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Health

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For the first time in three years, the Taliban has agreed to allow health workers from the United Nations to begin a nationwide polio vaccination campaign in Afghanistan, according to the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

In Squid Game, reportedly the most popular Netflix series of all time, the characters are almost all Korean, which is what you'd expect from a show produced in South Korea.

And then there's Ali Abdul, a Pakistani migrant worker in South Korea whose boss hasn't paid him for months. Don't ask how he's able to afford rent and food for himself and his wife and infant child, who live with him. Because the show doesn't explain!

So Abdul makes a drastic decision. He joins a secret, high-stakes competition called Squid Game.

When Omar Mohamed was a boy living in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, he loved picture books. But his school only had about three or four; the teachers brought them out for the children to read just a few times a year.

When that happened, it was a special occasion, says Mohamed, 31. "You read and you reread that book. Then you reach a point where you've memorized it."

Following confusion earlier this month on how the country should safely celebrate the holidays, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its updated guidance around gatherings and traveling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the new guidance issued Friday, the CDC says the best way to safely celebrate the holiday season is by being vaccinated (if eligible) against the coronavirus.

TB patients have become collateral damage in the train wreck that is COVID-19.

Until the emergence of COVID, tuberculosis was the deadliest infectious disease in the world. But health care workers were making slow, steady progress to contain it. Now for the first time in more than a decade the death toll from TB is rising.

Tuberculosis killed roughly 1.5 million people in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, up from 1.4 million in 2019. And researchers say COVID is to blame.

Each week, we answer frequently asked questions about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions." See an archive of our FAQs here.

The White House says the United States will donate more than 17 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine from its domestic supplies to the African Union.

In season 3 of the popular Netflix series Sex Education, the character named Eric Effiong goes to Nigeria. It is a risky trip.

Eric is a gay teenager in this series about a high school in the United Kingdom where sex is very much on everyone's mind.

Eric is out and proud. His parents know he is gay and have come to accept his sexuality.

What does our planet look like from the sky?

The winning images of this year's Drone Photo Awards capture a dizzyingly fantastic view of the world. From high above, a field of bright green grass in Vietnam looks like faux fur – and a frozen reservoir in Kazakhstan resembles shards of broken glass.

Each week, we answer frequently asked questions about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions." See an archive of our FAQs here.

Neurosurgeon Michael Haglund, founder of Duke Global Neurosurgery and Neurology, has one word to describe the initial effect of COVID-19 on his organization's global health initiatives.

"Terrible."

The world's arsenal against malaria just got a fancy new bazooka. But it's not the easiest weapon to deploy, it only hits its target 30 to 40% of the time, and it's not yet clear who's going to pay for it.

The weapon in question is the RTS,S vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline, which on Wednesday got the green light from the World Health Organization for widespread use.

This is not only the first authorized malaria vaccine, it's also the first vaccine ever approved for use against a parasitic disease in humans.

When Saleema Rehman was a kid growing up in refugee camps in Pakistan, her nickname was "Doctor Saleema."

Her mom faced severe complications while delivering her – and Rehman's dad, Abdul, promised that if the baby lived, he would make sure the child became a doctor.

A huge trove of leaked financial documents called the Pandora Papers has exposed the offshore financial dealings of hundreds of the world's global elites, including more than 330 politicians from nearly 100 countries.

The nearly 12 million documents were obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The ICIJ worked with more than 600 journalists in 117 countries to sift through the records.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

DAKAR, SENEGAL — The sheep was stolen on the eve of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim fête celebrated by the slaughtering of livestock. In Dakar, Senegal, a dizzyingly dense city with a metro area population of 4 million – plus more Senegalese coming in for the holiday with their own sheep in tow – finding the thieves would be nearly impossible.

Enter Moustapha Sané, who leads a team of Senegal's best non-detective detectives.

On a hot afternoon in August, 16-year-old Punam Mitharwal finished a routine college test and made her way to the nearest post office in her northern Indian town of Hisar to send a special bit of mail. It was a short letter written in Hindi on a postcard addressed to India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Half a dozen of her girlfriends accompanied her, each with a similar letter. They all contained a specific request — to raise the legal age of marriage for girls to 21.

Each week, we answer frequently asked questions about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions." See an archive of our FAQs here.

A 43-year-old woman arrived at an interview for a job with the World Health Organization to raise community awareness about Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was late 2018. The outbreak there was the largest since the 2014 Ebola crisis in West Africa.

She said the interviewer told her she could only get the job in exchange for sex. When she refused, she said, the man raped her.

Say you're walking past a shallow pond and see a child drowning. Would you try to rescue the child?

Trevor Bedford is a computational virologist and professor at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle who has devoted his professional life to the pandemic for nearly two years.

On February 29, 2020, he used Twitter to report that the genome of a COVID-19 case reported in Washington state showed the first known community transmission in the U.S. "There are some enormous implications here," he wrote. His prior work to track the evolution and spread of other viruses has been critical in understanding this global pandemic.

Ambi Ahmad Adamu received five noes in a row.

Ambi, as he's known, is a 46-year-old biochemist who lives in Bauchi, Nigeria. He earned his Ph.D. at Ahmadu Bello University and now works there as a researcher, hoping to use his research to improve the lives of Nigerians.

One topic he's addressed is how to detoxify water that's polluted by chromium 6, a carcinogenic chemical commonly found in industrial waste. Detoxification methods in use are expensive or take their own toll on the environment.

The late Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda knew that speeches were not the only way to deliver messages. He was known for making statements through songs – like the 11 tracks on his 2005 album We Shall Fight HIV/AIDS.

In the first cut, "Nkondo (This Is War)," he half-sang, half-chanted in his folksy, unvarnished baritone, alternating between the local language Bemba and English: "Children of Africa ... Remember, prevention is better than cure. Remember, abstinence is a service to God. If you can't abstain, remember to use a condom."

Since Salman Khan Rashid lost his job as a golf coach at a Mumbai sports club during the pandemic, he's been rationing food and some days eats only one meal. Yet he considers himself one of the "lucky" ones.

Although he doesn't have much, he gives food and money to the people he sees begging on the streets. "I believe in giving to people who have nothing and are destitute," he says.

The Challenges Of Vaccinating The World

Sep 25, 2021

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Italy is launching some of the strictest anti-COVID measures. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports that starting in October, government and private workers will be required to show proof of vaccination against the virus or lose pay.

Each week, we answer frequently asked questions about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions." See an archive of our FAQs here.

Oxygen tank at her side, Isabelita Vinuya, 88, struggles as she sits up in her bed, too weak to stand and too listless to talk about the cause that animated her life the past 25 years. She organized the "Malaya Lolas," women who endured the Japanese Imperial Army's system of sexual slavery during its occupation of the Philippines in World War II. NPR's radio and digital account of the survivors' stories — and their decades-long struggle to win reparations from Japan — was honored with the Edward R.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

When I was a kid, my Filipino mom used to serve my little sister and me freshly made rice – soft, fluffy and steaming — at dinner, while she would eat the hard, dry leftover rice from the previous day.

It was a small act of love and sacrifice. She didn't want to risk running out of fresh rice for us kids.

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