These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
The power to accuse someone of a grave crime on the basis of hearsay is a heady one. I have done it, and I faced the consequences of being wrong. Twenty years ago in the Nuba Mountains of central Sudan, I met a man, Chief Hussein Karbus, whose murder I had reported three years earlier. He was introduced to me by the man I had accused of ordering his death, a leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. The mistake had appeared in a report I authored for Human Rights Watch; it was the kind of error that human rights researchers sometimes make and rarely admit. The three of us sat together and laughed about it. Not all such missteps turn out so well.
They call it “the Internet of Things” — the rapidly growing network of everyday objects equipped with sensors, tiny power supplies, and internet addresses. Within a few years, we will be immersed in a world of these connected devices. The best estimates suggest that there will be about 60 billion of them by the year 2020. We’ve already seen internet-accessible sensors implanted in dolls, cars, and cows. Currently, the biggest users of these sensor arrays are in cities, where city governments use them to collect large amounts of policy-relevant data. In Los Angeles, the crowdsourced traffic and navigation app Waze collects data that helps residents navigate the city’s choked highway networks. In Chicago, an ambitious program makes public data available to startups eager to build apps for residents. The city’s 49th ward has been experimenting with participatory budgeting and online voting to take the pulse of the community on policy issues. Chicago has also been developing the “Array of Things,” a network of sensors that track, among other things, the urban conditions that affect bronchitis.
Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs
Since 2009 ANDE has been tracking the state of the small and growing business (SGB) sector to assess its growth and impact on emerging market economies. This year’s report reflects a sector that is on the move—and also dives into regional market insights. It discusses the hurdles for emerging market entrepreneurship—access to capital, talent and markets—and evaluates how well the sector is addressing these.
Millions of Latin Americans risk sliding back into poverty; new generation of public policies crucial to prevent setbacks
The main threat to progress in Latin America and the Caribbean is the relapse of millions of families back into poverty. The economic slowdown is part of the story, but not the only cause of such a setback, says the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Report (HDR) for Latin America and the Caribbean, launched with more than 60 congresspersons at the regional parliament (Parlatino). To continue to advance and prevent reversals in the social, economic and environmental fronts, the report highlights key policy recommendations, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the report titled Multidimensional Progress: Well-being beyond income, UNDP expresses particular concern over the 25 to 30 million people in the region—more than a third of those who left poverty since 2003 — who risk falling back into poverty.
Over the past two decades, the threat posed by violent extremist groups that espouse fundamentalist religious narratives has grown substantially across Africa (Hallowanger, 2014). The colonial era and the undemocratic rule that characterized many post-independence governments generated anti-Western and jihadist movements across the Middle East and the wider Islamic world (Moore, 2016). These movements advocate conservative religious rule as a cure for modern societies’ social ills. By the 1990s, these ideologies had begun to spread to Africa, where porous borders, poor security apparatuses, weak governance, corruption, ethnic divisions, and high youth unemployment created conditions under which violent extremist groups thrived (Institute for Economics & Peace, 2014).
The grief of losing a child made more unbearable by the knowledge that you decided to take them in a boat that capsized; nightmares about torture; depression induced by the awfulness of living in a camp, unable to go forward or back. As concern mounts about the conditions faced by refugees and migrants in camps across Europe, and more people die trying to reach the continent, the mental health of those who have risked everything in the hope of starting a new life in Europe is gaining more attention. A report last year by the German Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists said 40%-50% of people arriving in Germany suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with half also suffering from depression.
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