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China

After Chanel Perfume, Brad Pitt Now Hocking Cadillacs In China

ECONOMIC OBSERVER (China)

Worldcrunch

BEIJING - From Brangelina to Bradillac? You have to be in China, but car lovers and movie fans now have a new automotive pinup after Brad Pitt was named official spokesman for the luxury Cadillac XTS sedan, being rolled out especially for the Chinese market.

The parent company of the Cadillac brand, Shanghai GM, is betting big on Pitt's star power. Cadillac only sold 30,000 cars in the Chinese market last year, well behind other premium carmakers such as Audi, BMW, and Volvo.

Beijing's Economic Observer reports that several more Chinese automobile companies are now negotiating with other A-list Hollywood stars to endorse their cars. Last year, Volvo hired Jeremy Lin, the Taiwanese-American NBA basketball star, as the latest celeb to tout Western wares, becoming the face of the VOLVO S60.

Economic Observer notes that the company that attaches the greatest importance to celebrity endorsement is Mercedes-Benz China, which has signed up George Clooney, Roger Federer and Kobe Bryant.

Brad Pitt, himself, made advertising waves last year by becoming the first man to hock Chanel perfume. A true Oscar-caliber performance...?

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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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