Catholic priests sprinkle holy water to bless churchgoers' palm fronds during Palm Sunday mass, marking the start of the Holy Week, inside of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help church in Paranaque city, Philippines, on April 9, 2017.Romeo Ranoco / Reuters

The Hero of Bunj
Amanda Sperber | Roads & Kingdoms
“Even though it serves a community of roughly 200,000 people, Bunj hospital in South Sudan is a bare-bones affair. The walls are dingy, medical supplies are scarce, and there’s only one operating table, which sits starkly in the center of a white-tiled room. With 120 beds, the majority of patients share space on mats and fabric on the well-swept cement floor. The maze of halls within the hospital complex are lined with those awaiting treatment and visitors. Despite the dire straits and outrageous heat, the hospital hums along pleasantly. It’s not surprising that Dr. Evan Atar, the medical director and the hospital’s only surgeon, doesn’t have a moment to spare.”

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The Church of Duterte
Joe Freeman | Foreign Affairs
“Since coming to office in June 2016, Duterte has waged a brutal, largely extra-legal war on drugs that has claimed more victims during his short tenure than the death toll under the brutality of Marcos’ long rule, according to rights groups. Nonetheless, Duterte’s violent rhetoric and policies have won him vast popularity: the extension of martial law in the south, for example, has faced little meaningful resistance. By contrast, Marcos faced a genuine popular uprising. Images from his time show main thoroughfares clogged with protesters. For both strongmen, the Catholic Church in the Philippines was a natural foil. But whereas Marcos had Sin, today’s church conspicuously lacks a towering leader to position against Duterte. And finding one would be a challenge, when the president himself has so successfully positioned himself as a moral force on the side of good versus evil.”

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What’s It Like to See a Democracy Destroyed?
Susan Glasser | Politico Magazine
“What’s it like to watch a country implode? To see a democracy destroyed and an economy crater? Since 2014, American journalist Hannah Dreier has documented just that in Venezuela, once one of the world’s wealthiest nations and still home to what are believed to be the planet’s largest oil reserves. She wrote for the Associated Press about what it was like to live in a place with the world’s highest murder rate—and the world’s highest rate of inflation. About the breakdown of hospitals and schools, and how the obesity epidemic that plagued a rich country was quickly replaced with people so hungry they were rooting through the garbage on her doorstep.”

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Kenyan Women Just Fought One of the Most Violent Campaigns in History
Marie Berry, Yolande Bouka, Marilyn Muthoni Kamuru | Foreign Policy
“It’s all part of an alarming trend in Kenya toward ever-increasing levels of violence against female politicians. To be sure, violence is part of the political landscape in Kenya, regardless of gender. Just last week, a top election official was tortured to death by unknown assailants. But our research suggests that women in politics—as well as female supporters, campaign staff, and family members—are being uniquely targeted, and in gender-specific ways. The goal: to turn back progress ushered in by a new gender quota, implemented as part of a 2010 constitutional overhaul, that has vaulted more women into positions of power in Kenya than ever before.”

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Braving Cancer Amid the Chaos of Syria
Caelainn Hogan | The New York Times
“In Syria these days, people talk about a ‘cancer of fears.’ They blame the tumors in the bodies of their children on the traumas of war: on the daily fear of government airstrikes and opposition attacks; on the fumes breathed in from the use of dirty fuel since the oil fields were taken over by ISIS; on bodies weakened and warped from shortages of food. Many fear that even if the war ends, the conflict will mark the health of future generations. The effects of the carcinogenic materials used in the war will most likely only be reflected in Syrian cancer rates years down the line. An oncologist working in a clinic in besieged Eastern Ghouta, the site of chemical attacks, already reported significantly rising rates of cancer in her patients.”

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