Algeria’s Answer to Cheating on School Exams: Turn Off the Internet

CAIRO — Vexed by cheating on high-school exams, an age-old problem abetted by social networks and smartphones, the Algerian government reached this week for a drastic response: It turned off the internet. Internet access has been shut down nationwide for at least an hour a day, beginning on Wednesday, at the times when students are taking the annual baccalaureate exams. In addition, “all smart devices that can access the internet” have been removed from the country’s over 2,000 examination centers, Algerian state news media said. The digital blackout is intended…

Warring Leaders of South Sudan Meet for Peace Talks

The two leaders at the center of the brutal civil war in South Sudan, which plunged the world’s youngest nation into a humanitarian crisis, have met face to face for peace talks for the first time in several years. South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, met Wednesday night with his former vice president, Riek Machar, who leads the country’s main opposition forces, in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Their talks were expected to continue on Thursday. South Sudan’s civil war has dragged on for years. Fighting erupted in December 2013 between…

Eritrea to Send Delegation to Ethiopia for Peace Talks

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea said on Wednesday that he would send a delegation to neighboring Ethiopia for peace talks for the first time since 1998, when a border war broke out and left tens of thousands of people dead. The announcement came after Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, took a major step this month toward calming tensions by saying that the government would fully accept the terms of a peace agreement with Eritrea signed in 2000. Eritrea, one of the world’s most closed-off nations,…

The Elephant’s Superb Nose – The New York Times

Elephants have a keen nose. They have more smell receptors than any mammal – including dogs – and can sniff out food that is several miles away. A new study tests their ability to distinguish between similar smelling plants.Published OnJune 19, 2018CreditImage by akrp, via Getty Images In the world of noses, the elephant’s trunk clearly stands out for its size, flexibility, strength and slightly creepy gripping ability. Go ahead, try to pluck a leaf with your nostrils and see how you fare.So perhaps it should come as no surprise…

The Man Who (Almost) Wiped Out the Guinea Worms

N’DJAMENA, Chad — Dr. Ernesto Ruiz-Tiben’s days on the front lines of the guinea-worm wars often end with a dinner of what is commonly called poulet bicyclette — chicken so lean and muscular that it could ride in the Tour de France. But before anyone on his team eats, one tradition must be honored. Dr. Ruiz-Tiben raises a beer: “To the demise of the worm!” “To the demise of the worm!” cry all in attendance, clinking glasses. It is a ritual he has followed for decades, ever since becoming the…

There’s Been a Global Increase in Armed Groups. Can They Be Restrained?

Raiding among cattle-herding tribes is a traditional part of life in South Sudan, but in the past five years, the skirmishes have become more violent and unrestrained. Small armed bands that traditionally guarded their communities’ livestock have been drawn into bitter proxy battles between the country’s two largest tribes: the Dinka, who hold power in Juba, the national capital, and the Nuer. No longer limited to raiding each other’s villages and herds, these bands of well-armed tribal fighters have carried out massacres and atrocities, with women and children increasingly among…

After Violence, Congo’s Virunga National Park Closes for the Year

In contrast to the violence, Virunga has been considered a conservation success story: at the end of May, the World Wildlife Fund announced that a new survey coordinated by the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration found that the number of critically endangered mountain gorillas around the world exceeded 1,000 for the first time in years, setting a record, thanks in large part to Virunga. As the number of gorillas rose, so did the number of tourists. Since 2014, the park has received 17,000 visitors, despite the fact that visiting the gorillas…

Maya Jribi, Tunisian Fighter for Democracy, Is Dead at 58

TUNIS — Maya Jribi, the first female leader of a political party in Tunisia and a tenacious supporter of democracy under the country’s dictators well before the Arab Spring, died on May 19 at her home in a suburb of Tunis. She was 58. The cause was colon cancer, her sister Najla Jribi said. Ms. Jribi was an opposition figure during the long autocratic regimes of both Habib Bourguiba and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who was overthrown in early 2011 in an upheaval that began the wave of uprisings across…

After My U.N. Office Was Attacked, Our Somali Colleagues Went Back to Work the Next Day

The blast wave thundered through the compound, ripping the expletive on my lips in two and cramming half of it back down my throat. The radio-room supervisor, Hassan Osman, and I stumbled to the balcony. In that cathedral-quiet moment between the detonation of the car bomb and the staccato barrage of gunfire, we knew they were coming. Shabab militants were storming the compound, squeezing off bursts from the Kalashnikovs at their hips, leaping the gate’s smoking wreckage. It was June 19, 2013. “Dewaine. Dewaine.” Hassan’s voice was steady, his hand…

In Nairobi, an Art Scene in Transition

NAIROBI, Kenya — The artists who make up the art collective Brush Tu are a convivial bunch, trading jabs and funny anecdotes in the midmorning sun on the back patio of their studios and exhibition space in the neighborhood of Buruburu. But Michael Musyoka, a painter and co-founder of the group, said that being introduced at family weddings as an artist could be a bit tricky. “People will say, ‘Oh that one is a lawyer, and that guy over there is an architect’ so when it gets to me it’s,…