Top of the Morning: Al Shabaab’s Counter-Offensive; Tunisia Elections; And India Very Nearly Polio Free

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Al Shabaab’s Counter-Offensive in Kenya Begins

Sadly, we were waiting for this other shoe to drop ever since the Kenyan military launched an incursion into Somalia last week. Two bombing attacks just a few hours a part in Nairobi have killed at least one person and injured at least 20. In the first attack, a grenade was tossed into a bar as the assailant fled on a motorcycle. A few hours later, a similar-style grenade attack occurred at the OTC bus terminal. Authorities quickly pinned the blame on Al Shabaab, which demonstrated its ability to strike outside Somalia in a 2010 attack in Uganda (another country with troops in Somalia). Unfortunately, this will probably not be the last time that al Shabaab strikes in Kenya. What is shocking, though, is the speed with which they have retaliated so soon after Kenya launched its military campaign in Somalia. For the latest, read Kenya’s Daily Nation. (Daily Nation

Winner Declared in Tunisia’s Elections

Tunisians enthusiastically took to the polls in the first post-Arab Spring national elections. Turnout was huge, peaceful, and voting proceeded smoothly — itself no small miracle. The moderately Islamist party al-Nahda claimed victory with more than 30 per cent of seats in Tunisia’s 217-member constituent assembly. But they will have form a coalition to effectively govern. “Mindful that some people in Tunisia and elsewhere see the resurgence of Islamists as a threat to modern, liberal values, party officials said they were prepared to form an alliance with two secularist parties, Congress for the Republic and Ettakatol. ‘We will spare no effort to create a stable political alliance … We reassure the investors and international economic partners,’ Jlazzi said. Sunday’s vote was for an assembly which will sit for one year to draft a new constitution. It will also appoint a new interim president and government to run the country until fresh elections late next year or early in 2013. The voting system has built-in checks and balances which make it nearly impossible for any one party to have a majority, compelling Ennahda to seek alliances with secularist parties, which will dilute its influence.” (Reuters

India is So Very Close to Wiping Out Polio

Yesterday was World Polio Day. And in India, they had reason to celebrate: there have been no new cases of polio in over nine months. “India remains one of only four countries in the world where polio is still endemic, and the nine months that it has been without a case is the longest since eradication efforts were launched nearly two decades ago. ‘We are close to our goal, but are not taking any chances,’ said Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad… While polio has been eradicated in Europe, the Americas, much of Asia and Australia, it remains endemic in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. The last new case in India was reported in January in West Bengal state and none has been reported in the traditional polio areas of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states in more than a year, Azad said.” (Bloomberg