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May 12, 2017

82 Chibok girls are released as negotiations continue

Families in Chibok are rejoicing. Last Saturday, 82 of the 276 “Chibok girls” abducted by Boko Haram in 2014 were released. Nigeria’s Minister of Women’s Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, says the young women will be undergoing medical screenings, therapy, and refresher academic courses before they return to school in September.

As their parents look forward to reuniting with them next week, others hope for news of daughters who are still missing. A total of 103 girls have been freed, and negotiations continue between Nigeria and Boko Haram for the release of those who remain in captivity.

Zika emergency is over: Brazil

Brazil’s Zika scare has ended. After a sharp decrease in Zika cases thus far in 2017, as compared to last year, Brazil declared an end to its public health emergency on Thursday. As scientists continue to work on developing a vaccine for the mosquito-borne virus, Brazil’s health officials and the World Health Organization say it’s important to continue fighting Zika and helping affected families.

Renewable energy could save the Philippines millions of dollars

Going green’s got perks, especially for small islands. Millions of people living on the small islands of the Philippines get their electricity from diesel generators, which are not only costly but also cause frequent blackouts. With less than 10% of the 233 islands having 24-hour electricity, renewable energy offers the Philippines more efficient and secure alternatives. According to a new report, savings could amount to $200 million a year.

Their neighbors to the south are reaping the benefits of living off the grid: Villagers in Indonesia’s rural areas have built their own renewable energy sources. Not only are families spending less on diesel generators and kerosene, but people in their communities feel a greater sense of ownership and solidarity from working on a project together.

As governments, in general, tend to move slowly on green initiatives, incentivizing renewables will be a challenge for both Indonesia and the Philippines.