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French Park Rangers Mistake Catholic Mass For Rave Party

LE POINT , NICE MATIN (France)

Worldcrunch

NICE - Overzealous forest rangers of the Mercantour National Park in the French Alps, gave a 1,500 euro fine to an association for organizing a catholic mass without authorization.

At first, the rangers told them that it was forbidden to hold a religious event or play the saxophone in the forest. "They seemed understanding and so we celebrated the mass without music," the president of the Aléa association Lucien Carlès told the French daily Nice Matin. "Then they came back and accused us of organizing an unauthorized religious event," eventually slapping the small congregation with a 1,500 euro fine.

The gesture left the worshippers bewildered and sparked the ire of several officials, including mayor of Nice and former French Industry minister Christian Estrosi, who told the French weekly magazine Le Point : "I find restrictions for such traditional celebrations shocking," he said. "It goes against the principles I'm fighting for in our villages."

The Aléa association has been holding this mass for the past 15 years in remembrance of its deceased members.

"The rangers compared it to a ‘rave party". It's just preposterous!" said Lucien Carlès .

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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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