Bathers swim in the geothermal hot springs at Iceland's Blue Lagoon near Grindavik. Bob Strong / Reuters

The Arctic Suicides: It’s Not the Dark That Kills You
Rebecca Hersher | NPR
“In Greenland, the problem was only getting worse. Between 1970 and 1980, the suicide rate there quadrupled to about seven times the U.S. rate (it's still about six times higher). The suicide rate was, and still is, so high that it's not an exaggeration to say that everyone in Greenland knows someone who has killed himself. Many people I spoke with struggled to explain what that felt like, to live in a place where suicide is so pervasive, and most of them settled uncomfortably on the same word: normal.”

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See What Soldiers Around the World Eat When in the Field
Urvija Banerji | Atlas Obscura
“The food in the Singapore Army combat ration wouldn't be out of place on a restaurant menu. The meals, which are halal, consist of Mongolian fried noodles, chicken masala rice, and a dessert made of peanuts and lotus root. Each ration pack is intended to provide a soldier enough food for one day, and though the meals don’t look like much, it would probably be amazing to have fried rice and hot noodles in the field.”

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Islamic State
Marwan Hisham | Foreign Policy
“Even while war rages between the many factions struggling for control in Syria, economic life continues between the country’s fractured territories. The Islamic State uses the sale of oil to finance its wars, while for the civilians and anti-Assad armed groups that inhabit the region, buying Islamic State-produced oil is the only way that they can get their hands on enough fuel to make their cities habitable. Men like Abu Samou—who is not a member of the Islamic State, but a civilian trying to earn a living—are the middlemen who make this possible.”

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Iceland’s Water Cure
Dan Kois | The New York Times Magazine
“These public pools, or sundlaugs, serve as the communal heart of Iceland, sacred places whose affordability and ubiquity are viewed as a kind of civil right. Families and teenagers and older people lounge and chat insundlaugs every day, summer or winter. Despite Iceland’s cruel climate, its remoteness and its winters of 19 hours of darkness per day, the people there are among the most contented in the world. The more local swimming pools I visited, the more convinced I became that Icelanders’ remarkable satisfaction is tied inextricably to the experience of escaping the fierce, freezing air and sinking into warm water among their countrymen. The pools are more than a humble municipal investment, more than just a civic perquisite that emerged from an accident of Iceland’s volcanic geology. They seem to be, in fact, a key to Icelandic well-­being.”

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The French Town That Lost 15 Boys to Jihad
Claire Sergent | POLITICO
“Sevran, an unloved town a 20-minute train ride from Gare du Nord, has seen 15 of its young men depart for Iraq or Syria since 2014. Nine are now believed dead, according to Véronique and Thierry Roy, who are in touch with families in the same situation.”

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What Have the Saudis Done For Us Lately?
Paul Pillar | The National Interest
“Whenever the question is asked, about relations with the Saudis, what's in it for the United States, the answer inevitably turns immediately to oil. ... It is true, as many observers have noted, that the U.S. interest in undisturbed oil exports extend to the entire global oil trade and not just to America's own imports. But the broader the base of customers importing Saudi oil, the less likely any new politically motivated embargoes would even enter into Saudi thinking. This dimension provides a reassuring thought even when thinking the unthinkable—about revolutionary change bringing hostile and radical elements to power in Arabia—in which scenario the new rulers would also have incentive to keep selling the oil. They could not drink it.”

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