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Longreads: ‘Totally Drug-Resistant’ TB, Freshwater Losses in Middle East, Solar Wi-Fi in Kenya, Women’s Access to Justice

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Longreads“Totally drug resistant” tuberculosis in South Africa became a hot topic on Reddit with the release of a new paper in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The paper was cited in a popular US News and World Report story describing the struggle of health care providers to confront the problem, as well as one doctor’s personal battle with the bacteria.  For more on the response angle, check out the Wall Street Journal’s story about a plan by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to fight drug-resistant TB.

NASA image
Source: NASA

A satellite image released by NASA reveals fresh-water losses in the Middle East almost as large as the Dead Sea. The findings, published February 15, in the journal, Water Resources Research, show an “alarming rate of decrease” in the Tigris and Euphrates river basins, and researchers note the rate of water loss was “especially striking” after a 2007 drought. "The Middle East just does not have that much water to begin with, and it's a part of the world that will be experiencing less rainfall with climate change," said Jay Famiglietti, the principal investigator.

Microsoft is tapping into television’s “white spaces” – the unused parts of the wireless spectrum – to pilot solar-powered Wi-Fi in a rural Kenyan community that previously had no phone line, no power, and no internet access. BBC describes the project and notes other, similar ones, while New Scientist says if the concept is rolled out, as planned, nationwide, Kenya could end up leading the way “with a model of wireless broadband access that in the West has been tied up in red tape.”
A new report on women’s empowerment comes as the world digests recent shocking attacks on women in India and South Africa—with many joining the 1 Billion Rising protest February 14. The International Development Law Organization’s “Accessing Justice,” finds that the “law has let women down” and that legal, political, social, cultural and economic barriers across the “justice chain...need to be tackled to meet women's demands for justice.”

US News: Doctors Struggling to Fight 'Totally Drug-Resistant' Tuberculosis in South Africa

“TB kills more people annually than any other infectious disease besides HIV.”

NASA: NASA Satellites Find Freshwater Losses in Middle East

“A new study using data from a pair of gravity-measuring NASA satellites finds that large parts of the arid Middle East region lost freshwater reserves rapidly during the past decade.” 

BBC: TV's White Spaces Connecting Rural Africa

“Local schools, a healthcare clinic, a government agriculture office and a library have been connected in the first part of the pilot.”

IDLO: Accessing Justice: Models, Strategies and Best Practices on Women’s Empowerment (pdf)

“Legal empowerment strategies can help create a ‘culture of justice’ among women and ensure that principles of equality are translated into practice.”

Longreads is a regular feature on the Voices blog highlighting development research and in-depth reporting.


Donna Barne

Corporate Writer, World Bank

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