Readings

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Rubicon to the rescue

For Outside, Kyle Dickman profiles Team Rubicon, an organization that rallies America's struggling war veterans around a new mission: disaster relief. Since its formation in 2010 in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti, the organization has shaken up the aid industry with its off the cuff methods. Dickman accompanies teams on relief efforts as the organization aims to take on the Red Cross.

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Crossing Israel, with help

"In a perfect world there would be decent hospitals for the Palestinian people," writes Shaul Adar. In the real world, though, it's up to Road to Recovery, a group of Israeli volunteers, to drive sick Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip to hospitals in Israel where they can be treated. Adar goes along for the ride in this piece from The Atlantic.

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The wives of Boko Haram

For Al JazeeraChika Oduah spends time in a safe house in Nigeria with "the women who love and loved" soldiers fighting for terrorist organization Boko Haram. Her interviews reveal complicated sentiments on the part of the young women meant to be taking part in a de-radicalization program. Some are eager to move on, but many others profess admiration for their husbands - and for the crimes they have perpetrated. 

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Protesting pipelines

BuzzFeed’s Anne Helen Petersen tells the story of how social media helped garner unprecedented attention to a protest against the Dakota Access Pipelines (#NoDAPL). Last weekend, more than 2,000 Indigenous and environmental activists gathered to shine a spotlight on their shared mission: to protect the Sacred Stone Camp's water. So far, the protests have brought pipeline construction to a halt. 

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A pilgrimage to Madinah

After burying her grandmother outside of Toronto, Fathima Cader accompanies her family on a trip from Canada to Saudi Arabia, where she grew up. For Hazlitt, Cader documents her journey, from worrying that her brother would be stopped for being erroneously listed on a no-fly list to observing the racism inherent in the process of visiting one of the Islam's holiest sites. 

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Assange and Russia

This New York Times investigation by Jo BeckerSteven Erlanger and Eric Schmitt examines the activities of WikiLeaks during founder Julian Assange's years holed up in London's Ecuadorean embassy, and comes to the conclusion that "WikiLeaks’ document releases, along with many of Mr. Assange’s statements, have often benefited Russia, at the expense of the West." 

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Snowden's angels

How did Edward Snowden stay under the radar during the two weeks between his NSA revelations from a Hong Kong hotel and his escape to Moscow? Handelsblatt's Sönke Iwersen tells the story of the Canadian human rights lawyer who took on Snowden's case and the refugees who didn't hesitate to give him shelter in the city's slums amid an international manhunt. 

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The night Germany lost control

On Sept. 4, 2015, hundreds of thousands of refugees flooded across the border of Germany in what was eventually dubbed "Merkel's border opening." A year later, 12 reporters from ZEIT and ZEIT ONLINE, a German newspaper, string together the series of events that led to the night that would come to change the landscape of the continent forever.

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Assad's grip on the UN

A Guardian investigation reveals questions around the impartiality of the UN's role in Syria. As  money flows through Damascus, new documents show that the UN has invested millions of dollars in humanitarian programs associated with the Assad government even though they are all affected by the EU sanctions regime. 

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Chasing jihadis

For BuzzFeed, Mitch Prothero investigates the Islamic State's European tentacles - the cell that's been recruiting terrorists and flying under the radar for years. The results aren't good; Prothero's piece paints a picture of an intelligence and police service with too few Arabic speakers, operating in a landscape with too many cracks for shady and dangerous characters to slip through.

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The war on drugs in the Philippines

“I don’t care about human rights, believe me," said Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte shortly after being elected. For TIMERishi Iyengar chronicles the "autocratic tricks" that led Duterte to wage the country's bloodiest war on drugs. As the bodies begin to pile up, the once-popular leader now has citizens running scared.

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Brazil, from boom to chaos

Next week, the 2016 Olympic Games will be but a memory, and the world's attention will move on from Rio. But what next for the country, steeped in corruption, political dysfunction and scandal? Franklin Foer traces the recent history of Brazil, from Lula's election to the Petrobras affair to the failure of Rousseff, and posits that despite the country's troubles, all is not lost. For Slate.

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Keeping girls in school

“Every school holiday," the head of a school in eastern Uganda tells Helen Lewis of the New Statesman, "we lose ten to 15 girls. They elope or conceive.” This piece tells the story of how the school's supporters are changing families' minds about the value of keeping girls in class. They're also using something seemingly simple - sanitary pads - to offer students a sense of equality and liberation. 

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Tales from Puerto Rico, America's Greece

In The New York Times, Mary Williams Walsh relays the stories of Puerto Ricans who live in precarious conditions as the island suffers a massive debt crisis. From a mother who resides in a crumbling public housing complex to a doctor whose hospital can no longer afford medical supplies, Walsh paints a surreal and haunting depiction of a state at odds with itself.

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Dwindling hope in South Sudan

For The Washington Post, Kevin Sieff captures the anxieties of South Sudanese civilians living in a floundering U.N. displacement camp in Malakal. Facing extreme weather, food shortages, crumbling facilities, low morale and the threat of spreading violence from the capital, Juba, those in the camp worry peacekeepers might not be able to protect them for much longer. 

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Tragedy in the desert

Last September, a group of Mexican tourists and their Egyptian guides set out from Cairo into the desert, an excursion made by countless groups before them. Before the day was out, eight tourists and four guides would be dead, gunned down by Egyptian military aircraft, seemingly out of the blue. With no answers being offered by the Egyptian government, Tom Stevenson investigates for Foreign Policy.

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An ambassador's quest

Many people know Kevin Vickers, now ambassador to Ireland, for his heroic actions as sergeant-at-arms during the 2014 attack on Parliament Hill, or for tackling a protestor who was making a disturbance during a memorial in Dublin. For Maclean's, Terry Glavin shows another side of this Canadian, who helped unravel the mystery of a famous poet-revolutionary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

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Death of a diplomat

A car bombing in Washington in 1976 left the remains of one man, a woman on the side of the road, "and a crazed man... screaming about an organization called DINA." For the Atavist Magazine, Zach Dorfman dives into the killing of Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier, revealing much about U.S. foreign policy, and a conversation between Henry Kissinger and Chilean minister Hernan Cubillos on the case.

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Austria's far right

In all the furor over Brexit, the question of whether Austria could become the first Western European country since World War II to have a far right president has flown under the radar (answer: there's going to be an election in October, and it could be quite close). In this New York Review of Books piece, Jan-Werner Muller examines why the far right has been so successful in a country whose population seems to be doing relatively well.

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Inside City 40

The forbidden Russian city of Ozersk — also known as City 40 or, more tellingly, "the graveyard of the earth" — was constructed in total secrecy after the Second World War, as the site of the Soviet nuclear weapons program. It's now one of the most contaminated places on earth — so why do its residents want to stay? Samira Goetschel reports for The Guardian, in advance of the release of her documentary.