Monday, May 19, 2014

Are No-Kill Shelters Good for Cats and Dogs?

No-kill is an appealing idea. But before condemning U.S. shelter managers as barbarians, look at a country like India, which prohibits the killing of unwanted dogs. The country’s 25 million stray dogs live in deplorable conditions—emaciated, diseased, surviving on trash, and in constant conflict with humans. The country suffers 20,000 human deaths from rabies annually, which represents more than 35 percent of the global total. Contrast this with the situation in the United States. Stray dogs are incredibly rare, and one or two Americans die annually from rabies, invariably transmitted by a wild animal.

Africa leaders declare ‘total war’ on Nigeria’s Boko Haram - The Times of India

Africa leaders declare ‘total war’ on Nigeria’s Boko Haram - The Times of India:

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fishermen condemn European feeding frenzy in Senegal - The West Australian

Fishermen condemn European feeding frenzy in Senegal - The West Australian: "A long-overdue deal to regulate the industry and claw back cash for the impoverished west African nation has finally been signed between Dakar and the European Union -- but it has been met with dismay by environmentalists and local fishermen.

Fishing is the lifeblood of the local economy, providing a key part of the Senegalese diet while contributing 12.5 percent of export earnings in 2011 and employing 600,000 people -- almost a fifth of the working-age population.

The agreement, finalised last month, allows 38 European ships to capture 14,000 tonnes of tuna for each of the next five years, in return for a total fee of 15 million euros ($20.7 million), while two Spanish trawlers have been authorised to fish hake.

Dakar will also receive 50 million euros for a wide variety of fishing-related activities, including maritime research, coastal surveillance and a compensation system for fishermen who suffer accidents.

But global environmental organisation Greenpeace has urged Senegal to reconsider the deal, arguing that it fails to take into account the interests of local fishermen, who were excluded from negotiations."

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

U.S. judge overturns Idaho ban on gay marriage | Reuters

U.S. judge overturns Idaho ban on gay marriage | Reuters:

(Reuters) - A U.S. federal judge struck down Idaho's ban on gay marriage on Tuesday, saying it relegated same-sex couples to a second-class status in violation of constitutional guarantees of equal protection under the law.
The ruling by U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale was the latest in a string of decisions by federal judges against state bans on same-sex matrimony that, if upheld by higher courts, would sharply broaden access to marriage for U.S. gay couples.
Dale said her decision would go into effect on Friday at 9 a.m. local time, unless put on hold by a higher court.
Marriage rights have been extended to gay couples in 17 states and the District of Columbia in a trend that has gained momentum since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last June that legally married same-sex couples nationwide are eligible for federal benefits.

That decision, which struck down part of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, has been cited by a number of federal judges, including Dale, in subsequent opinions overturning state bans on gay matrimony.
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BBC News - Self-healing plastic mimics blood clotting

BBC News - Self-healing plastic mimics blood clotting: "A new plastic that "heals itself" has been designed, meaning your cracked phone screen or broken tennis racquet could mend its own wounds.

The polymer automatically patches holes 3cm wide, 100 times bigger than before.

Inspired by the human blood clotting system, it contains a network of capillaries that deliver healing chemicals to damaged areas.

The new material, created by engineers at the University of Illinois, is described in Science journal.

For decades scientists have dreamed of plastics that heal themselves like human skin.

Cracks in water pipes and car bonnets would seal up. Satellites could repair their own damage. Broken electronic chips in laptops and mobile phones would spontaneously sort out their own problems."

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BBC News - Jose Mujica: The world's 'poorest' president

BBC News - Jose Mujica: The world's 'poorest' president: "It's a common grumble that politicians' lifestyles are far removed from those of their electorate. Not so in Uruguay. Meet the president - who lives on a ramshackle farm and gives away most of his pay.

Laundry is strung outside the house. The water comes from a well in a yard, overgrown with weeds. Only two police officers and Manuela, a three-legged dog, keep watch outside.

This is the residence of the president of Uruguay, Jose Mujica, whose lifestyle clearly differs sharply from that of most other world leaders."

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

H-1B visa spouses to get work permits soon - The Hindu

H-1B visa spouses to get work permits soon - The Hindu: "The changes were initially announced in 2013, a few months after The Hindu carried a series of articles (‘For Indian women in America, a sea of broken dreams,’ July 29, 2012 and ‘On the H-4, a trail of misery and lonely battles,’ July 30, 2012) that spotlighted the debilitating personal circumstances faced by many H-4s.

These included depression, loss of enthusiasm and self-esteem associated with joblessness and social isolation, in numerous cases leading to mental health issues or familial breakdown.

Reflecting a greater sensitivity to this reality of spouses of H-1B visa holders, the DHS said during its initial announcement of the proposed changes that it, “recognises that the limitation on the period of stay is not the only event that could cause an H-1B worker to leave his or her employment and cause disruption to the employer's business, inclusive of the loss of significant time and money invested in the immigration process... This rule will encourage H-1B skilled workers to not abandon their adjustment application because their H-4 spouse is unable to work.”"

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Nigeria's government defends its actions as more girls are abducted -

Nigeria's government defends its actions as more girls are abducted - "buja, Nigeria (CNN) -- Nigeria defended its response to the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls by the terror group Boko Haram, even as details emerged Tuesday about a second mass abduction, adding to a growing global outrage over the fate of the children.
President Goodluck Jonathan has been under fire over accusations the government initially ignored and then later downplayed the abduction of the girls, who have become the focal point of a social media campaign demanding their safe return.
"The President and the government (are) not taking this as easy as people all over the world think," Doyin Okupe, a spokesman for Jonathan told CNN."

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3 Reasons Volunteering with a Social Innovator is Uniquely Compelling | Ashoka - Innovators for the Public

3 Reasons Volunteering with a Social Innovator is Uniquely Compelling | Ashoka - Innovators for the Public: "International volunteering evokes images of the Peace Corps. That more than 1,000 Peace Corps volunteers have written books about their experience leaves no doubt that international service impacted them deeply.

Universities have caught on. Increasingly, students are participating in international service learning in lieu of a traditional study abroad. But this trend extends beyond the Peace Corps and university students; sabbaticals are a newer expression of volunteerism, where bankers and engineers alike leave behind modern offices to learn in the field.  

Marguerite and Michael Mitterlehner did just that. They spent ten months volunteering with Ashoka Fellows in Kenya, South Africa, Indonesia and India. In so doing, they deepened their understanding of social entrepreneurship and used it as a prism through which to take in cultures, economies and people they encountered."

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What role for US in efforts to rescue Nigeria's kidnapped girls? (+video) -

What role for US in efforts to rescue Nigeria's kidnapped girls? (+video) -

Nigeria's government has seemed uncaring and inept in the wake of the mass kidnapping, and it, too, stands accused of committing atrocities in the name of security, particularly in the north, where the girls were snatched by the extremist Islamist group Boco Haram.
The US can help by highlighting the criminal action and by prodding the Nigerian government to make the girls’ rescue an urgent priority, some Africa experts say. But the US also must take into account the conditions that made the kidnapping of more than 300 girls possible.
“If these girls are being carted around in convoys of vehicles and the [Nigerian] military is unable or unwilling to do anything about it, there are reasons for that,” says Bronwyn Bruton, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center in Washington. Noting the “information vacuum” Nigeria's government is confronting in the area, she says, “it’s very unlikely that none of the local populations know where these girls are.” The reluctance to talk, she adds, “is an indication of the deep distrust the local population feels toward the national leadership.”
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Incubating Aquaculture Businesses at the Base of the Pyramid - Impact IQ - Impact IQ

Incubating Aquaculture Businesses at the Base of the Pyramid - Impact IQ - Impact IQ: "WorldFish, a Malaysia-based spinoff of the the “green revolution” pioneer CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research), reached this crossroads in 2010. International aid had run out for aquaculture initiatives that had helped coastal communities in Aceh, Indonesia rebuild their livelihoods after the 2004 tsunami.

WorldFish had advised the Indonesian fish farmers on raising milkfish, tilapia, and cash crops like shrimp and lobster. The new farming practices increased efficiency, reduced waste and raised the profits of the smallholder farmers. Starting with 47 farmers, the program had grown to more than 2,600 by 2010."

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Agriculture: Engage farmers in research : Nature News & Comment

Agriculture: Engage farmers in research : Nature News & Comment: "Since the 1970s, agricultural research and development (R&D) has invested mainly in a few research institutes equipped with cutting-edge instruments. For example, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, responsible for much of the public research spending in food security in the United Kingdom, invested 27% of its 2010–11 budget in just three institutes. Multinational seed and agrochemical companies invest billions of dollars to develop products in hopes that they will be used by millions of farmers.

This one-size-fits-all approach has had qualified success. In a 2011 analysis3, average global crop yields increased by 56% between 1965 and 1985, and by 20% from 1985 to 2005, underpinned by increasing inputs of non-renewable resources."

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BBC News - Boko Haram 'to sell' abducted Nigeria girls

BBC News - Boko Haram 'to sell' abducted Nigeria girls:

Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram has threatened to "sell" the hundreds of schoolgirls it abducted three weeks ago.
Militant leader Abubakar Shekau sent a video obtained by the AFP news agency, in which he said for the first time that his group had taken the girls.
About 230 girls are still believed to be missing, prompting widespread criticism of the Nigerian government.
Tomi Oladipo reports from Abuja.
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