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Max Avdeev for BuzzFeed News

Radiation. Government conspiracy. Mass hysteria. There are plenty of theories as to why the residents of a tiny Kazakh mining region keep falling asleep for days at a time, but no answers. BuzzFeed News spends a week there and tries to stay awake.

It was a crisp April morning in 2010 when the first person in town fell ill. The handful of women who manned the market in Krasnogorsk, a town in northwestern Kazakhstan, were exchanging the usual gossip over morning tea — how everyone had slept, whose children were causing trouble, what was happening with apartment repairs or their lack thereof. Lyubov Belkova, who friends call Lyuba for short, had finished first as usual, and walked back to her stall by the entrance. Someone asked Lyuba a question. …

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Chibok school uniforms.

One year ago, 276 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram. The handful who escaped that night have never told the full story of their ordeal — until now.

By Sarah A. Topol
Photographs by Glenna Gordon


Sarah A. Topol

Journalist, usually in MENA. Write for magazines like the Atlantic, Businessweek, Harper's, GQ. Speak Russian. Prefer all beverages iced.

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