Illustration of Timbuktu by Rene Auguste Caille, reportedly the first European to return from a trip to Mali, 1832. (Source: Granger Collection, New York).

Illustration of Timbuktu by Rene Auguste Caille, reportedly the first European to return from a trip to Mali, 1832. (Source: Granger Collection, New York).

As Malians went to the polls yesterday to elect a new president, Africa is a Country put together a useful selection of articles that brought depth and nuance to the discussions of the “Malian crisis” over the past 18 months; among them, Alex Thurston’s “Of Shrines and Syncretists,” published at “The Revealer” in July 2012.

In a special report, Reuters reports on the smuggling industry that has grown around the swelling numbers of Rohingya fleeing Myanmar by boat.

For the New York Times, from Damascus, Ann Barnard reports from one of the city’s most ancient streets, where Syrians are still defying growing sectarianism.

Asked if she shared other Christians’ fear of being targeted for their faith by the mainly Sunni rebels, she jutted her chin upward in the Syrian gesture for no. “This is the idea they try to spread,” she said, without specifying who. “To make people fight each other.”

Scott Korb, author of the book “Life in Year One,” reviews Reza Aslan’s new book, “Zealot:The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” for the L.A. Review of Books.

And, in response to Pope Francis’s widely reported comment that he will not “judge” gay priests, David Perry at “The Atlantic” suggests that “merely by making homosexuals and atheists not inherently the enemies of the faith, [Pope] Francis brings about change.”