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Why Are So Many Donors Ignoring Pakistan?

Twenty percent of Pakistan is under water, and it's getting way, way less attention – and more importantly – financial support – that the earthquake in Haiti generated. It's true that in terms of initial casualties, the situation in Haiti was far worse, but the long-term impact of the Pakistani floods is going to dwarf the catastrophe in Haiti. That fact is apparently being ignored, by both the media and donors.

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The End of Antibiotics?

I have been avoiding the writing of this blog post because it scares me. We could lose all our effective antibiotics in the next decade. A drug-resistant bacterial strain is spreading fast and globally and as a result we could be looking at the post-antibiotic era.

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Cartoonists Ted Rall and Matt Bors, Reporting from Afghanistan

Cartoonists Ted Rall and Matt Bors are headed to Afghanistan for a month of on-the-ground reporting. They are going to focus on talking to regular Afghans, looking at the human, everyday experience of the war.

They’re launching their trip from Dushanbe, where I live, so I met up with them today to talk about their trip. Here’s what I asked them:

Why are you doing this?

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Massive Landslides in China

The impact of climate change just keeps coming. 1,117 people are dead in massive landslides in China. Combine that with the forest fires in Russia and the floods in Pakistan, and you have a clear view of our future. Natural disasters don't come out of nowhere. Heavy rains that cause flooding and landslides, as well as drought that triggers forest fires are impacts of climate change.

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Help Improve Global Health Data

This is cool. There’s a big survey going on, to help inform the estimate of the global burden of disease - in layman's terms, how much sickness and ill-health affect the world. The survey is in support of the Global Burden of Disease study, which aims to “measure the impact of different diseases, injuries, and risk factors on people's health worldwide.”

The survey is going to help decide how different health conditions should be ranked for severity. For example, what has more health impact: severe pain, or blindness?

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Food and HIV

In the focus on universal access to ARV treatment for people living with AIDS, it’s easy to forget the other thing that helps people survive HIV infection: food. Good nutrition has a huge impact on the progression of AIDS. Poverty in general makes HIV hit harder, but poor nutrition is the major part of that effect.