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Feb 11, 2009, 1:36:31 AM2/11/09
to Mennonite Poverty Forum

What We’re Reading 2/10/09
February 10th, 2009 at 3:39 pm | posted by Steve.Wilson

Washington Post—Drugs Are Found to Block HIV In Monkeys
Researchers trying to find a way to protect women from the AIDS virus
said Monday in Montreal that they had the first evidence that
protective gels might work. Two experiments with monkeys have showed
that antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, given by mouth or by vaginal gel,
were highly effective in blocking infection by the virus that causes
AIDS, and a third study, in 3,100 women in the United States and
Africa, showed a small amount of protection from a vaginal gel that
acts by binding up the AIDS virus and preventing it from invading
cells. Many experts believe that, short of a vaccine, a virus-blocking
substance that could be applied before sexual activity would be the
most important tool in fighting the AIDS pandemic.

Reuters—China’s Hu seeks to assure and temper African hopes
China’s quest to show it is a responsible power in grim economic times
will focus on Africa this week, where President Hu Jintao will seek to
both reassure and temper hopes of aid and investment. Hu’s visit to
Africa will highlight the fact that trade between China and Africa
rose to $107 billion last year. Chinese officials also say that Hu
will announce investment and aid deals, in a show of support for
African economies shaken by the global slowdown.

Reuters—More organic food production could help Africa: UN
Demand for organic foods will keep growing despite the world economic
crisis, creating an opportunity for farmers in poor countries, the
United Nations’ trade and development agency said on Monday. The UN
study projects that sales of certified organic products would reach
$67 billion in 2012, up from $46 billion in 2007 and about $23 billion
in 2002. Poor-country farmers, who often struggle to compete against
their subsidized and technologically advanced counterparts in Europe
and the United States, could benefit from growing and exporting more
organic foods. “Studies from Africa, Asia, and Latin America indicate
that organic farmers earn more than their conventional counterparts.
Organic production is … particularly well-suited for smallholder
farmers, who comprise the majority of Africa’s poor,” the report said.

Reuters—More than 69,000 cholera cases in Zimbabwe: UN
The number of people suffering from cholera in Zimbabwe has risen to
more than 69,000 cases, U.N. figures showed, putting further pressure
on leaders to end a humanitarian crisis after forming a unity
government. The World Health Organization said the epidemic has killed
3,397 people out of 69,317 cases since August, the deadliest outbreak
in Africa in 15 years.

-Steve Wilson
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