Global Quickies: Fertilizer in Africa, Innovative Baby Necklaces in India, and a Women’s Revolution in Saudi Arabia


Costly fertiliser holds back a green revolution in Africa – “In contrast with their counterparts in the global north and Asia, many farmers in sub-Saharan Africa rely on manure rather than chemical fertilisers. But the organic alternative cannot meet the demand.”

Bad charity awards highlight the worst cases of western stereotyping – “Remember Radi-Aid: Africa For Norway, the advert in which the plight of children freezing in Norway’s harsh winters prompts African students to launch a campaign to ship radiators to Norway? ‘Frostbite kills too,’ was the message. By turning the tables, it beautifully parodied how western charities often portray Africans in advertising.”


China To End Organ Harvesting From Executed Inmates – “The Wall Street Journal reports that “[while] China already forbids organ donations without the consent of the donor or the family, critics have said inmates can feel pressured to sign away their organs and that the source of organs isn’t well supervised.”

Why China Is Cracking Down on Puns – “Which country would you say is entering a “marijuana era”? Maybe Uruguay, which recently legalized the drug? Perhaps the United States, where the state of Colorado is offering holiday discounts on legal weed. In fact, the “marijuana era” is happening in China. That’s thanks to a clever pun that pokes fun at the country’s leader, Xi Jinping, and has been circulating around China’s web. The pun subverts the cult of personality growing around Xi and first lady Peng Liyuan, who is also a well-known singer.”


Divide Occurs Between Hong Kong Democracy Protesters – “Hong Kong’s protests have gone on for more than two months, but the movement has splintered. Several older activists tried to surrender to police on Wednesday, and urged students to leave the streets.”


Iceland grieves after police kill a man for the first time in its history – ” ‘The nation was in shock. This does not happen in our country,’ said Thora Arnorsdottir, news editor at RUV, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. She was referring to a 59-year old man who was shot by police on Monday. The man, who started shooting at police when they entered his building, had a history of mental illness. It’s the first time someone has been killed by armed police in Iceland since it became an independent republic in 1944. Police don’t even carry weapons, usually. Violent crime in Iceland is almost non-existent.”


Baby’s Necklace Could End Up Being A Life Saver – “It’s traditional for newborns in northern India to wear a black thread necklace as a symbol of good health and good fortune, but Vikram’s got a high-tech version. The round pendant on the string is a wearable device called Khushi Baby that carries his vaccination history inside a computerized chip about the size of a dime.”


Liberian President’s Ambitious Goal: No New Ebola Cases By Christmas – “If anything, the recent drop in Ebola cases is a hopeful sign. The outbreak has killed more than 3,000 Liberians, and at its height, the West African nation was reporting the most new cases of the virus per week. But at one point last week, the Liberian Ministry of Health reported that in the country’s largest Ebola hospital — equipped with 250 beds — there were only eight patients.”


Behind Closed Doors, Women Are Leading a Revolution in Saudi Arabia – “At Effat University’s inner-city campus, students sprawl in the hallways, sip on take-away cappuccinos and wear the universal attire of college students — jeans, Converse sneakers and t-shirts. Effat is an all-women’s institution that in just 15 years has transformed from a tiny teachers’ college to an internationally recognized university that attracts faculty from around the world, teaches nearly 3,000 students and is graduating female engineers, architects and filmmakers.”


The Syrian Civil War, From Space – “The images above depict nighttime light in Syria in March 2011, when the Syrian uprising began, and February 2014. You can see how the lights have dimmed dramatically in cities like Aleppo and across the nation, especially when you compare the country with neighbors like Turkey (north of Syria) and Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan (to the west and south), where the light patterns remain essentially the same across the three-year period. In hard-hit Aleppo, the authors write, nighttime light has fallen by a staggering 88 percent.”


Sweden’s Tolerance Is Tested By Tide Of Syrian Immigrants – “Sweden’s migration board projects that 95,000 people, many of them refugees from Syria, are expected to arrive in 2015. That would be a record in this country of 10 million people, which already has taken in more refugees, relative to its population, than any other country in Europe. But the arrival of so many refugees is testing the country’s famously tolerant identity.”

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Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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  1. I thought Cambodia already had the ‘marijuana era’. Didn’t they have a leader named Pot? I know, I know, tasteless, but I say this as someone who is a major fan of bad puns.

  2. The Effat College Story is a nice counterpoint to the 25th anniversary mourning of the murderous rampage at L’Ecole Polytechnique.

    Equality loses battles here and there, but we are going to win the war!

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