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February 2009

Discovering two new cave-dwelling species before lunch

Tony Whitten's picture

I'm in the north of Guangxi in southern China feeling privileged to be working in such a dramatic karst limestone landscape and part of another great project team. The conical and vertical towers of limestone jut out of the flat agricultural land, sometimes in single sentinels and sometimes in great families of jagged, pointed peaks, no two alike. At Mulun National Nature Reserve which abuts the Maolan World Heritage Site in Guizhou, there is nothing but these towers, and this is one of the sites getting detailed attention within our Integrated Forestry and Conservation Development Project. One sub-component of the project is directed at cave biodiversity. In that regard, we recently made some remarkable discoveries at Mulun.

As I have mentioned in an earlier blog post, cave biodiversity gets appallingly little attention relative to its significance. It is surely the most unknown of the terrestrial ecosystems, and it makes me drool to be close to places for which so little biological information is available.

Will the economic crisis affect governance and conflicts in Africa?

Jorge Arbache's picture

World economic growth in 2009 is expected to decline to its slowest rate since the Great Depression. In the case of Sub-Saharan Africa, the latest IMF’s World Economic Outlook projects the region to grow by 3.25% this year, down from 5.4% in 2008. Many economists are now expecting the crisis to hit Africa harder and longer than was previously projected. Not only will the crisis impact human development and economic indicators, but Africa’s governance and conflicts may be affected as well.

What a Difference an 'S' makes

Paolo Mefalopulos's picture

A few months ago, I finalized the Development Communication Sourcebook published by the World Bank. It includes a section entitled “Ten Key Issues on (Development) Communication” that addresses misconceptions frequently encountered when working in this field.

In with the Outsourcing Crowd: Learning from Nasscom

Michael Trucano's picture

an empty call centre in Florida ... did all the jobs leave to India?The Nasscom India Leadership Forum in Mumbai is the annual meeting platform at which senior representatives from firms in the Indian software and Indian BPO industries share information, discuss and debate issues.  The Forum is well-covered in the Indian press, and increasingly internationally as well, and the event web site's group blog is a rich source of divergent opinions and perspectives.  Key note speeches from people inside and outside of the industry (including Narayana Murthy, C.K. Prahlad and Shashi Tharoor) were of notably high quality.

It is an interesting time for Nasscom: How will an industry that has only known good times deal with the current economic downturn?  How will individual Indian firms fare?  While the mood at the conference itself was notably serious (especially for an industry event), some tier one Indian companies actually expect to benefit from the downturn.  Many European countries (far behind the US and the UK in terms of outsourcing) are expected to examine costs more closely, which is expected to open up these markets more to Indian BPO providers.  At the same time, new outsourcing destinations are emerging, within India and internationally.  This is happening not just because of the hunt for lower prices and new talent, but also to gain a foothold in new emerging markets. 

Are We Missing a Link? Communication in Post-Conflict Societies

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

When we're advocating for more attention to the role of independent media systems in developing nations, we often hear the question: What about conflict and post-conflict societies? Isn't it much more important to build peace first, to provide humanitarian aid, and to stimulate economic growth before thinking about what the people see on television?


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