China's Belt and Road infrastructure initiative is one of the most ambitious geopolitical projects ever. By 2027, it aims to dish out an estimated $1.3 trillion in loans, around ten times what the US spent on the Marshall Plan in the aftermath of World War II. As China increases its investment in the West, will countries' loyalty shift toward Beijing? About 80 countries have already joined, and dozens more are flirting with the idea. For a world that badly needs more and better infrastructure, Belt and Road is a good thing
I was first attracted by Camus, "prince of the absurd" when I was 16. Camus still fascinates me, now well beyond what would have been his 100th birthday, and more than 60 years after his premature death in a car crash in Burgundy (it's said that he was found with an unused train ticket in his pocket - he'd planned to go by rail to Paris to rejoin his wife and children, but had accepted at the last minute the offer of a lift from his publisher).
Since the beginning of the 21st century, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has published global estimates of the number of people that die from malaria. In these 15 years the global death toll has been cut in half: from 839,000 deaths in 2000 to 438,000 in 2015.
Africa is the world region that is most affected by malaria: In 2015, the African continent held 9 out of 10 malaria victims (click on ‘Expanded’ to see this). But Africa is also the world region that has achieved most progress: from 2000 to 2015, African deaths from malaria were reduced from 764,000 to 395,000.
A History of the World was a partnership between the BBC and the British Museum, involving schools, museums and audiences across the UK. One can listen to and download all the episodes of the radio series A History of the World in 100 objects.
One hundred 15-minute programmes, each focusing on an object from the British Museum’s collection told a history of two million years of humanity through the objects we have made, starting with the earliest object in the museum’s collection.
My personal highlights included the following:
1. Mummy of Hornedjitef (-260BC, Egypt): status, legacy, journey beyond death (see image).
2. Olduval Chopping Tool (-2m, Tanzania): adaptable, can skin and butcher animals
Bringing cutting-edge scientific research to doctors and researchers in poor countries who can't afford expensive medical journals helps reduce the scientific knowledge gap between industrialised countries and the developing world.
- Africa - how people are solving everyday problems in Africa through ingenuity.
- Gender - putting women on top of the global political agenda.
- Poverty - a major humanitarian organisation has begun blogging about its efforts to eliminate extreme poverty in the world