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Egypt

Egypt's New Prime Minister: Not What People Were Hoping For

AL-MASRY AL-YOUM (Egypt)

Worldcrunch

A month after he was elected president, Mohamed Morsi has surprised many by naming Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Hesham Mohamed Qandil as prime minister. More than praise or criticism, the general reaction was "Who is he?", reports Al-Masry Al-Youm,

According to the Cairo newspaper, Qandil is an unassuming, innocuous figure, whose appointment has baffled the entire political spectrum.

Fifty-year-old Qandil graduated from Cairo University and went on to earn a PhD from the University of North Carolina. He has held several posts and has made a name for himself as an intelligent, hardworking public official. But his appointment on Tuesday was met with more than a few objections.

"I am just bewildered that at this point in our history, Morsi chooses someone with such little experience working in government and who is unable to deal with the plethora of problems on the table already that will also be thrown at him," Cairo University political science professor Mostafa Kamal al-Sayed told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

"Morsi followed the same criteria as toppled President Hosni Mubarak in choosing a low-profile prime minister who will be obedient to him," said Basel Adel, a former MP from the Free Egyptians Party. "He will just be a secretary for Morsi."

"Although Qandil is not an official member of the Brotherhood, he has Islamist orientations, evident from his beard," Adel said.

Capital Economics, a London-based financial consultancy, sent a notice to its clients warning them of political instability: "The surprising appointment of Qandil as Egypt's new prime minister is unlikely to calm nerves in the financial markets. For a start, he lacks the economic credentials that some were hoping for. ... Investors were hoping that the new prime minister would come from an economic background so that much-needed reforms are implemented and the economy can be put back on track."


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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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