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Paris Festival Searches For That Je-Ne-Sais-Quoi Effect In Music

The second edition of the Worldstock festival, an event that aims to break the barriers of genres, started this week in Paris. The motto remains the same as last year’s successful inaugural edition: search for that universal je-ne-sais-quoi that somehow gives music from anywhere the possibility to touch anyone.

Until Dec. 13, artists from all over the world are set to perform exclusive shows at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, in the north of the French capital, in front of a culture-thirsty crowd.

The Worldstock festival lets you discover talented artists you won’t hear on your typical radio show. For instance, the event opened Tuesday with the the Dakh Daughters, a “freak cabaret” troupe, as they describe themselves, that mix theater, dance and music.

On Wednesday, the Nigerian musician Tony Allen came to present his new afrobeat album Film of Life, which was released last October. “Music is my mission," he said. "The musical world is very spiritual and I don’t think it has an end. As musicians, it’s our mission to make it live on.”

Tonight, the jazz pianist and 2006 Thelonious Monk award recipient Tigran will bring the sounds of his home country, Armenia, combined with modern experimental music, to Parisian ears.

Later performances will include equally intriguing artists such as the Portuguese Lula Pena, the Belgian Melanie de Biasio, the Israeli Adnan Joubran or the British Hollie Cook.

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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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