World and Nation

Shorts (right)

Lush Land of the Safari Dries Up, Withering Kenya’s Economy

A devastating drought is sweeping across Kenya, killing livestock, crops and children. It is stirring up tensions in the ramshackle slums where the water taps have run dry, and spawning ethnic conflict in the hinterland as communities fight over the last remaining pieces of fertile grazing land.

The twin hearts of Kenya’s economy, agriculture and tourism, are especially imperiled. The fabled game animals that safari-goers fly thousands of miles to see are keeling over from hunger and the picturesque savannah is now littered with an unusually large number of sun-bleached bones.

Ethiopia. Sudan. Somalia. Maybe even Niger and Chad. These countries have become almost synonymous with drought and famine. But Kenya? This nation is one of the most developed in Africa, home to a typically robust economy, countless U.N. offices and thousands of aid workers.

The aid community here has been predicting a disaster for months, saying that the rains had failed once again and that this could be the worst drought in more than a decade. But the Kenyan government, paralyzed by infighting and political maneuvering, seemed to shrug off the warnings.

Amid Woes, Mexico Finds Way to Become Numero Uno

If the Guinness Book of World Records ever creates a category for the country most obsessed with being in the Guinness Book of World Records, Mexico will surely be in the running.

As August came to an end, tens of thousands of Mexicans danced to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” clawing at the air, grabbing their crotches and marching like zombies while being led by a Mexican Michael Jackson impersonator who goes by the name Hector Jackson. A light rain did nothing to curb the enthusiasm of the participants, who were of all ages. Many turned out wearing aviator glasses and white gloves, or had fake blood splattered on them.

While still under review by the Guinness adjudicators, it appears that Mexico clearly amassed enough “Thriller” dancers to best the previous record set by 242 college students in Virginia in May. In fact, the old record was child’s play for Mexico, which brought together 12,937 official participants at Mexico City’s Monument of the Revolution.

“This positions us as a grand city where grand things happen,” gushed Alejandro Rojas Diaz, Mexico City’s tourism secretary, who organized the event. It also attracted 30,000 or so onlookers, many of whom were moving to the music as well.