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BAD TO WORSE IN AFGHANISTAN.
After decades of instability dating back to the Soviet occupation, Afghanistan has suffered. After the United States’ invasion and ultimate withdrawal, the situation continued to deteriorate. Per the Associated Press, “In Afghanistan, 1.1 million children under the age of 5 will likely face the most severe form of malnutrition this year, according to the U.N., as increasing numbers of hungry, wasting-away children are brought into hospital wards. U.N. and other aid agencies were able to stave off outright famine after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last year, rolling out a massive emergency aid program that fed millions. But they are struggling to keep pace with relentlessly worsening conditions. Poverty is spiraling and making more Afghans in need of aid, global food prices are mounting from the war in Ukraine and promises of international funding so far are not coming through, according to an assessment report issued this month.” Hit by one of its worst droughts in decades and torn by years of war, Afghanistan was already facing a hunger emergency; but the Taliban takeover in August threw the country into crisis. Many development agencies pulled out and international sanctions cut off billions in finances for the government, collapsing the economy. You just have to ask: When will things really begin to improve for Afghanistan? https://bit.ly/38TMZ8y
HUNGER IS WORLD WIDE.
Hunger and food insecurity is also bearing down on another country. Babies are dying in Somalia after a series of bad luck events. Accordion to Reuters, “After rains failed for four consecutive seasons, the worst drought in 40 years has shriveled their beans and maize and dotted scrubland with the corpses of their goats and donkeys. read more. With global focus on Ukraine, aid agencies and the United Nations are desperate to attract attention to a calamity they say is shaping up to be comparable to Somalia’s 2011 famine. More than a quarter of a million people died then, mostly children under five.” It is estimated that over 6 million Somalis need aid in order to survive. https://reut.rs/3GqjGqM
EFFORT TO STRENGTHEN W.H.O. STALLS.
The initial month of the Covid-19 pandemic laid bare the lack of actual influence the World Health Organization wields when it comes to sovereign countries. Without any legal means of enforcing its recommendations, it could only offer suggestions and hope for the best. We all know how that turned out. During the World Health Organization Assembly, the United States attempted to strengthen the organization. Alas, it was not to happen. Per Reuters, “African countries raised an objection on Tuesday to a U.S.-led proposal to reform the International Health Regulations (IHR), a move delegates say might prevent passage at the World Health Organization’s annual assembly. If Africa continues to withhold support, it could block one of the only concrete reforms expected from the meeting, fraying hopes that members will unite on reforms to strengthen the U.N. health agency’s rules as it seeks a central role for itself in global health policy.” https://reut.rs/3sW1uzF
MORE MONEY PLEASE.
It’s no secret that doctoral students barely make a pittance until they receive tenure at a university. The odds are stacked against them, especially when it comes to earning a living wage. Per Science, “Ph.D. students have decried miserly wages for decades. Now, amid rising cost of living, the problem is taking on new urgency. “There’s no question that students are struggling to survive,” says Michelle Gaynor, a Ph.D. student studying botany at the University of Florida, Gainesville. ‘We’re really selecting against people who are low income or from marginalized communities,’ she adds. ‘We can’t talk about DEI [diversity, equity, and inclusion] and not talk about this.’ Across the country, many graduate students strain to get by on wages that aren’t sufficient to meet their basic needs. ‘A third of our students … struggle to afford rent and 15% struggle to afford food,’ Jane Petzoldt, an entomology master’s student, says of her department at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in Raleigh, where rents have risen by more than 20% in the past year. A national survey of 3000 graduate students conducted in 2020 similarly found that more than one-quarter of respondents suffered from housing or food insecurity.” Talk about disincentives. https://bit.ly/3yVRpGP
One of agricultural geneticists favorite plant tweaks is to make them more healthy by altering them to produce vitamins, etc. Golden rice is a perfect example. Now researchers believe that they can get tomatoes to produce vitamin D. According to Science, “Tomatoes get riper and tastier in the summer Sun. Two studies now show that with a little help from gene editing, Sun-ripened tomatoes can also stockpile a precursor molecule to vitamin D, a vital nutrient normally found mainly in animal products. ‘This could be a game changer; in nations where vitamin D deficiency is a problem, says Esther van der Knaap, a plant geneticist at the University of Georgia, Athens. Biofortified plants could also help vegans get enough of the nutrient. The finding ‘opens up a very exciting new era for vitamin D,’ says nutritional scientist Susan Lanham-New of the University of Surrey.” Question id: Will it taste any better? https://bit.ly/39VHUg4
Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.