an unwelcome visitor: Tons of garbage wash up on the city's shores.

When Mumbai floods, the water flushes waste out of city streets, storm drains and slums and sends it to the Arabian Sea. Then the tides ebb and blanket the beaches in that trash — most of it, plastic.

And now the government is taking action with a ban on plastics.

The Joyful Cities Of Bodys Isek Kingelez

Jul 8, 2018

The Congolese artist Bodys Isek Kingelez had a vision of the future — and he built it out of soda cans, bottle caps, cookie packages, matchboxes, colored paper and corrugated cardboard.

More than 30 of his wildly colorful architectural models are now on display in "Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams," a new exhibit at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).

The artist (1948–2015) sculpted fancifully shaped buildings and metropolises decorated with all manner of arcs, curves and ornamental flourishes.

U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock told reporters in Geneva last month that the level of suffering in South Sudan is "on an unimaginable scale" and getting worse.

July Fourth is a day when America celebrates its independence.

But this July Fourth, I am reflecting on another part of the American experience — the enslavement of my fellow Africans. That's because I have just finished reading Barracoon, the book in which Zora Neale Hurston presents the story of Cudjo Lewis, who was on the last ship that brought slaves across the Atlantic. It took 60 years for her book to be published. Now it is a best-seller.

The rising level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means that crops are becoming less nutritious, and that change could lead to higher rates of malnutrition that predispose people to various diseases.

What do you wish you'd known before becoming a parent?

In May, we asked our audience this question at the start of How To Raise A Human, our month-long special series on how to make parenting easier.

Ruben Malayan, a lean, goateed artist, is teaching kids and visitors at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., to write the letter "A" in Armenian calligraphy.

On a sheet of computer paper, he inks a shape that looks like an old English "W," using a pen with a flat metal nib. His strokes — black line after black line, in perfect symmetrical succession — are hypnotic.

A new report looks at the state of humanitarian aid.

The world was generous, says the Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2018. A record amount of funds went to crises that range from the ongoing Syrian civil war to the drought in the Horn of Africa.

A woman in Nevada dies from a bacterial infection that was resistant to 26 different antibiotics. A U.K. patient contracts a case of multidrug-resistant gonorrhea never seen before. A typhoid superbug kills hundreds in Pakistan. These stories from recent years — and many others — raise fears about the possibility of a post-antibiotic world.

The Nipah virus scare that shook India in May had all ingredients of an-edge-of-the-seat medical thriller like Outbreak: A country of 1.3 billion people and an encounter with one of the most lethal pathogens of our times.

But in the end the deadly virus inspired a singing, dancing Bollywood-style music video.

Editor's note: This story was originally published in 2016 and has been updated.

People do the darnedest things in hopes of avoiding mosquito bites. They burn cow dung, coconut shells or coffee. They drink gin and tonic. They eat bananas. They spray themselves with mouthwash or slather themselves in clove/alcohol solution. And they rub themselves with Bounce. "You know, those heavily perfumed sheets you put in your dryer," says Dr. Immo Hansen, professor at the Institute of Applied Biosciences at New Mexico State University.

Editor's note: This piece discusses suicide. If you have experienced suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide and want to seek help, you can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting "START" to 741-741 or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

In February 2016, Govin Munswami considered killing himself.

He had just returned to his family farm after visiting his wife, Amanda, in the hospital.

China Has Refused To Recycle The West's Plastics. What Now?

Jun 28, 2018

For more than 25 years, many developed countries, including the U.S., have been sending massive amounts of plastic waste to China instead of recycling it on their own.

Some 106 million metric tons — about 45 percent — of the world's plastics set for recycling have been exported to China since reporting to the United Nations Comtrade Database began in 1992.

What are the rules of war?

After a woman gives birth to her baby, labor is not over. She also has to birth the placenta, and this can be quite risky.

The placenta attaches to the uterus through a series of blood vessels, which reach from the mom into the placenta. After childbirth, the placenta tears off the uterus, leaving these vessels open and exposed.

It seems like a pretty simple thing. When a humanitarian group hands out bags of food or sets up toilets for people who are poor or recovering from a crisis, the group puts its logo on the product.

It's a way of taking credit, which makes donors happy. It's a way of letting the recipients know where to complain if there's a problem. And if you're sitting at home and catch the logo on a TV report, you might be inspired to contribute to that particular charity.

But now, some people are questioning the branding of aid goods.

A Global Guide For Leery Travelers

Jun 23, 2018

With its tropical beaches and a memorable national park, Venezuela was a popular destination for American tourists a decade ago. But years of political and economic turmoil have left its tourism industry in tatters.

The Great Wall of China. A walk on the moon. Genome sequencing. How did we humans, who share almost all of our DNA with chimpanzees, end up doing all that, while they ended up pretty much where they started?

Some scientists will tell you it was language, or tools, or brainpower.

Fifteen years ago, psychologists Barbara Rogoff and Maricela Correa-Chavez ran a simple experiment. They wanted to see how well kids pay attention — even if they don't have to.

They would bring two kids, between the ages 5 to 11, into a room and have them sit at two tables.

Then they had a research assistant teach one of the kids how to assemble a toy.

The other kid was told to wait. Rogoff says they would tell the second child, "You can sit over here, and in a few minutes you'll have a turn to make this origami jumping mouse," — a different task altogether.

A Worm That Can Really, Really Get Under Your Skin

Jun 21, 2018

It sounds like a scene straight out of a nightmare.

One morning you wake up and something is crawling beneath your skin. It wriggles and writhes across your face, seemingly ready to rip out of your skin at any second. (Anyone remember that one scene from the movie Alien?)

The Refugees The World Barely Pays Attention To

Jun 20, 2018

This month, diplomats from around the world met in New York and Geneva to hash out a pair of new global agreements that aim to lay out new guidelines for how countries should deal with an unprecedented surge in the number of displaced people, which has now reached 65.6 million worldwide.

The Food Insecurity Of North Korea

Jun 19, 2018

In the 1990s, a devastating famine struck North Korea. According to international observers, a combination of drought, flooding and government mismanagement decimated food production. The death toll is uncertain, but estimates range from 240,000 to 2 million.

Every evening after dinner, Herman Agbavor and his 5-year-old son, Herbert, have a ritual. Little Herbert climbs into his dad's lap, unzips his book bag and they go over his kindergarten homework.

The two of them have been doing some variation of this homework routine since Herbert was 1. That's when Agbavor first enrolled the boy in preschool.

They live in a working-class neighborhood of Ghana's capital city, Accra — in a cement block apartment in a multifamily house that has a television and lots of books but no indoor plumbing.

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