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."
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY (& WEEKEND)
- 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?
BOLT LOCKS DOWN 8TH GOLD
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.
RYAN LOCHTE LIED ABOUT ROBBERY
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."
— ON THIS DAY
Both Coco Chanel and the Liberation of Paris are in today's 57-second shot of History. Oui, oui.
THAILAND IDENTIFIES SUSPECT, ONE WEEK AFTER BOMBINGS
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.
UN ACKNOWLEDGES ROLE IN HAITI CHOLERA EPIDEMIC
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, â€˜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
— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD
Peruvians At Rest — Cusco, 1996
ISLAMIC STATE CLAIMS ATTACK IN RUSSIA
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.
MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH
- Why The Burqa Fits Just Fine In A Modern Democracy — Die Welt
- Poland, Five Brave Couples Demand Same-Sex Marriage — Newsweek Polska
- Why The Internet Giants Can't Crack The Chinese Market — Caixin
WORST BEST MAN
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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