What’s New May 2006

This page lists changes to this site for May 2006.

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Brain drain is a problem for many poor countries losing skilled workers to richer countries. In healthcare, the effects can often be seen vividly. For example, in many rich countries, up to one third of doctors may be from abroad, many from Sub-Sahara Africa, while many African countries have as little as 500 doctors serving their entire population. Reasons for this brain drain vary, ranging from poor conditions domestically to attractive opportunities and active enticement from abroad.

This article looks at the Pentagon’s plan to dominate the internet and other forms of media and global communication in the event of war, and to block enemy propaganda while also disseminating their own.

Obesity is a global problem as large as world hunger. Obesity also affects the poor in many countries because it is often unhealthy foods that are the cheapest. Furthermore, it is not just what you eat that affects health, but it seems that how you eat is also important. Added a couple of updates in these areas on the existing obesity page.

Media stations are increasingly using video news releases (pre-packaged content created by broadcast PR firms or by publicists within corporations or government agencies) in such a way that government propaganda, corporate advertising or public relations looks like genuine news for the viewing public. Added a section to the media manipulation page summarizing a report about this from the Center for Media and Democracy.

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The organization, the Bretton Woods Project, notes that despite high-profile moves by the World Bank to withhold loans to a number of countries due to fear of corruption, the root causes of corruption remain largely unaddressed. Furthermore, it seems that World Bank policies themselves may be contributing to some of the problems. The corruption section was updated with a summary of the Project’s concerns and recommendations.

The OECD releases updated (preliminary) data on official development assistance (ODA) foreign aid. While the expected increase results in a record—just over $100 billion in aid—it is still about $100 billion short of the promised targets of 0.7% of Gross National Income. Furthermore, most of the increase is about $19 billion in debt relief for Iraq and Nigeria, and $2 billion in disaster relief for the Asian Tsunami. On top of that, ODA was never meant to include debt and disaster relief in its figures.

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