19 Feb, 2018

Colonialism in India was traumatic – including for some of the British officials who ruled the Raj

When India gained independence from Britain on August 15 1947, the majority of Anglo-Indians had either left or would leave soon after. Many within the Indian Civil Service would write of the trauma that they experienced from witnessing the violence of the years leading up to the end of British rule and the bloodbath that would follow as the lines of partition were revealed. …

15 Feb, 2018

Biosensor Promises Early Malaria Diagnosis

The strip, designed for early diagnosis of infection caused by the Plasmodium falciparum parasites responsible for the most aggressive and lethal form of the disease, gives a result within 30 minutes of being immersed in a solution with samples of blood, serum or saliva of an infected person. Current tests take between two to ten days to give a result. …

12 Feb, 2018

Smoking Mad: Tobacco Users Caught Up in Insurer’s Obamacare ‘Glitch’

Retired New Hampshire nurse Terry Wetherby doesn’t hide the fact that she smokes.

She checked the box on HealthCare.gov saying she uses tobacco and fully expected to pay more for her insurance policy under the Affordable Care Act. “It’s not a secret at all,” she said. …

08 Feb, 2018

What would Mark Twain think of Donald Trump?

Thanks to the criticisms they’ve leveled in articles, interviews, tweets and letters to the editor, we know that many contemporary authors, from Philip Roth to J.K. Rowling, have a dim view of Donald J. Trump. …

05 Feb, 2018

Reward Scientists Working for Human Rights

On the anniversary of philanthropist Alfred Nobel’s death last week, the international chemical weapons watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), picked up its Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. The organisation was recognised both for its current, hazardous mission to destroy chemical weapons in Syria and also for 16 years of wider efforts to rid the world of such weapons. …

01 Feb, 2018

Baltimore Judge Tosses Alford Plea, Rebuking Prosecutor

In a hearing in Baltimore City Circuit Court today, a judge threw out Demetrius Smith’s conviction for a shooting he has long insisted he did not commit and chastised the prosecutor in the case for making several misrepresentations to the court. …

29 Jan, 2018

The economics of ridiculously expensive art

What would possess someone to buy Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi for US$450 million? You might think it’s an investment - after all it was previously sold for just US$10,000 in 2005.

From an economic point of view, art can be an investment. Although the research shows art investing has mixed results. Art also has what economists refer to as “psychic benefits”. It is something to be enjoyed, experienced or flaunted, and this may be the key to the high price paid for Salvator Mundi. …

25 Jan, 2018

Get pragmatic to tackle mental health stigma

In 2008, Liza (name changed) moved to Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, from her rural home town where she had been gang-raped by armed forces. She left traumatised and terrified. The event changed her life completely. Not only did she contract HIV from the rape, Liza also became severely depressed. And it took her six years to access any mental health service. …

22 Jan, 2018

Our Rebuttal to RAND’s Critique of Surgeon Scorecard

A few days ago, the RAND Corporation published an opinion piece that raised questions about Surgeon Scorecard, our searchable online database of complication rates for surgeons performing several elective operations. We appreciate the authors’ intentions and plan to take some suggestions into account as we prepare Surgeon Scorecard 2.0. …

18 Jan, 2018

Explainer: where do the names of our months come from?

Our lives run on Roman time. Birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and public holidays are regulated by Pope Gregory XIII’s Gregorian Calendar, which is itself a modification of Julius Caesar’s calendar introduced in 45 B.C. The names of our months are therefore derived from the Roman gods, leaders, festivals, and numbers. If you’ve ever wondered why our 12-month year ends with September, October, November, and December – names which mean the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth months – you can blame the Romans. …

15 Jan, 2018

Asia-Pacific Analysis: Digital revolution sweeps Pacific

Considering the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, one would think that the 22 Pacific island countries would have long ago embraced the digital revolution if only to connect with each other.

The surprise is this happened only about five years ago, according to David Robie, veteran journalist and director of the Pacific Media Centre in Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. …

11 Jan, 2018

Trump Ban Leaves 12-Year-Old Girl Facing Return to War-Torn Yemen

Ahmed Ali spent Sunday at a hotel near Djibouti’s International Airport, anxiously checking CNN on his phone to see if the Trump administration would allow him to fly to the United States with Eman, his 12-year-old daughter. …

08 Jan, 2018

Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy will make hurricane recovery brutal – here’s why

The United States had already seen its share of disasters, from back-to-back hurricanes that devastated Texas, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands to roaring wildfires in the West.

Then, after battering the rest of the Caribbean, Hurricane Maria left the island of Puerto Rico facing a humanitarian crisis. About a dozen people died in the Sept. 21 storm and the island was plunged into darkness. …

05 Jan, 2018

Let’s reconnect green issues and development post-2015

They had become increasingly worried by the emergence of holes in the ozone layer, which allowed harmful ultraviolet rays to pass through the Earth's atmosphere — and, in 1987, the Montreal Protocol began the process of banning CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) because of their damaging effect on this layer. …

02 Jan, 2018

‘If You Hemorrhage, Don’t Clean Up’: Advice From Mothers Who Almost Died

We’ve heard from 3,100 women who survived life-threatening complications of pregnancy or childbirth. They told us what they wish they had known — and what they would say to other new and expectant mothers. …

02 Jan, 2018

Eradicating child labour in India

One of the proudest achievements of the present government is the giant steps the country has taken towards complete eradication of child labour. A historic development in this direction happened in June this year when India ratified two core ILO Conventions on child labour, namely ILO Convention 138 regarding the age of admission for employment and ILO Convention 182 that deals with the worst forms of child labour.

29 Dec, 2017

Why it’s easier for India to get to Mars than to tackle its toilet challenge

In 2013, India became the fourth country in the world (after Russia, the United States and the European Union) and the only emerging nation to launch a Mars probe into space. But it remains part of the group of 45 developing countries with less than 50% sanitation coverage, with many citizens practising open defecation, either due to lack of access to a toilet or because of personal preference. …

26 Dec, 2017

Finding the real impact of agricultural innovation support

Impact evaluation in agricultural development is a hot topic. And so are the debates on methodology.

Most donor agencies that commission studies into the impact of agricultural development are interested in reporting on their contribution to meeting the Millennium Development Goals, with income generation and poverty reduction as main objectives. …

21 Dec, 2017

Who’s Taking College Spots From Top Asian Americans? Privileged Whites.

Asian-American seniors at Hunter College High School in New York City about their college admission prospects. One young woman told me she had scored 1530 out of a maximum 1600 on the SAT. When I congratulated her, she said that her score was what she and her friends called “an Asian fail.” She predicted it wouldn’t be enough to get into her dream school, Yale. She was right. The next day, she learned that Yale had rejected her. …

18 Dec, 2017

Toilet marketing campaigns in developing countries erode people’s dignity – this is not acceptable

About 4.5 billion people – more than half of us on our crowded planet – do not have safe sanitation. By this we mean a toilet, at home, one which separates us from our excreta, after which the excreta are treated or buried and do not contaminate the environment. One of the United Nations’ recently-adopted Sustainable Development Goals is for everyone to have safe sanitation by 2030, which is expected to improve physical and psychosocial well-being worldwide. But how do we achieve this? The answer is not as simple as building more toilets. …
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