Pakistan is one of the remaining corners of the world where polio still lingers. Last year, the government declared a national emergency, and with the help of international institutions, embarked on an aggressive vaccination campaign.
So far, the results have been promising. The number of new polio cases is about a third of last year's total of 198.
But the new campaign, like previous efforts, hasn't been able to overcome one critical problem: getting into parts of Pakistan's lawless tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan to vaccinate the children there.
While much of America was watching the second presidential debate, about 2,000 people — many of them between the ages of 20 and 40 — were doing something very different. They had gotten a rare and prized ticket to the only U.S. appearance by J.K Rowling, as she promotes her new book for adults, The Casual Vacancy.
The crowd was huge but happy — double the number originally planned, forcing the organizers to change venues. Attendees got a ticket to the Lincoln Center event and a copy of the book, which Rowling would later sign.
César Aira's The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira is only 80 pages long, but, like many of his books, it reads with the intensity and fullness of a much longer novel. In it you'll find an eccentric flaneur, an evil archenemy, a vicious guard dog, an ambulance that goes only in a straight line.
Dr. Aira, the main character, likes to wander the streets of a town called Pringles. That this happens to be the name of the author's hometown in Argentina may or may not be significant. As he walks, he thinks up theoretical miracle cures to imagined illnesses.
The rebels of the Free Syrian Army recently retook the small farming village of Khirbet al-Joz, just across the border from Turkey. Soon after, Syrian men who had been in Turkish refugee camps returned to the village to see what had happened to their homes.
Activists from a group called the Syrian Emergency Task Force also visited Khirbet al-Joz and filmed video of villagers as they toured the charred ruins.
One man points to a hole in the wall: "Look, this is where the rocket entered. These are Bashar's reforms," he says, referring to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
To speak with Ryan Murphy about his show American Horror Story is to hear this declaration repeatedly: "She classes up the joint."
Murphy is referring to his star, Jessica Lange, who recently won an Emmy for her role in the show's first season. If you've been a fan of Lange's film career, from Tootsie to Frances to Blue Sky, you might wonder why this treasure of the American theater, this two-time Oscar winner, is slumming in a lurid cable TV horror show.