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A soldier of the African Union's AMISOM force walks past weapons seized after heavy fighting early on August 15, 2014 in Mogadishu as African Union troops backed government forces in the battle to seize weapons from a local militia.

- AFP/Getty Images

MELBOURNE, Australia — On September 5, the US military confirmed that it killed Ahmed Godane in an airstrike south of Mogadishu. The Pentagon called it a “major symbolic and operational loss to Al Shabaab” insurgents.

A military offensive against Al Shabaab was underway in south-central Somalia, and Godane’s death was a necessary if transient victory. Al Shabaab quickly announced its new leader. Shortly, a suicide car bomber struck a convoy outside Mogadishu as “retaliation.” The convoy was operated by AMISOM, the African Union Mission in Somalia, a regional peacekeeping mission.

So, Godane was killed, but an uninterrupted war continues in Somalia.

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Saudi Shiite Muslim men take part in Ashura mourning rituals to commemorate the killing of Imam Hussein, grandson of Prophet Mohammed, in the mostly Shiite Qatif region of Eastern Province on December 6, 2011.

- AFP/Getty Images

TEL AVIV — The Shia minority in Saudi Arabia, comprising 10 to 15 percent of the population, has what can best be described as a rocky relationship with the ruling Sunni Al-Saud family.

Located primarily in the oil-rich Eastern Province, there remain deep-seated perceptions among many Sunni citizens that Shiism is heretical. The Shia population counters with allegations of institutionalized discrimination.

Shia demands for change have triggered periods of increased demonstrations, including on a larger-scale in 1979 and 1980, and again in 2011 and 2012 when they coincided with unrest across the region referred to as the “Arab Spring.”

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People play in a camp for survivors of the January 2010 quake in Haiti which killed 250,000 people, on February 28, 2013 in Port-au-Prince. The UN has in Haiti a huge mission of peacekeepers led by Brazil, helping the impoverished country with its political strife and the impact the devastating 2010 quake. Hundreds of thousands are still living rough in squalid makeshift camps, and they now face rampant crime, a cholera outbreak and the occasional hurricane.

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DENTON, Texas — Haiti has never fully recovered from the devastating earthquake of 2010. Widespread homelessness, impassable roads, food insecurity, and access to clean drinking water continue to hinder recovery efforts.

But perhaps the biggest problem is created by one of the most basic human functions—defecation.
Cholera, though eliminated before the earthquake, has come roaring back and shows little sign of abating. This deadly disease is spread through contact with infected feces. Despite public awareness campaigns, thousands in cities like Cap Haitien and Port-au-Prince, are still using the “flying toilet” – a plastic bag – and spreading the disease from person to person, house to house.

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A statue representing a child receiving a injection of vaccine is seen at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters on September 5, 2014 in Geneva. A vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus could be made available for healthcare workers by November, the World Health Organization said Friday, saying safety testing of two possible vaccines was underway.

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LONDON — The coverage of the Ebola epidemic to date has focused on treatment, or the lack of it: the fact that Ebola has no cure; the heroic efforts to keep patients alive; the use of a new drug never before tested on humans.

All have received considerable attention. So, too, has the terrifying pace of the epidemic in some of the poorest communities in Africa.

Treatment is certainly a critical component of the response to Ebola. But the single-minded focus on treatment is obscuring the most important fact about this current Ebola epidemic. It can be contained and stopped, within months, with tools already at hand, and at a reasonable cost.

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Iraqi Peshmerga fighters take position at a post near the jihadist-held city of Zumar in Mosul province on September 4, 2014. Iraqi security forces, now bolstered by thousands of Shiite militiamen as well as Kurdish fighters, have clawed back some ground northeast of Baghdad and Kurdish forces backed by Iraqi air are fighting to retake Zumar from Islamic-State (IS) militants.

- AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Over the past decade, the United States has worked with Kurdish authorities by funneling support through the central Iraqi government in Baghdad. Within the last few weeks however, a fundamental shift has emerged in US engagement with the Kurdish semi-autonomous region.

Recognizing the dysfunction of Nouri Al Maliki’s regime in Baghdad, the US has begun directly providing military support and armaments to the Kurds. European allies are following suit; helmets and body armor are being provided directly by France, Britain, Germany and even the Czech Republic. Other European Union nations, including the Netherlands and Italy, have agreed to arm Kurdish security forces.

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NEW YORK — For a woman who risks assault, incarceration or death because of what she says and writes, Yoani Sanchez comes off as entirely serene and at peace with herself. And this soft-spoken 39-year-old, a wife and mother of just over five feet tall, is one of the most famous people taking on one of the most famous revolutions of our time: the Cuban Revolution.

Yoani has taken on the Cuban government not by protesting on the streets of Havana, which surely would land her in jail, but by writing about her daily life — a sort of quiet protest — and publishing what was once completely unthinkable: a Cuban blog.

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Smoke rises from the site of a suicide attack in Ghazni on September 4, 2014. A Taliban attack on a government compound in Afghanistan on September 4 killed 13 security personnel and left at least 60 other people wounded when a truck bomb triggered hours of fighting, officials said.

- AFP/Getty Images

BRUSSELS —The Afghanistan military’s shameful practice of forcing children into its ranks might be nearing an end at last.

Last month, the government of Afghanistan took an important step toward ending such abuses by endorsing a United Nations road map that includes screening and verification procedures to check birth dates and circumstances of recruitment of soldiers and police.

Afghanistan is one of only seven countries whose national security forces are included on the United Nations Secretary-General’s “list of shame” for recruiting and using children. These forces are primarily the Afghan Local Police (ALP), locally based paramilitary units, as well as the army and the Afghan National Police (ANP), which functions regularly as a counterinsurgency force.

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A boy helps his older siblings to wash a car in a street of La Paz on May 7, 2014. Hundreds of Bolivian children work as farmers in the fields, perform dangerous tasks in mines or trying to survive in cities of one of the poorest countries in South America where child labor, far from being prohibited, it is considered a way of developing "social conscience."

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NEW YORK — A controversial new law in Bolivia makes it the first country to legalize work by 10-year-olds. One justification offered by officials sounded awfully familiar: “Kids want to work.”

We’ve spent the last year investigating child labor in the United States, where children at age 12, and even younger, work for tobacco farmers like Paul Hornback, a Kentucky state senator.

“Children need to experience things,” Hornback said on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last month. “When I was a 7-year-old, I was wanting to work.”

Hornback wasn’t the first person to try to justify child labor that way.

We’ve heard that argument in our work around the world — whether about children working on gold mines in Mali and Tanzania, children harvesting sugar cane in El Salvador, or child domestic workers in Morocco. Bolivia’s regressive new law was influenced by pressure from a union of child workers arguing they need to work to support their families.

We’re asked, “Don’t these children want to work?”

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US opera singer and goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Barbara Hendricks (R) looks on as stateless people are registered on June 26, 2014 in a neighborhood of Abidjan during her visit to Ivory Coast to highlight UNHCR's campaign on statelessness.

- AFP/Getty Images

ABIDJAN, Côte d'Ivoire — Until recently, Anastasie, 14, was living under a bridge in a small village in western Côte d'Ivoire. Her mother died when she was a baby. She has never met her father. She was abandoned by her foster family, and has no other ties. She has no documents to prove her identity. No one can vouch for her place of birth or testify that she was born to an Ivorian parent, the strict legal requirement to prove citizenship in Côte d'Ivoire.

Being “from nowhere,” bereft of citizenship, is not just an administrative inconvenience; it has severe consequences. When Anastasie turns 18, she will not be able to go to university or get a job. She will not be allowed to open a bank account, own land, get legally married, register the birth of her children, travel or vote.
Anastasie is not alone. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that close to 10 million people around the world also are stateless and are not considered nationals of any country.

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in the capital Tehran on June 14, 2014. Iran may consider cooperating with the United States in fighting Sunni extremist fighters in Iraq if Washington acts against them, Rouhani told journalists.

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KABUL — It has now been more than a month since my friends, journalists Jason Rezaian and Yeganeh Salehi, were detained in Iran. No formal charges have been brought against them, and nobody knows where they are or who ordered the arrest.

What does seem clear, however, is that they were not arrested for anything they wrote or reported. Rather, the two seem to be used as pawns in a political struggle, of which not just they but also the Iranian people are victims.

Jason, an Iranian-American citizen, has been The Washington Post’s correspondent since 2012. Yeganeh, or Yegi to friends, has reported for various outlets, including the Emirati newspaper, The National and GlobalPost. Both were formally authorized to work as journalists. They were arrested in their Tehran apartment on July 22 by unidentified plainclothes officers who reportedly went to the effort of trashing the place while they were at it.

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