Marc Silver

The Zika virus has gone from an obscure disease to an international public health emergency.

Editor's note: The original version of this post contained a map illustration intended to represent the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, which poll respondents identified as the region presenting the greatest risk to travelers and expatriates in 2016. The map had a number of errors. The countries of Cyprus, Israel and Turkey were either not shown or not labeled; the label for "Palestine" should have read "Palestinian territories"; and Afghanistan and Pakistan were mistakenly included. NPR apologizes for these errors.

When the Nobel for Medicine goes to two scientists who discovered a drug used to fight a variety of neglected diseases, how do you tell the story?

Is it real or is it satire?

In Thailand, a dark-skinned actress laments, "If I was white, I would win."

In India, a movie director says, "I can't have any dark people on my set" and hands a skin-lightening product to two dusky actors.

Namala Mkopi always wanted to be a pediatrician. He doesn't know exactly who or what inspired him. He just wanted "to treat kids."

And nothing would stand in his way, not even biology. "It wasn't my thing," he admits. "I never really liked biology."

One thing we've learned here at Goats and Soda is that the world of global health and development is swimming in abbreviations/initialisms. We try not to use them in the blog because let's face it, dear readers, if you saw a story about NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) trying to improve BHS (basic health services), you'd probably click over to a video of RCC (really cute cats).

Global health and development abbreviations do have their defenders. They are a convenient shorthand for people who work in the field.

Although not everyone is a fan.

A headline for a chart caught our eye this week: "US Holiday Lights Use More Electricity than El Salvador Does In a Year."

Who's that man bending his body like a pretzel in today's Google doodle?

Yogis might know. It's Bellur Krishnamachar Sundaraja (B.K.S.) Iyengar.

Iyengar, who died in 2014, would have been 97 years old today. That's why he's getting the #GoogleDoodle treatment.

He began doing yoga after childhood bouts of malaria, tuberculosis and typhoid. In his 2006 book Light on Life, Iyengar wrote that his brother-in-law suggested "a stiff regime of yoga practice to knock me into shape and strengthen me up to face life's trials and challenges as I approached adulthood."

When you search for #ParisAttacks, you get nearly 2.2 million results on Google.

When you search for #KenyaAttacks, you get about 300.

The Parisian response is a reaction to the terrorist attacks last Friday, which took 129 lives and injured far more. People around the world have expressed solidarity. Facebook users are coloring their profile photos with the red-white-and-blue French flag, and the hashtags #PrayforParis, #WeAreAllParisians and #ParisAttacks are trending on Twitter.

It's World Kindness Day today.

Yes, it's kind of a made-up holiday. But really, it's not a bad idea to celebrate kind words and deeds.

In Washington, D.C., today, NPR staffers rescued a beautiful, black-and-white hen that was darting about busy North Capitol Street by our headquarters.

In the latest batch of Hillary Clinton emails to be released, there was a list of topics that she presumably wanted to look into some more, dated Oct. 18, 2010. One line in particular stood out: "Plumpy'nut?"

You may be wondering: Plumpy what?

For those who work in global health, the word is instantly recognizable.

It was a story that brought the NPR interpreter to tears.

As part of our series on 15-year-old girls around the world, reporter Jason Beaubien and producer Rebecca Davis were looking for a 15-year-old Syrian refugee. The group World Vision helped lead them to Fatmeh, who lives with her family in a makeshift shelter on a farmer's land in Lebanon. Fatmeh wanted to tell her story: She used to live in a nice house, have a computer, loved going to school.

A woman finds a lump in her breast.

And for a long time, she doesn't tell anybody. Not her family. And not her doctor.

That happens all too often in low- and lower-middle-income countries, says Dr. Ben Anderson, a surgical oncologist who is the director of the Breast Health Global Initiative at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Sustainable, sustainable, sustainable.

Sustainable. Sustainable.

SUSTAINABLE!

Oh, excuse me. I was just counting the number of times the word "sustainable" (and its close cousin, sustainability) appear in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that the U.N. will endorse this coming weekend.

I got 75. And I probably missed a few.

The SDGs, as they're called, aim to improve life on earth, especially in poor countries — no more extreme poverty, the eradication of "a wide range of diseases," education and equal rights for all, taking care of the planet.

We're welcoming an unseen guest to our Jewish holiday celebrations this fall: My mother-in-law, Jan Dale, who died in 2005.

Since her passing, I've tried to keep Jan a presence at our festive meals with my attempts to bake some of her favorite recipes. For instance, to mark the start of Yom Kippur Tuesday night, I've made a batch of Jan's crumbly, cinnamon-scented mandelbread — that's Yiddish for "almond bread," a twice-baked cookie that's the Jewish version of biscotti.

But getting here has taken a bit of detective work.

It's not exactly clear why Dahlia Yehia was in Nepal. Was she trekking? Did she want to volunteer to help earthquake victims?

Hello pencils, hello books, hello teacher's dirty looks.

Yes, school is back in session. And students are no doubt grumbling about the end of the carefree summer.

But in some parts of the world, there are kids who don't get a chance to complain about what a drag it is to go back to school. Because they really want to go to school ... only they're not able.

Taylor Swift's video for her new song "Wildest Dreams" launched a storm of Internet criticism, including a searing review on this blog.

Yes, it's a cliche: "Yoga saved my life."

Google the phrase, and you'll get 12 million matches!

But when Walter Mugbe says it, he really means it. It's not an exaggeration. It's the truth.

OK, so maybe it was the photo of the painted goat that first caught our eye. (After all, we are Goats and Soda).

But there are many other gems from the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest.

Muhammad Yunus just had a milestone birthday. On June 28, he turned 75. It's a big moment for a man who's had many big moments in his life — most notably the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for founding Grameen Bank, which loans small sums, aka "microcredit," to the poor, mainly women, so they can start their own businesses.

Yunus stopped by NPR last week — he was in Washington, D.C., for a conference — wearing the long, open-necked "kurta" shirt of his native Bangladesh. "[A tie] looks funny on me," he joked.

The Trevor Noah countdown has begun. The South African stand-up comedian will begin hosting Comedy Central's Daily Show on Sept. 28. And what better way to get ready than ... by doing comedy.

Ruhy Patel, 17, lives in Doylestown, Pa. When she was 15 she was planning to run for student council office. "All the other people running were boys," she says, "and people were like, 'Well, you're not going to win.' You feel intimidated because you're the only girl in the room. It makes you question if you'd be OK in the field of politics."

Did she drop out? No.

Did she win? "I did!"

"I feel like it kind of makes you want to try harder when people say no," says Patel.

She was only 15 minutes late. That's amazing! After all, she is the first lady of the United States. She has a busy schedule. She was scheduled to speak to the Girl Up Leadership Summit at 11:15 a.m. And by 11:27ish she was in the house.

"You all look amazing," Michelle Obama told the 200-plus activists who represent some of the world's 1,000 Girl Up clubs. They'd come to Washington, D.C., to bond, to learn about girls' issues and to lobby Congress.

Pages