28 Jan, 2019

What can the kingdom of Bhutan teach us about fighting corruption

Fighting corruption is supremely difficult, as it is proved by the recent expulsion of UN anti-corruption mission in Guatemala, the jail sentence of a former Korean President or the murder of an African journalist investigating corruption. …

24 Jan, 2019

Global rules should follow outcry over China’s gene-edited babies

The world’s first gene-edited babies, twin girls Lulu and Nana (not their real names), whose birth was announced only two months ago (November 2018) by a young Chinese scientist who ‘created’ them, have sparked fierce debate in the world science community. …

21 Jan, 2019

Why Are Millions Paying Online Tax Preparation Fees When They Don’t Need To?

As internet use took off at the turn of the millennium, the Office of Management and Budget asked the Internal Revenue Service to create no-cost electronic tax-filing options for low- and moderate-income taxpayers. The tech-challenged agency turned to the online tax-preparation industry for help and soon struck a deal with companies such as Intuit (the maker of TurboTax) and H&R Block …

17 Jan, 2019

Renewed space rivalry between nations ignores a tradition of cooperation

The annals of science fiction are full of visions of the future. Some are techno-utopian like “Star Trek” in which humanity has joined together in peace to explore the cosmos. Others are dystopian, like the World State in “Brave New World.” But many of these stories share one thing in common – they envision a time in which humanity has moved past narrow ideas of tribe and nationalism. That assumption might be wrong. …

10 Jan, 2019

Q&A: How to make agriculture a viable business

The African Development Bank aims to boost agricultural productivity by helping scale up proven technologies. Its flagship programme, Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), is a priority of that agenda, also called the Feed Africa Strategy. …

07 Jan, 2019

Arundhati Roy’s new novel lays India bare, unveiling worlds within our world

Wearing two hats at once can be an uncomfortable fit, but it does not seem to bother the author Arundhati Roy, who for most of her life has railed against state excesses and corporate exploitation while also wielding the pen. …

03 Jan, 2019

Traditional innovation in farming is under threat

When policymakers think of innovation they tend to think of laboratories or the spaces where designers and engineers create solutions to pressing problems. But this ignores a more longstanding and widespread form of innovation. …

31 Dec, 2018

6 Young Men, Given Adult Sentences for “Minor” Infractions, Are Freed in Illinois

Six young men who had been sentenced to lengthy adult prison terms for committing what were described as minor infractions at a southern Illinois youth correctional facility went free Friday after outgoing Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, in an unannounced move, commuted their sentences. …

27 Dec, 2018

India’s sodomy ban, now ruled illegal, was a British colonial legacy

The Indian Supreme Court has legalized homosexuality, overturning a 157-year ban on consensual gay sex. In a nearly 500-page unanimous decision issued on Sept. 6, India’s highest court affirmed that “whenever the constitutional courts come across a situation of transgression or dereliction in the sphere of fundamental rights which are also the basic human rights of a section, howsoever small part of the society, then it is for the constitutional courts to ensure that constitutional morality prevails over social morality.” …

24 Dec, 2018

UN project aims to nix ships’ most dangerous stowaways

A global initiative launched last week aims to reduce the environmental impact of the invasive marine species being spread across the oceans by ships. The GloFouling Partnerships project, led by the UN, will support countries around the globe in using innovations to combat biofouling, the build up of marine animals such as barnacles on underwater surfaces, and in implementing guidelines on this topic from the UN’s International Maritime Organization. …

20 Dec, 2018

Trump’s Inauguration Paid Trump’s Company – With Ivanka in the Middle

When it came out this year that President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee raised and spent unprecedented amounts, people wondered where all that money went. It turns out one beneficiary was Trump himself. The inauguration paid the Trump Organization for rooms, meals and event space at the company’s Washington hotel, according to interviews as well as internal emails and receipts reviewed by WNYC and ProPublica. …

17 Dec, 2018

Q&A: Morocco’s ‘Argan queen’ put women in charge

A chemist at the University of Mohammed V in Rabat, Morocco, Shroff researched how to make extraction more efficient while preserving the qualities of the oil. Known for its light nutty flavour, Argan oil is used in cooking as well as for its medicinal properties, in particular for skin and hair care. …

13 Dec, 2018

Kofi Annan: a man who paid his dues to global peace and security

He became Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) a few years after the demise of the Soviet Union. The collapse of the bi-polar world reduced to the barest minimum the constraints imposed by the Cold War rivalry on the world body. It also led to the expansion of its role and responsibilities to address the new challenges and dimensions of security. …

10 Dec, 2018

New Court Docs: Maker of Tylenol Had a Plan to Block Tougher Regulation

Recently filed court documents show the makers of Tylenol planned to enlist the White House and lawmakers to block the Food and Drug Administration from imposing tough new safety restrictions on acetaminophen, the iconic painkiller’s chief ingredient. …

06 Dec, 2018

Wings of desire, demise and adaptation: birds in Australian art

Human-bird interaction, (both the good and the bad), is a dominant theme amid the 70 artworks in Birds: Flight Paths in Australian Art. This review explores the exhibition from an ecologist’s mindset. …

03 Dec, 2018

App ‘trained’ to spot crop disease, alert farmers

A team of scientists has received US$100,000 grant to refine a mobile application (app) that uses artificial intelligence to diagnose crop diseases, and aims to help millions of African smallholders. …

29 Nov, 2018

A Hog Waste Agreement Lacked Teeth, and Some North Carolinians Say They’re Left to Suffer

Today, many farmers continue to store the waste in open pits despite the millions of dollars in private investment spent and years of research and political promises. The practice grows more hazardous with each hurricane that pounds the state. Nearly 20 years ago, North Carolina faced a reckoning. Hurricane Floyd inundated the state, flooding the open pits where farmers store hog waste. The nation looked on in horror as pink sludge from the lagoons mingled with rising floodwaters to force stranded animals atop hog houses and drowned thousands of pigs. …

26 Nov, 2018

No, crying doesn’t release toxins, though it might make you feel better… if that’s what you believe

Crying is a big part of being a kid. As you grow older, you may find you’re crying less than during childhood and adolescence. Studies show, on average, adult women tend to cry two to three times in a given month, and men only once. Although research is limited, it suggests crying frequency is highly influenced by social and cultural factors, our beliefs about the value of crying and how it is evaluated. …

22 Nov, 2018

Q&A: ‘It doesn’t matter if you improve your productivity ten-fold’

Gilbert Houngbo took over the presidency of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in April this year, following posts with other UN agencies and a four-year term as prime minister of Togo. …
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