Globe Trot: Voting in Kenya, fighting in Mali, geology in Africa, and AIDS cured in Mississippi
International | Mindy Belz
High voter turnout in Kenya today marks one of the most complex—and controversial—presidential elections in the key East African nation and strong U.S. ally. A national ballot five years ago led to an outbreak of violence that killed more than 1,300 and displaced more than half a million.
We're watching: potential violence in the restive Kenya-Somalia border region, where Christians have increasingly been the target of Islamic militant attacks.
China’s Parliament, the National People’s Congress, opens Tuesday with strong calls to end the country’s re-education-through-labor camps. The Congress also will take the historic step of appointing Xi Jinping, the leader of the Communist Party, as state president. He replaces Hu Jintao at a time of mounting calls for democratization from within China—and an economic downturn that saw stocks in China, and the West, plummet today.
The United States is providing unarmed drones and serious reconnaissance to aid French forces in the war in Mali. The targeting data may have led to the reported kills over the weekend of two major militant figures. On Saturday, local ground forces from Chad said they killed Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the mastermind of January's hostage raid on an Algerian natural gas plant that claimed the lives of at least 38 employees, including three Americans. On Friday, they claimed killing Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, the commander of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb's Mali wing.
A Mississippi baby born with the virus that causes AIDS appears to have been cured. Scientists say the case represents a first—and offers promising clues for efforts to eliminate HIV infection in children, especially in AIDS-plagued African countries where too many babies are born with the virus.
The head of the UN nuclear agency, the IAEA, told his board today that without more Iranian cooperation, his agency `'cannot conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities." In restarted P5+1 talks with Iran last week, Tehran refused (again) to grant access to a key nuclear facility at the Parchin military base, where nuclear experts suspect the Islamic regime could be weaponizing nuclear material.
In Poland, gay and transgender lawmakers get prominent leadership roles as payback for anti-homosexual comments by Poland’s former president, Lech Walesa. The democratic leader says his comments have been misunderstood.
Geology in mineral-rich Africa happens best the old-fashioned way—up close and personal:
"'If an ant heap is a meter high over ground, which is to say, about 3 feet, it's probably digging up material from three to four meters below, so you can collect samples from those ant heaps,' said Mr. Petzer, who says that is a constant ratio. In addition to scouting for minerals, he also helps mining companies find water, since they need lots of it to run their mines. For that, he favors the forked branch of a peach tree."
Must read: Arthur Brooks writing in today's Wall Street Journal on the "faulty moral arithmetic" of Republicans. Read all of it.
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