Wednesday News

Some Nations Embrace, But Fail To Promote, Democracy
India, South Africa, Brazil and Indonesia all managed to hold fairly democratic elections, but as ambassadors for democracy, they have fallen short, says Sarah Repucci in an article in The National Interest.

“But when challenged to use their considerable influence to expand freedom’s reach abroad, the leadership of these countries has consistently fallen short, sometimes woefully so.

“A new study published by Freedom House shows that Brazil, India, Indonesia, and South Africa do not meet the same standards of support for democracy and human rights as fellow democracies in Europe and the United States. This failure is due largely to policies that favor strict noninterference in the internal affairs of sovereign states, policies that preclude action in response to sometimes egregious violations committed by regional neighbors.

Qatar May Be A US Ally, But They Are Financing Terrorists
A new report from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies details Qatar’s legacy of “negligence against terror finance stretches back over two decades,” a record which has earned the tiny Gulf state the reputation as the biggest source of private donations to radical groups in Syria and Iraq.

“Even when financial facilitators are arrested, incarceration is brief. Some of the accused moneymen enjoy close ties to members of the emirate’s ruling family or have held jobs in government ministries or at state-funded universities,” writes Jamie Dettmer in The Daily Beast.

What If We Could Map Infectious Diseases In Real Time
Amy Vander Zanden examines the impact of having the capacity to glance at a world map and determine the exact risk of catching an infectious disease in a country you were planning to visit – and see it update in real time.

Simon Hay, a Professor of Epidemiology at Oxford University, is already working on ways to accurately define which human populations at risk for infectious diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.

By using spatial and temporal patterns of these diseases, he is focusing on how to improve the evidence base of disease control and intervention strategies and then seeks to convince  global bodies such as the World Health Organization to adopt his findings.

“Other existing maps continually update based on reports of infectious disease occurrence, such as HealthMap, a real-time informal disease outbreak monitoring source. However, what Hay is developing is an automated, dynamic mapping system that combines data on disease risk and disease occurrences that would be freely available to policymakers, health professionals, and interested citizens alike,” Vander Zanden notes.

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