In 2012, there were only 223 cases of polio in the world, as compared to 350,000 in 1988. An excellent, thoroughly reported new article in Wired, by the Kabul-based Matthieu Aikins, explores what it will take to completely eradicate the disease — and it will take a lot:
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The global campaign, decades in the making, has come down to this: an all-out, very expensive effort to eliminate the last few problem areas in some of the most troubled and undeveloped parts of the final three countries where polio is endemic: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria. It is one of the most expensive and ambitious global health initiatives today, and it is tantalizingly close to victory. There are now just a few hundred cases of paralysis per year worldwide, down from roughly 350,000 when the campaign started in 1988. But going the final inch will require more than just good science and vast amounts of money—it will require a tremendous force of collective will.
In honor of Memorial Day, Foreign Policy published a fantastic photo essay on a year in the life of an American soldier. “It has been a tumultuous year for the U.S. Armed Services,” the magazine writes, “one that included the complete withdrawal of troops from Iraq and preparations for a dramatic drawdown of combat troops in Afghanistan, the end of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, the removal of a dictator in Libya, and a strategic pivot to Asia. At the same time, the American military has weathered a scandal over burning Qurans in Afghanistan and stared down the barrel of a looming budget fight in Congress.” The essay includes images of soldiers training in the U.S. and elsewhere, patrolling and in combat in Afghanistan, and returning home.
In honor of the world’s estimated population hitting seven billion next week, Foreign Policy has compiled a list (with beautiful photographs) of the world’s seven fastest-growing cities. China and India dominate the list, but a few of the entries may surprise you. For example, number five is Kabul, Afghanistan.
“One of the oldest cities in the world, it is growing rapidly despite — or perhaps because of — the security concerns that plague Afghanistan,” writes Kedar Pavgi. “The city has 6 million inhabitants, and continues to expand at 4.74 percent a year. But the city faces serious resource shortages. By 2050, the city will need six times the amount of water it currently uses in order to quench the thirst of its inhabitants. Read More »
Sure, serving in the military long-term will likely make you a decent living, but what about the other effects military service has on veterans today? A new research paper from the Pew Research Center takes a look at the attitude of and challenges to American veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A total of 1,853 veterans were surveyed, and the poll shows some surprising things. Read More »
Foreign Policy’s recent photoessay offers readers a look at life on real Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams. Read More »