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Rural women’s groups in peacebuilding activities

Women at a VSLA meeting in Barkedu.

Image: Women at a VSLA meeting in Barkedu.

fao.org - June 25th, 2015

FAO’s integrated approach of reaching Ebola-hit farmers in Liberia’s Lofa County is bearing increased results not only in crop production, VSLA (village savings and loan associations) revitalization and education in Ebola prevention but the help is also uniting women in peacebuilding, palaver management as well as visiting sick members.

The women associations have transcended the normal call of duty to VSLA and business activities among members to also get involved in other “worthy communal undertakings.” They have expanded shared group engagements to include sympathizing with bereaved members and palaver resolution among aggrieved women.

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Scientists Crack A 50-Year-Old Mystery About The Measles Vaccine

Worth a little pain? Back in 1990, a school boy got a measles shot in the U.K., and it turns out, he got more than protection against the measles. Photofusion/UIG via Getty Images

Image: Worth a little pain? Back in 1990, a school boy got a measles shot in the U.K., and it turns out, he got more than protection against the measles. Photofusion/UIG via Getty Images

npr.org - May 7th, 2015 - Michaeleen Doucleff

Back in the 1960s, the U.S. started vaccinating kids for measles. As expected, children stopped getting measles.

But something else happened.

Childhood deaths from all infectious diseases plummeted. Even deaths from diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea were cut by half.

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Virtual Volunteers Use Twitter And Facebook To Make Maps Of Nepal

Kathmandu Living Labs' earthquake site collects data about conditions and needs. Each blue dot represents the number of reports of help wanted — medical, food, water or shelter — near Kathmandu. Kathmandu Living Labs

Image: Kathmandu Living Labs' earthquake site collects data about conditions and needs. Each blue dot represents the number of reports of help wanted — medical, food, water or shelter — near Kathmandu. Kathmandu Living Labs

npr.org - May 5th 2015 - David Lagesse

These pleas for help in the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake have popped up on ever changing maps of the disaster zone, compiled and posted by hundreds of digital volunteers around the globe. They've not been to Nepal and very likely haven't met each other, instead working together through online forums and chat rooms and posting their work to Web documents and maps.

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Dutch Citizens Are Taking Their Government To Court Over Climate Change

huffingtonpost.com - April 17th 2015 - Charlotte Alfred

A group of Dutch citizens headed to court this week in a bold effort to hold their government accountable for its inaction over climate change.

The case, which opened at The Hague on Tuesday, was first filed by the Urgenda Foundation, a sustainability group, and 900 co-plaintiffs in the Netherlands in 2013.

The plaintiffs' lawyers argue that the current policies of the Dutch government are insufficient to halt climate change, and that the government is thus illegally endangering its citizens.

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Ebola Death Rates Vary Widely by Age Group

LIVE SCIENCE       by

Young children who are infected with Ebola may be more likely to die from the virus than older children or adults who are infected, according to a new study.

 In the study, researchers examined Ebola cases in children younger than 16 during the current outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and compared them with adult cases. They found that the outbreak's death rate has been higher among younger children than among older children and adults.

The disease has killed about 90 percent of infected children under age 1, and about 80 percent of kids ages 1 to 4 who have been infected. Older children who have been infected with Ebola may have a much better chance of surviving....

"The very youngest of children — neonates  —appear to have the worst outcomes from Ebola," study co-author Dr. Robert Fowler, an associate professor of critical-care medicine at the University of Toronto, said in a statement. (Neonates, or newborns, are babies younger than 1 month.)

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Canadian government pushing First Nations to give up land rights for oil and gas profits

A rally against the expansion of the Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline on Burnaby Mountain in British Columbia, Canada, in November, 2014. Photograph: Mark Klotz/flickr

Image: A rally against the expansion of the Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline on Burnaby Mountain in British Columbia, Canada, in November, 2014. Photograph: Mark Klotz/flickr

theguardian.com - March 4th 2015 - Martin Lukacs

The Harper government is trying to win support for its pipelines and resource agenda by pushing First Nations to sideline their aboriginal rights in exchange for business opportunities, documents reveal.

The news that Canada’s Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs is working to this end by collaborating with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is sparking strong criticism from grassroots Indigenous people.

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The truth about smart cities: ‘In the end, they will destroy democracy'

Songdo in South Korea: a ‘smart city’ whose roads and water, waste and electricity systems are dense with electronic sensors. Photograph: Hotaik Sung/Alamy

Image: Songdo in South Korea: a ‘smart city’ whose roads and water, waste and electricity systems are dense with electronic sensors. Photograph: Hotaik Sung/Alamy

theguardian.com - December 17th, 2014 - Steven Poole

A woman drives to the outskirts of the city and steps directly on to a train; her electric car then drives itself off to park and recharge. A man has a heart attack in the street; the emergency services send a drone equipped with a defibrillator to arrive crucial minutes before an ambulance can. A family of flying maintenance robots lives atop an apartment block – able to autonomously repair cracks or leaks and clear leaves from the gutters.

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Ebola in Africa and the U.S.: A Curation

wired.com - August 4th, 2014 - Maryn McKenna

The Ebola outbreak has been building in West Africa for a while, but when it was revealed at the end of last week that two American aid workers had caught the disease — and that they were being transported back to the US for treatment — the news and the reaction to it instantly filled every channel. Over the weekend, so much misinformation and outrage got pumped out that it feels as though there’s no way to cut through the noise.

But I have a few thoughts. Start with this: No, I don’t think the two aid workers who are being returned to the US pose any risk at all to the average American, or even the average Atlanta resident.

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Parisians driven to revolt by car ban in fight against pollution

theguardian.com - March 16th, 2014 - Anne Penketh

The famously testy Parisians have one more reason to grumble after the French government announced that half the cars in the city would be banned from the roads, starting on Monday, in an effort to combat smog pollution.

From 5.30am, a scheme of alternating driving days, based on odd and even number plates, will come into effect for cars and motorcycles after Paris pollution reached dangerous levels for five consecutive days.

Even before the restrictions were announced, Parisians were given free travel on buses, metros and public bikes over the weekend.

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Syria crisis: 40% of population need humanitarian assistance, says UN

The humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate rapidly and inexorably, Amos told the UN. Photograph: Manu Brabo/AP

Image: The humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate rapidly and inexorably, Amos told the UN. Photograph: Manu Brabo/AP

theguardian.com - November 4th, 2013

Around 9.3 million people in Syria need humanitarian assistance due to the country's conflict, the UN was told on Monday .

"The humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate rapidly and inexorably," UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos told the security council behind closed doors, according to her spokeswoman, Amanda Pitt. Around 6.5 million people are displaced from their homes, Amos said. Syria's population is around 23 million.

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