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SciDevNet

The Science and Development Network aims to provide reliable and authoritative information about science and technology for the developing world. Their goal is to help both individuals and organizations in developing countries make informed decisions about how science and technology can improve economic and social development.


Website: http://www.scidev.net/


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Rural Nigeria lights up with solar power
December 28, 2007 07:51 PM - Michael Simire, SciDevNet

LAGOS, NIGERIA - Nigeria has launched a solar power scheme that will eventually light up as many as ten rural communities with no access to the national electrical grid. A Lagos state government official, who wished to remain anonymous, said construction work had commenced on the respective projects and contractors were expected to start delivering them around mid to late January 2008.

Traditional medicine plants disappearing as demand rises
December 27, 2007 03:22 PM - Carol Campbell, SciDevNet

Johannesburg - A dwindling supply of wild medicinal plants is threatening South Africa's traditional medicine industry, according to new research. In a paper published by the nongovernmental organisation Health Systems Trust this month, researchers found that the demand for traditional medicine is higher than ever — stimulated by HIV/AIDS, unemployment and rapid urbanisation.

Turning plants into pills in Kenya
December 24, 2007 08:35 PM - Jack Githae, Tatum Anderson , SciDevNet

Kenya - Traditional healers are joining forces with plant chemists in Kenya to develop antimalarials isolated from plants, reports Tatum Anderson. In the shadow of Mount Kenya, traditional healer Jack Githae enters what he describes as his 'natural pharmacy'.

Biofuels: Let's look before we leap
December 19, 2007 09:05 AM - , SciDevNet

A commitment to biofuels should be based on a careful assessment of their prospective benefits and costs, not a blind leap of faith. Several years ago, faced with growing food shortages, the government of Burma — now Myanmar — ordered farmers throughout the country to start growing rice, whatever type of land they owned. But rice proved to be totally unsuitable for many of the regions in the country, with the result that many farmers were forced even further into poverty, from which they have yet to recover.

South American countries join forces to boost biofuels
December 18, 2007 12:29 PM - Paula Leighton, SciDevNet

Members of the Southern Agricultural Council (CAS) have agreed to carry out research and develop policies to increase biofuel production in the region.The decision was made last week (4 December) during the 13th CAS Regular Meeting, in AsunciĆ³n, Paraguay.CAS is a forum for the ministers of agriculture and livestock of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.

World Bank launches forest defence scheme
December 17, 2007 04:55 PM - Imelda V. Abano, SciDevNet

BALI - The World Bank has launched a financing scheme to help developing countries reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation. The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) was launched last week (11 December) at the UN climate change conference in Bali, Indonesia.

Chinese Researchers: Climate Change 'Boosts Plant Health In China'
December 15, 2007 02:33 PM - Wang Shu and Jia Hepeng, SciDevNet

BEIJING - Climate change has helped plants in China become more robust, according to a study by Chinese scientists.  Scientists at the Beijing Normal University studied the link between climate factors and changes in plants' net primary productivity — a term used to evaluate the net reserve energy plants need during growth — between 1982 and 1999. "If the net primary productivity of a plant is high, it means the plant grows more healthily," says lead author Zhu Wenquan of the College of Resources at the university.

Scientists unlock secret of emerging chikungunya virus's spread
December 13, 2007 03:54 PM - T. V. Padma, SciDevNet

University of Texas  -  A simple protein change in the chikungunya virus enables it to adapt to new mosquito hosts and spread to more regions, new research shows. Studies at the US-based University of Texas Medical Branch have found that a single amino acid change in the protein of the virus's outer shell helps it adapt to a new mosquito host, Aedes albopictus. The findings were published last in PLoS Pathogens.

Growing chronic disease will hit poor nations
December 13, 2007 12:58 PM - Naomi Antony, SciDevNet

Developing countries will be severely hit by a growing epidemic of chronic noncommunicable diseases (CNCDs), say the authors of a new series launched by The Lancet this week (4 December). CNCDs include heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes and cancer — diseases that are often seen as secondary to the threat of infectious disease in the developing world. But experts say CNCDs are becoming an increasing danger, and low- and middle-income countries must take action now.

Countries 'ill prepared' as bird flu risk continues
December 13, 2007 12:54 PM - T. V. Padma, SciDevNet

NEW DELHI - Many countries continue to be plagued by poor bird flu surveillance and diagnosis capacity, and weak national preparedness plans, experts have warned.

The third global progress report of the United Nations System Influenza Coordination (UNSIC) and the World Bank is released this month (December). It warns that the risk of global influenza pandemic is as great in late 2007 as it was in mid-2005, when the first cases began to emerge.

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