Hannah Bloch

The rate of deforestation in Brazil has increased by 16 percent over the past year, the country's Environment Ministry announced.

Brazil has often declared progress in reducing the rate of deforestation in the Amazon, but the government's own figures, released Thursday, show the challenges still facing the country.

The Islamic State's activities in Iraq and Syria are well-known, but the group is gaining a toehold elsewhere in the world as well. In a chilling new documentary, a long-haired fighter claims that an ISIS-run "school" teaches all local children from the age of 3 in Afghanistan's Kunar province.

Editor's Note: The photos in this story may be distressing to some viewers. The original version has been updated to include additional details.

The numbers associated with today's migration crisis are huge: 4 million Syrians fleeing their country; 3 million Iraqis displaced. But it was the image of a solitary child — a toddler in a red T-shirt, blue shorts and Velcro sneakers, found face-down on a Turkish beach — that shocked and haunted the world this week.

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Amid the horrors of war in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, it's become easy to overlook Afghanistan. Remember Afghanistan? Back in the mid-2000s, it was known as the "forgotten war," eclipsed by the bloodshed in Iraq. Now it's overshadowed all over again. But there's plenty of reason to pay attention.

Pakistan's Supreme Court has stayed the execution of Asia Bibi, a 50-year-old Pakistani mother of five who was sentenced to death by hanging for insulting Islam. On Wednesday, the court agreed to hear her appeal.

Bibi's death sentence was handed down by a lower court in 2010 for committing "blasphemy."

The BBC quotes her lawyer telling reporters outside the Supreme Court: "The execution of Asia Bibi has been suspended and will remain suspended until the decision of this appeal."

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani education activist and youngest-ever Nobel Peace laureate, celebrated her 18th birthday today by inaugurating a secondary school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, near Syria's border.

SDSS J0100+2802 is the rather understated name scientists have given to an exceptionally luminous, newly discovered quasar. It's 12.8 billion light years away and shines as brightly as 420 million suns. At its center, there's a super-sized black hole — as massive as 12 billion suns — that formed some 900 million years after the Big Bang.

While Paris worries about mystery drones, a Dutch town is confronting an aerial threat of its own: owl attacks.

Sister Fa is a Senegalese-German rap star. Leyla Hussein is a Somali-born, London-based documentary filmmaker and psychotherapist. Their day-to-day lives are different, but they have a great deal in common.

"We're both survivors of FGM," Hussein explains. "We both have daughters and we didn't cut our daughters."

Checking into a hospital can boost your chances of infection. That's a disturbing paradox of modern medical care.

Here's a gift idea that's hard to top: a $195,000 watch, made partly from recycled components of assault rifles seized in Africa. Not only is it an attention-getting item, but it's also a chance to do good. Each purchase funds the destruction of 1,000 weapons in central Africa.

"Now we're in it."

That's what Liberian health worker Lorenzo Dorr tells me. The first two cases of Ebola have been confirmed in Grand Gedeh County, in Liberia's southeast, where Dorr is based.

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