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Marc Silver

Here at Goats and Soda, we are always on the prowl for breaking goat news. And this week was a good week for goats.

Goats to the rescue

The star of a new HBO documentary called Open Your Eyes is wizened and gray, although she's most likely only in her 60s – exact ages can be hard to figure out in Nepal, where she lives. She lives with her husband and son and young granddaughter. Playing with the child in an early scene in the film, she says, "When I feel her toes, it feels like mine."

On Sunday, aid worker Jeremiah Young couldn't tell if he was hearing thunderclaps or bombs.

That's the scene in Juba, capital of South Sudan. Rainy season has begun. And intense fighting broke out on Thursday — a new round of fighting between supporters of the vice president and troops backing the president. Heavy gunfire was exchanged, along with mortar and grenade explosions.

What do girls want? What do they really, really want?

That's the topic of the 1996 song "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls, which was definitely aimed at would-be boyfriends ("get your act together we could be just fine").

When a goat gazes into your eyes, it may be issuing a silent plea for help.

That's the suggestion from a new study of goats co-authored by Christian Nawroth, who researches animal cognition at Queen Mary University of London, published in Biology Letters.

Did you know the United Kingdom is one of the most generous countries in the world when it comes to aid for global health and development?

The amount given in 2015 was the equivalent of $18.7 billion in U.S. dollars. That's second only to the $31.08 billion from the United States. It's an impressive total given the comparative size of the two countries and their economies.

The contestants wear flowers in their hair. And ribbons. And brightly colored tops.

They parade around. They're judged.

The winner gets a tiara, plus cakes, jars of honey and a coupon for a free haircut.

In the United States, if a hospital didn't have running water even for one day, it'd be a crisis.

But in some parts of the world, that's business as usual.

At first it seems like a typical music video.

A big, calm-looking bearded man sits in a posh armchair and sings in an emotion-choked baritone, "I'm running, I'm running, I'm running."

He's Grammy Award-winning jazz singer Gregory Porter.

A little bit into the song, a rapper joins in: "I fight through the night just to find a stronger day."

In the most recent episode of globetrotting chef Anthony Bourdain's travel-food show Parts Unknown on CNN, you hear a strong, female voice saying, "lakh, lakh."

To many in the NPR audience, it may be a familiar voice.

For five days and five nights in February, NPR reporters Jason Beaubien and Kelly McEvers were "embedded" with Doctors Without Borders in the middle of nowhere. They were inside a massive United Nation's compound framed by earthen walls topped with razor wire. It's known as the POC — Protection of Civilians site. Heavily-armed U.N. peacekeepers patrol the perimeter of the compound; more than 120,000 civilians live there, seeking a safe haven in a war-torn country.

The blog "Goats and Soda" obviously has big love for goats.

And so we were very excited to learn about the new book GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human.

What's the best way to help out someone in need? Just give money? Or try to make sure they'll spend the money effectively?

That's a dilemma that's faced anyone confronted by someone begging on the street. And it's an international problem as well. When rich countries give aid to poor countries, how do they know the money will go to good use?

The Millennium Challenge Corporation has come up with one strategy. MCC, as it's called, is a U.S. government foreign aid agency created by Congress in 2004 to fight global poverty.

Keo Motsepe has made Dancing With The Stars history in many ways.

In 2014, he became the first black dancing professional on the show (they're the ones who teach the "stars" how to cha-cha-cha) and the first from South Africa.

"It is unbelievable, sir."

That's how NPR contributor Wilbur Sargunaraj characterizes the heat that is gripping parts of his native India. "It's just getting worse and worse and worse, and people are suffering."

It sounds like a joke. A goat walked into a Starbucks ...

But it's true.

It happened a couple of days ago in Rohnert Park, Calif., when a goat whose name is Millie somehow got away from her home and ambled over to the nearby strip mall. Employees dangled a banana in front of the goat in the hope of apprehending her, but she preferred to chew on a cardboard box. Police officers took the ruminant to an animal shelter, where her owner reportedly reclaimed her.

"My cheeks are sore from smiling," says Loyce Maturu.

The 24-year-old, who lives in Harare, Zimbabwe, is posing for a photo at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C. She's come to be interviewed about her activism. She's a champion for people with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (she has been diagnosed with both). So really, the pain of smiling is nothing compared to what she has been through.

And she's joking, of course, about how hard it is to pose for a photo. She even takes off her glasses because she wants to show off her eyes.

In a brilliant April Fools' day spoof, the Washington Post declared, "Weary professors give up, concede that Africa is a country."

The authors are professors who focus on African countries: Laura Seay at Colby College, and Kim Yi Dionne, who's at Smith College.

A Key Lesson From Ebola: You Can't Forget About Politics

The Ebola virus marks a milestone this month. It has been two years since the first case was confirmed in West Africa, the start of a devastating epidemic that claimed more than 11,000 lives. The anniversary is making health workers think about what the world has — and hasn't — learned from the experience.

The shutdown of Washington, D.C.'s Metrorail system for an entire day — 29 hours to be exact — for a safety inspection prompted a New York Times interviewee to say: "It's the capital of the United States and one of the biggest business centers in the country. This is like a developing country."

The annual letter from the Gates Foundation calls for an "energy miracle" — the creation of a cheap and clean source of energy to get power to the 1.2 billion people on the planet without electricity.

This post was updated on March 14.

She walked through the valley of death and never lost her faith. Garmai Sumo, a 29-year-old nurse in Liberia, was a member of Body Team 12, one of the teams that collected the bodies of Ebola victims for cremation.

When you edit a blog called "Goats and Soda," and you read a story about a goat locked in a car in the parking lot of a Home Depot in Oxford, Mass., and you learn that the goat turned on the hazard lights and wipers, pooped on the driver's seat and ... drank an old cup of soda, you have no choice.

You have to cover the story.

Don't get pregnant.

That's the advice given to women by the governments of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and El Salvador in light of a possible link between the Zika virus, which is spreading in those countries, and a birth defect called microcephaly, which results in an abnormally small head and possible brain damage. Brazil has reported thousands of cases of microcephaly since the outbreak began there last spring; researchers are trying to determine whether the virus is the cause.

Do you know any global health stories that should be getting coverage — but are overlooked by the media?

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