Monday, May 30, 2005

Organization of News Ombudsmen

Organization website

"A news ombudsman receives and investigates complaints from newspaper readers or listeners or viewers of radio and television stations about accuracy, fairness, balance and good taste in news coverage."

An organization that provides a true service to the cause of knowledge and understanding for development.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

"Can we achieve health information for all by 2015?"

Article from the Lancet

Abstract: "Universal access to information for health professionals is a prerequisite for meeting the Millennium Development Goals and achieving Health for All. However, despite the promises of the information revolution, and some successful initiatives, there is little if any evidence that the majority of health professionals in the developing world are any better informed than they were 10 years ago. Lack of access to information remains a major barrier to knowledge-based health care in developing countries. The development of reliable, relevant, usable information can be represented as a system that requires cooperation among a wide range of professionals including health-care providers, policy makers, researchers, publishers, information professionals, indexers, and systematic reviewers. The system is not working because it is poorly understood, unmanaged, and under-resourced. This Public Health article proposes that WHO takes the lead in championing the goal of “Universal access to essential health-care information by 2015” or “Health Information for All”. Strategies for achieving universal access include funding for research into barriers to use of information, evaluation and replication of successful initiatives, support for interdisciplinary networks, information cycles, and communities of practice, and the formation of national policies on health information."

UN to set up science advisory mechanism

SciDev.Net article:

"Kofi Annan, the secretary-general of the United Nations, has announced plans to create a high-level advisory panel to help integrate science and technology into the development efforts of all the member organisations of the UN system.

"The panel's two dozen members, made up of 'leading scientists, policymaking officials and political leaders', will advise both Annan and the United Nations Development Group on the best ways to support the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals."

World Health Assembly adopts new International Health Regulations

WHO Press Release:

"Today, the World Health Assembly approved a new set of International Health Regulations to manage public health emergencies of international concern. The new rules will 'prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease.'

"Many of the provisions in the new regulations are based on the experience gained and lessons learnt by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the global community over the past 30 years. The need for new rules and operational mechanisms for a more coordinated international response to the spread of disease has been most clearly shown during the recent outbreaks of SARS in 2003 and avian influenza in 2004-2005.

"The regulations govern the roles of countries and WHO in identifying and responding to public health emergencies and sharing information about them. WHO country offices around the world, together with the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), provide operational support to countries in identifying and responding to disease outbreaks...................

"The revision of the International Health Regulations has been under way for several years and has required an enormous amount of work by all 192 Member States of the World Health Organization. This work culminated in several lengthy sessions of an Intergovernmental Working Group chaired by Ambassador Mary Whelan of Ireland."

WHO Nations commit to 90% immunization plan Press story:

"Member states adopted a 10-year global strategy to immunize more people from more diseases as the World Health Organization wrapped up its annual meeting Wednesday.

"Delegates to the World Health Assembly committed to a joint WHO and UNICEF plan to have each country have 90 percent of its population immunized by 2010 and prevent up to 5 million child deaths a year by 2015."

Friday, May 27, 2005

Foreign Aid in the National Interest: Promoting Freedom, Security, and Opportunity

Read the book online.:

This book is intended to "inform and focus international development assistance - looking back over five decades of work and looking ahead to future challenges. Written primarily by leading development scholars and academics outside USAID, including Larry Diamond of the Hoover Institute, Michael Porter of Harvard, Peter Timmer of University of California-San Diego, and Carol Adelman of the Hudson Institute, the report reconfirms the critical link between national security and foreign assistance. It lays out the scope and nature of the development challenges we face in the next 10 to 20 years. While it is not a policy document, it does include recommendations on how foreign assistance can adapt to meet future challenges more effectively." Chapter titles: "Promoting Democratic Governance," "Driving Economic Growth," "Changing Health Needs," "Mitigating and Managing Conflict," "Providing Humanitarian Aid," and "The Full Measure of Foreign Aid." US Agency for International Development, 2002.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

"The Next Pandemic?"

Foreign Affairs article:

"According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in a normal flu season about 200,000 Americans are hospitalized, 38,000 of whom die from the disease, with an overall mortality rate of .008 percent for those infected. Most of those deaths occur among people older than 65; on average, 98 of every 100,000 seniors with the flu die. Influenza costs the U.S. economy about $12 billion annually in direct medical costs and loss of productivity.

"Yet this level of damage hardly approaches the catastrophe that the United States would face in a severe flu pandemic. The CDC predicts that a 'medium-level epidemic' could kill up to 207,000 Americans, hospitalize 734,000, and sicken about a third of the U.S. population. Direct medical costs would top $166 billion, not including the costs of vaccination."

Q&A with Laurie Garrett

Foreign Affairs interview:

"Q: How serious might be the economic, social and political impacts?

"One Oxford University computer model, assuming a virus with low virulence, put global losses at two to three trillion dollars. The Oxford team concluded that it is impossible to guess the catastrophic economic toll of a high virulence strain."

Experts Call for Cooperation to Fight Flu

New York Times article (Registration required.)

"Several of the world's leading international disease experts are calling for more international cooperation and a new kind of vaccine to prepare for a global flu outbreak that could strike one-fifth of the world's population and kill millions."

"The Next Pandemic?"

Foreign Affairs preview:

"Preview of a special section coming in the July/August issue of Foreign Affairs."

The most effective sustainable development research organizations

GlobeScan Survey of Sustainability Experts results

The International Institute for Sustainable Development, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the World Bank Institute were at the top of the list!

Enemy at the gate: saving farms and people from bird flu

FAO report:

"Impact figures for the avian influenza epidemic are staggering even for a continent the size of Asia. More than 140 million birds have died or been destroyed. Combined losses to gross domestic product (GDP) are estimated at US$10 billion to US$15 billion. As of early 2005, forty-two people have died of the flu. An FAO study estimates that in Viet Nam alone, the disease has touched 36 000 people living on the edge of poverty and 88 000 who were already poor."

Of course, according to the World Health Organization, we may be seeing the beginning of a pandemic in humans, given that there is little immunity to the new strains of avian flu. Previous flu pandemics in the 20th century each have killed millions to tens of millions of people; of course that was before AIDS provided a population of tens of millions of people with compromised immune systems. The failure of vaccine production systems in the last year also leads one to fear the potential of a pandemic. And one does not fully appreciate the effects of a pandemic by counting deaths. There would be expected to be much larger numbers of people needing hospitalization for treatment of flu, further stretching already overextended health care facilities in poor countries. Moreover, huge amounts of time would be lost from work by those who were ill or caring for the ill.

I hope we will avoid these scenarios, but that will be more likely if the nations of the world take action now!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Knowledge and Understanding for Development

I am thinking of changing the name of this blog. It has been “Knowledge for Development”, but perhaps “Understanding for Development” would be a better title. Indeed, perhaps “Knowledge and Understanding for Development” would be still better.

The Carnegie Corporation of New York was founded to promote "the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding." Andrew Carnegie understood that knowledge is different than understanding, and that both have their place.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000 provides the following first definitions:
· Knowledge: The state or fact of knowing.
· Know: To perceive directly; grasp in the mind with clarity or certainty.
· Understand: To perceive and comprehend the nature and significance of; grasp.

The Dictionary of American Usage differentiates the terms know, comprehend, and understand as follows:
· To know is to be aware of something as a fact.
· To comprehend is to know something thoroughly and at the same time to perceive its relationship to certain other facts and ideas.
· To understand something is to be fully aware not only of its meaning but of its implications.

I have some ideas as to the meanings of concepts:
· Information is defined as the reduction of uncertainty.
· Knowledge is internalized information. That is, you are said to know something when you have absorbed relevant information.
· Knowledge is applied to facts that one commands.
· One can understand a process, but one is not usually said to know a process. “Understanding how something works” seems to imply a more profound appreciation than “knowing how something works”.

“Knowledge for development” has the implication of the command of facts relevant to the development process. “Scientific and technological knowledge for development” might imply not only the command of scientific and technological evidence, but of scientific and technological theory.

I suggest that “understanding for development” has the implication not only of command of those facts and theories, but of their meaning and implications. I suspect that what we really need is an understanding of the processes occurring in development, and of the implications of modifications of those processes. We have to understand how to intervene in the cultural, social and economic processes in order to improve on their outcomes.

“Understanding” can be applied to the interpersonal relations. To “understand” another person is not simply to “know” that person, but to have insight into motivation and empathy for the person’s feelings. By extension, nations with “mutual understanding” are better placed to help each other in the processes of cultural, social and economic development.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Innovation Strategy Today

e-Journal website

Innovation Strategy Today is a new e-journal that looks very interesting, Subscriptions are free. The first edition includes two articles:

Health Innovation in Developing Countries to Address Diseases of the Poor"

"Nation Building through Science & Technology"

Monday, May 16, 2005

Proposed change to export regulations and foreign student

Read the details in correspondence from UC Berkeley:

Under rules proposed by the Department of Commerce, the operation of export-controlled instrumentation by a foreign national working in in a U.S. university would be considered a "deemed export", even if that person were engaged in fundamental research. As a consequence, a license would be required for each affected foreign national (student, staff or faculty member) and for each export controlled instrument.

Comments are invited by the Department of Commerce on this rule until May 27. To read the original legislation or post a comment, go to

and enter the Key Phrase "Revision and Clarification of Deemed Export Related Regulatory Requirements."

United States Researcher, One of Six Finalists, Competes for a Year's Free Technology Consulting Sponsored by the Altran Foundation for Innovation

Altran Foundation Press Release:

"The Altran Foundation for Innovation has selected six finalists out of 110 submitted applications representing 15
countries who exemplify this year's theme 'Overcoming Social Exclusion through Science and Technological Innovation.' The 2005 Altran Foundation for Innovation award goes to innovations that facilitate the inclusion of people in our society. This cross-disciplinary theme requires a multi-dimensional approach to issues such as health, transportation, housing, lifelong learning, education and training as well as access to services, employment, and
resources. Applications under consideration include:

* A Brain-Powered Remote Control for Paralyzed People
* Helping People Walk Again
* Better Guidance for the Blind and Visually Impaired
* An Electric All-Terrain Wheelchair
* The Internet Helping the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
* A Wheelchair Guided by User Interface

"The winner or winners will be announced on June 16th at the gala 2005 Awards ceremony which is being held at the Paris headquarters of UNESCO............

"Jonathan R. Wolpaw at the Laboratory of Nervous System Disorders of the Wadsworth Center in the United States has been selected as one of six finalists. His work gives severely disabled people an innovative
communication aid by developing a new generation of brain-computer interfaces that can provide both communication and control functions. By recording brain waves from the scalp and then decoding them, this creative new system allows people to move a cursor up and down and left and right, to spell words, and
even to control a robotic arm."



I should recommend this online journal more frequently. It is, in my opinion, the best thing in its field. It is a good source of news, and its relationship with Nature and Science magazines gives it great access. Its Dossiers are very helpful, and deal with important and timely topics in science and technology for development. It also lists job openings, and has other services for its readers.

The wrong man for the UN

SciDev.Net editorial:

"The possible appointment of President Bush's nominee, John Bolton, as ambassador to the United Nations could be a major blow to the credibility - and thus effectiveness - of the whole UN system. The developing world deserves better."

Inventing Our Evolution

Washington Post article:

"The surge of innovation that has given the world everything from iPods to talking cars is now turning inward, to our own minds and bodies. In an adaptation from his new book, Washington Post staff writer Joel Garreau looks at the impact of the new technology."

Kansas Debate Challenges Science Itself

Yahoo! News article

"The Kansas school board's hearings on evolution weren't limited to how the theory should be taught in public schools. The board is considering redefining science itself. Advocates of 'intelligent design' are pushing the board to reject a definition limiting science to natural explanations for what's observed in the world.

"Instead, they want to define it as 'a systematic method of continuing investigation,' without specifying what kind of answer is being sought. The definition would appear in the introduction to the state's science standards."

The debate on what consitutes knowledge is obviously not limited to developing nations!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

International Scientists and Engineers Are Essential For U.S. Competitiveness

NAS Press Release:

"The nation has drawn increasingly on human resources abroad for its science and engineering work force, the report notes. In 1966, for example, 78 percent of people with doctorates in these fields nationwide were born in the United States; 23 percent were foreign-born. In 2000, those figures were 61 percent and 39 percent. However, competition for talent has grown as other countries have expanded their research infrastructure and created more opportunities for international students."

Policy Implications: International Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars in the United States

Free National Academy of Sciences Publications

NAS Resource Guide for International Users:

The National Academies have made a broad array of PDFs free online to users in most developing countries with a view toreducing the barriers that prevent access to information and full participation in timely scientific exchange. Individuals from certain countries receive free access to PDFs based on their computer?s Internet Protocol (IP) address. Visit or for more information.

PNAS Online users from certain countries can obtain faster Internet service. To find out if your country is eligible, please visit

ANOTHER SERVICE: Obtaining Visas to Travel to the United States

The International Visitors Office provides information for scientists on how to obtain a United States visa and what to if a visa is delayed or denied. The International Visitors Office collects and analyzes data on visa applications for use in ongoing efforts to increase scientific mobility. Scientists experiencing difficulties in applying for a visa can submit a Visa Questionnaire. The International Visitors Office will review each case and establish contact if it is able to assist.

NAS Council Opposes Boycott of Israeli Universities

The National Academies news release:

"The governing council of the National Academy of Sciences issued a statement today reiterating its opposition to academic boycotts after a group of British professors proposed banning interactions with two Israeli universities. The council called the proposed boycott 'especially unfortunate' given the success of a recently established Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization."

2005 Statement from the NAS Council

National Academies' Library of International Activities

Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization

USAID - Biotechnology

USAID - Biotechnology information page:

"Modern molecular biology offers powerful new tools for improving agricultural productivity, environmental quality, and the nutritional quality of staple foods. At the same time, some applications of biotechnology raise concerns of safety, access, and equity in benefits. The science of biotechnology is helping to guide more precise crop and livestock breeding efforts, to diagnose crops and livestock diseases, to develop more effective livestock vaccines, and to engineer plants resistant to diseases and pests. The goal of USAID is to assist developing countries in building the framework for decision-making that will facilitate access to these opportunities the science holds and will ensure the safe and effective application of this technology. "

Biotechnology: Several developing countries now have well-developed programs

FAO news story

"Several developing countries now have well-developed biotechnology programmes; they are approaching the leading edge of biotechnology applications and have significant research capacity, according to a new FAO assessment on the status of research and application of crop biotechnologies in developing countries.

"Based on a review of the information in the FAO database on Biotechnology in Developing Countries (FAO-BioDeC), which covers both genetically modified (GM) crops and non-GM biotechnologies, the assessment suggests that developing countries will soon have new GM crops available such as virus-resistant papaya, sweet potato and cassava as well as rice tolerant to abiotic stresses (salinity and drought)."

The FAO Agricultural Biotechnology website.

Agricultural Biotechnology and the Poor: Conference Papers, October 1999

CGIAR: Publications: CGIAR Secretariat Publications: Agricultural Biotechnology and the Poor: Conference Papers, October 1999

Saturday, May 14, 2005

"Open Access and the Public Domain in Digital Data and Information for Science: Proceedings of an International Symposium"

Summary: "The proceedings are now online of a meeting which expressed concern in April 2003 at the growing tendency of governments to treat public-funded research as a commodity. The participants were particularly preoccupied by the implications for scientists in developing countries of growing restrictions on access to digital data and information. They asked themselves, 'How do we preserve and promote access to open science without unduly restricting commercial opportunities and the moral rights of authors? Many of the meeting's conclusions fed into the first round of the World Summit on the Information Society eight months later. The meeting on open access and the public domain was co-organized at UNESCO Headquarters by UNESCO, ICSU and its Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA), the US National Academy of Sciences and the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI). For an account of discussions, read 'What future for open science?' published in A World of Science in July 2003. The PDF version of the Proceedings may be downloaded free of charge courtesy of The National Academies Press, in keeping with the spirit of open access." UNESCO, 2004. (HTML, the PDF version of the complete report can also be downloaded.)

Global warming sending North Sea fish further north: study

Yahoo! News article:

"Nearly two-thirds of North Sea fish stocks have left their normal habitat to seek cooler waters further north because of global warming, according to a new study published in the magazine Science.

"Lead researcher and marine biologist, Alison Perry, from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, said that certain species such as cod, sole and whiting could disappear from the North Sea by 2050."

Friday, May 13, 2005

"ICTs and the MDGs: On the Wrong Track?"

Richard Heeks paper.

"The purpose of this article is to prompt some questioning of current "e-development" priorities. We have too readily assumed the Millennium Development Goals must be the priority for application of ICTs. Yet the MDGs themselves can be challenged, as can the relevance of applying ICTs to those goals. This article will argue that we ought at least to be considering some different priorities if we want to make most effective use of the opportunities that new technology affords."

Distributed Computing: Science Online Special Collection

Science Special Collection homepage (Subscription required.)

"Science Magazine and its online Signal Transduction Knowledge Environment explore the new frontiers of scientific analysis being opened up by distributed and grid computing, in a collection of articles published with the magazine's 6 May 2005 issue. In a special section in Science, News features chart the expanded realms of scientific number crunching made possible by screen-saver-computing efforts of the type pioneered by SETI@home, and at attempts to map the Internet itself using the same kind of techniques. Viewpoint articles in the same issue focus on the scientific promise of efforts such as the Semantic Web and other projects to tie the world's scientific computing infrastructure together through a common lingua franca."

"Democrats Protest Limits on WHO Advisory Panels"

Science -- ScienceScope article:

"Some Democrats in Congress want the Bush Administration to halt what they see as efforts to exert political control over science.

"Their focus is a 1-year-old policy on sending federal scientists to meetings of the World Health Organization (WHO). In the past, WHO would directly invite individuals from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to serve as advisers on topics such as avian flu and potentially cancer-causing chemicals. But in April 2004, then-HHS secretary Tommy Thompson's global health chief, William Steiger, announced that invitations needed to go to his office, which would choose the appropriate experts. The policy upset researchers at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as outside public health leaders and scientific groups.

"In a 28 April letter to new HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt, the 11 Democrats on the House Science Committee ask him to rescind the policy or explain the value of what legislators call a 'counterproductive' and 'potentially dangerous' policy. An HHS spokesperson said the department expects to respond 'in an appropriate time frame.'"

For years the United States sought to oppose countries that sent incompetent (or worse) representitives to WHO. Now the Administration has seriously damaged the credibility of such efforts!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

"Millions 'live in modern slavery'"

BBC NEWS story:

"The International Labour Organization says 2.4 million of them are victims of trafficking, and their labour generates profits of over $30bn."

That would be more people living in involuntary servitude today than there were slaves exported from Africa to the Western Hemisphere.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

“For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.”

H. L. Menkin

Tourists help, harm Peru's Machu Picchu

The Christian Science Monitor via Yahoo! News

"Like popular destinations from the Great Wall of China to the Taj Mahal in India, Machu Picchu's tourist influx is a two-edged sword. With the hordes of visitors come thousands of pounding feet eroding the pathways, seated bottoms weighing down the walls, and sweaty palms leaving eroding salt deposits on the stone structures. Buses bringing in holidaymakers spew exhaust into the air, polluting the ecosystem. Some travelers even use the ruins along the Inca Trail as bathrooms. The problems are so severe that the United Nations is threatening to place this World Heritage Site on its 'at-risk' register this year.........

"For two years, UNESCO has warned that Machu Picchu can't cope with such a high level of traffic. It recommends that the number of visitors to the site be halved; that Peru investigates alternative transport up to the site and how to prepare for and prevent natural disasters in the area; and requests that the government work with international lending institutions to establish an integrated scientific, technical, and financial program for conservation. While the "at-risk" designation would carry no legal weight, it would be an embarrassment to the Peruvian government.

"In response, the government is proposing a $130 million "master plan" designed to halt and reverse the damage. It is in consultation with UNESCO, which will decide next month if the plan addresses its concerns."

Monday, May 09, 2005

Q: "How will you stop Nanotechnology becoming another farce like GM food?"

Ian Sample, The Guardian, April 28, 2005

"Responses from three candidates for the UK Science Minister job during the recent election campaign:

A: 'You can't prevent it, and when we get people talking about grey goo it makes it more difficult, but it is articulating a very genuine fear and misunderstanding of what it is all about. It goes back to science education in schools and to the media having a responsibility to expose these arguments and explore them so the public can understand them. Nanotechnology has the most wonderful potential for not only human economic gain, but for human health as well, for the delivery of designer drugs which would benefit an enormous number of people, yet people are frightened of it. It's an everyday thing, nanotechnology. It has been going on for decades. It's not something to be frightened of, it's something to understand and be positive about.' Robert Key

A: 'Early on in the development of technology, you need a dialogue between scientists and the public, which really looks at whether there are any ethical, safety, health or environmental problems which might arise, so you can look at the regulatory environment and see whether it's capable of dealing with the new technology or whether changes need to be made. With nanotechnology, we asked the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering to produce a report on whether there were any implications and we've now responded to that. We're drawing up a programme of research to check out whether there are any problems in one or two of the areas where we just don't know enough.' David Sainsbury

A: 'There's a role for government and opinion leaders to take issue with people, even if they are the heir to the throne. The idea of grey goo h"

Inaccuracy - not bias - is the scourge of the media - SciDev.Net

SciDev.Net editorial:

"The media is often criticised for focusing excessively on 'bad' news about GM crops (indeed about events in general). Such criticism often ignores the fact that the main problem is not media bias, but inaccurate reporting."

Right on!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Foreign Policy: Measuring Globalization

Measuring Globalization website:

"The fifth annual A.T. Kearney/FOREIGN POLICY Globalization Index shows that global integration survived the turbulence of the Iraq war, a sharp economic downturn, and the failure of trade talks. Our ranking of political, economic, personal, and technological globalization in 62 countries reveals that the world is still coming together. Find out who?s up, who?s down, and how they got there."

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A New Round in Polio Fights Yet to Be Won

The New York Times article (Registration required.)

"By late 2003, just six countries were reporting new cases - a total of fewer than 800 in the world. Now the virus seems to be rearing up everywhere.

"Yesterday a case of polio paralysis was confirmed in Indonesia, following closely on the 22 cases confirmed in Yemen last week. Four cases have been confirmed in Ethiopia since March, and in February, two were confirmed in Saudi Arabia. Even that many is hardly an epidemic, but the outbreaks suggest that thousands of active virus-carriers are on the loose, since only 1 case in 200 causes paralysis.

"Since late 2003, new cases have been reported across Central Africa from the Atlantic Coast to the Red Sea. Because polio was found in Mecca and along the highways and ferry ports leading there just as the 2005 Muslim pilgrimage was peaking in January, public health officials feared it could be spread around the globe by pilgrims headed home."

"But despite flare-ups in 16 new countries, polio eradication officials are still optimistic."

It is sad to see a few countries threaten to reinfect the whole world with this terrible disease. When the failure is due to lack of knowledge of the disease and its prevention on the part of Public Health officials, the importance of Knowledge for Development becomes painfully obvious. When the problem is caused by superstitious denial of modern knowledge, the problem makes my angry!

Enlarged EU good for science

The Scientist article:

"Membership of the European Union has already improved the status of science among the 10 countries that joined the bloc last May, researchers and officials have told The Scientist."

OECD Forum 2004: "Fuelling the Future: Security, Stability, Development"

Forum Website

A daily summary of the Forum is available online, as are many of the speaches.

The Development Gateway is making a Special Offer for Members of a 75% discount of the regular conference fee. Development Gateway membership is free, and easy to achieve online.

OECD Forum 2004: "Fuelling the Future: Security, Stability, Development"

Forum Website

A daily summary of the Forum is available online, as are many of the speaches.

The Development Gateway is making a Special Offer for Members of a 75% discount of the regular conference fee. Development Gateway membership is free, and easy to achieve online.

Study Shows Positive Impact of African Languages on FM Radio

UNESCO-CI Press Release:

"A study carried out by the Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS), indicates that people surveyed in Mali, Ghana and Senegal appreciate African language broadcasts, want more programming in African languages and consider them to have a number of positive impacts. The study was funded by UNESCO within the framework of the Community Multimedia Centre programme."

Monday, May 02, 2005

The Globe and Mail: Avian flu virus changing

The Globe and Mail story:

"Ominous changes in the behaviour and the makeup of the H5N1 avian influenza virus in northern Vietnam has the flu world worried the virus may be getting better at infecting humans.

"In recent months the virus has sparked increasing numbers of small clusters of cases, suggesting more frequent occurrences of limited person-to-person spread. As well, it appears not to be killing as many of its human hosts ? a biological change that cannot be assumed to be an entirely positive sign."