What’s New December 2006

This page lists changes to this site for December 2006.

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Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation. Almost two in three people lacking access to clean water survive on less than $2 a day, with one in three living on less than $1 a day. Close to half of all people in developing countries suffering at any given time from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits. These and a number of other statistics have been added, as well as additional notes on issues such as the impact of climate change, privatization, whether future wars would be over resources such as water, and more.

Marine species loss has been an issue for a number of years. However, the economic impact is becoming apparent, as a recent article in the journal, Science, warns that commercial fish and seafood species may all crash by 2048. At the current rate of loss, it is feared those ocean ecosystems may never recover. Extensive coastal pollution, climate change, over-fishing and the enormously wasteful practice of deep-sea trawling are all contributing to the problem. But the current rate of loss does not have to be the final arbiter. Efforts to protect ocean ecosystems have been shown to have economic benefits, and allow the ecosystems to regenerate themselves. However, the point of no return is quickly approaching, the report fears. Many other ecosystems suffer from similar problems, such as forests, through excessive deforestation, for example.

2005, the latest year for which figures are available, saw an increase in global arms trade, representing the largest total ($44.2 billion) in recent years. The leading arms dealers, as per other years, were the US, Russia, France, United Kingdom, Germany, China, and Italy. The majority of arms sales (some two thirds) went to a handful of developing countries, such as India, Saudi Arabia, and China. Updated figures and graphs have been provided.

2005, the latest year for which figures are available, saw an increase in global military expenditure to just over 1 trillion dollars. Recent years have shown an increasing trend, after a decline following the end of the Cold War. Levels of spending are now approaching Cold War levels, and the US accounts for almost half the total expenditure, alone. Updated details and graphs have been provided.

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