Friday, July 31, 2015

Preston to head Worldfish - FishfarmingXpert

Preston to head Worldfish - FishfarmingXpert: "Dr Preston, formerly of Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, will begin his new role in November, when he replace Stephen Hall, who has served as DG since 2004.
Dr Preston brings more than 25 years of experience in coral reef ecology, fisheries ecology, sustainable aquaculture and the development and application of advanced genetics and nutritional technologies to enhance the productivity, sustainability and market quality of aquaculture.
In accepting his appointment he said: “WorldFish has an established and respected position in unlocking the potential in aquaculture and fisheries to address global food security and reduce poverty. I look forward to being able to build on the work of the excellent team of world class scientists to lead WorldFish and deliver impact and transformational improvements in developing countries.”
Outgoing Director General, Stephen Hall, added: “In a time of change for WorldFish, Nigel brings solid credibility in the areas of fisheries and aquaculture combined with a sharp instinct for management and fundraising. With a strong field of candidates I believe that the board has chosen with great foresight and I wish Nigel every success in his new role.”"

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Why the Social Sector Needs the Scientific Method | Stanford Social Innovation Review

Why the Social Sector Needs the Scientific Method | Stanford Social Innovation Review: "A third safeguard in the scientific method is repeating the analysis. In other words, checking the math.
The three papers, now available, used the scientific method to great effect. The Cochrane Collaboration is a global network of medical researchers who do “systematic reviews” and “meta-analyses” (it may well have saved your life at some point). In 2012, the Cochrane Collaboration wrote: “It is probably misleading to justify contemporary deworming programmes based on evidence of consistent benefit on nutrition, haemoglobin, school attendance or school performance.” Recent correspondence with the authors implies that they’ve not changed their minds. And today, the Cochrane Collaboration publishes its fourth systematic review of deworming. The group looked at all 45 studies within its scope and concluded that: “There is now substantial evidence that this [mass deworming treatment] does not improve nutritional status, haemoglobin, cognition, or school performance.”"

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The Myth of the Ethical Shopper - The Huffington Post

The Myth of the Ethical Shopper - The Huffington Post: "Asian companies investing in Burma aren’t run by worse or greedier people than ours are. They’re just operating under a different risk calculus. American firms putting more than $500,000 into the country are required to publicly report their land acquisitions, payments to local officials, and security arrangements. If they get busted doing something heinous, they’ll end up on front pages. Developing-country multinationals don’t have these pressures."

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In quirky Hong Kong voting system, fishermen play key role - Yahoo News

In quirky Hong Kong voting system, fishermen play key role - Yahoo News: "Less known outside Hong Kong, however, is the political role of fishermen and farmers, remnant industries in Hong Kong that form a large slice of the 1,200-member committee that selects the southern Chinese city's pro-Beijing leader. They also have their own representative in the territory's legislature.

Fishing and farming make up less than 1 percent of Hong Kong's $274 billion economy but command 60 votes in the leadership committee, far more than groups or industries with much greater economic or social significance.

Their outsized role is a source of discontent in a city that was rocked by pro-democracy protests over the past year as many Hong Kongers chafed against a rising tide of mainland Chinese influence."

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Special report - West Africa's alarming growth industry: meth

Special report - West Africa's alarming growth industry: meth: "DAKAR (Reuters) - When customs officers in the sleepy Senegalese town of Koumpentoum discovered a stash of pills hidden in a bus from Mali in late February, they initially thought it was counterfeit medicine.

They stored the haul, poorly concealed in blue plastic bags and a yellow jerry can, in the back of the customs office. Its owner escaped, slipping away into the sprawl of shacks and hawkers.

Days later, according to two officials involved in the seizure, a top officer from regional headquarters took a closer look at the trove and identified it as the drug methamphetamine. The 81 kg (179 pounds) stash was worth an estimated $12 million or more based on the street price for the drug in Tokyo, where much of it ends up.  

The seizure was one of three in Senegal so far this year. It highlights the new and fast-growing role West Africa is playing in the global drug trade, not just as a transit point for drugs but also as a producer of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS).

Smugglers of Moroccan hashish have long crossed West Africa on their way to Europe or Asia. Over the past decade, the region has also become a major transit point for Latin American cocaine headed to Europe. But local and international officials say West African criminal groups are now producing and exporting hundreds of millions of dollars worth of methamphetamine - or meth - every year, most of it shipped to Asia."

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Friday, July 24, 2015

How Giant Prawns Could Fight Tropical Disease and Poverty – Phenomena: Not Exactly Rocket Science

How Giant Prawns Could Fight Tropical Disease and Poverty – Phenomena: Not Exactly Rocket Science: "But help is at hand. A team of scientists led by Susanne Sokolow from Stanford University has been working on a way of stopping the outbreak by bringing the snails—and their parasites—under control. Their plan? Add prawns.

The lower Senegal River used to be home to a hand-sized, long-clawed prawn called Macrobrachium vollenhovenii, that would devour the parasite-carrying snails. Every year, the female prawns would walk downstream to the estuary to lay their eggs; later, the larvae would swim back upstream. The Diama Dam cut off both routes and exterminated the prawns. By reintroducing them, Sokolow hopes to control the rampant snails and bring schistosomiasis to heel."

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World's first malaria vaccination approved - Al Jazeera English

World's first malaria vaccination approved - Al Jazeera English: "The world's first malaria vaccine has received a green light from European drugs regulators who recommended it should be licensed for use in babies in Africa who are at risk of the mosquito-borne disease.

The shot, called RTS,S or Mosquirix, would be the first licensed human vaccine against a parasitic disease and could help prevent millions of cases of malaria in countries that use it.

The vaccine was developed by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in partnership with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative,"

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Better crops for better nutrition | Devex

Better crops for better nutrition | Devex: "My colleagues and I discovered that better-off consumers ate the same amount of rice as their poorer compatriots, but were also able to purchase the fruits, vegetables and protein that remained out of reach for the majority. This disparity led to serious problems. Low-income families whose diet consisted primarily of rice lacked the micronutrients that could protect them from blindness, anemia, compromised immunity and the lifelong effects of stunted growth. This problem persists today for families around the world who depend on food like rice, maize, wheat, or cassava for most of their meals."

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Malaysia's Najib Razak Feels Heat as State-Owned 1MDB Melts Down - Bloomberg Business

Malaysia's Najib Razak Feels Heat as State-Owned 1MDB Melts Down - Bloomberg Business: "The bond sale that Song passed up is part of a scandal that has all but sunk 1MDB, rattled investors, and set back Malaysia’s quest to become a developed nation. Najib, who also serves as Malaysia’s finance minister, sits on 1MDB’s advisory board as chairman. The scandal’s aftershocks have rocked his office, his government, and the political party he leads, United Malays National Organisation, or UMNO. A state investment company trumpeted as a cornerstone of Najib’s economic policy after he became prime minister in April 2009, 1MDB is now mired in debts of at least $11 billion. Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, a one-time political mentor who’s turned on Najib, says “vast amounts of money” have “disappeared” from 1MDB funds. 1MDB has denied the claim and said all of its debts are accounted for. The prime minister’s office declined to comment for this article."

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

IDS: Taxes Help Spur Development

IDS: Taxes Help Spur Development: "“Well, it’s not really the case. Even low-income countries have a tax base. It’s not as big as the tax base in the U.S. or the U.K., but it’s quite substantial and it’s not always tapped into very well," he said. "So, there is certainly scope for doing better there.”

The IDS professorial fellow said building taxation capacity in a low-income country does not necessarily mean taxing poor people.

“There’s a great deal of tax evasion and the worst tax evasion happens in low-income countries is not actually poor people. But it’s because there are a lot of unrecorded transactions in the economy," he said. "Doctors, lawyers, consultants, dentists, artists, architects – professional people of all kind operate on a cash basis and they don’t pay taxes. Large numbers of people own a lot of property. Property taxes are extremely low in most low-income countries.”"

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Vegans, bacon lovers can unite over OSU’s seaweed discovery;

Vegans, bacon lovers can unite over OSU’s seaweed discovery;: "Oregon State University researchers have patented a dulse seaweed strain that, when fried or smoked, tastes similar to the popular, salty pork product. And while dulse is already on the market as a cooking ingredient, this particular strain grows faster and researchers are experimenting with broadening its use in dishes.

Dulse, a red algae that grows along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, is full of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. In dry weight it packs 16 percent protein."

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Iran nuclear deal: should we give peace a chance? - Telegraph

Iran nuclear deal: should we give peace a chance? - Telegraph: "The Iran nuclear deal has historical value because it depicts a crystal-clear image of current global affairs. The United States and Europe, for different reasons, wanted to close a bitter chapter of their past, while China and Russia are carefully designing a future geopolitical strategy in proximity to each other. Iran has exploited these motives to its advantage and it has managed to shed the tough sanctions regime, which has choked its economy, while promising to downgrade but not end its nuclear enrichment programme.
The political meaning of this settlement goes far beyond the nuclear domain. This is about how the United States intends to carry out its foreign policy in the region and what role Iran will have as a regional power. Whatever the consequences of this deal, politics in the Middle East will be different from now on."

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Greece debt crisis: IMF attacks EU over bailout terms - BBC News

Greece debt crisis: IMF attacks EU over bailout terms - BBC News: "The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has fiercely criticised the bailout deal offered to Greece by the eurozone.
It said Greece's public debt was now "highly unsustainable" and urged debt relief on a scale "well beyond what has been under consideration to date".
Late on Tuesday, the IMF made public advice it had given to the Eurogroup of finance ministers at the weekend.
That advice included proposals that would see some of Greece's enormous debt written off."

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Iran and world powers clinch historic nuclear deal - Al Jazeera English

Iran and world powers clinch historic nuclear deal - Al Jazeera English: "World powers and Iran have reached a landmark deal to curb Islamic Republic's nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief after an 18-day marathon negotiations in Vienna.

The accord was announced on Tuesday by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the European Union's policy chief Federica Mogherini in a joint statement in the Austrian capital."

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Euro leaders reach agreement on Greece bailout deal - Al Jazeera English

Euro leaders reach agreement on Greece bailout deal - Al Jazeera English: "The deal - if ratified by the parliaments of first Greek and then eurozone countries - would provide much needed cash "to get Greece back on track", according to Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Eurogroup president.

The details of the deal were not immediately available, but Dijsselbloem said the deal included a requirement of re-capitalisation of banks.

He also said a fund wound be set up which would aim to reduce the country's debt and to cover the cost for re-capitalisation of banks.

Shortly after the annoucement, Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, said that the deal is "the best possible" and that his team managed to avoid "the plan of the financial suffocation".

"We managed to avoid the restructuring of the debt. Greece will continue to battle so that we can regain our sovereignty and dignity. This is our legacy," he said.

Tsipras said that the deal would put "the burden" on those who were avoiding it for years."

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The real origin story behind how Rep. John Lewis became THE hit of Comic-Con… - The Washington Post

The real origin story behind how Rep. John Lewis became THE hit of Comic-Con… - The Washington Post: "In that convention-center room, on that day, we’d thought the congressman was kidding about the costume. But I should have known better from that gleeful glint in his eye: Rep. Lewis had filed that idea away.

And so, on Saturday, the civil-rights hero made his return to Comic-Con, this time to support “March: Book Two” alongside Aydin and the trilogy’s artist, the Eisner Award-winning Nate Powell. And this time, Lewis indeed chose to cosplay.

Trench coat? Check.

Backpack? Check.

And inside that backpack were even a couple of books: the first two volumes of the RFK Award-winning “March.”"

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Friday, July 10, 2015

How Akon Lighting Africa is working to tackle energy access | Devex

How Akon Lighting Africa is working to tackle energy access | Devex: "Designed to promote inclusive and sustainable growth, the initiative focuses first on providing solar power through microgrid systems to rural communities, which are often far from existing grids.

Akon and his partners didn’t come up with the business model — government-subsidized installation with commercial entities taking on the additional risk and collecting the payments — on their own. It’s a model that has been tested by the World Bank, said Samba Bathily, an entrepreneur and co-founder of Akon Lighting Africa.

In partnership with solar panel manufacturers and others, Akon Lighting Africa has secured a roughly $1 billion credit line that allows it to help broker longer-term financing for governments that may not be able to pay for a certain project in one budget cycle."

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Africa Should Lure Bangladesh's Garment Industry - Bloomberg View

Africa Should Lure Bangladesh's Garment Industry - Bloomberg View: "Historically, the path to wealth for nations has run through manufacturing. Manufacturing gives you a way to quickly move a lot of people from low-productivity farming to higher-productivity jobs without requiring that they pick up lots of new skills first. And the garment industry fits the bill admirably; it does not not require lots of expensive infrastructure or a skilled population that can supply and maintain fancy machines, and it does use lots of low-skilled labor. Once you get people through the factory gates, their higher productivity and earnings will support improvements in infrastructure, education and services, that can fuel further growth. "

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Number of Syrian Refugees Climbs to More Than 4 Million - The New York Times

Number of Syrian Refugees Climbs to More Than 4 Million - The New York Times:

4 million refugees and counting, with no end in sight. “More than 24,000 people crossed into Turkey to escape fighting in northern Syria in June, pushing the number now sheltering in neighboring countries past four million, increasing the Syrian refugee population by one million in just 10 months, the United Nations refugee agency reported. International aid agencies say the fighting has driven at least 7.6 million people who remain in the country from their homes. “This is the biggest refugee population from a single conflict in a generation,” Antonio Guterres, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, said in a statement. Mr. Guterres, once again, warned that international aid was not keeping pace with the scale of the crisis, and that many refugees were “sinking deeper into poverty.”

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

How comic books are combatting extremism in Pakistan -

How comic books are combatting extremism in Pakistan - "To fight terrorism, the US has waged wars, spent tens of billions of dollars on defense and aid, and engaged in massive programs, at home and abroad, to root out extremism before it spreads.

In Pakistan, one young militant-turned-author is trying a different approach: comic books.

Inspired by his own experiences, 31-year-old Gauher Aftab has written a three-part comic book that is being distributed in Pakistani schools to combat extremism."

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Russia vetoes UN genocide resolution on Srebrenica - Al Jazeera English

Russia vetoes UN genocide resolution on Srebrenica - Al Jazeera English: "Russia has vetoed a UN resolution that would have condemned the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica during the Bosnian war as a "crime of genocide".

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin on Wednesday called the UK-drafted text "not constructive, confrontational and politically-motivated," arguing that it unfairly singled out Bosnian Serbs for war crimes.

"The draft that we have in front of us will not help peace in the Balkans but rather doom this region to tension," Churkin told the council meeting that began with a minute of silence to remember the victims."

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Magazine: Dreams of Kurdistan - Al Jazeera English

Magazine: Dreams of Kurdistan - Al Jazeera English: "Twenty-six-year-old Wisam Yusuf is a Yazidi Kurd from Sinjar and one of the workers at the World Trade Center. After the ISIL attack on his home, he fled with 22 members of his family.
"You can't even imagine what the people suffered. Everybody was trying to save himself," he says.
Wisam says his older brother was captured trying to carry out his two-month-old daughter and has not been heard from since.
He saw things he finds almost too difficult to recount.
"I saw a woman give birth to twins and she had to leave them under a tree," Wisam's voice cracks and he looks away. Then he cries.
"I'm coming here to make money so we can leave Iraq. Even if peace comes, we will never go back.""

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Greece overwhelmingly rejects bailout terms - Al Jazeera English

Greece overwhelmingly rejects bailout terms - Al Jazeera English: "Greek voters have overwhelmingly rejected international creditors' tough bailout terms, leading to fears that the cash-strapped nation was on its way out of the eurozone.
Voters had been asked on Sunday whether to accept or reject the country's multibillion euro bailout deal with the European Union that called for more austerity in exchange for rescue loans.

 'Austerity has practically destroyed Greece'
Figures released by the interior ministry showed the final tally at 61.31 percent voting "No" and 38.69 percent voting "Yes". Participation stood at 62.5 percent."

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Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis resigns - Al Jazeera English

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis resigns - Al Jazeera English: "Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has resigned after Greek voters delivered an overwhelming "No" vote in a referendum on whether to accept more austerity measures in return for new bailout cash.

 'Austerity has practically destroyed Greece'
In a statement published on his personal blog on Monday, Varoufakis said he was stepping down to allow Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to reach a new deal with European creditors.
"Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted 'partners', for my … 'absence' from its meetings; an idea that the Prime Minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement," Varoufakis wrote on his blog.
"For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today.
"I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday's referendum. And I shall wear the creditors' loathing with pride.""

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Enduring Summer’s Deep Freeze -

Enduring Summer’s Deep Freeze - "Why is America so over air-conditioned? It seems absurd, if not unconscionable, when you consider the money and energy wasted — not to mention the negative impact on the environment from the associated greenhouse-gas emissions. Architects, engineers, building owners and energy experts sigh with exasperation when asked for an explanation. They tick off a number of reasons — probably the most vexing is cultural.

“Being able to make people feel cold in the summer is a sign of power and prestige,” said Richard de Dear, director of the Indoor Environmental Quality Laboratory at University of Sydney, Australia, where excessive air-conditioning is as prevalent as it is in much of the United States. He said the problem is even worse in parts of the Middle East and Asia."

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

The world’s most beautiful greenhouses are underwater, and growing strawberries - The Washington Post

The world’s most beautiful greenhouses are underwater, and growing strawberries - The Washington Post: "The balloon-like biospheres take advantage of the sea's natural properties to grow plants. The underwater temperatures are constant, and the shape of the greenhouses allows for water to constantly evaporate and replenish the plants. What's more, the high amounts of carbon dioxide act like steroids for the plants, making them grow at very rapid rates."

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20 Stunning Images Show India's "Kingdom of Girls," Where Girls Really Do Run the World

20 Stunning Images Show India's "Kingdom of Girls," Where Girls Really Do Run the World: "Families in Khasi culture are matrilineal: Children take their mother's last name, the youngest daughter in the family gets the inheritance and men move into their mother-in-law's home after marriage.

"To disrespect a woman here is to harm society," said Karolin Kl├╝ppel, a Berlin-based photographer whose latest series focuses on Khasi girls and young women, in an interview with Mic.

The result is a society where girls seem instilled with a remarkable sense of self-confidence from birth. Perhaps the rest of the world should take note.


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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Boom in "voluntourism" sparks concerns over whether the industry is doing good

Boom in "voluntourism" sparks concerns over whether the industry is doing good: "But with no industry regulator, campaigners within the sector are concerned about the rising numbers of companies involved, with no mechanism to hold them to account for the work that they do.

"One of the challenges facing people wishing to volunteer responsibly is that there is no independent quality standard, no recognised regulatory body," said Simon Hare, development director of British charity Globalteer.

"There are small local outfits as well as big corporations who see volunteering as a way of driving profits rather than an integral part of a long term strategy for communities with real needs. At best this can make volunteering a waste of time and at worst it can actually be harmful."

Critics warn the lack of oversight means volunteers can easily end up in parts of the world without the skills needed to help, take away local jobs, and form bonds with children in need that are shortlived as they quickly move on.

In the wake of the April 25 earthquake in Nepal, the United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, said it became alarmed by reported cases of child trafficking, calling on orphanages and volunteer agencies to stop sending more willing workers."

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Shattering the myths about Kuwaiti Shia - Al Jazeera English

Shattering the myths about Kuwaiti Shia - Al Jazeera English: "The recent suicide attack against a Kuwaiti Shia mosque, which killed 27 worshippers, and the solidarity exhibited between Kuwaiti Sunnis and Shia Muslims after the attack, provide an evocative repudiation of the sectarian binary oppositions that appear so divisive in the light of ISIL's emergence in the region.

While the attack occurred as part of a greater ISIL strategy to divide the Middle East's Sunnis from minorities such as the Shia, Christians, or Yazidis, its attack on Friday may in fact strengthen sectarian relations in Kuwait, and highlight how Kuwait's Shia have been an integral part of Kuwait's history. "

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