Lauren Bohn

It's Time to Start Giving a Shit About Toilets

Don't snicker: Open defecation is one of the world's most stubborn problems. And the inability to adopt even Victorian-era sanitation is keeping India from being a superpower.

Across an arid summer moonscape in middle-of-nowhere rural Zambia, villagers gather around Chief Macha of Choma to discuss a pressing, unspoken issue: shit.

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'The Freedom Fight Has Returned to Turkey'

As Kurds head to the front lines to fight the Islamic State, they face a Turkish government attacking them from the rear.

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — Homer's Odyssey, Ray-Ban aviators, polished shoes, teeth-whitening gel -- these are the things Seyfullah left behind in his room in southeast Turkey when he traveled to Iraq and Syria last month to fight against the Islamic State.

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'They Made Us Take the Seat of Death'

Meet a man executed by the Islamic State -- who survived.

DOHUK, Iraq — One sunny day this summer, 17-year-old Khidir lay on the ground and pretended to be dead for what seemed like an eternity.

On Aug. 15, masked Islamic State (IS) militants stormed into his village, Kocho, about 15 miles southwest of the town of Sinjar, ordering hundreds to gather in the village's only school. There they took everyone's mobile phones and valuable possessions -- wedding rings, money, life savings, all gone in a flash. They told the villagers not to worry, that they would simply drive them all to Mount Sinjar to be with their fellow Yazidi people, who practice an ancient religion considered heretical to the Islamic extremists.

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The Blood Brothers of Anbar

Meet Omar: A 43-year-old, well-educated hospital director in Fallujah. Does Iraq have any hope for reconciliation if men like this support the Islamic State?

SHAQLAWA, Iraq — In the past year alone, 43-year-old Omar says he's watched hundreds die. Or as he describes it, "boom, gone, the end."

Omar is an administrator of one of the busiest hospitals in Fallujah, in Iraq's restive Anbar province. First, his brother nearly lost a leg in a mortar attack. Then, his neighbor's home was destroyed in shelling. Soon after, his mother narrowly missed a bombing in their once-placid neighborhood. But it wasn't until he watched a 5-year-old girl in a bright pink shirt take her last gasp of air outside his office, her body torn apart from shelling, that he knew he had to leave his hometown. Life in Iraq, as he puts it, has become an endless flow of "dark, dark red."

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Suspended Animation in the Strip

For Gaza’s young and ambitious, the ongoing war is just another one of life’s many challenges.

Amal Ashour has big dreams, which extend beyond the 139-square-mile territory she calls home. One of the most promising students in the Gaza Strip, the 20-year-old Ashour wants to get her master's degree in English literature and become a "serious" college professor. She spent her senior year of high school studying in Minnesota through a U.S.-government funded program -- a rare opportunity for bright students in Gaza, which has been choked by an Israeli blockade since Hamas seized power seven years ago. 

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