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Humanitarian Risks And Recognition

Aug. 19 is World Humanitarian Day, an annual United Nations tribute that often goes by unnoticed. This year is different: It falls on a week when we've been acutely reminded of both the world's humanitarian crises, and the danger aid workers face every day.

Yesterday the world was shocked by the photograph and video of Omran Daqneesh, a Syrian boy pulled from the rubble of Aleppo by local rescuers. The chaotic images that turned the boy into an overnight symbol of Syria's suffering also show two other children being saved by medical workers in the city — just a sample of the enormous task that falls on the shoulders of Syria's humanitarian volunteers.

In Aleppo, like elsewhere in the Middle East, humanitarian workers and hospitals are under constant threat of attack. On today, of all days, the medical charity Doctors Without Borders announced it would evacuate all staff from hospitals in northern Yemen after an airstrike earlier this week hit one of its facilities. That was the fourth attack on the group's hospitals since the beginning of Yemen's civil war.

Humanitarians don't only risk their lives in war zones, they toil in countries across the globe from Australian migrant camps in Nauru to hospitals in Angola fighting the spread of yellow fever. To get a small (and virtual) sense of what humanitarian workers are up against every day, take this quiz to find out "which world you would rather live in."


  • Rio Olympics close.
  • 24-hour "Night Tube" service on the London Underground set to open today.
  • Sunday is World Fashion Day: Why not follow the example of Lady Gaga or Angela Merkel?


Legendary sprinter Usain Bolt cruised to his second gold medal of the Rio Games, winning the 200 meters last night. All eyes will be on tonight's 4x100-meter relay to see if the Jamaican team can win, allowing Bolt to complete an unprecedented triple-triple: three gold medals in three straight Olympics.


Brazilian police are considering charging U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte for lying about being the victim of an armed robbery in Rio. It actually appears that a drunk Lochte and three other athletes trashed a gas station. The U.S. Olympic Committee offered an apology for what it described as a "distracting ordeal."


Both Coco Chanel and the Liberation of Paris are in today's 57-second shot of History. Oui, oui.


Police forces in Thailand have issued an arrest warrant for Ahama Lengha, the first identified suspect in connection with last week's wave of bombings that killed four and injured several people across the country, Reuters reports. The authorities don't know whether the suspect is still in Thailand. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks.


Six years after the outbreak of a cholera epidemic in Haiti that killed up to 10,000 people, the United Nations acknowledged its responsibility in an internal report released yesterday. Several studies showed that Nepalese peacekeepers brought the disease to the Caribbean country after the devastating 2010 earthquake, but a UN spokesman maintained the UN's legal immunity and did not offer compensation.


Philippines' controversial President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a new war of words on a political rival he's labeled an "immoral" woman. See how she replies on the front page of Philippines Daily Inquirer.


"Sometimes in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don't choose the right words or you say the wrong thing," an apologetic Donald Trump admitted at a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina. "And believe it or not, I regret it — and I do regret it — particularly where it may have caused personal pain."


As part of our Rue Amelot collection of international essays, read Jaquelline's story — the second in a series of oral histories from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, so close and yet so far away from the Olympic spotlight. "I came to Rio by bus. My mom put me on a bus and told me, ‘one of my sisters lives there and you're going to go live with her.' I had never met my aunt, but when I arrived in Rio I recognized her face, because she has the same face as my mom. When I got to Maré — imagine! That girl from the countryside, that country bumpkin laughs, not knowing anything. For me everything was new, but I adapted in a year. I didn't end up living with my aunt very long. When I was 17 she expelled me from her house. ... At one point, when all doors closed for me, I lived for a period on the street, and to survive I entered the world of prostitution."

Read the full article, The Other Rio — Jaquelline: God, If You Exist, Look At Me


Peruvians At Rest — Cusco, 1996


The Islamic State claimed responsibility yesterday for an attack two days ago that injured two Russian policemen east of Moscow. Both assailants were killed, on the same day that a counter-terrorism raid in Saint Petersburg left four alleged jihadists dead.



A 30-year-old Brit was sentenced to 20 months in prison for stealing more than $10,000 from his friends for a bachelor party he never organized, and lying about having terminal cancer. He was also ordered to repay the money he took.

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Iran's War On Abortion Rights, A Toxic Mix Of Theocracy And Demographic Panic

Ending a pregnancy has become a major complication, and a crime, for Iranian women who cannot or will not have children in a country wracked by socio-economic woes and a leadership.

photo of a young child surrounded by women in chadors

Iran's government wants to boost the birth rate at all costs

Office of Supreme Leader/ZUMA
Firoozeh Nordstrom

Keen to boost the population, Iran's Islamic regime has reversed its half-hearted family planning policies of earlier years and is curbing birth control with measures that include banning abortion.

Its (2021) Law to Support the Family and Rejuvenate the Population (Qanun-e hemayat az khanevadeh va javani-e jam'iyat) threatens to fine the women who want to abort, and fine, imprison, and dismiss the performing physician, if the pregnancy is not deemed to be life-threatening. The law also bans contraceptives.

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The measures are in line with the dictates of Iran's Supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. He was already denouncing birth control policies by 2018-19, though conservative elements among Iran's rulers have always dismissed birth control as a piece of Western corruption.

Today, measures to boost families include land and credit incentives for young couples, but it is difficult to say how far they will counter a marked reluctance among Iranians to marry and procreate. Kayhan-London had an online conversation with individuals affected by the new rules in Iran.

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