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Kenya: the business of running

ITEN, Kenya — In Iten, a village 8,000 feet above Kenya's Rift Valley, it sometimes seems that everyone can run the marathon in under 2 hours and 15 minutes. Elsewhere, this might be national record pace, but in Kenya running 11 minutes slower than the world record just isn't good enough. "You have to run under 2:10," said Edwin Letting, 33, while training to shave off three minutes of his personal best, 2:13, at Iten's dirt racetrack, which he shares with dozens of other runners, cows and sheep simultaneously.

Opinion: Somalia slides

NEW YORK — The Somali war widow shuddered as she recounted how Al Shabaab insurgents jailed her for a week and whipped her 185 times, doling out lashes during prayer calls. She received this punishment for selling cups of tea. Al Shabaab routinely gives women lashes and a night in jail for selling tea or other activities that bring them into public contact with men. This woman got a particularly rigorous beating because she sold tea from an area of Mogadishu, the capital, that is controlled by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

Five Frames: Best photos of the week

BOSTON — From GlobalPost's editors, a selection of the best pictures of the week.

Opinion: Mugabe bashes gays again

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Thirty years ago, on April 18, 1980, Zimbabwe was born amid joyous celebrations that the country had at last won its freedom from colonial rule after a protracted bush war. Today there is little enthusiasm for the southern African nation’s 30th anniversary of independence as it continues to languish under the iron fist of President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party. Bereft of policies that might rescue the country from the morass to which he has consigned it, Mugabe, 86, has turned to what he believes is a panacea: Bashing gays.

South Africa guards against terrorism at World Cup

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — When the issue of security during the upcoming World Cup is raised, it is usually in reference to South Africa's high crime rate. But there has been surprisingly little discussion about the threat of terrorist attacks. South Africa is one of the few places in the world where the threat of religious extremism is not part of everyday life. The road blocks, security checks and frisks before entering buildings that are common around the world are rare here.

Bible translated into Mali's Dogon language

SANGHA, Mali — It had been more than 50 years since the first Christian missionaries came to Dogon Country, so it was hard for many to remember the words they once used to describe how to sacrifice a goat to an animist god. Josue Teme, 39, became a Christian as a teenager and spent years avoiding animism. But when he took a job translating the Bible’s Old Testament into Toro So, one nearly two dozen Dogon languages, Teme and his translation partner, Timothee Kodio, knew there was only way to learn the words they needed to translate ancient Israelite practices.

Opinion: Time to return to Morocco

DAKHLA, Morocco — Reading recently about the remarkable journey of 13 Western Saharan (Sahrawi) refugees from the camps of Tindouf in Algeria to their homeland in Morocco reminded me of the same journey I myself made a few months ago. What would make these people risk death under the unforgiving sun of the Sahara rather than remain in the Polisario-controlled camps in southern Algeria? The answer is all too obvious: Life in Tindouf is so unbearable, and disillusionment with the Polisario so bitter, that they were prepared to risk their lives to escape.

Return to the Hotel Rwanda

KIGALI, Rwanda — It’s a Thursday night in the Rwandan capital and the poolside bar at Hotel des Mille Collines is thumping.

Inside a Darfur refugee camp

KASS, Sudan — Hundreds of Darfuris fled violence in their home villages to seek shelter in Kass, a camp for displaced people. But they found little peace. In February, gunmen riding horses and camels invaded the village of approximately 80,000 inhabitants, raiding the thatched huts and seizing people without explanation, according to the displaced residents. The invaders beat people, tied them up and pushed them in the gutters while making their way through the camps.

Opinion: Gadhafi holds Switzerland hostage

ZURICH, Switzerland — Switzerland’s neutrality has always ensured the Alpine nation a place in world diplomacy. But, increasingly, it’s the Swiss who are in need of a mediator in disputes with other nations instead of being called upon as one. Over the past 20 months Switzerland has been embroiled in a feud with Libya that involves trade embargoes, visa and travel restrictions, and the jailing of a Swiss business man in Tripoli.
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