HEALTH: GLOBAL TRENDS, POLICIES, ISSUES, ADVANCES, THREATS
from

Global Issues of the Twenty-First Century
and United Nations Challenges
A GUIDE TO FACTS AND VIEWS ON MAJOR OR FUTURE TRENDS

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by Christopher Spencer
Former Senior Advisor International Organizations,
Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Updated: 08 OCT 11


ACCESS TO HIV PREVENTION: CLOSING THE GAP, A 40 page Report by Global HIV Prevention Working Group, (distributed after May 03 as Supplement to Foreign Affairs):-brief statement of Working Group's accomplishment states that it is region-by-region analysis of gaps in access to HIV prevention interventions; it examines current spending levels versus projected need; and it recommends funding and programmatic activities to avert 29m of 45m new HIV infections projected between 2002 and 2010.Worldwide comments; then analyses regarding regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia/Pacific, Eastern Europe/Central Asia, Caribbean/Latin America, North Africa/Middle East. Conclusions: HIV Prevention Resource Gap; RECOMMENDATIONS. Latter(each followed by argumentation) are: Global spending on HIV prevention activities from all sources should increase three-fold by 2005 to $5.7b, and to $6.6b by 2007. Because prevention efforts currently fall short of what is needed in every region of developing world, prevention scale-up must be central priority in each region. In immediate future, prevention efforts should aggressively focus on bringing to scale especially cost-effective, high-impact interventions. As both prevention and treatment programs are brought to scale, these initiatives should be carefully integrated to create singlecontinuum of services. In addition to funding prevention interventions themselves, donors should, in collaboration with multilateral agencies, provide extensive additional support to build long-term human capacity and infrastructure. Development assistance and policy reforms should address social and economicconditions that increase vulnerability to, and facilitate rapid spread of HIV/AIDS. Research into newprevention strategies and technologies should be strengthened and accelerated. Substantial and sustained efforts by all donors should focus on improving data collection regarding magnitude and nature of HIV/AIDS spending in low- and middle-income countries.


Diane Ackerman et al., The New Age of Discovery: A Celebration of Mankind's Exploration of the Unknown (Toronto: Time Canada 97):- although"popular"in format, purpose/content are serious: 17 thoughtful essays contributed by leading scientists and academics. Aim is to survey where scientific discovery now stands, and where it is taking us. Many topics are or will be global and/or UN issues: health/ageing; defence against asteroids; DNA/climatic discoveries and implications; "Third World" -relevant technology; genderdifferences; care of global commons and indigenous peoples; extraterrestrial life; new energy forms; ethical computing; "homogenization" of world; special global challenges. Relatively easy place to start looking at trends and prospects- particularly if your background not in science. Survey is just example ofvaluable collections of what are in fact 21st-Century global issues, put together by good general periodicals(dailies, weeklies, monthlies),often to mark occasions like anniversaries or new years/decades. Those fitting our purposes here would be forward-looking, deal with subjects global in scope or importance, be written by top impartial authorities, and preferably offer reading lists.


AFRICA: CURRENT PROBLEMS, SOURCES, AND SUGGESTED CURES: MEDIA SELECTION

John Grimond "Africa's Great Black Hope: Survey of South Africa" (1-16); "Africa's Elusive Dawn" (Edit 17-8); "Aid to Africa" (59); "South African Governance: The End of Minority Rule" (Bus.66)The Economist 24 Feb 01:-these four pieces complement each other. Even if two concentrate on South Africa, its leading economic/political roles make it continent's bell-wether - in success or failure. Editorial bitter: "Africa's parlous condition dreadful condemnation of mankind's collective efforts to end poverty and promote freedom...[While]Millennium African Renaissance Programme[made South Africa's president Mbeki call firstfor]'critical examination of Africa's post-independence experience, and acceptance that things have to be done differently'" ,editor chastises rich world for its tariffs, quotas, farm subsidies, unfavourable terms of trade, weapons sales, debt inducement, tied/declining ODA - and for supporting corrupt Africanregimes/prohibitive drug prices. Africa deserves both more support/better leaders. ODA article stressesincreased British interest in helping poorest countries, i.e. mostly African which received about 1b poundsin bilateral/multilateral aid in 99-00. UK will concentrate on getting new technology/skills to students and would-be teachers, on debt relief, on police training and on peacekeeping. Business item notes although,when South Africa's present rulers still rebels threatened to nationalize big business; in power they have brought better corporate governance through greater efficiency and transparency. "Break-up of old conglomerates coincided with attempts to create new class of black businessmen" .Survey's analyses, whileconcentrating on South African economic, social and political situation, have much relevance for whole of Sub-Saharan Africa - and whole Third World. Two over-riding realities are:(1)elimination of very rich, long-entrenched and well-armed racist regime, in refined/orderly way, and without expected bloodbath(in continent only too experienced with ethnic dominations/bloodbaths);but(2) apartheid's replacement by equal or worse horror: AIDS(now threatening all Third World).In addition, relatively high (for Africa)average per capita income disguises "extremes of wealth and poverty rivalled only in Brazil: South Africa really both first world and third world country...Fortunately, long wait for freedom...provided time...to see how other countries coped with self-government. And it brought goodwill, not least because South Africa blessed with leadership of statesman of heroic proportions...Spirit of generosity seemed to characterise not just Mandela but new South Africa as a whole" .Survey discusses: (1)Land(Re)Distribution: with apartheid,white 15% of population effectively owned 87% of land, including all best;(2)Education: takes 21% of budget/5.7% of GNP, but still mixes some of best and worst schools in world;(3)Violent Crime: "threatensnot just South Africans' security but very basis of their society" mainly for socio-historic reasons;(4)HIV/AIDS: "makes most other problems seem trivial" with UNAIDS estimating 4.2m people HIV-positive; life expectancy expected to fall from 60 to 40 years by 08; social custom/ government policy at fault;(5)Racial Equality: affirmative action and "black economic empowerment" encouraged by law, butracial gaps are probably diminishing mainly through constitutional ban on discrimination; (6)Employment and Investment: both face major shortfalls, although policy aims at" growth, employment and redistribution" ;" only40% of economically active population employed in formal" sectors;(7)Justice: made much apparent progress: Constitution aims high, but partly unenforceable; independent Supreme Court; Human Rights Commission against discrimination; novel Truth and Reconciliation Commission provided neither, butoffered "day in court" ;(8)Non-Blacks: about 250,000 whites(officially or unofficially)emigrated since majority rule, but those staying generally do not suffer: Afrikaners have adapted well; Indians have lost economically, and Coloureds complain they are "not black enough" ; Appraisal: is generally good, considering where things started and African comparisons; biggest problems social: continuing dominance of racial concerns and income gaps; catastrophe of AIDS and its socio-economic impact.

 

AIDS: THIRD WORLD: COST-PATENT DILEMMA; GLOBAL ASSISTANCE

AIDS: THIRD WORLD: INFECTION RATES AND SOCIAL-ECONOMIC ISSUES

AIDS: THIRD WORLD: MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS AND CHALLENGES

AIDS: THIRD WORLD: POLICY ISSUES AND CONFERENCES

The HIV/AIDS pandemic is viewed increasingly as the most serious challenge facing global society. Almost all material on this subject is found in the media and is included in RECENT DEVELOPMENTS. To reach all media selections relating to AIDS, click on AIDS Third World.


Lawrence K.Altman "Study Finds Drop in H.I.V. Cases in South India"NYT 31 Mar 06:-"Prevalence of new HIV infections has fallen significantly in southern India, region of that country where the disease hasoccurred most often, scientists reported. Many health officials have predicted major increases in HIV in India, which has world's second highest number of infected people, after South Africa. But new infections among young aduts declined by more than a third from 2000 through 2004, according to astatistical study. [Article contains selected statistics from study and varied information about sources.]Authors attributed favorable trend to an increasing use of condoms by men and an insistence by prostitutes that their partners use them. That decline, in turn, reduced transmission of HIV to spouses.Experts cautioned against drawing too firm a conclusion from one study and added that the new findingsdid not mean India's HIV epidemic was over. Still, the study has two key implications, researchers said.One is that strategies that emphasize education about how HIV can be transmitted and the use of condoms offer the best hope for reducing the spread of the virus in India. Second is that routine monitoring of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases are powerful and cost-effective ways to control AIDS in India. But experts urged constant vigilance for signs of a reversal of the favorable trend...Reductions were more modest in 14 northern states, where prevalence of HIV infections is about one-fifth that in the four southern states".


Lawrence K.Altman "Chimp Virus Is Linked to H.I.V." New York Times 26 May 06:- "By studying chimpanzee droppings in remote African jungles, scientists reported [25 May] they have found direct evidence of amissing link between a chimpanzee virus and the one that causes human AIDS. Scientists have long suspected that chimpanzees are the source of the human AIDS pandemic because at least one subspecies carries a simian immune deficiency virus closely related to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS... The genetic and immunologic tests were developed in stages over the past seven years to help tracethe evolution of HIV and solve the mysterious origins of AIDS. [S]tudy combined genetics and epidemiology... Team's findings show 'for the first time a clear picture of the origin of HIV-1 and theseeds of the AIDS pandemic'. HIV-1 is the virus that causes the vast majority of AIDS cases in the world... Studies estimate that the human AIDS virus jumped species 50 to 75 years ago. But no one knowswho the first infected person was or how that person acquired HIV. The earliest HIV infection wasdocumented in 1959 in an unidentified man in Kinshasa[, Congo]. Team theorized that HIV was first transmitted locally somewhere in west-central Africa. Because the subspecies of chimpanzees... livesin the wild in Cameroon, Gabon and Congo Republic, the first infection could have been in any of those areas... The communities with a high prevalence of infected chimpanees were located south of theSangha River, which flows into the Congo river and on to Kinshasa. That led... to the theory that someinfected person carried HIV from a remote area to Kinshasa, where it was then passed on. It is not known whether chimpanzees infected with SIVcpz become ill... More collections were needed in other vast areas of Africa to provide clearer picture of the evolution of AIDS and to determine if there wereother viruses that could cause epidemics like AIDS".

 

Lawrence K.Altman "Report Shows AIDS Epidemic Slowdown in 2005"New York Times 30 May 06:- "Newsurveys suggest that global AIDS epidemic has begun to slow, with decline in new HIV infections in about 10 countries, leader of UNAID program said. Outside of those countries,.. number of new AIDS infections continues to rise or hover at its current pace. Meanwhile, public health efforts are reaching only a small proportion of people at risk, Dr.Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS, said at news conference in UN NYC ...India has 5.7m infected people and South Africa 5.5m, but India's population far greater. Showing no sign of decline, South Africa has a prevalence rate of about 19% of 47m people.In India, rate is less than 1% of its population of 1.1b. Progress against AIDS in some regions represents dividends from a surge in financing since 2001, when UN pledged its commitment to stem epidemic by 2010. Declaration called for countries to report regularly on their responses to AIDS. This week, UNGAwill receive the progress that 126 countries have said they have made. Report(op.cit.), most comprehensive survey ever compiled from country data, pointed to the 2001 UN meeting as a turning point for AIDS financing. In 2005,.. world spent $8.3b on AIDS, compared with $1.6b in 2001. 'We areseeing the impact', Piot said. He cited increased condom use, a rise in postponement of sexual intercourse and a decrease in number of sex partners as factors in slowing of epidemic. Summarizing report's findings, Piot said '2005 was least bad year in the history of the AIDS epidemic'... Despite thepositive trends, Piot reported grim findings from China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Russia andVietnam(op.cit.), with signs of outbreaks in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Ending the pandemic will depend largely on changing social norms like empowering women, reducing stigma of the disease andencouraging a greater reduction in the number of sex partners, report said. Most countries have strong foundations for building an effective response against AIDS, report said, but systems to carry out plansremain inconsistent. Thoroughness of the individual national reports varied, and many countries did not provide data for all categories... Still, replies identified significant weaknesses, he said. Fewer than 50%of young people achieved comprehensive knowledge levels about HIV, far fewer than the 90% goal. Only9% of gay men and fewer than 20% of intravenous drug users received any kind of HIV prevention help in 2005. Services to prevent HIV infections in infants have not scaled up as rapidly as programs to provide antiretroviral therapy. Just 9% of pregnant women were covered... Report shows that epicenterof the epidemic remains in sub-Saharan Africa. There epidemic has reached peak, but incidence remains unacceptably high, Piot said. Across most of Africa, HIV prevalence among pregnant women attendingclinics has remained roughly level for several years. UN disputed contentions by some observers thatthe leveling off showed a turning point in the AIDS epidemic in Africa... Piot said, 'actual number of people infected continues to rise because of population growth'" ; Reuters "25 Years On, Anti-AIDS Drive Still Falling Short" NYT 30 May 06:- "Twenty-five years after AIDS first recognized, world still falling shortin its battle against the disease with severe gaps in prevention and treatment, UN said [30 May].'Response to AIDS epidemic to date has been nowhere near adequate', said UNAIDS... Since...1981,AIDS and HIV virus that causes it have spread relentlessly from a few widely scattered hot spots to virtually every country in the world, infecting 65m and killing 25m, UNAIDS said in 630p report... Anti-AIDS initiatives and their results vary widely from country to country, and many are falling short of benchmarks set in a landmark high-level UNGA session in 2001, UNAIDS said... Dr. Peter Piot of UNAIDS... expected long-term commitments at this week's meeting...and hoped for $20m annually by 2010... Global AIDS incidence rate is believed to have peaked in 1990s. About 1.3m in developing world now on life-extending antiretroviral medicines, which saved about 300,000 lives last year alone. Still, some 4.1m were newly infected and 2.8m died in 2005... Global supply of condoms was less than 50% of what was needed, and antiretroviral drugs, while more widely available, remained costly and hard to get. Ignored in many countries are prostitutes, said... ex-dir of UN Population Fund... However, final statement by governments at conference this week not expected to refer to prostitutes, drug users orhomosexuals, due to objections from Islamic nations, some Catholic countries and US, which fear thatmerely mentioning these groups would endorse their behaviour. Infected individuals still suffer fromostracism and discrimination, while vast majority of world's 40m infected have never been tested for HIVand are unaware of their status, report said. While $8.9b expected available in 2006, $14.9b will be needed, UNAIDS said. By 2008, it predicted $22.1b would be needed, including $11.4b for prevention plans alone. Report called for more and better-targeted education and prevention strategies, more treatment opportunities, and more drug research, particularly on drugs for children, whose needs 'have been largely left out of the research agenda'" ; Lawrence K.Altman "U.N. Urges Tripling of Funds by '08 to Halt AIDS" NYT 01 Jun 06:- "Stopping epidemic of AIDS will require $22b/year by 2008 and possibly more in following years, officials of UNAIDS program said. The $22b is nearly triple the $8.3b spent 05 by all sources, including governments and private sector. Urging that countries spend more, UNSG Kofi Annan said a costlier and more sustained effort needed because AIDS 'has spread further, faster and with more catastrophic long-term effects than any other disease'... Of projected figure, half is needed for prevention and a quarter for treatment and care of infected people. Remainder is for care of orphans,children at risk of becoming infected and program costs. UNSG and Piot of UNAIDS spoke as UNGAbegan meeting aimed at renewing political commitment and setting new goals for expenditures and formeasuring progress... Annan urged delegates to challenge countries trying to avoid goals that mention gay people, prostitutes, intravenous-drug users and others at high risk of becoming infected.'Governments concerned need to be realistic and responsible', UNSG said. He also said that 'if we are here to try to end the epidemic, we will not succeed by putting our head in the sand and pretending thatthese people do not exist or they do not need help'... Report cards showed that most countries missed more goals than they met. More than 20m have become infected since 2001 meeting. Now countriesmust fundamentally change the way they think and deal with epidemic, moving from crisis managementto 'sustained attention and the kind of "anything it takes" resolve that member states apply to preventing global financial meltdowns or wars' , Piot said... Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS released a study showing that private companies have become more likely to provide treatment for employees as cost of antiretroviral drugs has fallen over last six years, to $140-$300/year, from $10,000. In African countries with a high prevalence, more than 70% of companies surveyed are fully subsidizing access to HIV treatment, coalition said. Study...found increasing trend to expand such treatment to employees' dependents. Companies also offering access to voluntary testing/counseling" ; Lawrence K.Altman & Elisabeth Rosenthal "U.N. Strengthens Call for a Global Battle Against AIDS" NYT 02 Jun 06:- "[UNGA]adopted strongly worded declaration [02 Jun] aimed at pressing nations of the world to strengthen theirbattle against AIDS, global pandemic [UNSG] called 'greatest challenge of our generation'. Language of document surprised even anti-AIDS groups, which said that while it did not satisfy all their objectives, they had feared it would be watered down... Nonbinding declaration reaffirms commitments made in 01,when UN defined AIDS as far more than a medical issue, framing it in terms of political/human rights/ economic survival... New document is political blueprint, not plan of action. Calls for strong commitment to bolster the rights of women/girls so they can protect themselves from infection with HIV... Declarationcalls on countries to: use scientifically documented prevention strategies, including condoms;make clean needles accessible to drug users; take steps to provide universal access to prevention programs/ care/antiretroviral drugs. Includes politically charged terms like 'condoms' /'vulnerable groups' , thoughthose groups not specified... Countries expected to measure their progress over next 5 years against targets to be determined by UN... Said world will need to spend up to $23b/year by 2010... Earlier in day,UNSG Annan delivered a gloomy assessment, saying world was losing the battle. 'The epidemic continues to outpace us' , he told packed UNGA. 'There are more new infections than ever before; more deaths than ever before; more women/girls infected than ever before'... [US' s] Mrs.Bush speech steered away from many of the criticisms that have been labled against administration, notably that it promotes sexual abstinence over scientifically proven strategies, particularly condom use. Indeed, she said, 'ABC'model - initials stand for abstain, be faithful and use condoms - had brought sharp declines in infections in Africa. Britain's international development [minister] said in interview: abstinence alone did not work...Dr. Peter Piot [UNAIDS] said: while no document could make anyone '100% happy', final version was 'a major advance'and far stronger than weaker drafts circulating earlier in week" ; Reuters "Nations Resist New Financial Commitments on AIDS" NYT 02 Jun 06:- "A major UN meeting on AIDS strategy fellshort of concrete financial commitments but recognized the growing spread of the disease among women and their right to protect themselves. Last day of 3-day meeting brought together heads of state, PMs and health officials from 151 countries... 'I know that none of you got all you wanted in this declaration', UNGA President Eliasson said in closing session. But he said thanks to advocacy groups,'the draft got stronger - not weaker'... Document says $23b will be needed annually by 2010 to fight AIDS...Nations agreed to search for additional resources to ensure universal access to treatment by 2010.But delegations did not commit themselves to a timetable for raising the funds as they did in 2001 whenthe financial target was met... Squeamishness over sex was evident.,. with Islamic groups and conservative Roman Catholic countries using the term 'vulnerable groups' rather than referring toprostitutes, homosexuals and drug addicts... Yet the document, in addition to abstinence, advocated male and female condoms and 'harm reduction'efforts related to drug use, a euphemism for needle exchange programs for addicts... Declaration called for sex education, reproductive health services andcondemned 'abuse, rape and other forms of sexual violence'as well as 'trafficking in women and girls' " .

 

Kofi A. Annan, "Preventing War and Disaster: A Growing Global Challenge" , Annual Report on the Work of the Organization 1999, by the Secretary-General of the United Nations(New York: DPI/2058; Sales No: E.99.1.29-Sep 1999):-after a convincing plea for more cost-saving global efforts to foresee, prevent, or reduce human and natural crises, Annan summarizes all major UN activities over year to Sep 99, and selected plans and problems(in 130pp). Chapters address: peace and security; development; humanitarian issues; globalization; legal order; human rights; administration. Overall impression: hard-won progress implementing UN obligations/reforms/savings are frustrated by Members' selfishness/lack of political will/financial irresponsibility. HEALTH ISSUES are covered in several contexts in the Report. The most interesting/important relate to: the global HIV/AIDS pandemic,"now the most deadly infectious disease in the world" with over 30m infected by the end of 1998(55);the foci of WHO health assistance including: disaster-related needs, health-sector aid, priority areas(mental health, epidemics, immunization, malaria, pharmaceuticals, nutrition, polio, malaria)(69); biosafety(84); environment/health(85); drugtreatment/database(87).

 

Kofi A. Annan, "UN Committed to Ensuring World Water Security and 'Blue Revolution', Says Secretary-General, in Message to World Water Forum" in UN Press Release SG/SM/7334 21 Mar 00:-urgent global problem is finding huge additional quantities of affordable water to meet increasing needs of population growth/concentration and rising agricultural/industrial demand, and to make up for global pollution andfalling water tables(see Worldwatch Institute: Lester R. Brown, "Water: Emerging Constraint on Growth" (123-5)in State of the World(1999)op.cit.). Hence "world's impending water crisis" was theme of UNSG's text. He reported that "every year, more than 5 million people[over 50% children]die as a result of poor water quality - 10 times the number killed in wars...[W]ithin 25 years two out of every three people on Earth will live in water-stressed conditions. Indeed, the declining state of the world's freshwater resources, in terms of quantity and quality, may well prove to be the dominant issue on the environment and development agenda of the new century" . UN Newservice 21 Mar 00: Klaus Toepfer, UNEP head, at the Forum: "The battle for the conservation of water will be won or lost in the mega-cities of the world" .[Technology can help:]Douglas Jehl, "Tampa Bay Looks to the Sea to Quench Its Thirst" in New York Times12 Mar 00:-US appears to be just reaching the stage when many high-density areas need, or find it economic, to desalinate sea or brackish water. Tampa Bay(2.3m residents)will be the first large urban areato do so, planning the largest(25m gallons/day)desalinization plant outside Saudi Arabia(whose economics are totally different). As of writing, five states(cheaply)desalinate brackish water, while two cities which built sea-water plants decades ago, now use them for backup due to cost. But Tampa cost estimates have fallen from $4-6 per 1,000 gallons to $2.08. With several cities planning desalinization, and many more facing the need, economics/technology may now produce a global cost breakthrough. [World FDI and ODA may soon include large expenditures on desalination.]


Kofi A.Annan"We the Peoples: The Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century" Millennium Report of S-G presented 03 Apr 00 to UNGA in preparation for the Millennial Summit 6-8 Sep 00:- Executive Summary, Key Proposals, Full Report, Fact Sheet, Press Releases, SG UNGA Statement, SG Press Conference Transcript: http://www.un.org/millennium/sg/report/. Annan said report "attempts to present a comprehensive account of the challenges facing humanity as we enter the twenty-first century, combined with a plan of action for dealing with them" . Section titles with(very tight)summaries: I. New Century, New Challenges: New millennium-Summit offers unique occasion to reflect on world's common destiny, since interconnected as never before. UN can help meet challenges ahead and be reshaped now to make a real difference. II. Globalization and Governance: Globalization unequally distributed and lacks shared social objectives. More people(plus crime, drugs, terrorism, pollution, disease, weapons, migrants, refugees)interact across frontiers faster, and feel more threatened/ horrified by distant events/conditions. New technologies enable common understanding/ action, so must learn to govern better, together. States need mutual help via common institutions, from non-state actors, and informal policy networks. The unequal/unstable/unsustainable world development model needs agreed remedial measures. III. Freedom From Want: .5b live on less than $1 a day, so must reduce extreme poverty by half before 2015. Priorities: sustained growth; all children complete primary school by 2015 and all youth finddecent work; by 2010 HIV infection rate in young cut by 25% -one result of more LDC-relevant research; improve lives of 100m slum dwellers by 2020; experts/charities to tackle low agricultural productivity in Africa, as governments give higher priority to poverty; maximize LDC access to infonets to speed development; rich states open markets to LDCs, offer more debt relief, and focus increased ODA. IV.Freedom From Fear: internal wars killed 5m in decade; WMD remain threat; security protects people, not territory. Tackle conflict by: prevention, more balanced development, human/minority rights, exposingweapons/money/resource smuggling; protect the vulnerable by enforcing international/human rights law; using UNSC for armed intervention when rights and lives are massively violated; consider peace operations review panel proposals; target "smart" sanctions more; improve control of small arms transfers, and reduce dangers of existing nuclear arms and proliferation. V. Sustaining Our Future: Most planet-sustaining actions are too few, little, and late. Before 2002, must: cope with climate change: reduce emissions 60% by efficient/renewable energy, implementing Kyoto Protocol; meet water crisis: accept 2015 target of 50% reduction in those without safe/affordable water, raise agricultural productivity per unit of water, improve management; defend soil: biotechnology may be best hope for sufficient food production, so debate must be resolved globally; preserve forests, fisheries, biodiversity with joint government/private sector conservation; build new stewardship ethic: public education, integration ofenvironment into economic policy, regulations/ incentives, accurate scientific data. VI. Renewing the UN: Must find consensus solutions among governments, private sector, NGOs, and IOs, with UN as catalyst. Build on core UN strengths(norm-setting, global actions, humanitarian trust)to press rule of law, adapt UNSC, and work with NGOs, private sector and foundations, including through informal policy networks; work with industry to exploit information technology; improve UN management throughstructural/agenda reform, priority-setting, more flexibility, results-based budgeting. VII. For Consideration by the Summit: Act on basis of shared Charter values: Freedom, Equity and Solidarity, Tolerance, Non-Violence, Respect for Nature, Shared Responsibility. Adopt resolutions drawn from Report as evidence.Reviews: Barbara Crossette, "Annan Urges High-Tech Aid for Poor Countries" in New York Times 4 Apr;The Economist 8 Apr: "Kofi Annan's Words to the World: Bouncing to a Fairer World" (51).


Kofi A.Annan"Common Destiny, New Resolve" , Annual Report on the Work of the Organization 2000, by the Secretary-General of the United Nations(New York: DPI/2153;Sales No.E.00.1.22-Sep 99):-UNSG begins by noting report to Millennium Summit, "We the Peoples: The Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century" (op.cit.), includes his assessment of humanity's progress and challenges at turn of millennium,and suggests ways in which international community can work together to" better lives of people still left behind" .Introduction, summarizing 130-page report on major UN activities over year to Sep 00, highlights: (1)Demands on UN humanitarian agencies far exceeded worst-case predictions; (2)Living standards in sub-Saharan Africa still declining; (3)AIDS pandemic spreads with frightening rapidity; needs stronger commitment to action; (4)Three new peace missions were created, straining UNHQ resources. (5)Reviewsanalysed UN failures in Srebrenica and Rwanda; offered recommendations. (6) controversial economicbenefits of globalization must be more inclusive/equitably shared. (7)Must be cooperative management ofglobal economic affairs through more effective governance. (8)Informal global policy networks involving governments, international institutions, civil society and private sector have great potential. Chapters: Peace/Security; Humanitarian Commitments; Development; International Legal Order/Human Rights; UNManagement.


Kofi A. Annan "Courage To Fulfil Our Responsibilities" The Economist 04 Dec 04(23-5):-UNSG offers global action-urging essay built on his immediate reaction to report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. Following his urgent introduction is a brief summary of Annan's alreadyconcentrated and rearranged version of the panel report's many concerns/proposals. Its value is less to summarize the panel's views than to identify subjects they and/or he discuss. "We face a world of extraordinary challenges - and of extraordinary interconnectedness. We are all vulnerable to new security threats, and to old threats that are evolving in complex and unpredictable ways. Either we allow this array of threats, and our responses to them, to divide us, or we come together to take effective action to meet all of them on basis of a shared commitment to collective security. I asked the 16 members of [panel]- eminent people representing many nations and points of view - to analyse the threats to peaceand security our world faces; to evaluate how well our existing policies and institutions are meeting them; and to recommend changes to those policies and institutions, so as to ensure an effective collective response to those threats. Their report...makes 101 far-sighted but realistic recommendations. If acted on, they would address the security concerns of all states, ensure that UN works better, strengtheninternational rule of law and make all people safer" . First: threats. Event/process leading to deaths on large scale/lessening life chances or undermines states, should be viewed as threat to innatl peace/security.Clusters: economic/social, including poverty/disease; inter-state conflict/rivalry; internal violence: civil war/state collapse/genocide; nuclear/radiological/chemical/ biological weapons; terrorism; innatl crime.Threats interconnected to unprecedented degree; no state alone can defeat. Highly enriched uranium at size of 6 milk cartons could level medium-sized city as nuclear device. Such attack in US/Europe isstaggering cost for world economy. Security of developed states only as strong as ability of poor statesto respond to/contain new deadly infectious disease. Incubation period for most is longer than most air flights, so any one of 700m who travel airlines in year could unwittingly carry lethal virus to unsuspecting state. Today, virus similar to 1918 influenza could kill tens of millions in fraction of a year. In today's worldany threat to one is truly threat to all; applies to all categories of threats. Since real limits on self-protection,all states need collective-security system, committing all to act cooperatively against dangers. Givengravity/interconnectedness of threats, world needs more active prevention. Prevention can be highly effective(Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty);WHO helped halt SARS. Best prevention agents: capable states, acting/cooperating with others. Best preventive strategy: is development support. Millennium Development Goals to halve poverty/hunger by 2015 states' best security investment. It will save lives/reduce violentconflict and radicalism/bolster state ability against threats before real harm. HIV/AIDS shows danger ofinadequate prevention. Slow/ineffective global response allowed 20m killed/20 years; spread continues andworst to come. Ultimate cost will include shattered societies. Still not taking all needed steps to bring under control. Also need public-health facilities built in poor world. Not only poorer states benefit diseasetreatment/local prevention; whole world has better defence against bio-terrorism/large-scale naturalepidemics. UNSC should work with WHO to strengthen biological security via prompt, effective responses.Equal: greater environmental collective action, including beyond Kyoto protocol to better resources management in states at risk. Prevention also vital to protect against terrorism. New isrange/scale/intensity of threat(al-Qaeda can kill around world/has struck in 10+ UN members).Could acquire instruments of massive destruction: unprecedented danger. UN must better use assets in fight against terrorists: articulate a strategy respectful of laws/human rights. Definition of terrorism offered: any action intended to kill/seriously harm civilians/non-combatants, with purpose of intimidating population/compelling action by government/innatl organization. States should use to build consensus andstrengthen UN response to deadly scourge. Also urgent recommendations on non-proliferation/disarmament/curbing supply of materials to reduce risk of nuclear/chemical/biological attacks by states/terrorist groups. States encouraged to end development of domestic uranium enrichment and urgedto voluntary time-limited moratorium on reprocessing plant construction. IAEA ability to monitor compliance with Non-Proliferation Treaty strengthened by standards in protocol for safeguards inspections. Since Cold War, UN far more engaged in preventing/ending civil wars; ended more through negotiation since 90 than in previous 200 years; developed expertise/learned hard lessons. As demand for UN blue helmets grows, need to boost peacekeeper supply/avoid 90s worst failures. Rich states should hasten efforts transforming existing forces for UN peace operations. UN must invest in mediation/support peace agreementimplementation. Demobilize combatants/reintegrate into civil life; otherwise civil wars not successfully ended/other goals(democracy/justice/ development)remain unmet. Often innatl community lost focus if crisishigh point past/peacekeepers left. Propose UNSC create Peacekeeping Commission; to give strategicfocus for work in states under stress/emerging from conflict. If prevention/peaceful resolution fails, UN must be able to rely on force. Whatever reason: all states/UNSC should bear in mind basic guidelines/ questions: (1)Seriousness of threat: does it justify force?(2)Proper purpose: does proposed force halt/ avert threat?(3)Last resort: all non-military options explored/exhausted? (4) Proportional means: force proposed minimum necessary?(5)Balance of consequences: clear action not worse than inaction? No need to amend Art.51 of UN Charter: any state's right of self-defence against armed attack/pre-emptive action against imminent threat. However if states fear threats, neither imminent nor proximate, but which could culminate in horrific violence if left to fester, UNSC already powered to act/must be prepared to take action earlier than past, when asked/reliable evidence. Protection of civilians inside states long fraught with controversy. Yet recognized more widely that question better framed, not as intervene-right butprotection-responsibility - borne first/foremost by states. Panel agreed principle of non-intervention in internal affairs cannot protect committing genocide/large-scale ethnic cleansing/other comparableatrocities. I hope UN members agree/UNSC will act. UN(now nearly 60)born in very different time/world, so has under-appreciated record of adapting to new dangers, e.g. peacekeeping in world's civil wars/response to attack of Sep 01. Clearly needs far-reaching reform to prevent/respond to all current threats. Some propose via-UN collective response too difficult/not necessary. But all anti-threat actions impact beyond immediate context/all states benefit from shared global framework. Not mean UN needs to do everything. It must learn of share burdens/welcome help from others/work with them. Already does so; report recommends strengthened UN partnerships with regional organs/individual states. Great attention: UNSC reform. Objectives: make UNSC more effective/authoritative. Permanent membership devised(1945)to ensure active engagement of big powers to maintain peace/security. New permanent members matter of controversy/debate. Two suggestions, both expanding membership to 24; aim at: add those who contribute most to UN financially/militarily/ diplomatically; ensure UNSC represents UN as whole;not expand veto, which would render decisions more difficult. Proposals offer chance breakthrough in year ahead. If acted on, UNSC more representative/better equipped for decisive action. Need strengthened UN secretariat that can support Peacebuilding Commission; implement UNSC/ committee decisions better on peacekeeping/mediating civil wars. Report envisages more concerted-action secretariat, with UNSGmore responsible for management/accountability. Equally important: ECOSOC overhaul to strengthen role in social development/improving knowledge on economic-social dimensions of security threats. Also, recommends Human Rights Commission better defender of rights of all. After 60 years, once again findworld mired in disillusionment and all too imperfect. Easy to stand at sidelines and criticise/talk endlessly about UN reform, but world no longer has that luxury. Time to adapt collective security system so it works efficiently/effectively/ equitably. Next year UN states reviewing progress on Millennium Declaration; world leaders' summit in Sep. Appropriate moment to act on some of most important recommendations in report.I will indicate which call for decisions at that level. Fervently hope world leaders will rise to challenge. Have all lived through period of deep division and sombre reflection. Must make 05 year of bold decision; all share responsibility for each other's security. Let's summon courage to fulfil responsibility." Complete text of "A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility" Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, plus initial comments by requester/addressee, UNSG Kofi Annan, can be read and even copied(99pp Acrobat Reader)from Secretary General's part of UN file (www.un.org). Executive Summary(8pp Acrobat)also available at same address. Capturing the 21st Century Security: Prospects for Collective Responses(Oct 04)collects reports from six Stanley Foundation conferences in 04 that dealt with UNSG panel. Report at http://reports.stanleyfoundation.org. Council on Foreign Relations "Q&A: Reforming the United Nations" 01 Dec 04:-originally available either by NYT>CFR>International>[title] or via CFR directly. This is expert interview with Lee Feinstein who" has spearheaded Council work on the United Nations" and studied the important UN report and its UNGA prospects.


Associated Press"U. N. Names Family Planning Official"New York Times 11 Oct 99:-reports UN Population Fund has appointed European Parliament member and 1997 runner-up in Ireland's presidential election, Mary Banotti, to be its goodwill ambassador and spokeswoman for UNFPA's "Face to Face" campaign. As such she will publicize plight of women and girls denied access to reproductive health care and family planning services.


Associated Press "Earth is Menaced by Fewer Killer Asteroids Than Previously Thought" New York Times12 Jan 00:-deals with real and major danger from space, not only to entire cities but to all life on earth, that is far from infinitesimal. Scientists have been estimating that 1-2,000 mountain-sized asteroidsperiodically cross the earth's orbit. This number produces about a 1% chance of one hitting the earth per millennium. Since asteroids are lumps of rock, iron and other material believed left over from the formation of the solar system, and those being counted have diameters between two-thirds of a mile to six miles, they are big enough to "wreak global disaster" . NASA has just lowered the estimated number of such killersto about 700, or by half. New technology may find 90% within the next 20 years, but there are also lots of smaller asteroids able to destroy cities. Britain has just set up a risk assessment committee. AP, "Experts Mull Asteroid Risk" NYT 18 Sep 00:-committee mentioned above is reported to have urged British government to seek international partners to fund a powerful new telescope to be stationed in southern hemisphere and governments should launch joint studies to assess how to destroy an object on a collision course with the planet. Committee estimated that a "wide object" crashes into our planet every 10,000 years with the force of a 100-megaton nuclear bomb. Government reacted:" it's sensible to put justa little[money]into making certain we know if there is a danger of an object hitting our very fragile planet" .

 

Associated Press"Researchers Produce a Healthier Rice"New York Times 14 Jan 00:-reports " scientists have genetically engineered a type of rice that could end vitamin A deficiency in the developing world" . About 14m children worldwide are deficient; so besides reducing widespread blindness, raising vitamin A levels could prevent 1-2m deaths a year. Swiss researchers successfully spliced three genes into rice to make it rich in beta carotene, a source of vitamin A. While tests are ensuring the original nutritional valueis maintained, the famous International Rice Research Institute(IRRI) is working to breed the trait into popular rice varieties. New developments reported in David Barboza"AstraZeneca to Sell a Genetically Engineered Strain of Rice"NYT 16 May(Note to Anthony DePalma"Super Seeds Sweeping Major Markets...").

 

Associated Press"Dolly Creators Claim Cloning Pigs"New York Times 14 Mar 00:-reports research groupwhich created Dolly the sheep, the world's first clone of an adult mammal, has produced the first cloned pigs. Since pigs are physiologically one of the closest animals to humans, it is hoped they could be" genetically engineered so that their organs or cells would be more readily accepted by the human body, making them more easily transplantable" . It is believed that transplantation of genetically altered pig organscould be tested on humans in four years. Although such "xeno transplantation" is controversial because of major concern that diseases could be transferred from pigs to humans (see The Economist 21 Aug 99 op.cit.), it is claimed that genetically altered pig organs "are the only near term solution to solving the worldwide organ shortage crisis" . Many people die awaiting a transplant, or having one rejected.

 

Associated Press "Number of Refugees Grows Worldwide" New York Times 13 Jun 00:-World Refugee Survey 2000, issued by prestigious US Committee for Refugees, claims that at end of 20th Century there were35m people worldwide "uprooted and in need of protection." Conflict contributed 7m to this in 99 alone, and despite UN success in ending some long-term disputes following end of Cold War, this estimated total had risen from 29m in 90. Moreover, of these, 13.7m are found in Africa(4.4m in Sudan alone).Another trend has been continually growing number of refugees that for various reasons remain in their own countries:Internally Displaced Persons. Identified IDPs now number at least 4m, and clearly demand higher priority from UN-UNHCR since they are not afforded same legal protections and care as" international" refugeesunder Geneva Conventions. On other hand, there is hope that some sources of refugees and IDPs may bein sight of permanent solution. Elizabeth Rosenthal, "Famine in North Korea Creates Steady Human Flow into China" NYT 10 Jun:-report on motives and stratagems of North Korean refugees within/outside their country. Any moves towards Korean reconciliation could have major and rapid effect on this crisis. For evenlonger-term look at issue of unwilling migration, AP reports "Conference Addresses Migration" NYT 10 Jun:-experts Paris meeting organized by Universal Academy of Cultures concluded "globalization demands greater moral responsibility and intervening in sovereign nations is plausible response to misery that drives populations beyond their borders." Those seeking political asylum increased from 250,000 in 87 to 900,000 in 92, but then declined to 388,000 in 98,perhaps reflecting growing influence of such perceptionin UN. Meanwhile, if Europe's population falls 100m by 50, migration waves may become beneficial.

 

Associated Press "Nations Vow to Fight Urban Blight" New York Times 09 Jun 01:-results of five-year-review of progress in meeting UN Habitat Agenda, agreed upon at 96 global summit on urban issues in Istanbul. New York review conference produced UN Declaration on Cities and Other Human Settlements in the New Millennium which reaffirmed commitment to Agenda principles regarding "adequate housing for all and sustainable development of world's cities" -no easy task since many countries" openly admit they have made little progress since Istanbul meeting. More than 1b...still lack adequate housing[out of 3b(50%)global urban population, and since f]ast-growing slums are common on outskirts of Asian, Africa and Latin American cities" .Textual crises overcome involved Palestinian proposal to criticize Israel, and US refusal to reaffirm adequate housing as "human right" .

 

Associated Press"Ugandans Report Mixed Messages on AIDS Plan"New York Times 18 Mar 06:-"Question of why Ugandans didn't use a condom is at the heart of a dispute between some health activists and US government. Activists, as well as some Ugandan officials, accuse US of blunting the condom message in favor of abstinence, while the Americans say they are victims of misinformation and have actually increased nearly tenfold the number of condoms they supply to this African nation of 26 million...Billboards urging condom use have disappeared from the capital, Kampala. In their place are posters, some funded by US government, urging youth to delay sex until marriage... HIV prevalence crept up to 7.1% in 2004-5, after stagnating at around 6% preceding three years, according to government figures";

 

Associated Press"AIDS Said Orphaned 1.5M Asia - Pacific Kids"NYT 22 Mar 06:-"AIDS has orphaned an estimated 1.5m children in Asia-Pacific region, but they are often overlooked in the mix of other issues surrounding a disease that has historically focused on adults, officials told a regional conference...About 121,000 children in the region have been infected by the disease, according to UNAIDS figures from2004. Another 35,000 also need anti-retroviral drug treatment to survive. Three-day meeting has drawnsome 250 delegates from UN agencies, governments and NGOs to Hanoi to discuss what can be done to limit spread of the disease among youth and how to help children already infected or orphaned by it... UNICEF regional director... said there needs to be increased prevention efforts targeting youth, more focus on prevention of mother to child transmission, provision of drugs to children suffering from the disease, and creation of support groups for kids infected with the virus or orphaned by it... A Save the Children survey... found that many children cannot go to school because someone in their family is sickwith the disease, they are commonly ridiculed and ostracized by society and are sometimes forced to work as slaves or sex workers after becoming orphans"; AP"Group Warns of More Child AIDS Deaths"NYT24 Mar 06:-"Number of children orphaned by AIDS in East Asia-Pacific region could grow from 450,000 to 1.7m in less than a decade if resources aren't increased for prevention and treatment, UNICEF official said... Also said number of child deaths could reach nearly 20,000 a year during that time if more isn't done... It would take up to $5.5b annually until 2015 to lessen effects of HIV/AIDS on children in the region, in increasing to an estimated $6b a year after that, he said... [UNICEF epidemiologist also said] there are an estimated 450,000 children in the region who have lost one or both parents to the disease, and thatcould grow to 1.7m by 2015 without more funding... A document released at end of conference called for reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV, boosting steps to prevent mother-to-child transmission, and enhansing care and protection for children. Other provisions included more pediatric HIV testing and greater access to anti-retroviral drugs for children. HIV/AIDS epidemic is growing faster in East Asia than anywhere else in the world. In many countries epidemic still largely concentrated in high-risk groups; AP"Gilead AIDS Drugs Show Prevention Promise"NYT 27 Mar 06:- substantial articlediscusses current global hopes in seeking action both against and avoiding HIV/AIDS. Begins: "Twenty-five years after the first AIDS cases jolted the world, scientists think they soon may have a pill that people could take to keep from getting the virus that causes the global killer. Two drugs already used to treat HIV infection have shown such promise at preventing it in monkeys that officials last week said they would expand early tests in healthy high-risk men and women around the world...'If it works, it could be distributed quickly and could blunt the epidemic'. Condoms/ counseling alone have not been enough -HIV spreads to 10 people every minute, 5 million every year. A vaccine remains the best hope but none is in sight. If larger tests show the drugs work, they could be given to people at highest risk of HIV - fromgay men in US cities to women in Africa who catch the virus from their partners... The drugs are tenofovir(Viread) and emtricitabine, or FTC (Emtrive), sold in combination as Truvada by Gilead Sciences Inc."AP"Bid to Give AIDS Drugs to Poor Nations Lag"NYT 28 Mar 06:-"UN's attempt to put 3m HIV-infected people around the world on antiretroviral drugs by last year fell far short of its goal, but it saved hundreds of thousands of lives nonetheless, [WHO] said. So-called '3 by 5 program'- 3m people on antiretroviral drugs by end of 05 - was launched in Dec 03. However, a progress report issued by WHO said only 1.3m people in poorer countries were being treated at end of 05... Program helped lay groundwork for more ambitious goal of achieving nearly universal access to medicine by 2010, set by leaders of G8 nations in 05... Some 3m people die of AIDS each year, [Global AIDS Alliance exec.dir.] said, and WHO believes program averted between 250,-350,000 deaths in 05... WHO report said world spent $8.3b on AIDS 05, up from $4.7b in 03... Treatment in southern Africa, a focus of program, has risen sharply... Other regions also of concern, such as India where large number of people infected and treatment access still very low.A general goal is to expand testing because most people who are HIV-positive don't know it. Testing for children in particular needs to be more widespread so that infected youngsters can be identified quickly and started on treatment, WHO AIDS director said. Health workers have to act quickly becauseabout half of AIDS-infected children die before age of 2".

 

Associated Press"EU Agency: Gypsies Suffer Discrimination"New York Times 07 Apr 06:-"Gypsies[henceforth Roma] remain among Europe's most discriminated-against people, European Union's racism watchdog agency said [07 Apr]... Roma routinely denied jobs/ housing/education/health care, saidVienna-based EU Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia. Center's director... said Roma living in many of EU's 25 member states suffer 'systematic discrimination', and called for more intensive effort/greater political will to eliminate the bias and help lift Roma communities out of poverty. Estimated 6.2m Roma live in Europe - 4.6m in central/eastern Europe - according to estimates by UN-affiliatedInternational Organization for Migration. Last year... EU monitoring center said unemployment ran as high as 90% among Roma in some new EU members such as Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, and that worst discrimination happened when Roma tried to rent/buy property. ['T]erritorial segregationis particularly acute', report said. Roma also tended to receive substandard medical care... A globalconference of Prague-based International Romani Union - coalition of organizations working to easethe plight of Roma - designated 08 Apr as International Day of Roma in 1990"

 

 Associated Press"AIDS Conference Ends With Appeals"New York Times 26 Apr 06:-"International AIDS conference [in Cape Town, of 1,000 scientists/researchers,] ended [26 Apr] with impassioned appeals to political/pharmaceutical industry leaders to fund development of a virus-killing [vaginal] gel to protect women from the disease and so save millions of lives. Peter Piot, head of UNAIDS,.. said safe/effective microbicides could be ready in 5-7 years, with only minimal additional funding, and thus turn the dream of saving millions of lives into reality... In the hard hit African countries, women account for nearly 60% of infections. Most are infected through heterosexual intercourse... UNAIDS/WHO have long promotedmicrobicides as a potentially valuable weapon in fight against the epidemic, not least because it allows women to protect themselves without having to rely on partners who refuse to wear a condom or befaithful. Yet despite this, research has proceeded slowly. [Piot] said investment in microbicide development should be doubled - and even then would still only reach about US$150m per year...Microbicides can take the form of a gel, cream, sponge or ring that releases an ingredient that can kill or deactivate HIV during intercourse. There are currently five different products being tested[, mainly in Africa on thousand of women]. Dozens of agents that could interrupt HIV transmission have so far beenidentified. There are also hopes that the microbicides could be used to prevent other sexually transmitteddiseases and unwanted pregnancies. One of the products, cellulose sulphate, has the potential to bea contraceptive and shield against HIV... Another microbicide, Carragard, coats vaginal cells and preventsthe virus from entering...Much of funding for research comes from Gates Foundation and US government... Trying to dismiss fears that microbicides would mainly be used in developing countries and therefore offer only low profit margins, [WHO] cited their potential for use in contraception in wealthy countries".

 

Associated Press "Annan Paints Grim Picture to Assembly"New York Times 19 Sep 06:-"Addressing world leaders for last time as UNSG, Kofi Annan painted a grim picture of an unjust world economy, global disorder, widespread contempt for human rights, and appealed for nations/peoples to truly unite. As theannual UN General Assembly [UNGA] ministerial meeting got under way, 192 UN member states facedambitious agenda including trying to promote Mideast peace, curb Iran's nuclear ambitions, get UN peacekeepers into conflict- wracked Darfur, promote democracy... Annan, whose second five-year term ends 31 Dec 06, said the past decade has seen progress in development, security, rule of law - the threegreat challenges he said humanity faced in first address to UNGA in 97. But UNSG said too many still exposed to brutal conflict, and fear of terrorism has increased clash of civilizations/religions. Terrorism being used as pretext to limit or abolish human rights, and globalization risks driving richer and poorer apart, he said. 'Events of last 10 years have not resolved, but sharpened, three great challenges - unjust world economy, world disorder, and widespread contempt for human rights and rule of law', Annan said.'As result, we face world whose divisions threaten very notion of an international community, upon which this institution stands. I remain convinced that only answer to this divided world must be a truly United Nations' , he said. In annual report, UNSG touched on some of most difficult issues confronting leaders... [Arab-Israeli conflict; Iraq; Afghanistan; Sudan/Darfur]. 'Together we have pushed some big rocks to top of the mountain, even if others have slipped from our grasp and rolled back. But this mountain... is best place on earth to be',UNSG said.'I yield my place to others with an obstinate feeling of hope for our common future', Annan said. [UNGA] loud applause/rose in sustained standing ovation".


Séverine Autesserre"The Trouble With Congo: How Local Disputes Fuel Regional Conflict"(94-110)Foreign Affairs Vol.87/No.3(May/Jun 08):-official summary:"Although the war in Congo officially ended in 2003, 2m people have died since. One of the reasons is that the international community's peacekeeping efforts there have not focused on the local grievances in eastern Congo, especially those over land, that are fueling much of the broader tensions. Until they do, the nation's security and that of wider Great Lakes region will remain uncertain". Emphasized extracts:"Congo is now the stage for the largest humanitarian disaster in the world - far larger than the crisis in Sudan. [I]nternational actors must tackle situation in Congo from the ground up". Autesserre is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia Univ.


Robert Baer"THE FP MEMO:- Wanted: Spies Unlike Us"Foreign Policy No.147(Mar/Apr 05):-former CIA case officer 1976-97, and author -See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism(New York: Crown Publishers 02), drafts a MEMORANDUM from himself to Porter Goss, U.S. Director of Central Intelligence, entitled"Getting the CIA Back in the Game". He writes"CIA is clearly broken, and you have a chance to fix it... Reform is needed across the board, but the Directorate of Operations(DO) should be your first target. Its mission - recruiting and running foreign spies - should be the agency's core function.Give DO the tools it needs, and intelligence analysis will take care of itself...Here are my suggestions(forming remainder of the MEMO under following headings): Reform the Promotion System; Know Your Sources;Recruit on College Campuses; Lower the Retirement Age; Stop Relying on Foreign Governments;Change the Security Clearance System; Recruit on the Dark Side. [I would myself disagree with the proposed total lack of cooperation with the world's 200 or so "Foreign Governments". Even the US could not gain unilaterally all the global information it is going to need. The global danger of all types/sources of terrorism in the world can only be constrained if all governments ideally/ostensibly work together.Genuine intelligence activity abroad could/would lie on top of that.]


Carter F.Bales & Richard D.Duke "Containing Climate Change: An Opportunity for U.S. Leadership"(78-89) Foreign Affairs Vol.87/No.5(Sep/Oct 08):-official summary:"Greenhouse gas emissions are harming the environment and the global economy. After cleaning up its own act, US must enlist developing countries in a new climate-control regime that promises to dramatically reduce emissions and encourage energy efficiency and the development of clean-energy technology". Emphasized extracts:"A cap-and-invest strategy would allow US to develop a clean economy at little or no net cost". "Time has come for US to lead the fight against global warming at home and abroad". Bales: Managing Partner Emeritus of Wicks Group of Companies. Duke: Director of Natural Resources Defense Council's Center for Market Innovation.


Scott Barrett Why Cooperate? The Incentive to Supply Global Public Goods (New York: Oxford Univ Press 07):-surprisingly well written -considering the complexity of issues- in: (1) describing the existing global challenges (e.g. climate change, nuclear proliferation, worldwide pandemics) and those that threaten the entire planet (e.g. terrorism, physical/chemical/biological instabilities, asteroids); and (2) reporting on how such problems have been successfully or badly handled in the past, the rationales involved, and the various cooperations that would/might work best in future. Barrett's "threat" approach differs from my item "EARTH MUST COOPERATE...", mainly in stressing "Global Public Goods" actions of the recent past (e.g.often successful United Nations; wonderful "Montreal Protocol" ozone treaty), whereas my gloomy and concentrated "page" is designed almost solely to identify: (1) the exploding scale/variety of global threats; (2) the human tendencies that have created/will create them; and (3) why we must change a number of very old human views/feelings. Both press broader global diplomacy as essential tool. Most chapters focus on distinct types of issue/solution. [Even a study of brief bit(s) of 275p would be valuable.] Titles: Incentives to Supply Global Public Goods [GPG]; (1) Single Best Efforts: GPG that Can Be Supplied Unilaterally or Minilaterally; (2) Weakest Links: GPG that Depend on States that Contribute the Least; (3) Aggregate Efforts: GPG that Depend on Combined Efforts of All States; (4) Financing and Burden Sharing: Paying for GPG; (5) Mutual Restraint: Agreeing What States Ought Not to Do; (6) Coordination and Global Standards: Agreeing What States Ought to Do; (7) Development: Do GPG Help Poor States?; Conclusion: Institutions for Supply of GPG.


Felicity Barringer "Nations Ranked as Protectors of the Environment"New York Times 24 Jan 05:-2005 has produced"index of environmental sustainability, which ranks nations on their success at such tasks asmaintaining/improving air and water quality, maximizing biodiversity and cooperating with other countries on environmental problems...Report is based on 75 measures, including rate at which children die from respiratory diseases, fertility rates[of what?], water quality, overfishing, emission of heat-trapping gases, and export of sodium dioxide, crucial component of acid rain. Report also cited statisticallysignificant correlation between high-ranking countries and[those]with open political systems/effective governments."Top ten out of 146 countries studied were(in their order):Finland, Norway, Uruguay, Sweden, Iceland, Canada, Switzerland, Guyana, Argentina, Austria. US ranked 45th, behind such countries as Japan, Botswana, Bhutan, most of Western Europe. Lowest-ranking country was North Korea; others near bottom were Haiti, Taiwan, Iraq, Kuwait. Index is second produced in collaboration with World Economic Forum(Davos, Switzerland).

 

Barbara Beck "The Economics of Ageing: The Luxury of Longer Life" The Economist 27 Jan 96(Survey 1-16):-longer average lifespans worldwide are raising global, and not simply national, problems in fields like economics and finance, travel and migration, medicine and health care, social and cultural change, and even moral standards.

 

Elizabeth Becker "Number of Hungry Rising, U.N. Says" New York Times 08 Dec 04:-UN agency Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO)makes ominous report: for first time in almost decade, estimated number in the world going hungry has increased. Despite overall increase in global wealth, FAO states, after slow/steady decrease, chronically hungry rose to nearly 852m(18m increase since 00); 5m children aredying of hunger annually. FAO senior claimed world now producing more than enough food, so problemis access to jobs/resources/land/money to buy food. UN's International Labor Organization(ILO)reported that record 1.4b(half world's workers)earn less than $2 daily. Oxfam reported that global aid budgets now total half of level in 60. Yet UN's Millennium Development Goals, pledged by all the world's governments, set targets to halve extreme poverty/hunger by 15." At least 80% of world's chronically hungry live in rural areas and over half...subsistence farmers. Competition from world's wealthiest farmers, heavilysubsidized by rich governments,...blamed in part for the inequity. Trade ministers have promised to continueworking to reduce agricultural subsidies/supports at global trade talks next year[WTO].In measuring hunger [FAO]considers calorie intake/amount of food available/inequities in access to food supplies. Thirtycountries [Asia/ Africa/Latin America]cut percentage of hungry people at least 25% over last decade byreducing conflict/focusing ...programs on rural areas/small farmers.[This is fundamentally critical, since]children under three most vulnerable to disease/death. Without proper nutrition, it is difficult for these children to ever recover/lead productive lives."


Pam Belluck "Will Longer Lives Be Different Lives? And Better Ones?" New York Times 01 Jan 00:-the biological, economic and ethical impacts of the probable major extension of human lifespans are often discussed; this addresses its social and personal impact. Since "genetic and medical steps needed to extend life [may halt] much of deterioration that comes with aging", life may include feeling like 60 at 110, attending college at 35 (five MAs [may be] needed), women bearing children in 50s, having six entirely separate careers and four marriages, physical sports at 112, vastly more life experiences (10-year holidays). With current progress on aging/terminal disease, many now born may live in 3 centuries. Parent/child may age far apart/"simultaneously". Marriage could last 80 years, or socially transform, with people raising several families. Energy-creativity-initiative "stimulated", but uneven access-adjustment must be minimized.


Samuel R. Berger "Foreign Policy for a Democratic President" Foreign Affairs Vol.83/No.3(May/Jun 04):-aimed at those concerned about weaknesses in US foreign policy of Bush regime, andneeds/opportunities in modified policies of any Nov 04-elected Democratic(or amended)regime. Most issues discussed of global relevance, and many stress US relations with foreign entities, particularlyNATO/UN/international law. This mentions those of global importance discussed in some detail. US administration's "high-handed style and its gratuitous unilateralism" about its military, economic and cultural aims, embittered even those abroad most likely to embrace US values. New US regime "no moreurgent task than to restore...global moral and political authority, so when we decide to act we canpersuade others to join us. Achieving reversal will require forging new strategic bargain with closest allies...Democratic approach to resolving disputes with Europe over treaties should be pragmatic, focused on improving flawed agreements rather than ripping them up" .US policy towards Israel-Palestine conflictmust return with energy/urgency. Regarding Afghanistan/Pakistan and Iraq," Bush administration'sunilateralist approach has let allies off hook: given them excuse to shirk these and other global responsibilities. Democratic administration would not be so dismissive of allies on issues that matter to them" since exercises truly international rather than exclusively US. Similar approaches are relevant to spread of weapons of mass destruction(WMD)." Democratic administration should use every tool at disposal to prevent WMD threats from arising before force becomes only option" . Listed issues include Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program with Russia, and "global effort to secure nuclear materials at all such sites" .Others sites described are North Korea and Iran. Non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT)might add "new bargain" helping non-nuclear countries develop nuclear energy. Many more issues are brief.


Sheri Berman"From the Sun King to Karzai: Lessons for State Building in Afghanistan"(2-9) Foreign Affairs Vol.89/No.2 (Mar/Apr10):-official summary:"The US's mission in Afghanistan will not be accomplished until a central government exists there that can control the country's territory. History shows that such state building is possible but is not a job for the squeamish, the impatient, or the easily frustrated. Policymakers should look to Louis XIV and the development of France's ancien régime for guidance". Berman: Associate Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia Univ. For an annotated guide to this topic, see "What to Read on State Building" at www.foreignaffairs.com/readinglists/state-building.


Richard K. Betts, "The New Politics of Intelligence: Will Reforms Work This Time?" Foreign AffairsVol.83/No.3(May/Jun 04):-while relates to optimal improvements to US top-level intelligence use, much of discussion/advice relevant to relationship between policy-makers and intelligence-commanders in any country. "Danger stems from gap between urge to do something and uncertainty about just whatsomething could be...At end of day, strongest defense against intelligence mistakes will come less from any structural or procedural tweak than from good sense, good character, and good mental habits of senior officials" .Not mentioned in FA, but relevant to both intelligence and diplomatic/defense/securitystaff effectiveness is ability to speak relevant foreign languages. The Economist 15 May 04 "ARABIC: Speak Up" (56):-how British and other governments need to ensure sufficient national facilities to train civil servants/university students that need special language ability. Economist 17 Jul 04 "Sincere Deceivers" (Edit.11-2)and "Intelligence Failures: The Weapons That Weren't" (23-5):-both US and British governments analysed positions of intelligence forces in giving President Bush and PM Blair respectivelyreports that made their bosses announce need to attack Iraq because it constituted regime both able to use/pass to terrorists weapons of mass destruction(WMD)and, in case of Bush, willing to support attacks by al-Qaeda. Both governments' reports criticize their intelligence forces as hinting more positive threats than should have been derived from their information, influenced by views/desires of heads of government. But US system considerably worse in this respect. Gives full information about two analyses and comments on politically inclined intelligence, and mentions future effects. Efraim Halevy "In Defence of the Intelligence Services" Economist 31 Jul 04(By Invite 21-3):-author was head 98-02 of Mossad, Israel's intelligence service. Essence of well-written thesis: "Committees of inquiry into US and British intelligence failures may have left West less secure." Basic critique is that of professional intelligence officer, and views are of expertise/relevance. However, one does get background implied of support for attack on Iraq, even if intelligence is ambiguous - an Israeli need? Economist 07 Aug 04 "New Non-Fiction: The al-Qaeda Code" (69):-favourable review of famous government document published as book 567pp long: The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (Norton).Something to be emulated by all future government reports. Economist 14 Aug 04 "The CIA: The Right Man?" (26):-short item regarding politically hot issue in US. Criticism of intelligence produced recently by CIA resulted in: (1) criticism of CIA director who also had acted as coordinating national head of all US intelligence groups; (2)resignation of CIA director in reaction to criticism. President Bush has nominatedCongressman Porter Goss as friend and experienced eight-term Republican, once CIA agent and recently chairman of House Intelligence Committee. Already controversy over Goss' appropriateness, although Bush agreed coordination of all US intelligence services will in future be carried out by another, new, separate position. Economist 28 Aug "The CIA: For the Scrap-Heap?" (28):-another short item reports on proposal of Pat Roberts, Republican chairman of Senate Intelligence Committee. He recommended new National Intelligence Service "run by hugely powerful director, backed by four assistant directors, each responsible for different phase of intelligence process. CIA would be dismantled, and its departments assigned to relevant assistant director. Control over other intelligence agencies would be wrested from Defence Department and FBI." Many experts claim proposals are wrong; some prefer more: diverse recruits, work with foreign agencies, and human intelligence-gathering.


Jagdish Bhagwati"Banned Aid: Why International Assistance Does Not Alleviate Poverty"(120-125) Foreign Affairs Vol.89/No.1 (Jan/Feb 10):-Review Essay of Dambisa Moyo: Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa (Farrar, Straus & Giraux 09, 208pp. $24.00). Official summary:"The idea that foreign aid can be used to promote development seems reasonable. But as the Zambian economist Moyo argues, it is flawed - not just because corrupt dictators divert aid for nefarious or selfish purposes but also because even in reasonably democratic countries, aid creates perverse incentives and unintended consequences". [In other words, while the deeply experienced and global-level economist Bhagwati ultimately rejects Moyo's proposal to terminate all aid within five years, he shares many of her criticisms of its errant policies by identifying several unfortunate motives that drove the donations. He also feels that she does not assign sufficient blame to the terrible faults of many of the African leaders involved.] Bhagwati is Senior Fellow in International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations and University Professor of Economics and Law at Columbia University. He served on the UN secretary-general's Advisory Panel on International Support for the New Partnership for Africa's Development 2005-06. For an annotated guide to this topic, see "What to Read on Foreign Aid" at www.foreignaffairs.com/readinglists/foreign-aid.


Matthew Bishop"Social Insurance: Privatising Peace of Mind"The Economist 24 Oct 98(Survey 1-22).-a matter of growing concern for the OECD states, the NICs and - in desperate terms - the LDCs, is how best to ensure basic social needs. The areas of greatest concern are health (and related social aid), pensions, help for the unemployed, and ensuring minimum living standards. Ever-growing dilemmas vary from finding thebasic funds and facilities in the LDCs to selecting the best ways, in terms of efficiency and financing, to organize the large-scale programs in the rich welfare states. Two major issues mainly in the latter relate to the growing demographic ratio of recipients to contributors, and the relative advantages of state and private schemes. The Survey studies all these carefully.


Susan Blackmore The Meme Machine(New York: Oxford Univ Press 99):-since Darwin's Origin of Species posited human evolution by natural means without metaphysical intervention, a heated debate has ensued over whether/how Homo sapiens is unique, e.g. by possessing a soul or free will. UN is affected, e.g. regarding technology, health care and law. This well-written book builds on many theories relating to theconcept of "memes" . Unique to Homo sapiens, like genes they are replicators but, unlike genes which replicate(copy)physical templates of parents in offspring, memes transmit words, ideas, beliefs and tastes, mainly by imitation, i.e. spread through peoples' activities. Author contends memes produced our large brains, language ability and altruism. Among less positive influences she includes sexual mores, myths(UFO, NDE, superstition, alternative medicine, religion(sic)). Soul/free-will are out.


Tony Blair "A Year of Huge Challenges" The Economist 01 Jan 05(By Invitation 44-6):-British PM presents two major global initiatives, to urge G8 to organize and substantially pay(Britain: 05 president).Essay makes strong cases in favor since, "with threat from international terrorism and spread of weapons of mass destruction.,. they are most serious problems facing world today [and] problems beyond power of any single country...Solution requires co-ordinated international action, and above all leadershipwhich G8 is uniquely placed to give. The two initiatives relate to solving African issues and attacking climate change. Here the only material summarized is on Sorting Out Africa. "[P]lagued with problems - debt, disease, conflict, corruption, weak governance - so embedded/widespread that no continent, no matter how prosperous, could tackle on its own.[Details of problems provided.]Should this matter to rest of world?For democratic governments, it should, because it matters to our citizens.[I]t can't be morally right, in world growing more prosperous/healthier,..that one in six African children still die before fifth birthday. Worldwide campaign to make poverty history rightly challenges us to act...We must now all accept utter futility of trying to shut our borders to problems abroad.[Famine/conflict]create conditions for terrorism/fanaticismto take root and spread[to globe.]Prosperous Africa, where people have chance to fulfil their talents, is in all our interests[while] sheer scale of Africa's problems can induce understandable sense of hopelessness. Governance been improving faster...than in many other areas[,and]Africa Union playing increasing role in settling conflicts.[B]est way to reduce poverty is through economic growth. [This]can be increased by aid [that involves greater donation/effectiveness.] But to help Africa continue progresswe need...coordinated global effort[,including]concerted action to improve opportunities/growth, reduce debt, tackle HIV/malaria/TB, fight corruption, promote peace/security. We also need to tackle trade barriers...I hope G8 will agree not only to plan of action but also to its implementation, a process of monitoring and review. We all need to be accountable for carrying out commitments we have made." Changing Climate is on "twin" item, to keep their lengths reasonable. Starts are similar, but theirmain texts/distributions differ.


Tony Blair "A Year of Huge Challenges" The Economist 01 Jan 05(By Invitation 44-6):-British PM presents two major global initiatives, to urge G8 to organize and substantially pay(Britain: 05 president).Essay makes strong cases in favor since, "with threat from international terrorism and spread of weapons of mass destruction.,. they are most serious problems facing world today [and] problems beyond power of any single country...Solution requires co-ordinated international action, and above all leadershipwhich G8 is uniquely placed to give. The two initiatives relate to attacking climate change and solving African issues. Here the only material summarized is on Changing Climate. "[N]o country will escape its impact. And there can be no doubt...world getting warmer. Temperatures already risen by 0.7C over past century, and ten hottest years on record all occurred since 91[;] fastest rise in temperatures in northern hemisphere for thousand years. This...has meant rise in sea level that, if continues as predicted, will meanhundreds of millions...increasingly at risk from flooding[, plus]other extreme/ increasingly unpredictable weather events such as rainstorms/droughts will also have heavy human/economic cost... Overwhelming view of experts is that climate change, to greater or lesser extent, is man-made and, without action, will get worse...But just as technological progress/human activity have helped cause problem, also within our power to lessen impact/ adapt to change.[N]eed to act now. Delay will only increase seriousness of problems...and economic disruption required to move to more renewable energy and sustainablemanufacturing in future. G8 needs to lead. Kyoto protocol[coming into force]is good news, but... change/ ambition required will be far more[and, with US refusal to sign,]makes measures we could secure through G8 even more vital." US/Britain have national/state legislation and leading investment/research under way, and firms' lower-emission status gaining commercial advantage." We are at stage where role of government/global policy must encourage development/commercial viability of new technologies that have potential to mitigate effects of climate change...G8 can take global lead both inmaking world aware of scale of problem and proposing ways to tackle. G8[also]opportunity to agree onwhat most up-to-date investigations of climate change are telling about the threat[, and]engage actively withother countries' growing energy needs...to ensure they meet needs sustainably and adapt to adverse effects of climate change, which seem inevitable. Sorting Out Africa is on a "twin" item to keep their lengths reasonable. Starts similar but main texts/distributions differ.


Sandra Blakeslee "A Decade of Discovery Yields a Shock About the Brain" New York Times 04 Jan 00:-US Congress declared 90s "Decade of the Brain" to support research. Most startling/scientifically-upsetting discovery was that long-held assumption human brain cells are fixed at birth and cannot even be renewed, apparently false. "In fact, from birth through late adolescence, brain appears to add billions of new cells...In adulthood, process...slows down but does not stop...Mature circuits appear to be maintained by new cell growth well into old age." News demands "total revision of how scientists think human minds organized,..shed new light on mechanisms of learning, memory and aging" and creates major opportunities in neurosurgery and treatment of brain injuries and disorders. Events/trends in neuroscience surveyed; see Goode(op.cit.)for those in brain medications. Blakeslee reports another revolutionary discovery about brain in "'Rewired'Ferrets Overturn Theories of Brain Growth" NYT 25 Apr 00:-MIT scientific team appears to have reopened question of relative contributions of genes and experience in building brain structure. It "rewired" newborn ferret brains so animals' eyes hooked up to brain regions where hearing normally develops, and found ferrets develop fully functioning visual pathways in auditory portions of brains,contradicting assumption that brains have specialized regions for different functions set at birth. It appearsbrains develop specialized functions based on information flowing into them and wire themselvesaccordingly: "experience shapes the brain." Also explains long-perceived "adjustments" to new brain needs/constraints/damage.


Newton R. Bowles, United Nations: Hedge or Taels? A Report on the Fifty-Fourth General Assembly: September-December 1999(Report to Group of 78/United Nations Association in Canada)(New York:www.unac.org 00):-valuable impressions of tone/highlights of UNGA Regular Session/related developments, particularly in Security Council. Subject titles(and main points): World in 99(better prospects than 98; praise for UNSG/UNGA President; radical UNSG speech: humanitarian law before sovereignty(text: Annex 1);no UNSC reform but more open; progress on UN human rights and development role); General Debate(main value: networking/stage-setting; main theme: massive human rights violence, armed conflict within states; major points of notable speeches);Human Security Issues(follow-up to "Agenda for Peace" particularly prevention; key: broad "international approach to poverty, human rights and social/economic development" (UNGA President Statement: Annex 2);UNSC renewed activism but no progress on membership or veto; special problems of Africa); HIV/AIDS(stress on Africa where death toll 10 times that of wars; Statement by UNAIDS Executive-Director: Annex 3); Conflict Prevention(improved early-warning/prevention strategies; seek social/economic root causes); Peacekeeping(major forcesin Kosovo, Sierra Leone, East Timor, DR Congo total well over 30,000 in 00(Operations in Annex 4);International Justice(international criminal law fairly controversial compared with civil law; Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals started from scratch but improving; International Criminal Court: 30 Jun deadline will be met; current: new convention on terrorism financing, working on conventions re nuclear terrorism and comprehensive anti-terrorism; planning international conference and transnational crime convention;Disarmament(gloomy: START II stuck in Duma; CTBT refused by Congress; ABM may be weakened or ignored; Conference on Disarmament is paralysed; Special Assembly Session on Disarmament unlikely;NPT review conference also unlikely; Resolution on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space passed, but US resumed anti-missile tests; practical progress on implementing/completing agreements on Chemical and Biological weapons, Landmines, Heavy Weapons register, Small Arms Trade; Development(of LDC needs-investment, markets, debt relief, only ODA is responsibility of UN proper(and aid is declining),but UN-Bank/Fund relations closer; North-South dialogue also less confrontational; "Agenda for Development" stresses good governance/ accountability/participation/social security; UNSG WTO speech(Annex 5)highlights LDCs' need to share globalization; 01 all-issue conference on financing development will bring in all stakeholders); UN Aid(of $50b annual ODA, $5b through UN and $5b World Bank; UN stresses social concerns/human development; UNDP major effort to coordinate multilateral aid better); Business and Labour(UNSG challenged big business at Davos to "Global Compact" tocooperate with UN on human rights/labour standards/environment; positive response from ICC; ICFTUalso undertook to support);Humanitarian Activities(natural disasters cost $500b in 90s; armed conflicts cost $200b in external aid, so probably over $1 trillion overall; UN priority to avoid or mitigate natural disasters or conflicts);Human Rights(most humanitarian law written since WWII; much being added; all aspects of human (mis)behaviour come together at UN under human rights; UNSC adopted strong/comprehensive policy on protecting civilians(Annex 6); in Kosovo/East Timor, UN creating entirecriminal justice and human rights systems; UNHCHR investigating standards in 21 fields worldwide);Women's Advancement(Special UNGA Session on Women(Jun 00)will examine implementation of BeijingConference decisions; UNGA studied new report on role of women in development);Children(Tenth Anniversary of Convention on Rights of Child; UNSC resolution "strongly condemns targeting of children in situations of armed conflict" );Finance and Management(main focus again US budget arrears followed by highly-conditional part-payment; 00-01 biennium budget $2,535m, up a symbolic $3m; staff managementstill slow/cumbersome; excellent final report of 5-year "Internal Oversight" (quoted));Civil Societies(getsmore into basic issues of development-globalization; UNSG for tripartite "Global Compact" :UN-business-civil society);(Annex 7:Current Membership of UN Organs).

 

Keith Bradsher & David Barboza "The Energy Challenge: Clouds From Chinese Coal Cast a Long Shadow"NYT 11 Jun 06:-particularly excellent/worrying 9-page report on one of the world's worst activities/killers."One of China's lesser-known exports is dangerous brew of soot, toxic chemicals and climate-changing gases from the smokestacks of coal-burning power plants... The cooling effect from the sulfur [dioxide byproduct] is short-lived. By contrast, the carbon dioxide emanating from Chinese coal plants will lastfor decades, with a cumulative warming effect that will eventually... deliver another large kick to global warming, climate scientists say... Already, China uses more coal than US, EU and Japan combined. And it has increased coal consumption 14% in each of the past two years in the broadest industrialization ever. Every week to 10 days, another [major] coal-fired power plant opens somewhere in China... To make matters worse, India is right behind China in stepping up its construction of coal-fired power plants - and has a population expected to outstrip China's by 2030... The difference from most wealthy countries is that China depends overwhelmingly on coal. And using coal to produce electricity and run factories generates more global-warming gases and lung-damaging pollutants than relying on oil or gas... China knows it has to do something about its dependence on [pollution-heavy] coal".

 

Christopher Bright, "Invasive Species: Pathogens of Globalization" in Foreign Policy No.116(Fall 1999):-this essay summarizes Life Out of Bounds: Bioinvasion in a Borderless World(New York: W.W.Norton & Co., 1998). Bright claims: "World trade has become the primary driver of one of the most dangerous and least visible forms of environmental decline: thousands of foreign, invasive species are hitch-hiking through the global trading network aboard ships, planes, and railroad cars...This' biological pollution'is degrading ecosystems, threatening public health, and costing billions" (50). Counter-policies largely ineffective, control mechanisms(UN?)relatively undeveloped, global integration makes the situation ever worse. Bright offersmuch information: animal, plant, insect, pathogen species; means of transport; various costs. His agenda:control ballast release(IMO); fix Sanitary/Phytosanitary Measures act(WTO); build global database(UN?).


Simon Briscoe & Hugh Aldersey-Williams Panicology :Subtitle on Book Cover Only: What Are You Afraid Of? Two Statisticians Explain What's Worth Worrying About (and What's Not) in the 21st Century (London: Viking 08):-after a brief Introduction, the 300-page book offers essays on 42 specialized subjects in hopefully objective terms and the most up-to-date statistics. Each essay is inclined to lampoon deliberately-scary headlines that were inclined to raise excessive worries on the subject. My main/chronic criticism is that many essays apply solely to the UK situation or primarily to the West, whereas most issues are clearly of global concern - and are studied globally by UN (multiple UN summaries op. cit.). The chapter titles are followed by my own subjects of the relevant essays. (1) Sex, Marriage and Children: Population Issues; Family Units and Children; Getting Married; Sexual Attitudes. (2) Health: Obesity; Salt Consumption; Bird Flu; Hospital-Acquired Infections; Kids' Triple Vaccines; Sudden Infant Death Syndromes. (3) Passing the Time: Accidents from Physical Art; Heavy Drinking of Alcohol; Cinema Admissions; Collection of Sports Cards. (4) Social Policy: Pensions; Household Debts; House Prices; Immigration; Deaths Through Transport; Accidents Through Mobile Phones; (5) The Workplace: Globalization's Effects on Employment; Women's Pay; Work-Related Stress; Repetitive Strain Injury; (6) Law and Order: Terrorist Threats; Military Threats; Numbers in Prison; Crime Figures; (7) Natural World: Ozone Depletion; Hurricanes; Climate Change; Sea-Level Rise; Earthquakes and Volcanos; New Ice Age? (8) Our Declining Resources: Extinctions; Fisheries Issues; Languages. (9) Modern Science: Genetically Modified Food; Nanotechnology; Nuclear Radiation. (10) They're Coming to Get You: UFO Reports; Asteroids.


Harry G.Broadman"China and India Go to Africa: New Deals in the Developing World"(95-109) Foreign Affairs Vol.87/No.2(Mar/Apr 08):-official summary: "Economic activity between Africa and Asia, especially China and India, is booming like never before. If the problems and imbalances this sometimes creates are managed well, this expanding engagement could be an unprecedented opportunity for Africa's growth and for its integration into the global economy". Broadman is Economic Adviser for the Africa Region at the World Bank, and author of Africa's Silk Road: China and India's New Economic Frontier(World Bank 07). Views in FA are his own.


Stephen G.Brooks & William C.Wohlforth"Reshaping the World Order: How Washington Should Reform International Institutions"(49-63)Foreign Affairs Vol.88/No.2(Mar/Apr09):-official summary :"The current architecture of international institutions is so out of sync with the modern world that it must be updated. But skeptics question whether US is up to the task. They need not worry: US still possesses enough power and legitimacy to spearhead reform". Emphasized quote: "In a 2007 address to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, [Barack Obama, now US president,] stressed that 'it was America that largely built a system of international institutions that carried us through the Cold War... Instead of constraining our power, these institutions magnified it'. 'Today it's become fashionable to disparage the United Nations, the World Bank, and other international organizations', he continued. 'In fact, reform of these bodies is urgently needed if they are to keep pace with the fast-moving threats we face'"(50). Brooks is Associate Professor of Government, and Wohlforth is Daniel Webster Professor of Government and Chair of Department of Government, both Dartmouth College. Article adapted from their: World Out of Balance: International Relations and the Challenge of American Primacy(Princeton Univ 08).


Lester R.Brown"Feeding Nine Billion"(115-32)State of the World(1999)(New York: W.W.Norton 99):-main points: World grain harvests grew from 400m tons in 1900 to nearly 1.9b in 1998, aided by massive irrigation (40% of food), chemical fertilizers, huge plant-breeding advances, short- stem wheat/rice, hybridcorn - such cropland assets being globally available. Yet 840m people are hungry/malnourished(19,000 children die daily from effects of malnutrition). Other two basic food-supply systems - oceanic fisheries andrangelands - appear to have reached global carrying capacity, and per capita grain production hasdecreased 7% since 1984. Meanwhile the current 6b world population is expected to grow to 9b about 2050, during which period net global harvested area is expected to be almost unchanged, and to continuedropping per capita to 0.07 hectares(1950=0.23). Mounting water scarcity has reduced irrigated area per capita by 6% since 1978, simultaneously lowering fertilizing capacity - and levelling off for lack of further benefit. Remaining route to increased food productivity - plant breeding - could raise drought-, disease-, insect-resistance and salt-tolerance, but now little gain is physiologically possible for wheat, corn and ricein terms of further raising crop yields. It all means that eradication of hunger and malnutrition now may depend heavily on demand-side initiatives: slowing population growth and using grain and water more efficiently.


Lester R.Brown Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization(New York: Earth Policy Institute 08):-brilliant accounts of: (I)climate change crises; (II)needs/means to take counter-actions; (III)urgent worldwide programs. Any of 400pp could be consulted individually. Here are Chapters(plus sub-headings): 1. Entering a New World (A Massive Market Failure; Environment and Civilization; China: Why Existing Economic Model Will Fail; Mounting Stresses, Failing States; Civilizational Tipping Point; Plan B - Plan of Hope); (I) 2. Deteriorating Oil and Food Security (Coming Decline of Oil; Oil Intensity of Food; Changing Food Prospect; Cars/People Compete for Crops; World Beyond Peak Oil; Food Insecurity and Failing States); 3. Rising Temperatures and Rising Seas (Rising Temperature - Its Effects; Crop Yield Effect; Reservoirs in Sky; Melting Rice and Rising Seas; More-Destructive Storms; Cutting Carbon 80% by 2020); 4. Emerging Water Shortages (Water Tables Falling; Rivers Running Dry; Lakes Disappearing; Farmers Losing to Cities; Scarcity Crossing National Borders; Water Scarcity Yields Political Stresses); 5. Natural Systems Under Stress (Shrinking Forests -Many Costs; Losing Soil; From Grassland to Desert; Advancing Deserts; Collapsing Fisheries; Disappearing Plants and Animals); 6. Early Signs of Decline (Our Socially Divided World; Health Challenge Growing; Throwaway Economy in Trouble; Population and Resource Conflicts; Environmental Refugees on Rise; Mounting Stresses, Failing States); (II) 7. Eradicating Poverty, Stabilizing Population Universal Basic Education; Stabilizing Population; Better Health for All; Curbing HIV Epidemic; Reducing Farm Subsidies/Debt; Poverty Eradication Barrier); 8. Restoring the Earth (Protecting and Restoring Forests; Conserving and Rebuilding Soils; Regenerating Fisheries; Protecting Plant/Animal Diversity; Planting Trees to Sequester Carbon; Earth Restoration Budget); 9. Feeding Eight Billion Well (Rethinking Land Productivity; Raising Water Productivity; Producing Proteir More Efficiently; Moving Down Food Chain; Action on Many Fronts); 10. Designing Cities for People (Ecology of Cities; Redesigning Urban Transport; Reducing Urban Water Use; Farming in the City; Upgrading Squatter Settlements; Cities for People); 11. Raising Energy Efficiency (Banning the Bulb; Energy-Efficient Appliances; More-Efficient Buildings; Restructuring Transport System; New Materials Economy; Energy Savings Potential); 12. Turning to Renewable Energy (Harnessing Wind; Wind-Powered Plug-in Hybrid Cars; Solar Cells and Collectors; Energy from the Earth; Plant-Based Sources of Energy; River/Tidal/Wave Power; World Energy Economy: 2020); (III) 13.The Great Mobilization (Shifting Taxes and Subsidies; Summing Up Climate Stabilization Measures; Response to Failing States; Wartime Mobilization; Mobilizing to Save Civilization; What You and I Can Do).


Bill Bryson A Short History of Nearly Everything(New York: Broadway Books 03):-pre-bestseller author of many/widely-varied books, undertook "informative journey into world of science,.. his greatest challenge yet: to understand - and, if possible, answer - oldest, biggest questions... about the universe and ourselves... Result is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear/entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge"(publisher). Even new "lavishly illustrated" Nov 05 hardcover edition of 624pp available from Barnes & Noble to all @US$28.00. Favourable Ed Regis NYT review(18 May 03)states:"Bryson achieved exactly what he'd set out to do, and, moreover, [did] it in stylish, efficient, colloquial and stunningly accurate prose... The basic facts of physics, chemistry, biology, botany, climatology, geology - all these and many more are presented with exceptional clarity and skill". My own reaction is that this easily available/readable reference on all not-personally-specialised scientific subjects should ideally be read - or at least be used for topic-reference - by all in this very unstable world.


Zbigniew Brzezinski"An Agenda for NATO: Toward a Global Security Web"(2-20) Foreign Affairs Vol.88/No.5 (Sep/Oct 09):-official summary:"In the course of its 60 years, NATO has ended the 'civil war' within the West for transoceanic and European supremacy, institutionalized the United States' commitment to the defense of Europe, and secured the peaceful termination of the Cold War. What next? To live up to its potential, the alliance should become the hub of a global-spanning web of regional cooperative-security undertakings". Emphasized extracts:"In the vulnerable decades after World War II, conflict was avoided largely because NATO remained united". "WshDC's arrogant unilateralism in Iraq and its demagogic Islamophobic sloganeering weakened the unity of NATO". "NATO has the means to become the center of a globe-spanning web of cooperative-security undertakings". Brzezinski was US National Security Adviser 1977-1981. His most recent book: Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower.


Zbigniew Brzezinski"From Hope to Audacity: Appraising Obama's Foreign Policy"(16-30) Foreign Affairs Vol.89/No.1 (Jan/Feb 10):-while this leading/positive essay is about US policy, the subjects are all of global importance. Official summary:"In his first year in office, President Barack Obama has reconceptualized US foreign policy and demonstrated a genuine sense of strategic direction. But so far, Obama's foreign policy has generated more expectations than strategic breakthroughs. Three urgent issues - Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran's nuclear ambitions, and Afghan-Pakistani challenge - are posing an immediate test of his ability to significantly change US policy". Emphasized extracts:"Obama has shown a genuine sense of strategic direction and a solid grasp of what today's world is all about". "US is already losing the renewed confidence of the Arab world that Obama won with his speech in Cairo". "Sanctions against Iran must punish those in power - not the middle class, as an embargo on gasoline would do". "So far, Obama's foreign policy has generated more expectations than strategic breakthroughs". Brzezinski was US National Security Adviser 1977-1981. His most recent book: Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower.


R.A.Buchanan The Power of the Machine: The Impact of Technology from 1700 to the Present(London: Penguin Books 94):-approach differs from, say, Bell, Drucker or Toffler(op.cit.)in that, in analysing accelerating transformation of society, it deals more with physical than societal changes, with new structures more than their social implications. While UN actions must reflect both trends-and resulting concerns- "most pervasive/persistent stimulus to change has been technological combination of scientific discovery and technical innovation" .For truly revolutionary example of technology being explored, see K.Eric DrexlerEngines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology (New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday 87):-genuine feasibility of creating assembly machines smaller than living cells generated increasing attention from 1990s because of their multiple uses. For an excellent 18-years-later account of global nanotechnology activities/anticipation, see Natasha Loder "Small Wonders: A Survey of Nanotechnology" The Economist01 Jan 05(1-12):-key point "Nanotechnology will give humans greater control of matter at tiny scales. That is a good thing." Enormous, if scientifically basic, concept behind booming business initiatives isexplained, and" point about nanotechnology is that it sets out deliberately to exploit strange properties found in these very small worlds." Four other essays summarized: "Apply Here: Where very small thingscan make big difference." "Fear and Loathing: Some of worries about nanotechnology are rational." "Downsizing: Companies both large and small hope to make big money from tiny particles." "Handle with Care: Nanotechnology promises great benefits, but safeguards will be essential." Drexler's idea" that one day all manufacturing would be done by very tiny robots" had raised terror; but now activity/research quite specific/monitored. Survey concludes" idea of 'democratising'nanotechnology - giving ordinary people more of say in what areas of S&T should bepursued - unlikely to be helpful.[N]ext to impossible to slow down or control some areas of science in one country when world so interconnected...Nanotechnology, like any new discovery, offers both risks and rewards...Scientists should...work with as little hindrance as possible."

 

Robert Buckman, Can We Be Good Without God? An Exploration of Behaviour, Belonging and the Need to Believe (Toronto: Penguin 01):-while author both medical doctor/atheist, not designed to criticize religionor to scientifically support atheism. One major concern: religions generate specific/competinginterpretations of "goodness" , developing critical link between "good and god." Also offers perspective "onconnection between behaviour and belief - connection between ethics and religion." Such diversified convictions held by each faithful group have produced unrealistic and unjust frictions. "The world will be better place if we all believe whatever we wish, but behave as if there is no deity to sort out humankind's problems." Global issues described may indeed become worse or easier.

 

Kevin M.Cahill edit. Preventive Diplomacy: Stopping Wars Before They Start(New York: Basic Books 96):-unusually valuable/varied source of information/views on UN issues by 20 top experts in their fields. While "preventive action" and medical parallel provide unifying theme of sorts, each(UN/diplomatic/NGO/government/medical, etc. background) provides unique and often unexpected focus. A good trend!


Frances Cairncross "A Survey of Illegal Drugs: High Time" The Economist 28 Jul 01(1-16):- excellent report on global status, system and knowledge of illegal drugs. It makes strong case for their legalization, aimed mainly at current situation in US. In essence, drug industry consists of production, transport and sale of "simple agricultural extracts and chemical compounds... for astonishing prices[, which] directly reflect the ferocious efforts by the rich countries to suppress [them]". Effect is to create huge -and highly profitable- escalation from production to import to retail prices. Per kilo, farmers get $90 for opium and $610 for coca leaves. Import prices of resulting heroin and cocaine are about 10-15% of retail prices in rich countries, where heroin can sell for $290,000 and cocaine powder for $110,000 per kilo. Annual global tobacco sales total $204b; alcohol $252b; rough guesses of illegal drugs sales vary: $150b(author); $400b(UN)(3). Much material is derived from a major new study: Robert MacCoun & Peter Reuter Drug War Heresies: Learning from Other Vices, Times, and Places(Cambridge Univ. Press). Cairncross argues that, while not underestimating harm drug misuse can do to individuals and "moral fury drug-taking can arouse,.. outrage has turned out to be a poor basis for policy". In US, where anti-drug policy costs $35-40b a year, it has "eroded civil liberties, locked up unprecedented numbers of young blacks and Hispanics... corroded foreign policy [and] proved a dismal rerun of [Prohibition. Yet as US now] probably consume[s] more drugs per head... than most other countries[,its]experience demonstrates the awkward reality that there is little connection between the severity of a drugs policy... and prevalence of use... At the heart of the debate... lies a moral question: what duty does the state have to protect individual citizens from harming themselves?"(4/5). Here she supports John Stuart Mills' "On Liberty" :'Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign'. "So a first priority is to look for measures that reduce the harm drugs do, both to users and to society at large" (5). "Big Business" describes recent history and current structure of global drugs industry: where and how drugs originate, are processed, shipped, and sold and who is involved at various stages/places. In sum: "drugs industry is simple and profitable. Its simplicity makes it relatively easy to organize; its profitability makes it hard to stop. At every level, its pricing and its structure are shaped by the high level of risk from enforcement" (6). "Choose Your Poison" discusses who uses drugs and why. Most drug users live in the poor world (China, Pakistan, Colombia). Future growth will be concentrated in developing countries and former USSR. Markets with big money are in rich world - which also prefers drugs with fewest side-effects and least likely to cause addiction. Most drug users are "occasional dabblers", so a minority of users account for bulk of consumption. "Most drugs do not appear to be physically addictive" (including cannabis and amphetamines) but: "Heroin is a true addiction, with a recovery rate of 40-50%... With cocaine, the recovery rate is around 90%" (9). A third of US heroin users are dependent (80% of cigarette smokers are addicted). Idea that soft drugs lead on to hard drugs turns out to be nonsense. "The Harm Done" deals with drugs' negative effects on users and society. Abusing drugs wrecks many lives. For those dependent, pleasure -often their original motive- "consists mainly of avoiding the pain of giving up[; however, m]ost drug users ultimately stop when drugs no longer fit their lifestyle. [Also, with exception]of heroin, drugs contribute to far fewer deaths among... users than... nicotine or alcohol[, and c]onsuming a drug is rarely the only cause of death" (9)(dirty needles). Although drugs may affect brain activity (even cannabis might possibly do damage), The Lancet concludes:" It would be reasonable to judge cannabis less of a threat than tobacco or alcohol", while it could help treat nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety. Besides health problems, drugs have been linked to domestic violence, grogginess, bad driving, and much petty crime. Here government is right to intervene - but best way is not necessarily to ban drugs. "Stopping It" describes how governments try unsuccessfully to stop the flow of drugs. US Prohibition, though milder than its drug policies, foreshadowed many current problems. Most important, "the attempt to stamp out drugs has had effects more devastating than those of the drugs themselves" (10) - and on global stage. Because of vast profits, reflecting low costs/high prices, suppression of drug-growing in some regions simply shifts production/related problems, with little durable effect on supply. Even huge drug seizures do not affect prices, and essential corruption can be bought at all levels. Demand is also hard to reduce despite harsh penalties, because of popular cultures,huge numbers who want to buy, and desperation of addicts. "Collateral Damage" looks at varied indirect costs of criminalizing drugs. Among "victims": Law enforcement and legal system are at minimum distorted, with investigative and court standards lowered and at worst corrupted. Mere drug users jailed (US mandatory minimum: 5-10 years for possession of few grams of drugs) for usually harmless and (in Mill's sense) strictly personal acts. Many released dangerously scarred, drug-addicted and/or HIV-infected. Basic civil liberties and freedom from state intrusion are at minimum constrained. Education/social benefit/job impeding criminal records are branded on previously non-criminal and perhaps exemplary citizens. US rate of incarceration for drug offences (74% black) is totally at odds with the racial mix of drug users (13% black) because more blacks/Hispanics have to buy (vulnerably) on the street. Both huge US costs of drug enforcement and substantial drug taxes are unavailable for better purposes, while criminals/rogue states enjoy revenues of $80-100b a year. "Better Ways"probes various alternatives to enforcement for controlling drug use. Education is a possibility, but apparently has at best limited effect. For habitual drug users, "harm reduction" is more promising (methadone programs, needle-exchange centres, prescription heroin). Very successful Swiss program includes all three in its "heroin maintenance" clinics. These care for 1000 most problematic of 33,000 Swiss heroin addicts. Most are given anti-addictive heroin-substitute methadone, but most "chaotic" are initially given "pharmaceutical" heroin daily. They are not pushed towards abstinence since: "People can tolerate regular doses of heroin for long periods, but if they give up for a period and then start again, they run big risk of overdosing" (14). Of those who drop out of full "heroin maintenance", two-thirds move on to either methadone or abstinence. Even while still on heroin, most can get full-time jobs, end trouble with police, and hardly ever attempt suicide or contract HIV. Vast majority are also taking cocaine on first arrival (29%: daily) but after 18 months 93% take it never or only occasionally (there is no "methadone" for cocaine). Dutch "principle of expediency" aims to "separate the markets for illegal drugs to keep users of 'soft' ones away from dealers in the harder versions, and to avoid marginalising drug users" (14). While cannabis remains illegal, some "coffee shops" may sell small quantities under strict rules without prosecution. Both Swiss and Dutch governments want to legalize marijuana but restrain because UN convention prevents them from (formally) legalizing" possession of and trade in cannabis". US opinion is moving in same direction, and several states (plus Canada) already allow medical use of marijuana (73% of US supported this by 1999). "Set It Free" addresses issue of how best to decriminalize drugs if it is so decided. They would effectively be put on par with tobacco and alcohol, and both possession and trade would have to be legalised, but under systems which could reflect each drug's relative danger and with appropriate quality control. Number of users would inevitably rise. (1)Prices would certainly be lower (maybe much lower) since appropriate taxes could not be so high as to encourage smuggling and crime again. (2)Access to drugs would be easier and quality-assured. (3)Social stigma against use of drugs would diminish. (4)Might be strong commercialization with corresponding pressure to consume more. (5)Even with consumer age-limits, younger market is certain to grow. But "nobody knows quite what drives the demand for drugs"(16); it may respond most to price, to fashion, to social standards - or to local culture. Hence best to move slowly, thus building experience, and cautiously start with just marijuana and amphetamines. International cooperation is needed to "minimise drug tourism and smuggling" (UN role?). Hard drugs should be sold only through licenced outlets (pharmacies?). Above is well summarized in Editorial "The Case For Legislation" (11-12), although it makes "stronger case for principle" (John Stuart Mill) and terrible harm drug trade in doing in poor world. Finally it notes that good health and safety rules could be applied. Economist 25 Aug 01 Letters: "Legalising Drugs" (16-7):-includes number of reactions to above. Majority raise disagreement, but all are thoughtful and constructive.


Arthur Caplan, Due Consideration: Controversy in the Age of Medical Miracles(New York: John Wiley & Sons 98):- useful, popular(US-oriented)introduction to ethical issues raised by new medical technology/trends. Wide variety of "bioethical" issues addressed, many with light touch but all with serious concern. Chapters: Abortion and Birth Control; Genetics(include cloning); Technological Reproduction;Research Ethics; New Treatment/New Challenges; Rationing Cost(Medicaid etc.); Managed Care(HMO); Starting and Stopping Care(preserving life); Assisted Suicide; AIDS and Other Plagues(including testing);Smoking and Other Bad Habits. Most are global/WHO issues.


Geoffrey Carr, "The Alchemists: A Survey of the Pharmaceutical Industry" in The Economist 21 Feb 98(1-18):-Survey claims scientific/technological revolution is sweeping this industry. It describes new technologies being developed and used, examines huge present/probable future changes in industry'sstructure, and asks what this could mean for future health care. Anticipates:(1)increase in range of diseases treatable with drugs; (2)increase in drug precision and effectiveness;(3)increase in ability to anticipate disease. Each trend is accelerated by new genetic insights and will have major global impact. But terriblerich-poor economic issue of drug patents/costs: unprobed.


Ashton B. Carter "How To Counter WMD" Foreign Affairs Vol.83/No.5(Sep/Oct 04):-ex-US Assistant Secretary of Defense (under Clinton)and currently Co-director, Harvard Preventive Defense Project, writes just when:most are concerned that US attacked Iraq by mis-claiming WMD threat; US presidential election imminent. Concerned that since 11 Sep crisis, US "counterproliferation policies have not been overhauled" ,and" it has made no new efforts to prevent nonstate actors such as terrorists from getting their hands on WMD." He truly decrees much reliable advice on countering the serious terrorist/WMD dangers to the entire global audience, and not to Washington only. His basic view:" WMD generally applies to nuclear, biological, chemical weapons; ballistic missiles; more recently'dirty bombs,'ordinary explosives containing some radioactive material. But this definition is too broad. Chemical weapons are not much more lethal than conventional explosives/hardly...WMD label. Similarly, long-range ballistic missiles especially destructive only if they have nuclear or biological warhead, and so should not be considered separate category. Dirty bombs cause local contamination and costly priority. Primary focus of counterproliferation policy, therefore, should be nuclear and biological weapons...True overhaul of counterproliferation policy would recognize that, like defense against terrorism, defense against WMD must be multilayered and comprehensive. Such reforms would aim to eliminate threat of nuclear terrorism entirely by denying fissilematerials to nonstate actors and...prepare to contain scale of most likely forms of bioterrorism to minor outbreaks. It would revamp outdated arms control agreements, expand counterproliferation programs,...improve way intelligence on WMD is collected and analysed.[W]ould favor countering WMD with non-nuclear rather than nuclear measures. And it would at last develop coherent strategies for heading off...most pressing nuclear proliferation threats." Substantial article then amplifies all these points.


Nayan Chanda Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers, and Warriors Shaped Globalization(New Haven: Yale Univ Press 07):-this fascinating survey of the development of globalization since 6000BCE is valuable as a unique reminder - to specialists in history, politics, economics, religion, movement, technology, science, etc - of how their own knowledge relates to other specialized information, and to the present/future of the intense/expanding relations across this planet. (This aim corresponds exactly with my purpose in this information source.) Style is amusing, and novel in all areas but one's expertise, so it is delicious/constructive in all unstudied fields and hence globally constructive. Final para offers view that fits closely with that in Christopher Spencer Oct 06(op.cit.):"We benefit from all that the world has to offer, but we think only in narrow terms of protecting the land and people within our national borders - the borders that have been established only in the modern era. [All that separates us] from the rest of the world... cannot change the fact that we are bound together through the invisible filament of history. [W]e know how we have reached where we are and where we may be headed. We are in a position to know that the sum of human desires, aspirations, and fears that have woven our fates together can neither be disentangled nor reeled back. But neither are we capable of accurately gauging how this elemental mix will shape our planet's future. Still, compared to the past... we are better equipped to look over the horizon at both the dangers and the opportunities ...There is no alternative to rising above our tribal interests: over the centuries to come, our destinies will remain inextricably bound together. [W]e can attempt to nudge our rapidly integrating world toward a more harmonious course - because we are all connected".


Bruce Clark, "A Survey of NATO: Knights in Shining Armour?" (1-18)The Economist 24 Apr 99:-extremely useful in several respects. Provides history of NATO's gradually - now rapidly - changing role(s),(un)popularity,(dis)unity. Describes how "most successful military alliance in history" suddenly lost its raison d'etre; then altered from new trans-European-US security entity, swamped with new applicants and proud of its Bosnian role, to frustrated military giant in Kosovo, seen by many as having acted illegally and unnecessarily, with future dependent on solving complex puzzle of own making. Also outlines functional dilemmas facing military allies equipped/trained decades apart technologically. Finally, survey coversNATO's split over whether it plays global role in(UN-sponsored) multilateral combat interventions which it alone has weapons, training, cohesion to handle.

 

Walter J. Clemens, Jr, Dynamics of International Relations: Conflict and Mutual Gain in an Era of Global Interdependence(Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield 98):-well-organized introductory text on IR, helpful to students or those first looking at global issue(s). Chapters:(1)Is IR "Winner-Take-All?" Can It Be Mutual Gain?(2)How to Win at Peace: Creating New World Orders;(3)Foreign Policy Decision Making: Do Individuals Count?(4)Why Wage War? Does It Pay to Fight?(5)Power and Influence:What Wins?(6)Why Arm?Can Swords Become Plowshares? (7)Negotiating Conflict:How Can Foes Become Partners?(8)Nationalism and World Order: Peoples at Risk? (9)Intervention and Mediation: How Can Outsiders Help?(10)Democracy and Authoritarianism: What Impact on International Peace and Prosperity?(11)Wealth of Nations: West Meets East(12)Challenges of Development: South MeetsNorth(13) Transitions: Can Second World Join First?(14)Ecopolitics: Health of Nations(15)Organizing for Mutual Gain:UN, Europe and Nonstate Actors(16)International Protection of Human Rights:Sham orRevolution? (17)Alternative Futures.

 

Walter J. Clemens, Jr, "From AD 2000 to AD 2025: Six Alternative Futures" International JournalVol.LIV/No.2(Spring 99):-interesting/balanced exercise in futurology using relatively conservative global views to create believable: (1)Unipolar Stability: benign US hegemony extends most current/surprise-freeglobal trends.(2) Fragmented Chaos: environmental-pandemic-autarkic fears come true; global injusticeprovokes anger/violence; WMDs proliferate; China turns unstable; all reflecting a low level of global cooperation.(3) Hegemon Challenged: China becomes powerful bully; either intimidates or is faced down by US.(4)Bipolar Cooperation: China turns democratic/cooperative.(5)Multipolar Cooperation: Most countries turn democratic/prosperous.(6)Global Governance Without World Government: trans-national civil societyand governments share powers at many levels. Interdependence may force the last.

 

Charles Clover The End of the Line: How Over-Fishing is Changing the World and What We Eat(Ebury Press 04):-book not yet available here but got very favourable review: The Economist 02 Oct 04 "The Fishing Industry: Heading For the Final Fillet" (83-4):-theme about world fishing industry: "fish...ever more scarce;greed, crime, cruelty, waste, folly, destruction, hypocricy, ignorance, pusillanimity, deception and possibility of extinction all becoming ever more abundant. Problem with fishing: Fish are wonderful source of protein, not just for the swelling populations of poor...As man's appetite for fish has grown, sohas ability to catch them. Modern gadgets...enable today's vast fishing boats to find and kill their prey as never before.[But]signs of growing scarcity everywhere[,and]most efforts to manage fish stocks or controloverfishing failed.[Hence fishermen]moved on to deplete stocks in world's last waters to be exploited.[D]emand grows and grows, and with it plunder of the seas. Though some kinds of fish...can nowbe farmed, industrial fishing still largely matter of hunting or...mining.[I]nternational agencies monitoring, suggesting and complaining, but to little avail.[Lots of unneeded]'by-catch'generally flung back into sea. Thewaste is appalling; the cruelty equally vile. Trawlers...wreak destruction across seabed. All laid out inClover's excellent book...He exposes follies of fishermen, politicians and celebrity chefs[and]anyone withaccess to common resource has interest in over-exploiting it...In time farming may help" [but also morecareful supervision and management].

 

Roger A. Coate edit.,U.S. Policy and the Future of the United Nations(New York: Twentieth Century Fund 94):-fine essays on UN political/organizational problems and realistic proposals retain global value sinceissues remain relevant and/or reforms underway. Spiers proposes administrative/structural/ peacemaking/ financial reforms. Coate urges inter-agency/intra-government coordination of UN system. Blechman looks at new intra-state conflict/ preventive action challenges. Graham surveys IAEA proliferation/enforcement needs. Abram urges enforcement of human rights/humanitarian law. Loescher examines new scale/originsof refugees/displaced persons. Gordenker discusses WHO role/problems. Sessions/Steever explore challenges/constraints on Commission on Sustainable Development. Leonard picks UN priorities: security/ economy/environment/humanitarian action/human rights.

 

Richard Cockett"Chasing the Rainbow: A Survey of South Africa"The Economist 08 Apr 06(1-12):-official summary of Survey: "Since end of apartheid, South Africa has moved closer to becoming the 'rainbow nation'of Nelson Mandela's vision. But not nearly close enough yet". Highlights of broad introductory essay: "South Africa has plotted its own course to relative stability, democracy and prosperity[, and is even] beginning to lead continent in entirely new way. [P]ost-apartheid government [African National Congress(ANC) now under President Thabo Mbeki] has managed to build 1.9m new homes, connect 4.5m households to electricity, provide 11m homes with running water. Targets for raising living standards aremost ambitious on the continent. However, South Africa still deeply scarred by legacy of apartheid[- with that] geography very much intact... Now sense of impatience over pace of change[:] for many...'rainbow nation'has slowed to a crawl[,so] government well aware of this, and now intervening in more areas of national life to try to speed up change. [Yet] from education to foreign policy to crime-fighting, people have found creative solutions to many of their problems. That creativity is South Africa's most impressive asset, and increasingly comes from poorest and historically most disadvantagedof communities - nowbuilding their own ladders out of poverty. [F]or all the good economic news, government is lookingpolitically more vulnerable than at any time since 1994 [defeat of apartheid] for simple reason: little [GDP]growth has benefited [ANC's] core supporters - poor and black. [U]nemployment [formally up to] about 27% [as new jobs] not enough to keep pace with number of new entrants into labour market. [O]ther big problem is rising inequality[:] number of people living on poverty line may be rising. [ANC economic]prudence paid off, bringing economic stability and launching consumer boom. But [it] did not create enough jobs[/investment]. So now ANC looking... at disgruntled activists who feel let down. [It plans]more money for program of social grants[mainly child support/pensions to about 10m out of 47m, plus]370b rand over next 3 years on public works, mainly infrastructure/tourism, to boost jobs and create more [leveling] demand. Longer-term aims: growth rate to 6% by 2010; halve unemployment/poverty by 2014. [Dangers] twin bottlenecks.:. severe skills shortage and failure to deliver services at local level".Final points, also in Editorial"Term Limits in Africa: When Enough Is Enough"(18):"With many leading politicians discredited, continent needs a strong South Africa. Also needs South Africa prepared to go beyond its strickly African agenda, and to deliver on its commitments to good governance, human rightsand democracy enshrined in new vision of African Union and Nepad [New Partnership for Africa's Development]. These are very much South Africa's creations. It is time for Africa's leading democracy to cast off its humility and diffidence - and perhaps even to throw its weight around for these causes".

 

Richard Cockett "Chasing the Rainbow: A Survey of South Africa"Economist 08 Apr 06(5-6):-Summary of major section on government's HIV/AIDS policy only: "[G]reatest weakness of [ruling African National Congress] ANC's top-down system is that party is inclined to dismiss ideas from outside its own bureaucracy. Most obvious example has been [President Thabo] Mbeki's well-documented response to the HIV/AIDS crisis. For a long time [op.cit.] Mbeki stood out against the combined weight of world medical opinion on the causes/treatment of AIDS, and particularly on use of anti-retroviral drugs. Main group campaigning for their use, Treatment Action Campaign, was made up almost entirely of ANC members, and Mbeki seems to have resisted their arguments as much because he felt they werebreaking party ranks as for their prescriptions on AIDS (with which he disagreed). In 2003, government eventually caved in to domestic/ international pressure and gracelessly introduced a comprehensivemanagement regime involving anti-retroviral drugs to combat HIV/AIDS. May have signalled change of policy by government, but not, it seems, much of a change of mind. In a country with 5.2m HIV-positivepeople on record, the largest number in the world, there is almost no public acknowledgement of theproblem or public education about it. [M]inisters (with a few honourable exceptions) still seem loth to talk about the illness, which kills about 900 people a day and undermines much else the country is trying to achieve. It handicaps the army, with an infection rate said to be up to 40%, breaks up families and killsmuch-needed teachers. Chillingly, Actuarial Society of South Africa estimates that it will be another ten years before the pandemic peaks. Tardiness with which government responded to HIV/AIDS crisis,together with Mbeki's own strange take on underlying science, has tarnished own reputation, as well as that of ANC. Critics argue government remains ambivalent about its commitment to fighting pandemic with anti-retroviral drugs. Government's plan to combat HIV/AIDS may be model of its kind in intent, but it is already falling behind. By end of 2006 about 225,000 patients will be receiving anti-retroviral drugs, well short of the plan's target of 380,000 by 2005-06. Mbeki's unorthodox views on causes/cures of HIV/AIDS undoubtedly have something to do with his agenda of finding African solutions (rather than expensive Western ones) to Africa's problems... But AIDS saga, together withANC's unresponsiveness to its own supporters and its failure to deliver on its promises, has diminished aura of moral authority it has earned";


Leonard A. Cole, The Eleventh Plague: The Politics of Biological and Chemical Warfare(New York: W.H.Freeman 97):-three-way view of problems raised by biological and chemical weapons. Part I reports on US attitudes towards, and activities in, developing/controlling these weapons. Part II deals withpossession/use by Iraq, and varied psychological reactions of world opinion, Israelis, and Iranian/US troops. Part III completes fine account of agents/ techniques involved, physical effects, and latest users:terrorists. 96 report on major international proposals (BWC/CWC)to control such weapons notes thatWHO global disease-watch would help treaty verification.


Isobel Coleman "The Payoff From Women's Rights" Foreign Affairs Vol.83/No.3(May/Jun 04):-three points strongly: women's full rights critically important not just for women alone but for entire societies; most negative women's areas of world are both curbed by old-style religion/culture and blocked economically;US can and must do more to improve this. First point:" Over past decade, significant research has demonstrated what many have known for long time: women critical to economic development, active civil society, good governance -especially in developing countries. Focus on women often best way reduce birth rates/child mortality; improve health/nutrition/education; stem spread of HIV/AIDS; build robust/self- sustaining community organizations; encourage grassroots democracy... Women's status advanced in many countries: gender gaps in infant mortality rates/calorie consumption/school enrollment/literacy levels/access to health care/political participation narrowed steadily. These... benefited society at large/improving living standards/increasing social entrepreneurship/ attracting foreign direct investment." Second point: "[S]ignificant gender disparities continues to exist, and in some cases to grow, in three regions: southern Asia, Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa. [C]onstraints on women living in areas [are] conservative/ patriarchal practices, often reinforced by religious values." Third point: "[Deep tensions] between religious extremists and those with more moderate/progressive views...evident in Saudi Arabia/Iraq/Afghanistan...to lesser extent Nigeria/Pakistan/ Indonesia. Resolution critical to progress...,for those that suppress women likely to stagnate economically/fail to develop democratic institutions/become more prone to extremism." So urges US to intensify women's rights much more.


Isobel Coleman"The Better Half: Helping Women Help the World"(126-130) Foreign Affairs Vol.89/No.1 (Jan/Feb 10):-Review Essay of Nicholas D.Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn: Half the Sky:Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (Knopf 09). Official summary:"Efforts to provide the world's women with economic and political power are more than just a worthy moral crusade: they represent perhaps the best strategy for pursuing development and stability across the globe. [The $27.95 HC 320pp. book] is an insightful and inspiring call to action". [The review is very persuasive.] Coleman: Senior Fellow for US Foreign Policy and Director of Women and Foreign Policy Program at Council on Foreign Relations. Her book Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women Are Transforming the Middle East to be published by Random House this spring. For annotated guide to this topic, see "What to Read on Gender and Foreign Policy" at www.foreignaffairs.com/readinglists/gender.


Isobel Coleman"The Global Glass Ceiling: Why Empowering Women Is Good for Business"(13-20) Foreign Affairs Vol.89/No.3 (May/Jun 10):-official summary:"It is now accepted wisdom that empowering women in the developing world is a catalyst for achieving a range of international development goals. It is time for multinational corporations to get on board: funding education for girls and incorporating women-owned firms into their supply chains are good for business". Coleman: Senior Fellow for US Foreign Policy and Director of Women and Foreign Policy Program at Council on Foreign Relations. She is author of Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women Are Transforming the Middle East (Random House:HC$26.00). For annotated guide to this topic, see "What to Read on Gender and Foreign Policy" at www.foreignaffairs.com/readinglists/gender.


Paul Collier The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It(New York: Oxford Univ Press 07):-reviews praise this brilliant description of the world's poorest states and how they need unprecedented forms of aid to escape their chronic dilemmas. Essence of argument by author in Preface (xi):"The problems these countries have are very different from those we have addressed for the past four decades in what we have called 'developing countries' - that is, virtually all countries besides the most developed, which account for only one-sixth of the earth's people. For all this time we have defined developing countries so as to encompass five billion of the six billion people in the world. But not all developing countries are the same. Those where development has failed face intractable problems not found in the countries that are succeeding. We have, in fact, done the easier part of global development; finishing the job now gets more difficult. Finish it we must, because an impoverished ghetto of one billion people will be increasingly impossible for a comfortable world to tolerate... But to do so we will need to draw upon tools - such as military interventions, international standard-setting, and trade policy - that to date have been used for other purposes.. To build a unity of purpose, thinking needs to change, not just within the development agencies but among the wider electorates whose views shape what is possible". Text (200pp) is essential.


Paul Collier "The Politics of Hunger: How Illusion and Greed Fan the Food Crisis"(67-79) Foreign Affairs Vol.87/No.6(Nov/Dec 08):-official summary:"The food crisis could have dire effects on the poor. Politicians have it in their power to bring food prices down. But doing so will require ending the bias against big commercial farms and genetically modified crops and doing away with damaging subsidies - the giants of romantic populism, bolstered by both illusion and greed". [Criticism is particularly aimed at US and Europe.] Collier is Professor of Economics and Director of Center for Study of African Economics at Oxford Univ. and author of Bottom Billion.


Gordon Conway, The Doubly Green Revolution: Food for All in the 21st Century (London: Penguin Books, 1997):-an expert survey of food problems and potential in developing countries. It offers specific advice oneradicating hunger and rapidly reducing the 750m undernourished(as pledged at the World Food Summit)through a complex but realistic second Green Revolution. Topics: global hunger and poverty; 2020 prospects; specific needs; the Green Revolution's successes; where it missed the poor; pollution from pesticides and fertilizer; production trends and priorities; biotechnology; sustainable agriculture; farmers' input; pest control; nutrients; soil and water management; other resources; food security.


Gwyneth Cravens Power To Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy(New York: Alfred A.Knopf 07):-valuable source at a time when nuclear power once again gaining global popularity in light of climate change threats from fossil fuel emissions. While text is 450pp long and partly technological/scientific, it appears carefully and honestly drafted, and able to be used "here-and-there" as a source. Editorial summary is itself impressive, e.g."...On the nuclear tour, Cravens converses with scientists from many disciplines, public health and counterterrorism experts, engineers, and researchers who study both the harmful and benign effects of radiation; she watches remote-controlled robotic manipulators unbolt a canister of spent uranium fuel inside a 'hot cell' bathed in eerie orange light; observes the dark haze from fossil-fuel combustion obscuring once-pristine... skies and the leaky, rusted pipes and sooty puddles in a coal-fired plant; glimpses rainbows made by salt dust in the deep subterranean corridors of a working nuclear waste repository. She refutes the major arguments against nuclear power one by one... And she demonstrates how, time and again, political fearmongering and misperceptions about risk have trumped science in the dialogue about the feasibility of nuclear energy. In the end, we see how nuclear power has been successfully and economically harnessed... around the globe to become the single largest displacer of greenhouse gases, and how its overall risks and benefits compare with those of other energy sources. [A]n eloquent, convincing argument for nuclear power as a safe energy source and an essential deterrent to global warming".


Barbara Crossette, "Rethinking Population at a Global Milestone" ;Nicholas Wade, "Now, You Can Have 5,999,999,999 Friends" ; "Why Malthus Was Wrong" New York Times 19 Sep 99:-article and notes offeringfacts/ideas on world population. UN says pass 6 billion about 12 Oct 99; growth rate: 1.31%(about 80m)/year or 148 people/ minute; life expectancy: 65 years; current projected world total in 2050: 8.9 billion. Regarding Malthus, substantive point is that innovation has enabled food production to increasemuch faster than was anticipated in 1798. (While population growth cannot produce global famine, seriouslocal food/people imbalances cause 40 million a year to die of hunger.) Article compares population problems/policies of autocratic China(1.2b)and democratic India(1b, but faster growth). China more successful improving human conditions, but many factors affect policy choice/impact.

 

Barbara Crossette "Advocates for Children Joining U.N. Peacekeeping Missions" New York Times 18 Feb 00:-for first time, UN will assign full-time children's advocates to top operational staff abroad of all peacekeeping missions. Announced by Olara A.Otunnu, Special Representative of SG for Children and Armed Conflict. First advocate assigned for Sierra Leone where atrocities against(and by)children have been particularly serious, and two will be assigned to UN force in Congo, so far all from UNICEF. Otunnu explained:" For protection and welfare of children to be taken seriously, and not be marginalized, we must have[advocates]within central political structure" .Will advise Mission heads, coordinate all child assistance groups, determine necessary programs for children and(since civil war combatants may ignore Conventions)also mobilize public opinion.

 

Barbara Crossette "Smuggling of Iraqi Oil Is Rising, U.N. Is Told" New York Times 24 Mar 00; "Annan Exhorts U.N. Council on 'Oil for Food'for Iraqis" 25 Mar 00; "Security Council Votes to Let Iraq Buy Oil Gear" 01 Apr 00; The Economist 12 Feb 00 "One Man's Joy in Iraq" (41-2):-summaries ignore" current events" unless text has permanent/long-term significance. UN sanctions against Iraq in 00 illustrate extremely well problems raised by chronic sanctions issues, and how they could influence both Iraq and US by 01-03. Among those either inherent from start and/or critical by 00:(1)scale/variety/severity of sanctions imposed(most ambitious UN pressure applied);(2)(dis)unity of SC members over sanctions' aims/targets/costs/means(P5 increasingly split);(3)authority/popularity/mettle/world economic integration/vulnerability/value of target regime(Saddam runs tight political/media system, is personally at threat but tough about others, and holds pretty strong economic hand);(4)strategic importance of target state/its people/friends/resources/military capacity/philosophy(Iraq both very strong/very weak).

 

Wendy Cukier, "International Fire/Small Arms Control" (73-90)Canadian Foreign Policy Vol.6/No.1(Fall 98):-describes close links between firearms control as element of domestic crime prevention and growing body of international small arms controls, and urges more cooperation. Common strategy should include:conflict prevention/peace building; disarmament; injury prevention, safety and health promotion; crime prevention/security. After providing statistics on global/national threat posed by small arms, essay describesdifferent perspectives on intervention to prevent casualties. Then discusses data collection/surveillance;sources of firearms/small arms; various methods of controlling supply(limits on access; controls on manufacture/sales/transfers; removal from circulation by amnesties/ buy-backs). "Multi-layered, comprehensive[diversified]approach is essential" .

 

Suzanne Daley," Rising Rate of Mad Cow Disease Alarms Europe" in the New York Times 07 May 00:-showshow hard it is to stop the spread of fatal diseases even with drastic control measures in an interdependent world. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy has just turned up in south-eastern France, having also been detected in native-born cows in 10 other European countries. While the number of continental cases identified is small compared with the 178,000 reported in Britain, those discovered in France have gone from six in 1997 to one weekly in 2000. Moreover the true total of cows (and humans) infected may be much larger as transmission modes and incubation periods remain mysterious. Nevertheless, considerable progress is being made in other respects: Sandra Blakeslee, " Clues to Mad Cow Disease Emerge in Study of Mutant Proteins" in NYT 23 May 00:-reports on the information exchanged at an international meeting on the disease. While scientists still do not know how the disease spreads to humans, how many more will die from it, and if a similar epidemic could start in the US spread by infected deer and elk, clues are now being discovered on an almost weekly basis. These are based on an infectious agent called the prion, normal proteins found throughout the body tissues of humans and other animals. For unknown reasons thesesometimes transform themselves into tiny particles almost impossible to destroy, and accumulate in the brains of infected animals/people, destroying cells and leaving spongy holes in the tissue. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is the human version and could eventually kill tens of thousands, -or die out. So far the death toll is 56 in Britain, 2 in France, 1 from Ireland.

 

Francis M. Deng et al. Sovereignty as Responsibility: Conflict Management in Africa(Washington: Brookings 96):- conclusion of 7-volume project to help governments/international community deal with conflicts in least stable continent(Reader op.cit.).Probes African states' responsibility: balance sovereignty sanctity against transborder political/economic/moral relevance of human rights violations/internal violence. Project concludes UN has unique role to play in Africa as both mediator and healer.

 

Anthony DePalma "The'Slippery Slope'of Patenting Farmers' Crops" New York Times 24 May 00:-as noted elsewhere, much of controversy over genetically modified organisms(GMO)derives from their high costs in R&D and consequent concern of biotechnology companies to ensure "adequate returns" through patents(or intellectual property rights(IPRs); see Paarlberg)relating to their products. Most infamous patent defenses were "terminator genes" in cereal seeds that could not reproduce, and thus prevented re-seeding(Economist 9 Oct 99).This ensured annual seed purchases -and prohibitive costs in Third World. DePalma reports CIMMYT, Green Revolution's famous non-profit International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico, though founded to make high-yield products available free to Third World,has had to start patenting its work as defensive tactic to block attempts by others to patent its discoveries and thus keep small farmers from using them. Before companies/countries contribute to CIMMYT's research, they also require patents in own self-defense. Consolation: reproductive genes will be included in seeds distributed in Third World. Another GMO patent-related development reported in DePalma/Simon Romero "Super Seeds Sweeping Major Markets, and Brazil May Be Next" NYT 16 May. US, Brazil, Argentinatogether grow 80% of world's 157m tonnes of soybeans annually, but have different rules for GMvarieties. In US several conditions must be met: for Monsanto, farmers pay fee for each bag of seed, agree not to save seed for following year ( "terminator" seeds were dropped after outcry)and accept inspections if claim to have stopped using seed. In Argentina, where perhaps 90% of soybean crop genetically altered, but its patents not recognized, effectively no rules. In Brazil, use of altered varieties not(yet)legal, but clearly smuggled in; to 30% of soybeans may already be uncontrolled GMO. "Global regulatory mechanism" obviously needed. Meanwhile, US regulations tightened further. Associated Press reported 03 May "F.D.A. Announces New Steps for Regulation of Biotech Food" according to which US Food and Drug Administration will require biotech companies to notify it at least four months before releasing "new genetically engineered ingredients for food and animal feed" and to provide their research data. FDA will also set" truthful and informative" standards for food processors wanting to label products made with/without such ingredients. Also, mainly response to new consumer concerns, North American retailfood industry/exporters facing novel problems in separating out GM products, because of explosive increase in use/saving. Some major food companies stopped sales of selected GM-based products,according to David Barboza in "Modified Foods Put Companies in a Quandary" NYT 03 Jun. However none has found it feasible to abandon biotech ingredients entirely, since about 70% of US grocery-store food may have been made with genetically altered crops. Related dilemma arisen in Europe. Donald G. McNeil Jr. "Anxiety on Genetically Altered Seed Spreads in Europe" NYT 20 May, reports on divergent reactionsof British, French, Swedish governments on discovering tiny amount in one seed variety in order of long-planted Canadian canola had inadvertently carried genetically-modified trait.

 

J. Raymond DePaulo and Leslie Alan Horvitz, Understanding Depression: What We Know and What You Can Do About It(New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002):-UN's World Health Organization has stressed that mental illness is an overwhelming global crisis against multiple humans' active lives and even survival. WHO's "study estimates that in the coming decade depression will rank as the number two leading cause of death in the world; most of those deaths will be primarily in the form of suicide and secondly from coronary artery disease" (133). The book, by one of the world's foremost authorities on depression, and coming from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US, concentrates on the technically improving but widely undeveloped situation in that country. However, the clearly written and up-to-date text is among the most advanced and ideally relevant anywhere on earth. It includes a thorough, accessible guide to depression's nature, causes, effects, and treatments, and also provides essential advice tothose responsible for handling those suffering. All societies must do more.


Jared Diamond Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies(New York: W.W.Norton 99):-brilliant and fascinating book seeks to explain dangerously unequal societies in world. Taking a long-term view, Diamond rejects racism and sees cultures as reactions to environments (cf Sowell, op.cit.). Divergence of societies(by geographic area)reflected: (1)"[C]ontinental differences in... wild plant and animal species as starting materials for domestication [compared to hunting-gathering, since]food production was critical for accumulation of food surpluses that could feed non-food-producing specialists, and for buildup of large populations enjoying... military advantage... even before they had developed any technical or political advantage; (2) [R]ates of diffusion and migration, which differed greatly among [and between] continents [depending on climates, barriers, distances]; (3) [C]ontinental differences in area or total population size" which affect numbers of inventors, competing societies, and innovations available/adopted, and disease immunity. Environment is therefore critical.


Jared Diamond Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail or Succeed(New York: Viking Penguin 05):-globally relevant/influential 600-page heir to Guns, Germs.... Describes how and why societies have survived or collapsed on basis of five factors: environmental damage, climate change, hostile neighbours, friendly trade partners, and society's responses to its environmental problems. Essence of entire text is well-outlined in the Prologue, so if your time or preliminary dedication are brief, at least read that. You could then read any of 16 chapters individually, although your hunger or concerns may become overwhelming. Parts/Chapters titles as follows: Part One: Modern Montana: (1)Under Montana's Big Sky; Part Two: Past Societies: (2)Twilight at Easter; (3)The Last People Alive: Pitcairn and Henderson Islands; (4)The Ancient Ones: The Anasazi and Their Neighbours; (5)The Maya Collapses; (6)The Viking Prelude and Fugues; (7)Norse Greenland's Flowering; (8)Norse Greenland's End; (9)Opposite Paths to Success; Part Three: Modern Societies: (10)Malthus in Africa: Rwanda's Genocide; (11)One Island, Two Peoples, Two Histories: The Dominican Republic and Haiti; (12)China, Lurching Giant; (13) 'Mining' Australia; Part Four: Practical Lessons: (14)Why Do Some Societies Make Disastrous Decisions? (15)Big Businesses and the Environment: Different Conditions, Different Outcomes; (16)The World as a Polder: What Does It All Mean to Us Today? Final five pages of text are entitled Reasons for Hope, followed by Further Readings.


Philippe Douste-Blazy & Daniel Altman"A Few Dollars at a Time: How to Tap Consumers for Development"(2-7) Foreign Affairs Vol.89/No.1 (Jan/Feb 10):-official summary:"This year, consumers purchasing airline tickets will have a chance to at the same time contribute to the global fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. This initiative is part of a new movement called innovative financing, which seeks to share a tiny fraction of globalization's enormous gains with sick people in poor countries". Final sentence of impressive text:"The backers of innovative financing mechanisms, such as UNITAID, have two main responsibilities: to help fight diseases through novel ways of raising money and also to ensure that their success does not undermine the existing efforts [-government aid budgets-] they set out to strengthen". Douste-Blazy, who served as France's Foreign Minister 2005-07, is currently the United Nation's Special Advisor for Innovative Financing for Development and Chair of UNITAID. Altman is President of North Yard Economics, a not-for-profit consulting firm serving developing countries. Article is adapted from their book on innovative financing, which will be published in Jan 10 by PublicAffairs.


Daniel W.Drezner All Politics Is Global: Explaining International Regulatory Regimes(Princeton & Oxford: Princeton Univ Press 07):-as The Economist 18 Mar 07 admits in specially favourable review "International Relations: An Interconnected World": book is "too nuanced and academic for easy reading", but concludes significantly "Drezner... finds that the challenges of the future will be increasingly transnational. As globalisation intensifies, the rewards for coordination will increase as well. To achieve success, essential not to eliminate international institutions but rather to understand their utility... Key to their success lies in convincing leading governments of the gains from acting in cooperation, rather than isolation, in volatile but interconnected world -message that surely applies well beyond esoteric world of trade". [Another support for my own - tough but essential - global urgency: op.cit. Christopher Spencer]. Suggest you read short Chapter One which summarizes Drezner's book in simplest explanation. "Regulation of global economy is intrinsically important. Markets rely on rules, customs, and institutions to function properly. Global markets need global rules and institutions to work efficiently. The presence or absence of these rules and institutions and their content and enforcement, is the subject of this book. In a globalizing economy, what are the rules? Who makes them? How are they made?"(6). Issue areas analysed by chapters to study relative roles of (top) governments/institutions/NGOs: Internet, International Finance, Genetically Modified Organisms, TRIPS and Public Health.


Celia W.Dugger"U.N. Panel Urges Doubling of Aid to Cut Poverty"New York Times 17 Jan 05:-announces that an"international team[has]proposed a detailed ambitious plan...that it says could halve extreme poverty and save the lives of millions of children and hundreds of thousands of mothers each year by 2015. Report[claims that]drastically reducing poverty in its many guises - hunger, illiteracy, disease - is 'utterly affordable', [but that]to fulfill this goal industrial nations would need to double aid to poor countries, to 0.5% of national incomes from 0.25%".'Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals[MDG]'also urges the easing of trade and"sweeping investments in health, education,rural development, road building, housing and scientific research".Jeffery D.Sachs(op.cit.),appointed head of this UN Millennium Project by UNSG Annan to revive the 2000-agreed 'MDG'promises, is"known ascrusader for the idea that within a generation, rich and poor countries together can end extreme poverty afflicting more than a billion".Other elements are described: the serious diversity of essential program-related policies among both the rich and poor nations, and the surprisingly varied analysis of the plan's realism that is found among aid experts -and British PM Tony Blair(op.cit.). Reuters"U.N. Report Offers Plan to Halve Extreme Poverty by 2015"in NYT 17 Jan 05:-covers same major proposals, although with natural variations in emphasis. Again, divergences among both aid donors and seekers are stressed. It also reports that in Jul 05 G8, and in Sep 05 UNGA will, spotlighting global poverty, set a development agenda.The Environment 22 Jan 05"Development: Recasting the Case for Aid"(69-70):-even longer than the NYT and Reuters analyses of the Sachs-led UN report, but again offering an objective analysis of its critically-important aims and prospects. Initial description of report includes:"Document in full runs to ten supporting volumes and more than 3,000 pages...Overview paper is packed with high-octane analysis andrecommendations, no waffle, not a sentence wasted. Aim is no less than to dispel prevailing pessimism on aid - a deeply entrenched attitude, based on years of disappointment - and to mobilise hundreds of billions of dollars in new help for developing world. In this, it might succeed. Whether it deserves to is another question." Later:"Question now - and it is the right question - is what policy inputs will be required to hit the targets[i.e.MDG final goals]...Given what is at stake, Sach's passion and ambition are entirely warranted - but does approach he advocates make sense?...Looking only at development aid, report argues, you find that aid works: it spurs growth...Good-government precondition is crucial, however, and causes team some difficulty...Poorest countries, including basket-cases of sub-Saharan Africa, aremost deserving by test of need, but tend to be worst governed".Report challenges problem by plugging poorer recipients that nevertheless have good government and by claiming aid itself can improve bad governments, but quick success appears unrealistic in Africa. Warren Hoge"African Crises Take Back Seat to Tsunami, U.N. Relief Chief Says"NYT 28 Jan 05:-Jan Egeland, UN emergency relief coordinator, complained to UNSC that impressive aid being given to those countries suffering from earthquake-produced Indian Ocean tsunami was in fact no more seriously needed than the unmet African needs. Alan Cowell"Pressure Grows for Rich Nations to Redouble Efforts to Aid Africa"NYT 28 Jan 05:-report fromWorld Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, records many more pro-African aid demands than usual.


Celia W.Dugger"U.N. vs Poverty: Seeking a Focus, Quarreling Over the Vision"NYT 14 Sep 05:-this itemleads a discouraging collection of inter-related historical articles, most inevitably summarized by a bit more than their strong titles/introductory sentences. All relate to a globally critical summit of some 170 heads of state/government. They marked seriously the 60th anniversary of the United Nations 14-16 Sep 05 when, vital reforms and international poverty commitments having been discussed, some are adopted- in full or vague status - but many more are both left required and postponed. Dugger:"The United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) meeting today was to have been a rare moment when quest to relieve crushing poverty of a billion people took center stage. But so far that goal has been overshadowed by [current disasters] and squabbling over reform of UN itself. Even debate about world's common agenda on global poverty began on an unexpectedly sour note, centred around goals for healing world's deepest poverty that were to be in meeting's final document. US ambassador, John R. Bolton, initially proposed expunging any reference to specific goals for reducing poverty, hunger and child mortality andcombating pandemic of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Known as Millennium Development Goals[MDGs], they emerged from UN conference five years ago. He favored instead citing broad declaration from which goals were drawn. US subsequently relented, but not before US administration's opening in negotiations left some African leaders dismayed... Negotiations at UN got absorbed by issues around UN reform... It is not clear that much new will emerge at UN. World leaders are likely to affirm commitment to push forward with MDGs to halve extreme poverty and hunger, cut child mortality by two-thirds and ensure basic education of each child by 23015, among other things.Those are same broad goals agreed to five years ago"; Warren Hoge"U.N. Adopts Modest Goals on Reforms and Poverty"NYT 14 Sep 05:-"UNGA unanimously approved scaled-down statement of goals [13 Sep] that Secretary General [UNSG] Kofi Annan said would still give world leaders gathering [14 Sep] basis for recommendation to reform organization and combat poverty. Loud cheers from delegates, however, could not disguise widespread disappointment at weakening of 35-page document"; David E.Sanger & Warren Hoge"Bush Thanks World Leaders and Takes Conciliatory Tone"NYT 15 Sep 05:-President Bush, facing array of world leaders who are deeply divided on how to define terrorism or act against nuclear proliferation/poverty, struck conciliatory tone at UN [14 Sep], describing himself as grateful leader of superpower in recent days... Speech...came hours after UNGA greatly watered down what had once been ambitious plans for institutional change and for commitments to fight terrorism/nuclear arms... He balanced his discussion of need to chase down terrorists with his endorsement of set of antipoverty objectives... 'No nation canremain isolated/indifferent to struggles of others' ... He pressed for UNSC resolution commiting countriesto prosecute - and extradite - anyone seeking fissile materials or technology for nuclear devices... But Bush did not repeat his previous calls to bar any new country from producing enriched uranium orplutonium. In references to goals for poverty reduction, he cited not only MDGs but also another initiative that grew out of summit meeting in Monterrey, Mexico. There, poor nations agreed to fight corruption and improve governance, and rich nations commited to 'make concrete efforts' toward giving 0.7% national income in aid. Bush did not address aid issue, but advocates said they hoped endorsement of Monterray would make harder for US to continue to oppose such aid targets"; Reuters"World Leaders Seek to Invigorate UN at Age 60"NYT 14 Sep 05:-"Leaders explore ways to revitalize UN at summit, buttheir bluepoint falls short of UNSG vision of freedom from want, persecution and war... [S]ession marking60th anniversary of world body suffering from corruption scandals and sharp divisions among memberson how to tackle international crises... UNSG in 85p paper in Mar entitled 'In Larger Freedom', addressed challenges for 21st century that required collective action: alleviating extreme poverty, reversing AIDS pandemic, global security, terrorism and human rights. But after bitter negotiations over last few weeks,nearly every bold initiative suffered cutbacks in final 38p document approved by UNGA for endorsementat summit... Still, somewhat emasculated document saved summit from failure. UN officials highlighted initiatives, including new human rights body, Peacebuilding Commission to help nations emerging from war and perhaps most significantly, obligation to intervene when civilians face genocide/war crimes... Butnegotiators failed to agree on how to tackle nuclear proliferation or on definition of terrorism sought by Western nations, and fell short of commitments to greater aid and tearing down trade barriers developing nations wanted"; AP"Annan Appeals to World Leaders at Summit"NYT 14 Sep 05:-"UNSG Kofi Annanappealed [14 Sep] to world leaders...to help restore confidence in world body and act together to meet challenges of new century... Annan said document they will adopt at end of 3-day summit was 'good start'but not 'sweeping and fundamental reform'he proposed. He called for urgent action on tough, unresolved issues. 'Because one thing has emerged clearly from this process on which we embarked two years ago: whatever our differences, in our interdependent world, we stand or fall together', UNSG said.'Whether our challenge is peacemaking, nation-building, democratization or responding to natural or man-made disasters, we have seen that even the strongest among us cannot succeed alone'... In what he call 'a high-risk gamble', UNSG and incoming/outgoing presidents of UNGA decided to drop issues where there was no agreement, choose language for which they thought they could win consent, andpresent clean text to member states. It worked"; AP"Bush Focuses on Terror in Speech to U.N."NYT 14 Sep 05:-"Before skeptical world leaders, President Bush [14 Sep] urged compassion for the needy and pressed global community to 'put the terrorists on notice'by cracking down on any activities that could incite deadly attacks. Bush... was seeking to sell his blueprints for spreading democracy in Iraq and elsewhere, overhauling UN and expanding trade"; AP"Chiefs of U.N. Agencies Appeal to Donors"NYT14 Sep 05:-"UN refugee and food agencies' chiefs said [14 Sep] that international donors are not doing enough to help alleviate shortages of survival rations in refugee camps across Africa. Because of lack of funds, World Food Program has been forced to cut rations for hundreds of thousands of refugees, particularly in West Africa and Great Lakes region in east of continent"; AP"Mexico's Fox OK With U.N. Reform Document"NYT 14 Sep:-"Mexican President Vicente Fox said [14 Sep] that he and the rest of theGroup of 15 developing nations think UN reform document approved this week is a step in the right direction, but stressed it is only first step... The 35-page document is supposed to launch a major reform of UN itself and galvanize efforts to ease global poverty. But to reach consensus, most of text's details gutted in favor of abstract language. UNSG had hoped that in addition to addressing UN overhaul, document would outline specific actions for improving the lot of the poor and tackling genocide, terrorism and human rights. But nations couldn't bridge their difference during negotiations. Group of 15developing nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America was set up to foster cooperation in dealing withinternational groups such as World Trade Organization and the Group of Seven rich industrialized nations"; AP"Annan Seeks to Restore U.N. Credibility"NYT 14 Sep 05:-"After a year of mounting criticism,UNSG Annan defended UN [14 Sep] and urged global leaders to restore organization's credibility by adopting broad reforms needed for world to act together to tackle poverty, terrorism and conflict...Instead of a celebration of UN achievements since its founding in ashes of WWII, summit was much more a somber reappraisal of its shortcomings and a debate about how to meet the daunting challenges ofa world becoming moreand more interlinked"; Reuters"World Leaders United on Terrorism"NYT 14 Sep 05:-"World leaders united [14 Sep] on need to ban incitement of terrorism but fell short of ambitions forfundamental reform of UN...Negotiations on the summit document world leaders are to endorse dropped disarmament proposals from Norway and South Africa, backed by about 80 nations. US objected to calls for nuclear disarmament but stressed danger of terrorists and rogue states obtaining unconventional weapons... In veiled criticism of US, world's richest nation, Dutch PM... said Europeans had agreed to boost development aid spending but 'we need to see more equal burden-sharing'"; AP"Annan Seeks to Restore U.N.'s Credibility"NYT 15 Sep 05:-"Bitter differences among UN member states have blocked many crucial UN reforms, and nations must act boldly to restore the world body's credibility, UNSG told summit of world leaders... Coming into the summit, diplomats had to dilute a document on goals for tackling rights abuses, terrorism and UN reform because they couldn't settle their disputes"; Financial Times"Shifting Positions at the UN World Summit"NYT 15 Sep 05:-"Fact that US and China have both become simultaneous aid donors and recipients says much about changing global society. World ismuch more diffuse in power than traditional stereotypes allowed... US is rich, and its military power iscommanding, but US ability to impose its will on world is limited... China, as well as India, Brazil and some other developing countries, is gaining economic power, especially through rapid absorption ofadvanced technologies and emergence of home-grown scientific prowess... [E]verything points to vastinternational diffusion of scientific expertise in coming decades... US will likely become more rather than less engaged as donor country in Africa and elsewhere... [I]dea of a US empire astride the world in 21st century will go... [C]ertainly the most important issue, hardly noted at [UN] world summit, is that rise of China, India, and other regional powers will intensify growing and multiple pressures on global environment and resource base... As a crowded world of 6.5 billion on its way to 9 billion people by mid-century, and with rising risks/complexities all around us, we are all both donors and recipients now. We are all in this together, and we had better get used to that reality"; The Economist 15 Sep 05"United Nations Reform: Better Than Nothing"(p.33 in 17 Sep NA issue):- "Annan sought to explain why a draftdeclaration on UN reform and tackling world poverty, to be endorsed by some 150 heads of state/government... has turned into such a pale shadow of proposals he himself put forward. 'With 191 member states' , he sighed, 'its not easy to get agreement'. Most countries put the blame on US, in the form of its abrasive new ambassador, John Bolton, for insisting at end of Aug on hundreds of last-minute amendments and line-by-line renegotiation of a text most others had thought was almost settled. Buta group of middle-income developing nations... also came up with plenty of last-minute changes of their own. Risk of having no document at all... was averted only by marathon talks... The 35-page final document not wholly devoid of substance. It calls for creation of a Peacebuilding Commission to supervise reconstruction of countries after wars; replacement of discreditied Commission on Human Rights by supposedly tougher Human Rights Council; recognition of a new 'responsibility to protect'peoples from genocide and other atrocities when national authorities fail to take action, if necessary by force; and 'early'reform of UNSC. Although much pared down, all these proposals have at least survived.Others have not. Either...so contentious they were omitted altogether, such as sections on disarmament/non-proliferation/ICC, or they were watered down to little more than empty platitudes: no longer evenmentions vexed issue of pre-eminent strikes. [M]eanwhile, section on terrorism condemns it 'in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes' , but fails to provide clear definition US wanted... Now up to UNGA to flesh out document's skeleton proposals and propose new ones. But its chances of success appear slim"; Steven R.Weisman"A Frustrating Week at the U.N. for the White House Team"NYT 16 Sep 05:-"[R]ebellion by countries outside the ambit of Europe and US appears to have thwarted some of the changes sought at UN. Bush officials insist that they arepleased with some of the changes adopted by UNGA, notably a broad definition of terrorism. They saytried to address wishes of developing world by agreeing at last minute to endorse specific goals to increase foreign aid. But when it came time to adopt stringent budgetary changes at UN,cementing fiscaland personnel authority with Secretariat under Kofi Annan and taking some of it away from UNGA, thevotes were not there. Neither were there enough votes to scrap UN Human Rights Commission and replace it with a council that would not be led by countries like Sudan or Cuba, which US and its allies consider bad actors in human rights sphere. The scandals of last couple of years in oil-for-food problem in Iraq, with favoritism and corruption in awarding of contracts, might have been avoided if UNSG's office had exercised greater control over the budget and personnel, now in hands of a committee made up of all members of UNGA. 'The way UN is run, the vast number of less developed countries sitting in UNGA hold the power of the purse', a diplomat at UN said. 'A lot of developing countries see giving moreauthority to UNSG as ploy by US and Europeans to take more control of UN'"; AP"Rice Urges 'Revolution of Reform'at U.N."NYT 17 Sep 05:-"UN must make itself more relevant to tackle 21st century problems... Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said [17 Sep]. 'In this new world, we must again embrace challenge of building for the future'. World leaders...adopted watered-down version of proposed reforms...'Time to reform UN is now', she said. 'And we must seize this opportunity together'... 'No cause, no movement, and no grievance can justify intentional killing of innocent civilians and noncombatants. This isunacceptable by any moral standard'. UNSG [had] said condemnation of terrorism must be unqualifiedand that... should 'forge a global counterterrorism strategy that weakens terrorists and strengthens international community'... Rice called on rich countries to help poor ones with development assistance... She said new [human rights] council... should have more credibility. [That] means should 'never, never empower brutal dictatorships to sit in judgement of responsible democracies' ... Rice has locked arms with Annan on reform, declaring him an effective manager, with whom she can work closely. 'I havenever had a better relationship with anyone than Kofi Annan', Rice said, thereby separating US concerns about management flaws and corruption from world body's top diplomat"; Warren Hoge"Bolton and U.N. Are Still Standing After His First Test"NYT 17 Sep 05:-"Fellow ambassadors say they are impressed with[John] Bolton's work ethic, his knowledge of his brief, clarity in declaring it and his toughness as anegotiator... Some delegates, however,faulted him for emphasizing what US would never accept, saying it ended up encouraging more active opposition to US positions. They complained he devoted too much time to talking about US 'red lines' and about the red pen he had in his pocket at the ready. Those who feared Bolton came with devil's horns thought they saw them spring forth 3 weeks ago when he submitted more than 400 substantive amendments and deletions, and ordered up a line-by-line renegotiation of summit document. One of recommendations was to eliminate all mention of a series of antipoverty measures called MDGs. Surprise attack on cherished standard sent shock waves across UN where officials had grown hopeful that Bush administration's hostility to UN had significantly lessened,particularly after supportive comments from [Rice] and State Department opposition to calls for US to withhold its UN dues. A week later, phase was restored at Rice's direction, and Bush declared in his speech to UNGA, 'We are committed to MDGs' . So a question arose about whether Bolton had beencarrying out traditional mission of executing State Department policy or originating his own more assertive view... John G.Ruggie,...Harvard... said he thought Bolton's approach had emboldened opponents of US priorities, like reforming UN management structure to give more power and flexibilityto UNSG. 'After Bolton's bombshell, they were able to make case that this is why we have to stand firm, because if we give great discretionary authority to UNSG, danger US will roll over him, and behind him always stands Congress willing to withhold funding', he said. Bolton said purpose in calling for line-by-line renegotiation was to avoid having text by 'nameless, faceless textwriters' , a reference to writing staff of UNGA president Jean Ping of Gabon. But in the end such a text proved to be only way to get consensus. Three weeks of wrestling with language had left document on [13 Sep a.m.] with 27 unsolved issues and 149 phrases in brackets, meaning they were still in dispute. Decision was made to presentambassadors with final version refined by Ping, and it was that text UNGA endorsed [13 Sep p.m.], just hours before arrival of world leaders. Much of positive reaction to Bolton has come from how he did not live up to his negative reviews"; AP"Chavez Criticizes U.N. Reforms in Speech"NYT 17 Sep 05:-"Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez criticized UN reforms [17 Sep] saying they [section of Peacebuilding Commission] would permit powerful countries [to] invade developing ones whose leaders are considered a threat"; Reuters"Annan Defends Summit"NYT 17 Sep 05:-"UNSG put brave face on [17 Sep]on modest reforms to the work of UN, but [Rice] said world body needed nothing short of revolution to become real force... Annan sought to highlight the positive... 'Scale of this achievement seems to have been missed by some...So let's make sure we live up to our promises to the world's poor'. Among gainswere unprecedented agreement on international responsibility to intervene to protect civilians from genocide, establishment of peace-building commission to help nations recover from war and areaffirmation of goals set in 2000 to halve poverty by 2015. But the document fudged definition of what constitutes terrorism, reached no agreement on how to deal with spread of weapons of mass destructionand did little on far-reaching reforms to UN's bureaucracy or its decision-making. 'UN must launch lasting revolution of reform', [Rice] said. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who chairs 53-memberAfrican Union, said terrorism could not be 'justified under any circumstances' . But he said a dangerous correlation existed between grinding poverty and political instability"; Reuters"Like Fixing the Weather, Council Reform Eludes UN"NYT 18 Sep 05:-"Closest UN came to expanding 15-member UN Security Council(UNSC) was considered a plan by Germany, Japan, India and Brazil last spring. But moment came and went without a vote. National rivalries across and within each regional group run high, although...pledged to do something by end of year... Leaders from four candidates, known as Group of Four(G-4)... decided to put their resolution back on table. But participants at the session said there was no strategy of how or when to do this... UNSG, after decade of debate, urged UN members in Mar to come to decision world leaders could endorse, arguing that UNSC, which decides on war and peace, sanctions and peacekeeping, still reflected balance of power at end of WWII. But 35-page document world leadersendorsed on UN reforms had only one sentence on need for 15-member UNSC to become 'more broadly representative, more efficient and transparent'. On this, compromise nearly impossible as UNSC seats meant winners and losers, with each candidate having drawn enough opposition to prevent resolution from gaining two-thirds vote in 191-member UNGA. UNSC currently has 10 nonpermanent seats, rotating for two-year terms, and five permanent members with veto power - US, Russia, Britain, China, and France, considered WWII victors. To begin UNSC expansion, 191-member UNGA must approve a framework,without names of candidates, by two-thirds vote, with each member casting one vote. Last step in process is UN Charter change, which must be approved by national legislatures, and here current five permanentmembers have veto power... Brazil, Germany, India and Japan, whose plan also called for two permanent seats from Africa [Egypt? South Africa?], had hoped for deal with 53-member African Union, which has a similar proposal. But Africans insisted new permanent members have veto power, which the four aspirants dropped because of opposition from current five UNSC powers"; AP"Leaders at U.N. Seek Anti - Terror Treaty"NYT 19 Sep 05:-"Leaders at UNGA urged quick adoption of comprehensive global treatythat would put words into action. But one issue in particular is causing trouble - how to define terrorism amid concern independence struggles would be targeted. [R]esolution accepted unanimously by UNSC on sidelines of UN summit last week also called upon all states to prohibit and prevent terrorism and deny a safe haven to anyone considered guilty of such conduct. But delegates stressed need for abroader convention that would serve as a framework for governments to work together to curtailinternational terrorism"; AP"U.N. Assembly Focuses on World's Poor"NYT 19 Sep 05:-"Leaders fromdeveloping nations took speaker's platform on second day of annual UNGA debate to criticize rich countriesfor not doing enough to ease plight of world's poorest people. Speakers from Africa, Asia and Latin America said [18 Sep] they were encouraged by document adopted at three-day summit renewing commitments to alleviate poverty, but said they would withhold final judgment until rich nations make good on their vows... Leaders of poor nations made clear that they were not impressed with progress made so far. A week ago, UN report said about 40% of world's people still struggle to survive on less than $2/day. Jamaica's PM, speaking on behalf of Group of 77 developing countries, repeated what has been largely acknowledged by many UN and outside officials: world nowhere close to meeting the development goals"; Reuters"UN Refugee Boss Says World Tackling Past Failures"NYT 27 Sep 05:-"International community has woken up to tragedy of the millions who are refugees in their own country and begun to act, head of UN refugee agency[UN High Commissioner for Refugees] said. Internal refugees - known as internally displaced people (IDPs) - number 20-25million, more than double the nine million refugees who are recognized as such because they have crossed a border, and their plight is often just as bad, said UNHCR... UN was finalizing a more vigorous approach to a problem which is particularlyacute in sub-Saharan Africa... Crux of the new policy was that for first time UN agencies, and otherhumanitarian organizations, given specific roles and responsibilities - for which they could be held to account - in handling any IDP crisis. In case of UNHCR, which already handles some IDP situations on an ad hoc basis, it would manage camps, provide shelter and tackle issues of protection for those considered to be in danger of persecution. Move should also be seen in context of changing international attitudes to sovereignty, with recent UNGA resolutions stressing obligations governments had to protect their citizens - indicating a more assertive stance on the part of global body"; AP"U.N. Envoy Says Reforms Have Started"NYT 28 Sep 05:-"President Bush's hard-charging ambassador to UN, [John R.Bolton,] told skeptical members of Congress [28 Sep] US 'didn't get everything we wanted'in agreement to reform UN bureaucracy, but it is a start... Bolton cast US vote for watered-down reform document with obvious disappointment after weeks of wrangling. Document backed off bureaucratic and other changes... Bolton is expected to follow up with new resolutions, but it is not clear how muchappetite UN diplomats will have for subject now. The House has passed measure... that establishes a timetable for reform and ties progress to payment of US dues. Senate has not passed measure. Bushadministration does not want to use dues as leverage"; AP"Japan Rethinking Plan for Security Council"NYT 30 Sep 05:-"Japan has warned Congress that US legislation seeking to withhold UN dues could lead Japanese lawmakers to take similar action, possibly resulting in loss of millions of dollars to world body...Japan pays 19.5% of annual UN budget of about $2billion, second only to US, which pays about 22%".

 

Celia W.Dugger"Overfarming African Land Is Worsening Hunger Crisis"New York Times 31 Mar 06:-"Thedegradation of farmland across sub-Saharan Africa has accelerated at an ominous rate over past decade, deepening hunger crisis that already afflicts more than 240m Africans, according to a study released [30 Mar]. Three quarters of Africa's farmland severely depleted of basic nutrients needed to grow crops, compared with 40% just a decade ago, study found. African farmers can afford only fraction of fertilizers needed to replenish their increasingly barren fields. Traditionally, farmers cleared land, grew crops for a few harvests, then let fields lie fallow for 10 or 15 years to rejuvenate as they moved on to clear more land... But as they try to feed rapidly growing population, farmers instead grow crop after crop, sapping soil's fertility. 'Topsoil is blown away by wind and washed away by rains' , said president International Fertilizer Development Center, nonprofit agricultural aid organization which produced study. If this process continues unabated, crop yields in Africa will fall as much as 30% in next 15 years, even as region's population continues to grow rapidly... Africa... likely to face more frequent famines and become ever more dependent on food aid/imports. Farmers... increasingly clearing forests as well as savannas...Already, farmland in Africa yields less than a third amount of grain of that in Asia and Latin America... 'Wemust feed our soils' , said Nigeria's president... Jun meeting on Africa's fertilizer needs expected to drawleading experts... as well as donors. Foreign aid aimed at improving agricultural productivity in Africadeclined sharply in 1990's and has begun to recover only in recent years. About two-thirds of Africa's750m people depend on agriculture for income/employment. Fertilizer... far too expensive for Africa's small and often impoverished farmers - costs two to six times world average. African farmers use less than 10% as much as Asian farmers do. Lowering price no simple task... Roads make transportation difficult/costly... Green revolution to Africa would require: functioning road network/credit for farmers/ extension agents to teach new methods/ better irrigation/ retailers to sell fertilizers/ improved seed varieties... Would also mean combating corruption". Wealthiest countries have pledged to increase aid to Africa.

 

Celia W.Dugger"U.S. Focus on Abstinence Weakens AIDS Fight, Agency Finds"New York Times 05 Apr 06:-"Insistence by Republican Congressional leaders that US money to fight the spread of AIDS globally be used to emphasize abstinence and fidelity is undercutting comprehensive and widely accepted aid models,[US] Government Accountability Office said in a report released [04 Apr 06]... It found that theprovision had limited the reach of broader strategies to fight AIDS that include the use of condoms... 'It is hampering their ability to implement key elements of widely accepted model of HIV/AIDS prevention - the ABC approach', said main author of the report. ABC stands for abstain, be faithful, or use condoms.Report based on interviews with US officials carrying out US-financed AIDS programs in 15 countries".

 

Celia W.Dugger"Letter From Kenya: Where AIDS Galloped, Lessons in Applying the Reins"New York Times 18 May 06:-major article describes/discusses US influence on Kenya policy, but summary mainly on current pandemic conditions. "Kenya rarity in Africa: nation where experts say AIDS shows signs of easing. So... attracting policy makers/researchers looking for keys to slowing relentless spread of AIDS on continent. Trends heartening. Medical experts estimate new HIV infections... plummeted over last decade from peak of more than 200,000/year to fewer than 90,000. And changes in sexual habits seemcontributing to decline. Men say having sex with fewer partners, and women report losing virginity later.Many teenagers, once sexually active, say they are abstaining entirely. Such shifts... suggest abstinenceprograms... have some chance of success...Kenyan health officials frankly acknowledge evidence lacking on effectiveness of programs that promote condoms or abstinence. According to UN AIDS agency, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe: the sub-Saharan with documented declines in HIV prevalence. Researchers agreefall partly because AIDS deaths have reduced population of HIV-positive people. But also say likely behaviour change has helped. In Uganda, increased use of condoms important. Health officials [in Kenya]say spread of knowledge about how to prevent infection and rising tide of death been catalytic... Asdonors racheted up financing of anti-AIDS programs, landscape for prevention changed. Since...2003,US dominant donor in Kenya: $208m this year to combat AIDS... More than half that financing feverish drive for diagnosis of AIDS and treatment of infected... AIDS patients receiving drug treatment rocketedto 70,000 from fewer than 10,000 in 2003. Paradoxically, explosive growth in testing/treatment may be US' s most important contribution to preventing spread of disease. Once people know AIDS not a death sentence, more willing to be tested, and once know their HIV status they can protect themselves/sexualpartners... Experts' judgement[:] more than half new infections in Kenya are with couples in which onepartner HIV-positive. US also paying programs aimed at changing behaviour. This year,.. $15.7m on programs that promote abstinence/faithfulness, and $7.8m to prevent sexual transmission of HIV,including... condoms to high-risk groups. [D]ebate that rages in WashDC over AIDS/sex sometimesseems [here] more reflection US culture wars than African realities... Under guidelines, US funds can be used to educate children 14/younger about abstinence/faithfulness, with condom education added for15/older... Scholars say much work remains to figure out which of so-called ABC programs - abstain, befaithful, use condoms - effective...But efforts to prevent spread of AIDS will not wait for definitiveevidence. [If] sex can lead to death, many people on both sides of ideological divide agree abstinence for the young should be embraced. Also clear many young people will have sex despite the dangers, and that abstinence programs alone will not protect them".

 

Celia W.Dugger "Clinton Makes Up for Lost Time in Battling AIDS" New York Times 29 Aug 06:-full six-page article contains substantial information on US aid/political history, particularly Bill Clinton's roles as past president and post-president donor in regard to Rwanda, medicine patents, and AIDS-related funds. "Few public figures in US have spawned as much speculation about what motivates them as Clinton.Abroad, even fewer inspire the affectionate reception Clinton received as he raced across seven African countries in eight days in [Jul 06]... It was clear the efforts by his foundation had personal meaning. [O]n this trip, Clinton...reveled in his role as a private citizen championing people with AIDS... Clinton wasadamant that he had done all he could about global AIDS with a Congress hostile to foreign aid, thoughhe conceded that his administration fought too long to protect the patent rights of pharmaceutical companies against countries trying to make or import cheaper AIDS medicines... Clinton and his foundation have undertaken projects with two dozen developing countries, raising money to postnurses in rural clinics,.. mustering experts to train hospital managers... and buying drugs for thousands of sick children, among other things. His foundation also has negotiated steep cuts in the price of AIDS medicines through deals with drug companies that cover more than 400,000 patients in dozens of countries, helping propel momentum for treatment of the destitute. [A MSF doctor] credited Clinton and his foundation for showing independence from the politically powerful drug industry and helping toaccelerate the decline in prices for generic AIDS medicines in developing countries... Clintonfoundation's budget last year was $30m, raised from private donors. Clinton, who oversees its operations full time, has plunged into many causes, from childhood obesity to tsunami relief to global warming, but he has made his most substantive contribution on AIDS [and] Rwanda was one of the firstcountries he chose to work in... Like most international leaders and US advocates for people with AIDSin 1990's, critics say, Clinton's efforts on global AIDS did not match the epic scale of the human tragedy as it unfolded across Africa and millions died and were orphaned. In recent years, the fight against AIDShas leapt onto the world stage, claimed by Clinton and his successor, George W.Bush... On his recenttour of Africa - his fifth since 2001 - Clinton showed a remarkable ability to establish a human connection with people he met... Bill and Melina Gates, the billionaire philanthropists, watched Clinton[closely]. The two Bills, as they have been dubbed, have taken to doing high-profile AIDS advocacyevents together, with Clinton bringing star power and Gates his deep pockets... The price of antiretroviral drugs fell after Clinton left office, helping change the view that it was too costly anddifficult to treat people in poor countries... The debate over whether Clinton missed a politicalopportunity to lead the charge on global AIDS years before Bush seized it is far from over... After he leftoffice, Clinton considered his future with a keen eye on history... From the start, Clinton had a host of issues on his agenda, but quickly found himself drawn into AIDS... Opportunities proliferated, and Clinton's enthusiasm grew... Through cost cutting, spurred by breakthrough talks with companies that supplied ingredients to the drug makers, [his] team got deals. Cipla, for example, halved the price of themost common AIDS triple-drug therapy, already declining due to competition, to $140 a person per year... [President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa] soon invited Clinton's foundation to help country writecomprehensive treatment plan. South Africa now has more than 130,000 people on antiretroviral drugs,still far short of what critics say is needed. Since 2004, Clinton has campaigned to raise the profile of children with AIDS. [M]ore than 500,000 a year were dying. Clinton foundation has raised $4.4m to buy drugs for 13,000 children, train health workers, renovate pediatric wings and pay for lab tests... Clintonambitions seem to grow daily, and foundation now branching out in Africa from AIDS into poverty" .


Gwynne Dyer Climate Wars (Random House Canada 08):-the number of substantial essays and broad publications being written on climate change globally by either science-specialists or policy-concerned writers has become large in 2009. The widely-known author of this book, however, argues that the military impact of a warmer world has not been discussed publicly, even if analyses have been probed. The following is therefore his rationale of publication: "In a number of the great powers, climate change scenarios are already playing a large and increasing role in the military planning process. Rationally, you would expect this to be the case, because each country pays its professional military establishment to identify and counter 'threats' to its security, but the implications of their scenarios are still alarming. There is a significant probability of wars, including even nuclear wars, if we ever reach the range of +2 to +3 degrees Celsius hotter. Once that happens, all hope of international cooperation to curb emissions and stop the warming goes out the window"(from second page of his Introduction and dust-cover). The text contains two elements of special interest. The first consists of seven short but credible and worrisome scenarios, each dated some time in the future, and describing violent events in a region suffering from the experience of climate change. The other is the author's carefully quoted experts' views on technical details, obtained at his many 2008 personal interviews.


Erik Eckholm "Environment Conference Agrees to Help Poor Nations Protect Ozone" New York Times 04 Dec 99:-129-country UN environmental conference in Beijing has agreed that additional $440 million will be provided over next three years to help poor countries stop producing/using chemicals that harm ozone layer. 1987 Montreal Protocol aims at eliminating all ozone-depleting substances, especially chlorofluorocarbons(CFCs), that thin protective atmospheric layer of ozone that blocks harmful ultra-violet rays.Developed countries have almost completely converted to CFC replacements for use in air-conditioners/refrigerators, but poor countries(Brazil, China, India)were given until 2010 to stop their production/use and had already received $1 billion to cover costs. Although world use of major ozone-destroyers has now declined by 85%, ozone holes/thinning continue to grow due to slow atmospheric effects.

 

Erik Eckholm "U.S. and China Agree on Steps to Fight Drugs" New York Times 20 Jun 00:-Barry McCaffrey,director of White House drug-control policy, made unprecedented tour of China/Vietnam/Thailand to expand bilateral anti-drug cooperation. Reports that in Beijing he signed formal agreement to share information/evidence related to drug smuggling. Two already cooperated to stop illegal drug shipments, but both sides predicted more wide-ranging collaboration since face common serious novel problems of drug manufacture/use. Main concerns heroin and methamphetamine with latter fast-rising threat now produced in both countries. US/China may soon share intelligence in several areas: drugs-related/money-laundering/ even weapons-smuggling. Associated Press "US Says Speed Is Worst Drug Menace" NYT 23 Jun:-picked up story in Bangkok. Here both sides agreed greatest menace methamphetamine/ "speed" since easy to make/offers criminal organizations bigger profits than even heroin. Speed in Thailand mostly produced by ethnic armies in Myanmar(Burma)and poses new challenge following Thais' "enormous success" in reducing opium cultivation: estimate 600m speed pills will smuggle into Thailand from Myanmar this year. MeanwhileThe Economist 24 Jun "A Tidal Wave of Drugs" (42):-reports growing problems in Caribbean. Once againbecome favoured route of Colombian drug traffickers. US officials estimate almost 200 tonnes of cocainewere shipped through Caribbean islands to US last year, increase of 75% over 97, overwhelming control efforts. Some 67 tonnes transited Haiti in 99 without single conviction. "Economics against drug fighters" -tonne of cocaine fetches $100m in New York - more than entire annual government revenue of smaller islands.Societies pay in growing crime/distrust/corruption/intimidation/weapon imports. But relentless demand ensures relentless supply...

 

The Economist 14 Mar 98"Smokescreens: World Health Organization is Showing Signs of Allowing Politics to Get in the Way of the Truth"(91-92):-identifies 3 cases where WHO research findings appear to have been played down for political reasons. All related to evidence that links between lung cancer and passive smoking were less than expected; that incidence of thyroid cancer from Chernobyl nuclear accident was higher than findings from US nuclear tests; and that cannabis less harmful than smoking or alcohol.

 

The Economist 04 Apr 98"Squeezing Water from the Sea"(85-6):- conflict over ever-shrinking per capita supply of usable water is widely seen as a major evolving global issue. Item describes status and costs of two major current means of desalinization. Distillation heats salty water and catches condensed water vapour; distilled water costs about $1/cubic metre. Reverse osmosis forces salty water through a composite membrane, holding back salt, etc.; product costs about $.6/cubic metre. Conservation is even cheaper.

 

The Economist 09 May 98"Repositioning the WHO: The World Health Organization is About to be Given a Much-Needed Kick in the Backside"(79-81):-gloomy description of management problems accumulated by WHO, particularly under late Executive Director, Hiroshi Nakajima. Problems reportedly already being tackled energetically by his successor, Gro Harlem Brundtland. Most badly needed are central control, transparency, and better relations with World Bank and private sector.

 

The Economist 30 May 98"Biotech's Secret Garden"(75-7):-survey of several new advances in developing new drugs from natural substances. Major subject of discussion in UN environment debates due to raisedownership issues. Also reports new skills in plant biotesting. 20 Feb 99 "Ethnobotany: Shaman Loses Its Magic" (77):-reports "Shaman Pharmaceuticals, leading proponent of 'ethno botanical'approach to drug discovery - an attempt to identify active molecules in folk remedies, in order to turn them into modern prescription medicines - threw in the towel." Shaman, Merck, other companies, and even US government, while carefully following rules of Convention on Biological Diversity all over the world, but particularly in rainforests, have found little or nothing of value. Meanwhile, normal molecular screening process become so advanced "it will soon be possible to check molecules for promising biological activity at rate of 100,000 a day" , so screening is now faster and cheaper than seeking shortcuts from folk healers.

 

The Economist 13 Jun 98 "The UN and Drugs" (45-6):-UNGA drug summit(30 HoG; 150 states)whose aim of eliminating production in decade"seems quixotic".Drugs are now fourth largest business globally($400b per year)exceeded only by cars/oil/tourism(218m drug takers). Those for legalization lack support/evidence. "Pot on Prescription" (54):-discusses problems raised by drugs which have both medical and recreational uses(morphine and -under study- cannabis). "St Vincent: All This and Drugs" (37):-illustrates financial/ economic dependence of many mini-states on drugs. Islands reportedly transit 10% of US cocaine imports, and have big marijuana exports.

 

The Economist 13 Jun 98"In Defence of the Demon Seed: Genetically Modified Foods"(Edit.13-4):-results from EU objections to import of genetically engineered plants from North America, but has global implications. Supports imports as no different from products of traditional plant-breeding, but recommends more scientific/educational information. "Food Fights"(79-80):-describes actual process involved, widespread with some US crops. Relatively simple, it offers significant yield and viability gains - thus critical for LDCs. 20 Feb 99 "Frankenstein Foods" (Edit.17):-again argues, following uproar in British press, that: "Genetically modified foods can deliver great benefits. It would be wrong to slow their development." "Seeds of Discontent" and "Genetically Modified Free Trade" (75-6) report on scientific/media/trade debates, and argue concerns over safety are misplaced; beneficiaries are patent-holders, farmers, and environment.

 

The Economist 11 Jul 98"Absurdly Green"(15)and"Energy Policy: A Nuclear Waste"(64-5):-Swedes voted in 80 to phase out all nuclear power gradually, but government now plans to shut down two reactors well before end of their working lives. Essays argue: plants hugely expensive to build or demolish, but extremely cheap to run, so closing them is very bad economics; renewable energy can replace only fraction of lost power, which will have to be made up by coal or gas, thus producing much greenhouse gas; the volume of radioactive waste will be little affected; reactors are very safe, unlike former Soviet reactors, from whom Nordics may now have to demand more power. Best safety investment for Swedes is to improve these.

 

The Economist 18 Jul 98"Model Behaviour"(69):-claims scientists now able to build computerized "virtual" organs, i.e. models that exactly reproduce the structure and activity of human tissues. They will thus be able to gather information about how organs work that no amount of animal experimentation could provide, andnew treatments and drugs can be tested electronically, particularly for the heart.

 

The Economist 29 Aug 98"Memory Building"(70-72):-among scientific prospects that raise hope in education and development circles for the more rapid improvement of human resources, and concern in ethical and political circles about possible exploitation of human minds for nefarious purposes, is potential ability to extend or erase memory. Fairly non-technical article describes present state of knowledge about how human memory works - and why it fails. Vital background factor to human development.

 

The Economist 19 Dec 98 "Spirit of the Age: Malignant Sadness is the World's Great Hidden Burden" (113-7):-major essay reveals that one of most widespread diseases in world, and thus one of its most major health problems, is depression. While not taken nearly seriously enough, there are 330m people sufferingfrom it, 90% of whom will get inadequate treatment, and most cases not even diagnosed. In fact diseaseafflicts more than heart disease, far more than AIDS. WHO expects unipolar major depression as world's most debilitating disease after cardiovascular by 2020. If depression is a disease of modernity and its stresses, development will increase its incidence. Now gives everyone 10-20% chance of developing it sometime, causing 800,000 suicides a year. While anti-depressants have brought much comfort, "belief that people's feelings are their own fault still persists[so]attitudes must change too" .

 

 The Economist 02 Jan 99 "Ending the War on Drugs" (71-4):-ostensibly review of six recent books dealing with problem of illegal drugs, mainly in US. In fact well-written discussion about how we got into mess we are in, and where we might go from here. Books apparently agree that present situation/policies not satisfactory, and used mainly to illustrate points. Exchange in Foreign Affairs reported under Nadelmann (op.cit.) also favourably mentioned along with other sources. Cautious conclusion is that more should be spent intreatment or harm reduction.

 

The Economist 13 Feb 99 "Female Genital Mutilation: Is It Crime or Culture?" (45-6):-serious human rights, health, legal and ethnic problem. Chart shows those countries with highest prevalence - from Djibouti/ Somalia/Egypt with over 95% to Burkina Faso 70% estimated; 137m women in at least 28 African countrieshave been mutilated. Attempts to stop it clearly causing less controversy in UN than in countries involved; while number of African states officially criminalized practice to avoid losing ODA, they do not dare enforce law. Apparently more effective to avoid cultural or moral judgment, and to concentrate on health risks, whichWHO sees as serious, and education.

 

The Economist 27 Mar 99: "No School, No Future" (45-6):-a gloomy essay, contrasting the critical importance of education for raising living standards in the Third World with recent negative trends in illiteracy and lack of primary schooling in many countries, particularly Africa. The value of education is now understood almost universally: its elevating and enriching effects for individuals; the health, nutrition, productivity and fertility-rate improvements for families; and its developmental and multiplying impact on economies. Yet UNICEF reports 40m children in sub-Saharan Africa get no basic teaching, with per-child spending only half that of 20 years ago. Uneducated may reach 75m by 2015. The principal reasons: reduced/ misallocated resources. Proposal: transfer funds from debt-servicing, defence, and higher education, and change attitudes on girls' education. Cost: $2b/year more would get every African child in school.

 

The Economist 17 Apr 99 "New Drugs for Old Habits" (83-4):-current situation seeking new treatments: drug/alcohol/ nicotine addiction. Several different approaches followed with considerable success, but no wonder-drug turned up. Approaches based on advanced understanding how alcohol/cocaine/ heroin/ nicotine affect brain at cellular/molecular level. Acamprosate may help reformed alcoholics: restoring balance between excitation/inhibition in brain. Naltrexone lowers high associated with alcohol/diminishes craving; may be implanted under skin. Several medications under study blocking drug-induced craving: linked to endorphins or dopamine. One restores dopamine levels; one produces antibodies to attack drugs. Problem to persuade pharmaceutical companies to invest in expensive research involved.

 

The Economist 01 May 99 "The End of Privacy: The Surveillance Society" (Edit.15-6;21-3):-power of computers to gather personal information, and store/analyse/retrieve/disseminate it electronically/ globally, will continue expanding. New capacities will involve: government/marketing/banking/ surveillance(for state/private intelligence/ arms verification/law enforcement/security control)/personalhealth/DNA/work/movements/contacts/tastes/credit/legal records. Policing the data is not feasible; data "gates" or encryption doubtful; intense debate inevitable. "People [must] just assume one simply has no privacy[-]one of greatest[modern]social changes.[L]aws will be used not to obstruct recording/collecting information, but to catch those who use it to do harm[,thus producing]more lawful security."

 

The Economist 01 May 99: "Sticky Labels" (Genetically Modified Organisms - GMOs)(75-6):-subject (The Economist 13 Jun 98 op. cit. has previous articles) became a global UN issue when WTO decided to use Codex Alimentarius standards in international disputes over food trade. Codex was established by FAO and WHO to recommend minimum global standards on food safety. EU ban on import of US hormone-treated beef defies Codex's scientific assessment that it is safe; hence WTO rules it an illegal trade barrier. EU riposte is a proposal for mandatory labelling of any food containing GMOs "simply to provide choice" . However, repeated and effective testing/segregation could add 30% to costs, hardly any processed food now is 100% GMO-free, and new GMOs offer major human health benefits, so a "fix" is yet possible. For report on scientific debate on hormone-treated meat, see The Economist 15 May 99(94).

 

The Economist 08 May 99 "Come Together, If You Can" (48):-summarizes report by UN Development Programentitled "Global Public Goods" (Oxford Univ. Press 99)urging greater global information exchange, particularly for benefit of poor who suffer most for lack of it in information society. Proposal is to systematically record common problems and solutions, and to assess every nation's total exports, including ideas/patents/pollution/diseases/crime/other `externalities' so that "fuller picture could...be drawn of inequality/depletion of natural resources/financial instabilities/other threats to development" . "Knowledge bank" could then be set up to give poor states better access to new ideas and technology, assist policymakers, and promote international cooperation, e.g. for law enforcement. Compiling information clearly in global interest, and(computer)distribution costs are small.

 

The Economist 08 May 99: "Free Trade in Peril" (Edit.12) and "Trade: At Daggers Drawn" (17-20): -both claim current US-EU disputes over bananas, beef and genetically modified foods (all Economist op. cit.) threaten not only WTO but future of free trade. Disputes are updated, but emphasis is on institutional and economic issues: (1) with globalization, WTO members are no longer debating external tariffs or NTBs whose costs can be "balanced" . Current disputes derive from politically sensitive domestic policy issues such as food safetyand environmental protection, and hence are much less negotiable; (2)WTO is deadlocked over choice ofDirector-General, largely along North-South lines; (3)both US and EU find it hard to make concessionsnow(elections/economic problems); (4)WTO is making quasi-judicial, rulings on political issues, and may be ignored. Perhaps it needs (IMF-type) Executive Committee. Letters to The Economist 22 May 99 from Colombian and Mexican WTO missions report an LDC advisory center on WTO law is planned, and that LDCs are seeking agreed WTO election statement. 24 Jul 99(70) reports on agreement that Mike Moore(NZ) and Supachai Panitchpakdi(Thailand) would each take 3-year terms as WTO D-Gl. Moore starts new Round.

 

The Economist 15 May 99 "FAO: Harvesting Votes" (48-9):-reports on competition for Director-Generalshipof Food and Agriculture Organization between Senegalese incumbent, Jacques Diouf, and Argentine challenger, Juan Vignaud. While duel reflects Diouf's alleged favouritism towards Africa, also relates to general debate over FAO's role. Its "Purpose" [in article's abridgement] is to" raise levels of nutrition around the world, makefood production and distribution more efficient, and improve conditions of rural life" . Author reports "insiders" feel FAO best at collecting/analysing information on agriculture, food, fisheries and forestry, and then advising governments on policy. Critics feel agricultural field projects should be left to International Fund for Agricultural Development(IFAD), World Food Program (WFP), UNDP, governments, NGOs. [Most agree too many bodies involved.]

 

The Economist 19 Jun 99: "Genetically Modified Food: Who's Afraid?" (15-6) and "Food for Thought" (19-21):- "GM" has become such a farm/consumer/trade issue(see 1 May), not only in Europe but also for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico and US, that it merits both an editorial and essay. "The consumer backlash threatens to undermine both this new technology and the credibility of the agencies that regulate it" (15). The view among many Europeans is that GM products are "unnatural" , dangerous, and bad for the environment. In fact, all crops have been "unnatural" for millennia, "it is difficult to conceive of any way in which human health might be damaged" (19) by GM food and, though tests are underway, GM seems to have net environmental advantages. Since much of US grain crop is now GM, sorting it for European market would be difficult and expensive. Better trans-Atlantic cooperation and public information are in order.

 

The Economist 19 Jun 99 "Go Forth and Don't Multiply" (62):-while discusses condoms from business point of view, directly relevant to key social, developmental, and - since AIDS - health roles. Although sales flat in Europe and US, demand in some emerging markets, such as India/Indonesia, rising 15%/year. Population experts anticipate world market could grow fourfold, to 24b condoms/year. Since selling condoms often socially -sometimes politically- tricky, and both AIDS and family planning roles stressed, many companies distribute via charities or governments.

 

The Economist 03 Jul 99 "The Future of Science: Paved with Good Intentions" (71):-blistering critique ofUNESCO/ICSU World Conference on Science in Budapest entitled "Science for the 21st Century: A New Commitment" . Writer found general approach out of touch with reality in deliberate and official exclusion of clinical medicine and engineering in order to keep the science "pure" [but more likely to avoid turf-wars with WHO and UNIDO] and effective avoidance of information technology and biotechnology - particularly in agriculture [FAO turf?]. More critical was virtual absence of speakers or information from private sector, considering that science-based industrial firms fund about 60% of all research. Finally, speakers "failed to connect with theme of how science might tackle pressing problems [stressed:] poverty, ill-health... environmental degradation and the waste of potential due to discrimination against women" .

 

The Economist 17 Jul 99 "Viral Evolution" (76):-DNA as important new scientific tool has been used to study how evolutionary mutation enables life to adjust to new environments. Recent test sought to determine whether there is regularity in evolutionary process of mutation, so that reaction of germs to new drugs might be anticipated and growing problem of their resistance to antibiotics reduced(see Garrett 96 op. cit.). Two identical populations of same virus(parasite on notorious E. coli. bacterium)were put in identical new environments (higher temperature). In ten days both viruses had evolved to adapt to their new environments, but unfortunately each ended up with different order/final selection/number of gene changes, as regular DNA analysis made clear. While information about choice of mutations was obtained (all possible mutations happened at least once), no common pattern was evident. Discouraging.

 

The Economist 17 Jul 99: "Indoor Pollution" (77):-according to growing evidence, and contrary to the priority of outdoor air pollution controls, levels are usually higher indoors than out, including in heavily-polluted urban areas. Respiratory deaths among Third World infants are shocking. Even in the rich countries,hazardous gases, particulate matter and chemical pollutants are spread indoors by baths, showers, dishwashers and washing machines -installed to clean! Reason: most public water supplies contain very low concentrations of toxic chemicals left over from otherwise beneficial chlorination. Heating, spraying and splashing of water in use releases chemicals into the air( "stripping" ). Gas stoves and candles, meanwhile, produce carbon monoxide and particulate concentrations as high as those in heavy traffic. New cars/ attached garages/laser printers/computers/carpets/paints are also noxious. Priorities may need adjusting.

 

The Economist 24 Jul 99 "How Angola's War Protects Polio" (43):-sobering evidence of both human security's interdependence and multiple afflictions of violence. Probably WHO's greatest achievement was global eradication of smallpox in 79. For 10 years UN bodies/governments been fighting to eradicate polio, which at peak killed or paralysed 500,000 people annually. Effective vaccine now immunizes by few drops in baby's mouth. Hence by 98 reported cases reduced to 5,000, limited to pockets mainly in Africa/South Asia, thus creating hope to eliminate polio by 00. But these last bastions hardest, mainly because of civil wars, e.g. Sierra Leone/Congo/Sudan/Somalia. In Angola, UNITA has both blocked aid workers and driven so many refugees into such huge camps these actually created major polio outbreak. "For polio virus, war is last safe haven" .

 

The Economist 14 Aug 99: "Balms for the Poor" (63-5):-amplification of key point made in this issue in both an essay by Jeffrey Sachs and an editorial(op.cit.). It is that rate of (and death-rate from)infectious diseases in poor countries is tragically high because they offer tiny effective drug market, and no incentive for drug companies to do costly specialized research on diseases now almost unknown(malaria) or presenting different problems(HIV) in rich countries. US and Europe spend $220b a year on prescription drugs alone; hence WHO estimates that while $56b a year is spent on health research, less than 10% is directed toward diseases that afflict 90% of the world's population. Between 1975 and 1997, 1,223 new compounds were launched on the market (at $300m/10 years research each on average), of which only 11 were designed for tropical diseases. Describes number of plans to redirect research and lower prices.

 

The Economist 21 Aug 99:Water Supply: "Pass the Salt" (Desalinization)(23); "Cloudbusting" (Rain-Making)(69-70); "An Ice Idea" (Storage)(70):-all relate to scientific-technological developments with major implications for expected world-wide fresh water shortages. First describes "reverse-osmosis" desalinization plantbeing built in conjunction with power station, "which will provide cheapest drinking water ever extracted from sea" : 25m gallons a day at wholesale cost of $2.08 per 1000 gallons for 30 years, i.e. competitive with other sources. Second reports on new method of cloud-seeding. Now completing thorough (double-blind), encouraging tests, "hygroscopic-flare" seeding uses salts as strongly water-affinitive nuclei to form raindrops. Last foresees artificial ice mountains, created cheaply by modified "snow machines" at below-freezing, water-abundant times/places, and tapped/shipped as/where needed.

 

The Economist 21 Aug 99: "No PERVersion" (71):- xenotransplantation or xenografting, the transfer of tissue between species -particularly pigs' tissue to human beings- is seen as a solution to the large and growing gap between the number of human organ donors and those seeking transplants(40,000 in the US alone). While considerable progress has been made in reducing the rate of tissue rejection by the body, there has been great concern about pig tissues transferring their diseases into humans, particularly porcine endogenous retrovirus or PERV. Recent studies imply that PERV has not jumped the "species barrier" . Since lethal pig viruses have transferred to humans directly, the potential of longer-term reactions against xenotransplants clearly demands more research. Indeed 24 Jan 98 "Pigged Out" (edit.17) urged great caution until"strong international system [is] in place for monitoring recipients" for disease.

 

The Economist 04 Sep 99 "Silent Sting: Banning DDT" (edit.25):-addresses terrible dilemma of whether to ban DDT globally because of its proven dangerous effects on humans/wildlife (cancer, endocrine disruption, other ills), or to allow its continued use against malaria in many poor countries. UN Environment Programis coordinating negotiations for a new international treaty to curb use of 12 of worst pollutants, including DDT and dioxins used as pesticides, but which also persistent organic pollutants. Health officials, however, argue a worldwide DDT ban "would condemn millions to misery or death from preventable illness" since "only effective defence many have against [malaria] is to spray DDT inside their homes" . Economist proposes delaying total ban until malaria beaten; meanwhile, banning DDT use outside home (notably in farming); funding new malaria vaccines, therapeutic drugs, and alternative pesticides.

 

The Economist 04 Sep 99 "Let Old Folk Work" (Edit 23): "Ageing Workers: A Full Life" (65-8):-while Peterson (op.cit.)warns of a global crisis in pension costs and declining GNP as fertility rates drop, these texts argue thataging populations give opportunities to improve both human rights and the work force, simply by letting people retire when and how they choose. Current trends and practice in developed countries must change: retirement now begins so early that men spend only half their lives in work. Combined with falling fertility, longer and healthier life-spans, and replacement of physically-demanding jobs with those based on knowledge/ experience, this constitutes enormous waste of human resources (lowering economic growth)and frustrates the one-third of retirees who, even with pressures/incentives to retire early, would rather be working. Such laws/rules, mistakenly designed to lower unemployment, must be redesigned.

 

The Economist 25 Sep 99 "Too Many or Too Few" (Edit:19) "Unshapely World, Too Old or Too Young" (56):-inspired by UNFPA report "6 Billion: A Time for Choices" which gives thought to population problems. Globaldemographic trends are diverse and diverging. In industrialized world(except for immigrant-receivers)plus China, fertility is now at or below replacement level. In LDCs, average fertility rate has dropped from 6 per woman in 1969 to 3 today. But population still grows(about 80m/year)due to lower infant mortality, longer lifespans, population momentum. So authors see two issues:(1)resource pressures of high growth rates in poorest areas(most of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa)in spite of soaring death rates from AIDS;(2)economic/fiscal problems of top-heavy age structure where too-rapidly-lowered birth-rates createmore dependents than workforce can support.

 

The Economist 09 Oct 99 "Fertility Rights: Terminator Genes" (104):-biotechnology in general, and agri-biotech firms in particular, have recently become ethical, commercial and scientific subjects of debate [Horaises inter alia subject of this item; but see also Caplan, Conway, Economist 16 May/30 May/13 Jun 98/01 May/19 Jun/21 Aug 99, Maddox, Morton, Silver(op.cit.)]. Control of plant reproduction has research value, by enabling only selected plants to be re-fertilized, but reports Monsanto, in face of worldwide criticism, "promised not to commercialise(sic) genetic engineering of seed sterility" . Significant, as many suspect its motive in developing sterile seeds was to force farmers -including poor Third World peasants- to buy(costly) new seed annually. With Monsanto's action, and creation by multilateral institutes and multinationals of related research consortium, poor farmers - desperate to raise productivity - seem safer.

 

The Economist 16 Oct 99 "Let Death Be My Dominion: Suicide and Euthanasia" (89-92):-wide-ranging, well-written essay on great variety of moral, religious, medical, etc. issues raised by(assisted)suicide through history and many new problems raised by rapidly evolving life-support capacity and moral standards. "Developments have sparked complex and emotive debates about how to handle final stages of life...Idea that people have'right to die'is...gaining support[in context of terminal illness but, if so,]does not everyone...have right to choose timing and manner of their own death?" . Yet there is strong taboo against suicidein most societies: it must reflect mental or emotional instability, despite its high global incidence. Butincreased euthanasia will likely force debate on suicide. Is it still sinful, irresponsible, unnatural, selfish, cruel, destructive, irrational? Each has counter-arguments.

 

The Economist 08 Jan 00 "Measuring Up for Aid" (44)and "Development Finance: Old Battle; New Strategy" (74-5):- the first article deals with the global volume of development assistance in 1998. After years of decline, rich governments spent 9% more on ODA than in 1997 with OECD members giving $51b ($63 per capita), and private aid reaching $100b. As a proportion of national income this was an increase from 0.22 to 0.23%, against the agreed UN target of 0.7%. Meanwhile private capital investment in LDCs also increased - by 700% between 1990 and 1997. But(1) with 25% of ODA tied to the donor country's products, much of it paying expatriates' salaries, and all of it effectively conditional and/or channelled through the local elite;(2)with NGOs specializing in crises rather than long-term development; and (3)with FDI naturally focused on the richer, well-organized LDCs, how much of this transfer actually alleviates the grinding poverty of the 1.2b who live on less than $1 a day? Other article describes action taken by World Bank/IMF to address very problem. Henceforth Bank/Fund policies must be "owned" by national governments. Must prepare (and so be committed to)Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers" through 'participatory'process of consultation with all groups of society, especially poorest" . PRSPs will set few broad outcomes only like reducing infant mortality or improving school enrolment. Emphasis will be on poorest countries' top priorities. Bank/Fund policies already show changes, e.g. more complementary cooperation, while broadly-based home-grown pledges should encourage stronger sense of responsibility in LDCs. Maybe even donors will catch on.

 

The Economist 05 Feb 00 "[Air Transport:] Africa's Unfriendly Skies" (42):- Africa identified as continent with worst aviation record. 1988-98 chart shows fatal accidents per million flights(Western-built jets).North America/Caribbean consistently best(about 0.2-0.3); Europe next best(about 0.4-0.5); both slowly improving, but facing serious traffic congestion problems(see Business: 57-8). Because of their weight in total numbers of flights, World figure very close to theirs, also showing slow decline(from 0.6-0.8 to below 0.5). Asia, though worse/more erratic record, has also improved(from about 1.5 in early 90s, past peak of 2.0 in 93, and then fairly steadily down to 0.9 in 98). South/Central America, after terrible period(about 3.1-3.2)in 89-90, has sharply and almost constantly improved (below 1.0 in 98). Africa's record has been very erratic as well as worst(average about 2.0, with low of 1.0 in 93, high of 2.9 in 95, and just above 2.0 in 98).African problems: weather, overloading, poor service, weak regulations, inadequate traffic control or funds for airports, technology, training, maintenance. Funding, inspection, maintenance are up; war's impact remains.

 

The Economist 11 Mar 00 "Floods and Their Damage: After the Deluge" (52):-describes global flood disaster threat, and warns of worse to come. Approximately 100,000 people 1999 were killed in natural disasters, highest toll since 1991. Normally half are victims of floods. Moreover in 1998 300m people were affectedby floods, and annually about 3m lose their homes. In future, as population increases, more people live in vulnerable areas, so global flood damage is expected to increase. Already 50% world lives on/near coast -10m(mostly very poor)at constant sea risk. Millions in hillside slums subject to mud-slides; others inovercrowded flood-prone river valleys. Settlement itself increases flood danger through erosion, deforestation, water diversion, damming. Global warming will make half LDCs' population vulnerable to floods/storms. Better safety-measures/aid must be long-lasting.

 

The Economist 25 Mar 00 "Water: A Soluble Problem" (edit.20); "Nor Any Drop to Drink" (69-70):-both arguegrowing global shortage of fresh water reflects massive/unnecessary waste - which can be eliminated if simply priced realistically. Some facts(see also Annan): more than billion have no access to safe waterand 3b lack adequate sanitation. Threatens all with disease/drought. Meanwhile water tables overused, with many falling by meter or more/year. "[W]orld demand for fresh water will grow sharply, by 70%(for households)by 2025. Shortages seem inevitable -even war" (20).Yet much wasted: most domestic water usenot metered, while subsidies worth billions positively encourage waste in farming/industry. Instead, price water(just)above cost of provision/disposal, aiding only poorest. Private investment($180b/year)will come.

 

The Economist 08 Apr 00 "All Wrong in Iraq" (20-2); "Iraq and the West: When Sanctions Don't Work" (23-5):-UN sanctions against Iraq -most comprehensive ever imposed- clearly not working. Severely hurt innocent; failed to disarm in key areas, let alone unseat, target: Saddam Hussein; damaged UN's reputation. Yet ending them would damage UN, and global stability, even more. Offers account of why and how sanctions were set up, modified, and are failing(original terms/aims/successes; disastrous cost for ordinary Iraqis, and resulting flawed reform; how Hussein insulates himself).Edit. examines UN's options(1)Make easier for Iraq to import innocuous, necessary goods, monitoring dual-use items. Alreadytried/manipulated/proved imperfect.(2)Oil exports freed but arms-making/related imports banned. Monitoring constrained/laborious; military funds unlimited.(3)As (2) plus most internal/import monitoringpossible(Iraq pays)and warning of "prodigious" air retribution for cheating or threatening activity.

 

The Economist 08 Apr 00 "Who Owns the Knowledge Economy?" (17); "Patent Wars: Knowledge Monopolies" (75-8):-Editorial/essay address issue already raising serious legal, ethical, R&D, competition, trade and North-South debates - worth billions of dollars. It is accelerating numbers of patents granted in novel/controversial areas, made both possible/immensely valuable by rapid advances in knowledge power they guard(computer software, genetic engineering, Internet business methods). Patents global(in theory),wherever first granted, and recognized international patent system is under creation by World Intellectual Property Organization, WTO - and sheer demand. Patents are both defenses in very competitive world, and fertile/flexible income generators. Yet, while aiming to foster invention by rewarding it, they do not "differentiate between incentives needed to invest in different kinds of technologies. [Henceforth they should respond to]investment that an invention represents[and] come in different shapes and sizes, or system will go on producing absurdities" (17).

 

The Economist 03 Jun 00 "Stem Cells: Brain Into Brawn" (80-2):-on-technical account of growing scientific knowledge about multiple capacities and particularly "regenerative medicine" potential of stem cells. It notes that most body cells are specialized to do only one thing; however, elite group - stem cells - found in many organs, when given right biochemical signals, can divide(reproduce)and transform themselves into range of different cell-types as and when need arises. Stem cells are found particularly in embryos where they are busy creating/building new organs, but also in many adult organs, where their flexibility can be used to replenish ordinary cells. Yet obvious potential in transplants and regeneration was thought to be limited by small variety of cell types which each could make. It now appears they are very versatile. "Neural" stem cells from adult(mouse)brain lining were transferred to embryos - where they integrated well "far and wide" . As more is learned, adult stem cells may be taken from one part of person and "auto-transplanted" into another part which badly needs cellular substitutes. Economist 11 Nov 00 "Cancer Treatment: Stemming the Brain Drain" (104):-different, and possibly very important, application of stem cells as "killers" rather than builders seems possible. Article reports that way may have been found to use stem cells to destroy cancerous cells - and only cancerous cells. It relates to cancerous brain tumours calledgliomas, which spread rapidly, are resistant to radiation and conventional drugs, and so are usually fatal. Stem cells seem to have penchant for injured cells, and so home in on damaged tissue like tumours, and stick with(only)them. Harvard medical team in effect laced stem cells with deadly poison. They went straight to rats' gliomas, killed 80% of their cells, harmed nothing nearby. Embryo/ethics issues are less.

 

The Economist 17 Jun 00 "Patent Law: Going Global" (83):-08 Apr item "Patent Wars..." outlined rapidly-increasing number, complexity and cost of patent-related problems in a high-tech, interdependent world, with instant global communications. This item reports on "significant step towards simple, global system for patent filing" in form of new world patent-law treaty signed at WIPO(UN World Intellectual Property Organization). Inter alia it stipulates "standardized forms that all patent offices must accept, basic standards for electronic submission of patents, and mechanisms to avoid loss of rights due to non-essential formalities or unintentional delays" . Most important, signatories accept nationally any patent filed according to international standard known as PCT(Patent Co-Operation Treaty)and "may pave way for filing single patent according to global standard" . Issues of substance, such as what constitutes "novelty" , will be discussed later this year, but tougher debates such as that between "first to invent" and "first to file" may be left longer. Not surprisingly, China, India and some other LDCs are doubtful. [In light of current North-South problems over high costs of patented drugs and seeds, global formula may be needed so LDCs can get/make critical patented goods cheaply, but not "dump" them elsewhere.]

 

The Economist 01 Jul 00 "The Poor Who Are Always With Us" (46):-UN/World Bank/IMF/OECD issued "situation report" on commitments made at World Summit for Social Development. "A Better World for All: Progress Towards the International Development Goals" joint report: www.paris21.org/betterworld/or free in booklet form from OECD BookShop. Economist's summary contains bad news. In 1998 there were 1.2b people in dire poverty, same absolute number as in 1990, and make up nearly Б population of sub-Saharan Africa and more than 550m in South Asia. World school enrolment has risen slightly, but girls' attendance remains almost as low as 1990. Infant mortality shows only tiny improvement(AIDS). Since 1990, global ODA dropped from $60b+ to $55b/year while private capital flow to LDCs, though increased to$100b+ in 98, includes much short-term spending and rarely goes to neediest. Trade lost to LDCs through restrictions/subsidies equals $700b annually. Also criticizes corrupt/incompetent government/military spending for most of needy countries' problems, and urges reduced inflation and public spending.

 

The Economist 02 Sep 00 "South Africa's Role in the World" (Edit:17-8); "South Africa's Migrant Workers: A Ticket to Prosperity" (21-4):-stresses economic/political importance of Africa's "mini-superpower" to continent. South Africa "already region's motor; if it could grow faster, would pull its neighbours along.[Further,]obvious country ...to help out with Africa's peacekeeping" .Health, role, future therefore have global influence, so essay takes positive view of massive labour migration(temporary/permanent)into South Africa from all continent. Arguments: (1) migrants' economic/social conditions, though generally bad, and worse than locals' , are better than home, or migration would not continue;(2)indispensable to all southern African economies. Estimates of total illegal migrants in South Africa range 2-8m. Even if closer to 2m, this is major part of work force in country of 46m(almost none bring family). Employers gain lowerwages, harder work and often better education (skilled South Africans of all colours also keen emigrants.)Mines employ 120,000(Mozambique/Lesotho)as more skilled, less militant than locals; farm pay unattractive to locals. Migrants find more/cheaper goods - many brought home; others come to trade - oftenexchanging home/local products; others create businesses. Migrants have high HIV rates; take virus home; but also take what seem like fortunes. On balance, African migrants help themselves, hosts, and homes.

 

The Economist 28 Oct 00 "United Nations and Refugees: Ruud Surprise" (43-4):-Ruud Lubbers, former Dutch PM (82-94),unexpected choice to succeed Mrs. Sadako Ogata as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). "Refugee agency, which has annual budget of more than $1b, is most politically active of UN's agencies. [Having played critical, life-saving role in all-too-many wars and humanitariancrises, its] importance will continue, and perhaps expand. Displacement of civilians, once semi-accident of war, has now become one of main goals of warring parties. Worldwide now 14m refugees...and 21m internally displaced people[under UNHCR care]" . Global total unknown but much larger. Priority of refugee over IDP may end, since latter often need more urgent help. Controversial distinction is between( "threatened" )refugees and(up to billions of)economic migrants. Barbara Crossette "Dutch Figure Seen as Choice for U.N. Post With Refugees" NYT 25 Oct 00:-picked up appointment in advance and addedother details. Term is five years(Ogata held for nearly ten),job is viewed as one of most important in UN system, being responsible for staff of about 5,000 working in more than 120 countries. Lubbers, like WHODirector-General, Gro Harlem Brundtland(former PM of Norway)and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson(former president of Ireland), is another high-level political leader added to UNSGAnnan's team of administrators. Reuters "Ogata Says UN Council Is Too Slow And Inflexible" NYT 10 Nov 00:-Sadako Ogata, in farewell speech as UNHCR to Security Council, gave piece of her mind to only body in world on which every government has conferred "primary responsibility for maintenance of international peace and security" (Charter Art.24).Among her criticisms: Nature of war has changed, sincemuch is now civil strife conducted by undisciplined guerrilla armies. "In spite of discussions on wider approaches, peace operations continue to be country-based, and reflect neither internal nor regional nature of many of today's wars." Moreover, Council dispatched peacekeepers far too late to protectuprooted citizens or even UN staff in field[UNHCR has suffered more fatal casualties than any other UN agency]. "We at UNHCR have become used to being called to confront refugee emergencies, literally at few hours' notice. We have no choice: delays in our work inevitably means that lives are lost." Council alsoinflexible in expanding operations across borders to aid trapped refugees(terrible examples of Rwanda-Zaire and East-West Timor).Currently Guinea has requested security aid to help half-a-million trapped refugees in its areas bordering Liberia and Sierra Leone; yet only presence of international community ishumanitarian." Ogata contended that governments are receptive to "ladder of options" to improve local security in refugee-inhabited areas. She also argued gap between short-term aid and development programs too large once emergencies ended.(UNSC going to discuss peacekeeping reforms next day..)Economist 27 Jan 01 "A New Deal For Refugees: Changed Course" (48):-negative report on UNHCR Lubbers' commitments and plans. It notes many maintaining/benefiting from UNHCR operations found his selection process "murky and undemocratic" , suspecting he gained post "along with" orders from major donors to cut organization back. In any event, he announced 24 Jan that budget would drop well below its recent $1b annual level, in hope that funding levels would at least become reliable. He proposes thatmuch UNHCR relief work(giving refugees food, shelter, other services)be assumed by NGOs, WFP,businesses. Lubbers also wants to reverse Ogata's special interest in 25m IDPs, arguing they areresponsibility of "their own governments" (if any).Regarding asylum-seekers, he takes tougher line, however: Europeans(sic) "must take seriously responsibility of giving asylum" .

 

The Economist 18 Nov 00"Dams: A Barrage of Criticism" (94-6):-reports on the first comprehensive effort to analyse environmental, economic and social impacts of world's 45,000 large dams - the work of The World Commission on Dams involving the World Bank, industry, etc. on 1000 dams over two years. Itconcludes that their overall costs to both man and nature are "mostly negative" ,although every third country uses hydro power for 50+% of electricity and over one-third of irrigated land depends on dams. Their building usually means clearing forests etc.; reservoirs become silted from upstream; rotting vegetation emits CO2/methane - possibly accounting for 25+% of "global-warming potential" of atmospheric gases. Some alter flood cycles and downstream flows; some pollute rivers, remove nutrients, alter watertemperature - affecting survival of plants, fish and animals, but breeding mosquitos -hence malaria etc. Over $2 trillion has been invested and 80m displaced, though dams often unprofitable, slow to deliver, prone to corruption, distorted in their benefit.

 

The Economist 02 Dec 00 "How Not To Abolish Leprosy" (79-80):-leprosy persists, despite decade-long WHO program to "eliminate" but not to "eradicate" it(as for smallpox).(Elimination aims reducing cases below one/10,000 people.) Eradication(implying no cases)was not deemed feasible given limited knowledge of disease. Doctors cannot diagnose it before patients show symptoms, or know how likelytreated patient is to relapse. Also remain unsure how disease is transmitted, how it infects human body, and at what point carriers may infect others. Still, WHO has reduced numbers with disease from 5m to less than 1m and eliminated it from 98 countries. But several SE Asian and African states plus Brazil still report 4-6 cases/10,000, new-infections-rate(650,000/year) shows little sign of falling, and elimination target date has been postponed to 2005. However, Mycobacterium leprae genome now unravelled, so researchfrom now on may be more productive - if promised funds($50m)made available.

 

The Economist 09 Dec 00 "Blind Ambition: Eliminating Trachoma" (89):-blinding trachoma infects 150m, largely in three dozen of world's poorest countries also sentenced to bad sanitation and personal hygiene. Now pilot eradication project just completed by International Trachoma Initiative(ITI)in Moroccosuggests disease can be wiped out. "Trachoma caused by Chlamydia, nasty bacterium that breeds under eyelids eventually causing so much inflammation and scarring that patient's eyelashes are turned inwards, where scratch cornea and destroy victim's vision" .Particularly strikes women and children. WHO hopes to conquer trachoma's strongholds by 2020 with strategy( "SAFE" )of surgery(eyelids), antibiotics, regularface-washing(sic)and environmental sanitation. ITI(WHO, NGOs, Pfizer drugs)monitored Moroccan SAFE program, but found courses of(cheap)tetracycline ointment too complex. So Pfizer donated 1m+ doses of its azithromycin(usually $14 each)to Morocco as it can kill Chlamydia with one oral dose - and single round cut trachoma cases by 75%. Next: Tanzania, Mali, Vietnam - all harder.

 

The Economist 23 Dec 00 "Shrinking Families: The Empty Nursery" (95-7):-essay on below-replacement fertility rates implies:(1)population decline anywhere would be "worrying" ,presumably since current huge/ unprecedented human numbers are "just right" or even too low, but no explanation why; (2)rich countries' population trends/totals can/should be totally divorced from both their unsustainable consumption levelsand any concerns about global population growth/consumption levels;(3)large-scale/balancing migrationis useless. Extracts:" [Is an]only child pattern of the future? Of all questions about our new century, few are as important as this...Too few babies is emerging as bigger worry in many countries...than too many[globally? i.e. how we support global population still growing at 80m/year]...Of 35 of world's richest countries, in only three[Iceland, New Zealand, US]are women producing enough babies...to replaceexisting population.[Trends in US, Europe, China, South Korea.]Motherhood is becoming a mid-life digression[and]postponing childbearing[mainly for educational/career reasons]leads to many more single child families.[L]ong-run trend will surely be for people to have rather fewer children, on average, thanreplacement of human race requires. As result, 21st century will probably see...human numbers stop rising and begin to decline...[W]hile environment may gain, society may well lose[not enough pension contributors; kinship a weaker force; old people with no immediate relatives; majority are first-born/only offspring" .In addition,thoughtful theme Editorial on "Tales of Youth and Age" (17-8)relates to noting implications of aged formingincreasing percentage of world's population over course of century. There is also highly relevant/amusing essay in same issue: "Prolonging Life: Who Wants To Live Forever?" (23-4). Partly historical/ philosophical, it also offers information and food for thought. Neanderthals lived about 20 years; mid-18th century average lifespans were only up to 30. Today's world average life expectancy is 65 years, with those in rich countries 75-80, result of improvements in living conditions, public health and medical care.Individual lifespans are not huge by historical standards: 122 years is longest documented. Two life-lengthening methods have been successful with animals: semi-starvation (unpopular with humans)andselective breeding(would require centuries/heartache for humans). Genetic manipulation, however, now seems feasible, although ageing process involves many genes. Life would remain an invariably fatal disease, but age researchers claim that if people were able to preserve their maximum health and vigour, they would on average live for about 1,200 years, with about 0.1% lasting for 10,000. Short of instant over-population, world would soon consist of extremely old, and tiny, "dwindling, resentful" group of younger people. [Economist's opposition to lower birth-rates in rich countries was explained later as producing short-/mid-term economic stress in advanced states. Its older populations cannot be supported by relatively smaller numbers of young personnel and not yet handled by obvious longer-term solutions. These include:(a)economic participation/ generation of workers for progressively more years;(b)entire assets needed for pension-funds totally pre-generated/ saved before retirement;(c)less-labor-dependent economies modified by gains in human-progressiveness.]

 

The Economist 13 Jan 01"Need For Microcredit: Africa's Women Go To Work" (43-4):-offers new loan techniques and firm conclusion that" lending small sums to poor people to set up or expand small [firms] effective way to alleviate poverty" .Essence: ignore lack of collateral, which normally rules out commercial loans and forces dependence on loan-sharks' crippling interest rates. Organizations such as Grameen Bank(Bangladesh)and Accion International(Latin America) instead have poor borrowers form groups to cross-guarantee each others' loans. Variation is to make loan only when another group member completes repayment of theirs. Peer pressure ensures defaults are minimal. In some African and Latin American shanty towns lacking group solidarity, borrowers must also contribute, but the amount loaned increases with each prompt repayment. About 14m -mostly women- now use micro-finance, up 80% in two years-supporting up to 70m people. Unlike grant aid, 7-10,000 micro-lenders foster enterprise not dependency and are self-supporting. To reach target of 100m borrowers by 2005 much more capital is needed. As the worst repayment constraint is disease (AIDS),often education, even medical insurance, go with the loan.

 

The Economist 20 Jan 01 "Natural Disasters: Lessons from El Salvador's Earthquake" (31):-lessons and proposals from preparations before/response to tragedy of 13 Jan. Aimed mainly at Central America butapply to any small, poor countries liable to natural disasters. After Hurricane Mitch(1998)did terrible damage to Honduras/Nicaragua and some to all Central American states, UN reported none had disaster-management plans and" when catastrophe struck, civil-defence bodies were sidelined by politicians. As result, once emergency teams, called in for particular incident, had been disbanded, nobody to apply lessons-learned next time.[Hence, UN said, each country needed] 'permanent state institution, staffed bytrained disaster-management professionals' and armed with mandate for preventive work" .El Salvador's civil-defence agency responded ASAP, but has little say in preventive planning, which " involvesstrengthening laws and enforcing them - hard in states cursed by corruption" . Also, donors shouldsupport permanent disaster-response team for region, and further improved regional coordination.Economist 03 Feb "Catastrophe in Gujarat" (Edit. 22-4); "Earthquakes in India: Worse to Come?" (83):-pitifully soon after above, reaction to even worse tragedy. Again stressed actions(well-enforced building codes; well-studied risk zones; nearby rapid-response teams; planned international aid)that could greatly reduce costs(even in very poor countries)of major shocks in growing urban areas. Unfortunately science warns greatest collisions of tectonic plates on earth, run along mountainous borders of sub-continentso constant seismic stress has created recurring catastrophes.


The Economist 27 Jan 01"A New Environmental Index: Sustainable Growth - Green and Growing" (74-5):-serious global controversies(e.g. Kyoto Protocol)reflect widespread (mis)perception that environmental and economic improvements are incompatible, and present zero-sum alternatives. While in many cases these aims are in fact mutually reinforcing (non-polluting processes often improve efficiency)there has beenno organized attempt to clarify/ quantify overall relationship perhaps because many key terms involved are "woolly" [e.g. "sustainable", "environmental" ," growth" vs" development" ];most environmental data are "poor quality". 2001 Davos World Economic Forum was presented first attempt to meet this need: Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI)created by expert team working carefully with available data. It had first made "detailed assessment of dozens of variables that influence environmental health" of 122 national economies(from pollutants to corruption). These then used to select 22 "core indicators" grouped in five broad areas: (1)Environmental Systems: air quality; water quantity & quality; biodiversity [threats]; terrestrial systems [e.g.soil degradation]; (2)Reducing Stresses: reducing air pollution; reducing water & ecosystem stresses; reducing waste and consumption & population pressures; (3)Reducing Human Vulnerability: basic human sustenance; environmental[ly-related] health; (4)Social and Institutional Capacity: science and technology [strength]; capacity for debate; [eco-]regulation and management; private sector [eco-]responsiveness; environmental information; eco-[i.e.energy] efficiency; reducing public choice distortions [gasoline prices, usage subsidies, corruption]; (5)Global Stewardship: international commitment [eco-participation & compliance]; protecting international commons[ e.g. CO2, SO2, CFC]; global-scale [eco-]funding & participation. Indicators were quantified for each individual country, making it feasible to rank them in terms of "sustainability" (ES). Among results: Finland(1); Norway(2); Canada(3); Australia(7); US(11); France(13); Germany(15); Britain(16); Japan(22); Brazil(28); Russia(33); Italy(37); South Africa(45); Mexico(73); India(93); China(108); Nigeria(117); Haiti(122). Team's key findings were: (a)ES can be measured; "Index proved to be surprisingly powerful, useful and robust" .(b)ESI created comparative benchmarks of national environmental conditions and possibility of making decisions on more fact-based foundations. (c)Economic conditions affect, but do not determine, environmental conditions; ESI suggests that decisions on how vigorously to pursue ES and economic growth are in fact two separate choices. (d)Serious data gaps limit ability to measure ES. Much of above derived directly from ESI Main Report downloaded (using Adobe Acrobat Reader since it is in PDF format) at: http://www.ciesin. colombia. edu/indicators/ESI.


The Economist 27 Jan 01"A New Environmental Index: Sustainable Growth - Green and Growing"(74-5):-serious global controversies(e.g. Kyoto Protocol)reflect widespread (mis)perception that environmental and economic improvements are incompatible, and present zero-sum alternatives. While in many cases these aims are in fact mutually reinforcing (non-polluting processes often improve efficiency)there has beenno organized attempt to clarify/ quantify overall relationship perhaps because many key terms involved are "woolly" [e.g. "sustainable" , " environmental" ," growth" vs" development" ];most environmental data are "poor quality" . 2001 Davos World Economic Forum was presented first attempt to meet this need:Environmental Sustainability Index(ESI)created by expert team working carefully with available data. It had first made "detailed assessment of dozens of variables that influence environmental health" of 122 national economies(from pollutants to corruption). These then used to select 22 "core indicators" grouped in five broad areas:(1)Environmental Systems: air quality; water quantity/quality; biodiversity [threats]; terrestrial systems[e.g.soil degradation]; (2)Reducing Stresses: reducing air pollution; reducing water/ ecosystem stresses; reducing waste and consumption/population pressures;(3)Reducing Human Vulnerability: basic human sustenance;environmental[ly-related]health;(4)Social and Institutional Capacity:science and technology [strength]; capacity for debate; [eco-]regulation and management; private sector[eco-]responsiveness; environmental information; eco-[i.e.energy]efficiency; reducing public choice distortions [gasoline prices/usage subsidies/corruption];(5)Global Stewardship: international commitment[eco-participation /compliance]; protecting international commons[e.g. CO2, SO2, CFC]; global-scale[eco-]funding/participation.Indicators were quantified for each individual country, making it feasible to rank them in terms of "sustainability" (ES). Among results: Finland(1); Norway(2); Canada(3); Australia(7); US(11); France(13); Germany(15); Britain(16); Japan(22); Brazil(28); Russia(33); Italy(37); South Africa(45); Mexico(73); India(93); China(108); Nigeria(117); Haiti(122). Team's key findings were:(a)ES can be measured;" Index proved to be surprisingly powerful, useful, robust" .(b)ESI created comparative benchmarks of national environmental conditions and possibility of making decisions on more fact-based foundations.(c)Economic conditions affect, but do not determine, environmental conditions; ESI suggests that decisions how vigorously to pursue ES and economic growth are in fact two separate choices.(d)Serious data gaps limit ability to measure ES. Much of above derived directly from ESI Main Report downloaded(using Adobe Acrobat Reader since it is in PDF format)at: http://www.ciesin. colombia. edu/ indicators/ ESI.


The Economist 03 Mar 01 "Displaced People: When Is a Refugee Not a Refugee?" (23-6):-good overview of growing problem of internally displaced persons(IDPs). "People who are trapped by war or persecution within their own countries need help as much as, or more than, official refugees. But world has been slow to appreciate their plight" (23). Essay covers, at least briefly, all major aspects of global issue: numbers, locations, motives, needs and handling of IDPs. Above all, however, it probes implications of their legal problem: they do not fit UN definition of refugee, i.e. "any person who[for specific reasons]is outside country of nationality" and so does not receive refugee's legal protection, nor are IDPs officially responsibility ofshort-funded UNHCR. While IDPs form largest group of displaced persons no effort has even been made before to count them. Dennis McNamara, UN's co-ordinator on internal displacement will, however, besubmitting full report to UNSG demanding that more be done.


The Economist 14 Apr 01 "Perfect?" (Edit.15-6) "The Politics of Genes: America's Next Ethical War" (21-4):-problem already raising issues in US and bound to rapidly become global: vast implications of genetic science, through which humans can be created "to order" - and rapidly cease to be humans as we know them. Deals with how question has arisen in US, various views and problems faced, and how will probably be handled - series of specific Supreme Court decisions. But this bibliography deals only with global issues -well addressed in Edit. It first notes genetic science does not pose just "normal" questions of how to regulate new technology; also presents ethical and political challenges both extraordinary/imminent. In positive terms biotechnology allows medicine tailored to individuals, some diseases to be prevented before they occur; childless to be given children. Yet governments need expert, regular, independent advice: ifproposed major genetic innovations are "necessary and desirable" . For safety should also be moratorium on reproductive human cloning, at least until odds of success much higher than now. Meanwhile those whooppose cloning can try to prove case for banning. Good arguments both ways: in favour, say, form ofbenign(even life-saving)and individual eugenics, or against, lifetime loss of dignity or autonomy for reasons reflecting no more than cosmetics or parental hubris. Be open-minded but cautious.

 

The Economist 12 May 01 "Human and Social Capital: What Money Can't Buy" (73):-summary of findings of new report: The Well-Being of Nations: The Role of Human and Social Capital(Paris: OECD, 2001)or (http://interdev. oecd.org/ cer/obj1/). Addresses questions: Does economic progress damage the ties that hold societies together? Are these ties essential to the acquisition of skills and attitudes that help an economy to flourish? Notes" concept of human capital - of an individual's skills and knowledge - is familiarenough. But social capital - networks and shared values that encourage social cooperation - is woollier and far harder to measure" . Report argues the two ideas may be closely linked to each other and to well-being: better education/social ties go with better health, and apparently with greater happiness. It finds no evidence prosperity depleted "social capital reserves" ; higher education goes with social participation. Which are causes, and which effects, is unclear, but governments can raise capital(education).

 

The Economist 26 May 01 "The World Health Organization: A Triumph of Experience Over Hope" (79-80):- offers impressions of the 2001 session of the 191-member WHO governing body, the World Health Assembly, with particular emphasis on its Director-General, Gro Harlem Brundtland. Three years ago, shesucceeded Hiroshi Nakajima, reputedly a" disaster" , combining "weak central control and financial incompetence" . Having been three times PM of Norway, Dr. Brundtland is accused of running WHO like a prime minister: "muzzling internal dissent" and imposing policies on members. Yet" things had clearly got out of control... and discipline needed to be imposed" e.g. by reining in the HQ's barons, if not yet theregional offices. Her initiatives have been many and controversial: high-profile campaigns against malaria and tuberculosis, and a framework convention on tobacco control. Donor countries are impressed:special funding has increased 40% since 1999. NGOs worry about WHO's new ties with industry, but these have also delivered financially. Though not all ideas work (ranking health-care systems), Brundtland'sactivism and advocacy are paying off.

 

The Economist 23 Jun 01 "Patents and the Poor: The Right to Good Ideas" (Special Report 21-3):-very useful essay seeks to clarify background to:(1)life-saving(patented)drugs being obscenely over-priced for world's poor in desperate need of them; and(2)patents being granted to Western corporations for natural species/products that have been used in many societies for centuries.(History of global AIDS-medication cost issue: RECENT DEVELOPMENTS on AIDS-PATENTS.)Report argues "intellectual-property rights" (patents, copyright, trademarks) are now "one of most contentious areas in international development" . "Knowledge economy" and globalization have given enormous(potential)value to unique -if temporary- right to globally exploit new idea. Hence world-wide system was agreed to on "trade-related aspects of intellectual-property rights" or TRIPS; World Trade Organization members must abide by its minimum standards of legal protection. It "does not create single universal patent system" but it "lays down list of ground rules describing legal protection" national systems must provide to items/ideas meeting certain criteria of novelty. Rules are "not just for rich world. Carefully constructed, they can help poorest too" (21).However, TRIPS has not brought poorest countries hoped-for flood of foreign direct investment, and Third World governments worry particularly about access to medicines and protection of traditional resources. Many also want clarification of TRIPS provisions/exceptions related to public health/ environment and amendments on life-form patenting. In fact some of biggest concerns are misdirected at TRIPS. Poorest countries' drug-cost crises reflect inability to afford even much cheaper generic copieslegally produced in Third World, let alone health systems to administer them. Less poor countries can useescape clauses( "compulsory licensing" ;" parallel importing" ). Vast scale/complexity of AIDS pandemic willinevitably demand massive assistance anyway. Regarding "biopiracy" , world-wide concern is starting to bring necessary change/action, but "new models will probably be needed to protect...traditional knowledge" .

 

The Economist 18 Aug 01 "The Politics of Human Rights" (Edit.9) "HUMAN RIGHTS: Righting Wrongs" (Special Report 18-20):-problem arose in early UN: whether human rights relate only to political and civil rights (freedom from torture, of speech, to vote), broadly proclaimed in 48 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, OR whether two types of human rights: more specifically defined 66 in legally-binding treaties:International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. First mainly amplified Declaration. Latter reflected strong(or only)suit of Communistmembers/priorities of LDCs and dealt with vital human benefits like food/health/housing/jobs/literacy. Paststress of NGOs like Amnesty International(AI)and Human Rights Watch(HRW)was to shame states intoensuring political and civil rights; however new interest of NGOs/UN bodies in furthering economic/ social rights too. Over-riding need of many poor countries to raise economic/health standards is cited ascreating moral/legal obligations. Examine implications of thus broadening human rights. Since bothkinds of rights are susceptible to legal codification, only issue is whether expanding concept of human rights "makes sense" .Cost differences may seem more clear-cut: most "negative liberties" (freedom of/from ...)are cheap to provide, while "positive liberties" (minimum health/education)can be extremely costly; yet providing elections /justice is also expensive. "[M]ost telling arguments against adoption of universaleconomic and social rights...are practical. New rights have to be defined in vaguest, most general, terms if they are to be plausibly universal in scope.[They]will either mean nothing.,.or if intention is to move from stating rights to enforcing laws, they will be constitutionally dangerous. Vague laws would...require courts rather than governments to settle arguments about social justice ...subordinating popular will torule, not of law, but of judges" .Finally, defence of basic freedoms is so widely supported, NGOs like AI, dedicated to this end, carry moral authority; but socio-economic policies so highly political, advocating themrisks "tainting" human rights-concerned NGOs doing so as partisan. Reuters "Amnesty Extends Fight to Economic, Social Rights" NYT 25 Aug:-reports AI's annual conference overcame any such concerns; decided to push economic/social as well as political rights. Comments by AI's new SG Irene Khan may acknowledge dangers/constraints, however. Stressed: "What is different is that, from now on, we will [campaign] against all forms of discrimination[political or economic].[Anti-discrimination approach wouldlargely avoid "standards" dilemma, though still creating financial challenges.]She also said AI's" big step" was to campaign "for right to things such as education and health" ,thus highlighting two relatively non-partisanbenefits. Time will tell if such focused tactics are planned,and successful. In-depth look at AI's past tactics/ successes reviewed in Foreign Affairs Vol.80/No.5(Sep/Oct 01)Ann Marie Clark Diplomacy of Conscience: Amnesty International and Changing Human Rights Norms(Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press 01). Claims AI's effectiveness had several sources:" reliance on internationally endorsed principles, its political independence and expert-based impartiality, and its credible fact-finding" .Can these continue? Economist08 Sep 01 LETTERS "Human Rights and Wrongs" (16):-contains six excellent replies to above arguments. First, by Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, is, not surprisingly, most persuasive. She inter alia points out" growing body of jurisprudence is helping to flesh out [economic/social/cultural] rights. Far from being'undefinable and undeliverable', they can be measured and indeed already are" .Panel monitors compliance with Covenant on basis 145 country reports. Clincher is that "impossible to enjoy human dignity, freedom and equality without food, health or shelter" .Four of other five correspondents also support economic/social rights, main arguments being: political rights actually cost more than basic health/education; relevant legislation can be as detailed/enforceable as legislator wishes, thus constraining litigation and "rule by judges" ; moral basis of viewing food/health/education etc. as basic human rights obvious to many, but for some they are matters of life and death; basic health care/education for world's poorest, costs much less than arms; "tainting" of HR orgs with concern for economic/social rights is much less than produced by ignoring them. "Anti" argument builds on concern that economic/social rights really legalize demands by poor on rich, and hide" attempt to put teeth into hoary socialist dream of global wealth redistribution" .

 

The Economist 18 Aug 01 "STEM CELLS: Potential for Good?" (59-61):-objective, valuable - and sobering - picture of current state of stem cell research and(very occasional)medical use. In clear laypersons' terms, it first explains stem cells' uniquely vital biological capacity and roles, and how these have produced media/political over-reaction, and premature hopes among desperate patients. It then outlines the essentially laboratory-based present state of knowledge of stem cells. Specifically, it describes various lines of active research, particularly using embryo-, adult- or clone-derived cells. Throughout, it demonstrates scientists' still-limited/problem-plagued ability to find, extract, multiply, manipulate, and use them for good. General thrust is to welcome many lines of promising research - "[g]iven ratio of questions to answers in stem-cell field" (61), but avoid present state of gene therapy," cursed by great expectations, and then lumbered with public disappointment when they fail to offer cures for all ailments" .

 

The Economist 10 Apr 04 "South Africa: A Town Like Alice" (37-9):-unusually informative about successes, failures and prospects of South African situation after first decade of democracy. Most material drawn from current status of Alicedale, once relatively successful apartheid society/economy built on providing watering-stop for steam trains, but closed in 96. Description that not only has relevance to republic, but history that can be applicable in numbers of other cultures in world. Issues discussed include general policies ofAfrican National Congress(ANC),liberation movements that ruled country since apartheid finally ended;employment trends/serious problems of black and white inhabitants; important yet inadequate welfare,education/training, housing, legal situations; fastest-growing/valuable tourism industry. End describesinadequate - but widespread - local policy falling totally behind HIV/AIDS situation. For good account ofstatus and prospects of South African railway system and national airline(Transnet, state transport monopoly),see Economist 17 Apr 04 "Face Value: Getting Africa Moving" (64)on Maria Ramos.

 

The Economist 17 Apr 04 "AIDS in India: When Silence is Not Golden" (10); "AIDS in India: Abating, or Exploding" (21-3):-clear-worded Editorial and well-researched Special Report offer masses of facts on a expanding epidemic and a still imperfect official Indian policy. According to" the most conservative of estimates,600,000 Indians already have the disease and 4.58m are infected with HIV[- totals]second only to South Africa.[O]ne UN agency thinks the number of Indian infections will rise to 12m by 2015. Thegovernment itself...has said that even if it achieves its own objectives 9m Indians will be infected by 2010...CIA predicts 20m-25m by that date." Although the country gets substantial funds and experiencefrom abroad and domestic sources," India's campaign needs more money, and... stronger political commitment." Moreover, India's globally famous companies producing HIV/AIDS drugs see their cheap domestic role still constrained. On balance" forecasts of millions more infections seem horribly possible" ..

 

The Economist 01 May 04 "IDENTITY CARDS: Dangerous Data" (Edit 15); ":Will They Work?" (57-8):-someglobal dilemmas being quickly amplified by two related trends:(1)new threats, and good or critical expansions, always created by accelerating technology e.g. modernized terrorism; (illegally)transferred beings and goods; rapidly accumulating health knowledge; financial movement/credits/debts/taxes; many types of committed/planned crime; etc.;(2)rapid but correct identification of individuals; valued property;dangers/ rules/answers; knowledge transfer/creation, etc. Both multiple trends have pressured governments(and large companies)to design and make essential sophisticated "cards" . Articles report, with some detail and lots of complications, British government plans to create/issue "the most ambitious and intrusive national identity card scheme in Europe...Britons want cards to help stop illegal immigrantsfrom working or using public services, and to fight terrorism and reduce fraud. They will compromise on personal privacy" (57). Economist is more cautious:" The real danger lies not in small plastic cards but in huge databases" (15). Material transits can be inhibited in cards/databases by strict jigsaws.

 

The Economist 01 May 04 "IDENTITY CARDS: Dangerous Data" (Edit.15); ":Will They Work?" (57-8):-someglobal dilemmas are being quickly amplified by two related trends:(1)new threats, and good or critical expansions, always created by accelerating technology e.g. modernized terrorism; (illegally)transferred beings and goods; rapidly accumulating health knowledge; financial movement/credits/debts/taxes; many types of committed/planned crime; etc.;(2)rapid but correct identification of individuals; valued property;dangers/rules/answers; knowledge transfer/creation, etc. Both multiple trends have pressured govts(and large companies)to design and make essential sophisticated "cards" . These articles report, with some detailand lots of complications, British government plans to create/issue "the most ambitious and intrusive national identity card scheme in Europe...Britons want cards to help stop illegal immigrants from working or using public services, and to fight terrorism and reduce fraud. They will compromise on personal privacy" (57). Economist is more cautious:" The real danger lies not in small plastic cards but in huge databases" (15). Material transits can be inhibited in cards/databases by strict jigsaws.

 

The Economist 08 May 04 "Vietnam's Economy: The Good Pupil" (39-40):-article reports a poor country'samazing rate of prosperous change in spite of political constraints; the latter seem partly overwhelmed. "[T]he nominally communist rulers of Vietnam have made their peace with capitalism. The country raked in foreign debt investment worth more than 8% of GDP last year [and] boasts Asia's best-performing economy. It has grown by an average of 7.4% a year over the past decade and is likely to achieve a similar figure this year. Better yet, the boom has lifted many Vietnamese out of poverty...By 2002[the populationpoor -58% in 1993-]had fallen to 29%" . However, it is also admitted that the economic success has beenrestrained by: varied government mis-investment; area diseases: human -SARS, and chickens -avian flu; export limitations on goods that expand enormously to the US: catfish; shrimp; garments. The last issue can be eased by two developments: WTO membership and exports to many states.

 

The Economist 08 May 04 "ECONOMICS FOCUS: Feeding the Hungry" (74):-Copenhagen Consensus createdstudy of the relative effectiveness of ways to correct hunger and malnutrition. "Around a billion people(say authors)are malnourished, and around a sixth of these are children. That is not only adeplorable human tragedy in its own right. It also leads to measurable economic losses - further poverty.Lives are shortened, causing lost output and income. Those who survive...malnutrition may be less productive, perhaps throughout their lives. Hunger also often leaves people more susceptible to disease, so...more output has to be devoted to health care" . "Benefits" are then analysed. Better-fed people are likely to contribute longer to GDP. Malnutrition at early age influences labour productivity since it affects size and strength. Children can perform better in school if improved nutrition, while the malnourished may getless education since weaker investment. Hunger is not caused only by lack of food. Children's qualitynutrition relates to women's education and status. Diseases(AIDS, malaria)can cause/worsen hunger, in part by shortening breadwinners' lives;" families...fail to pass down farming skills to future generations.Poor transport infrastructure can make it difficult for food to reach the people who need it most. [T]rade barriers... keep farmers mired in poverty by depriving them of export markets" . Authors caution there is no single "magic bullet" for hunger. Raise birth-weights via reduced infant mortality, savings on health costsand lost output due to illness, improved growth and lifetime productivity. Costs: medicines, trackingmothers' health, and providing food/mineral supplements. Improve nutrition in young children via encouraging breast-feeding, educating mothers about "weaning foods" . Costs: hard to pinpoint but less than benefits. Reduce deficiencies in key "micronutrients" (iodine, zinc, vitamin A, iron). Improve agricultural technology via higher-yielding crops, controlling pests better. Costs: high rates of returns from improvements. Key types of technology/teaching yield the most.

 

The Economist 15 May 04 "ECONOMICS FOCUS: The Stuff of Life" (75):-Copenhagen Consensus project examines the serious problem of hundreds of millions of poor people lacking access to two essential services: clean water and basic sanitation. According to study, improving the delivery of clean water and sanitation to the poor would be a highly cost-effective way to use additional aid to developing countries. Global "water crisis" refers to: (1) supply of water for domestic purposes, which makes relatively tiny demands; but (2) in many poor countries available supplies" very often fail to reach the poor...because supplymust also meet the demand for water for productive purposes, notably farming...Where supplies fail to get through, it is usually the poor who suffer most" . Global burden of illness from dirty water, bad or non-existent sanitation and poor standards of hygiene" is remarkable" . "[C]lose to half the population in the developing world are suffering from one or more diseases associated with inadequate provision of water and sanitation services" . Improving sanitation gives better value for money than improving water delivery. InSub-Saharan Africa, sanitation benefits alone" might be some $16 billion a year" .

 

The Economist 22 May 04 "Suicide Bombers: Shireen and Others Like Her" (76-7):-article is dedicated to analysing what drives suicide bombers "to their ghastly deeds" . It consists of the reviews of three books: Christoph Reuter, My Life is a Weapon: A Modern History of Suicide Bombing (Princeton Univ. Press), 200pp, $24.95; Barbara Victor, Army of Roses: Inside the World of Palestinian Women Suicide Bombers(Rodale Press), 320 pp, $25.95; and John Fullerton, Give Me Death (Macmillan), 352 pp, 16.99 pounds.

 

The Economist 29 May 04 "Haiti: Misery Upon Misery" (35-6):-another tragedy has hit poorest country in Americas. Torrential rains smashed a border region between Dominican Republic and Haiti," unleashing floods and devastating mudslides" . About 2,000 people were reported killed, half in one Haitian town alone. Meanwhile 8m Haitians already under some control by multi-national forces, attracted by a political revolt but soon replaced by a formal UN peacekeeping force. Transitional government of technocrats is alreadyheaded by a former UN official - and that raises increasing global needs for UN to run nations collapsed "out of control" . Here are Haiti excerpts: " [State has]no army...and a small and ill-armed policeforce...For most Haitians, life is all about survival. Two-thirds of them lack a proper job. The price of ricehas almost doubled since January. Mountains of rubbish have piled up in the streets. In Port-au-Prince, there is no water and almost no electricity for those who cannot afford generators. Good roads exist onlyin the memory of those old enough to remember better days. Estimates of the cost of the looting anddestruction of property in February[revolt]range[$100-300m]. Public services collapsed. That was a body blow to an economy already wounded by years of mismanagement, general instability, a UN embargo in the early 1990s and a suspension of foreign aid after 2000. The only growth business has been thetracking of Colombian cocaine...A readier source of cash[than aid]is the $1billion that the Haitians livingabroad send back home each year. That amounts to three times the country's exports or the government'sbudget. Most of this money is spent on foods and clothes. It helps to pay for survival, not reconstruction. Haitians are growing angry over rising food prices[,but]Haiti's failures are rooted in its history[and]also in its social and racial divisions".


The Economist 05 Jun 04"SPECIAL REPORT on COPENHAGEN CONSENSUS: Putting the World to Rights"(63-5):-a panel of distinguished economists met in Copenhagen to study high-quality analyses of global challenges to improve very serious lives of people in developing countries, and to determine relative costs. "The organizing idea was that resources are scarce, and difficult choices among good ideas therefore have to be made". Aim of the panel was to reach agreement on the best Priorities that should be given to 17 Projects. Panel members agreed surprisingly closely in this orderof the priorities: (1)Diseases: Control of HIV/AIDS. (2)Malnutrition: Providing micro nutrients. (3)Subsidies and Trade: Trade liberalisation. (4)Diseases: Control of Malaria. (5)Malnutrition: Development of new agricultural technologies. (6)Sanitation and Water: Small- scale water technology for livelihoods. (7)Sanitation and Water: Community-managed water supply and sanitation. (8)Sanitation and Water: Research on water productivity in food production. (9)Government: Lowering cost of starting a new business. (10)Migration: Lowering barriers to migration for skilled workers. (11)Malnutrition: Improving infant and child nutrition. (12)Malnutrition: Reducing prevalence of low birth weight. (13)Diseases: Scaled-up basic health services. (14)Migration: Guest-worker programs for the unskilled. (15)Climate:"Optimal" carbon tax. (16)Climate: Kyoto protocol. (17)Climate: Value-at-risk carbon task. The priority list is based essentially on economics/finances, not on the relative urgency of the challenges, nor on a clear implication that items with higher numbers can or should be ignored for the time being. Economist items of 08 and 15 May 04 above give summaries of two subjects that were analysed. For details on the analyses, an authoritative 650-page book is available: Bjorn Lomborg edit., GLOBAL CRISES, GLOBAL SOLUTIONS (Cambridge/New York/Melbourne/Madrid/Cape Town: Cambridge Univ. Press 04):-ISBN 0 521 84446 0 hardback and ISBN 0 521 60614 4 paperback.

It is in two parts, with chapters that do not exactly coincide with the 17 Projects identified above: PART I THE CHALLENGES (1)Climate Change; (2)Communicable Diseases; (3)Conflicts; (4)Access to Education; (5)Financial Instability; (6)Governance and Corruption; (7)Malnutrition and Hunger; (8)Migration; (9)Sanitation and Access to Clean Water; (10)Subsidies and Trade Barriers. PART II RANKING THE OPPORTUNITIES Expert Panel Ranking. Epilogue: Youth Forum: Human Benefit Analysis. The INTRODUCTION by Lomborg is only 9 pages long, and contains the following main subtitles: The Focus for the Consensus; Why was This the First Explicit Economic Prioritisation?; Thinking Outside the Box; Where Does the Copenhagen Consensus Prioritise?; How Does the Copenhagen Consensus Prioritise?; What Does the Copenhagen Prioritise?; The Copenhagen Consensus Process; Conclusion.

 

The Economist 12 Jun 04 "India's Economic Reforms: Can India Work?" (67-9):-excellent Special Reporton present and future prospects of state that is not only growing at major rate but may also have larger population than China soon. Compares potentials faced now by Manmohan Singh, new Congress prime minister, with his tough reform role as finance minister in 1991. This time he inherits economy growing at more than 8% a year and far from crisis. Current(and 91)figures displayed: Population - billion: 1.06(0.87);GDP$trillion(ppp): 2.86(1.23); GDP per person $(ppp): 2,690(1,420); Consumer prices,% increase on year ago: 3.8(13.9); Exports, $billion: 56.0(17.7); Imports, $billion: 71.0(20.4). But" two reasons to worry [essential] reform may be under threat" : (1)" Congress owes its victory in part to dissatisfaction with incumbent state governments and in part to support of populist parties from two big states, West Bengaland Bihar" .States have role on reform contents/application. (2)" Congress has only 145 of 545 seats in parliament. [I]t is in coalition with parties identified with narrow regional interests, hostile to reform, and[it]also relies on'outside'support of India's communist parties. Last situation has forced concessions onreforms of privatisation/ labour laws/power sector. Admirable/realistic goals include: annual growth of 7-8%, alleviating poverty, helping farmers, empowering women, raising spending on health/education; but "reform is about removing obstacles" .Bulk of report is then about prospects. Economist 10 Jul "India's Budget: High-Wire Act" (37):-new government's budget is described as balanced but hardly inspiring compromise between Congress, communists, and parties that represent India's poorest. It may not have upset anyone, but it has also done little to advance reform. Finance minister has promised to shrink deficit, but has introduced no action on privatization, subsidy slashing, or radical reform of labour laws.Agriculture(livelihood of 70%)and rural areas were provided support and incentives, "including doubling ofagricultural credit...,widespread water schemes, and help for diversification into new farm products and foodprocessing" .On industry, new commission announced to boost both foreign and domesticinvestment." Increases should help to boost India's poor record on investment inflows, which fell 2003-04from $4.7b to $4.5b(tiny fraction of what China takes). Limits, though, are only part of it: foreign investment is mostly restricted by foreign companies' frustrations with India's bureaucracy.,.poor public services andinfrastructure ...This is not end of reform in India, nor is it inspiring start for new government's efforts to advance it" . Economist 17 Jul "India: Closing the Gap" (42-3):-Palaniappan Chidambaram, new finance minister, and top-level staff, already "starting work on reforms for his full annual budget" in Feb, even though government is facing attacks on interim budget(above). "Reforms in next budget...will focus on taxation, subsidies and development expenditures" . Economic/social scale/complexity/impact of proposals are outlined in articles, but may be changed before budget. Yet global magnitude of Indian prosperity soimportant(1b+ people),whole world may hope major reforms succeed. Economist 25 Sep "India and America: Joining the Big Boys' Club" (54):-meeting of PM Manmohan Singh with US President Bush took place during joint Sep visit to UNGA in New York. Just prior to meeting, certain US sanctions on India were lifted; they were originally imposed when it exploded five nuclear bombs in 98, as a declared nuclear power that had not signed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. According to statement, Indian relations with US "had never been as close" ,and US is now "expanding co-operation...in civilian nuclear power, spaceprogrammes and high technology trade, and discussing missile defences. Indian officials...were keen to portray this as evidence that US now accepts India as serious international partner." Indeed India seems to have achieved its hope that its nuclear test would force US to pay it "serious, sustained and respectful attention." Meanwhile India is submitting joint bid for permanent UNSC membership with Brazil, Germany and Japan. Economist 09 Oct "India: Cohabiting, For Now" (37-8); "India's North-East: The Terror Spreads" (38); "Nuclear Proliferation: A Game For All To Play" (38-9):-all 3 items make above key/positive reports on India more complex. Inserted together, in order, under Economist 09 Oct 04.

 

The Economist 19 Jun 04 "AIDS in Haiti: H For Hope" (39):-in encouraging contrast to nation's terrible political and economic situations, it has pretty good record in tackling HIV/AIDS -reversal of disaster which hit Haiti both hard and early. In 1980s, with little knowledge, "HIV was associated with four Hs:haemophiliacs, homosexuals, heroin addicts and Haitians. By 1993, over 6% of adult Haitians were thought to be infected - highest rate outside Africa. AIDS is the leading cause of death in the country, killing about 30,000 people a year, and it has orphaned 200,000 children" . However, over last decade, proportion of adults with HIV/AIDS may have halved, and 2,000 people now receive anti-retroviral drugs. In five years maybe 25,000 get drugs. Meanwhile 75% know how virus is transmitted and condoms are more widely used. Substantial funds are received and honestly spent; apparent success" stems mainly from close partnership between government, private donors and charities" . UN peacekeepers also cared for. Relativelysuccessful handling of very poor and heavily diseased state hints at repeating lessons elsewhere.

 

The Economist 19 Jun 04, "Arab Women: Their Time Has Come" (13-4); "Out of the Shadows, Into the World" (Special Report 26-8):-most useful sources; here are virtual extracts: "Slowly,..female half of population beginning to find a voice.[R]ecommendations that went to[ruler of Saudi Arabia]would change matters somewhat, if they are ever enacted...Slowly but surely, too, the lot of Saudi women is improving, just as it has been for women in most Arab countries...Now, some 55% of[Saudi]university students are female. Similar trends can be seen elsewhere... [F]emale education has improved faster in Arab countriesthan in any other region...Arab performance in improving women's health is also unmatched. Female life expectancy is up from 52 years in 1970 to more than 70 today... Number of children borne by average Arab woman has fallen by half in past 20 years, to a level scarcely higher than world norms...In large Arabcities, high cost of housing, added to need for women to pursue degrees or start careers, is promptingmany to delay marriage into their 30s...In all but three of 22 countries in Arab League, women have right to vote and run for office...Arab women also work as ambassadors, government ministers, top business executives and even...army officers...Yet[they]should not rest complacent. It is for good reason that UN's devastating, and much-quoted, Arab Human Development Report cites women's rights...as main challenge facing region.[Also]do not adequately measure...destructive social impact of habits such asfemale circumcision, ..polygamy,..or "honour killings" ...Across Arab region...only a third of adult women have jobs.[As]disturbingly, movement towards equality in some Arab countries has shunted into reverse...Rise of[Iraqi]religious radicalism has prompted many to adopt veil, out of fear as much asconviction...Aside from giving them short stick on inheritance, and having their testimony in law consideredhalf as weighty as men's and letting husbands marry up to four wives, whom they may beat if they are disobedient, Koran itself is not unkind to women...Trouble lies more in how holy text-as well as...Prophet's sayings...-are interpreted.[Yet]Arabs, even men...acknowledge need for improvement...Reformers will eventually get their way. For report on Iraqi situation see Swanee Hunt(op.cit.).

 

The Economist 26 Jun 04, "Polio: A Virus Revives" (52):-experts on global spread of human/animal/plantdiseases have raised concern over increased speed/distance/media/variety. New frustrating catastrophe reflects cultural anger/fear/ignorance, emphasising novel source of global concern." [M]ass vaccination drive has nearly eradicated [polio] virus. Last year, it lurked in only six countries and claimed only 784 victims. UN's goal of wiping it out by 2005 seemed reasonable. But handful of zealots have put clock back.Imams in northern Nigerian state of Kano argue polio vaccine is part of western plot to make Muslims sterile. State authorities suspended immunization there last year... Polio has therefore spread around Nigeria with renewed vigour, and infected neighbours. Ten previously polio-free African nations haverecorded cases this year. As far away as Sudan, new outbreak has been linked genetically to strain of polio found in Nigeria...[S]o long as virus finds sanctuary somewhere, nowhere is safe" .

 

The Economist 24 Jul 04 "Computing: Faster, Cheaper, Better" (72-3):-supercomputers have again become active construction products, and may play key roles in variety of important areas - with possibly strategic impact on future global civilization. Their previous heydays were in 80s, but current action reflects" ability to build powerful computers cheaply, combined with growing commercial demand for high-end computing power" . As existing components can now be" cheaply bolted together" ,unnecessary to design and build from scratch. World's new third-fastest cost just $5.2m, and IBM will be selling supercomputer-class machines commercially. US supercomputer users, at meeting, highlighted growing industrialimportance(film studio special effects/creation; household-goods related redesign).Particular applications: modelling climate change; what happens inside(banned)nuclear explosion. Also good for modelling way proteins fold and should help to predict which drugs might work; will have direct impact in drugs designto enhance or interfere with working of hormone. IBM hopes to have by 06 computer running at petaflop(i.e.1000 teraflops, which in turn equal trillion" flops" or floating-point operations:" addition or multiplication of pair of decimal numbers" ). US wants researchers to focus on more customised and expensive systems; Congresspassed legislation to increase funding of supercomputer research(Pentagon wants petaflop for research).

 

The Economist 24 Jul 04 "Local Resources and Global Assets: Saving the Rainforest" (Edit.12); "The Brazilian Amazon: Asphalt and the Jungle" (33-5):-previous items by E.O.Wilson and Eugene Linden et al.(op.cit.)have both addressed need to preserve/restore huge areas of tropical ecology - rainforests - tomaintain natural lives and prevent vast release of carbon dioxide(CO2),major global climate change source. Long article describes serious deforestation, being partly corrected, on long/extensive north-south route through Amazon regions; Editorial is inciting, globally. "World's rainforests are owned bymainly poor countries they cover - but at same time they are global asset. Cutting them down for profit, orto free land for farming, is tempting source of income for their owners. Left intact, on other hand, forests are sinks that withhold carbon from atmosphere, mitigating problem of man-made global warming; they arerich storehouses of biodiversity, another global resource, as well. Plainly, balance between local and global interests must be struck...Tropical countries...should not be denied benefits of any and alldeforestation...Yet deforestation that is optimal...still likely to be greater than what would suit humanity as whole. It makes sense, therefore, to come up with ways to make maintaining forest as rewarding for[owner] as it is for world, once broader benefits and opportunity-costs are taken into account. When... calculation...made, rest of world should foot its share.[W]orld has begun to recognize that it needs...tropicalforests. Time has come to start paying for them" . Economist 14 Aug "Tropical News" (16):-includes 3 letters' texts in reaction to above, all positive and well-informed.

 

The Economist 31 Jul 04 "Global Hunger: Empty Bowls, Heads and Pockets" (Edit.12); "Nutrition: Food For Thought" (67-9):-most shocking global fact is that 800m people do not have enough to eat. Human lifetimes of so many, suffering from seriously low nutrition, means their bodies cannot develop properly. "Those who are ill-fed tend to end up both physically shorter and less mentally agile than they otherwise would have been. Hunger also spurs millions of children to drop out of school in order to scavenge for food, and those who manage to attend school despite empty bellies find it excruciatingly hard to concentrate. Malnourishment is thus both cause and consequence of poverty. Weak make unproductivemanual labourers, and global labour market is not exactly clamouring for dim or feeble workers." Major S&T report provides much detail about how free and enriched school lunches greatly improve healths,heights, brains, indeed whole lives, of children - particularly disadvantaged girls - in Malawi example. Yet FAO estimates 17% of those in developing world were undernourished in 1999-2001, their absolute number climbing to 798m, in spite of more food available, because of continued population increases. Africans are eating less well. Also, "malnutrition is largest single contributor to disease" since hunger weakens immune system. "Inadequate nutrition of mothers and young children alone is responsible for 9.5% of global burden of disease...Underweight infants much more likely to succumb to diarrhoea, malaria orpneumonia...[M]any lives are blighted for want of tiny amounts of iodine, iron, vitamin A and zinc...Both hungry and mineral-deficient people tend to be weaker, more prone to illness and less intelligent. This must in turn make them poorer" .

 

The Economist 14 Aug 04 "The Latinobarometro Poll: Democracy's Low-Level Equilibrium" (35-8):-similar surveys of political and social attitudes in 18 Latin American countries(published exclusively by Economist) have been carried out since mid-90s, so system captures shifts in opinion. Valuable 8 charts of poll-collected statistics form major addition to comments." Roughly half of Latin Americans continue to support democracy, though few think it is working well...Support for democracy has edged up since last year...But in most countries it remains lower than in 1996, and in a dozen greatly so. Past year has seen sharp falls in support for democracy in[Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru].[T]here has been significant rise in backing for democracy since last year in[Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Panama, Venezuela].Underlying attitudes towards democracy in region are complex and not without contradiction. Some 55%(up from 50% in 2002)of respondents say they 'wouldn't mind non-democratic government if it could solve economic problems' ...Fact that 71% of respondents think that their country 'is governed for benefit of few powerfulinterests' rather than 'good of everyone'gives some support to view[lamenting failure to develop so-called 'democracy of citizens' ]and may reflect popular perceptions of region's abiding inequalities...63% say they would never support military government and 72% believe that only democracy can bring development. [C]lear majority favour market economy...Anti-US that surged over war in Iraq has not yet subsided. Jennifer McCoy "By Invitation: What Really Happened in Venezuela?" Economist 04 Sep 04(38-40):-McCoy led Carter Center's election observer mission(together with OAS)in deciding (dis)honest status of a nationwide constitution-based referendum carried out to remove or retain President Hugo Chavez. (Dis)approval vote officially required by a numerous/proven number of citizens who questioned his allegeddemocratic/radical policies. Venezuela's election agency declared that Chavez won re-approval by 59% to 41%. Article offers interesting details confirming legitimacy of emotional support. Economist 17 Sep 05"Poverty in Latin America: Not Always With Us"(Edit.13); "Poverty in Latin America: New Thinking About an Old Problem"(36-8):-these two items relate directly and seriously to Democracy's Low-Level Equilibrium described just over a year earlier. The Editorial immediately emphasizes:"Social programs that are good for democracy as well as for the fight against poverty". It argues:"Latin America is less of a stain on the world's conscience [than Africa]. Yet it has another trait: a hugely unequal distribution of income and wealth. A disproportionately large number of Latin Americans are poor - some 222m or 43%of total population, of whom 96m (or 18.6% of the total) live in extreme poverty, according to UN. Behind those figures lie not just human suffering but also an unfairness that is inimical to democracy - makingmany question its value. Fortunately, there are some reasons to think those figures will soon improve - and not just because many Latin American economies are growing strongly again... Region's democratic governments have started to make big and innovative efforts to tackle poverty. These center onprograms that offer poor families cash payments on condition, for example, that they keep their children in school and take them for regular health check-ups... Above all, they show democracies are responding to the needs of their poorest citizens. And that gives more Latin Americans a stake in democracy too".

 

The Economist 21 Aug 04 "China's Growing Pains" (Edit.11-2); "China's Health Care: Where Are the Patients?" (20-4); "Business In China: Manacling the Mandarins" (52); "China's Environment: A Great Wall of Waste" (55-7); China's Economy: Dim Sums" (60-1):-five articles are both diverse but complementary in their key subjects. They offer a careful and globally-important analysis of what seems today's largest, fastest-growing/-changing state. Its role/policies/problems are now relevant not only to its billion-plus people, plus billions affected by Chinese global trade/finance, but also to future needs/hopes/threats of bothsimilar/poorer societies/economies/environments. Editorial notes "China has witnessed probably most dramatic burst of wealth creation in human history...But as with any vast transformation there has been price to pay[and]kinds of problem will..need imaginative policy changes to correct.[S]tate health-caresystem...has in effect collapsed.[L]ife-expectancy in parts...may actually now be falling. Diseases...are making their return...Pollution...is reaching scandalous proportions...China is home to 16 of world's 20 most polluted cities...Only two of growing pains that affect China as it continues its breakneck growth[yet]clear signs that government starting to shoulder its new responsibilities too...Still, solvingthese problems cannot be fast, easy or free of cost...[C]itizens will surely want greater say in how their money is spent... But of democracy...there is so far not slightest sign." Special Report on health careconcludes inter alia "whyChina's ...system is in such a mess is that central government's share of tax revenue has dropped in past 20 years...Strong incentives, such as tax breaks, will be needed to encourage privatebusiness to run hospitals on not-for-profit basis...In poor areas, including much of countryside,government will need to remain primary provider...China is beginning to discover that market forces alone cannot produce good health care." Article on business in China predicts: "courts could end up providingindependent check on the almost unfettered power of bureaucrats, transforming legal landscape for firms...China's bureaucrats will no longer be law unto themselves" .Special Report on environmentconcludes inter alia: "problems and their huge costs will dog China for many years.[I]t will be hard to knowof government's avowedly green policies are being implemented. But China deserves credit for its attempts to clean itself up. Balance between sustainable development and economic growth will have to becontinuously adjusted in future. Right now China probably moving in right direction." Article on economystresses: "Chinese economic statistics notoriously unreliable.[They]may be getting a bit better but rawofficial data still not much help.[Western experts conclude] measures aimed cooling China's economy over past year have worked" .

 

The Economist 28 Aug 04 "Third-World Water and the Private Sector: How Not To Help Those in Need" (Edit.11); "Water in Poor Countries: A Billion Thirsts Quenched" (42); "International Water Companies: The Flood Dries Up" (57-8):-all relate to problem that public/political opinion in poor countrieshas widely seen available/safe water/ sewerage as services to be provided/maintained free by governments. But latter[90%]often inadequate providers, while free consumers are very wasteful. Privatefirms face unfriendly/losing experience, although should be popular. Editorial:" In poor countries drinkingwater comes...irregularly, at some times and places not at all. Then some people die. Vastly more die in many poor countries from non-existence or inadequacy of sewerage systems. [Where firm seeks consumers' payment,]affair has become classic among those[NGOs/]anti-capitalists who argue that water falls free from sky, is basic human need and right, and so no one should profit from supplying it. All of which is true, except conclusion. Rain falls free, but someone has to spend money and deploy skills in getting it to tap, and removing it in sewer. Best organization to do this may well be profit-driven water company[but it is strongly criticized]...Such woes are common in developing world. So is shortage of capital. No wonder World Bank has long called for private-sector skills and money to be brought in" . Second item says WHO claims" sicknesses caused by dirty water and poor sanitation kill about 4,000 children globally each day.[While UN claims]between 90 and 02, extra 1.1b started to enjoy regular supplies of safe water[,b]ecause water infrastructure has not been self-funding,..not been extended to poorest areas, sopoorest have ended up paying inflated prices to black-market water-sellers" .Third item reports manypolitical/business/financial problems faced by private water firms in Third World.

 

The Economist 04 Sep 04 "Reproductive Health: Ten Years' Hard Labour" (74-6); "Genital Mutilation: The Unkindest Cut For A Woman" (75):-International Conference on Population and Development(ICPD)was held by UN in Egypt a decade ago, so both items mainly designed to assess effectiveness of ICPD's new style, but optimum agreed-on, plan. It was "wide-ranging - from more contraception and fewer maternal deaths to better education for girls and greater equality for women. But more than just setting targets...also aimed to change way those at sharp end of making policy and delivering services thought about reproduction. It wanted to move away from focus on family planning...towards broader view of sexual health, and systems and services shaped by individual needs...According to UN Population Fund(UNFPA)61% of married couples now use contraception(11% increase since 94).This has helped pushglobal population growth down from 82m to 76m people/year over past decade. But in some places -particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia- birth rates remain high...Sometimes, high birth rate is result of people wanting large families. But often it is due to lack of affordable contraception...estimated 137m women who want to use contraception cannot obtain it...Poor women still die in huge numbers from complications of pregnancy and childbirth...920 women die for every 100,000 live births in sub-Saharan Africa...Many women go uncounted because they never reach health-care system for treatment in first place...Another subject that needs to be tackled more effectively is youth sex. Largest generation of teenagers in history - whopping 1.3b 10-19-year-olds -now making its sexual debut. How it behaves, and what it learns, is crucial...Few poor countries have earmarked enough of their budgets to meet citizens' reproductive-health needs. Nor have donors lived up to expectations. In 2003, they spent estimated $3.1b on reproductive health...Other causes competing for international funding...AIDS threatens to derail ICPD strategy... What field of reproductive health lacks in resources however, it makes up in ideology. Over past 10 years battlesbroken out between contending views of sexuality, pitting religious conservatives...against social liberals. Fight has become particularly fierce since election of[Bush.]Main battles are over abortion.[Global confrontation over funds for any organization even suspected of allowing abortion is discussed for whole page.]Today's battles over abortion, abstinence and condoms are casting pall over field, andcomplicating...formidable task. Making sex safer and reproduction less risky in 21st century requires all tools to hand. Policies that restrict people's choices should not be fact of life."

 

The Economist 11 Sep 04 "China: No Right to Work" (37-8):-the huge scale/growth of PRC's economy, andhesitant pre-democracy of its regime have made this nation's stability an issue of international interest. Hence widespread interest in global effects/healthiness of its rapid growth, potentially massive violence of its political pride, and widespread instability of its domestic corruptions/frustrations. This estimate of Chinese unemployment contributes. "China's official figures hugely understate growing problem.[PM]Wen declared unemployment to be top priority for administration. Most people agree urban unemployment growing, but statistical quagmire of government's making renders it difficult to assess how bad problem really is...Last year government put urban unemployment rate at 4.3%...But everyone knows figure little to do with reality.[B]loated state-owned enterprises...shed much excess labour. Many simplyclosed, [resulting] in job losses for staggering 24m workers, or about 10% of urban labour force. [M]ore biglayoffs imminent at some...state-owned commercial banks, which already shed some 250,000 staff.[S]ome2,500 state-owned mines and large enterprises with total staff of 5.1m due to be shut.[M]any Chineseanalysts put figure at around 8-10% in urban areas...Regional variations considerable. [North-east areas]plagued in recent years by frequent, albeit orderly, and mostly small, demonstrations by laid-offworkers/retired employees. Unemployment rates ...like mining towns, dependent on just few industries, probably as high as 40%. All this unsettling to[" still socialist" ] government struggling...legitimacy in eyes of cynical public, and which has ingrained aversion to unrest.[O]fficial figures cover only...registered urbanresidents. But in some big cities 20-30% population made up of migrant workers from countryside, most of whom not classified city-dwellers.[I]f cannot find work, they return to countryside...Another distortion high level of hidden employment.[A]s much as 60% of laid-off workers... in fact employed informally. [P]rivate-sector employment much higher than...reported.[C]hina ignores rural areas when calculating unemployment ...since villagers...land-use rights...Even so, 150m or so rural-dwellers have little or nothing to do and in coming years may move to urban areas. This...will add to urban employment pressures just as China facesbaby-boom surge in labour force and thanks to heavy investment in capital-intensive production,diminishing employment from growth. Economist 09 Oct 04 "China: Help Wanted" (39-40):-fascinating item conveys unexpected news of sudden/substantial shortage of even unskilled labour along booming Chinese coast - globally famous flood of unemployed migrants from poor countryside has expensively evaporated. Manager:" We're lucky these days to fill one of every two jobs available" .Officials report "municipality is short of around 270,000 workers; worrying phenomenon for area producing [20%]Guangdong exports...Pearl River delta...short of about 2m.[S]hortage of unskilled labour now particularly evident in belt of manufacturing cities along coast from Guangdong up[to]south of Shanghai.Number of labour disputes risen sharply, in part sign of tight labour market...Although...huge influx of labour from rural areas into cities in recent times(about 100m as of last year), barriers prevented many migrants from settling down[or using local]social security and health-care provisions...And there may now be greater temptation to stay on farms because of unusually rapid growth of rural incomes in recent months, caused by rising food prices. Incomes in first half of year rose by more than 16%...Demand for labour has been pushed up by huge influx of foreign investment($53.5b last year), as well as surge ofdomestic investment.[F]actory managers face choice of increasing wages...shifting to less labour-intensive production or moving to areas where cheap labour more abundant. [Vietnam?]Myth of China's infinitely cheap, and as some factory owners hoped, infinitely exploitable labour is beginning to crumble." Joseph Kahn "The Great Divide/Talking Back To Power: China's 'Haves' Stir the 'Have Nots' to Violence" New York Times 31 Dec 04:-substantial description of a serious riot in Wanzhou, a Yangtze River port city, offers the following more widespread information near the beginning: "Minor street quarrel provokes mass riot. Communist Party, obsessed with enforcing social stability, has few worse fears. Yet...nearly a dozen such incidents in past three months, many touched off by governmentcorruption/police abuse/inequality of riches accruing to powerful/well connected.'People can see how corrupt government is while they barely have enough to eat.'...Though it is experiencing one of most spectacular economic expansions in history, China having more trouble maintaining social order thanat any time since Tiananmen Square democracy movement in 89. Police statistics show number of publicprotests reached nearly 60,000 in 03, increase of nearly 15% from 02 and eight times number a decade ago. Martial law and paramilitary troops are commonly needed to restore order when police lose control...Protests may be so numerous in part because they are small, local expressions of discontent over layoffs, land seizures, use of natural resources, ethnic tensions, misspent state funds, forced immigration, unpaid wages or police killings. Yet several mass protests...show how people with different causes can seize an opportunity to press their grievances together. Police recently arrested several advocates of peasant rights suspected of helping to coordinate protest activities nationally. Those areworrying sign for one-party state, reflexively wary of even hint of organized."

 

The Economist 02 Oct 04 "Near-Earth Objects: Far Away, So Close" (80):-item reports asteroid several kilometres in diameter had just come within 1.5m km of earth. If it had hit, it might have ended human civilization. Event leads article on current asteroid surveys and defences(for previous threat items seeAssociated Press 12 Jan 00 op.cit.). "Spaceguard[asteroid search program by NASA]began in 98. Since then...number of known near-Earth objects [NEOs](includes...also comets whose orbits regularly sweep them close)increased dramatically. Spaceguard's stated goal was to discover 90% of near-Earth asteroids larger than 1km in width by 2008...Value of 1km chosen as cut-off because asteroids this size or larger...likely to cause global...calamity...Over 70% of large asteroids...found already... But even if Spaceguard does succeed, another problem remains-smaller asteroids, of size believed to have causeda huge explosion above Tunguska, Russia, 1908. While 1km-size and bigger asteroids thought to hit onlyonce every 500,000 years, on average, rocks 50-100 metres across, like Tunguska object, thought to hit every thousand years... [S]hould start in 08 to catalogue 90% of potentially hazardous NEOs...bigger than 140 metres.[D]espite success of efforts so far, and likely success of future efforts,...no official plan in place for dealing with any hazardous asteroid... found to be on collision course.[D]etonating nuclear weapon next to object to divert its course seen as too uncertain. Alternative - strapping rocket engines to rock and using their thrust to alter orbit - would not work either, unless project began several decades before impact.[S]cientists' ...goal to develop way of altering course of asteroid using an ion rocket, which pusheselectrically charged atoms out of the back...[S]ystem could be ready testing by 2015."

 

The Economist 09 Oct 04 "India: Cohabiting, For Now" (37-8):-first of 3 items in issue, all making even more complex the previous serious key/positive reporting on India's new Congress government, found viaEconomist 12 Jun 04 "India's Economic Reform" .These items analyse whether Congress' leader, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, and its PM, Manmohan Singh, are so far able to:(1)achieve crucial reform plans;(2)maintain domestic order against rebellions;(3)deal with US over nuclear issues. India seems on edge of becoming global force like China.(1)Apparent Congress popularity just been confirmed by winning big election in Maharashtra over BJP, previous national government party. Yet Gandhi and Singh operation beset by doubts:" about how[they]would share power/manage disparate coalition; and about whether policymakingwould be crippled by need to retain support, from outside formal coalition of two Communist parties on which it relies for parliamentary majority." Communists raised some difficulties because of "objections to economic reforms with which Singh/team identified." If heeded, policy may be paralysed. "Contentious issues ...include privatising airports, raising cap on foreign investment in insurance/telecommunicationsindustries,..cutting subsided interest rates paid to pensioners through provident fund[,and]to abolish big irritant to potential foreign investors." Big storm arose in Planning Commission when it was sought to appoint World Bank advisors etc. but now free to talk to anyone. No problem over nation-wide value-added tax; Communists anyway do not want to bring them down. Factional feuding low-key.(2) "India's North-East: The Terror Spreads" (38):-Congress government faces criticism for handling of worseningterrorist problem in country's north-east. Over 70 were killed 2-5 Oct alone in series of explosions and gunattacks. Blamed on two secessionist outfits in seven region states(over 200 ethnic groups).One wantsindependence for Assam; other wants separate homeland for Bodo. Bhutan army overran camps used by refugees but Bangladesh/Myanmar seen to harbour terrorists. Nagaland sees violence in spite of ceasefire by independence group. Many separatist groups in Manipur accuse Indian forces of human-rights abuses. "Region's conflicts are too many, too complex and too overlapping to be settled by foreign military action alone. But...panicked[Indian]government is rushing fresh troops." "Nuclear Proliferation: A Game For All To Play" (38-9):- US just fingered two senior Indian scientists for(like Pakistan)secretly cooperating with Iran over nuclear power industry and illicit weapons programs. "Both men flatly deny wrongdoing[and claim to have]helped Iran with safety advice.[India]demanded...two men's names be dropped from sanctions list.[US]may relate to process Indian nuclear scientists invented to extract tritium(used to boost explosive power of nuclear bombs)from heavy water used in some..power reactors.[US]has long been keen to work with India on nuclear projects, showing interest in India's plans for nuclear-powered submarine. Indian firms ticked off by US for other sorts of weapons cooperation with Iran. But India has generally been careful to avoid sensitive nuclear areas. In recent years, it has not wanted to upset improving ties with US. However, India's new Congress-led government already proving pricklier. Row over nuclear scientists could yet help sour what both hoped could be emerging strategic partnership." Economist 30 Oct 04 "India and Pakistan: Commando Diplomacy" (48):-meanwhile, new situation may have developed regarding extremely difficult Kashmir problem. Pakistan's General PervezMusharraf proposed an unprecedented compromise for peace negotiations with India." He noted thatKashmir has seven regions, two in Pakistan and five in India. He argued that some or all of these regions should be demilitarised and their status changed. Result could be independence, 'condominium'between India and Pakistan, or a UN mandate." While India "has long been prepared to settle for line of control as international boundary,..some form of'enhanced autonomy'and a solution seems at least possible."

 

The Economist 16 Oct 04 "Beating Cancer: The War On Cancer Is Meeting a New Phase" (13); "The Future of Cancer Treatment: Up Close, and Personal" (75-7):-substantial essay summarized in Editorial, from which following derived. "Cancer...has not been beaten. Indeed, by some measures problem is worse than it was...decades ago. True that treatments have improved somewhat, and prognoses with them, and that a few forms of disease, particularly in children, can be cleared up altogether.[But]likelihood that a person will get cancer at some point has actually risen... Next decade could prove to be one of rapid progress.Battle against cancer is at a turning-point. Because of recent advances, becoming possible to imagine timein not-too-distant future when new medical treatments will be able to tame the disease, transforming it from potent killer into something akin to chronic complaint. Days when cancer no longer strikes terrorin hearts of those diagnosed with it may not be far away...Much of what distinguishes new cancer treatments...is precision with which they are aimed at the disease they are intended to treat. Same kind ofgenetically based precision should be possible in treating other diseases as well, with equally beneficial results...If personalized molecular treatments are...able to score their first victory against...cancer, there will be little doubt about their immense potential in other areas." Condition also on Economist's cover: "The New Frontier of Molecular Medicine" .

 

The Economist 06 Nov 04 "Romania and the European Union: Brussels Beckons" (53-4); "Romania's Judicial System: Judge and Jury" (54):-discussion of EU prospects for Romania and Bulgaria. Both expected to join in 07, but "Bulgaria's entry more assured" with hope EU "fix date for signing accession treaty early 05[although must improve judicial system].Romania's progress...wobblier. Negotiations, mainly about identifying areas candidate can readily implement EU's rule book[,still unfinished. Though]complicated by parliamentary/presidential elections 28 Nov,...change of government might be healthy. Ruling Social Democrats(PDSR)are post-communists[who recently]modernized style and ideas...but party machine fueled by clientelism and corruption. Main opposition, Justice and Truth,...more liberal, wants to cut taxesfurther/faster,[and]defending gay rights and...legalised prostitution...Most decisions dictated largely bycommitments ...already made to EU, NATO...and IMF...Recent polls show PDSR narrowly ahead of Justice and Truth...but 1/3 voters still to make up their minds...This election first in which direction of country notfundamentally in question.: ..democracy is working.[P]resent government accepts political/economic reforms needed for good of country.[S]till long way to go.:..lowest income per person in central Europe,worst environmental standards, biggest tax arrears, most pervasive corruption, highest infant mortality,lowest education spending. Judicial...mess.:..ramshackle legal system biggest threat to hopes of joining EU...Courts short of judges, judges short of training. Some laws out of date, others new and untested.Lack of judicial independence made worse by political system riddled with cronyism and corruption...Just bolstered judicial independence...Specialised commercial courts being set up; family courts will follow.'National centre for integrity'[to try against corruption. Overall requirement: national legal]system must command trust/respect of other EU governments. [H]ere...Romania still has far to go.[M]edia freedomquestionable and labour market...dysfunctional...Now[EU]is going to let country in largely on trust, knowing reforms promised today will be implemented only in years, even decades."

 

The Economist 13 Nov 04 "Japan: The Incredible Shrinking Country" (45-6):-implication: society's special uniformity - hence its fear of immigration - will impose tough effect from its low fertility rate. Other states interested." Start of demographic shift...will trigger profound changes in Japan'seconomy/society.[P]opulation now 127.6m and barely growing, will peak some time 2005-2007, and thenbegin long, steady slide[lasting]several decades at least [,falling] to...92m-108m by 2050...Eventhough...lifespans continue to lengthen,...fertility rate[(children per woman over life) fallen]below 1.3[,and]expected to stay low for...decades. By 2050...children under 15...fall to less than 11% of population, from 16% in 1995. Average Japanese then over 53 years old, 12 years older than now. This will affect everything from work and family life to foreign policy and national security. Japan will probablyhave to let more workers immigrate, though public unease will no doubt lead it to delay and minimise this shift as much as possible. Smaller population may also mean slower economic growth; that it will take itstoll on spending categories...One obvious consequence will be pressure on social-insurance system, including health care and pensions, as working-age population shrinks dramatically...from two-thirds...to just over half.[Government already imposed]benefit cuts and higher premiums on pensions[and]more have to follow. Speed of demographic shift and Japan's high debt level...have led...to worry about looming fiscal implosion.[Those arguing worries overblown, Christian Broda/David Weinstein,]think...population bound to stabilise at some point, perhaps around 2060, and Japan[could]therefore ease ...transition by spreading costs over...a century or more[www.ny.frb.org/research/economists/broda/pub.html]. Japanese...chose careers over children as they[grew]richer. Authors argue.:.at some level of prosperity, however, they willvalue extra money less and want bigger families.[They]also make another point.[F]ewer children will, in variety of ways, save Japan some money.'If ageing population means increase in government transfers to elderly,... then...drop in fertility rates means decrease in expenditures in younger'.[C]ertainly fewer pupils,...less demand for schools/teachers[; eventually universities bracing]themselves for greatercompetition. Tougher labour market also reduces...unemployment insurance and other fiscal transfers to young.[L]abour market...should tighten dramatically."

 

The Economist 20 Nov 04 "Aid Agencies: More Dangerous Than Ever" (48-9):-aid work is one of the most dangerous professions in the world." In past decade, more than 200 UN civilian staff...killed by'malicious acts' in 45 countries. Nearly 300 more civilians/peacekeepers taken hostage. International Committee of Red Cross(IDRC)lost 40 staff on mission over same period. Hundreds of other unarmed aid workers...killed/maimed/abducted/assaulted as tried to help people in some of world's most benighted places.[N]ew is deliberate way they are now targeted, particularly in Iraq/Afghanistan. Three UN aidworkers in [latter still under decapitation threat].Suicide attack on ICRCHQ Baghdad killed ten.[S]uicidebomb in UNHQ Baghdad killed 22...Five Medecins Sans Frontieres murdered in cold blood in Afghanistan.And so...on. Most big relief agencies...have now left Iraq. ICRC remains...without cover of red cross. UN, supposed to oversee Iraq election.,.still operating in Baghdad but with expatriate staff of just 35[300+until attack. UN flag/ICRC cross offered protection until 1990s.]Instead of accidentally killed because...in wrong place/wrong time, clearly identified aid workers began to be murdered - in Balkans/Sierra Leone/Africa Great Lakes region/ Chechnya/Colombia.[Deaths more local factors]than personal affiliation.[But i]n Afghanistan/Iraq UN/aid agencies ...deliberately hunted down. Mostly based in rich countries.,.come to beregarded by many...as part of a western plot to subjugate Muslim world-though more than half [UN/ICRC]beneficiaries Muslims. Blurring...between humanitarian/ military roles, with coalition forces in Afghanistan /Iraq perceived handing out...food one day/dropping bombs next, has not helped." Aid people see theirneutral operating space much limited, as now seen as semi-official distributors of west-government relief;not as impartial agencies meeting local need. UNSG asked for top-priority new anti-risk safety measures. "But will they prove any more effective against targeted terrorist attacks than blue flag?"

 

The Economist 20 Nov 04 "Treating Malaria: A Feverish Response" (81-2):-new Chinese anti-malarial drug has high effectiveness, but is still too costly, and not available in needed quantity. "Malaria...strikes at least 300m/year and kills around 1m, mainly young children, throughout sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia." Drug origin: common wild plant with botanic name Artemisia annua," used in Chinese medicine for over thousand years...In 1960s, Chinese military scientists screening hundreds of traditional herbs in effort to protect soldiers from malaria. Researcher ...managed to extract/characterise chemical...artemisinin thatgives plant's leaves anti-malarial punch. Since then, scientists developed chemical processes to convert artemisinin into more potent derivatives good at killing malarial parasites in blood.[As]activity wanes afterfew hours, best given alongside another anti-malarial medicine, such as lumefantrine, which attacksparasites in different way and over longer period. Artemisinin-class combination therapy(ACT)has provedextraordinarily effective in treating malaria. Trials in several African countries, as well as India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Peru, shown at least 90% of malaria patients treated with ACT over three days recover...Important since other anti-malarial drugs...losing effectiveness.:.malarial parasites evolved resistance.So far, resistance not problem with ACT, partly since combining drugs make it much less likely mutations in parasite will enable it to survive." WHO recommends: where drug resistance occurs, switch to ACT, butfast production/doctor training sought for this year. WHO estimates: 132m ACT courses in 2005; almostdouble in 2006. Problem: getting enough artemisinin. Best plant only in parts China/Vietnam wherecollecting farmers raised prices. Both price control and greatly increased production sought. Methods:farming plants in China and Africa, although sufficient additional production will take time. Alsosimplified/synthesised preparation under study. "Full clinical trial [of safe and powerful US-produced chemical OZ-277]planned soon. If...successful, then further testing planned to see how well new moleculeperforms in [ACT]. If OZ-277 up to expectations, then such therapy might be ready for market by 2008, at less than $1 a course." Meanwhile WHO seeking more funds. One central source by World Bank sought.

 

The Economist 20 Nov 04 "Afghanistan: After the Taliban" (46):-UN counter-narcotics agency(UNODC) reports huge rise in Afghan opium production for third year: export value $2.8b - equal to 60% of 03 GDP, and providing 95+% of heroin reaching Europe. "This year, 131,000 hectares sown with opium seed- 64% increase;...yet harvest, 4,200 tonnes of opium resin, up only 17%" ,due to bad weather/crop disease,rather than effort to destroy/dissuade. "Spending around $150m/year, Britain has formed array ofcounter-narcotics departments and law enforcement agencies, which began functioning only this year.Money also spent on persuading poppy farmers to grow alternative crops, like fruit trees or saffron. UN...advocated floriculture - hoping...bed of roses. But, in absence of almost any law enforcement[or roadsto markets]such schemes hopeless...In fact opium cultivation has no financial equivalent. Last year, each hectare under cultivation yielded 45 kilos of opium, which earned farmers $283/kilo. This year, price was$92." Then argues that only US has capacity to enforce law and is only just starting to undertakeaction/funds against opium. "Persuaded Taliban using opium cash to buy arms, US waded in... Government ordered provincial governors to destroy 25% of poppy crop...Few did so...Helmand is ideal drug country. US also[financed/trained] Afghan eradication team[which]caused chaos. Farmers firedrockets...and sowed poppy fields with land mines. Yet it destroyed 1,000 hectares...and should be expanded next year...US announced $780m for drug control efforts. Britain trained top-level interdiction force [which]destroyed over 51 tonnes of opium and 32 heroin-producing labs. Also arrested 20 mid-level traffickers, but...none has been convicted. Drugs squad within Afghan police force faces greater obstacles...Drug traders will surely thrive if no-one ever punished...UN plans to train judges and advocates specially to try traffickers.[D]istant glimmer of hope...although opium making return[in Pakistan]too." Nat Ives "Karzai Plans to Destroy Poppy Fields in 2 Years" New York Times 13 Dec 04:-reports Afghanistan's newly-confirmed president firmly undertakes to destroy country's flourishing drug production, a critical(if very difficult)aim as UN Office on Drugs and Crime officially claims nation has become source for 87% of world's opium. US military review expresses concern Afghanistan's poppy cultivation/opium production will increase and expand influence of drug magnates at all levels of government. It also claimed that, "by strengthening their ties to drug traffickers, Taliban fighters/other militants will be able to use intimidation and play on ethnic/tribal allegiances to try to undermine government. [Hence, at] narcotics conference in Kabul, Karzai called on countrymen to declare holy war against fast-growing opium trade." Carlotta Gall "Armed and Elusive, Afghan Drug Dealers Roam Free" NYT 02 Jan 05:-much detail on drug shipping across Margo desert, sprawling "across far southwestern corner of Afghanistan towards borders with Iran and Pakistan.[It] is favored route of drug traffickers taking opium, heroin and hashish produced in Afghanistan to Iran for smuggling to Turkey and Europe. They cross in armed convoys of 10-20 pickup trucks, at such high speed that police officials say they cannot catch them...Scale of problem and deadly seriousness of smugglers have been confirmed by Iranian authorities and UN. Iran has lost more than3,000 police officers battling drug smugglers in 10 years...In effort to improve Afghan border control, Iran building/equipping 25 border checkpoints for Afghan authorities along their common border, and hasdonated 100 motorbikes to Afghan police."

 

The Economist 27 Nov 04 "Women and HIV: The New Face of AIDS" (82-3):-describes report on new global estimate of HIV/AIDS spread, and on women's special problems with HIV/AIDS, particularly in Africa. "[R]eport on global AIDS epidemic...by UNAIDS...estimated 4.9m new infections in 2004, and 3.1m people died of AIDS. About 40m people now infected, a small majority...male. But women catching up fast. In sub-Saharan Africa, 57% of those infected are female.[S]triking aspect of virus' s passage from male to female bloodstreams is how little say women have had in matter. Men tend to contract HIV becauseof things they have done; women more likely...because of things...done to them...Violent bloody sex is much more likely to result in infection than consensual variety, and is much more common than manypeople believe...Less obviously, domestic violence contributes to spread of HIV. Women whose husbands/boyfriends beat them are more likely to be infected. This may be because men who beat their wives, also likely to be inconsiderate in other ways...Or it may be because beaten women often too afraid to say no to sex, or to ask partners to use condoms...AIDS specialists sceptical about efficacy ofpromoting sexual abstinence[but]UNAIDS...thinks governments should be promoting'right to abstain'...Programs teaching schoolgirls...right to say no, and explaining to schoolboys...duty to listen, being tried...Helps if both...also taught how to talk to each other.[L]ess educated woman is, greater riskshe will contract HIV.[l]gnorance about sex/AIDS widespread...Educated women tend...more assertive, partly because tend to earn more and so are less dependent on husbands. UNAIDS argues for abolitionof primary/secondary-school fees, not only because would make it easier for impoverished girls to attendschool, but also because would remove an important incentive to sell sex.[B]etween old men/young women[sex]is crucial factor in spread of epidemic[,and since latter at physically special]risk... Women areless inclined to put up with abusive husbands when they can easily find jobs...But economies of many of the countries worst-affected by AIDS are, partly as consequence of epidemic, growing slowly or not at all.Disease that creates conditions that favour its spread is most dangerous disease of all."

 

The Economist 27 Nov 04 "Health Care in Poor Countries: Doctors' Dilemma" (83):-although health workers are very scarce in Africa, insufficient numbers being educated and many of these work in better paying countries." While much attention on fighting AIDS/other diseases in poor countries has focused on access to affordable drugs[see RECENT DEVELOPMENTS: AIDS]concern now shifting to...whoexactly will deliver them. Unfortunately, severe shortage of doctors/nurses/other health-care workers in these countries[according to Lancet report]...Sub-Saharan Africa has only one-tenth the number of nurses/doctors per head population that Europe does, though its health-care problems are far more pressing.[Reasons:]not enough health-care workers trained in first place, and too many of ...trained thenleave for better paid jobs in rich world...Mere 5,000 doctors...graduate in Africa each year(one-third number that graduate in US)...Many rich countries exacerbate problem by recruiting from poor to help deal with their own shortages...World needs 4m more health-care workers, of whom 1m required in sub-Saharan Africa alone. [Lancet]recommends roughly $400m(4%)of overseas aid currently spent on health be earmarked to help build up health-care workforce in poor countries.[Also,]better use...of existing resources...by employing local volunteers rather than highly trained doctors for many routine matters."

 

The Economist 27 Nov 04 "AIDS in Jamaica: The Fear That Spreads Death" (42):-reports serious homophobian/ religious social problems that complicate an HIV/AIDS epidemic. "Caribbean has world'shighest HIV prevalence after sub-Saharan Africa, with 2.3% of adults infected, according to...UNAIDS.Successes: Barbados, Bahamas, Bermuda brought infection rates down recently. Foreign groups helplocal NGOs, and allow many health-care systems to provide AIDS-treatment drugs free of charge,...evenin Jamaica[subject of report by Human Rights Watch].But drugs cannot be successfully issued or used in climate of fear...Powerful evangelical churches spread unforgiving gospel...Dance-hall music...blasts across Jamaica... often[with] direct exhortations to kill gay people... Unlike AIDS in rest of Americas, AIDS in Caribbean is not mainly a gay disease. In Jamaica, where 1.6% of adults HIV-positive, two-thirdsbecame so through heterosexual contact...But homophobia helps spread infection. Terrified of stigma, those at risk -gay or otherwise- may shun health-care advice, let alone testing. For some women, suggesting that a man should use condom can invite trouble. Buying water-based lubricant, which cutsrisk of condoms tearing, is too scary for some -though Jamaica plans to start issuing condoms/lubricant free of charge. Some health workers are exemplary, others are said to be atrocious - degradingpatients/breaking confidences/ denying treatment altogether - though all this is also said to be getting better...One of toughest nuts to crack is spread of the disease in prisons...In many Caribbean countries, around 1% of adult male population serving time. Sex - forced or with consent - is common. Infection spreads not justin jail, but also to wives and girlfriends after prisoners are released...Who can investigate complaints about police or health service personnel, and take action if necessary?

 

The Economist 04 Dec 04 "AIDS in Angola: Good News, Maybe" (46):-could postwar state become second African to roll back AIDS? Angola thought to face spread of AIDS: "long war split families, forced many women into prostitution and displaced 4m. Postwar brought traders/truckers/refugees fromother[areas],where HIV rampant.[T]eenagers start having sex early and take many partners. Young women often sleep with men who are 15 years older. Only one Angolan in ten knows how HIV is spread. Few use condoms...Survey in 2002 found 5.5% adults had HIV...But new[UNICEF]survey has found only 2.8%[of12,000 women at antenatal clinics]infected,[and created overall adult estimate of about 5%. So]epidemicin Angola getting no worse, and may even be retreating...Is Angola about to join worthy club?[Only Ugandareduced HIV prevalence significantly. But optimism is qualified]. 2002 study may have been faulty.[N]ew study may have been carried out too soon...to catch...new infections now that Angola no longer isolated from AIDS-plagued neighbours. But still, fact that AIDS has not yet taken hold means[may be time toeducate young how to protect themselves and strengthen anti-AIDS fight]." Cultural advantages: Angolanboys circumcised, affording protection against virus; young Angolans talk frankly about sex. May be hope.

 

The Economist 18 Dec 04 "Beating Poverty in 2005: Making Poverty History" (Edit.13-4):-serious/practical/ tense collection of economic and financial initiatives that must be truly implemented by all varied governments and societies in coming year, not simply out of kindness and honesty, but to practically reduce human dangers we now all face. "Coming year will go a long way towards [answering whether]we have the will to make poverty history. In 2005, poverty reduction is scheduled to dominate global policymaking agenda as never before." Key visionary reports will be delivered, G8 summit will focus onAfrica, and UNGA will review progress made towards Millennium Development Goals including "commitment to halve proportion of world's population living in poverty by 2015. For...high-level attention to be paid to needs of poor, is unambiguously welcome. So, too, is...optimism...In economic terms, human race has never been richer, or better armed with medical knowledge, technical prowess and intellectual firepower needed to beat poverty...In poorer countries[there is]unprecedented rise in income/standard of living of hundreds of millions, mainly in Asia...Rapid rates of economic growth in India and China alone promises to free hundreds of millions more from poverty during coming decade.[This is]primarily result, not of policies of global great/good, or charity of rich countries, but of better domestic government - including provision of basic education and health care and, crucially, freeing up of markets. In both countries, even better government would reduce poverty further[if reducing corruption. In Africa too,]abysmal government deserves much of blame. Finding ways to get badly governed countries to raise[standards] notoriously hard...[I]f world's leaders willing to set clear priorities, and [accept]necessary compromise/ consensus...three main policy ideas likely to top next year's agenda: big increase in aid from rich states to poor;massive write-off of poor-country debts; and trade liberalisation[WTO],especially for agricultural products crucial to many poor economies, whose exports now treated harshly by US [Egan op.cit.], Japan, EU." As regards optimum aid expenditure," consider Copenhagen Consensus" (Economist op.cit.].

 

The Economist 18 Dec 04 "China: A Brother For Her" (51-2):-concludes that a changed policy allowing two children to any couple would: raise fertility; exceed desired 1.6b maximum population; change ratio of "young workers" / "old people" giving time to create social-security system; remove one of fewCommunist Party relics.[I regret generally good item does not mention other "impacts" when allowing population to exceed currently imminent maximum:e.g. longer lifespans/partial-work; lifetime/massive(re-) education/intellectual labor; globally/fatally tough food/energy imports/product exports; massive labourer replacement by accelerating productivity.] "[C]alls growing for change of policy.[N]ow...costs of coping with rapidly ageing population will outweigh benefits of maintaining draconian... controls...Variousexceptions to one-child-per-couple rule long permitted. Country couple allowed second child if first is girl. Ethnic minorities allowed two or more children. Urban[parents, if they are]only children, allowed two+.Policy undoubtedly helped reduce fertility rate...from 2.29 children/woman in 80 to 1.69 this year[2.1 =even]. China's population, at 1.3b, should begin to shrink by 2050. Impact of policy...is evident in urbanareas...Compliance in countryside more difficult gauge[;while]sometimes...forced abortions/destructionproperty,..village officials often turn blind eye...Rural fertility rates believed to be higher than...statisticsshow...China says...control measures resulted in some 300m fewer births in last 30 years. [P]roportion...aged 65 and over will begin swelling rapidly, while growth of working age population will shrink. China'srate of ageing faster than any other country...If current trends continue, ratio of working age to retireeswill fall from six to two in 2040[and]impose colossal financial burdens in country already struggling to meet pension commitments to elderly...Sex ratio also becoming increasingly skewed. Cultural bias in favour of males produced official recorded ratio at birth of 118 boys to 100 girls[normal 105-100].Some female births...not recorded to avoid reprisals[but]large part of distortion caused by selective abortions...Infanticide far rarer, but neglect/maltreatment of female babies results in considerably higher...rate than among boys. [E]ven without[policy]fertility rate in big cities only around 1.5[1.0 Beijing/Shanghai].Health care/ education /housing to most city dwellers now costly.[E]ven in...rural counties where allow...two children unconditionally ...little inclination exceed. [F]amilies feel increasingly insecure...about possibility of their only child dyingor incapacitating.[D]enials by officials any change imminent[but]studies of its impact said underway...Economic change already undermining government's efforts to enforce policy. Rich...increasingly willing to pay fines; some try to have second child abroad."

 

The Economist 01 Jan 05 "Endangered Languages: Babel Runs Backwards" (62-4):-this summary relatesonly to first, factual part of Special Report; remainder implies extinctions of languages might correspond to losses of ecosystems. "Languages have been coming and going for millennia, but in recent times there has been...a lot more going...Some linguists reckon that 10,000 years ago, when world had just 5m-10mpeople, they spoke perhaps 12,000 languages. [As]many started settling down to become farmers, theirlanguages too became more settled and fewer. In recent centuries, colonization/ trade/ industrialisation/ development of nation-states/spread of...education, among other things, helped extirpate many languages... In past few decades, thanks to globalisation and better communications, rate of attrition greatly accelerated, and dominant languages such as English/Spanish/Chinese increasingly taking over. At present, world has about 6,800 distinct languages(and many more dialects)...Distribution of these languages is hugely uneven. General rule is that temperate zones have relatively few languages, often spoken by many, whereas hot wet zones have lots, often spoken by small numbers. Europe has onlyaround 200; Americas about 1,000; Africa 2,400; and Asia/Pacific perhaps 3,200...Median number ofspeakers is mere 6,000, which means that half world's languages spoken by fewer than that. Already well over 400 of total of 6,800 languages are close to extinction, with only a few elderly speakers left...Probably3,000 or so others are also endangered. By end of this century, number of languages in use will be much smaller than now, but disagreed on how much smaller... Pessimists reckon that in 100 years' time 90%of world's languages will be gone, and that couple of centuries from now world may be left with only 200tongues...Minority languages disappear for many reasons. Could be because speakers beset by some calamity; droughts, floods, earthquakes, or[imported]epidemics/HIV/AIDS. However[some think]mostlanguages disappear because their speakers voluntarily abandon them. Where dominant language is associated with progress and economic success, speakers of minority languages come under pressure to learn it to get on. Most obvious example[today]is English, advancing by leaps and bounds - encouraged by internet. Small number of dominant languages already rule globe. Of world's 6billion+ people, 1b speak Mandarin Chinese as first/second language.[Rest of top 11(includes speaking each as secondlanguage): English(.5b), Spanish(.4b), Hindi(.4b), Russian(.3), Arabic(.25), Bengali(.25), Portuguese(.2b),French(.2), Japanese(.1), German(.1).

 

The Economist 12 Feb 05"The Drug 'War'in Latin America: Next Steps in Colombia"(Edit.11);"Battles Won, a War Still Lost"(35-6):-issue reports on two basically different ways of defending human beings/ societies against dangerous potential of drugs. Editorial: "[I]n 2000[US] launched ambitious program of mainly military aid called Plan Colombia...Bush proposes to keep aid to Colombia largely unchanged in 2005-06, at some $742m. Before this becomes a permanent commitment, US and Colombians should look carefully at its value... [A]s always in war on drugs, victories are illusory. Cocaine is as cheap as ever.Drug prohibition in rich countries continues to fail - at huge cost for Latin American democracies, whose battle to enforce rule of law is contested by powerful drug mobs. In five years, Plan Colombia has offered no evidence to weaken The Economist's conviction that cocaine should be legalised (though its use, like that of tobacco, should be discouraged)"."In 2004, contractors working for US sprayed herbicide on 136,000 [Colombian]hectares of coca, similar amount to previous year. In 2004, almost 150 tonnes of cocaine seized in country, third more than 2003, while 1,900 cocaine labs were destroyed...166 Colombians [extradited] to face drug charges...in US...Yet to many..,Andean drug trade seems as effective/dangerous as ever. Most telling evidence is price of cocaine.[I]n US a gram of cocaine wholesaled for $38 in 2003, down from $48 in 2000...In Britain, cocaine is cheaper than ever.[C]onsumption is broadly flat in North America, according to UN, but rising in Europe.,.Brazil, Mexico and Central America. [One] explanation is that coca has spread to new areas, some undetected, and yields/productivity are rising."Drugs in Canada: Under the Needle"(36-7):-Canada is groping towards a distinctive approach to drugs, one that focuses on harm reduction rather than the repression favoured by US. North America's first trial of heroin maintenance -giving addicts free heroin on condition that accept treatment - [just]got under way[but]will[soon]expand. [Site]curbing disease and deaths among addicts...All will get help with health/housing/job training...More broadly, [Canada]will test whether heroin maintenance, used in Switzerland/Netherlands, will work in North America. Hope is that if hard-core addicts no longer have to commit crimes to fund habits,...more likely to become productive citizens/leave drugs behind...Researchers reckon heroin maintenance...cheaper."

 

The Economist 19 Mar 05"Reforming the Intelligence Services: The Spy Game"(Edit.13);"America's[US] Intelligence Reforms: Can Spies Be Made Better?"(29-31); "Britain's Intelligence Services: Cats' Eyes In the Dark"(32-4):-Editorial concludes:"In both Britain and US, the spies remain on watch. Current trends -terrorism and proliferation - have made their work both more important and much harder. Meanwhile, comforting idea that technology would make spying more of a high-tech science was blown apart by 11 Sep and Iraq fiasco; it is now a more risky, more human affair where real eyes and ears matter. So farspooks have been given much of what wanting: more money/more power/relatively gentle reorganisation.Now need to prove their worth." Item on US intelligence reforms:"Truth is, no one knows how the reforms will proceed. [John Negraponte, first director of national intelligence (DNI)] may gain a modicum of controlover the agencies. At best, he may ensure that the information channels opened within and between theagencies after the hijack attacks stay open. Yet, on his own at least, he will not be able to fix the agencies' most grievous problems, highlighted by their performance on Iraq... Further organizational reform would not eliminate problem. US spies do not necessarily need shifting; a good few need sacking." Item onBritish intelligence reform: "Can challenging and questioning be made part of the spy culture?... Britain'sintelligence services have been feeling their limitations lately. The [11 Sep 05 terrorist attacks and the invasion of Iraq] have forced a rethink in the way things are done - and have led to the most substantial reshaping of the intelligence community since 1946-48... Terrorist-related intelligence... now has to bepassed to Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre(JTAC). [Post-Iraq,] the new system is intended to givetechnical specialists more weight, to engender greater scepticism about the material gathered, and to licence every member of the British intelligence community, when necessary, to speak truth to power".

 

The Economist 16 Apr 05"Special Report: Nepal: Himalayan Horrors"(21-3):-"Nepal, sandwiched between [China and India], continues its slide into chaos". Its strategic location - along the world's greatest mountain range and splitting the two most populous states, both liable to become superpowers - meansspecial Nepalese instability could become a global issue. Bulk of Special Report provides authoritative but discouraging information about Nepal's recent history and its many serious political, economic, and security problems. Summary of its final section: "Sooner or later, it seems likely the king will have to climb down. Already most politicians detained during the [king's] coup... have been freed. And... Nepal agreedto accept human-rights monitors from UN. Move was dismissed by some activists as intended to avoid condemnation [but] it does at least give a chance to test claims made by army and [Maoist rebels] alike, that they want to respect human rights. It also sets precedent for limited foreign intervention, which Nepaldesperately needs. Aim of foreign governments is to persuade king to restore power to the parties andassume largely ceremonial role so that 'constitutional forces' united against Maoist foe... Such platformneeds to include strategy for engaging Maoists in talks. Few believe rebels can achieve a military victoryeither... They say want to join mainstream politics, but demanding 'constituent assembly'to discuss new, republican, constitution. Optimists argue they, too, in trouble: loathed, feared, and with a leadership boasting no spectacular successes to appease its self-sacrificing cadres. But to end war, republic might come to seem fair price to pay. King...has gambled with the monarchy itself". Economist 26 Nov 05"Nepal: Three Into Two"(52):-although there have been many - and discouraging - media reports on Nepal's chronic problems since mid-Apr 05, this one offers possibly-republican news. Officially described as: "A novelty for King Gyanendra: a united opposition", it announces that "two of the three sides - theMaoist insurgents and the mainstream political parties - announced 22 Nov they were ganging up onthe monarchy. King.., who seized absolute power in Feb, is as isolated at home as he is unpopular with Nepal's main allies abroad. But he is still solidly in charge [controlling both army and government].Agreement...calls for a boycott of elections king has called for next year, and formation of a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution... Foreign governments - especially India's - encouraged by accord".Economist 29 Apr 06"Nepal: Knights and Pawns Check King"(44):-"People power wins in Nepal - for themoment... Nepal's army finally called time on King Gyanendra's disastrous attempt at absolutism. Facedwith the prospect of either mowing down unarmed demonstrators or seeing palace stormed, the generals went to the opposition and asked them to form a government. [I]t was almost certainly army that broughtthe news to Nepal's deluded sovereign that the game was up. [H]e restored the parliament that had beendissolved four years ago [and] implicitly accepted the opposition's policy of securing peace with Maoist rebels by rewriting the constitution... For the first time in many years, outlook for Nepal seems hopeful...Maoist ceasefire was announced on 27 Apr, for three months to begin with... after a decade-long civil warthat cost some 13,000 lives... [D]ynasty has nothing to offer and [king], man of blood, may have to go".

 

The Economist 23 Apr 05"Rescuing Environmentalism: And the Planet"(Edit.11);"Environmental Economics: Are You Being Served?"(76-8):-Cover of issue and its first Editorial relate to many politicalarguments that "Market forces could prove the environment's best friend". Valuable S&T essay offers much expert global information."Environmental entries are starting to appear on balance sheet. Perhaps soon, best things in life will not be free... [T]reating regulation of water and climate as a utility - a service for which people pay money -...should be a perfectly viable investment. [P]utting cash value on what are called 'environmental', 'ecosystem', or 'ecological'services has been fraught process. [But now,] scienceis producing abundant evidence that natural environment provides wide range of economic benefits beyond obvious ones [timber/fish etc]. Ecologists now know a great deal more than they used to abouthow ecosystems work, which habitats deliver which services, and in what quantity those services aresupplied. Last month saw publication of [UN's] Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, first global survey of ecological services. Authors warn attention will have to be paid to these services if global development goals to be met. [D]ifficult part is providing a precise description of links between structures and functions of various bits of environment, so proper values can be calculated. [S]ignificant progress has been made towards developing techniques for valuing environmental costs/benefits...Many valuation studies...involved water, probably because so obviously valuable ecological service. Forests/swamps...filter and purify water, and act as reservoirs to capture rain/melting snow. When such areas becomedegraded, it may be necessary to make expensive investments in treatment plants/dams/other flood control measures... Valuing ecosystem services can also point to places where inaction is best... Puttingproper value on ecological services bound up with another economic anomaly that haunts environmentaleconomics[:] creation of what economists term externalities - economic impacts made when those taking a decision do not bear all costs (or reap all gains) of their actions. [C]an, in some circumstances,subtract from, rather than add to , country's total wealth. [P]roblems discussed all involve externalitiesas well as need to price ecological services correctly... Public goods are those in everybody's interest to have, but in no one's interest to provide. Clean air, for example... In such situations, first reactionfrequently to legislate to try to ban externality. But more efficient solution can often be what is known ascap and trade scheme, in which law creates both an overall limit to amount of externality in question, whether polluting chemical or destruction of habitat, and market in right to impose externality within limit.Cap and trade schemes best known in context polluting gases [(sulphur/carbon dioxide)and fisheries]. [Mitigation] banks created by permanently protecting privately owned swamps, or land inhabited by endangered species. This creates a supply of environmental 'credits' . Those who want to destroy wetlands, or species-rich habitats, for agricultural or development purposes are able to buy credits from a mitigation bank allowing them to do so. [T]raders now looking for opportunities to arbitrage pollution[e.g. Kyoto. P]romising area is trading of nitrate emissions between factories and farmers... From perspective of someone wanting to borrow money, ['green issues' may] have to be considered from thebeginning, and possibly even acted on. So proposers of a mining project might have to considerdamage to river/downstream fisheries of any additional sediment mine would produce. [E]nvironment brought on to balance sheet. Furthermore, because insurance companies recognise environment can be huge portion of risk in a project, there may be a financial incentive for paying to protect it. [V]aluation of ecosystem services not without its difficulties. Nevertheless, fact that there is growing consensus about how/where it is appropriate is an important step forward for economists and environmentalists".

 

The Economist 30 Apr 05"Energy Policy: The Real Trouble With Oil"(Edit.9); "United States: Energy Policy: Rethinking the Axis of Oil"(25-6); "A Survey of Oil: In Troubled Waters"(Vijay Vaitheeswaran 1-24);Nuclear Energy: The Atomic Elephant [in Britain](53); Science and Technology:"Cold Fusion: Honest!"(75-6):-while Survey concentrates on the world oil industry, items in the issue emphasize both the need for, and growing opportunities of, other sources of energy. Editorial makes strongest case:"How to avoid the next energy shock". Its arguments:"US forged an alliance with the then-new oil province of Saudi Arabia. Driven by the same desire for energy security, today's aspiring superpowers are in a similar race. China and India have recently tried to bribe, bully or buy their way into 'equite oil'in Latin America, Canada, Russia and Africa. Yet the billions they are spending on this quest for energy security could well be wasted... Oil has become a fungible global commodity. Conventional notion that stakes in oil fields add up to energy security no longer holds up: if there is an oil shock, then market price of every barrel of oil in world will shoot up past $100/barrel. [B]est hopes for energy security lie in resilience of global oil markets, in conservation and in alternative energy sources. [Even] big oil firms must embrace other sources of energy aside from oil [and] producing countries should, instead [of government control, corruption, and inefficiency,] open markets... As Survey explains, [oil's] real problem is not scarcity butconcentration [of reserves among few countries]. That is why energy ministers... would be wise to look beyond oil. [Moreover,] burning petrol harms human health and the environment. Add in the geopolitical costs of oil, and case for raising petrol taxes in many countries... becomes overwhelming. [Governments have] already shown support for technologies such as hydrogen and fuel cells, which in time may well replace petrol and the internal-combustion engine... Energy security...depends on variety[, which] needs to be sought in sources of energy, rather than sources of oil alone". ('Cold'?nuclear fusion imitates sun.)

 

The Economist 21 May 05"China and Water: Drying Up"(46):-relatively brief item argues:"The Chinese must act fast to conserve their country's shrinking water supply". Present PM Wen Jiabao earlier "warned that the very 'survival of the Chinese nation'was threatened by looming water shortages. [This spring] hepromised 'clean water for the people'[and] will spend an extra $240m [in 2005]. But this is a drop in the ocean. Never especially blessed with water, in recent years China has seen supplies fall to dangerously low levels as it faces drought, rising demand and combined effects of decades of pollution and misguided policies... One in three country-dwellers... lacks access to safe drinking water; over 100 big cities... are short of water, [with] half 'seriously threatened'. Water tables are dropping by a metre or more every year across much of northern China... Reduced flow rates on China's greatest rivers made hydro plants reduce badly needed power output: many smelters/paper mills/petrochemical plants are no longer sure of getting the huge amounts of water they require. Droughts are now hitting the south [in addition tothe historical north]... Until 1985, most users not charged at all, so it made little sense for enterprises toinvest in treatment/recycling technology, or for farmers to fret about wasteful irrigation. Water pricesrisen only slowly, and still among world's lowest. Most water is bought at around 40% below cost". Expert opinion is that "China committing 'ecological suicide'with its current policies, and should put prices up".

 

The Economist 25 Jun 05"Global Warming: Better Than Kyoto"(Edit.13-4):-many Economist items, and articles/books listed, report on how negative US government has been to Kyoto Treaty, drafted by UN-wide conference(including US) to limit global warming. Yet there has now been massive global concern among experts(and in US)because:(1) evidence of serious global warming is firm; (2) human responsibility forthreat, from vast production of certain gases, is so evident that counter-action must be taken; (3) global effect of all(or even most)current global trends will involve not just costs to planet's environment, but will cause large numbers of human deaths. However imperfect the Kyoto Treaty may appear/be, all major global economies must reduce/avoid production of the gases. Here are extracts from Editorial: "Britain, currently chairing the G8, is determined that the leaders should focus on two big issues - African povertyand climate change - which are both huge problems and need to be addressed at a global level. In another way, things don't look so promising: rich world's leaders will probably pass up on chance to discuss most important thing they could do to slow climate change - set up a global system for trading carbon emissions permits. That's because George Bush is adamantly opposed to the limits on pollution that any such scheme requires. Thanks to implementation in Feb of UN Kyoto Treaty , most of rich world(though notably not US) now regulates emissions of carbon dioxide[CO2], chief gas contributing to global warming. Carbon trading...is now seen as least costly, least distorting and most effective way to curb carbon emissions...But US[,after Bush senior organized the first,]has been left way behind by second generation of emissions-trading sanctions, [now]sprouting around the world. [I]nitiatives are working, butit could take years for them to come together into a global market for emissions without cooperation and support from US, world's biggest energy consumer and biggest polluter. Bush...believes that would undermine economic growth [,yet]if US implemented a system similar to Canada's, it would cut 0.5% off GDP by 2025... Many[US]business leaders, and some big cheeses in Republican Party, want to embrace idea ...What better way to give a jolt to this year's G8 summit?" See also: Nicholas D.Kristof"A Livable Shade of Green"NYT 03 Jul 05:-very influential OP-ED COLUMNIST destroys Bush's negative economic argument: "Kyoto would have wrecked our economy". He reports that anti-CO2 campaign by government of Portland, Oregan, has"reduced carbon emissions below the levels of 1990, benchmark for the Kyoto accord, whilebooming economically. What's more, officials in Portland insist that the campaign to cut carbon emissions has entailed no significant economic price , and on the contrary has brought the city huge benefits".

 

The Economist 02 Jul 05:This single issue contains six articles relating to global scientific/financial/policy efforts to improve human health - particularly AIDS. They are identified in sequence mostly just by theirtitles, pages, and the 'official'summaries of their aims: "G8: Helping Africa Help Itself"(Edit.11):-Lotsmore money for Africa will not make poverty history. But it might just do some good";"Aid to Africa: The $25 Billion Question"(Special Report 24-6):-"Years of mistakes have taught donors a bit about how to spend aid money better"; "Evangelicals and Aid: Right On"(Lexington 34):-"Bob Geldof and Bono have some unlikely friends in America... During discussion of a plan to spend $15 billion fighting AIDS, [US President Bush] turned to his silver-penned speech writer... 'Mr President', came the reply, 'if this is possible , and we don't do it, we will never be forgiven'"; "AIDS In South-East Asia: There's Good News and Bad News"(38-9):-"Good prevention work has tamed the AIDS epidemic in some countries, yet it is getting much worse in others"; "The Grand Challenges in Global Health: 43 Ways To Save the World"(69-70):-"The Gates Foundation's latest largesse has just been announced. It will pay for some intriguing and original research. But will it translate into healthier people? [References to several AIDS research projects]; "AIDS: Moving Targets" (70):-"Progress, and problems, in treating AIDS around the world".

 

The Economist 09 Jul 05"Nuclear Power: The Shape of Things to Come?"(58-60):-a very useful Special Report on relevant realignment of global energy production."Climate change is helping a revival of the nuclear industry, though its economics still look dodgy", combines the inter-related effects of concerns for both physically safer but financially sound ways to produce electricity. Problems restraining nuclear power construction recently are briefly identified; but global temperatures now produce growing concernover carbon emissions produced by fossil fuels (particularly coal) in generating power."[N]uclear energy is essential if the rate of [climate] change is to be slowed. As a result, there is an unlikely alliance between the nuclear industry and many environmentalists.[More] believe nuclear energy is the best way to reduce carbon emissions", particularly with inherent weaknesses/high costs of solar and wind systems. Major nuclear power construction trends, financing factors and political/scientific priorities are described byregion/nation and the tough competition. Report concludes: If practical CO2 taxes are directly or indirectly paid, "new nuclear plants begin to look economically viable[, although] politics make it unlikely thatcarbon is going to pay its full social costs for some time to come. That's why some governments - including US - are thinking of subsidising nuclear instead. [T]he nuclear industry is back in the game".

 

The Economist 16 Jul 05"Global Warming: More Than Hot Air"(77):-concludes that "The G8 summit made quiet progress on climate change" in spite of the fact that US President Bush was not willing to admit/accept any action in response to the Kyoto Treaty, even though all the other G8 states, including Russia, were committed to it. British PM Blair "persuaded Bush - the bete noire of the climate crowd - to sign a statement that appears to take climate change seriously...Much has been made of G8 leaders' statement agreeing that global warming is really happening and Bush's unprecedented acknowledgmentthat mankind's actions are indeed playing an important role in it.... [S]ummit's real advance appeared rather banal: the promise of a new 'dialogue'on climate policy among the G8 and handful of large and populous developing countries... [T]his dialogue could turn out to be important [because] group that includes China and India could well persuade US to act on climate... [I]t is just possible that cosy talks among some of the world's biggest emitters might pave the way for a lasting breakthrough on global warming". First meeting of new climate dialogue is due to take place in Nov 05.

 

The Economist 23 Jul 05"Myanmar: How To Save It"(Edit.12); Myanmar: The Mess That the Army Has Made"(23-5):-Special Report offers a thoughtful account of how "Brutality and neglect by Myanmar's military regime have created a pariah state with a wretched and desperate people...Country is stuck in such a rut that the prospect of a foreign invasion is a fond hope, not a fear... Indeed, the junta looks more entrenched than at any point in the 17 years since it took power[, while] the life of ordinary Burmese is becoming ever more miserable... [When elections] were held in 1990, the junta refused to honour the result, a landslidewin for National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Instead, the generals simply locked up their political opponents and continued as a military dictatorship... In 2003, the [junta, calling itself the State Peace and Development Council or] SPDC unveiled a seven-point 'road map'to democracy. But the road, predictably, is long and winding... Instead, [SPDC] appears to be digging in, literally: the army is shifting its headquarters to a series of underground bunkers in... remote, hilly region of central Myanmar".Editorial concludes"it would not hurt to spell out exactly what steps outsiders would like generals to take,how quickly they should be taken, and what consequences of each stage of compliance or defiance would be [via UNSC?]. For example, foreigners might agree to restore full diplomatic relations if junta releasedMiss Suu Kyi. Next, they could trade big infusion of aid for, say, an effective ceasefire in various war-torn corners of the country. Then they could offer to drop sanctions, should junta ever cut some sort of power-sharing deal with its opponents... None of these steps would be irreversible, and there[could]be plenty ofother penalties.Even Miss Suu Kyi herself has already conceded that an absolutist approach not practical."

 

The Economist 30 Jul 05"AIDS: Too Much Morality, Too Little Sense"(Edit.13-4); "AIDS in China: Anatomy of an Epidemic"(36-8); "AIDS: No Carnival"(71-2); "AIDS in Brazil: Roll Out, Roll Out"(72):-this issue contains so many strong items dealing with the global seriousness of HIV/AIDS problems and potential controls, instead of simply including their titles under RECENT DEVELOPMENTS, at least their official summaries are presented. Basic point conveyed by the Editorial is that:"Politicians must suspend moral judgments if AIDS is to be defeated". Its strong and specific argument is that:"The lesson for rich and poor alike is that to contain AIDS morality must take second place. Politicians may find it easier to yield to sanctimonious lobbyists than to explain why refraining from judging other people makes more sense.But that does not excuse them. Too many lives are at stake. Major article on AIDS in China is summarized as arguing:"It is not too late to avert a national catastrophe". Some points:"If China is to contain its AIDS epidemic, it will need help, lots of it, from international agencies and NGOs. AIDS everywhere presents a range of problems that are not susceptible to solution by a single agency. One big task, for example, is that of giving information. Many Chinese are still deeply ignorant about AIDS. Stigma attached to diseaseis potent, despite widespread sympathy for peasants [who contracted it through selling their blood], anddespite efforts of a few brave people...who campaign tirelessly against prejudice ...But first China must find answers to the question of how to prevent a drugs-driven epidemic becoming a sex-driven one. If it does that, it has a good chance of containing AIDS. If not, it will discover that all its problems multiply, as Africa and, to a lesser extent, India have already found. China does not have much time." Next article stresses views raised at Third Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment.Its summary:"AIDStreatment more widely available than ever - but efforts are needed to stop people becoming infected in the first place"."[Conference] is reaction to the huge international AIDS conferences held every two years... which have become jamborees/platforms for activists to bite hands of donor governments/drug companies that feed them. International AIDS Society...thus decided to fill gap-year with purely scientific meeting...It has by and large succeeded...Past few...seen treatment campaign against AIDS accelerate. Distributionin poor countries of anti-retroviral drugs, which keep symptoms at bay, is proceeding apace[,although]not pace WHO would have liked..: 3m to be on these drugs by end of 05. [N]umber will not be achieved until end of 06.[However target] probably not ambitious enough...G8 meeting [Britain]provided new target: 'close as possible to universal access to treatment for all who need it by 2010'... [Yet] several...modelsdiscussed at conference suggest that, without parallel advance in prevention techniques, spread of effective treatment might even increase the spread of the virus. One way to combat this risk is to use network being put into place to deliver treatment to preach message of prevention. Another, just as important, is to find out which prevention techniques actually work." AIDS in Brazil[location of Third] offers:"What can world learn from Brazil's experience of dealing with AIDS?" "Brazil's handling of the epidemic is widely regarded as exemplary... Total [infected] just half [World] Bank's prediction - about 600,000... First lesson is don't be squeamish". Brazil(largely Catholic)hands out free condoms in abundance(20m/month). Drug users treated sensibly: regular supplies of clean needles(3/4 claim never share).Prostitutes: targets of campaigns to promote condom use. Second: treat freely. Law gives all residentsright to best available drug treatment at no cost. (This year $395m on anti-HIV drugs, although in conflict with foreign drug companies, and evades patents and buys or manufactures generics). Third: encouragevoluntary action. By 2000, 500 charities/voluntary groups devoted to AIDS (found best value for money).Fourth: "if you think action is expensive, try inaction"(in addition to savings through fewer infected, period 1996-2002 government spent $1.8billion on anti-retroviral drugs but "estimates that early treatmentsaved it more than $2.2 billion in hospital costs over same period... [A]n aggressive program of prevention and treatment does not seem so costly after all".

 

The Economist 06 Aug 05"Medicine: Catching the Flu"(Edit.10); Medicine: Containing a Pandemic"(63):-Editorial emphasizes that "The world must prepare for pandemic influenza... Given how much money rich countries have spent on preparing for bioteerror attacks, it is surprising how little attention they have paid to possibility of a flu pandemic, which may be likelier and which, if it happens, would probably kill more people. The costs of buying more anti-viral drugs, investing in vaccines, preparing national responses and forging an international plan would not be very high, but these things could make all the difference...[F]lu is a far bigger danger than SARS because it moves so much faster. So, too, must the world's governments if they are to prevent death on a massive scale." The S&T article describes two studies which "suggest it may be possible to prevent a global outbreak of deadly influenza by using anti-viral drugs". In this connection it stresses that: "For many years, virologists have been warning that an outbreak of pandemic influenza is overdue. Unlike the seasonal version, pandemic influenza is usually severe and deadly - the result of a genetic mutation in the virus. [Moreover,] influenza pandemics happen from time to time. Three occurred during the 20th century". The World Health Organization is in advanced negotiations with Roche for the"creation of a global stockpile"of "the anti-viral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu)"that could be "delivered rapidly to the source of an outbreak". [This is good news. Indeed, high-speed andglobal cooperation is now urgently needed in a growing number of fields.]

 

The Economist 20 Aug 05"Famine Relief: Starving For the Cameras"(Edit 10-1);"Niger: The Worst Is Over"(38); "Economics Focus: Destitution Not Dearth"(57):-all three items relate to the various imperfections involved in the handling of a serious food crisis in Niger and nearby West African countries. Editorial's main point is that: "People dying from hunger like those in Niger should not have to wait for the TV crews to arrive". Essential point is that Niger's nightmare of inadequate food consumption was anticipated, but food/financial assistance was inadequate until TV viewings - and other media descriptions - drew thetragic situation to the attention of donor countries' publics and governments. Second item stresses thatorigin of regional crisis was drought and swarms of locusts. Neighbours "alerted international donorsto impending food shortages after the harvest failure" but "Niger's government has been accused of trying to cover up the extent of the food shortages" until much later. "Economics" shows how special issues caused starvation. "Niger's harvest... was merely mediocre, not disastrous... Niger's distress shows up most clearly in prices, not quantities. A pastorialist's terms of trade depend on [the sales price of hislivestock and cost of food]. In Niger this year, latter has soared; former has plummeted...[U]nfortunates suffer a lack of power to purchase food, even if there is no lack of food to purchase. [Reasons behind"hungry prices" are explained - and could have been anticipated.] If mass hunger were simply result of there not being enough to eat, remedy would be obvious: more food... But if mass hunger begins with a collapse in purchasing power, rather than a shortage of food, [w]hat is needed is a way to restore lost purchasing power". [Famous 1982 classic "Poverty and Famines" by Amartya Sen is recommended highly.]Editorial concludes:"World's system for fighting the direst cases of mass hunger should not rest on a global sympathy contest umpired by TV". A "standing fund on which relief agencies can draw" can actquickly and appropriately; a "financier of last resort" also needed to act as "swing provider" to neglected crises.[Here's another case of a serious global threat that demands, but also creates, global coordination.]

 

The Economist 27 Aug 05"Stem Cells: Embryos And Ethics"(64):-"A new technique that could make therapeutic cloning less controversial... [R]esearchers demonstrated a new way of creating so-called human stem cells tailored to an individual adult patient... without creating or destroying human embryos... Optimists hope [widely transformable stem cells] might eventually be used to generate replacement tissues/even entire organs... The new method fuses an adult somatic cell -[i.e. not] sperm or egg cells-with an existing embryonic stem cell. The fusion causes the adult cells to undergo genetic reprogramming, giving rise to cells that have the developmental characteristics of human embryonic stem cells. The stem cells can renew themselves indefinitely and transform themselves into many different types of cell. [T]he new technique [still requires figuring] out how to remove embryonic stem cell chromosomes while keeping cell in its reprogrammed state... [I]f there is a way... then new method would have several advantages over established one". Value of research already generating support/law.

 

The Economist 27 Aug 05"Animal Rights: Wronged"(Edit.12); "Animal Rights Extremists: Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad"(45-6):- Article argues that British law "determines that animal breeders and researchers must be licensed and are inspected... Before an experiment, research laboratory must show... no alternative to using animals - with the likely benefits of the science outweighing any animal suffering... [Moreover,] not all live animal research can be replaced... Cystic fibrosis is caused by one of around 200 defects on a single gene. It has no satisfactory treatment, and sufferers cannot expect to live much past 30... Research could not be carried out on tissue cultures ... nor could it be done on humans - at least, not without killing them to study the results. That amounts to a strong case for animal experimentation.Editorial contends "Science does not deserve to be the target of protests, whatever you think of animal rights... In fact, science should be the last target, wherever you draw the boundaries of animal welfare. For one thing, there is rarely an alternative to using animals in research... The world needs new medicines and surgical procedures just as it needs the unknowable fruits of pure research. And science is, by and large, kind to its animals".

 

The Economist 03 Sep 05"Drugs in Colombia: Hand Picked"(36):-item reports on developments in Latin American state that follow those in Economist's item of 12 Feb 05 above, and constitute"New twists in war on coca"."Colombia's government has based its push against the country's illegal cocaine industryon a massive campaign of aerial spraying of the coca crop with glyphosate, a weed-killer... According to surveys by UN Office on Drugs and Crime, land under coca in Colombia shrank to 86,000 hectares in 2003 from a peak of 163,300 hectares in 2000. But, since then, spraying seems to have brought diminishing returns. According to latest UN survey, land under coca fell only 7% in 2004, to 80,000 hectares even though 136,000 hectares sprayed. So Alvaro Uribe, Colombia's president, has changed tactics. Most important is to pull more coca bushes up by hand... Manual eradiction... cheaper... than spraying. It is more effective, too, as coca requires repeat applications of glyphosate before it dies... Officials say that aerial spraying will remain mainstay of their anti-drug effort. But critics point out that while demand for cocaine remains unchanged, spraying merely drives coca cultivation deeper under jungle canopy, where harder to detect, as well as stimulating development of higher-yielding and herbicide-resistant varieties. Uribe recently suggested that his government buy coca crop from farmers. That smacks of desperation. Not first Latin American president to find himself squeezed uncomfortablybetween US pressure to win 'war on drugs' and market realities that make victory so hard".

 

The Economist 10 Sep 05"The United Nations: The Oil-For-Food Fiasco"(Edit.12-3); "Special Report: The United Nation: Can Its Credibility Be Repaired?"(30-2):-Both items deal with how a decision on UNSG Kofi Annan's program to constructively reform the UN coincides with the release of a serious critique against UN management. In same issue, two other items deal - somewhat critically - with major UN-related global aid programs. These are summarized jointly in a separate article which has somewhat different allocation. All four are deeply relevant to a special UN global summit in New York. Editorial argues:"After more than a year of investigation, Paul Volcker... chose this [week] to publish his report on what went wrong with UN's oil-for-food program in Iraq... Program...basic aim...was to allow Iraq under sanctions to sell...oil so that some basic food/medical needs...could still be met. But Volcker's team confirms that program was riddled with waste, inefficiency and corruption. [Yet] Volcker has found no evidence at all that UNSG himself did anything corrupt [and argues] Annan not responsible for everything that went wrong... UN Security Council tried to keep control through a sanctions committee of national diplomats. Having neither UNSC nor secretariat in clear command was recipe for 'evasion of responsibility at all levels' ... Annan shouldnot be fall guy for US' s failure to muster [UNSC Iraq-invasion] consensus in its favour". SR first reports on Volcker's belief that"failings it found are symptomatic of 'systemic problems' throughout [UN system, which hence] needs thoroughgoing reform - and urgently...Recent studies...come to identical conclusion, including High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change set up by UNSG himself[, which] formsbasis for reform that over 170 heads of state/government to endorse in NY 14-16 Sep... There has beenenormous trouble in drafting so-called 'outcome document'which, based on panel's proposals, to be presented to summit. Bargaining had been mired in furious wrangling between member states, with US pitched against group of developing countries... [Then John Bolton, new US ambassador (op.cit.)] threw negotiations into further crisis by insisting on hundreds of last-minute changes to 39-page draftdocument that everyone else had thought was pretty near complete. [Some alterations demanded] toreinto the delicately balanced 'grand bargain'between rich and poor...Plan was: poor to have Millennium Development Goals(MDGs) reaffirmed, along with promises of more aid and debt relief, pledge to tackle climate change and progress on disarmament. Developed world: to get clear definition of terrorismincluding those considered 'freedom fighters' by some, agreed right to humanitarian intervention, powerfulnew human rights body that would exclude human-rights violators, creation of new 'peacebuilding commission'to help reconstruction of post-war states and UN management reform". Essence of UNSG proposals had been preserved. "But Bolton's line-by-line amendments, including his widely reportedinsistence on deletion of all specific references to MDGs, the International Criminal Court, and Kyoto summit, along with what were perceived as his bullying tactics, opened a Pandora's box. Developing countries retaliated with a string of their own amendments which, if adopted, would have emasculatedwhole document". A rescue operation involving 'core'group of 30 countries was negotiating day and nightat time of publication. Latter half of document offers special analyses on following issues: Use of force and collective security; Humanitarian intervention; The Security Council; Terrorism; Human Rights Council;Non-proliferation; Is Annan to go or to stay?

 

The Economist 10 Sep 05"The UN's Millennium Development Goals: Aspirations And Obligations"(67-8);"The Global Fund: Weaving A Safety Net"(75-6):-both items discuss difficulties faced by critical UN-related aid programs. Both are politically relevant to the special UN global summit in New York 14-16 Sep 05.Item on MDGs looks at them from Finance and Economics viewpoint and concludes they "cannot be met; some can barely be measured. What then are they for?" Five years before Sep 05 summit, "world leaders minted a new set of pledges to free their fellow man from 'the abject and dehumanising conditions' of extreme poverty. Pledges were translated into eight MDGs which aim to halve poverty and hunger, enrol every child in primary school, spare mothers and their infants from untimely deaths, thwart infectiousdiseases, save the environment and forge a 'global partnership'in pursuit of development. [M]ost poor countries will miss almost all 2015 goals... Chief appeal of MDGs is precisely that they convert high rhetoric into hard numbers. But most targets are less rigorous than they look... As 2015 approaches,people will want to know whether MDGs have been met, and UN will not be able to tell... [V]ictory over poverty cannot be so easily purchased... The global targets the world set for itself 5 years age did not emerge from the bottom up, as what might be feasible in each poor country. They were instead imposed from top down. Their fit is thus often rather awkward... Sub-Saharan Africa likely to be generations late.Ambition is a good thing if it encourages countries, rich and poor, to redouble efforts. But in Africa's case, efforts must be quadrupled or quintupled. That is promise international community cannot possibly keep, and so perhaps unwise to make". Global Fund item reports "Tough times ahead for the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. [It] estimates it needs $7.1b from donors to fund projects in 2006 and 2007... This week... it received pledges totalling $3.7b.,. just enough cash to fill [2005] shortfall of roughly $350m, and to pay for renewal of projects already under way. [I]t does not allow...any new projects over next two years - unless more money is forthcoming... New donors... may be found among oil-rich Arab states and also from private sector[, and] several current donors...have yet to makeconcrete pledges for coming two years. [H]ow much US will give fund for 2006 [is] a far cry from the $1.2b that AIDS lobby believes US should be giving next year to pull its weight... To date, fund has pushed $1.5b out into the field, enabling 220,000 people with AIDS to start treatment, as well as 600,000 withtuberculosis and 1.1m with malaria... For all its teething troubles, fund has proved good way for world leaders to honour their pledges to do more for international public health. But to do so even better, itneeds to professionalise its operations and bring in more people with strong experience in business and finance to manage the billions of dollars it seeks to attract in future".

 

The Economist 17 Sep 05"Japan's Election: A Very Japanese Revolution"(Edit.12); "Special Report: Japan's Election: Koizumi Gets His Way"(22-4):-The Editorial hopes that valuable political and economic revolutions may be under way: "How to bring about change by re-electing the same old party" refers to both the reform aims and novel authority of PM Junichiro Koizumi. It therefore builds on Koizumi's own attitudes: "the government needs to do four main things in domestic policy. It needs to avoid messing up the economic recovery that is already under way... It needs to dismantle... institutions through which the state has guided and distorted the economy... [It] needs to sharpen competition in the private sector, partly by deregulating, but more by strengthening antitrust enforcement... Finally, it needs to find ways to reform the two big future burdens on the public purse: health care and pensions". Special Reportoffers a particularly informative analysis of several Japanese economic (and related political) difficulties in the past decade or so, describes how and why Japan is already reducing them, and concludes: "Anew Japan is clearly emerging, and there seems to be no turning back... [Koizumi's] main contribution to Japan has been to build on changes in the political system that were already under way, and to show future politicians how powerful those new tools can be if used well. [He] has done this by building on thegradual reforms of his predecessors. These have laid the groundwork for more powerful cabinets, which should make it easier for future PMs to set their own agendas. He has also brought a lot of fresh blood intothe [chronically ruling] Liberal Democratic Party(LDP), and given its leaders more authority. Perhaps most important, Koizumi has used this election to demonstrate to everyone, including the voters themselves, just how much the electorate has changed, and matured, over the course of Japan's dismal [economic] decade". Bill Emmott"The Sun Also Rises: A Survey of Japan"Economist 08 Oct 05(1-18):-amplifies the economic optimism of the 17 Sep material. Survey's final essay includes following predictions: "Japan's growth rate for the rest of the decade, and quite possibly for much of the following decade too, will be a lot higher than 1.3% a year... There is much catching up to be done in capital investment...that should boost productivity, and a much tighter labour market will force companies to seek ways to boost it even more... It is safe to say that technology will still play a big part in investment and output growth in Japan...If government to become serious about raising productivity growth,... competition will have to bestrengthened, whatever the objections. Still,.. Japan is not going to become a US-style, free-market economy... In 15 years' time Japan will be a leading member of some sort of pan-Asian union, which willhelp it keep China at bay. But it will still huddle closest to US, which will still have bases on Japanese soil.Some things never change". Economist 08 Oct 05"Japan: The Sun Also Rises"(Edit.11):-offers a parallel but concentrated version of the Economist editor's six-essay Survey. In addition to the overall/first title, the others are: "Capitalism with Japanese Characteristics"; "New Politics, Old Politicians"; "New East Asia, Old Enmites"; "The Ambiguity of Yasukuni"; "Visions of 2020". For further important information on Japan's disagreements with China, see: "Japan and China: Oil and Gas in Troubled Waters"(52-3).

 

The Economist 24 Sep 05:-"Flu Vaccine: Preparing For A Pandemic"(95-6):-S&T item relates to Economist06 Aug 05 Editorial and S&T on related subject("Medicine:..."). This major article argues "More vaccine is needed to prepare world for an influenza pandemic... Aches and pains that most people know as flu could mutate into a superflu that might kill tens of millions of people within two years. [T]hat is what may well happen... Many scientists now believe that another influenza pandemic is inevitable some time soon.Currently a strain of bird flu in widespread circulation to which humans have no natural immunity. This strain has killed more than 60 people so far, about half the number infected. Small pockets of human-to-human transmission has already been seen... Geographical extent of bird flu means it is not question ofif a strain emerges that can be transmitted easily between humans, but when... World health ministers meeting to discuss how to pool resources, boost surveillance and improve capacity to contain and respond to an outbreak... WHO wants more governments to draw up preparedness plans (only 40 have these so far) and agree on how they will coordinate their responses. One leading concern is scarcity of flu vaccine. Although WHO's new global stockpile of anti-viral drugs is a first line of defense [see 06 Aug],only sure way of protecting billions of people against superflu is to vaccinate them. Few would have natural immunity. Could also take six months from appearance of first superflu strain to produce a vaccine... World woefully unprepared for pandemic. Entire capacity for flu-vaccine production only 300m shots/year... Yet in case of superflu, several billion people would need vaccination... Vaccine must be produced each year from scratch because, each year, the influenza virus changes... Most world's fluvaccine produced in nine countries... Without international agreements now, high risk of inadequate, inequitable and delayed supplies of vaccines... [Material on current scientific research.] Governments need to buy all of seasonal vaccine that national health agencies have said would be worthwhile. It would also help for governments to give manufacturers more long-term certainty over amount of vaccine theyplan to buy each year... In longer term, there will be more options";

 

The Economist 15 Oct 05"Sudan: Darfur's Despair"(47-9):-discouraging essence of major status report: "The plight of more than 2m Darfuris could worsen rapidly unless thay are far better protected by African Union or other troops". Only brief selection of the bad news: "In past 5 weeks, violence has increased sharply again, and AU, which has 6,000 troops in country,.. endorsed by UN to monitor peacefire and hold [defensive ring around refugees], still struggling to impose authority. There are now about 1.8m people in camps of Darfur and further 200,000 refugees just across border in Chad. [F]ear is now prevailing emotion in many [camps, and] armed gunmen sometimes ride brazenly into a camp... Everyone agrees security has sharply deteriorated. Threat[:] violence will soon jeopardise continuation of humanitarian support for refugees and destabilise region that had only recently achieved a bit of equilibrium. If chaos in west increases, this year's historic but fragile deal between government of Sudan and southern rebels... could also unravel. New wave of violence... has not only been directed at refugees, but at aid workers themselves. [M]any... beaten/whipped/kidnapped. [Two aid contractors and two AU soldiers killed.] Result is that [in major areas] UN and aid agencies in state of virtual paralysis... WFP has...built up...months of food supply [stocks] because become impossible to shift it to many outlyingcamps... Much violence sheer banditry [and] plenty of evidence that [it] marks return to war's old battle lines. [T]wo years ago, [Arab militia] janjaweed were armed by Khartoum government and became itsproxy fighters against rebels. They killed thousands and committed most of atrocities in war... Mounting evidence that not only has Sudanese government done nothing to disarm these militias, but that it may be coordinating their attacks again... Now little to prevent those who want to rape, loot and kill in Darfur from doing so...AU force can do very little to protect civilians. Janjaweed still seem able to act withvirtual impunity. With region unsafe, many refugee camps starting to take on air of permanency. [M]ost aid workers now concede many refugees...may never go back... Millions of pastoral people have changed forever [and] must rely on goodwill of others, for security/food. Peace talks in Nigeria... sputter along[and] no deal looks imminent. Meanwhile security on ground needs addressing urgently, regardless of talks... Real problem is that AU troops yet to enforce...disengagement. Economist 03 Dec 05"Sudan: Stop the Killing, Again"(Edit.10):-"Sudan's peace accords will unravel unless outsiders co-operate to intervene...AU's 7,000-strong force, with NATO logistical help, is the best on offer, though Sudan'sgovernment is still doing its utmost to obstruct it, spending months, for example, holding up delivery ofCanadian armoured cars. More of a fuss should be made about such behaviour - and West should bemore generous with its own help: a few helicopters, for instance, would hugely help AU, which needs EU and US to pay for another 5,000 troops on the ground. Above all, leaders in West should help stir world's conscience. Sudan must not be allowed to fall apart again"; "Sudan: It'll Do What It Can Get Away With"(24-6):-"Outside powers all seem to want a piece of Sudan. But none been able to stop government in Khartoum from continuing to mistreat people. In truth, all Sudan's regional problems interconnected.Until government emerges in Khartoum prepared to concede share of power and wealth to impoverishedperipheries of country, peaceful and prosperous new Sudan is unlikely to take shape".

 

The Economist 22 Oct 05"Controlling Pollution: The Greening of China"(43-4):-Summary of article:"China is investigating whether its rigid system for assessing the performance of party leaders and civil servants can be used to tackle pollution". "China is trying to devise and embed into its assessment of officials a way of calculating a 'green GDP'- which allows for environmental costs in national accounts - to help mitigate some of these excesses. President Hu Jintao... intended China should pay more heed [in pursuing growth] to such issues as environment[al costs, e.g. fatal air pollution] and the depletion of natural resources [e.g. fresh water]. Ten regions, including Beijing, are carrying out a pilot project in green [i.e. both positive and negative] GDP assessment... This would make China the pioneer of a statistical approach that no other country has adopted - and which many economists around the world eschew as an attempt to quantify the unquantifiable". [Article is thus generally sceptical about both the accurate and relevant quantification and honesty of regional Chinese officials. However, the vast scale and range of the serious 'costs' generated by global industry/agriculture today must be calculated as accurately and fast as possible. The fault in China is not with 'green'measurements - whatever that word means -but with a silly leftover from communist 'central planning'. 'Negative'measurements are essential - and are being calculated in all 'rich'countries already - and often reflected in laws. The broadness of this issue is summarized in the Cover Story/Editorial of The Economist 23 Apr 05(op.cit.) entitled "Rescuing Environmentalism: And the Planet" and "Environmental Economics: Are You Being Served?".]

 

The Economist 22 Oct 05"Russia and the Caucasus: Try Being Tender as Well as Tough"(Edit.15-6);"Corruption in Russia: Blood Money"(53-4):-the concerned Editorial and the heavily critical article do not duplicate their ominous descriptions of Russian faults. But their joint effect is to report that the largest state on earth is suffering from - and possibly spreading abroad - politically dangerous policies thatalready generate fury and instability. Editorial draws its concern about Moscow's pride in defeating anarmed rebel assault on the Caucasus city of Nalchik, when the hundreds of armed men were locals, notalready-rebellious Chechens. "After Nalchik, it looks as though the Caucasian Cassandras, who warn ofinstability engulfing the entire region, are being vindicated... Insurgents will never achieve their aim ofpan-Caucasian caliphate [but] might... create pan-Caucasian chaos: a catastrophe for Russia and far beyond... Russia/Putin share the responsibility for three reasons: the brutality/lawlessness of Russia'ssecurity services... across the region;... Kremlin's approach to regional governments, involv[ing] pliant but unpopular bosses;... and the corruption that blights Caucasus even more than the rest of Russia. [The article is summarized: "From terrorism in the north Caucasus to the boardrooms of Moscow, corruption is Russia's biggest problem".] Fatalistic observers blame these problems on the northCaucasus' s wretched past, with its ethnic rivalries, incessant wars, deportation of entire nations by Stalin, and Soviet mixing of fractious peoples into unnatural administrative units. But history need notcontinue to repeat itself. Given its location, and the role it plays in global jihadist rhetoric, the world should be more concerned about north Caucasus. [T]he peoples... must be persuaded that politics in Russia will let them address their problems peacefully... Using force to bind in the Russian empire's most fissiparous area has only spread misery. Democracy, if Putin will only try it, might work better".

 

The Economist 29 Oct 05"The Latinobarometro Poll: Democracy's Ten-Year Rut"(39-40):-the 2005 poll (see14 Aug 04 for previous year's poll) is summarized: "Latin Americans do not want to go back to dictatorship but they are still unimpressed with their democracies". Some highlights: "Poll has captured shifts in opinion in the region during a decade that saw initial enthusiasm for democracy and free-market reform tempered by recession, and followed by advent of leftish governments and then strongeconomic recovery... Support for democracy lower in a dozen countries today than in 1966... Nevertheless,poll suggests growing resilience in Latin American democracy. Some 62% say that in no circumstanceswould they support a military coup... And 70% agree... that whatever its problems, democracy is the least bad system of government. But much of the machinery of democracy is missing or defective. Only 26%of respondents said citizens in their country are equal before the law... Only a fifth express much faith in political parties and only a quarter in congress and the courts - a slight improvement on recent years...Clear majority believe that a market economy is the only means by which their country can develop. Sentiment towards privatisation is improving... Latin Americans continue to see their main problems as being unemployment, crime and poverty. Just 31%... think their country is progressing... But across the region, expectations are rising: 54% think their children will live better than they do... Almost everywhere,opinions towards US are thawing, though they are yet to reach the warmth of late 1990s... Most popular leader among Latin Americans seems to be Brazil's president, Lula da Silva, despite his party's recent woes... Poll indicates that crime remains a big problem in the region. Some 41% of respondents said theyknew someone who had been victim of crime in past 12 months... But 30% think progress is being made in reducing corruption..., up from 26% last year... In 1995, 80% of respondents said they were Catholic and only 3% Protestant. This year, those figures were 70% and 15% respectively... Two things are clear. Latin Americans will not easily revert to authoritarianism, even in hard times. But... building consolidated democracies amid poverty, inequality and a legacy of past undemocratic practices, is long, slow job".Economist 26 Nov 05"Latin America: Redrawing the Political Map"(45-6):-offers a good many national descriptions and 2006 predictions. "A dozen presidential elections over as many months are likely to produce more muddle-through rather than a shift further left" - is the broad conclusion. But severalgeneral comments are again offered: "Democracy has finally become a habit in Latin America and, with it, the normal healthy alternation of power... Plethora of upcoming polls shows how routine democracy has become in this once dictatorship-ridden region. Electoral fraud is now exception rather than rule... But other procedural aspects of democracy need attention. Political parties tend to be weak. Some... electoral systems encourage fragmentation; in others,... artificial restrictions on participation. Meanwhile,elections are growing increasingly expensive, but few countries have grappled effectively with campaignfinancing. Despite all the problems,... democracy is steadily 'putting down roots' in Latin America".

 

The Economist 05 Nov 05"Climate Change: Feverish Analysis"(89):-its summary: "Global warming may damage health and cause fatal disease. Perhaps." Main points: Scientists have long warned its impact on global environment, but evidence that global warming could pose a direct risk to human health, too,has been offered in study by Harvard Medical School's Center for Health and Global Environment. Study argues that "global warming exacerbates freak events such as hurricanes, flooding and heat waves, andthese in turn spread disease and death... Previous studies of climate change and malaria typicallystudied impact in high altitudes. New report scrutinised low-lands, too, and concluded that freak...flooding - the sort climate change may encourage - led to five-fold increase in malaria. One researcher seeslink between increase in emissions of carbon dioxide and rise of asthma... Report concludes that global warming favours spread of disease - especially if it leads to extreme weather events... Humans and ecosystems alike are particularly vulnerable to disease if 'return time'between extreme events shortensin future... Study has reached gloomy conclusions with nasty implications for both health and finance...Project was supported by UN Development Programme[UNDP], whose primary focus is poverty, andSwiss Re, a reinsurance giant devoted to managing global risk". The serious poverty impacts of the study's conclusions are strongly emphasized in Barbara Litzlbeck"Ripples of Global Warming Spread Outward"Inter-Press Service(IPS)04 Nov 05:-"Although industrialised countries produce most greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, study points out that developing countries suffer worst consequences".

 

The Economist 19 Nov 05"Infection: The Usual Suspects"(84-5):-gist:"Some of the efforts to control bird flu could be usefully extended to tackle other emerging human diseases that come from animals". Points made stress the serious impact of new global lifestyles: "While impossible to predict the precise nature of next influenza pandemic, [besides lives] it might cost at least $800b. [Since] clearly important to bring strain of bird flu under control [, current] threat of influenza pandemic will be reduced by improvement in viral-strain surveillance, veterinary health care and laboratory services... But also worth taking a broader look at diseases emerging from animals... Makes sense to take long-term measures to strengthen institutional, regulatory and technical capacity for dealing with animal as well as human health because there are such a large number of animal-related pathogens emerging. Thus far, counted1,400 pathogens that affect humans...:13% regarded as emerging (SARS, HIV, etc) or re-emerging(tuberculosis, West Nile virus, malaria etc). Furthermore, number of new pathogens emerging seems to beon the increase... Most of these diseases come from animals [zoonoses]. Many are important because they are so lethal (Ebola)... Broadly speaking, it is change that is driving this emergence, whether that change takes place in human travel, agriculture, land use or the environment... World is changing very fast in 'ways that matter to pathogens and...give...new opportunities to infect new host species/get tonew areas' ... People travelling more between tropical/other regions... Another driver: rapid intensification of agriculture, now increasing in developing countries... Other factors include urbanization, overcrowdingof humans in poor, tropical countries and movement/trade of animals. Still, about half of zoonotic pathogens have a wildlife reservoir. These can be spread by changes in land use that bring humans intocloser/more regular contact with wild animals... A densely packed, mixed animal market where wildlife, domestic animals and humans mingle in less than sanitary conditions provides ideal conditions for virus to jump from one species to another. If many... factors responsible for emergence of new diseases... likely to continue, how is the world to respond to the threat of new diseases? Answer seems to be to spend more money on animal/human health, as well as on monitoring/surveillance of pathogens. With the world an increasingly connected place, achieving high standards in these areas would be global public good".

 

The Economist 19 Nov 05"Vaccines: Fighting Malaria"(85):-article shouts "A new vaccine shows promising results" and contains following: "Malaria kills one child every 30 seconds and is leading cause of death in young children in Africa. WHO [says] 300m people catch it every year, killing 1m and directlycontributing to the deaths of further 1.7m. [It also] has significant economic impact, costing sub-Saharan Africa $12b/year in lost GDP and consuming 40% of all public health spending there... Simplest way to stop [it] is to prevent infected mosquitoes from biting[, but] they are becoming resistant to insecticides. [Worse], scientists are finding increasing resistance [to traditional] drugs. [However,]experimental tests... in Mozambique indicated that an effective vaccine might be possible. [Yet] producing a vaccine... has proved particularly challenging:.. the parasite that causes malaria... is complextype of organism with complicated life-cycle... Candidate vaccine... targets immune system's response to when parasite [first] injected by infected mosquito... [Hence] using multiple antigens or additives to boost immune response might be even more effective. Candidate vaccine,..developed by GlaxoSmithKline,.. is still several years from market but, if all goes well, would be commercially available by 2011, [and] at low prices in developing countries. Even so, serious amounts of money will be needed to ensure it reaches the millions who need it. Gates' Foundation gave $108m grant to support clinical development of vaccine, but more is needed. Reducing infection with malaria parasite [might even] help tackle... AIDS".

 

The Economist 03 Dec 05"Climate Change And the North Atlantic: The Sound of Distant Howling"(Edit.11);"Climate Change: Restricted Circulation"(76-7):-Editorial is officially summarized as: "Signs of climate change are hard to be sure about. But the latest do look alarming". It argues: "[I]t is now possible to discern a dim howling in the distance. [C]urrents that do moving change from time to time [can] change in a matter of decades. [W]hat history and models describe, may actually be happening at the moment to currents in the North Atlantic. If true, it would mean a cooler future for north-west Europe - possibly a lot cooler. And that future would be close; the change could happen over the course of two or three decades. Moreover, the most plausible explanation for the shift is, paradoxically, global warming. [Fairly complex oceanographic trends/explanation are carefully described in second item. R]esult [of alreadyavailable data] is about as rebust as can be expected. [P]ractitioners can now afford instruments and infrastructure to monitor parts of the ocean continuously. The truth will soon out and [demand] more effort into looking at how governments should respond if north-west Europe does get significantly colder. [F]inding also provides a reason to think more clearly about whole issue of climate change. [Current] international meeting in Montreal... is supposed to begin process of sketching out what post-Kyoto world might look like. This result may focus minds, whether focus directed towards trying to stop global warming or, if decided climate change unstoppable, working out best ways to live with it".

 

The Economist 10 Dec 05"Grounds For Hope on Global Warming: Don't Despair"(Edit.11-2):-the initial/front-cover Editorial makes a strong case in favor of following the imperfect 1997 UN Kyoto Protocol - which US has refused to implement - with an even more urgent global agreement. "Costs of cutting carbon emissions pile up in short term, while benefits are far-off/uncertain. Given these difficulties, fact thatKyoto was signed at all, looks like achievement. So is fact that it established right goal - binding targets for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions - and got 150 countries to sign up. International Energy Agencyreckons industrialised signatories look like hitting their target of cutting their greenhouse gas emissionsto 5% below their 1990 level by 2012. But holes in treaty are so huge - US didn't sign up, and developingcountries don't have targets - that even with Kyoto in place, at their current rate of increase, globalemissions look like increasing by 50% between now and 2030. In consequence, global environmentmeeting [now] in Montreal to discuss better ways of implementing Kyoto, rather cheerless... However, while Kyoto is stuck, world is moving on. In past 7 years... much has changed"."Climatology: Changing Science"(89-90)reports"past year has seen [important detections:"climate seems particularly changeable at moment" which] help to disentangle signal and noise. First, and most basic, is continuation of warming trend at Earth's surface... Second is that Arctic... does indeed show signs of rapid warming... Third isresolution of an inconsistency , [showing both temperature on ground and futher up in atmosphere are]rising in parallel...Fourth is... in the way world's oceans have warmed up... induced by greenhouse gases...Fifth is observation in reality of predicted link between increased sea-surface temperatures and frequency of most intense categories of hurricane, typhoon and tropical storm... Sixth is observation ocean currents in North Atlantic are faltering (op.cit.)... Signal, in other words, looks strong... That the climate is warming now seems certain. And though magnitude of any future warming remains unclear, human activity seemsmost likely cause... Too rapid or too great a warming... risks serious, unpleasant and in some casesirreversible changes... If greenhouse-gas emissions are to be capped,... a mixture of political will and technological fixes are needed". A list of technological fixes('wedges' ): "greater efficiency, decarbonisedelectricity, decarbonised fuels, fuel displacement by low-carbon electricity, methane management, andnatural carbon sinks". Examples of renewable energy sources in 10 Dec 05"Technology Quarterly: Sunrise for Renewable Energy?"(op.cit.18-20). To return to Editorial, it states: "News from business and from politics is ambiguous. Business, which was once solidly against controlling carbon emissions, now divided. [Its] growing interest partly public relations, but there's solider economic self-interest involved, too. Companies are investing in renewables because gap in cost between them... and conventional energy sources is shrinking [TQ]. Not just small companies run by idealists betting on environmentally-friendly technology. GE, world's largest energy-equipment supplier, convinced there's money to be made from technologies such as clean coal". See "Special Report: The Greening of General Electric: A Lean, Clean Electric Machine"(77-9) which describes how "Jeffrey Immelt is betting the future of his company on environmental technologies". The more companies invest in green technology, greater the chances that their customers... will buy the stuff and thus cut their emissions. But two main determinants of whether or not this will happen are oil prices and governments". The final portion of Editorial appearsdoubtful regarding an overwhelming impact from critically lowered oil prices. Much describes how apan-European carbon-trading system was launched this year (op.cit.), how many local US governments and businesses do likewise, and how public opinions and national (e.g. Chinese) policies show growing concern. Such developments should affect Montreal meeting's decisions.

 

The Economist 17 Dec 05"Climate Change: Pricking the Global Conscience"(77):-item follows the above10 Dec 05 'Montreal'items, concluding:"UN conference on global warming makes progress, sort of". Itfirst recalls Kyoto Protocol "obliges many industrialised countries (but notably not US) to cut emissions of greenhouse gases(GHGs) by fixed amount below their 1990 levels by 2012. Treaty's 150+ signatorieshad hoped to map rough outline of what should come after[wards. But] US delegation strongly opposedthem, insisting that too early to contemplate life after Kyoto... Canada's PM... denounced US positionand invoked need for 'global conscience'to deal with this most global of problems. US' s chief negotiator stormed off, throwing meeting into chaos. Talks looked destined to fail. Canada's friends [includingAustralia, China, ex-president Clinton stressing many US already cutting GHGs] came to rescue. Finding itself isolated, US delegation reluctantly returned [and] compromise deal 10 Dec. Final pact not quite 'historic agreement', but makes progress in 3 broad areas. First, signatories agreed on details essential for implementation of pact [e.g. compliance rules; credits for reducing GHGs in poor/former-Soviet states].Second, agreed future climate talks [(1) signatories on second-period targets; (2) all on possible UNclimate pact. Third,] promote carbon capture/sequestration technologies and get serious aboutadaptation to climate change. Carbon sequestration matters as world cannot meet [both] energy needs/ climate goals without technologies for using vast global reserves of coal in ways that do not contribute to global warming. Adaptation matters because... many aspects of global warming already inevitable[e.g.sea-level will continue to rise for decades]. Summit therefore deserves credit for bringing US back into UN's climate negotiations. Greater still if serious efforts to adapt to inevitable consequences".

 

The Economist 24 Dec 05"Evolution: The Story of Man"(Edit.11); Geoffrey Carr"The Proper Study of Mankind: A Survey of Human Evolution"(1-12):-aim of "Global Issues of the Twenty-First Century" is toidentify major/future trends that do/may threaten the world's ever-more-rapidly- changing civilization(s).One serious group of such trends relates to (in)ability of humans, and our established tastes/structures, to adjust to accelerating demands. This Editorial and Survey report the latest information available on thebackground/characteristics of homo sapiens and their relevance to our future. "Modern Darwinism paints a more flattering portrait of humanity than traditionalists might suppose... Exactly how humanity became human is still a matter of debate. But there are, at least, some well-formed hypotheses [seeSurvey]. They rely not on [just an] idea of individual competition, but on social interaction.,. sometimes confrontational and occasionally bloody[, but] frequently collaborative. [B]ig breakthrough wasidentification of the central role of trust in human evolution. People who are related collaborate on thebasis of nepotism... Trust, though, allows the unrelated to collaborate, by keeping score of who does what when, and punishing cheats... The human mind... seems to have evolved the trick of being able to identify a large number of individuals and to keep score of its relations with them, detecting the dishonestor greedy and taking vengeance... The new social Darwinists, who see society itself... as the 'natural'environment in which humanity is evolving,.. have put a new spin on him. [There is] a wider tendency for people to try to out-do each other[, and] competition, whether athletic, artistic or financial, does seem to be about genetic display... Thus both of the things needed to make an economy work, collaboration andcompetition, seem to have evolved. [I]t is also, in its way, a comforting view. It suggests a constant struggle, not for existence itself, but between selfishness and altruism - a struggle that neither can win...Darwinism goes from strength to strength. If its ideas are right, the handful of dust that evolution hasshaped into humanity will rarely stray too far off course". The Survey concludes: "Evolution...has not stopped. Indeed, it might be about to get an artificial helping hand in form of genetic engineering... The self-knowledge that understanding humanity's evolution brings will help avert... perversions in the future. And if genetic engineering can be done in a way that does not harm the recipient, it would not make sense to ban it... But the impulse behind it will not go away because... it is certainly adaptive".


The Economist 07 Jan 06"Declining Populations: Incredible Shrinking Countries"(Edit.12); Greying Japan: The Downturn"(37-8):-while many Economist articles have expressed concern about economic effects of low birthrates in industrialized countries, this Editorial takes a more economically positive view - including just a few of the good considerations I have put forward for years. Its aim is summarized: "Rich countries' populations are beginning to shrink. That's not necessarily bad news". Highlights: "Russia's population is expected to fall by 22% [by] 2050, Ukraine's by 43%. Now phenomenon creeping into rich world: Japan [discussed in some positive detail in second article]has started to shrink and others, such as Italy and Germany, will soon follow. Even China's population will be declining by early 2030s, according to UN, which projects that by 2050 populations will be lower than today in 50 countries. Demographicdecline worries people because believed to go hand in hand with economic decline... But if demographicdecline not generally consequence of economic decline, surely it must be cause? In a crude sense, yes.As populations shrink, GDP growth will slow. Some economies may even start to shrink. Result will be a loss of economic influence... People should not mind, though. What matters for economic welfare is GDP per person. Crucial question is therefore what effect of demographic decline is on growth of GDP per person. Bad news is this looks likely to slow because working-age populations will decline more rapidly than overall populations. Yet this need not happen. Productivity growth may keep up growth in GDP per person: as labour becomes scarcer, and pressure to introduce new technologies to boost workers' efficiency increases, so productivity of labour may rise faster. Anyway, retirement ages can be lifted toincrease supply of labour even when population declining... New demographics causing populations to age and to shrink are something to celebrate. Humanity was once caught in trap of high fertility and high mortality. Now it escaped into freedom of low fertility and low mortality. Women's control over number of children they have is unqualified good - as is average person's enjoyment, in rich countries, of ten more years of life than had in 1960... People should celebrate new demographics as heralding a golden age".


The Economist 07 Jan 06"Congo: A Giant Leap Forward"(49):-"Congo held referendum in Dec [although] has not held an independent election in over 40 years. After decades of dictatorship, war and chaos, referendum was not so much huge step as giant leap in right direction. [O]ver 80% of Congolese accepted a draft constitution that sets up new institutions, paving way... to functioning government/bureaucracy. Vote also relatively dry-run for clutch of delayed local/parliamentary/presidential elections... Congo's elections most complicated [UN] ever been involved in[, as] Congo is vast... but has scarcely any decentroads... UN also maintains nearly 17,000 soldiers in Congo, supposedly trying to control the thousands of militiamen used by various factions in civil/other wars, and who continue to roam around east of the country. Vote presented problems[: lack of public information about purpose of the exercise;] heavy-handed government tactics... In end, however, international observers... said referendum was free and fair. Over half the 25m registered voters cast a ballot, mostly for first time, and the bands of gunmen didnot disrupt the polls. Much remains to be done, however... Analysts say graft may not be quite as spectacular now, but problem remains serious. And the east is still lawless... About 10,000 Rwandan Hutu fighters... remain at large in the east. Disarming the gunmen is urgent. But there is also an entire state to rebuild. National army is a mess, law and order is non-existent and no ordinary Congolese receivesmedical care unless lucky enough to get it from an international aid agency. Even so,.. head of UN mission in Congo [argues] high turnout for referendum showed 'extent of desire of population for change'".


The Economist 28 Jan 06"Another Nuclear Revolution: Rethinking the Unthinkable"(31-2);"The Nuclear Clean-Up: Locking Things Down"(31);"Nuclear Power: Technology Transfer" (54-5) :-although all three deal with nuclear issues from different points of view, they all reflect changes in nuclear policies thatimply significant global situations in coming decades. First item updates US nuclear weapons policy:"In days before Iraq, Bush...scrapped once-hallowed anti-ballistic missile(ABM) treaty with Russia, startedexploring new missile defences, opposed ratification of comprehensive test-ban treaty and beganlooking for ways to develop new nuclear 'bunker-buster'bombs. Now... some Bush ideas look normal[:]ABM treaty unlamented[; Russia-US] agree by 2012 [to] have no more than 1,700-2,200 deployed strategic warheads each[; US] also cut numbers of extra warheads in reserve[; and US released] 200 tons of highly enriched uranium (enough for 8,000 weapons) for more peaceful purposes. [Bush] still thinks bunker-busters would deter proliferators by making it harder to hide [WMD, but others fear] theirradioactive fallout, [and that would] make it harder for US to argue that North Korea [see mass RECENT DEVELOPMENTS chapter] and Iran [see many article summaries] should halt any weapons-tinkering... Instead, [Congress has voted] $25m for a different project: the reliable replacement warhead(RRW). Ideais redesign new parts for ageing US stockpile that would make warheads more reliable/longer-lived/safer to maintain... RRWs open up plenty of possibilities. Some of them are good[:] if warheads more reliable,safer and easier to maintain, US could get rid of even more [held] in reserve...But more difficult questionsarise[: would nuclear tests be needed?; and it's] not as if RRW kills the bunker-buster". Second item: "Ever since [11 Sep 01] attacks, Bush... has piled money into effort to prevent nuclear weapons/materials/skillsfrom falling into terrorist hands. US now spends $1b/year on nuclear clean-up in former USSR - sum which allies from G8 group of richer countries have pledged to match... Main obstacle is not lack of US cash but Russian foot-dragging... Two Russian reactors still making plutonium will at last be shut downby late 2008, and third by 2010. In general, Russia's armed forces have been cooperative... Difficultycomes with Russia's civilian sites [: 80% of these sites, containing about half country's highly enriched uranium(HEU) and plutonium stocks, have had security upgrades, but Russia's Atomic Energy Agencyblocking access to 4 large sites. Another risk comes from research reactors that USSR... supplied to itsfriends - and which now packed with HEU... Still more than 100 research reactors in 40 countries with more than 20 kg of HEU". Third article: "Purchase and sale [to Toshiba] of Westinghouse, a US builder of nuclear reactors, by state-owned British Nuclear Fuels(BNFL) may prove lucky... That's because thenuclear industry is in its most optimistic mood for years. Worries over climate change, energy securityand high fossil fuel prices have encouraged several countries to consider (re)investing in nuclear power. Bush has called for new reactors in US. China is committed to building dozens of new plants by 2020, and several European countries are flirting with the idea as well. Indeed, British government launched consultation phase of its energy review which many think is designed to prepare the groundfor a new set of nuclear plants. International Energy Agency reckons that around $200b will be spent on new nuclear power stations over the next 25 years".


The Economist 18 Feb 06"Haiti: Making the Best of an Election in a Failed State"(Edit.13-4); "Haiti's Electoral Aftermath: The Rubbishing of a Vote"(35):-Editorial's official summary:"Rene Preval's tortuous triumph should not be the prompt for outsiders to go home". Highlights: "For past two years, UN mission has been trying to turn Haiti into a nation. A crucial step was presidential election 07 Feb. [D]ay went well [but] counting of votes did not [details are in the article]. At first it seemed Rene Preval, former president, won clear victory. Preval was once an ally of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the firebrand populist, who was pressed to resign as president by US and France two years ago. As vote count drew to a close,Preval's vote had fallen to 48.7% which meant a run-off ballot - even though no other candidate got more than 12%. His supporters cried fraud. [W]hether... incompetence or a conspiracy,... several worrying signs. Suspiciously high number of blank ballots were cast and tens of thousands of ballots went missing. Some found, burned, on a rubbish dump. Government agreed to inquiry, but wanted to exclude UN from it. Finally, agreement to exclude some blank ballots, pushing Preval's vote to 51% [and] allowinghim to be declared winner. Haiti's immediate need: clear democratic mandate. But... take more... if country of 8.3m people with income/head just $390/year to cease being a failed state. UN mission someachievements to its credit... Violence largely confined, [but still] enough to blight country's prospects. UN needs to be more assertive: (1) electoral authorities need outside oversight; (2)UN's 9,000-strong force of troops and police should be strengthened [French-speakers to build police force]; (3) need UN and aid donors to take less cautious approach. Breaking grip of violent drug gangs would be easier if UN offers social projects, more jobs, etc. [In short term, Haitians] need help to break vicious circle of disorder/ political deadlock/poverty. UN should finish [its] job - lest it has to start all over again in future".


The Economist 18 Feb 06"Climate Change (I): Full To Bursting"(76-7):-Its own gloomy summary: "Rising levels of carbon dioxide will dump even more water into the oceans". Essence: "[G]reen-leafed plants, that breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, also put water vapour into the atmosphere. [W]hateffect will rising concentrations of carbon dioxide have on this? [Apparently:] less water in atmosphereand more in the oceans. [A]round the world, rivers have become fuller over the past century. [New study concludes that:] fuller rivers cannot be explained by more rainfall or haze or changes in land use, butcan be explained by higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Mechanism is straightforward. A plant breathes through small holes, called stomata, found in its leaves. Plants take in carbon dioxide, and when atmosphere relatively rich in this gas, less effort is needed. Stomata stay closed for longer, and less water is lost to atmosphere. This means that plant doesn't need to draw as much moisture fromthe soil. The unused water flows into rivers... Recent rises in surface temperature have been pinned onrising levels of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide. However, [this] work first to identify directeffect of that gas on ecosystems. [A]larmingly, if rivers dump more water into oceans, then rising sea levels will rise more rapidly still. Such changes would be felt especially in low-lying, populous and poor countries". "Climate Change (II): Greenland's Less-Icy Mountains"(77):-Directly related article:"Biggest unknown factor in making predictions of rising sea levels in response to global warming is role played by massive ice sheets that cover Antarctica and Greenland. If parts of these melt, sea level rises far more rapidly than in the past. [F]our years ago a small Antarctic ice shelf suddenly disintegrated. This week, alarming news from...Greenland[,whose] ice sheets cover 1.7m square km...and surface of ice rises to altitude of 3km. [Normal understanding] was that Greenland ice sheet relatively stable in centre, but thinning slowly at edges... That [now] questioned... [H]ave found that flow-speed of 12 glaciers, which together account for about half the discharge of water from ice sheet, is increasing - and fast... The speed at which the glaciers flow has doubled to 12km a year. As a result, volume of ice falling into the sea from Greenland has also doubled over past decade. [A]lso found Greenland ice sheet experienced a greater area of surface melting... Most of this has been in south of island, i.e. where accelerating glaciers lie.Water flowing from surface could ease the passage of glaciers into the sea. [Combined, impact of]Greenland ice sheet to rise in global sea levels has increased from 0.23mm a year in 1996 to 0.57mm in 2005. On top of this,.. an increased flow of fresh water... could change the way currents flow in North Atlantic, to detriment of Gulf Stream[, which makes] north-west Europe warmer"."The[US] Environmental Movement: Endangered Species"(32-3):-while major article is ostensibly concentrated on problems faced/ generated by hundreds of NGOs within US, the impact of their difficulties is already global (e.g.Kyoto).


The Economist 25 Feb 06"Ageing: How To Live For Ever"(84):-report on new/progressive science evidence in age field. For full account of high likelihood of successful research in near future, see Ray Kurzweil & Terry Grossman(op.cit.). Summary of item:"[P]oint at which age turns to ill health and ultimately deathis shifting - i.e. people remaining healthier for longer[,raising] question of how death might be postponed, and whether might be postponed indefinitely... Much [longer living already] result of improved nutrition/ better medicine. But... healthy old age also involves maintaining physical/mental function. Age-related...changes in brain, muscles, joints, immune system, lungs and heart must be minimised - 'senescence'. [E]xercise can help to maintain physical function late in life[, while] exercising brain can limit progression of senescence... Caloric restriction/choice and altering genes...shown promise in slowing senescence. [Various research underway to delay or even reverse senescence.] Low-calorie diet [may be] linked to rate at which cells divide [and] maximum number of times human cell can divide before it dies.[Some] believe only those cells that have stopped dividing cause ageing [and] could demonstrate whether possible toavoid growing old. But successful ageing being promoted here/now. [People with] emotional support not only have higher physical performance than the isolated, but also show lower levels of hormones...associated with stress... "[A]llostatic load"- ...physiological toll...on body - predicts life expectancy well...Elderly people with high degrees of social engagement had lower allostatic loads. [A]lso more likely to bewell educated and have high socio-economic status. Thus appears death can be postponed by various means and healthy ageing extended by others. Whether death will remain ultimate consequence of growing old remains to be seen". Issues needing thought (decisions?) even before widespread rumours of very long-term lives relate to politics, society, finance, employment, science, home, law, religions, etc.


The Economist 11 Mar 06"China: How the Other 800m Live"(Edit.12); "China: Planning the New Socialist Countryside"(37-8):-official Editorial summary:"China's leaders are aware of the problem in its rural areas. They are terrified of the solution". I rarely have chance/need to report on serious challenge faced/raised by close to billion people. Highlights: "A spectre is haunting China - spectre of rural unrest. Leaders ofCommunist Party know/fear it... National People's Congress [had] plight of country poor at top of agenda.But worrying and curing are very different things. Not just that farmers missed out on double-digitgrowth that transformed urban China.;. real problem is that, in some ways, the lot of the rural poor has got worse. [Nearly] free health care/education...largely collapsed[, while] many farmers lost their livelihoods [when] their land was seized for development with little or no compensation. [Recently,] most violent disturbances have come... from farmers protesting about these depredations. [R]ight of individuals to own agricultural land is [still] tenuous [and] local governments... do not administer it well... Congress approved 15% increase in money earmarked for agricultural development, rural services and the like.But even though... 8.9% of entire budget, [for 800m] the new spending amounts to less than an additional $7 a year each. What more could government do?.. Could introduce proper land rights,.. fund [poorer, more rural] provinces adequately,.. do a lot more to encourage efficient government by provincials/locals... [T]o make officials accountable.,. spectre in China's countryside will not be laid to rest until Chinese leaders accept the need for democracy". Article concludes with additional point that since "some 200m rural Chinese have little or no work, [even] to let them take more productive jobs in urban areas... is onlythe smallest of escape valves in the great political pressure-cooker that is China's troubled countryside".Economist 25 Mar 06"China: How To Make This Country Even Richer"(Edit.11);"A Survey of China: Balancing Act"(1-20):-the clearly sympathetic - if stability-concerned - Survey, and the related Editorial, both emphasize the Chinese government's need - not just its advantage - to give farmers the right to deal as they choose with their land and receipt of other economic benefits. The tone is of giving very realistic and good economic/political advice to one of the century's most important - and rational - powers, thatmust evolve into global challenges and responsibilities. Encouragement by rest of the world is implied.


The Economist 18 Mar 06"Radioactive Waste Disposal: A Modern Philosopher's Stone" (76-7) :-proposal is complex but of global importance. Item's own summary:"It may be possible to destroy much of the world's long-lived radioactive waste, if new experiment in Japan proves successful". Essence: "Nuclear[power] reactors...break uranium atoms...into lighter... 'fission' products such as technetium. Thisreleases energy, along with sub-atomic particles called neutrons [which release more neutrons i.e. chain reaction. Some]neutrons, however, are captured by uranium nuclei that makes them heavier still [i.e. intoneptunium, plutonium, americium, curium]. All these by-products are radioactive, and many will remain so for thousands/millions of years. They are thus difficult to dispose of. But Kyoto Univ. has dusted off[old Geneva scheme to transmute nuclear waste so it] can be disposed of safely... About 95% of used nuclear fuel is [still uranium, so first the 5% waste is extracted. These] radioactive elements to be transmuted are then turned into a target for protons fired out of a particle accelerator... The main role of protons is to knock neutrons free from nuclei in the target. These neutrons should, if all goes well, beabsorbed by technetium and other fission products, transmuting them into new elements. They will alsobreak up the elements heavier than uranium into products similar to those from uranium fission.Although, initially, the new elements will be more radioactive than the spent nuclear waste was, thatradioactivity will last only a few hundred years. This means that the dumps into which they are put neednot be as secure (or as expensive) as those envisaged for long-term waste-storage. As bonus, the whole process should generate more energy than it consumes. [So such] transmutation is worth considering".


The Economist 01 Apr 06"Australia and AIDS: Help Thy Neighbour"(35):-"Partnership between Australian government and Clinton Foundation[op.cit.]... will work in China, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea (PNG),mainly to supply tests and anti-retroviral drugs... HIV has grown alarmingly in PNG to reach 50,000 estimated cases, about 2% of adult population.... Possibly rising to 500,000 cases by 2025. Unprotected sex has driven most of the spread in PNG. In China (500,000 estimated cases) and Vietnam (260,000 cases), contaminated blood transfusions, prostitution and intravenous drug use are the main avenues...AIDS left unchecked could prove another potential source of regional instability along with terrorism...Having 8.3m people infected with HIV in Asia and the Pacific threatens the economic life of Asia,especially that of China... The outlook is grim: the number of sufferers is forecast to more than double to 20m by 2010 unless rich countries... start exporting their own successful experience in curbing AIDS";"Treating AIDS: A Missed Target"(64-5):-"World Health Organization(WHO)'s attempt to roll out AIDS drugs in poor countries has missed its target. A shame, but not a disaster[op.cit. AP 28 Mar]. The '3 by 5'initiative to get 3m HIV-positive people in poor/middle-income countries on to anti-retroviral drugs by end of 2005 has got less than halfway there. [WHO/UNAIDS reported] a mere 1.3m of those infectedin target countries are on courses of drugs. [Yet shift from pure prevention to care offered incentives for]those who might...be infected[: new] reason to find out the truth [and encourage modified behaviour to reduce transmission. Also, even 3+ times the previous number under treatment] averted about 250,000 premature deaths in 2005. One problem [was] that in most countries the [essential] infrastructure... didnot exist. [Hence] the initiative may have been more successful than [new] figure suggests, since partmoney has gone on infrastructure [and] this sort of work has spin-offs beyond the treatment of AIDS.Expense of treatment also tackled[:] big change...in market for AIDS drugs. Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative has helped to defragment market for generic anti-retroviral drugs by signing contracts... in India and South Africa that guarantee large order-volumes and reliable payment. As result, price in some cases... below $150 per person per year.. Progress, then, being made. [Possible] 3m figure by end of 06".


The Economist 01 Apr 06"Nuclear Power in Japan: Allergic Reactions"(37):-"Japan relies on nuclear power for nearly a third of its electricity, and a lack of local sources of energy, coupled with a national commitment to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, imply this figure will have to rise to 40% over the next few years. But deep suspicion of nuclear energy and its regulation is not helping. Local oppositions...forced three utilities to shelve plans for new nuclear plants. In Mar a court ordered the newest/biggest of the country's 55 reactors... to stop operations [just] after it had come onstream. [R]esidents argued reactor's design took too little account of risk of big earthquakes. Power utility plans to appeal. [I]n Japan, [all reactors sit in 'significant'seismic activity, but] to date the performance of Japan's nuclear plants has been exemplary during earthquakes[: unruffled or automatically shut down]. Nonetheless,human errors and cover-ups have generated unease [four events 1995-2004 through work faults are identified]. Still, Japan's nuclear program is not completely off rails. This week, governor of prefecture [in north Japan] gave his blessing to Japan's first commercial nuclear-fuel reprocessing plant";"Climate Change: Hot Under the Collar"(46-7):-Official summary:"Britain will miss its much-trumpeted carbon-emissions target, for all the government's proposed new measures". Both items involve:(1) reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions(Kyoto target); (2) expansion of nuclear energy (op.cit. very end of Economist28 Jan 06 i.e."Nuclear Power: Technology Transfer"); (3) related government problems that include limited public support. "Government is keen to point out that Britain should still meet its Kyoto target... Why isthe tougher, self-imposed target proving so elusive? Some of the reasons are beyond official control...But most of the blame belongs at the government's door...In the end, problem is that climate change is not yet a vote-winner [but] reputation will suffer abroad". Could this also fit Japan? Other G-8 states?


The Economist 15 Apr 06"Women in the Workforce: The Importance of Sex"(Edit.16); "Women and the World Economy: A Guide to Womenomics"(73-4):-both stress major global challenge of the new century.Editorial's summary: "Forget China, India and the internet: economic growth is driven by women". Major essay's summary: "The future of the world economy lies increasingly in female hands". Highlights: "Girls may now be a better investment [than boys]. Girls get better grades at school,.. and in most developed countries more women than men go to university. Women will thus be better equipped for the new jobsof the 21st century, in which brains count a lot more than brawn... Furthermore, increase in female employment in rich world has been the main driving force of growth in past two decades[, having]contributed more to global GDP growth than either new technology or the new giants, China and India.Add value of housework/child-rearing, and women probably account for just over half of world output. [O]ver coming years, women will have great scope to boost their productivity - and incomes. [T]hey areworld's most under-utilised resource; getting more of them into work is part of the solution to many economic woes. [Those] developed countries where more women work... actually have higher birth ratesthan [those] where women stay at home. [Regarding care of children,] increase in work outside the homeoffset by less housework - and less spare time and less sleep... If female labour-force participation rose,... it would give a helpful boost to [developed] countries' growth rates. Likewise, in developing countries.,. investing in [full girls' ] education would deliver huge economic and social returns. Not onlywill educated women be more productive, but they will also bring up better educated/healthier children".


The Economist 29 Apr 06"African Poverty: The Magnificant Seven"(51-2):-"How a few simple reforms can lift African villages out of poverty... UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)(op.cit.) set such targets as halving proportion of people living on less than $1/day by 2015. Other continents same targets, butmost egregious examples of poverty, poor health and underdevelopment usually found in Africa... World Bank-IMF report[:] African countries not doing enough to meet their targets on poverty. UNICEF still gloomier[:] in Africa over 25% children under five still underweight, 'catastrophe for development'[and] in east/southern Africa number underweight actually increased. [T]his sort of statistic fires up Jeffrey Sachs(op.cit.), head of Millennium Project, [who contends] Africa's leap forward must begin... in parchedand pestilential villages where up to 80% of poor Africans actually live. To this end, Sachs has set up 12 "research villages" in 10 African countries(map) to pioneer models of development that can bereplicated by other villages in future. Another 66 villages added to experiment in clusters around original12. Hope is for 1,000 such villages by 2009, with exponential growth thereafter. Each village will receivepractical help from Project [at] $250/person over five years...Project trying to show how few simple reforms, seven in all, can substantially improve lives and provide livelihoods. These are: fertiliser andseed to improve food yield; anti-malarial bed nets; improved water sources; diversification from staple into cash crops; school feeding program; deworming for all; and introduction of new technologies, such as energy-saving stoves/mobile phones. [In] first Millennium village,.. incidence of malaria dropped byat least 50% since...bed nets. Food yield has more than doubled [and] school feeding program has[raised students' ] exam results. [Signs of various improvements in] economic activity as well... Sachs concedes seven reforms can, in short term at least, be repeated only with 'resources from the outside'.This makes model unduly dependent on foreign aid[, but] there is hardly a better investment".


The Economist 20 May 06"The Battle for Latin America's Soul: A Fight between Democrats and Populists"(Edit.11);"Latin America's Economies: Imbroving on the Latin Rate of Growth"(40-1):-bothspecial political changes and predictive economic report see major trends taking place -and encouraged- over important global zone. Editorial:"Suddenly Latin America has grabbed world's attention[:]something fundamentalis changing. Spectre has arisen...of anti-US leftist nationalism... Crime mobs created by foreign demandfor cocaine...run amok... Tide of migrants fleeing lack of opportunity in Latin America has become bitter[transits of Mexico-US border]. Venezuela run by noisiest of anti-Yanqui nationalist, Hugo Chavez ...Yet to portray what is happening in Americas as battle between US and its Latin neighbours is mistaken. Latin America does matter - but not quite, or not only, for reasons commonly believed. Battle being waged isone within Latin America over its future. It is between liberal democrats - of left and right - andauthoritarian populists. Latin America's efforts to make democracy work, and to use it to make searingly unequal societies fairer and more prosperous, have implications across developing world". Economics:Taken as whole, Latin America's economies...doing better than they have for more than two decades... In some ways, growth looks more sustainable than in past[, and] changes have inspired a boom in Latin American assets. [M]any countries have stuck to sound macroeconomics: flexible exchange rates,inflation targeting by more-or-less independent central banks and fairly responsible fiscal policies...Raising sustainable rate of growth is long-term task. In meantime, two big challenges. First: stay out of trouble, if and when world economy weakens[, and] points to need for tighter fiscal policy... Second isenduring poverty/inequality. If many...still see the fruits of reform as disappointing, that is because poverty rates do not seem to be falling as fast as they should be.,. partly because income distribution more unequal than anywhere outside Africa... That points to giving priority to policies which increase growth/reduce poverty. Examples include investment in education/infrastructure... Raising rate of growthin Latin America, and achieving fairer societies, therefore has much to do with reforming the state".


The Economist 03 Jun 06 "Business in India: Can India Fly?"(Edit.13); "A Survey of Business in India: Now For the Hard Part"(1-18); "India [Financial Sector]: Safe and Sorry"(73):-"It has taken off at last. Only with further reform can it spread its wings and soar... Despite huge potential market of 1.1 billion people, despite its wealth of English-speakers and democratic institutions, despite vaunted 15-year-old reforms,India has been a daunting place to do business, its entrepreneurs chained down by the world's most bureaucratic bureaucracy, lousy infrastructure and lousier Fabian economic ideas... Survey [by Simon Long] argues Indian business has secured niche in world economy that can only grow in importance... India now boasts robust economic growth [- averaged 8.1% GDP growth over past three years; at least 6% since 1991. Also] producing far more world-class companies than China [and] best known are wizards of software and 'business process outsourcing'- Indian firms: two-thirds of global market in offshore information technology services and nearly half that in BPO. Now being joined by manufacturers... bythe efficient use of technology. [Yet] India needs to grow much faster. Otherwise, poverty will persist for decades and social tensions will mount... Government action desperately needed to unplug bottlenecksthat will tighten as economy grows... Not just question of roads/airports/electricity; most village children lack the basic literacy needed to find work off the land. India's admired technical institutes soon unable keep pace with demand for well-qualified English-speaking engineers, chemists etc. Trade liberalisation halting/partial: banking system credit to wrong places; labour laws deter employment; privatisation stuck; fiscal deficit...still sucks resources from productive investment in infrastructure/ education/ health; foreign investment in many industries hampered... India has taken off. Just think how high its peoplecould fly without all these chains".Survey: India has globalisation, technology, demography, democracy.


The Economist 03 Jun 06 "Special Report: Twenty-Five Years of AIDS: Unhappy Anniversary" (24-5):- "Quarter of a century on, AIDS epidemic shows signs of peaking. But now the cost of its consequencesis becoming clearer... According to UNAIDS, world spent $8b+ in 2005 trying to prevent spread of HIV... in poor/middle-income countries... and care for those already infected - about 39m. [Since UNGAcommitments in 2001,] increase in fraction of population infected has slowed dramatically; in sub-Saharan Africa where 60% of infected live, this fraction has remained unchanged for 5 years [and]prevalence rate... rising only at rate population as whole is growing... Need today...is for a few success stories[:] AIDS can be contained if prepared to spend the money to contain it... UNAIDS report contains evidence prevention methods are working in parts of Africa where they did not seem to work before. In 8 of 11 African countries studied in detail, people having sex before they reached 15 has dropped; use of condoms increased; and in six there was decline of 25%+ from peak prevalence among those aged15-24. Drop at this end of age range suggests reduced infection rates, rather than increased mortality...Figures for treatment are going in right direction, too. More being treated with anti-retroviral drugs. Figureat end of 2005 was 1.3m [-] less than half target of 3m UNAIDS had set itself, but not negligible. [M]akingthese drugs available to all who need them by end of decade is still within reach[:] goal is to see 10mtreated by 2010... Rate money has been made available for AIDS from all sources... underwent a step change in 2001[:] pledge was to find $7-10b by 2005, and what turned up was $8.3b. [Money particularly via two large funds.] Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria...has internationalist credentialsthat most activists like. Financed by many countries/large charities/contributions from business [and] novel feature is regular assessment of its projects by outside consultants. [Other major fund is] PEPFAR,President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, [by US' s] George Bush. [A]ctivists are happy to take... UStaxpayers' money, but... comes with strings they do not like [, and] when large sums are at stake,tensions may be inevitable... AIDS is still incurable. Treatment works only as long as take the drugs. [A]ll realise on a mission without an end [, yet] 50th anniversary of AIDS may be more cheerful than 25th".


The Economist 03 Jun 06 "Nuclear Power: The Shape of Things to Come"(77-8):-"[N]ew generation of reactors will be 'highly economic'with 'enhanced safety', that 'minimize wastes' and will prove 'proliferation resistant'[says US agency. While] fine words not enough,..yet political interest in nuclear power is reviving across world, thanks in part to concerns about global warming/energy security.Already, 441 commercial reactors operate in 31 countries/provide 17% of planet's electricity. [One aim now is] how to extend their lives. Another 32 reactors being built, mostly in India/China/their neighbours...Modern designs need to be less accident prone [and] most important feature of safe design is that it 'fails safe'. This means that if control systems stop working it shuts down automatically, safely dissipates heat produced by reactions in its core, and stops both the fuel and radioactive waste... from escapingby keeping them within some sort of containment vessel. Reactors that follow such rules are called 'passive'. Most modern designs are passive to some extent and some newer ones are truly so[, although] likely to be more expensive to run. Nuclear energy is produced by atomic fission. A large atom (usually uranium or plutonium) breaks into two smaller ones, releasing energy and neutrons. Neutrons thentrigger further break-ups. If this 'chain reaction'can be controlled, energy released can be used to boil water, produce steam and drive a turbine that generates electricity. (Never extreme [explosion] in a reactor as fuel is less fissile than bomb material.) In many new designs the neutrons/chain reaction arekept under control by passing them through water to slow them down. Water is exposed to pressure ofabout 150 atmospheres... When nuclear reactions warm the water, its density drops, and neutronspassing through are no longer slowed enough to trigger further reactions. That negative feedbackstabilises the reaction rate. [Most US reactors/planned Finnish one are of this type, but latter also [hasseveral protective measures against accidents, including] four independent emergency-cooling systems. [French plan/four Chinese plants are similar. Canadian design has pressurised heavy-water reactors, but contains water in which hydrogen atoms replaced by deuterium, and so uses natural uranium.]Cheapness of fuel balances cost of the heavy water. Moreover, instead of using single large containment vessel, fuel is held in hundreds of pressure-resistent tubes. CANDU reactors can thus be refuelled while operating, making them more efficient than light-water reactors. [India/China have reactors of this type.]South African 'pebble-bed'design... uses graphite to regulate flow of neutrons, and... heats an inert or semi-inert gas to drive turbines. [Again,] reactors can be refuelled while running... Further into future,...plants that could be built 2030-40 [include] trick of generating their own fuel, since fast neutrons can convert non-fissile isotopes of uranium into highly fissile plutonium. [C]omplicated designs could be expensive. Operate at very high temperatures, so cooling fluids through cores may be liquid metals".


The Economist 17 Jun 06"The Logistics Revolution: Chain Reaction"(Edit.14); "A Survey of Logistics: The Physical Internet"(1-20):-Editorial emphasizes that"a hidden industry has changed all our lives", while the Survey begins"Like information on the internet, goods are moving around the world with ever greater efficiency. But Paul Markillie spots dangers lurking in modern supply chains". Editor's highlights:"great manufacturers now have amazingly lean operations[, having] outsourced business to contractors[; and] a huge logistics industry has sprung up to move stuff around world at dazzling speed...Containerisationslashed shipping costs. Express air-freight made overnight delivery possible to most places on earth.Moreover, such services within grasp...of anyone trading... Deliveries so reliable some firms now carryno stock themselves but use lorries/aircraft of firms like UPS/FedEx as warehouses on road/in sky.Many... successful companies... rewriting rules of competition through organization of supply chains. [This] marvel of commerce not without its risks. Supply chains ever more complex/extended[, so somemay be] too lean in relentless drive to reduce costs. [B]est protection... is to expect failure, not hide from it. [T]ry to detect any looming problems[; s]ometimes...make some things closer to [their] markets. [M]any...now trying to identify choke points/weak links in supply chains.[Few areas -energy, munitions, medicines -] make sense for governments to keep some emergency stocks of essentials... But logisitical apocalypse is not a good way for politicians to think about everyday life, let alone start interfering inmarkets. Lean supply chains are more of a strength in an economy than a weakness. Consumers havegained massively from global outsourcing[:] pay lower prices and benefit from huge increase in variety".


The Economist 17 Jun 06 "AIDS: Nef Off" (87):- "The reason HIV is so virulent may have been found... Thehuman immunodeficiency virus, HIV-1, is the most intensively studied pathogen in history. It still has secrets to reveal. One is why it is so deadly. Many of man's primate relatives in Africa harbour similar viruses. Yet,.. simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVS) have little impact on their hosts' health...Investigation suggests it is result of a change in the role of a single viral gene, called nef...In most SIVS,one role of nef is to remove a protein called TCR-CD3 from the surfaces of the cells that host the virus.Host cells in question are immune-system cells called T-cells. Specifically, they are 'helper'T-cells, which orchestrate the immune system's response to pathogens such as viruses... In the case of AIDS,immune system continues to be stimulated, and this prolonged stimulation results in high death rates among T-cells. Eventually, that exhausts immune system's capacity to regenerate itself. Result is acollapse in the number of T-cells, and the accompanying symptoms of AIDS. In most simian infections,this does not happen because nef keeps the TCR-CD3 level too low for this exaggerated response to occur. That is also true in a rarer form of human AIDS caused by a virus called HIV-2. This form of AIDSis found in West Africa, but has not spread much beyond that part of the world. Indeed, of the 16 immunodeficiency viruses, all but five had nef genes that removed TCR-CD3 from the cell surface. Threeof those five were closely related monkey viruses. The fourth was HIV-1. The fifth was the chimpanzee virus that is the direct ancestor of HIV-1".


The Economist 24 Jun 06"Philanthropy: Give and Make"(Edit.12);"How To Save the World: Bolton v Gore"(38):-both deal - in very different flavors - with the world's vast/quick need for responsible aid from therich/smart. [My own deep feelings are at end of this item.] Editorial makes case that "Admirably, Bill Gatesseems as serious about giving his money away as he was about making it...No matter what inspiration,philanthropy is good for doing all sorts of things governments fail at. Free of vicissitudes of votes/public opinion, philanthropists can take on causes that are unpopular or neglected... So applaud Gate's decisionto make giving away money his day job, and to work at Microsoft part-time... Gates Foundation, whichalready does a fine job, will do even better. He is also setting an example to those, such as his friend, William Buffett,.. who look likely to leave the task to someone else. [See particularly following major articles/essays: Timothy L.O'Brien & Stephanie Saul"Buffett to Give Bulk of His Fortune to Gates Charity"New York Times 26 Jun 06; Donald G.McNeil Jr. & Rick Lyman"Buffett's Billions Will Aid Fight Against Disease"NYT 27 Jun 06; Landon Thomas Jr."A Friendship: A Gift Between Friends"NYT 27 Jun 06; David Leonhardt"How To Give Money as Buffett Does"NYT 28 Jun 06.] Not every donor needs to become a full-time philanthropist - a growing industry of intermediaries can help sort deserving schemes from the rest.What matters is that giver should do more than simply hand over money...Capitalism has demonstrated it is best system for creating great fortunes. More capitalists should show it is best for getting rid of them, too". Bolton/Gore item reports on extraordinary plot by US amb to UN to justify Bush administration'srefusal to implement UN's Kyoto agreement to begin initial global action against the fatal weather crisisby introducing:"A question of priorities: hunger and disease o