Science and Technology

Protesters rally in Durban on Dec. 3, 2011. Credit: IPS Africa

Draft Climate Deal Dubbed a “Death Sentence for Africa”

No one is happy late Friday at the very contentious U.N. climate talks that went into extra time on Saturday. As the lights flicker on a rainy night here, the partial power failure echoes the failure of the multilateral process, according to civil society and some countries.

The vinchuca bug, which transmits Chagas disease, often lives in cracks in mud walls. Credit: Paul Lowry/CC BY 2.0

BRAZIL: Child-Adapted Formula to Deal Major Blow to Chagas Disease

A new paediatric formulation developed in Brazil holds out hope for a cure for over 90 percent of newborn babies infected with Chagas disease, a parasitic infection endemic in 21 Latin American countries, where it kills more people every year than malaria.

Observing Deforestation from Space

Global climate change can now be observed from space. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) launched a new technology that can survey the world’s forests via satellites and provide a more accurate, global picture of common threats to the environment, such as deforestation, degradation or illegal logging.

CLIMATE CHANGE-AFRICA: Farming By Phone

Francis Mburu used to keep indigenous cattle in Entasopia village in the semi- arid Kajiado region, 160 kilometres southwest of Nairobi. However, increasing temperatures and frequent droughts in Kenya have made this difficult in recent years.

CLIMATE CHANGE: Making a Hot Cup of Rooibos Tea Unaffordable

South Africa’s Rooibos tea has become a popular drink all around the globe. But prices of the herbal brew could shoot up within the next decade, as the Rooibos plant can only grow in one small region in the world – which is severely affected by climate change.

CLIMATE CHANGE: Himalayan Nations Yet to Break the Ice

Chungda Sherpa, a former herder from eastern Nepal, has a warning tale ahead of the United Nations climate change conference in Durban.

Ex-Inspector Rejects IAEA Iran Bomb Test Chamber Claim

A former inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repudiated its major new claim that Iran built an explosives chamber to test components of a nuclear weapon and carry out a simulated nuclear explosion.

INDIA: Dangers of a Lax Nuclear Strategy

On August 26, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan resigned, taking responsibility for the disastrous meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was caused by the March 2011 undersea earthquake and ensuing tsunami.

Unique Mexican Oasis in Danger of Vanishing

A rare wetlands ecosystem in the Chihuahuan desert in northern Mexico that may hold key information about the origins of life on earth – and even about possible life on Mars – is in serious danger of disappearing if water continues to be extracted by agribusiness concerns, local scientists warn.

AFRICA: Change the Donors Climate

When donor-funded horticultural projects failed in Kalacha village at the edge of the Chalbi Desert in North Eastern Province, Kenya, the local pastoralist community proposed their own idea, which turned out to be the solution to their problems.

"In the last 40 years, the mosquito has spread to many countries," says María Guadalupe Guzmán.  Credit: Patricia Grogg/IPS

Q&A: Cuba Advancing Towards a Dengue Vaccine

"We don’t like to talk about our specific goals," says Cuban virologist María Guadalupe Guzmán, as a subtle way to avoid going into too much detail about the research she is heading up to develop a dengue vaccine.

Rural women find themselves at the centre of efforts by mobile phone service providers to introduce mobile phone money transfers in Zimbabwe. Credit: Ignatius Banda/IPS

ZIMBABWE: Rural Women Banking By Mobile Phone

Collecting the monthly subscriptions for her co-operative has always been a headache for Thelma Nare, 41. This is because Nare lives in Tshitshi, Plumtree in rural Zimbabwe, about 60 kilometres away from the humdrum of the nearest town centre where banks are located.

The National Library of Uganda needs improved technology.  Credit: Andrew Green/IPS

AFRICA: Failure to Adopt Technology in Libraries Results in Fewer Users

Simret Mebrahtu has been an infrequent visitor to the National Library of Uganda in the centre of Kampala for nearly two years. A student, she stops by every couple of weeks to use the cheap internet connection if one of the few computers is available.

MIDEAST: Israeli Military Fires Up the Creative Side

War brings economic development, we're told at times. Like the cliché or not, in their case, Israelis have become a successful start-up nation by building a powerful start-up military.

On the Yucatán coast, some species recover more quickly from hurricanes and rising sea levels than others.  Credit: Courtesy of Víctor Vidal

Climate Change Arouses Scientific Curiosity in Mexico

Climate change has inspired dozens of scientists at Mexican public universities to conduct research on its effects and seek ways to confront them.

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