A coalition of officials met in Zimbabwe this month to discuss a little pest that has become a big problem. The fall armyworm has spread through Africa over the course of the last year and it has had devastating effects on crops. Experts fear that globalization and climate change are setting the caterpillar up to spread into Europe as well.
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Hurricane Matthew ravaged Haiti on Tuesday, completely decimating the southeastern region of the country and killing 842 people, according to local authorities. Information has been slow to make its way to the rest of the world, because areas hit hardest by the hurricane were remote coastal villages, completely disconnected from the rest of the country when the hurricane hit landfall.
Hurricane Matthew is one of the most powerful storms to barrel through the Caribbean in over a decade. The violent windstorm has already claimed the lives of more than 108 people in Haiti and at least four people in the Dominican Republic. The hurricane has displaced tens of thousands more across the Caribbean including the Bahamas and Cuba.
We're making progress in the fight against HIV around the world, but it's still very unevenly distributed. And the United Nations' brand new report on HIV infections among teenagers in Asia is pretty upsetting. Some 50,000 Asian teens (aged 15-19) became HIV-positive in 2014 alone, and a total of 220,000 adolescents were living with HIV in the region.
In late 2010, a stunning series of events across the globe showed how fed up millions are with political corruption, inequality, and social injustice. Technology played a key role in rallying support during the Arab Spring, and in Morocco, an open online platform that allowed citizens to help revamp their country's constitution four years ago led to a website that still works to empower normal citizens in the legislative process.
In developing countries, an unbelievable 45% of food goes bad because of a lack of cold storage. It's an especially big problem during transportation from farms to outdoor markets, where food sits in the scorching sun for hours on end. But one startup has a solution: solar-powered refrigeration stations that could save the livelihoods of half a billion farmers worldwide.
Ever hear of whiteflies? They're the colour of snowflakes and practically as tiny, but they're global plant-killers. One of their favourite snacks is the cassava, a root that's a crucial staple food for 700 million people worldwide. But one computational biologist and her team are on a mission to save the cassava from this virus-carrying menace.
With over 1.2 billion citizens, India is the second-most populated nation on Earth. Sixty-eight per cent of Indians live in rural areas that might not have clean drinking water. Since the world population will hit 7 billion by 2050, with many of those people living in developing countries, increased access to clean water is crucial. One Indian company's engineered a well that could provide just that.
Data. It's a powerful tool that helps us battle climate change or keep companies sustainable. But there's so much data, and it's hard to corral, index, and understand. But one company wants to give Earth a "planetary nervous system" to help out companies and policy makers make faster, more informed decisions that will be beneficial for the blue marble we call home.
Many people living in Africa need electricity, but don't have it. Luckily, something of a solar power revolution is afoot in Africa, triggering a wave of innovation from solar energy entrepreneurs. One of them is a princess descended from an ancient Mossi warrior, who stresses that the best way to combat this problem is by empowering the people to educate and help themselves.
Deforestation downs 10 billion trees around the globe annually. Replanting trees by hand is slow, expensive, and barely puts a dent in reversing the damage. But one startup wants to use drones that can reforest our increasingly tree-strapped Earth, on a big enough scale to replace slow and expensive hired humans.
Whether or not to preemptively ban killer robots will be a debate point at a United Nations meeting next week. And yes, "killer robots" sounds like a sci-fi cliche. But this is the reality of the future of warfare, and this debate is unlikely to do much other than highlight how sinister military tech may become.
The noises made by the gargantuan boats that move our stuff from one continent to another are ruining marine life. So, this week, new regulations have been issued by the International Maritime Organisation, the sea-faring agency of the United Nations, asking shipping companies to turn down the volume.