Inward Investment in Senegal

In March 2018 the Turkish leader announced deals worth almost US $600 million in Senegal, the latest sign that foreign investment in Senegal is gradually shifting eastward. France, Senegal’s former colonial ruler, has long dominated foreign investment. Since 2003, however, the country has seen a surge in interest from further afield. According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), most new foreign investment projects have come from non-western countries, including $2.8bn from the United Arab Emirates, $1.23bn from ...

Improvements in Sanitation and Hygiene in Bangladesh

Among the world’s poor people diarrhoea is a killer. Up to 500,000 children are thought to die every year from enteric diseases, such as cholera and dysentery. Repeated infections also weaken them, laying them open to attack from other killers such as pneumonia. Diarrhoea can affect a person’s size and shape. Indian children are often shorter than sub-Saharan African children from families of similar incomes, partly because they fall sick more often. In Bangladesh deaths from diarrhoea and other enteric diseases ...

Climate Change Disrupts UK Sport

Extreme weather conditions caused by climate change are threatening the future of some of the UK’s favourite sports, including cricket, football and golf. A report by the Climate Coalition, a campaign group, urges sporting bodies to adapt to the changing environment. Climate change is altering weather patterns around the world. In the UK, it has resulted in more rain. Over 25 per cent of England’s one-day cricket international matches have been reduced by rain since 2000. The winters of 2013–14 and ...

The Rise of the Wolf in Europe

The wolf is on the rise in Europe. In the winter of 2017–18, wolves finally re-appeared in Belgium, the last country from which it had been absent. The wolf is protected by EU law, but a rising tide of hostility is encouraging some politicians to push to kill it. France approved a cull of up to 40 wolves following protests last year. When Germany’s wolf population reached 60 packs, its agriculture minister argued that culling was required.  Finland has reduced its ...

Rising Inequalities

The richest 0.1% of the world’s population have increased their combined wealth by as much as the poorest 50%—some 3.8 billion people—since 1980. The World Inequality Report  found that the richest 1% of the world’s population accounted for 27% of the world’s wealth growth between 1980 and 2016. The top 0.1% accounted for 13%, while the top 0.001%—about 76,000 people—accounted for about 4% of all the new wealth created since 1980. World Distribution of Wealth The top 0.1% income group—about 7 ...

Re-foresting the West

Across much of the Republic of Ireland, conifer plantations appear to be on the increase. This is partly to do with the easy returns from converting farmland to woodland. During the 1920s, when Ireland first became independent, woodland covered about 1% of the land—just 90,000 ha of forest. Although forests have been widespread in the country, centuries of deforestation had occurred to create farmland and for fuel. From the seventeenth century onwards, trees were cut to build ships or for ...

Concerning Leap Years

Who Introduced the Leap Year? Julius Ceasar, believe it or not. The Roman calendar had got seriously out of date with the solar calendar, even though Roman officials were supposed to introduce an extra month every so often. So Caesar consulted his top astronomers who worked out that the solar year—the time it takes for the Earth to do exactly one rotation around the sun—was 365.25 days. So, by maintaining a calendar with 365 days, and adding one extra day every ...

Rise in Infections Due to Chickens

The rising trend of raising backyard chickens in US cities and suburbs is bringing with it huge increase in the number of illnesses from poultry-related diseases, at least one of them fatal. Between January 2017 and October 2017, over 1,100 people contracted salmonella poisoning from chickens and ducks in 48 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Almost 250 were hospitalized and one person died. The rate was four times higher than in 2015. The CDC estimates that the actual ...

Electric Vehicles in China

China wants to lead the world in the manufacture and use of clean-energy cars, and to achieve this it will need to ensure research and development in battery production. Batteries have become vital to the manufacture of clean energy cars. As part of China’s industry development plan (April 2017), the government pledged to promote research and development of key battery cell parts and improve management structures in the industry. Batteries are at the heart of clean energy vehicles because they are ...

Chocolate industry destroying rainforest in Cote d’Ivoire

The world’s chocolate industry is driving deforestation on a devastating scale in West Africa. As global demand for chocolate booms, ‘dirty’ beans from deforested national parks have entered big business supply chains. As much as 40% of the world’s cocoa comes from Cote d’Ivoire, and the rainforest cover has been reduced by more than 80% since 1960. The chocolate industry has many small-scale farmers who grow cocoa on plantations, many of which are illegal as they are in national parks or protected ...