Fading HIV

Good News May Point
to World Without Aids

The Obama administration’s formulation of a new Aids/HIV policy in the past weeks coincided with a cluster of good news that may be pointing to another turning point in the fight to control and eradicate this epidemic worldwide. At the same time, social factors continue to represent the most serious obstacle to achieve such lofty goals.

With about 37 million people living with the infection in the world today, one million of them in the U.S., plus the over 24 million who already died of the disease since 1981, including half-million Americans, Aids has definitely not gone away, despite the appearances that the worst is over. Continue reading

Thirsty Future

Water Supplies and Access
To Define Mankind Survival

Human Rights Now Include Access to Clean Water

The U.N. General Assembly has declared access to clean water and sanitation a human right last month, in a Bolivia-drafted resolution approved by 124 nations. The vote was considered unanimous, even though 41 countries, including Canada, abstained from voting. The fact that there even were abstentions at all is nothing short of surprising. For within or very near the Canadian borders, for example, sit some of the world’s greatest glaciers, but never mind about that for now.
It is an unrestricted victory for an increasing number of scientists who for years have been calling attention to the serious issue water, or its lack thereof, may represent to the future of this planet. In fact, it’s one of those threats that’s grave enough to end civilization, and it’s safe to say, it’s way more likely to happen than the catastrophic collision with an asteroid we all rightfully fear.
According to the UN, more than one billion people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.6 billion are without basic sanitation. Every eight seconds a child dies of a waterborne disease, in every case preventable if their parents had money to pay for water. In fact, more lives have been lost after World War II due to contaminated water than from all forms of violence and war. And a World Bank report says that by 2030, global demand for water will exceed supply by more than 40%.
But let’s not get too wrapped up Continue reading

Highway to Nowhere

Flooding Drives Pakistanis
To the Middle of the Road

It has killed an estimated 1,600 people and disrupted the lives of about 20 million. It’s ruined an area the size of Italy. And to some, it drove them to camp by the side of a highway, where cars zip by at high speeds but drivers often stop to offer water and scrapes of food.
The floods in Pakistan, the country’s worst natural disaster, may bring even more misery to its impoverish population. Dispossession and disease are expected to increase casualties tenfold, and the world’s slowness to help will only compound the crisis.
Life alongside the Peshawar-Islamabad expressway is not any easier than the one most left behind. Their homes, farms and livelihood taken by the rains, all that’s left is to beg for help and not be killed by the speeding traffic on this muddy 27-mile stretch, with no toilets or running water.
Most resist the government’s plans to transfer them to even crowder camps. In the meantime, as heavy rain alternates with baking heat, a feeling of resignation starts to settle in. They’re now living on the road but most likely, no one will get to go anywhere anytime soon.