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Jordan

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
Kristen Gillespie


A R A B I C A
ارابيكا

SUBVERSIVE TV
In a video clip taken from Syrian state television that is circulating with the title, "Syrian girl terrorizes 1,000 men," a woman named Zubaida calls in to a live broadcast. The banner below the presenter indicates that the next segment of the show will feature the live, televised confessions of members of "terrorist cells armed with weapons and money and taking orders from external forces to implement their experimental plans inside Syria." As Zubaida extends greetings to Daraa and Jisr al-Shughour, where she says she is from, she begins to denounce government corruption and the presenter briefly looks off camera for his own orders. "Ms. Zubaida, your voice is very weak and we can't hear you very well," he says, despite the fact that her voice is entirely too clear. She denounces the "official media's lies' as the presenter babbles incomprehensibly over her and the channel cuts to pre-recorded footage of a nighttime pro-Assad rally in Damascus.

FACEBOOK FREEDOM
The Syria Revolution Facebook group unveiled a new "I Love the Syrian Revolution" logo, under which is written "because it is the way to achieve our freedom." The group's administrator adds below: "because we want freedom and dignity… because it is our promise to the martyrs… because we are a people of dignity and pride… because we are free." One commenter from Homs, Syria writes: "This is the first time I feel able to say whatever I want, and that is the first step on the path to freedom."

TRIAL DATE
Al Jazeera reports that former Tunisian President Zein el-Abedine Ben Ali and his wife, Leila Trabulsi, will be tried in absentia beginning on June 20th. The Ben Alis have sought refuge in Saudi Arabia since the president resigned on January 14th. Tunisian Prime Minister Baji al-Sibsi said that Tunisian authorities have asked Saudi Arabia to extradite the Ben Alis for trial. They face charges of "drug possession, weapons and racketeering," the network reported.

FOR THE RECORD
The Jordanian government is working hard to counter the narrative presented by multiple eyewitnesses that a group of young men attacked King Abdullah's motorcade and threw rocks and empty bottles at it during a visit to the impoverished, tribal southern town of Tafila, 200 kilometers south of Amman. "What happened is a stampede," said Tafila MP Yahya al-Saud. "What happened is the result of a stampede," echoed fellow Tafila MP Abdul Rahman al-Hinaqteh, stressing that the king received "the most beautiful welcome." A Jordanian security source, meanwhile, confirmed to AFP that bottles and stones were thrown at the king.


June 14, 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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