Ahead of the two-week U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which kicks off Monday in New York, Inter Press Service features a Q&A with Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), who highlights some of the goals of the meeting. As part of CSW, world leaders are expected to discuss gender equality in the context of the implementation of the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, the 1994 Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
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“Shell-shocked Chileans struggled to deal with the aftermath of a massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake that ripped through the southern half of the country early Saturday morning,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The quake damaged roads, buildings, telecommunication services, and cut power. “At least ten aftershocks hit the region in the hours after the initial quake â€“ felt 2,000 miles away in Sao Paulo, Brazil â€“ and waves that swelled more than six feet above their normal height battered the country’s long coastline, according to the U.S. Geological Survey,” according to the newspaper (Fick et al., 2/28).
In a speech on Friday marking the fifth anniversary of an international tobacco control treaty, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan called for government officials worldwide to increase efforts to protect their population from the harmful effects of tobacco, Reuters reports. “Tobacco kills more than 5 million people a year from cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes and other chronic illnesses, including about 600,000 from second-hand smoke, according to the United Nations agency,” the news service writes.
CNN examines the work of a Harvard University chemistry professor to “shrink a medical laboratory onto a piece of paper that’s the size of a fingerprint and costs about a penny.” According to George Whitesides, who created a prototype of the inexpensive paper “chip,” the technology could be used to diagnose such diseases as HIV, malaria and tuberculosis in developing countries.
The BBC examines the recent efforts by microfinance institutions (MFIs) to “provide a credit lifeline to millions of deprived people in some of the poorest countries of the world,” especially women. The piece describes the work of the non-profit Women’s World Banking (WWB), which, together with several MFIs focusing on women, is holding workshops across South Asia.
News Outlets Examine Electricity, Customs Hurdles For Foreign Aid, Potential Malaria Increase In Haiti
Since a major earthquake hit Haiti last month, “power has returned to nearly half” of the neighborhoods around Port-au-Prince, but the rebuilding of the country’s power system “is starting almost from scratch,” the Associated Press/New York Times write in an article examining the prospects for Haiti’s electric utility.
Also In Global Health News: Maize Loss In Zimbabwe; Preterm, Stillbirth Research; Public Health Insurance In Kenya
Dry Spell In Zimbabwe Forces Government To Declare 11 Percent Of Maize Crop A ‘Write-Off’ According to a crop assessment report released Wednesday, “Zimbabwe’s government has declared 11 percent of its 2009/10 planted maize crop a write-off after it was badly damaged by a dry spell, and repeated calls for…
Radio Australia Interviews Global Fund Executive Director Radio Australia examines the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s push for more funding from Australia and China. Global Fund Executive Director “Michel Kazatchkine is currently touring the world’s capitals seeking renewed government pledges to build on an already impressive record…
A Senate Foreign Relations Committee report, written by two Senate staffers, who just returned from Haiti where they assessed relief efforts, draws attention to “immediate shelter and sanitation concerns” and voices “concern about the coordination of Washington’s U.S. government response to Haiti,” Politico’s Laura Rozen writes on her blog. A link to the text of the report appears on Politico’s Web site.
PBS’ “Religion & Ethics” looks at the U.S. government’s “long history of trying to help poor countries get out of poverty. Since the end of World War II, the U.S. has given or loaned 150 countries more than a trillion dollars worth of aid, not counting military assistance or the work of private charities and nongovernmental organizations, many of them faith-based. We wondered what the lessons are in all this experience for, as they say, ‘fixing Haiti.’”