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Geopolitics

After Talks Collapse, Iran Charges Ahead With Nuclear Program

AFP, REUTERS, AL JAZEERA

Worldcrunch

TEHRAN - Iran unveiled on Tuesday a new uranium production facility and two extraction mines, a few days after talks with world powers on its disputed nuclear program ended in a deadlock, reports AFP.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared Iran now controlled the entire chain of nuclear energy production -- and promptly called on work to be accelerated.

Iran says it opened the Saghand 1 and 2 uranium mines in the central city of Yazd, extracting uranium from a depth of 350 meters, and the Shahid Rezaeinejad plant at Ardakan, according tot the state news agency IRNA. The Ardakan plant, 120 kilometers away from the mines, is able to produce 66 tons of yellow cake -- raw uranium powder -- annually, according to the report.

The United States and its allies suspect the Islamic Republic of pursuing a nuclear weapons capability. Ahmadinejad says its atomic program, including its enrichment of uranium, is merely for civil purposes. Talks between sanctions-hit Iran and world powers (the Security Council's five permanent members and Germany) last week in Almaty, Kazakhstan failed to unlock the situation.

“They (the world powers) tried their utmost to prevent Iran from going nuclear, but Iran has gone nuclear,” said Ahmadinejad, in a speech at Iran's Atomic Energy Organization on Tuesday, reports Reuters. “This nuclear technology and power and science has been institutionalized...All the stages are in our control and every day that we go forward a new horizon opens up before the Iranian nation.”

Since 2006, the UN Security Council has passed repeated resolutions demanding that Iran halt the advancement of its nuclear program, notes Al Jazeera. A number of sanctions have been implemented, reinforced by international punitive measures targetting its vital oil income and access to global banking system.

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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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