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Look Who Tops New World University Rankings

THE GUARDIAN (UK), LE FIGARO (France), WALL ST. JOURNAL (U.S.)

Worldcrunch

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has risen to the top spot of the annual QS University World Rankings.

Last year's top two universities, Cambridge and Harvard, both lost out to the science and technology university, being bumped down to second and third place respectively.

Ben Sowter, head of research for Quacquarelli Symonds, the publishers of the university rankings, said in a statement Tuesday morning: "The rise of MIT coincides with a global shift in emphasis toward science and technology ... MIT perfects a blueprint that is now being followed by a new wave of cutting-edge tech-focused institutions, especially in Asia.”

The US and the UK dominate the top 10, with American institutions claiming 13 places in the top 20 universities and 31 places in the overall top 100.

The Guardian commented that continental Europe has a disappointing record in the table with no German institutions appearing in the top 50. Switzerland has two universities in the top 30, including the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at number 13, and there are two French schools in the top 50: the École Normale Supérieure and the École Polytechnique.

Le Figaro today reported that the nine leading French universities that appear in the rankings have all dropped down the list. The daily newspaper reported that there is a worrying decline in the number of foreign students choosing to study in France.

However, Asian universities continue to fight their way up the table, with universities from South Korea, Hong Kong, China and Japan all doing well. Hong Kong University, the University of Tokyo and the National University of Singapore all appeared in the top 30.

Latin American and Middle Eastern countries are also making progress.

The statement also read: "A record 72 countries are featured in the top 700, following a rapid acceleration in international mobility. The top 100 universities average nearly 10% more international students than in 2011, the biggest single-year increase in the rankings’ nine-year history."

“The unprecedented acceleration in international recruitment reflects an escalating global battle for talent. Total number of international students now exceeds 4.1 million globally,” Sowter said.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday on a new university ranking system named the "Alumni Factor." Based on data collected from alumni in the US, some of the outcomes are suprising, with several Ivy League schools falling short.

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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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