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Photo taken on November 28, 2013 shows staff members of the Themba Lethu Clinic in Johannesburg, the largest antiretroviral treatment site in the country, posing behind candles commemorating World Aids Day (December 1). South Africa has been hailed as a model for HIV treatment, but some now fear its very success may be breeding complacency and making people less careful about infection.

- AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — News broke last week that South Africa has the fastest growing rate of new HIV infections of any country in the world, underscoring the urgency of the fight against HIV/AIDS and the fragility of our progress to date. It also underscores a perpetual truth: leadership matters and we need bold, innovative and affirmed commitment to end this disease.

Early this year, the Obama administration nominated Deborah Birx as the next US Global AIDS Coordinator and first woman to assume the role. Last week, the Senate voted to confirm her appointment. In this position, Birx will oversee the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest commitment a nation has ever made to combat a single disease. Our hope is that she uses this leadership role to work with diverse groups to promote the health and rights of all people and to expand the integration of family planning and HIV services.

We have come a long way in the fight against HIV/AIDS through PEPFAR and other programs. Yet as South Africa’s news illustrates, troubling disparities, stigma, and discrimination persist and women often bear the brunt of the burden. These challenges require immediate programmatic and policy attention.

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A unit of Ukrainian border guards line up before starting their patrol on the Russian border, in the village of Veseloye, in the Kharkiv region, on April 4, 2014. With a reported 40,000 Russian troops gathered along the border just weeks after annexing Crimea, Ukrainian soldiers have been deployed to repel an invasion from invisible but feared troops amassed on the other side.

- AFP/Getty Images

LONDON — The key to understanding what’s going on in Ukraine and what’s likely to happen next is to pay more attention to what governments do rather than to what they say.

That’s a rule I learned many years ago as a foreign correspondent reporting events in Israel. An older and more experienced correspondent advised me to watch the Israeli bulldozers, see where they are building roads if you want to measure the government’s real intentions. He was right.

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CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts — Long after saturation media coverage is over, disaster survivors carry on, with or without outside help, often with the kind of inspiring courage and resilience that we see in the Boston Marathon bombing survivors.

We also see this courage and resilience in survivors elsewhere, like in my country, Pakistan, where such violence is all too frequent. In Pakistan, however, there is no long-term institutional support, no organized follow-up for bomb blast survivors.

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Secretary of State John Kerry testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing concerning the 2015 international affairs budget, on Capitol Hill, April 7, 2014 in Washington, DC.

- Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Syria is a mess, a hopeless, sectarian debacle. There are no good options, only the choice between two evils: the repressive regime that murders its own people and jihadist fanatics that want to establish a pure Islamic state.

This is the dominant media narrative and it could not be further from the truth.

There is another choice. Her name is Natalia. Living in Homs, every morning she takes her own life in her hands to deliver life-saving food, water and medical supplies to towns under siege from Bashar al-Assad's brutal regime.

Natalia believes in democracy, human and civil rights and legal protection for minorities.

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Palestinian refugees living in Syria and now residing in Thailand hold flowers as they gather during a demonstration outside the United High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Bangkok on April 10, 2014. The Palestinian refugees gathered to call for automatic renewal of their visas and for a quick refugee status to be conferred by UNHCR from the situation of civil war happening in Syria.

- AFP/Getty Images

NEW YORK — Politicians in many well-to-do countries speak in exaggerated terms about being threatened by potential hordes of refugees as they make populist appeals that feed on fears and prejudices. The truth is that the less-developed countries, many of them with significant problems of their own, bear a much heavier burden.

The United Nations refugee agency’s new annual statistical report, “Asylum Trends 2013,” highlights the challenges asylum seekers present to what it characterizes as “industrialized countries.”

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Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with members of the government at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, April 9, 2014. Putin on April 9 ordered Ukraine to come to the negotiating table over its unpaid energy bills, warning that it would otherwise require payment in advance for gas. Ukraine "would receive only what they have paid for" if they failed to negotiate, Putin was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

- AFP/Getty Images

MOSCOW — Most Western media coverage of Russia's annexation of Crimea and of President Vladimir Putin’s newly assertive tone has been about Putin himself. Headlines question what is going on in Putin's mind, portray him as a neo-imperialist, revanchist fascist, or a man with a big score to settle, ready to use Russia's military might to do so.

But what is happening in Russia today is about Russians themselves. Putin is as much a creature of modern Russia as he is the architect of the country’s military actions.

Responsibility for Putin’s actions in Ukraine belongs both to Putin and the Russian public.

Polls conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center find that more than 75 percent of Russians support Putin’s actions in Ukraine.

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A Bahraini man kisses the forehead of Sheikh Isa Qassim (R), top senior Shiite cleric, during a protest against the closing down of a Shiite Muslim clerics' council earlier this week, at a mosque in the capital Manama, on February 2, 2014. A Bahraini court ordered the closure of the Olamaa Islamic Council and the liquidation of its assets following a lawsuit by the ministry of justice, Islamic affairs and endowments, a judicial source said.

- AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Last week's Formula 1 automotive racing event spotlighted the host country of Bahrain, which remains home to the region’s largest United States naval base. As a recent fact-finding visit revealed, the Kingdom continues to be a stark study in contrasts facing its share of challenges and fateful decisions ahead.

In one respect, Bahrain has served as a regional model for modernization, including the tolerant treatment of non-Muslim religious minorities, from Christians and Hindus to Jews and Baha’is.

But on the other hand, the minority Sunni government has inadequately addressed the legitimate grievances of its peaceful Shi’a majority, including religious freedom violations perpetrated against its members.

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NEW YORK — Privacy, as we have known it, is dead the world over. Its demise did not come quickly and was not without forewarning.

Only now are we coming to terms with the weighty consequences of living in an increasingly Orwellian world, where our every move is recorded and our most personal information collected by governments and commercial enterprises, for better and for worse.

Never before in history has so much of our privacy — our musings, preferences, curiosities, dalliances, phobias, foibles, health, habits, our very nature — been compiled, with or without our permission, infringing on our personal freedoms and inciting fear.

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US Secretary of State John Kerry testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 8, 2014.

- AFP/Getty Images

OWL’S HEAD, Maine — Indefatigable John Kerry had a flight pattern last week more erratic than the missing Malaysian airplane. In his effort to tamp down crises, he was returning to Washington from Saudi Arabia, where he had accompanied President Obama in smooth-talking the grumpy ally when, at a refueling stop in Ireland, Kerry did a U-turn for a hastily arranged Paris meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.

The Paris meeting seemed to yield little on the Ukrainian front. No matter, it was just a way station for Kerry en route to another hastily scheduled response to a different crisis meeting in Israel before returning to Brussels.

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Rwandans hold a candle light vigil at Amahoro Stadium during the 20th anniversary commemoration of the 1994 genocide April 7, 2014 in Kigali, Rwanda. Thousands of Rwandans and global leaders, past and present, joined together to remember the country's 1994 genocide, when more than 800,000 ethnic Tutsi and moderate Hutus were slaughtered over a 100 day period.

- Getty Images

KIGALI, Rwanda — The world is uniting in grief to mark the 20th anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsi.

Commemorative ceremonies are taking place across Rwanda and in many other countries as we remember the one million people who were massacred in just 100 days of unimaginable hatred and savagery.

No single event, of course, is the cause of such inhumanity. But history shows that it was the shooting down of the aircraft carrying Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana that signaled the beginning of the genocide. This is why it is important to understand the true facts of what happened on April 6, 1994.

In today’s world, it is no surprise that such a momentous and terrible event should be surrounded by conspiracy theories. But there is no reason for dispute about who shot down his aircraft or why.

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