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.

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