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Denmark Daily: New Sex Education For Asylum Seekers

"Asylum seekers will learn more about sexual norms," reads the headline of the provocatively creative front page of Danish daily Jyllands-Posten. The national newspaper, based in western Denmark, reports that the Danish Red Cross wants to expand education programs for asylum seekers to include what it calls "adult education."

Anne la Cour Vågen, head of the Red Cross' Asylum Department, emphasizes that the new program was not prompted by outrage at recent high-profile reports of sexual assaults in Germany and other European countries by mobs of Muslim immigrants, as the plan for the extended education was set in motion in December.

One of the driving factors behind the project was the demand from asylum seekers to be better informed about relations between men and women in Denmark. Torben Gregeren, who oversees 10 of the country's refugee centers, told Jyllands-Posten that he has seen a growing urgency to inform asylum seekers from other countries of sexual norms in Denmark, and has already introduced a separate lesson plan called "Kærlighed," Danish for "love."

The racy hour-glass curves of the front page is not the first notable graphic touch of Jyllands-Posten, which is best known for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad a decade ago that set off weeks of violence from angry Muslims around the world.

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Society

In Northern Kenya, Where Climate Change Is Measured In Starving Children

The worst drought in 40 years, which has deepened from the effects of climate change, is hitting the young the hardest around the Horn of Africa. A close-up look at the victims, and attempts to save lives and limit lasting effects on an already fragile region in Kenya.

Photo of five mothers holding their malnourished children

At feeding time, nurses and aides encourage mothers to socialize their children and stimulate them to eat.

Georgina Gustin

KAKUMA — The words "Stabilization Ward" are painted in uneven black letters above the entrance, but everyone in this massive refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, calls it ya maziwa: The place of milk.

Rescue workers and doctors, mothers and fathers, have carried hundreds of starving children through the doors of this one-room hospital wing, which is sometimes so crowded that babies and toddlers have to share beds. A pediatric unit is only a few steps away, but malnourished children don’t go there. They need special care, and even that doesn’t always save them.

In an office of the International Rescue Committee nearby, Vincent Opinya sits behind a desk with figures on dry-erase boards and a map of the camp on the walls around him. “We’ve lost 45 children this year due to malnutrition,” he says, juggling emergencies, phone calls, and texts. “We’re seeing a significant increase in malnutrition cases as a result of the drought — the worst we’ve faced in 40 years.”

From January to June, the ward experienced an 800 percent rise in admissions of children under 5 who needed treatment for malnourishment — a surge that aid groups blame mostly on a climate change-fueled drought that has turned the region into a parched barren.

Opinya, the nutrition manager for the IRC here, has had to rattle off these statistics many times, but the reality of the numbers is starting to crack his professional armor. “It’s a very sad situation,” he says, wearily. And he believes it will only get worse. A third year of drought is likely on the way.

More children may die. But millions will survive malnutrition and hunger only to live through a compromised future, researchers say. The longer-term health effects of this drought — weakened immune systems, developmental problems — will persist for a generation or more, with consequences that will cascade into communities and societies for decades.

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