Nurith Aizenman

Over the last decade and a half there's been a major push by economists to do rigorous research on poverty — basically to run experiments to figure out which solutions actually work.

But putting a halt to those that come up short is easier said than done.

The government of Democratic Republic of the Congo has released a new video in its fight to end the Ebola outbreak there. The message: To avoid contamination with the virus, it helps to wash your hands.

The level of gun violence in the United States is completely outsized compared to what's seen in other wealthy countries. In fact, the rate of gun violence in the U.S. is higher than in many low-income countries.

Those are the findings of the latest version of an annual report on gun violence from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which tracks lives lost in every country, in every year, by every possible cause of death.

As Ebola continues to spread through the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the government has been issuing daily updates. These press releases are mainly a recitation of facts and figures: The total number of confirmed cases since the outbreak was declared August 1 — 165 as of Friday. The death toll – 90 people. The number of individuals who've been given an experimental vaccine – 15,807. And a summary of the latest efforts by responders to reach affected communities.

It was the summer of 2013 and Daniel Handel had just moved to Rwanda. He was unpacking boxes in his new house, when his wife walked over with her laptop and said, 'You have to listen to this radio story!' The piece she played him was by NPR's Planet Money team, and it profiled a charity that was testing a bold idea: Instead of giving people in poor countries, say, livestock or job training to help improve their standard of living, why not just give them cash and let them decide how best to spend it?

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