TIME Kenya

Somali Refugees Fear Being Thrown Out of Kenya

Somali refugees look through a barbwire fence in Dagahale, one of the several refugee settlements in Dadaab, Garissa County, northeastern Kenya in 2013.
Siegfried Modola—Reuters Somali refugees look through a barbwire fence in Dagahale, one of the several refugee settlements in Dadaab, Garissa County, northeastern Kenya in 2013.

Authorities want the U.N. to close Dadaab refugee camp, which they say is used by al-Shabab to attack targets in Kenya

Salat became a member of the Islamist al-Shabab group in Somalia more by bad luck than inclination; he happened to be one of nine boys standing by the school gate when the group raided his school looking for “recruits.”

The younger boys were separated into two groups; some were sent to cook, others like Salat, were given clubs and sent into Mogadishu’s marketplaces to beat people acting outside of their interpretation of Islamic law.

“We beat the people who kept their shops open, who were not in the mosques,” he says, “They told us, during prayer time, go to the market and beat the people who were not praying. They said they would kill us if we did not listen.”

Weeks later, convinced he would be killed, Salat escaped the al-Shabab compound and fled to Kenya and the Dadaab refugee camp, home to around 350,000 mainly Somali refugees.

In the wake of the al-Shabab attack in April at Garissa University in which 148 people were killed, Kenyan vice-president William Ruto said the camp was used by al-Shabab and demanded the United Nations close Dadaab within 90 days. Leonard Zulu, an official of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Dadaab, explains that aside from the logistical impossibility of repatriating the refugees within that timeframe, returning them to Somalia would be “a humanitarian catastrophe.”

Dadaab has been good for Salat. He did not tell the U.N. of his association with al-Shabab so does not want his surname published. He first worked as a porter at the camp and he now sells the drug khat which is common and legal in East Africa. “I expected a better life here and already that’s progress. So I expect more big life changes,” he says.

Fartun Hassan, 20, has been at the camp for less than a year. She left Somalia alone after al-Shabab killed her friends at their streetside tea stand one morning. The women were killed because they often sold tea to police officers stationed nearby. Her parents are dead and she had recently lost a brother who was killed by an al-Shabab bomb targeting African Union soldiers.

Fartun missed out on education in Somalia but she is working on her English because now, she says, “I can have a future.” She hopes to be a teacher, to teach business studies and math but sees no hope in a return to Somalia.

An aerial view shows an extension of the Ifo camp, one of the several refugee settlements in Dadaab, Garissa County, northeastern Kenya in 2013.
Siegfried Modola—ReutersAn aerial view shows an extension of the Ifo camp, one of the several refugee settlements in Dadaab, Garissa County, northeastern Kenya in 2013.

Most refugees here have lived in Dadaab for decades after fleeing when Somalia collapsed into civil war in the early 1990s. Many young people were born here and for these Kenyan-born refugees, Somalia is foreign and al-Shabab are only known through news reports and gossip.

Ibrahim Omar, a 22-year-old student, was born in Dadaab, and is contemptuous of the Somalis who join al-Shabab. “Those guys in Somalia, they’re less educated. They’re given false promises that they’ll get money, power, guns, then they do suicides. They kill themselves before they even get any of that money,” he says.

Mohammed Hussein Mahamud,23, a Kenyan-born Somali student, is concerned repatriation would disrupt his last secondary school exam, scheduled for November. He needs to take it in order to go to university, and on to medical school, he explains in near-perfect English.

Salat says the camp is a major improvement on life in Somalia. “Here everybody is busy, people are working or have education. There, there is nothing to do. The only option is to join the militants in order to get your daily bread,” he says.

He is certain that he, along with his children, will be forced into al-Shabab’s ranks if his family is sent back to Somalia. “Shabab is everywhere. They cannot be finished just by closing the camp. If my kids go back there, they will recruit them like they forced me to join,” he says.

Meanwhile the United Nations continues its discussion with the Kenyan government to halt the closure of the camp and the new displacement of 350,000 people.

TIME Nepal Earthquake

Israel Evacuates Surrogate Babies From Nepal but Leaves the Mothers Behind

An Israeli gay man carries his baby born to a surrogate mother in Nepal as he is cheered by relatives at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv on April 28, 2015, following his repatriation from the quake-hit Himalayan nation.
Jack Guez—AFP/Getty Images An Israeli gay man carries his baby born to a surrogate mother in Nepal as he is cheered by relatives at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv on April 28, 2015, following his repatriation from the quake-hit Himalayan nation.

An Israeli Boeing-747 returned from Nepal to Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport on Tuesday afternoon, and among its 229 passengers were 15 Israeli babies, all born within the past six weeks to surrogate mothers in Nepal.

Some of the babies were with their Israeli parents and others were cared for by Israeli passengers. None of the surrogate mothers were allowed to travel.

The infants’ arrival completed the evacuation of 26 surrogate Israeli babies from Nepal, where a devastating earthquake on Saturday killed more than 4,000. The rescue process, coupled with widely published photos of the newborns being cradled by Israeli medics on the Tel Aviv tarmac, has thrust Israel’s reliance on Nepalese surrogates into the spotlight, revealing a little known link between Nepal and Israel and starting a debate here about the ethics of international surrogacy.

Only heterosexual couples can easily employ surrogate mothers in Israel. Gay couples and single parents tend to look abroad to bear children with surrogates. For many years, India — where costs are low but the standard of medical care is generally high — was the preferred surrogacy option for Israelis, but a change to the law there in 2013 prevented gay men and couples who had been married for less than two years from engaging surrogate mothers. The shift in the law caught many Israelis midway through the surrogacy process. The Indian women traveled to Nepal to give birth and the Israeli surrogacy agencies then switched their operations from India to Nepal.

The first Israeli baby was born to a surrogate mother in Nepal in January 2014, and it is now the destination of choice for Israelis who do not have access to surrogacy in Israel. Many Asian and European countries ban commercial surrogacy, and it can cost up to $150,000 in the U.S. and Canada but only $30,000 in Nepal.

But while the Israeli government scrambled to evacuate the 26 Israeli newborns and their Israeli parents from Nepal, a further 100 women, some Nepalese, some Indian, are still carrying babies for Israelis. The Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said he would allow the most heavily pregnant to be flown to Israel to give birth and outgoing Interior Minister Gilad Erdan promised to remove immigration hurdles for the rest. “We have decided to hold off on all the procedures, even if it causes a problem with the Nepalese or Indian governments, so as to bring over the babies as soon as possible,” Israeli news sources quoted him as saying on Monday.

The ordeal of the infants and their surrogates has dominated the news coverage of the quake here, with some pundits criticizing the use of government funds to send a rescue mission, and others demanding that Israel reevaluate its own surrogacy laws in the wake of the crisis. An opinion piece in the Haaretz newspaper went one step further, accusing the Israeli public of showing selective empathy by focusing only on the newborn infants, and not the women who had carried them.

“How can it be that none of the human interest stories or compassion-filled posts mentioned these women, who came from a difficult socioeconomic background … to rent their wombs … who now, like the babies they’ve just had, are also stuck in the disaster zone?” writer Alon-Lee Green asked.

Officials on Tuesday said they were continuing to explore options for evacuating the pregnant women. Meanwhile, a delegation from the Red Star of David, Israel’s national emergency medical response organization, remained on the ground in Katmandu, where Israel has set up a field hospital.

Yonatan Yagodovsky, director of the Red Star of David’s international department, said that in addition to operating the field hospital and assisting local doctors, the evacuation of the newborn children had been his organization’s top priority. On Tuesday, all of the infants underwent medical examinations in Israel, and two remained hospitalized.

The future of Israeli surrogacy in Nepal remains up in the air. “The main concern right now is lack of clean water and things like that,” said Dana Magdassi, founder of Israel’s Lotus Surrogacy Agency. “I’m not going to send someone in for treatment right now, but in one or two months, I think we can definitely reconsider.”


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TIME Nepal

See Satellite Images of Nepal Before and After the Earthquake

Photos show the destruction and the camps where survivors are sheltering

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake that devastated Nepal on Sunday has altered the face of the country, as new satellite images show. The disaster has killed more than 4,600 people and leveled buildings—many of them historic—to rubble.

The Dharhara Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was toppled, leaving about 180 bodies in its ruins. Survivors have set up tents and other temporary structures in open areas of their towns and cities, away from the danger of more buildings falling in an aftershock, as they await aid. Meanwhile, villagers in remote areas of Nepal are cut off by landslides that prevent rescue crews from providing relief.

TIME Health Care

Medics Race Against Time to Save Nepal’s Quake Survivors

Short-term and long-term medical risks are numerous

Medical emergency responders are continuing to rush into Nepal as the country recovers from the immense earthquake that took thousands of lives. While the final death toll remains unknown—the Nepali Prime Minister said today some 10,000 may have died—medical aid groups say the timeframe is tight to save lives.

“There’s a very narrow window of opportunity for people suffering from major traumatic injuries to receive the care they need. It’s vital that people start to receive that kind of care within the first 10 to 14 days of the emergency,” says Paul Garwood, a communications officer at the World Health Organization. “The general rule is that for every one person killed in a disaster like this, some three people are suffering from major trauma injuries.” As time goes on, the risk they die from their injuries increases, he says.

Medical responders tell TIME that survivors’ injuries range from broken bones to head trauma to spinal injuries, and they require intensive and rapid medical treatment and many will require surgical interventions. “These are the major injuries we are seeing now and expect to be seeing in the thousands,” says Garwood.

Responders are also trying to get care to people in the rural affected areas that are still isolated. “We are extremely concerned about people in villages that we can’t reach. The people can’t get out by their own means,” says Patrick Fuller an International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) spokesman currently in Kathmandu. “There are thousands of people who have lost everything.”

At the same time, other health challenges don’t go away just because there’s been a major earthquake. Doctors need to maintain routine medical care for people with preexisting conditions or pregnant mothers who may be giving birth. The WHO says it’s working to ensure the right quantities of medicine are available to treat people who require care for diabetes, cancer and heart disease, for example.

Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO regional director for South-East Asia says her teams are trying to anticipate public health needs before they present themselves. She has team members preparing for the possibility of a measles outbreak and an increased need for mental health care among survivors. “Even now I find that people are traumatized,” she says. “At the moment the devastation is just so much.”

Teams from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have has arrived in Nepal and are currently assessing medical needs and sending surgical teams throughout the affected areas. An 11-member surgical team was sent to Kathmandu with a “rapid intervention surgical kit,” allowing the responders to start performing operations within 72 hours after the earthquake.

In a natural disaster, there’s additional environmental factors that can jeopardize human recovery. Supply systems like roads can become disrupted and access to food can become an issue. Loss of water and sanitation systems can create risks for communicable diseases. Fuller says many shops and markets are closed and food is becoming quite scarce. “In the aftermath of the earthquake, there is the danger of epidemics breaking out, including cholera, malaria and typhoid fever. Landslides and heavy rains pose a risk to people forced to sleep out in the open,” MSF said in a statement.

“We understand that monsoonal rain has come early in Nepal, so excess amounts of water and displaced populations accentuate the risk of communicable disease outbreaks,” added Garwood. The WHO says its sending medicines to deal with diarrheal disease outbreaks. The hope is that if such infectious disease arise, as they have in past emergencies, they can be contained.

“The greatest concern is speed,” says IFRC’s Fuller. “We have to reach them as quickly as possible.”

TIME United Kingdom

‘Beach Body Ready’ Advertisements Spark Widespread Backlash

a Protein World advert displayed in an underground station in London which says "Are you beach body ready?" as a petition calling for its removal gathers tens of thousands of signatures.
Catherine Wylie—PA Wire/Press Association Images In this April 27, 2015 photo, a Protein World advert displayed in an underground station in London which says "Are you beach body ready?" as a petition calling for its removal gathers tens of thousands of signatures.

The posters are set to be taken down this week

A weight-loss advertisement in the London Underground featuring a bikini-clad model has sparked a backlash, with protesters saying the company Protein World is making passersby “feel physically inferior to the unrealistic body image of the bronzed model.”

More than 50,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the posters for meal replacement supplements—which have the tagline “Are you beach body ready?”—to be removed from London tube stations and train carriages.

In addition, Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority has received hundreds of complaints from people saying the ad promotes unhealthy methods of weight loss and encourages body shaming. Photos of defaced posters have gone viral on Twitter under the hashtag #everybodysready while a “Taking back the beach” protest in London’s Hyde Park has been organized for Saturday.

In a statement, Protein World said “Getting ‘beach ready’ is not a new concept…We absolutely have no intention of removing the adverts because of a minority making a lot of noise.” Arjun Seth, the CEO of Protein World, said that the adverts were “aspirational” and likened the campaigners to “terrorists.”

A Transport for London spokesperson told TIME the advertisements were being removed on Wednesday because Protein World’s contract had ended.

“The adverts were paid for for three weeks so they’re just being taken down because they’ve come to a natural end,” the spokesperson said. “It’s the natural conclusion to the end of their marketing.”

TIME Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Foiled ISIS Attack on U.S. Embassy, Official Says

Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki listens to journalists questions during a press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Hasan Jamali—AP Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki listens to journalists questions during a press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 24, 2015.

Authorities also announced the arrest of a total of 93 people with ties to ISIS

(RIYADH, Saudi Arabia) — Saudi authorities say they have arrested a total of 93 people with ties to the Islamic State group in recent months, foiling their plans to carry out terrorist attacks including a strike on the U.S. Embassy in the kingdom’s capital.

Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki said Tuesday the arrests include a cell of 65 people arrested in March who were involved in a plan that included targeting residential compounds, prisons and security forces.

He says authorities also disrupted a plot for a suicide car bomber to attack the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh after receiving information about the plan in mid-March.

U.S. officials halted all consular services for a week starting March 15 at the embassy and two other diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia over security fears.

TIME energy

Tesla Could Be Changing the Dynamics of Global Energy

Tesla Model S electric car on display at the 16th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition in Shanghai on April 20, 2015.
Stringer—AP Tesla Model S electric car on display at the 16th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition in Shanghai on April 20, 2015.

Tesla’s new batteries could be a game-changer for the economics of battery production

Tesla’s announcement last week about creating a new line of batteries for use by businesses, consumers, and the electrical grid at large is a game-changer for the industry. Currently, when individuals or companies need back-up power, they usually rely on generators. Effective battery storage for large amounts of energy would be a game changer in that it would enable a separation of generation and use of energy produced through clean fuels like solar and wind power.

The big problem with solar and wind right now is that the energy is only useful when it is actually produced and, because a company cannot modify generation to correspond with demand needs, any excess power has to be sold back to the market for immediate use. Tesla’s new batteries could go a long way towards solving this problem. It is likely that Solar City, for example, would be very interested in any home application for large scale battery technology.

The unique differentiator here is not necessarily Tesla’s technology. The company certainly has state of the art tech, but what might make battery production feasible is the economies of scale that Tesla is looking to capture in battery production. Tesla’s new gigafactory will be an enormous production facility when it is completed and the facility should be able to produce 50 GWh of annual battery production eventually. This level of production should enable mass production of batteries at a fraction of the current cost.

But beyond Tesla, these economies of scale could also have benefits for other firms in the same industry. To the extent that Tesla’s production capabilities create new demand for component parts, the result would be lower costs for inputs in batteries. As supply costs fall, battery production costs across the industry would fall also leading to increased quantity demanded by consumers and businesses.

Put differently, when Edison invented the light bulb, the standard method for producing vase shaped glass vessels was very different than what it is today. Producing a vase by traditional glass blowing is expensive and time consuming. So if a person had to make just one or two light bulbs, it would likely take hours of work. Once millions of light bulbs are needed, the process becomes industrialized and the cost per bulb falls to pennies. The same principle applies to the economics of battery production, and that already has even competing producers salivating.

Batteries already may be much more profitable than most people realize, and so if Tesla can open up new markets for its products, it could drive the company’s earnings dramatically higher. The exact level of profit will depend on many different factors of course, but assuming that Tesla can sell its batteries based on charge capacity, then the profits could be astronomical. Tesla recently increased the price on some of its vehicles by $4,000 in concert with a 10KWh increase in battery capacity.

This implies that the company thinks 1KWh of battery capacity is worth roughly $400. 1 GWh is equal to 1 million KWh and Tesla’s new factory should be able to produce 50 GWh annually when at full production. This would, in turn, imply $20B in annual revenue from output produced by the factory. Of course this value will vary dramatically based on many factors including battery size and usage, but the raw figures are mind-boggling nonetheless and suggest the magnitude of the market potential here. Even if Tesla ultimately ends up selling battery capacity for one-tenth this amount, then the result would still be a huge boost to the company’s bottom line.

This article originally appeared on Oilprice.com.

More from Oilprice.com:


Briton Goes on Trial in London for Killing U.S. Soldier in Iraq

The exterior of Woolwich Crown Court in south London.
John Stillwell—PA Photos /Landov The exterior of Woolwich Crown Court in south London.

Anis Abid Sardar allegedly made bombs in Syria that were used against U.S. troops in Baghdad in 2007

A Briton accused of murdering an American soldier in Iraq with a roadside bomb went on trial Tuesday.

Anis Abid Sardar, 38, allegedly made bombs in Syria that were planted in the suburbs of Baghdad in 2007. One of these bombs killed 34-year-old Sgt First Class Randy Johnson, of 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, when it hit the armored vehicle he was travelling in on Sept. 27, 2007.

The court heard that Sardar claims to have travelled to Syria to learn Arabic but papers found at his home in London suggested he had an advanced understanding of the language. An Arabic bomb-making manual was also found at his home.

According to the Guardian, the trial at Woolwich crown court is thought to be a legal first as the evidence originates in Iraq but the trial is taking place in London. The prosecutor told the court that Sardar was involved in making bombs, probably in Damascus, for use in Iraq in 2007.

Sardar denies murder, conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause an explosion. The trial continues.

[The Guardian]

TIME Nepal

Six More Ways to Give to Nepal Earthquake Relief

Financial support is essential to support the rebuilding process

As international aid to support victims of the Nepal earthquake ramps up, individual financial support will also be essential as the landlocked nation’s grapples with the natural disaster that has claimed more than 4,400 lives and devastated infrastructure.

On top of the six charities TIME profiled Monday, dozens of relief agencies are supporting recovery efforts. Here are six more ways to support.


The social media giant has set up a donation platform that enables users to donate to the International Medical Corps. 100% of the proceeds will help provide first-response care and hygiene kits to survivors. Facebook has also pledged $2 million to the organization’s relief efforts. Also, as Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform, it makes it easier to share your munificence and motivate friends to donate as well.

Lutheran World Relief

The U.N.-affiliated organization immediately shipped nearly 10,000 quilts and 100 personal water filtration mechanisms to Nepal. They are working in close coordination with a local disaster government agency called the Nepali District Disaster Relief Committee.

“This is still a scary situation,” said Narayan Gyawali, a local staff member currently in Nepal in a press release.

To donate to the Lutheran World Relief organization, click here. If you prefer to send physical checks, the Lutheran World Relief is especially well organized.


AmeriCares has an emergency response office in Mumbai, India and have sent a team to the Nepal disaster zone. On its website, AmeriCares says, “for every $1 donated AmeriCares has provided $20 in aid.” They are also preparing medical supplies and will distribute tetanus and measles vaccinations because many residents are now living in close proximity with one another.

Click here to make a donation.

Islamic Relief USA

Based in Virginia and operating for nearly 25 years, Islamic Relief USA has a presence in more than 35 countries across the world. They are launching an appeal to raise $100,000 dollars for relief efforts in Nepal. “We are concerned about the victims of this tragedy and are sending our emergency response teams from different countries to respond,” said CEO Anwar Khan in a press release.

The agency also advocates for active participation in relief efforts, which they suggest can be done by organizing community fundraisers.

To help Islamic Relief USA reach its target goal, click here.

Doctors Without Borders

MSF is sent eight teams to Nepal to assist those in need, including a highly-skilled surgical team that will set up mobile clinics in the hopes of reaching people in remote areas. They are also contributing emergency medical supplies and a non-medical team in Kathmandu.

To donate click here.

Charity: Water

The people of Nepal will need significant help getting access to clean water as they recover from the earthquake. Charity: Water is in an excellent position to do just that. This smaller organization is networked into the country from previous clean water projects, and has begun a relief campaign in which 100% of proceeds go to Nepal’s earthquake disaster relief, with the immediate focus being to raise money for emergency supplies.

Click here to offer support.

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