Updated: 5/16/2006; 3:33:10 PM.

Current events
Post-9-11 events and analyses

daily link  Monday, September 19, 2005

Privatized Global Problem Solving, Care of Clinton Alumni: Early coverage of the end of the Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York:  "the first meeting of the former president's Clinton Global Initiative, which drew about 2,000 government, business and civic leaders, was surprisingly devoid of nostalgia or recrimination.   The conference's dominant ethos seemed to be: If we are out of power, let's see what else we can do to advance our priorities. As it turned out, the answer looked to be: quite a lot. ..

The commitments were as diverse as the audience. Michael Jordan's mother said her foundation would build a hospital for women and children in Nairobi, Kenya. Sir Tom Hunter, a charismatic, bullet-headed Scottish businessman, pledged $100 million to create comprehensive development plans for two poor countries with the aim of producing models that could be replicated elsewhere. Starbucks said that by 2007 it would buy a majority of its coffee at premium prices from growers who used environmentally sound methods and equitably compensated small farmers.  Cellphone service for the Gaza Strip, a $100-million investment fund for African business, a $300-million capital fund for clean-energy technologies in Europe, programs for young girls in Bangladesh and Brazil and for AIDS orphans in Africa — all made the list.  Late Saturday, Clinton put the total at 190 commitments valued, on paper, at $1.25 billion. ..

As [Clinton] has recognized, nonprofit groups and like-minded corporate executives have never believed more in their ability to influence global problems, with or without government sanction. Nor have governments ever looked more to the assistance of private players. "

I attended the CGI.  It felt like a meeting of a global civil society, with NGO's and business best represented, followed by governments, media and even celebrities.  I learned a lot, and heard a number of novel ideas, which I'll blog as time permits in the coming week.

  11:28:45 PM  permalink  

Paper Says Edible Meat Can be Grown in a Lab on Industrial Scale: "In a paper in the June 29 [2005] issue of Tissue Engineering, a team of scientists, including University of Maryland doctoral student Jason Matheny, propose two new techniques of tissue engineering that may one day lead to affordable production of in vitro - lab grown -- meat for human consumption. It is the first peer-reviewed discussion of the prospects for industrial production of cultured meat.

"There would be a lot of benefits from cultured meat," says Matheny, who studies agricultural economics and public health. "For one thing, you could control the nutrients. For example, most meats are high in the fatty acid Omega 6, which can cause high cholesterol and other health problems. With in vitro meat, you could replace that with Omega 3, which is a healthy fat.   "Cultured meat could also reduce the pollution that results from raising livestock, and you wouldn't need the drugs that are used on animals raised for meat." ..

"cultured meat could appeal to people concerned about food safety, the environment, and animal welfare, and people who want to tailor food to their individual tastes," says Matheny. The paper even suggests that meat makers may one day sit next to bread makers on the kitchen counter.  "The benefits could be enormous," Matheny says. "The demand for meat is increasing world wide -- China 's meat demand is doubling every ten years. Poultry consumption in India has doubled in the last five years.  ..

Matheny saw so many advantages in the idea that he joined several other scientists in starting a nonprofit, New Harvest, to advance the technology. One of these scientists, Henk Haagsman, Professor of Meat Science at Utrecht University, received a grant from the Dutch government to produce cultured meat, as part of a national initiative to reduce the environmental impact of food production."

Added implication: "Writing in this month’s Physics World, British physicist Alan Calvert calculated that the animals eaten by people produce 21 percent of the carbon dioxide that can be attributed to human activity."

  10:32:02 PM  permalink  

WHO chief won't push for generic bird flu drug: "Speaking at a conference of health ministers and experts from more than 20 countries, Director-General Lee Jong-wook said WHO wouldn't pressure Swiss-based Roche Holding AG to relinquish its patent on oseltamivir. Sold under the brand name Tamiflu, it is the only treatment so far proven effective against bird flu in humans.

Last month, Roche announced it would donate 3 million treatment courses of Tamiflu to a WHO-managed stockpile. .. "When a company is doing its part, it (pushing for a generic option) is not a good incentive, encouragement (for the company) to do more," Lee told The Associated Press. ..  "We are very keen to see generic versions of this anti-viral drug available, but we will not pressure Roche to do so (relinquish its patent)," said Peter Cordingley, a WHO spokesman. ..

Bird flu has claimed 63 lives in Asia – mostly in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia – and ravaged the region's poultry stocks. Health officials in parts of Russia and Kazakhstan are also monitoring its spread. Most human cases have been traced to direct contact with infected birds, but Lee said it was "just a matter of time" before the virus mutates into a form that is transmissible between humans, possibly killing millions of people. "It will come," Lee said. "All the conditions are there." "

  12:10:59 PM  permalink  

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Copyright 2006 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 5/16/2006; 3:33:10 PM.