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The Best, the Worst, of Times

NEED TO KNOW The Best, the Worst, of Times SAUDI ARABIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/cb30405d-bd4c-40bf-a603-50857b6bc532.png"] It was a time of lavish spending on ambitious projects. It was a time of brutal repression. In Saudi Arabia, it was business as usual. Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently unveiled plans for The...

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Wasting Away

NEED TO KNOW Wasting Away SOMALIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/15cd6f05-9c0c-4887-86f7-20dad73138cf.png"] Death has two faces in Somalia these days. If famine doesn’t claim one’s life in the war-torn nation on the Horn of Africa, then Islamic militants might. Drought has brought Somalia to the precipice of its worst famine in 40 years. More...

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Pinned Down

NEED TO KNOW Pinned Down ECUADOR [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/7dbfcec9-d17b-43ce-97b7-0ce48bb12d1f.png"] Ecuador’s president, Guillermo Lasso, managed to drag his country out of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, however, he might be too embattled on two fronts to solve the other major problems facing his South American country. On the one hand, he is trying...

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The Long Road

NEED TO KNOW The Long Road UKRAINE [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/25f6c507-5013-1f57-bcbe-a295d2d6dac9.png"] Just over six months after the start of the Russo-Ukrainian War, Sébastien Roblin at NBC News was thinking that Ukraine’s current counteroffensive to liberate the city of Kherson might prove to be the decisive gambit to bring about the beginning...

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Out of Touch

[featurecontent] NEED TO KNOW Out of Touch CHILE [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/baed026e-8c02-42fc-8c27-383b8bf87a6c.png"] Technocrats, scientists, environmentalists, and other experts and policymakers love Chile’s proposed new constitution. As Nature detailed, the new founding document for the South American nation would “boost science, expand environmental protection and improve the nation’s education system.” Problem is, few Chileans...

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Choosing Forgiveness

NEED TO KNOW Choosing Forgiveness INDONESIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/ec0c6f24-24ad-434b-bf1d-56e472da6e67.png"] Indonesian officials are considering granting early release to Hisyam bin Alizein, also known as Umar Patek, the leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, an al-Qaida-linked terrorist group that killed 202 people in a bombing at a tourist spot in Bali in 2002. The officials...

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Breathing Room

NEED TO KNOW Breathing Room SOUTH SUDAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/63f3bf8f-63ac-093e-e3bd-bc4bfa78b55b.png"] Rather than hold elections in December as previously planned under a 2018 peace agreement that ended its almost five-year civil war, the government of South Sudan will hold elections in two years as a “transitional leadership” team makes supposedly necessary...

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From the Energiewende and Back

NEED TO KNOW From the Energiewende and Back GERMANY [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/96d66e57-2644-40b9-aed7-fc66370c3077.png"] German officials this winter may keep open three nuclear power plants that they previously had planned to shut down as part of the Energiewende, or “energy turnaround” in German, that aims to transition Europe’s largest economy to renewable...

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The Little Country That Could

NEED TO KNOW The Little Country That Could LATVIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/0df1b17d-b329-d9f3-7aee-5a7c2c321285.png"] Latvian authorities began dismantling a 262-foot-tall Soviet-era monument that commemorates the Allies’ victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. As Bloomberg reported, the move came after Russia launched a massive cyberattack against Estonia for taking down a...

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Lights Off

[featurecontent] NEED TO KNOW Lights Off EUROPE [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/f9c83d42-7d43-4e2f-a6d6-f7bf04744b7d.png"] Not a drop of rain has fallen this summer on the reservoir in Sau, a town in Spain around 65 miles north of Barcelona. Now, as Vice reported, the entire Santa Romà de Sau Church is exposed as if the reservoir...

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Twisting and Turning

NEED TO KNOW Twisting and Turning IRAQ [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/7f5678d9-eac3-49b9-9755-dcad8927e883.png"] From 2003 to 2009, the Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr waged an insurgency against American troops who had invaded his Middle Eastern country in 2003. Today, the soldiers are mostly gone. But al-Sadr is still arguably the most powerful force in...

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The Old, the New and the Dead

NEED TO KNOW The Old, the New and the Dead ANGOLA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/e580f12f-c318-4898-ba82-0cb1373117e3.png"] The recent return of the body of the late president of Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos, to his home from Spain was a fitting prelude to the tensions that have been growing in the country in...

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Door Fees

NEED TO KNOW Door Fees SINGAPORE [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/7975032b-ee5e-4c38-bc1f-27c01a1778c5.png"] In the 2013 novel (and 2018 hit film) “Crazy Rich Asians,” the ingénue travels to Singapore and realizes that her boyfriend is so fabulously wealthy that their backgrounds might be too different for them to share a life together. Spoiler alert –...

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A Changing Country

NEED TO KNOW A Changing Country UKRAINE [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/25f6c507-5013-1f57-bcbe-a295d2d6dac9.png"] Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Ukraine had 40 million people. Now it is 6.7 million short. Those missing millions have crossed the border, to Poland, to Romania, to Hungary, to safety. But that is only part of the story:...

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Two Diamonds

[featurecontent] NEED TO KNOW Two Diamonds INDIA/ PAKISTAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/70dcc710-39f9-4d07-a37e-84a4eff885c5.png"] India and Pakistan had the rare experience of separating from one another at the same time they achieved independence from Britain, 75 years ago this month, on Aug. 15, 1947. Both countries appear to still be in search of themselves...

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A Grave Hour

NEED TO KNOW A Grave Hour UKRAINE [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/25f6c507-5013-1f57-bcbe-a295d2d6dac9.png"] The Chernobyl disaster in 1986 was among the worst nuclear accidents in world history. Now, the world is bracing for another. “Humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,” warned UN Secretary-General António Guterres earlier this month. Thirty-six years...

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The War Dividend

NEED TO KNOW The War Dividend CAMEROON [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/6863deda-11be-43e3-9033-4bec4b249409.png"] A few months ago, elite government soldiers in Ndop in the Northwest region of Cameroon detained more than 30 young men on motorcycles who were part of a funeral procession, but whom the soldiers said they believed were separatist fighters. “The...

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Terror, Redux

NEED TO KNOW Terror, Redux AFGHANISTAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/2beac6fe-a680-4765-a2ff-d329629a897c.png"] On Monday, the Taliban marked the first anniversary of their takeover of Afghanistan with a national holiday, small victory parades and televised speeches boasting of their “great achievements” over the past year, the Associated Press reported. “We fulfilled the obligation of jihad...

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Suffer the Monkeys

NEED TO KNOW Suffer the Monkeys WORLD [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/486ddb7e-3777-4543-ab44-3536360a3ce9.png"] What’s in a name, Shakespeare once wrote. Well for monkeys these days, everything. Since May, monkeypox has been spreading exponentially around the globe, with countries that have never seen a case now reporting surges. Unfortunately, fatigue and anger stemming from the...

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Having a Cow

[featurecontent] NEED TO KNOW Having a Cow NETHERLANDS [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/50b9b3d5-1234-443a-9402-f9f624fae487.png"] Near the prime minister’s office in The Hague, the seat of the government of the Netherlands, lies the Koediefstraat (Cow Thief Street). Perhaps it was the Koediefstraat that inspired the Dutch government’s latest measure to combat climate change and reach the...

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