KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

President Trump has recognized Jerusalem as the capital Israel, but that doesn’t change Palestinian aspirations for a capital in part of the city. One thing that could strengthen these Palestinian claims would be national political institutions. NPR’s Daniel Estrin looks at how Israel has worked for decades to limit those institutions, whether they’re offices for leadership or even performances in theaters.

DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: This used to be the Palestinian headquarters in Jerusalem – an old, stone mansion called the Orient House. Foreign diplomats were received here. The Palestinian flag used to fly. But Israel closed it in 2001 during a wave of Palestinian bombings. Israeli authorities deliver a new closure order every six months. It’s on the door for everyone to see.

And they just…

ISHAQ BUDEIRI: Yes.

ESTRIN: …Put it right here on the door.

BUDEIRI: Put it right here and go.

ESTRIN: Ishaq Budeiri heads the Arab Studies Society, which was based in the same building. His library of historical archives is locked inside. He has no access. I give the dusty windows a spit shine and peer in.

Oh, I see some books on the shelf.

BUDEIRI: Yeah, yeah, yeah, newspapers.

ESTRIN: Budeiri says Israeli authorities made him an offer, which he refused.

BUDEIRI: One time they said to us you can come and take your books, your archives, and go outside Jerusalem. They don’t want to see any Palestinian institution in Jerusalem.

ESTRIN: Palestinian leaders want to establish a capital in East Jerusalem, but Israel captured that part of the city 50 years ago. Under an agreement between the two sides in the ’90s, the Palestinian government doesn’t have jurisdiction in Jerusalem. Israel says it allows Palestinian social, educational and economic institutions in the city, but it prevents any political activity there by the Palestinians’ national movement, the PLO, or the Palestinian Authority, which governs in the nearby West Bank.

EFRAIM INBAR: We want the city to be ours – simple.

ESTRIN: Efraim Inbar heads The Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies, a conservative Israeli think tank.

INBAR: The city, according to the majority of the Israelis, is to be a united city under Israeli sovereignty. So anything that smells of PLO, we’ll try to prevent.

ESTRIN: Israel did allow voting in the city for Palestinian elections, but it has closed many Palestinian institutions here, says Mahdi Abdul Hadi of the Palestinian think tank PASSIA.

MAHDI ABDUL HADI: Palestinian Council for Education, Palestinian Council for Housing, Palestinian Council for Health, as well as now they have a policy – any relationship, any affiliations, any function related to Palestinian Authority is not allowed. This is for them as a process of crushing and depressing and containing the Palestinians.

ESTRIN: He says Israel recently intervened to stop a lecture he organized in Jerusalem because the Palestinian Authority education minister was going to attend. Israel recently arrested several Palestinians it said were conducting a census in East Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority says they were working for the U.N.

At the Palestinian theater in Jerusalem, the Hakawati, they’re building a set for an upcoming play, but Israel has shut down a puppet festival and a folk dance show at the theater, saying they were funded by the Palestinian Authority. A production manager, Georgina Asfur, thinks Palestinian leaders should work harder to maintain ties in Jerusalem.

GEORGINA ASFUR: We don’t have a leadership. People are struggling by themselves every day to continue.

ESTRIN: When President Trump recently recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, he didn’t rule out making part of it a capital for the Palestinians. But Israel has been keeping Palestinian political leadership out of the city. Daniel Estrin, NPR News, Jerusalem.

(SOUNDBITE OF CANNIBAL OX’S “STRESS RAP”)

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Article source: https://www.npr.org/2018/01/19/579227931/israel-bans-activities-in-jerusalem-connected-to-palestinian-authority-governmen?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

A train carrying crude oil derailed in Lac Megantic, Quebec, Canada in 2013 and the ensuing explosions and fire killed dozens of people. A jury acquitted three railroad employees of related charges on Friday.

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A train carrying crude oil derailed in Lac Megantic, Quebec, Canada in 2013 and the ensuing explosions and fire killed dozens of people. A jury acquitted three railroad employees of related charges on Friday.

Paul Chiasson/AP

Jurors in eastern Canada on Friday found three men not guilty of criminal negligence following an oil train disaster that left 47 people dead. The accident in July 2013 involved a U.S.-owned train carrying North Dakota crude oil. In the aftermath, regulators in the U.S. and Canada adopted sweeping reforms to the way railroads haul and manage hazardous cargoes.

The accident occurred on a summer evening after a rail worker left an industrial train unattended on a hillside above the village of Lac Megantic, Quebec. A malfunctioning brake system allowed it to roll free. The train gathered speed, derailed and exploded, sending balls of fire rolling through downtown.

Rescue crews were forced to pull back after reporting temperatures so extreme that village streets burst into flame. Tom Harding, one of the rail workers accused of negligence, described the scene in a recorded phone call played at the trial. “Everything’s on fire from the church all the way down to the metro,” Harding said. “Flames are 200 feet high, it’s incredible, you can’t believe it here.”

Prosecutors argued that Harding and two coworkers, Richard Labrie and Jean Demaitre, could have done more to prevent the accident. The men pleaded not guilty. Many critics in the U.S. and Canada argued they were scapegoats, with the lengthy trial diverting attention from lax government regulations and from cost-cutting decisions made by the Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railroad.

Tom Walsh, a lawyer for Harding, told the Associated Press his client was too emotional to speak but feels relieved. “He always admitted his responsibility. His only claim was that the responsibility was not the equivalent of criminal negligence,” Walsh said. “He’s very marked by this experience and he will always feel a tremendous moral responsibility and he will never be able to rid himself of that feeling.”

The U.S.-owned railroad declared bankruptcy after the accident and its American officers haven’t faced criminal charges. In the years since the disaster, regulators in the U.S. and Canada have tightened rules for how hazardous materials, including crude oil, are handled by railroads.

The biggest change is a gradual phase-out over the next decade of tens of thousands of single-hulled DOT-111 tank cars. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board had issued numerous warnings before the Lac Megantic disaster that the cars are too fragile to carry “dangerous products.” Despite those concerns, they continue to serve as a workhouse for railroads serving oil, gas and chemical industries.

The village of Lac Megantic, meanwhile, has struggled to recover from the disaster. The community of 6,000 people had to build a new downtown area from scratch because the historic commercial district was heavily contaminated by heavy metals and other pollution released during the blaze.

Article source: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/19/579242914/jury-acquits-railroad-employees-in-lac-megantic-fire-disaster?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Protesters outside the courthouse where 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judges were hearing Hawaii’s challenge last month to the Trump administration’s latest travel ban.

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Protesters outside the courthouse where 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judges were hearing Hawaii’s challenge last month to the Trump administration’s latest travel ban.

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Almost a year after President Trump tried to bar travelers from some predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, the Supreme Court announced Friday that it will consider a legal challenge to the third version of that ban.

Lower courts have blocked every attempt by the administration to keep out travelers from a list of countries in the name of national security, starting with the first version of the ban issued in an executive order in January 2017.

The justices agreed to hear the case of Hawaii v. Trump, which argues that the president exceeded his authority in attempting to ban, through proclamation, “over 150 million aliens from this country based on nationality alone. The immigration laws do not grant the President this power.”

The brief adds:

“No prior president has attempted to implement a policy that so baldly exceeds the statutory limits on the president’s power to exclude, or so nakedly violates Congress’s bar on nationality-based discrimination in the issuance of immigrant visas.”

In the Justice Department’s petition to the high court, Solicitor General Francisco J. Noel argued that the president does have the power to bar travelers from certain countries.

“The Constitution and Acts of Congress confer on the President broad authority to suspend or restrict the entry of aliens outside the United States when he deems it in the Nation’s interest. … Exercising that authority after an extensive, worldwide review by multiple government agencies of whether foreign governments provide sufficient information and have adequate practices to allow the United States to properly screen aliens seeking entry from abroad—and after receiving the recommendation of the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security—the President suspended entry (subject to exceptions and case-by-case waivers) of certain foreign nationals from eight countries.”

Six of the eight countries subject to the travel ban — Syria, Libya, Yemen, Chad, Somalia and Iran — are all predominantly Muslim. Travelers from two other countries, North Korea and Venezuela, are not part of the lawsuit challenging the ban.

In late December, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling finding that the president had exceeded his authority in implementing the third version of his travel ban. However, earlier in that month, the Supreme Court allowed the administration to implement the travel ban while legal challenges were pending in the appeals process.

With only two justices — Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor — dissenting, that ruling was widely viewed as an indicator of how the high court ultimately might decide when it hears the case.

The Hawaii lawsuit isn’t the only case still pending. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia has yet to rule on a decision by a federal judge in Maryland who found that the travel ban violates constitutional protections under the First Amendment.

Article source: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/19/579266481/scotus-to-hear-challenge-to-trump-s-travel-ban?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Bottles of Moutai baijiu liquor, seen here in a 2012 photo, have become scarce in many Chinese stores, even as spirits maker Kweichow Moutai has seen its stock soar in the past year.

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Bottles of Moutai baijiu liquor, seen here in a 2012 photo, have become scarce in many Chinese stores, even as spirits maker Kweichow Moutai has seen its stock soar in the past year.

Sheng Li/Reuters

Moutai baijiu reigns as China’s favorite brand of its favorite liquor — but the famously fiery drink is getting hard to find, as bottles are snatched up by market speculators. Renewed thirst for baijiu has sent the value of brand parent Kweichow Moutai soaring, making it the world’s most valuable distiller.

The gains have come as Moutai baijiu rebounded from a decline in popularity that’s been widely blamed on China’s crackdown on corruption. With a luxury cachet and 106-proof rating, the liquor has long been a mainstay at banquet dinners — and a special gift for anyone hoping to curry favor.

Baijiu can be made in a number of ways, but the state-owned Kweichow Moutai’s version is by far the most famous. Based in the namesake town of Maotai, in Guizhou province, the spirits-maker uses traditional labor-intensive methods and distills and ferments its liquor multiple times (seven, or even more for some varieties) before aging it.

Those practices are another reason for Moutai baijiu’s rarity and price. As Bloomberg News reports, “The grain and water used to make it must come from Maotai town, and the brew must be buried in urns for at least four years before it’s sold.”

A 375-milliliter bottle of the flagship Feitian (Flying Fairy) Moutai baijiu is currently listed at more than $160 on the Baijiu America website. But there’s been a run on the liquor, at least in part because Chinese businesses and investors see it as a hedge against inflation, as the South China Morning Post reported last spring. At that time, a recent vintage of the aged liquor could fetch more than $300, the paper said. It added that many buyers were also betting the spirit would recover when President Xi Jinping’s anti-graft campaign ended.

Those factors have made for heady days at Kweichow Moutai Co., which last year saw its market capitalization shoot past spirits giant Diageo. And after the distiller announced in recent weeks that it would raise the price of its Flying Fairy brand by nearly 20 percent, the company surpassed LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton on Bloomberg’s index of global luxury goods.

Before China’s corruption campaign took its toll, as NPR reported in 2013, Moutai baijiu’s price had inflated dramatically, from around $30 in 2003 to the hundreds and thousands of dollars one decade later. In 2012, a 1980 vintage was auctioned off for $1.3 million.

Made from sorghum and wheat, Moutai baijiu is a clear spirit that has been served to at least two U.S. presidents — Richard Nixon in 1972 and Barack Obama in 2013. Here’s how one retailer describes it: “Crystal clear with a floral nose, notes of miso with hints of ginko nuts and burnt rice. Silky palate with hints of spiciness, dry yet smooth finish.”

Visitors to Maotai have noted the town’s smell of roasting sorghum; Bloomberg says the aroma is “soy-sauce-like.” The mountainous area is also known as a wine region, with a river that has benefited from environmental protections. It’s also famous for being where Mao Zedong’s Red Army took refuge during the historic Long March, using spirits from the town for (among other things) its medicinal effects, such as disinfecting wounds.

Nixon’s Moutai tipple with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in 1972 was recounted in the book The Drunken Botanist:

“Alexander Haig had sampled the drink on an advance visit and cabled a warning that ‘Under no repeat no circumstances should the President actually drink from his glass in response to banquet toasts.’ Nixon ignored the advice and matched his host drink for drink, shuddering but saying nothing each time he took a sip. Dan Rather said it tasted like ‘liquid razor blades.’ “

After he was told about the liquor’s salutary effects on the Red Army’s soldiers, Nixon reportedly said, “Let me make a toast with this panacea.”

Article source: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/18/578904030/the-worlds-most-popular-liquor-becomes-scarce-on-many-shelves?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Syrian Kurds take cover from the rain after crossing the border between Syria and Turkey.

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Syrian Kurds take cover from the rain after crossing the border between Syria and Turkey.

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It wouldn’t make any sense to send a French-speaking refugee to a German-speaking town in Switzerland.

But under Switzerland’s current system of placing refugees, that’s a situation that can easily happen. This problem isn’t unique to Switzerland, and it’s not the only kind of mismatch that might happen.

The solution, says a new study from Stanford University’s Immigration Policy Lab and ETH Zurich, is the creation of an “algorithm” — in layman’s terms, the set of rules given to a computer that will enable it to reach a specific goal. The algorithm described in the study, published online Thursday in the journal Science, uses data to predict where a refugee — or one person in a family of refugees — has the best chance of getting a job.

It’s especially important to improve the placement process now, during the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, says Jens Hainmueller, a Stanford professor and one of the study’s lead authors.

“There are big questions about how you can facilitate the integration of refugees into host countries, set them up for success and make sure they become productive contributors to the host country’s economy and society,” he says. “It’s a significant challenge for governments that are facing these increasing numbers of refugees.”

Using the algorithm in the U.S. would have improved the employment rates of about 900 refugees by an expected 40 percent, the authors found. Their sample of refugees were those who arrived to the U.S. in the third quarter of 2016 (the most recent data available) who were free to be assigned to any location. They also did a separate test using data from refugees in Switzerland, finding that it would have improved refugee employment rates there by about 70 percent.

To create the algorithm, researchers entered data about refugees who had already been resettled, including their country of origin, language skills, age, resettlement location and employment status. They used that data to create a model that can predict the place within the host country where a refugee (or one person in a family of refugees) awaiting resettlement has the best chance of getting a job. Using those insights, the algorithm then makes recommendations for refugee placements that take into account limitations such as the number of available spots at each location.

“What we focus on is the probability that at least one person in the family finds a job, which makes sense from a family self-sufficiency standpoint,” Hainmueller says.

And the researchers say their inability to point to any one variable as the key to determining refugees’ success in finding a job seems to show that the algorithm is taking advantage of sometimes subtle interactions between variables that humans might not be able to pinpoint.

“There are some places that are just better for refugees in general. They might have stronger labor markets that make it more likely for any refugees to find employment,” he says. “We also found that certain places ended up being a better fit for certain types of refugees depending on their characteristics, things like their age, their gender, their language skills or the ethnic network,” says Kirk Bansak, one of the study’s lead authors. He’s a doctoral candidate at Stanford and a data scientist at the Immigration Policy Lab.

The idea for the algorithm came from workshops the authors had with refugee resettlement agencies in the U.S. and the Department of State about potentially improving the process of deciding where refugees are placed. (They collaborated with one agency on the study but declined to name it.)

“We had heard about all these other potential interventions, like cash assistance or training programs, but our attention very much focused initially on these [resettlement] allocations because we figured out pretty quickly that where you send refugees is a really important driver of their potential integration success,” Hainmueller says.

At the end of 2016, there were 22.5 million refugees around the world, according to the U.N.’s refugee agency. This year, the U.S. will resettle up to 45,000 refugees (in fiscal year 2018) — about half as many as it admitted in 2016.

The way the system works now is that placement officers consider factors such as medical conditions, the availability of interpreters and the location of other family members in the U.S. to help determine where a refugee will live in the U.S.

For refugees who don’t have existing ties in the U.S., placement officers at the International Rescue Committee, one of nine resettlement agencies in the U.S., look at factors such as employment rates and public transportation systems within cities, explains Robin Dunn Marcos. She’s the senior director of resettlement and processing at the International Rescue Committee.

Marcos sees this algorithm as a potential complement to the agency’s placement process.

“Many of the variables that would feed into the algorithm are things that we’ve been using for placement decisions,” she says. “The algorithm definitely seems like a valuable addition to our current approach.”

And as new data is added to the algorithm, it adapts to changing conditions, the researchers say. For example, if an agency adds data that shows newly-resettled refugees aren’t getting jobs in a certain city, the algorithm will be less likely to recommend they be placed there.

Cindy Huang, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development who wasn’t involved in the study, says this algorithm is an example of how innovation can help vulnerable people. (One of the study’s co-authors, Jeremy Weinstein, is a non-resident fellow at CGD.) And it’s an improvement on other ideas she’s seen that involve attempts to use existing technology, like e-learning platforms, to help refugees — but that aren’t cost-effective because they weren’t designed with refugees in mind.

“What the study shows is that you can improve employment outcomes, which are critical to longer-term integration,” she says. “More refugees should be resettled, but this is a way to do more with the number that have already been accepted into a country.”

But since the findings from the algorithm are based on historical data, she cautions that it’s still unproven in a practical setting.

“To validate the findings and see how it works in the messy world, the next step is a trial to see how it performs in the field,” Huang says.

Bansak and his colleagues hope to create user-friendly software and data integration that would allow resettlement agencies to use the algorithm. They’ll need about $100,000 to make that happen, Bansak says.

Marcos sees a potential wrinkle in putting this algorithm into practice in the U.S.: current policies on refugee resettlement.

“When they first started looking at this, it was in the last administration when we were bringing in a much higher number of refugees,” she says. “Not only has the ceiling been slashed in half, but the additional bureaucratic steps that have been put in place have slowed everything down.”

Courtney Columbus is a multimedia journalist based in the Washington, D.C. area. She covers science, global health and consumer health. Her past work has appeared in the Arizona Republic and on Arizona PBS. Contact her @cmcolumbus11.

Article source: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/01/18/578834177/whats-the-best-way-to-help-refugees-land-a-job?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner Clarke Gayford speaking reporters in Auckland, New Zealand.

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner Clarke Gayford speaking reporters in Auckland, New Zealand.

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The prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has announced that she is pregnant with her first child and will take a six-week break from her official duties to give birth.

In what may be a groundbreaking move, Ardern’s plan follows what was already shaping up to be a different approach to both political power and motherhood.

The 37-year old Ardern, who assumed office in late October, is the third woman to lead New Zealand and the youngest PM in 150 years.

In a Facebook post, she said that she and her partner, Clarke Gayford, expect to become parents in June. They plan for him to the primary caregiver after she returns to running the country.

Ardern was reported to be a reluctant leader of New Zealand’s ruling Labour party. She hadn’t been shy in sharing her concerns about balancing politics with family and home life. Ardern was elected leader of Labour in early August, less than eight weeks before the national election in September. Fresh, charismatic and able to appeal to young voters, “Jacinda-mania” gave Labour a new face.

She also made headlines when she fended off questions about her plans for motherhood. Shortly after she was unanimously elected as leader of the Labour party in August 2017, a TV show host, Mark Richardson, asked her whether it is OK for a PM to take maternity leave while in office?

According to the Guardian, Ardern insisted that it was “unacceptable” for women to be questioned in the workplace about their plans for motherhood:

“Ardern, visibly angry, defended the right of New Zealand women to keep their child-bearing plans private from their employer, a position upheld by the Human Rights Act of 1993, which states it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a current or potential employee on the grounds of being pregnant or wanting to have children in the future.”

The Labour party did not win the September election outright, coming in second behind the National Party. However, Ardern took control after negotiating a coalition with the New Zealand First Party, led by Winston Peters, and the Green Party. Peters, the deputy prime minister, will be acting PM for six weeks after Ardern gives birth.

Ardern said she learned of her pregnancy in mid-October. As the NZHerald reports, “A baby due in June indicates she became pregnant in September – during the election campaign.”

Ardern will become the second woman, after Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto, to give birth while running a government in modern times.

Article source: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/18/579032914/new-zealand-s-prime-minister-to-take-a-baby-break?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

The advent of shared bikes and food delivery service apps have led to an unprecedented amount of clutter on the sidewalks of China’s largest city. Where pedestrians once walked freely, they now have to compete with speeding electric scooters belonging to armies of food delivery men along limited sidewalk space due to heaps of shared bicycles strewn about.

Article source: https://www.npr.org/2018/01/16/578422476/how-the-convenience-economy-has-led-to-clutter-in-urban-china?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

A boy carries a sack of grain from a dugout canoe to shore in the village of Ambohitsara in eastern Madagascar, characterized as a low-income country by the World Bank.

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A boy carries a sack of grain from a dugout canoe to shore in the village of Ambohitsara in eastern Madagascar, characterized as a low-income country by the World Bank.

Samantha Reinders for NPR

On Friday, we posed this question to our audience: What do you think of the way poor countries are portrayed by aid groups and the media?

The question came in light of President Donald Trump’s reported description of El Salvador, Haiti and nations in Africa as “shithole countries” last week.

“When well-meaning people describe poverty as a hellhole, we shouldn’t be surprised that people end up thinking of poor places as ‘shitholes,’ ” tweeted Dina Pomerantz, a prominent development economist at the University of Zurich.

More than 100 readers shared their thoughts in our online form and Twitter. One blogger even wrote a reaction blog on the topic, saying it’s unfair to make the connection between Trump’s comments and the way aid groups portray poverty.

Here’s a roundup of responses, which have been edited for length and clarity.

We’re using the same old stereotypes.

“While many NGOs and aid agencies are working to shift the narrative around poverty, many still use the tired old tropes. Images that emphasize poverty and deprivation have a strong effect on the way Westerners view people living in low-income countries. Specifically, these images can cause Americans to perceive Africans broadly as lacking agency and autonomy.”

-Michael Artime, professor of politics and government, Pacific Lutheran University

Asking for donations shapes the way we view poverty.

“Since many aid groups and NGOs operate on the basis of voluntary donations or grants awarded on a basis of demonstrated need, I think that some of their media campaigns to solicit this funding have created many negative, helpless stereotypes of poor and developing countries.

Because they appeal to our emotions and guilt, these stereotypes are easily over-circulated and taken to mind and heart as universal. As the president has helped demonstrate [last] week, this pattern can have damaging consequences for everyone.”

-Sophie Williams

Blaming aid groups is unfair.

“As imperfect as the offerings of the aid industry are, blaming them for a changing political climate where ‘holes’ become a topic for discussion seems unfair. Public and political perceptions are often rooted in long-term myths and short-term political discussion around a country or issue like migration.

At the same time the aid industry has become more self-reflective and self-critical. Nuanced campaigns and advocacy by far outnumber alarmist stories or the denigration of people and places as a fundraising strategy.”

-Tobias Denskus, blogger, Aidnography

Trump views are probably not shaped by charity ads.

“Many NGOs strive for positive portrayal in their advertising. In the U.K. and Australia those that are members of Bond and ACFID [international development coalitions] are strongly encouraged to by codes of conduct. Obviously, crises still have to be called crises and need described as need, but my experience has been that professional NGOs being gratuitous in doing this is the exception, not the norm.

I would posit that most people’s views are shaped by their Facebook feeds and TV news. This is where the bulk of the information the average person receives comes from. I rather suspect President Trump’s views are formed by Fox News, not his frequent reading of advertising material from aid NGOs.”

-Terence Wood, research fellow, development policy center at Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy

We’re using the wrong adjectives.

There’s a problem with positivity too.

The question is besides the point.

“I think that regardless of how aid groups and the media portray poor countries, it should never be an excuse for politicians to be racist jerks.”

-Jeff Malotte

We try to tell a balanced story.

“As a communications person working for a small global health NGO, this is a balance I’m constantly grappling with. We need to emphasize that it’s the situation we are addressing that is problematic, not the people. We must portray those who receive our services with dignity, as whole people with whole lives, whole families, whole jobs, hobbies, hopes, challenges and joys. We must not reduce them to just a hopeless victim. We strive to weave all of this throughout our messaging.”

-Amy Donahue, communications, Pivot Works

Thank you to everyone who shared their views on the topic. Keep an eye out for another callout on Goats and Soda next month.

Editor’s note: NPR has decided in this case to spell out the vulgar word that the president reportedly used because it meets our standard for use of offensive language:It is “absolutely integral to the meaning and spirit of the story being told.”

Article source: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/01/16/578428373/we-asked-you-answered-what-shaped-trumps-view-of-poor-countries?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

A man gets ready to let one loose. Not pictured: all the folks around him diving for cover.

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A man gets ready to let one loose. Not pictured: all the folks around him diving for cover.

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Now, there is ample reason for you to cover your nose when you sneeze. It’s flu season, after all, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have made it quite clear they don’t want you spreading your germs with reckless abandon.

But let’s not go overboard here, people.

In a report Monday in the journal BMJ Case Reports, several ear, nose and throat specialists detail the woes of a man who tried to entirely stifle a strong sneeze. And those woes aren’t exactly pretty.

The unnamed patient in question — a 34-year-old described as “previously fit and well” — attempted to stop a particularly forceful sneeze by “pinching the nose and holding his mouth closed.”

Not long afterward, he noticed something was wrong.

It hurt when he swallowed and he observed a “change of voice.” What’s more, his neck had swollen and, when he tried to move it, produced an unsettling popping and crackling sensation.

As it turns out, his doctors noticed it too, once he had been admitted to the emergency department at Britain’s Leicester Royal Infirmary. X-rays revealed the cause: little “streaks of air” embedded in the soft tissue of his neck, conditions known as subcutaneous emphysema and pneumomediastinum.

A radiograph of the man’s throat shows streaks of air in the back of the throat (black arrow) and extensive surgical emphysema (white arrow).

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A radiograph of the man’s throat shows streaks of air in the back of the throat (black arrow) and extensive surgical emphysema (white arrow).

Courtesy of BMJ Case Reports

In other words, by trying to suppress the full force of his sneeze the man literally ruptured his throat. The air that sneeze would have blasted forth instead made its way into his soft tissue as tiny bubbles.

But don’t panic: After at least a week or so of recovery the man was well enough to leave the hospital — with “advice to avoid obstructing both nostrils while sneezing,” Yang adds — and his follow-up two months later revealed a clean bill of health.

It should be noted that this is a unusual case. In fact, Dr. Zi Yang Jiang, a head and neck surgeon who was not involved in the report, tells The Associated Press that such an incident is “exceedingly rare,” and that he sees just one or two such cases a year.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy — or recommended — to stamp a sneeze out.

“It’s powerful,” allergist Eli Meltzer told NPR’s Nancy Shute. “We actually blow out the sneeze at 40 mph. The discharge can go 20 feet. And it’s said that 40,000 droplets can come out when you spritz with the mouth and the nose when you sneeze.”

The moral? As the doctors put it in Monday’s report: “Halting sneeze via blocking nostrils and mouth is a dangerous manoeuvre and should be avoided.”

So, next time you feel that familiar tingle behind the nostrils, just go ahead and let it rip. But for the sake of your coworkers, friends and everyone you hold dear, please: Break out a tissue, too.

Article source: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/16/578410729/man-ruptures-his-throat-by-stifling-a-big-sneeze-prompting-doctors-warning?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

NPR’s Kelly McEvers speaks with Tareq Baconi, a visiting scholar with Columbia University’s Middle East Institute, about ISIS’ declaration of war against Hamas. The two organizations have a history of animosity that could rock an already volatile region of the Middle East.

Article source: https://www.npr.org/2018/01/15/578172703/what-effect-isis-declaration-of-war-against-hamas-could-have-in-the-middle-east?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world