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Geopolitics

ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing

ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing

A R A B I C A ارابيكا

By Kristen Gillespie

A DEATH IN LIBYA
Al Jazeera broadcast footage of what appears to be a deceased Muammar Gaddafi, naked to the waist and lying in his own blood in the middle of a street in Sirte as the mosques issued the call to prayer in the background. "This is the end of Gadafi and the end of the Gadafi regime," the Al Jazeera presenter says, speaking over the footage. "It is the end of the war in Libya, and perhaps this will inspire the Libyan people to build a new and modern state," he said.

Dima Khatib tweets: "The tyrant is gone after 42 years, 1 month and 20 days'

Mohammed al-Ahmari says from Qatar, "We congratulate the Libyans, Arabs, Muslims and the world for the end of evil in Libya."

A LETTER IN JORDAN
Jordan's King Abdullah sent a letter to the newly appointed head of the intelligence services, ordering him to "support the reform process," as "our tireless efforts to translate our vision requires a comprehensive reform effort." That includes, the king wrote, respecting the personal freedoms and human rights of citizens. The king did not outline concrete measures to this end, and the General Intelligence Department did not comment on the letter's contents.

A FATWA IN SAUDI ARABIA
Access to Allah is not free, according to Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, who issued a fatwa banning Islamic pilgrims from visiting the holy city of Mecca without a permit from the Saudi government. The sheikh also banned sleeping on the ground, stressing that Islam promotes "civilized behavior."

A SPAT IN SYRIA
One of Syria's official newspapers, A-Thawra, attacked the Arab League for suggesting earlier this week that Damascus hold a national dialogue with the opposition, a gesture received by Western journalists and officials as too little, too late. But Syria's envoy to the Arab League slammed the "conspiracy" against the country, with A-Thawra piling on: "The Arab League has become a tool of injustice aiming to destabilize Syria."

A QUESTION IN BAHRAIN
While Bahrain's Shiite youth leaders deny they have an Islamist agenda in their goal to bring down the ruling Sunni Al Khalifa family, Facebook groups promoting the revolution have a decidedly Islamist slant to them. Here is an invitation to an "informational session" by the Youth Movement to learn more about Islam.


October 17, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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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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