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Extra! Who Is Hayat Boumeddiene, France's Most Wanted Woman?

"I feel relaxed and calm," Hayat Boumeddiene told her friends. It was last October, and the 26-year-old was in her father's living room on the eastern outskirts of Paris, after having just returned from the Hajj, the sacred Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, with her partner Amedy Coulibaly.

Three months later Coulibaly, on January 8 and 9, would kill five people in terror attacks in and around Paris, while investigators say Boumeddiene has fled France, probably toward Syria.

This week's issue of the French magazine L'Obs features a six-page investigation on the young woman, titled "The Fugitive".

In what would be the last time her French friends saw her, Boumeddiene recounted the trip to Mecca. "It's an amazing journey, spiritually speaking," she told them. "It's a way to fight away everything that is evil within us."

The weekly recounts how Boumeddiene went from living an ordinary life in the outskirts of Paris to becoming France's — and the world's — most wanted woman. There are descriptions of seemingly typical desires to "succeed in life" and at school, as well as her escape for Syria with two known radical Islamists in early January 2015.

Her friends describe how Boumeddiene transformed from "religious but not proselytizing" to wearing a full veil and discussing jihad. There are also details how she seemed to be living as a happy couple with Coulibaly, before buying the weapons that would kill a policewoman and four Jewish shoppers in a kosher market.

it is a tale that has become to sound familiar of how someone in the West become progressively more radical with religious fervor and a strong sense of injustice.

The questions French investigators are now trying to answer are who brainwashed whom, and how involved was she in the terror attacks themselves? Will she ever reappear, serving Islamist propaganda from Syria, where she took refuge after crossing the Turkish border?

ABOUT THE SOURCE: L'Obs, formerly known as Le Nouvel Observateur ("The New Observer") is France's most-read weekly newsmagazine. Founded in 1964, it is owned by Bergé-Niel-Pigasse and the Groupe Perdriel.

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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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