2013年01月18日

インドはどのようにポリオと戦い、勝ったのか


How India Fought Polio -- and Won
( TIME )

A few days ago, Ramesh Ferris took his first ride on a motorbike.
Born in India and raised in Canada, Ferris made the journey into
rural India to meet Ruksa Khatun, the 3-year-old girl who is the last
child in India known to have contracted polio. This weekend, as the
nation quietly marked two years without a single infection by the
wild poliovirus, that child’s parents wondered how they were going
to manage the surgery her doctors say she needs on a foot crippled
by the disease.

Ferris would understand the gravity of their situation better than
most. After he was paralyzed by polio as an infant, his birth mother
was unable to provide him with the care he needed and placed him in
an international orphanage. He was adopted by a family in Canada’s
Yukon territory, where he grew up, eventually becoming an advocate in
the global drive to end polio. India was once considered the center
of the crippling disease -- and was expected to be the last place it
would be eradicated. But last year, the World Health Organization
(WHO) confirmed that polio was no longer endemic in India. Next year,
if no new cases arise, the country will be declared polio-free,
perhaps the greatest public-health feat it has ever achieved, saving
hundreds of thousands of children from paralysis and death.

India’s accomplishment was a triumph of consistent and strong
political will as well as international coordination and has given a
huge lift to the global fight against polio, a disease that as
recently as 1988 claimed 350,000 people each year. In 2012, the
global caseload was just 222. When India came off the WHO list last
year, the number of countries where the virus is still endemic came
down to three: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. “Given India’s
complex circumstances in terms of where people live and its
topography, it’s astounding it came off the list before other
countries,” says Ferris.

It wasn’t until 1994, when the local government of the New Delhi
capital region conducted a hugely successful mass immunization
campaign targeting children, that the idea began to gain momentum
that India might actually be able to tackle this disease. Though
other Indian states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu had conducted similar
campaigns before, it wasn’t until the national government saw
tangible progress that officials were sufficiently convinced they
could make a difference. “That’s when India decided to go after
polio in a big way,” says Naveen Thacker. Routine immunization --
in which patients sought out the vaccine themselves -- had reduced
polio but couldn’t stop it from spreading. Reported immunization
coverage across India was officially as high as 90%, but the disease
was still being transmitted.

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2013年01月16日

中国の一人っ子政策 「小皇帝」の呪い


China’s One-Child Policy: Curse of the ‘Little Emperors’
( TIME )

China is a colossal country and, as befits such a global powerhouse,
it has made some colossal mistakes. Take its infamous one-child
policy, implemented in 1979 and condemned from that day forward. A
new study released in Science makes it clear just how misguided the
idea was.

Initially, the policy seemed to make a cold kind of sense: the
country’s population growth was out of control, leaping nearly 75%
from 1949 to 1976; its per capita income was about 300 yuan, or just
over $48, and families with multiple children had nowhere near enough
money to raise them well. Why not just clamp down on all the
prodigious baby making and solve both problems at once?

Thirty-four years later, the planners can claim a crude victory.
China’s economy has boomed, and its 1.34 billion population is
estimated to be about 15% smaller than it would have been otherwise.
But that means that 250 million Chinese babies who would have been
born never were. Until 2004, when the practice of sex-selective
abortion was banned, millions of girls were aborted to satisfy
China’s traditional preference for boys; and as a result of that
gender bias, there are 32 million more marriage-age men in the
country than there are women, according to the British Medical Journal.

Lost in all those troubling numbers is what’s become of the
singletons themselves. Just 27% of those born in China in 1975 were
only children; in 1983, it was 91%. When you’re your parents’ one
shot at a genetic legacy, you may get to attend all the best schools,
wear all the best clothes and eat all the best foods -- at least
relative to children in multiple-sibling households. But you also
wind up with an overweening sense of your own importance. For years
now, Chinese parents and teachers have lamented what’s known as the
xiao huangdi -- or little emperor -- phenomenon, a generation of
pampered and entitled children who believe they sit at the center of
the social universe because that’s exactly how they’ve been treated.

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2013年01月11日

韓国が選んだ初の女性大統領 朴槿恵


South Korea Elects First Female President: Park Geun-hye
( TIME )

Park Geun-hye is headed back to the Blue House. On Wednesday, South
Koreans chose the daughter of South Korea’s Cold War strongman Park
Chung-hee as the country’s next President. Park, the 60-year-old
leader of the conservative Saenuri Party, defeated 59-year-old
liberal challenger Moon Jae-in -- once jailed for opposing her
father’s rule -- by a margin of about 3.5%. She will now move back
to the presidential residence where she lived as a child and where
she served as de facto First Lady after her mother’s death. Park has
spent much of her life in her father’s shadow. Now, as the
country’s first female President, she will need to chart her own
course.

Moving forward won’t be easy. When outsiders think of Korea, they
think of a divided peninsula, with the 38th parallel separating the
totalitarian North from the democratic South. But South Korea itself
is split. This year’s closely fought presidential race showed that
South Koreans disagree not only about the future but also about the
past. As the daughter of the most influential leader in her
country’s modern history, Park Geun-hye is at the heart of that
debate.

When First Lady Yuk Young-soo was killed in a botched attack on Park
Sr. in 1974, Park Geun-hye stepped in as the acting First Lady. Her
service to her grieving father (himself assassinated five years
later) won her a reputation for steadfastness, poise and competence.
Yun Byung-se, a career diplomat who served as an adviser to Park Geun-
hye’s campaign, describes those years as formative: “Her
involvement in politics and policy issues started very early.”

But Park’s political pedigree also works against her. While Park Sr.
is worshipped by many South Koreans, especially older folk, for
transforming the country’s economy, he is despised by many others.
Park Chung-hee once wrote that, “In human life, economics precedes
politics or culture.” But fulfilling his economic ambitions caused
him to tighten his grip on power, not loosen it. He jailed and
tortured dissidents, dissolved the legislature and rewrote the
constitution to buttress his own position. To veterans of South
Korea’s democracy struggle, daughter Park is a symbol of the
country’s authoritarian past. For years, Park refused to criticize
her father. This fall she officially apologized for the excesses of
his era, but without condemning him outright. “I know more than
anyone the divergent views about my father,” Park told TIME in
written responses to questions. “I want to be judged on my own
merits.”

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2012年12月07日

戦争なしの未来?その可能性は思いのほか大きく


A Future Without War? It’s More Likely than You Think
( TIME )

There’s war in Afghanistan, a crisis in the Gaza Strip and
percolating conflicts across sub-Saharan Africa. But for politicial
scientists, that’s actually the good news.

The fact is, global conflicts have been on a downward trend for the
last half-century. And now, a group of researchers in Norway says
their data indicates that the future could be even more peaceful.

In a paper soon to be published in International Studies Quarterly,
Havard Hegre, a professor of political science at the University of
Oslo, claims that the number of ongoing conflicts will be halved by
2050 -- with the greatest decrease coming in the Middle East.

Hegre, along with his colleagues at the Peace Research Institute
Oslo, put together a statistical model that took into account factors
such as infant mortality, education, youth population, ethnic make-up
and conflict history. They ran the conflict simulation program 18,000
times before drawing conclusions.

Given the carnage on your average evening news broadcast, the idea
that humans are resisting our violent impulses would appear to be a
fantasy. However, despite the apparent prevalence of war, it is in
fact in decline. In 1992 every fourth country was involved in an
armed conflict; by 2009 that number had fallen to every sixth country.

The question that remains unanswered is why. Hegre explains that
while it is difficult to emphasize one factor over another, education
is key. “India is on the list because it is so large and it has a
history of conflict in the North, but if they made an effort to
expand education, they will reduce their risk of armed conflict,”
says Hegre.

Another factor is economic development. Europe, despite its current
economic troubles, is nevertheless still at low risk for armed
conflict. This is because “developed economies tend to have invested
a lot in exchange between different networks,” explains Hegre,
“violence destroys those networks.” In other words, the more you
have to lose, the less appealing war is.

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2012年11月23日

イスラエルのガザ強襲 攻撃はどのように外科的なのか?


The Israeli Assault on Gaza: How Surgical Are the Strikes?
( TIME )

On the day they buried Ahmed Jabari, the Hamas commander blown apart
in what Israel calls a “targeted killing,” a man named Jihad
Misharawi cradled the corpse of his 11-month-old son, killed when an
apparently errant Israeli shell pierced the roof of their Gaza home.
The father’s grief was captured in a compelling Associated Press
photograph that Misharawi might have appreciated in his professional
capacity: he works for the BBC as a photo editor, the job that
involves deciding what images to send out to the world when the story
becomes the death of civilians, as it is becoming in Gaza.

Until Sunday, the number of Palestinian bystanders killed in the
Israeli assault on the crowded, poverty-stricken stretch of sand may
have been as low as 16, barely half the number of fatalities among
militants across the first four days. That proportion, if it had
stood, would have been exceptional for any war -- some researchers
say civilians historically account for 80% of war deaths -- but
especially for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) doing battle in the
Gaza Strip. The last time the IDF went into Gaza, four years ago,
1,400 Palestinians were killed, at least half of them civilians.
Israel emerged from its victory facing a torrent of international
approbation and a U.N. inquiry alleging war crimes.

The Jewish state was not keen to repeat the experience. The rhetoric
coming out of Israel can be incendiary: Monday’s Jerusalem Post
contained an op-ed by Gilad Sharon, the youngest son of former Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon, arguing, “We need to flatten entire
neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t
stop with Hiroshima -- the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast
enough, so they hit Nagasaki too.” Earlier, Interior Minister Eli
Yishai declared that the goal of the current operation is to “send
Gaza back to the Middle Ages.” But Israel’s most senior officials
appear keen to maintain the approval of Western governments, both by
emphasizing that Gaza militants provoked the assault by firing
hundreds of missiles toward Israeli communities and by arguing their
answering offensive -- more than 1,350 air, tank and warship strikes
so far -- is both fierce and restrained. The public relations section
of the IDF is proactive on the question of minimizing civilian
deaths, posting videos from earlier operations showing the trouble
Israeli pilots take to avoid injuring bystanders while pursuing
military targets. Several show gunsight footage of pilots diverting
their bombs -- after release, in flight -- when the car they are
aiming at enters a garage, or pulls up beside a cluster of
pedestrians. The missiles explode a safe distance away.

“We are learning, and we are improving from last time,” a senior
Israeli officer told TIME late last week. “But eventually we will
make a mistake, and there’ll be an accident. There’ll be a picture
of children who have been hit, and it will be devastating for us.”

Any contrast with Cast Lead is intentional. That operation began with
a massive attack on a police graduation, cutting down dozens of
cadets standing in formation. From the start, Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu framed Defensive Pillar as a series of “surgical
strikes,” and five days later, the relatively refined approach may
be having an effect. Though Israel has called up 40,000 reserves in
preparation for a possible ground assault, attention shifted over the
weekend to the terms of a possible cease-fire, mediated by Egypt,
that would avoid a ground war neither side seems to want. Officials
say Israel’s primary demand is a total cessation of rocket fire into
its territory (900 of which have been fired since Wednesday,
resulting in three Israeli deaths). For Hamas, the primary demand is
for a promise that Israel will stop killing its senior officials and
commanders.

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