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India

"Godfather Of World Music" Ravi Shankar Dies At 92

REUTERS INDIA, TIMES OF INDIA (India), BBC NEWS (UK)

Worldcrunch

SAN DIEGO - Indian sitar legend Ravi Shankar, who influenced everyone from the Beatles to Guns N" Roses guitarist Slash, has died at the age of 92 after he failed to recover from recent heart surgery in San Diego.

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Ravi Shankar in March 2009 - Photo: Alexandra Ignatenko

"Although it is a time for sorrow and sadness, it is also a time for all of us to give thanks and to be grateful that we were able to have him as a part of our lives," his wife Sukanya and daughter Anoushka told Reuters. Shankar is also survived by his other daughter, American singer/songwriter Norah Jones, with whom he reconciled after years of the two being estranged. He spent much of his time in recent years in his home north of San Diego.

India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described Shankar as a "national treasure and global ambassador of India's cultural heritage," BBC News reports.

In 1999, Shankar was the recipient of the highest civilian citation in India - the Bharat Ratna ("Jewel of India"), the Times Of India recalls.

Born Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury in 1920, the three-time Grammy winner rose to fame through his association with The Beatles after becoming close friends with George Harrison and teaching him to play the sitar in the 1960s.

Shankar is thought to be the inspiration behind the Beatles' Within You Without You, and more generally helped bridge the musical gap between the West and the East.

Shankar became an icon of the hippy movement when he performed at Woodstock and at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival – although he later distanced himself from the movement.

Ravi Shankar was a happy Hippie ! There was nothing traditional about him

— Gurinder S Ahluwalia (@Guri02) December 12, 2012

Tributes to the sitar maestro, whom George Harrison once called the "godfather of world music," have been pouring in, with many artists taking to Twitter to pay their respects to the influential virtuoso.

Sad day; spiritual, cultural & music legend, Ravi Shankar dead at 92. RIP.

— Slash (@Slash) December 12, 2012

Ravi Shankar has left the building.92.. a wonderful life.Here's a photo I took of him at the Monterey Pop... fb.me/2ieTskmHI

— Terry Gilliam (@terrygilliamweb) December 12, 2012

So sad such a great musician RIP RT @breakingnews: Famed Indian sitarist Ravi Shankar has died at age 92 - @appo.st/7TUuMW

— Peter Frampton (@peterframpton) December 12, 2012

RIP to my namesake #Ravi Shankar who I have been mistaken for innumerable times since I was a young boy and whose ragas still rock

— Ravi Shankar (@empurpler) December 12, 2012

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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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