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Longform’s Picks of the Week

The best stories from around the world.

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Every weekend, Longform highlights its favorite international articles of the week. For daily picks of new and classic nonfiction, check out Longform or follow @longform on Twitter. Have an iPad? Download Longform’s new app and read all of the latest in-depth stories from dozens of magazines, including Foreign Policy.

Members of the GIPN and RAID, French police special forces, walk in Corcy, northern France, on January 8, 2015 as they carry out searches as part of an investigation into a deadly attack the day before by armed gunmen on the Paris offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. A huge manhunt for two brothers suspected of massacring 12 people in an Islamist attack at a satirical French weekly zeroed in on a northern town on January 8 after the discovery of one of the getaway cars. As thousands of police tightened their net, the country marked a rare national day of mourning for January 7's bloodbath at Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, the worst terrorist attack in France for half a century. AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS LO PRESTI (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS LO PRESTI/AFP/Getty Images)

Why Europe Can’t Find The Jihadis In Its Midst” Mitch Prothero, Buzzfeed News

A small, well-organized ISIS cell has been at work in the heart of Europe for years, recruiting criminals, exploiting freedom of movement, and evading counterterrorism efforts. This spring and summer, as multiple attacks rocked Europe, Mitch Prothero spoke to the people shuttling between investigating the crimes that had already happened, while struggling to prevent new ones.

he assignment given to the Belgian police in the summer of 2014 was straightforward but high stakes: Follow two men suspected of involvement with ISIS through the streets of Brussels. Find out who they meet, record what they say. A court had approved wiretaps for the men’s phones and for the use of tracking devices, and a specialized team of covert operators from the secret service had broken into the men’s homes and vehicles and planted bugs and GPS devices without leaving a trace.

Rather unusually, there had been little problem getting senior police officials and the courts that oversee Belgium’s personal privacy laws to approve the mission. Partly, it was the two men’s history: They had long criminal records — drug dealing, petty theft, and the occasional violent robbery — and now, unbeknownst to them, had been placed on a terrorism watch list.

BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 04: A maths teacher uses his white board to explain a sum to pupils King Edward VI High School for Girls on 4 October, 2006, Birmingham, England. The independent school for girls continues it's tradition to be one of the top schools in Britain having achieved a 94% pass rate at A and B grades in it's A level results. Last year, 27.1% of pupils in independent schools gained three or more grade A's at A-level, compared with 8% of pupils in all state schools. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Teaching Abroad in Tumultuous Times” by Alizah Salario, Pacific Standard

There’s been an uptick in terrorist attacks throughout the West. So why is the U.S. considered safe, and Europe a risk?

“Aren’t you glad you aren’t there now?” my mother asked me during the recent attempted coup in Turkey. She’d said something similar after the horrific terrorist attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, and after the March bombing along Istiklal Street in the city’s cosmopolitan center, where I’d shopped and dined and danced until 2:00 a.m. many times.
Granted, a lot has changed in Turkey — and the world over — since I moved back to the United States in 2009. In the past year alone, there have been high-profile attacks in Istanbul, Brussels, Paris, Nice — and Orlando and San Bernardino. Lifestyle magazines like Town & Country and Conde Nast Traveler turn veiled questions about terror like “Is Europe Safe to Travel This Summer?” into buzzy headlines. The xenophobic rhetoric of a presidential candidate at home and a refugee crisis abroad have stoked fears of otherness and unleashed a poisonous strain of hate. In part, a similar brand of black and white thinking (“Either you’re with us, or you’re with the terrorists”) during the years post-9/11 is what compelled me to move abroad, and view the world from a different perspective.

RECIFE, BRAZIL - JANUARY 26: Dr. Angela Rocha (C), pediatric infectologist at Oswaldo Cruz Hospital, examines Ludmilla Hadassa Dias de Vasconcelos (2 months), who has microcephaly, on January 26, 2016 in Recife, Brazil. In the last four months, authorities have recorded close to 4,000 cases in Brazil in which the mosquito-borne Zika virus may have led to microcephaly in infants. The ailment results in an abnormally small head in newborns and is associated with various disorders including decreased brain development. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Zika virus outbreak is likely to spread throughout nearly all the Americas. At least twelve cases in the United States have now been confirmed by the CDC. Brazil reported the first cases in the Americas of local transmissions of the virus last year. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The Race for a Zika Vaccine” by Siddhartha Mukherjee, New Yorker

In the throes of an epidemic, researchers investigate how to inoculate against the disease.

Barouch’s and Michael’s teams were now racing forward with their Zika project. “It became a major focus for all of us,” Barouch said. A frenetic energy took over the lab: postdoctoral researchers and graduate students stayed late into the evening, wolfing down takeout dinners and shuttling samples between the centrifuges and incubators.

The vaccination experiments were launched in early April. Larocca immunized the mice with a “sham” shot, the naked-DNA vaccine, or the inactivated-virus vaccine. They waited for four weeks for the inoculum to generate an immune response. Then Abbink—gloved and gowned, draped in a sterile blue smock in the isolation room—prepared the so-called challenge virus, which had been kept in tissue-culture flasks brimming with red broth, and they injected the mice with the virus.

A picture taken on January 17, 2016 in the Saudi capital Riyadh shows a giant poster on a building bearing a portrait of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz (R) and Crown Prince and Interior Minister Mohammed Bin Nayef. When Saudi Arabia's king Abdullah died a year ago on January 23, his subjects expected their country to keep a steady course under new King Salman. / AFP / Fayez Nureldine / TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY IAN TIMBERLAKE (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)

Saudis and Extremism: ‘Both the Arsonists and the Firefighters’” by Scott Shane, New York Times

Critics see Saudi Arabia’s export of a rigid strain of Islam as contributing to terrorism, but the kingdom’s influence depends greatly on local conditions.

Saudi leaders seek good relations with the West and see jihadist violence as a menace that could endanger their rule, especially now that the Islamic State is staging attacks in the kingdom — 25 in the last eight months, by the government’s count. But they are also driven by their rivalry with Iran, and they depend for legitimacy on a clerical establishment dedicated to a reactionary set of beliefs. Those conflicting goals can play out in a bafflingly inconsistent manner.

Thomas Hegghammer, a Norwegian terrorism expert who has advised the United States government, said the most important effect of Saudi proselytizing might have been to slow the evolution of Islam, blocking its natural accommodation to a diverse and globalized world. “If there was going to be an Islamic reformation in the 20th century, the Saudis probably prevented it by pumping out literalism,” he said.

A Colombian police officer stands next to a Metro bus burned by criminal gang members in Belen neighborhood, Medellin, Antioquia department, Colombia on April 1, 2016, during a 24-hour strike enforced by the criminal gang 'Los Urabenos' to the commercial activity and the transport system in different Colombian regions. 'Los Urabeños' handed out pamphlets threatening to kill anyone daring to defy their call to strike. AFP PHOTO/Raul ARBOLEDA / AFP / RAUL ARBOLEDA (Photo credit should read RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Colombia’s War Just Ended. A New Wave of Violence Is Beginning.” by Elizabeth Dickinson, Foreign Policy

As the country declares peace after five decades of war against the FARC, a scramble for territory and control over the drug trade is emboldening new, anarchic gangs.

They killed him on this very road, Liney Maria recalls, pointing to the dusty, unpaved trail that passes her home and continues a quarter mile farther up the mountain. He was shot in broad daylight, right on the main avenue of the barrio de invasión, as informal settlements like this one are called. His death was the third or fourth targeted killing in July; she lost count. Nor does Maria remember meeting the victim very often in life. But the 37-year-old mother is well-acquainted with the fear these murders are meant to instill.

“The things that are happening here, these deaths,” she said, “are causing a lot of concern in the neighborhood.” Families close to the victims have fled, fearing they could be next. The warnings, like the gunshots, are heard loud and clear.

Photo credits: Elizabeth Dickinson/Foreign Policy; FRANCOIS LO PRESTI/AFP/Getty Images; Christopher Furlong/Getty Images; Mario Tama/Getty Images; FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images;  RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images

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