Population, Family Planning,
& Ecology News Digest
Archives July - December 1999

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  • December 18, 1999 The Deseret (UT) News Third wave leads Utah to a record in childbirths:  'Natural increase' in 1999 also is new high for the state, according to the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget. The figure includes births minus the number of deaths, not population due to net migration. Utah is experiencing a 1.9% growth rate, bring the current population to 2,121,000 people. The baby boomers children are now having children. Out of an increase of 38,500 last year, 4,800 were due to migration.
  • December 17, 1999 Reuters Can Whales Live in Harmony with Salt Plant.  Each January, schools of gray whales travel 6,200 miles from the Bering Straits to the warm-water lagoon San Ignacio, a World Heritage Site. But Exportadora del Sal (ESSA), a joint venture between Japanese giant Mitsubishi and the Mexican government, plans to build a $120 million salt plant in the lagoon, that they say would bring much-needed jobs and development to an impoverished region with minimal ecological damage. A powerful coalition of 58 international and Mexican environmental groups including nine Nobel Prize-winning scientists and 15 green U.S. mutual funds with assets worth $14 billion are boycotting Mitsubishi, saying that ESSA is already polluting the Guerrero Negro and Ojo de Liebre lagoon 87 miles up the coast, home to sea lions, black sea turtles and prong-horned antelopes, with another large salt evaporation plant there. However, a UN report says wildlife at Guerrero Negro is not in danger.
  • December 24, 1999 Reuters Nepal Bans Import of Polluting Vehicles -  those not meeting Euro I emission standards - to try to curb pollution. Air pollution in Kathmandu was increasing, making it one of the most polluted cities in the world, said Bhakta Bahadur Balayar, minister for population and environment. Kathmandu's population is 500,000, although the population in the surrounding valley is much higher. Earlier Nepal banned the import of two-stroke motorcycles and forced polluting three-wheeler auto-rickshaws off the streets of temple-studded capital.
  • December 8, 1999 Xinhua National Symposium on Population, Resources, Environment.  The participants at the Beijing conference agreed that the population boom, resource shortages and environmental deterioration have become the common problems of people the world over and will threaten the survival of mankind in the next century. The meeting was sponsored by the Population Research Institute of the People's University of China.
  • December 8, 1999 Ghanaian Chronicle Ghana's Education Reform: Equalising Opportunities or Marginalising the Poor.  Ghana's population is growing at 3.1 per cent, that of the school- age children (6-11) is growing at 3.8 per cent. But, the GER for primary education is growing at an average rate of 0.3 per cent. This indicates that demand outstrips supply and may remain so for a number of years to come. Teenage pregnancy, absence of role models, hostile school environment and low self-esteem also account for the low participation and persistence rates of girls. 40 per cent of Ghanaians live on the national poverty line of $1.00 a day. In 1961, Ghana adopted the target that as much as 71% of primary school-age children to be in school by 1970. Consequently, Ghana's educational system in 1965 was among the most advanced in Africa with as high an enrolment rate as 75% for the 6 to 14-year group. A year later, however, the conditions changed.
  • December 23, 1999 AP Poor Protection Allows Destruction of Venezuela's Exotic Wildlife.  Venezuela's Amazon rain forests, sprawling plains, snowcapped Andean mountains and Caribbean coral reefs feature some of the world's most exotic wildlife. But the Environmental Ministry is understaffed, underpaid, rife with corruption and mired in confusion, according to the Venezuelan Audubon Society. Agents dispatched by environmentalists to protect the Orinoco turtle instead sold the turtles to restaurant owners who used them for turtle soup. Poachers openly sell endangered tropical parrots. Lake Maracaibo, the largest lake in South America, has become a "garbage pail" of oil and waste from tankers. Illegal gold miners uproot trees in Venezuela's rain forests with hydraulic water pumps and poison rivers with mercury. Coral reefs in Morrocoy National Park turned gray and died four years ago, probably due to toxic wastes dumped by ships. The government is building high-voltage electricity lines in rain forests in southeast Venezuela that are supposed to be protected by environmental laws. The lines pass through Canaima National Park one of 100 United Nations-designated World Heritage Sites - it features the world's longest waterfall, Angel Falls, and mysterious flat-topped mountains. The Pemon Indians knocked down several towers saying the power line will mar the landscape and spur widespread development by providing electricity to mining companies that want to exploit huge gold deposits in the region. President Chavez wants to move millions of people out of the cities in northern Venezuela to population and industrial centers to be built in the sparsely populated east and south, where much of the country's most spectacular wildlife lives.
  • December 23, 1999 Itar-Tass Belarus Population Continues to Drop.  The Belarusian population has decreased by 1 percent since 1989, due to mortality growth and birth rate fall. The birth rate is half of what it was in 1986. In the nine months, more than 107,000 Belarusian people died, which is 7,000 people more than over the same period last year. Death frequently results from diseases caused by the Chernobyl disaster and worsened ecology.
  • December 27, 1999 International Herald Tribune Children In Poor Countries Need Help.  2.2 billion of the world's people are under 18 years old, with 2 billion from developing countries, according to UN University Vice Rector Ramesh Thakur and UNICEF Japan Director Manzoor Ahmed. 30,500 children under 5 years old die every day of preventable diseases such as diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition. Every month, 50,000 children under 15 are infected with AIDS. Of all children in developing countries, 20% of those ages 5 to 15 are engaged in child labor in hazardous and harmful conditions, 30% under 5 are underweight, nearly 40% suffer from stunted growth, and over 50% are malnourished. Foreign aid dropped to a historic low in 1998 of 0.2% of the GPD of the OECD countries, well below the internationally agreed target of 0.7%. Ironically, income jumped and aid declined by 30 percent from 1992 to 1997. More children today live in poverty than 10 years ago, and more children find themselves in a more violent and unstable environment.
  • December 27, 1999 Reuters Cuba: Infant Mortality Rates Drop.  Cuba's infant mortality rate, "already one of the lowest in the world," fell to some 6.5 deaths per 1,000 births in 1999, down from 7.1 in 1998 and 11 ten years ago. Cuba offers free health service for all. Cuba still has shortages in medicine because of the US economic blockade against the country but that the situation is improving slowly.
  • December 27, 1999 Xinhua China Faces Great Challenges to Maintain a Low Rate of Births.  China, whose population is about 1.2 billion, will see more women entering their child-bearing years, more rural people moving to cities to find work, and an increasing elderly population. China's population is expected to peak at about 1.6 billion by 2050. Better family planning services are urgently needed in the rural areas of central and western China where 60% of China's population lives. Some local officials are violating family planning policies by not registering newborns. Communist Party members who violate family planning policies will be severely punished. In most rural areas, a couple may have a second child after proper birth spacing. Ethnic minorities are allowed to have more than one child.
  • December 14, 1999 Aspen Passes Population/Immigration Resolution.  The population of the United States reached about 274 million in 1999 and is growing by approximately three million each year, over 57,000 weekly, the highest population growth rate of the developed countries of the world. 50% of our original wetlands have been drained to accommodate growth. (Environmental Protection Agency) 95% of all U.S. old growth forests have been destroyed. (Save American Forests) It is estimated that we have consumed approximately 3/4 of all our recoverable petroleum, aquifers are being drawn down 23% more than their natural rates of recharge. For each person added to the U.S. population, about one acre of open land is lost. If present population trends continue, the U.S. will cease to be a food exporter by about 2030. 1.2 million legal immigrants and 300,000 to 400,000 illegal immigrants plus their U.S.- born offspring, come to the U.S. annually. The city of Aspen petitions Congress and the President for a return to traditional replacement levels of legal immigration , approximately 175,000, all-inclusive, annually; and a mandated enforcement of immigration laws against illegal immigration.
  • December 10, 1999 Boston Globe India's Demographic Frontier.  Government programs to manage the population, especially in the cities, where the slums are a dispiriting sink of pollution, squalor, and disease, have not been successful. In the 1970's, vasectomies were forced upon men. A coercive two-child policy was enforced. India dropped birth-control quotas in 1966 in favor of a more holistic approach to reproductive health care, but government efforts at family planning are still suspect. Also, women are very low status in India, having a 63% illiteracy rate. Girl children are often abandoned as infants. Women can be banished from their homes for failing to produce sons. India, the world's largest democracy, is also the most chaotic democracy. Under the most optimistic projections, India will not stabilize its population until it nearly doubles, at 1.8 billion. Kerala, on the other hand, has a 90% female literacy rate, health care is free, and infant mortality rates are 12 per 1,000, compared with 85 per 1,000 in Uttar Pradesh. Kerala reached zero population growth 15 years before the target date set by the UN. Kerala has mandatory education and a bustling economy of rubber, cashews, coir, and, increasingly, tourism. The rest of India boasts of its numbers, "100 Crore strong," against Pakistan. But Mohandas Gandhi said poverty is the worst form of violence. Surely the father of his country would not support creating more savagery on such a scale.
  • December 31, 1999 ENN Group Cites Wildlife Winners – and Losers.  More species are now in danger of extinction than at any other time in the country's history, says the Environmental Defense Fund. Habitat destruction, pollution and the invasion of non-native species have replaced hunting and fur-trapping as the biggest threats to all wildlife except fish. The bald eagle and the white-tailed deer are listed as winners. Among the losers are the Snake River sockeye salmon, which 900 miles from the Pacific Ocean to the Columbia River to the Snake River, to Idaho's Redfish Lake. Dams, water diversion, logging, grazing and other activities that have destroyed Snake River sockeye habitat. Only a handful of the fish remain.
  • December 31, 1999 ENN Groups Demand Safe Haven for Sonoran Pronghorn  The fastest land mammal in America may be running out of time, with only 140 of the animals in the United States, says the Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club. A petition has been filed with the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, demanding a critical habitat. The animal is found only in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and the Sonora area of Mexico. The Department of Defense uses the Sonoran Desert for bombing, strafing, ground maneuvers and low-level flights, as part of military training. Grazing and low-flying border patrol heliocopters also threaten the area.
  • December 26, 1999 ENN Songbird Toll Linked to Exotic Shrubs.  Birds that nest in non-native plants, which often lack the height or physical deterrents of native plants, may lose more eggs to predators such as raccoons and possums. Replacing arrowwood and hawthorne, which have thorns and thinner branches, exotic honeysuckle and buckhorn dominate the lower levels of forests, particularly small, fragmented preserves surrounded by urban sprawl. The number of robins nesting in non-native honeysuckle was found to increase six-fold during the six year study.
  • December 21, 1999 ENS Logging, Recreation Called Biggest Threats to National Forests.  A coalition of over one hundred forest and grassland conservation activists and organizations collaborated to produce the "National Forest Yearbook 1999." "Logging in old growth and roadless areas, ORVs out of control, lack of attention to wildlife needs, and countless other environmental abuses are degrading our national forests," said Randi Spivak of the American Lands Alliance. Responsible are some current projects in national forests, at the initiative of local Forest Service land managers or with their permission." The most pervasive threat was found to be timber sales approved with too little attention to environmental issues. "Many perverse incentives influence local Forest Service decision makers to identify logging as the solution to every problem." The growing threat that off road vehicles, ski resort expansions and privatization are listed right behind logging as threats to national forests. Inappropriate grazing is another threat. An inadequate USFS budget often deprives conservation programs while promoting a timber sale program. The good news is that new road construction has been banned in thousands of acres of roadless National Forest lands.
  • Dec99/Jan00 Earth First! Journal Marine Protected Areas: A Human-Centric Concept.  The proposal to establish Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), made by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), under the new 1996 Oceans Act needs to apply deep ecology to an actual environmental issue. Fishers seem to feel that they have some proprietary lock on the oceans from which the public is excluded.
  • December 12, 1999 Tehran Times Population Growth in Iran.  "If suitable population programming and essential facilities for family planning are not taken into consideration, economic issues and the ensuing poor health services will be one of the most important problems" of the next generation of Iranians.
  • December 27, 1999 The Jakarta Post Jakarta: Government Strives to Avoid Baby Boom.  The State Minister of the Empowerment of Women and chair of the National Family Planning Board, Khofifah Indar Parawansa said that the government is in foreign debt due to the procurement of contraceptives in 1999 alone, and may be seeking cooperation and grants in importing contraceptives. Many lower income couples dropping out of the family planning program due to financial constraints. The Australian government recently donated medical assistance, including medicines, medical equipment and contraception pills, worth a total of AU(USDollar) 5 million.
  • December 27, 1999 Los Angeles Times Mexico: Family Planning Gains.  The local Mexican institutions and U.S.-based nongovernmental agencies have partnered to create success stories in Mexico's family planning. The birth rate has gone from 7.2 children, in 1965, to 2.5 in 1999. Credit can be given Mexican agencies like the National Population Council and the nonprofit Mexican Foundation for Family Planning, or Mexfam, an affiliate of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Media campaigns urge delay of marriage and pregnancy and emphasize the advantages of spacing the births of one's children. Vasectomy or tubal ligation are freely available. 70% of women of childbearing age have access to contraception. To avoid conflict with the Catholic Church, media ads list the advantages of a small family without direct mention of contraceptives. Sex education has even come to Mexico's public elementary schools. Much of the funding comes from U.S. government agencies, but the expiration of a bilateral agreement this year cut off the flow because a few members of Congress vehemently oppose not just abortion but even certain contraception methods. Denying help to agencies that provide proven family planning information and assistance is a sure way to curb progress.
  • December 26, 1999 Xinhua UNICEF Offers Relief Fund for Ethiopian Children.  Half of the population of Ethiopia consists of children. UNICEF wants to help Ethiopian children get access to drinking water, health care and education services.
  • December 25, 1999 The Economist Population: Like Herrings in a Barrel  This is a very good history and analysis of population and population thinking in the world.
  • December 22, 1999 Associated Press Contraceptive Use Among Filipino Women Increasing.  This year contraceptive use rose among married women aged 15 to 49 to 49.3%, up from 46.5% in 1998. More couples were using the pill and condom, rising from 28.2% to 32.4% in the same period. Traditional methods, such as rhythm and abstinence, went down from 18.3% to 16.9%. The Roman Catholic church's resistence to to artificial contraceptives is being more and more ignored. Poor women in the 20-24 age bracket, about 66%, use the pill. The study of 26,000 respondents showed that women with more education were using contraceptives. The Philippines' annual population growth rate is 2.3%, one of the highest in Southeast Asia. President Joseph Estrada advocates birth control, saying the Philippines must limit its rapid population growth to raise living standards for its people, many of whom live in poverty.
  • December 22, 1999 Panafrican News WHO Gets Grant for Promotion of Child Health.  The UN Foundation has granted to the WHO 16.4 million US dollars to help communities reduce child deaths, prevent HIV/AIDS among adolescents, improve vaccination programmes and child nutrition (by using vitamin A and zinc as food supplements) in Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In just over 1 year, the UN Foundation, which is supported by US billionaire Ted Turner, has pledged 50 million dollars.
  • December 14, 1999 The SF Chronicle Californians See A Future Both Bright and Bleak.  The Public Policy Institute of California conducted a poll. Two-thirds of 2,009 California adults surveyed believe the state is heading in the right direction, and three-quarters expect the economic good times to continue. But by nearly 2-to-1 ratio -- 43 to 25 percent -- say the state will be a worse place to live in the next 20 years than it is today. Most expect the state to see an increase in crime and a degraded environment. Three-quarters of those surveyed see a growing gap between rich and poor by 2020. Only 4% know California's current population (about 34 million), but the study shows that 'people are wildly fearful that the population is going to be out of control,' with almost 25% saying that there will be 60 million or more Californians by the close of 2020.
  • December 14, 1999 The Irish Times CFFC Comes Out in Favour of Liberal Abortion Option.  The Catholics For a Free Choice (CFFC) group has said it favours option 7 of those laid out by the Green Paper [in Ireland] on abortion. This would permit abortion where there was risk to the physical or mental health of the woman; in rape and incest cases; where there was congenital malformation; where there were economic or social reasons; and on request. The CFFC said "The Catholic Church has acknowledged that it does not know when a foetus becomes a person and has not declared its teaching on abortion infallible," and that the Green Paper "did not more strongly address the need for separation of church and State in Ireland on this as well as other issues". The Hierarchy's "equalisation of a fully formed human life with a potential life" was described as "a disservice to women."
  • December 23, 1999 Xinhua Myanmar Holds National Workshop on Women  The government identified priority areas of concern for Myanmar women: violence against women, education, health, economy, culture and girl- child. Myanmar is also implementing the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995. The country acceded in July 1997 to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Myanmar has a population of 48 million.
  • December 23, 1999 Xinhua Malaysia's Population Reaches 22.7 Million.  10.7 million are Malay Bumiputeras (aboriginals), 5.6 million Chinese, 2.5 million other Bumiputeras, 1.6 million Indians and 727,000 others. 1.6 million were non citizens. 33.5% of the population is under 15 years and only 3.8% are over 65 years.
  • December 14, 1999 AP India's Population Surging. While 72,000 babies are born in India every day, Parliament is debating legislation that prohibits politicians with more than two children from running for office. Hundreds of lawmakers in the 543-seat Parliament have more than two children. Dozens have between six and nine kids. Female lawmakers would be affected because wives rarely have a say in the number of children they will have. Part of the resistence is due to the fact that, in the 1970s, many Indians were forced to undergo operations or were sterilized without their knowledge. In local elections, five states have implemented the two-child norm.
  • December 20, 1999 All Africa News Agency Africa: Increasing Cases May Stagnate Demand For Education.  As a result of HIV/AIDS,and the early death of one or both parents, there are fewer children to be educated. Some children are born HIV Positive and most die before reaching school-going age. Primary school enrollments stagnated between 1990 and 1996 in Zambia. Instead of going to school, children will be recruited for domestic and agricultural tasks, plus caring for adults or other family members. The numbers of street children in Zambia have swelled from 35,000 in 1991 to over 75,000 in 1996. It is estimated that in Zambia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, the number of primary school age children will be over 20% lower than pre-HIV/AIDS projections by 2010. Many of these will be orphans with very limited resources and incentives to enter the system. The Swaziland Ministry of Education, Swaziland estimates that by 2016, there will be 30% fewer 6 year olds and 17% fewer 18 year olds. In Zambia, the number of teachers dying from AIDS is greater than the output from all teacher-training colleges.
  • December 21, 1999 BCC 50,000 feared dead in Venezuela  Flooding and mudslides that have devastated the country. Survivors are still being rescued. 200,000 people have been left homeless. Water and sewage facilities are destroyed. The Red Cross has warned the entire relief system is on the verge of collapse. Economists say the disaster would aggravate a deep economic recession in the oil-rich country of 23 million. The population was allowed to grow in areas where the government knew about the dangers of flooding. 75% of the country’s population lives in Caracas and the northern states, where the heaviest rainfall in 100 years has been falling for the last two weeks.
  • December 21, 1999 World Bank India: Reforms Could Cut Coal-Related Air Pollution.  India produces 70% of its electricity by burning coal. According to the World Bank report, Indian power plant emissions of sulfur, nitrogen and soot could jump by 300% by 2015, imposing "substantial" impacts on human health and the environment. Carbon dioxide emissions could grow to nearly the same level as those of the European Union. Disposal of coal ash could require 1,000 square kilometers of dump space. The World Bank recommends efficiency improvements, fuel substitution, incentives for "coal washing" and ash recycling, and pricing reform.
  • December 20, 1999 South China Morning Post Vietnam: Cafe Puts Sex and Aids Education High on the Menu.  Soaring HIV infection and an abortion rate thought to be nearly the highest in the world have prompted health authorities in Hanoi to break with prudish tradition and open the city's first sex education cafe. Window of Love cafe, set up with German funding, is a place where young people can freely ask for information about sex and Aids. Sex education is not available at schools and parents are too embarrassed to raise the issue with teenage children. The staff at the cafe includes a female physician specialising in reproductive health, and an HIV/Aids counsellor.
  • December 17, 1999 NDTV- New Delhi Television India: ‘Goli ke hamjoli’: Friends of the Pill.  Last week India marked 50 years of family planning services. But still, 60% of married women in India between the ages of 15 and 45 use no contraception. Those who do mainly opt for sterilization. Only 2.4% use condoms, 2% use intrauterine devices and 1.2% use oral contraceptive pills. Myths and fear of side effects are the reasons women don't want to use the pill. ‘Goli ke hamjoli’, friends of the pill, is a project to encourage the use of pills as a safe, modern and effective contraceptive method.
  • December 21, 1999 WOA! F.A.I.R. Website Hacked.  The home page of FAIR, Federation of Reform Immigration was replaced by a page containing profane language in Portuguese by a group calling itself 'Ass0mbracao', very likely from Brazil. The substituted page did not appear to be critical of FAIR or relate to population issues, but rather to complain about suffering from an economy in debt to global corporations and foreign governments. FAIR's goal is to retore reasonable levels of immigration to the U.S.
  • December 21, 1999 UNWire India Faces 10 Million HIV/AIDS Infections By 2010  UNAIDS and the World Health Organization say that some 3.5 million Indians are HIV-positive, and more than 9,500 cases of full-blown AIDS have been reported to India's National AIDS Control Organization. The Indian government says the numbers are lower, with 2.9 million infected. Prostitutes in South Bombay are being trained by Population Services International to explain sexually transmitted diseases and condom use to their peers.
  • December 15, 1999 Chicago Tribune Late Arrival; Birth Control Pill Is Slow to Catch on in Japan. 35 years after its approval in the U.S., the birth control pill went on sale Sept. 1 in Japan, but decades of fear of side effects, bad publicity, cultural barriers, blockage by the medical community which makes a business out of performing abortions, and concern that the birth rate will plunge even further, have led to lackluster demand. Condoms and the rhythm method are the most common forms of birth control, with the result that 2/3 of pregnancies are unplanned. Nearly a quarter of all pregnancies are aborted. 200,000 women have been using a drug prescribed for menstrual cramps to prevent pregnancies.
  • December 20, 1999 La Cronica de Hoy Mexico: UN Worried About Street Children, Domestic Violence  According to UNICEF, there are more than 20,000 children on the streets of Mexican cities, many subject to exploitation and child abuse.
  • December 19, 1999 NY Times Malaria Cases Increase By More Than 180% In South Africa - that's 180% over the same period last year. Experts say that the sharp jump is due to the warmer winter, a growing influx of immigrants from neighboring Mozambique, where malaria is rampant, and the spread of drug-resistant strains. Kenya, too, is affected - malaria is spreading into previously unaffected highlands and is showing an increasing resistant to chloroquine, which was once the malaria prophylactic of choice.
  • December 17, 1999 Reuters Can Whales Live in Harmony with Salt Plant.  Each January, schools of gray whales travel 6,200 miles from the Bering Straits to the warm-water lagoon San Ignacio, a World Heritage Site. But Exportadora del Sal (ESSA), a joint venture between Japanese giant Mitsubishi and the Mexican government, plans to build a $120 million salt plant in the lagoon, that they say would bring much-needed jobs and development to an impoverished region with minimal ecological damage. A powerful coalition of 58 international and Mexican environmental groups including nine Nobel Prize-winning scientists and 15 green U.S. mutual funds with assets worth $14 billion are boycotting Mitsubishi, saying that ESSA is already polluting the Guerrero Negro and Ojo de Liebre lagoon 87 miles up the coast, home to sea lions, black sea turtles and prong-horned antelopes, with another large salt evaporation plant there. However, a UN report says wildlife at Guerrero Negro is not in danger.
  • December 24, 1999 Reuters Nepal Bans Import of Polluting Vehicles -  those not meeting Euro I emission standards - to try to curb pollution. Air pollution in Kathmandu was increasing, making it one of the most polluted cities in the world, said Bhakta Bahadur Balayar, minister for population and environment. Kathmandu's population is 500,000, although the population in the surrounding valley is much higher. Earlier Nepal banned the import of two-stroke motorcycles and forced polluting three-wheeler auto-rickshaws off the streets of temple-studded capital.
  • December 8, 1999 Xinhua National Symposium on Population, Resources, Environment.  The participants at the Beijing conference agreed that the population boom, resource shortages and environmental deterioration have become the common problems of people the world over and will threaten the survival of mankind in the next century. The meeting was sponsored by the Population Research Institute of the People's University of China.
  • December 8, 1999 Ghanaian Chronicle Ghana's Education Reform: Equalising Opportunities or Marginalising the Poor.  Ghana's population is growing at 3.1 per cent, that of the school- age children (6-11) is growing at 3.8 per cent. But, the GER for primary education is growing at an average rate of 0.3 per cent. This indicates that demand outstrips supply and may remain so for a number of years to come. Teenage pregnancy, absence of role models, hostile school environment and low self-esteem also account for the low participation and persistence rates of girls. 40 per cent of Ghanaians live on the national poverty line of $1.00 a day. In 1961, Ghana adopted the target that as much as 71% of primary school-age children to be in school by 1970. Consequently, Ghana's educational system in 1965 was among the most advanced in Africa with as high an enrolment rate as 75% for the 6 to 14-year group. A year later, however, the conditions changed.
  • December 23, 1999 AP Poor Protection Allows Destruction of Venezuela's Exotic Wildlife.  Venezuela's Amazon rain forests, sprawling plains, snowcapped Andean mountains and Caribbean coral reefs feature some of the world's most exotic wildlife. But the Environmental Ministry is understaffed, underpaid, rife with corruption and mired in confusion, according to the Venezuelan Audubon Society. Agents dispatched by environmentalists to protect the Orinoco turtle instead sold the turtles to restaurant owners who used them for turtle soup. Poachers openly sell endangered tropical parrots. Lake Maracaibo, the largest lake in South America, has become a "garbage pail" of oil and waste from tankers. Illegal gold miners uproot trees in Venezuela's rain forests with hydraulic water pumps and poison rivers with mercury. Coral reefs in Morrocoy National Park turned gray and died four years ago, probably due to toxic wastes dumped by ships. The government is building high-voltage electricity lines in rain forests in southeast Venezuela that are supposed to be protected by environmental laws. The lines pass through Canaima National Park one of 100 United Nations-designated World Heritage Sites - it features the world's longest waterfall, Angel Falls, and mysterious flat-topped mountains. The Pemon Indians knocked down several towers saying the power line will mar the landscape and spur widespread development by providing electricity to mining companies that want to exploit huge gold deposits in the region. President Chavez wants to move millions of people out of the cities in northern Venezuela to population and industrial centers to be built in the sparsely populated east and south, where much of the country's most spectacular wildlife lives.
  • December 23, 1999 Itar-Tass Belarus Population Continues to Drop.  The Belarusian population has decreased by 1 percent since 1989, due to mortality growth and birth rate fall. The birth rate is half of what it was in 1986. In the nine months, more than 107,000 Belarusian people died, which is 7,000 people more than over the same period last year. Death frequently results from diseases caused by the Chernobyl disaster and worsened ecology.
  • December 27, 1999 International Herald Tribune Children In Poor Countries Need Help.  2.2 billion of the world's people are under 18 years old, with 2 billion from developing countries, according to UN University Vice Rector Ramesh Thakur and UNICEF Japan Director Manzoor Ahmed. 30,500 children under 5 years old die every day of preventable diseases such as diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition. Every month, 50,000 children under 15 are infected with AIDS. Of all children in developing countries, 20% of those ages 5 to 15 are engaged in child labor in hazardous and harmful conditions, 30% under 5 are underweight, nearly 40% suffer from stunted growth, and over 50% are malnourished. Foreign aid dropped to a historic low in 1998 of 0.2% of the GPD of the OECD countries, well below the internationally agreed target of 0.7%. Ironically, income jumped and aid declined by 30 percent from 1992 to 1997. More children today live in poverty than 10 years ago, and more children find themselves in a more violent and unstable environment.
  • December 27, 1999 Reuters Cuba: Infant Mortality Rates Drop.  Cuba's infant mortality rate, "already one of the lowest in the world," fell to some 6.5 deaths per 1,000 births in 1999, down from 7.1 in 1998 and 11 ten years ago. Cuba offers free health service for all. Cuba still has shortages in medicine because of the US economic blockade against the country but that the situation is improving slowly.
  • December 27, 1999 Xinhua China Faces Great Challenges to Maintain a Low Rate of Births.  China, whose population is about 1.2 billion, will see more women entering their child-bearing years, more rural people moving to cities to find work, and an increasing elderly population. China's population is expected to peak at about 1.6 billion by 2050. Better family planning services are urgently needed in the rural areas of central and western China where 60% of China's population lives. Some local officials are violating family planning policies by not registering newborns. Communist Party members who violate family planning policies will be severely punished. In most rural areas, a couple may have a second child after proper birth spacing. Ethnic minorities are allowed to have more than one child.
  • December 14, 1999 Aspen Passes Population/Immigration Resolution.  The population of the United States reached about 274 million in 1999 and is growing by approximately three million each year, over 57,000 weekly, the highest population growth rate of the developed countries of the world. 50% of our original wetlands have been drained to accommodate growth. (Environmental Protection Agency) 95% of all U.S. old growth forests have been destroyed. (Save American Forests) It is estimated that we have consumed approximately 3/4 of all our recoverable petroleum, aquifers are being drawn down 23% more than their natural rates of recharge. For each person added to the U.S. population, about one acre of open land is lost. If present population trends continue, the U.S. will cease to be a food exporter by about 2030. 1.2 million legal immigrants and 300,000 to 400,000 illegal immigrants plus their U.S.- born offspring, come to the U.S. annually. The city of Aspen petitions Congress and the President for a return to traditional replacement levels of legal immigration , approximately 175,000, all-inclusive, annually; and a mandated enforcement of immigration laws against illegal immigration.
  • December 10, 1999 Boston Globe India's Demographic Frontier.  Government programs to manage the population, especially in the cities, where the slums are a dispiriting sink of pollution, squalor, and disease, have not been successful. In the 1970's, vasectomies were forced upon men. A coercive two-child policy was enforced. India dropped birth-control quotas in 1966 in favor of a more holistic approach to reproductive health care, but government efforts at family planning are still suspect. Also, women are very low status in India, having a 63% illiteracy rate. Girl children are often abandoned as infants. Women can be banished from their homes for failing to produce sons. India, the world's largest democracy, is also the most chaotic democracy. Under the most optimistic projections, India will not stabilize its population until it nearly doubles, at 1.8 billion. Kerala, on the other hand, has a 90% female literacy rate, health care is free, and infant mortality rates are 12 per 1,000, compared with 85 per 1,000 in Uttar Pradesh. Kerala reached zero population growth 15 years before the target date set by the UN. Kerala has mandatory education and a bustling economy of rubber, cashews, coir, and, increasingly, tourism. The rest of India boasts of its numbers, "100 Crore strong," against Pakistan. But Mohandas Gandhi said poverty is the worst form of violence. Surely the father of his country would not support creating more savagery on such a scale.
  • December 31, 1999 ENN Group Cites Wildlife Winners - and Losers.  More species are now in danger of extinction than at any other time in the country's history, says the Environmental Defense Fund. Habitat destruction, pollution and the invasion of non-native species have replaced hunting and fur-trapping as the biggest threats to all wildlife except fish. The bald eagle and the white-tailed deer are listed as winners. Among the losers are the Snake River sockeye salmon, which 900 miles from the Pacific Ocean to the Columbia River to the Snake River, to Idaho's Redfish Lake. Dams, water diversion, logging, grazing and other activities that have destroyed Snake River sockeye habitat. Only a handful of the fish remain.
  • December 31, 1999 ENN Groups Demand Safe Haven for Sonoran Pronghorn  The fastest land mammal in America may be running out of time, with only 140 of the animals in the United States, says the Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club. A petition has been filed with the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, demanding a critical habitat. The animal is found only in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and the Sonora area of Mexico. The Department of Defense uses the Sonoran Desert for bombing, strafing, ground maneuvers and low-level flights, as part of military training. Grazing and low-flying border patrol heliocopters also threaten the area.
  • December 26, 1999 ENN Songbird Toll Linked to Exotic Shrubs.  Birds that nest in non-native plants, which often lack the height or physical deterrents of native plants, may lose more eggs to predators such as raccoons and possums. Replacing arrowwood and hawthorne, which have thorns and thinner branches, exotic honeysuckle and buckhorn dominate the lower levels of forests, particularly small, fragmented preserves surrounded by urban sprawl. The number of robins nesting in non-native honeysuckle was found to increase six-fold during the six year study.
  • December 21, 1999 ENS Logging, Recreation Called Biggest Threats to National Forests.  A coalition of over one hundred forest and grassland conservation activists and organizations collaborated to produce the "National Forest Yearbook 1999." "Logging in old growth and roadless areas, ORVs out of control, lack of attention to wildlife needs, and countless other environmental abuses are degrading our national forests," said Randi Spivak of the American Lands Alliance. Responsible are some current projects in national forests, at the initiative of local Forest Service land managers or with their permission." The most pervasive threat was found to be timber sales approved with too little attention to environmental issues. "Many perverse incentives influence local Forest Service decision makers to identify logging as the solution to every problem." The growing threat that off road vehicles, ski resort expansions and privatization are listed right behind logging as threats to national forests. Inappropriate grazing is another threat. An inadequate USFS budget often deprives conservation programs while promoting a timber sale program. The good news is that new road construction has been banned in thousands of acres of roadless National Forest lands.
  • Dec99/Jan00 Earth First! Journal Marine Protected Areas: A Human-Centric Concept.  The proposal to establish Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), made by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), under the new 1996 Oceans Act needs to apply deep ecology to an actual environmental issue. Fishers seem to feel that they have some proprietary lock on the oceans from which the public is excluded.
  • December 12, 1999 Tehran Times Population Growth in Iran.  "If suitable population programming and essential facilities for family planning are not taken into consideration, economic issues and the ensuing poor health services will be one of the most important problems" of the next generation of Iranians.
  • December 27, 1999 The Jakarta Post Jakarta: Government Strives to Avoid Baby Boom.  The State Minister of the Empowerment of Women and chair of the National Family Planning Board, Khofifah Indar Parawansa said that the government is in foreign debt due to the procurement of contraceptives in 1999 alone, and may be seeking cooperation and grants in importing contraceptives. Many lower income couples dropping out of the family planning program due to financial constraints. The Australian government recently donated medical assistance, including medicines, medical equipment and contraception pills, worth a total of AU(USDollar) 5 million.
  • December 27, 1999 Los Angeles Times Mexico: Family Planning Gains.  The local Mexican institutions and U.S.-based nongovernmental agencies have partnered to create success stories in Mexico's family planning. The birth rate has gone from 7.2 children, in 1965, to 2.5 in 1999. Credit can be given Mexican agencies like the National Population Council and the nonprofit Mexican Foundation for Family Planning, or Mexfam, an affiliate of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Media campaigns urge delay of marriage and pregnancy and emphasize the advantages of spacing the births of one's children. Vasectomy or tubal ligation are freely available. 70% of women of childbearing age have access to contraception. To avoid conflict with the Catholic Church, media ads list the advantages of a small family without direct mention of contraceptives. Sex education has even come to Mexico's public elementary schools. Much of the funding comes from U.S. government agencies, but the expiration of a bilateral agreement this year cut off the flow because a few members of Congress vehemently oppose not just abortion but even certain contraception methods. Denying help to agencies that provide proven family planning information and assistance is a sure way to curb progress.
  • December 26, 1999 Xinhua UNICEF Offers Relief Fund for Ethiopian Children.  Half of the population of Ethiopia consists of children. UNICEF wants to help Ethiopian children get access to drinking water, health care and education services.
  • December 25, 1999 The Economist Population: Like Herrings in a Barrel  This is a very good history and analysis of population and population thinking in the world.
  • December 22, 1999 Associated Press Contraceptive Use Among Filipino Women Increasing.  This year contraceptive use rose among married women aged 15 to 49 to 49.3%, up from 46.5% in 1998. More couples were using the pill and condom, rising from 28.2% to 32.4% in the same period. Traditional methods, such as rhythm and abstinence, went down from 18.3% to 16.9%. The Roman Catholic church's resistence to to artificial contraceptives is being more and more ignored. Poor women in the 20-24 age bracket, about 66%, use the pill. The study of 26,000 respondents showed that women with more education were using contraceptives. The Philippines' annual population growth rate is 2.3%, one of the highest in Southeast Asia. President Joseph Estrada advocates birth control, saying the Philippines must limit its rapid population growth to raise living standards for its people, many of whom live in poverty.
  • December 22, 1999 Panafrican News WHO Gets Grant for Promotion of Child Health.  The UN Foundation has granted to the WHO 16.4 million US dollars to help communities reduce child deaths, prevent HIV/AIDS among adolescents, improve vaccination programmes and child nutrition (by using vitamin A and zinc as food supplements) in Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In just over 1 year, the UN Foundation, which is supported by US billionaire Ted Turner, has pledged 50 million dollars.
  • December 14, 1999 The SF Chronicle Californians See A Future Both Bright and Bleak.  The Public Policy Institute of California conducted a poll. Two-thirds of 2,009 California adults surveyed believe the state is heading in the right direction, and three-quarters expect the economic good times to continue. But by nearly 2-to-1 ratio -- 43 to 25 percent -- say the state will be a worse place to live in the next 20 years than it is today. Most expect the state to see an increase in crime and a degraded environment. Three-quarters of those surveyed see a growing gap between rich and poor by 2020. Only 4% know California's current population (about 34 million), but the study shows that 'people are wildly fearful that the population is going to be out of control,' with almost 25% saying that there will be 60 million or more Californians by the close of 2020.
  • December 14, 1999 The Irish Times CFFC Comes Out in Favour of Liberal Abortion Option.  The Catholics For a Free Choice (CFFC) group has said it favours option 7 of those laid out by the Green Paper [in Ireland] on abortion. This would permit abortion where there was risk to the physical or mental health of the woman; in rape and incest cases; where there was congenital malformation; where there were economic or social reasons; and on request. The CFFC said "The Catholic Church has acknowledged that it does not know when a foetus becomes a person and has not declared its teaching on abortion infallible," and that the Green Paper "did not more strongly address the need for separation of church and State in Ireland on this as well as other issues". The Hierarchy's "equalisation of a fully formed human life with a potential life" was described as "a disservice to women."
  • December 23, 1999 Xinhua Myanmar Holds National Workshop on Women  The government identified priority areas of concern for Myanmar women: violence against women, education, health, economy, culture and girl- child. Myanmar is also implementing the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995. The country acceded in July 1997 to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Myanmar has a population of 48 million.
  • December 23, 1999 Xinhua Malaysia's Population Reaches 22.7 Million.  10.7 million are Malay Bumiputeras (aboriginals), 5.6 million Chinese, 2.5 million other Bumiputeras, 1.6 million Indians and 727,000 others. 1.6 million were non citizens. 33.5% of the population is under 15 years and only 3.8% are over 65 years.
  • December 14, 1999 AP India's Population Surging. While 72,000 babies are born in India every day, Parliament is debating legislation that prohibits politicians with more than two children from running for office. Hundreds of lawmakers in the 543-seat Parliament have more than two children. Dozens have between six and nine kids. Female lawmakers would be affected because wives rarely have a say in the number of children they will have. Part of the resistence is due to the fact that, in the 1970s, many Indians were forced to undergo operations or were sterilized without their knowledge. In local elections, five states have implemented the two-child norm.
  • December 20, 1999 All Africa News Agency Africa: Increasing Cases May Stagnate Demand For Education.  As a result of HIV/AIDS,and the early death of one or both parents, there are fewer children to be educated. Some children are born HIV Positive and most die before reaching school-going age. Primary school enrollments stagnated between 1990 and 1996 in Zambia. Instead of going to school, children will be recruited for domestic and agricultural tasks, plus caring for adults or other family members. The numbers of street children in Zambia have swelled from 35,000 in 1991 to over 75,000 in 1996. It is estimated that in Zambia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, the number of primary school age children will be over 20% lower than pre-HIV/AIDS projections by 2010. Many of these will be orphans with very limited resources and incentives to enter the system. The Swaziland Ministry of Education, Swaziland estimates that by 2016, there will be 30% fewer 6 year olds and 17% fewer 18 year olds. In Zambia, the number of teachers dying from AIDS is greater than the output from all teacher-training colleges.
  • December 21, 1999 BCC 50,000 feared dead in Venezuela  Flooding and mudslides that have devastated the country. Survivors are still being rescued. 200,000 people have been left homeless. Water and sewage facilities are destroyed. The Red Cross has warned the entire relief system is on the verge of collapse. Economists say the disaster would aggravate a deep economic recession in the oil-rich country of 23 million. The population was allowed to grow in areas where the government knew about the dangers of flooding. 75% of the country’s population lives in Caracas and the northern states, where the heaviest rainfall in 100 years has been falling for the last two weeks.
  • December 21, 1999 World Bank India: Reforms Could Cut Coal-Related Air Pollution.  India produces 70% of its electricity by burning coal. According to the World Bank report, Indian power plant emissions of sulfur, nitrogen and soot could jump by 300% by 2015, imposing "substantial" impacts on human health and the environment. Carbon dioxide emissions could grow to nearly the same level as those of the European Union. Disposal of coal ash could require 1,000 square kilometers of dump space. The World Bank recommends efficiency improvements, fuel substitution, incentives for "coal washing" and ash recycling, and pricing reform.
  • December 20, 1999 South China Morning Post Vietnam: Cafe Puts Sex and Aids Education High on the Menu.  Soaring HIV infection and an abortion rate thought to be nearly the highest in the world have prompted health authorities in Hanoi to break with prudish tradition and open the city's first sex education cafe. Window of Love cafe, set up with German funding, is a place where young people can freely ask for information about sex and Aids. Sex education is not available at schools and parents are too embarrassed to raise the issue with teenage children. The staff at the cafe includes a female physician specialising in reproductive health, and an HIV/Aids counsellor.
  • December 17, 1999 NDTV- New Delhi Television India: ‘Goli ke hamjoli’: Friends of the Pill.  Last week India marked 50 years of family planning services. But still, 60% of married women in India between the ages of 15 and 45 use no contraception. Those who do mainly opt for sterilization. Only 2.4% use condoms, 2% use intrauterine devices and 1.2% use oral contraceptive pills. Myths and fear of side effects are the reasons women don't want to use the pill. ‘Goli ke hamjoli’, friends of the pill, is a project to encourage the use of pills as a safe, modern and effective contraceptive method.
  • December 21, 1999 WOA! F.A.I.R. Website Hacked.  The home page of FAIR, Federation of Reform Immigration was replaced by a page containing profane language in Portuguese by a group calling itself 'Ass0mbracao', very likely from Brazil. The substituted page did not appear to be critical of FAIR or relate to population issues, but rather to complain about suffering from an economy in debt to global corporations and foreign governments. FAIR's goal is to retore reasonable levels of immigration to the U.S.
  • December 21, 1999 UNWire India Faces 10 Million HIV/AIDS Infections By 2010  UNAIDS and the World Health Organization say that some 3.5 million Indians are HIV-positive, and more than 9,500 cases of full-blown AIDS have been reported to India's National AIDS Control Organization. The Indian government says the numbers are lower, with 2.9 million infected. Prostitutes in South Bombay are being trained by Population Services International to explain sexually transmitted diseases and condom use to their peers.
  • December 15, 1999 Chicago Tribune Late Arrival; Birth Control Pill Is Slow to Catch on in Japan. 35 years after its approval in the U.S., the birth control pill went on sale Sept. 1 in Japan, but decades of fear of side effects, bad publicity, cultural barriers, blockage by the medical community which makes a business out of performing abortions, and concern that the birth rate will plunge even further, have led to lackluster demand. Condoms and the rhythm method are the most common forms of birth control, with the result that 2/3 of pregnancies are unplanned. Nearly a quarter of all pregnancies are aborted. 200,000 women have been using a drug prescribed for menstrual cramps to prevent pregnancies.
  • December 20, 1999 La Cronica de Hoy Mexico: UN Worried About Street Children, Domestic Violence  According to UNICEF, there are more than 20,000 children on the streets of Mexican cities, many subject to exploitation and child abuse.
  • December 19, 1999 NY Times Malaria Cases Increase By More Than 180% In South Africa - that's 180% over the same period last year. Experts say that the sharp jump is due to the warmer winter, a growing influx of immigrants from neighboring Mozambique, where malaria is rampant, and the spread of drug-resistant strains. Kenya, too, is affected - malaria is spreading into previously unaffected highlands and is showing an increasing resistant to chloroquine, which was once the malaria prophylactic of choice.
  • December 16, 1999 IPS Morocco: Slow Death in a Plastic Bag.  The proliferation of plastic bags constitutes a substantial environmental and human health threat in this north African country. Environmentalists propose a return to traditional palm leaf bags. The black non- bio-degradable plastic bags fill the streets in the absence of an efficient trash disposal system. The bags are carried by the rain and pollute the water and clog sewage systems, and are often swallowed by cattle. They are use to store food even though they contain chemicals that are harmful to human health.
  • December 17, 1999 IPS Only a Glimmer of Hope for the Amazon. The fate of the "planet's lung" basically depends on human decisions - it's not too late, unlike many parts of the world which have already suffered irreversible desertification. But global warming, El Nio, and human action, could lead the region to environmental disaster. Global warming could lead to loss of rain. But there is also loss of moisture from "evapotranspiration" -- water that evaporates from the leaves of trees, which is lost when the trees are cut down. Weather extremes are caused by the El Nio in the Amazon, often leading to drought. For example, the 1997-98 El Nio led to forest fires in Roraima [a state in northern Brazil, on the Venezuelan border]. If the dry season lasts too long, trees stress when they use up the water stored in the soil. Logging activity leaves behind dead branches and trees -- in other words fuel for the flames when everything dries out. The El Nios have become more frequent. The greatest destruction of the Amazon is the expansion of pastureland on large and medium-sized ranches, to keep property from being taken by landless peasants who claim it has been left idle. If Brazil were to slow down its deforestation rate, it could earn credits to sell to other countries that have assumed commitments to reduce their emissions of ozone-depleting gases, according to the Kyoto protocol.
  • December 6, 1999 Georgia Institute of Technology -Eurkalert Feeding the World by Cleaning the Air: - study ties heavy regional haze to reductions in China's crop production. In the November 23 1999 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: heavy regional haze in China's most important agricultural areas may be cutting food production there by as much as one-third by scattering and absorbing solar radiation, reducing the amount of sunlight reaching key rice and winter wheat crops. The haze likely results from the burning of coal, wood, biomass for fuel or land clearing, as well as dust blown in from dessert regions. Food production may be similarly reduced in India and African nations. The haze affects about 70% of crops grown in China. Growth-stunting ozone, acid deposition and other air pollutants also worsen the impact of poor air quality.
  • December 17, 1999 AP Las Vegas Leads U.S. Metropolitan Area Growth   Already saddled with pollution, long lines and jammed roads, Las Vegas' population jumped 55% between 1990 and 1998, its growth spurred by unprecedented hotel-casino construction. Nationwide, the central cities in metropolitan areas averaged 3.5% growth, while the area outside the central cities jumped 12.5% in the 1990s. In the West, central cities averaged 10.6% growth, while the surrounding area averaged 16.2%. In the South growth was 5.3% in the cities and 18.4% outside, while in the Midwest growth declined by 0.3% in central cities while their surrounding areas gained 10.0%, and in the Northeast growth in central cities fell 2.0% while the surrounding areas grew 3.7%.
  • December 17, 1999 Reuters G20 Meeting Basis for a New World Order.  At a meeting in Berlin this week, officials from the Group of 20 major economies produced a list of do's and don'ts for world policy-makers. G20 is comprised of the G7 industrial countries -- the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada -- plus Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, and the European Union bloc, together representing two-thirds of the world's population and 85% of its economic output.
  • December 17, 1999 AP Most Populous U.S. Metro Areas.  From the U.S. Census Bureau: the 10 most populous U.S. metropolitan areas with population figures and percentage increase during the 1990s: 1. New York (20,124,377), 2.9%  .. 2. Los Angeles (15,781,273), 8.6%  .. 3. Chicago-Gary, Ind.-Kenosha, Wis. (8,809,846) 6.9%  .. 4. Washington-Baltimore (7,285,206), 8.3%  .. 5. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (6,816,047), 8.6%  .. 6. Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City (5,988,348), 1.6%  .. 7. Boston-Worcester-Lawrence, Mass. (5,633,060), 3.3%  .. 8. Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint, Mich. (5,457,583), 5.2%  .. 9. Dallas-Fort Worth (4,802,463), 19%  .. 10. Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, Texas (4,407,579), 18.1%  ..
  • December 16, 1999 PRNewswire Most Feel Education Is the Solution to Overpopulation, Environmental News Network Poll Finds. An online poll reveals that almost all people believe there is a solution to the world's population problem. A little less than half of the respondents felt that education was the key to solving the problem. One third felt that family planning was an appropriate solution. Less than 5% felt that solutions advocated by various religions were the answer.
  • December 9, 1999 Environmental News Service Logging Blamed in Vietnam's Second Wave of Floods.  Widespread illegal logging is named as a factor in disastrous flooding that has hit the central coast of Vietnam for the second time in two months. The World Wildlife Fund says the government and provincial authorities are aware of the need to protect the forests and have been active in programs to plant more trees, but illegal logging has been stripping forests from a steep mountain range not far inland of the flooded area. Less than 10% of Vietnam is covered by primary forest.
  • December 16, 1999 Reuters Hunger, Homelessness Rising in U.S.  The U.S. Conference of Mayors found that, despite a booming economy, the number of Americans seeking emergency food or shelter rose significantly this year and the trend will likely continue for years to come. In 1999, the demand for emergency food aid grew 18%, and for shelter by 12%. A little over 20% of homeless people have jobs and more than 2/3 of the people seeking emergency food aid are employed. Half of the homeless population in the United States was estimated to be black, 31% white, and 13% Hispanic.
  • December 16, 1999 London Times Cutting the Costs of Paper: Saving Forests, Water, Energy … and Money. Worldwide consumption of wood fiber for paper could be reduced by more than 50%, according to a new study by the Worldwatch Institute. This reduction can be achieved through a combination of trimming paper consumption in industrial countries, improving papermaking efficiency, and expanding the use of recycled and nonwood materials, according to Janet Abramovitz and Ashley Mattoon, co-authors of Paper Cuts: Recovering the Paper Landscape. Global paper use has grown more than six-fold since 1950. One fifth of all wood harvested in the world ends up in paper. It takes 2 to 3.5 tons of trees to make one ton of paper. Pulp and paper is the 5th largest industrial consumer of energy in the world, using as much power to produce a ton of product as the iron and steel industry. In some countries, including the United States, paper accounts for nearly 40 percent of all municipal solid waste. Eliminating chlorine bleaching, incorporate more nonwood fibers, such as agricultural wastes. recycling of used paper (57 percent of used paper is still not recycled) will alleviate the impacts of paper production and consumption. The United States sends more paper to the landfill than is consumed by all of China. In the United States, the average office worker uses some 12,000 sheets of paper per year. Companies that use the Internet instead of paper for purchase orders, invoices, etc., can save $1 to $5 per page by eliminating paper and reducing labor costs and time. Some 80 percent of the world’s people consume less than 30 to 40 kilograms per person per year, the amount that a United Nations Environment Program report suggests is essential to meeting basic literacy and communication needs.
  • December 16, 1999 London Times 1990s The Warmest Decade Of The Millennium?   The UN-affiliated World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said that, based on "proxy" climate data from sources like tree rings and ice cores, the 1990s appears to have been the warmest decade in the last 1,000 years and the 1900s the warmest century in this millennium. The high temperatures in 1999 occurred despite the cooling influence of the La Nina climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean and the data was "further evidence that global warming is probably happening" (Nuttall, London Times). However, In a Washington Times commentary, Patrick Michaels of the Washington-based Cato Institute argues that the Arctic cap -- which was recently shown to have melted significantly in recent years -- was melting "long before the initiation of putative human greenhouse warming."
  • December 16, 1999 LA Times Preparing to Combat a Deadly Influenza Pandemic.  Killer flu epidemics have swept parts of the world every few decades. In 1918, influenza claimed 20 million people around the world in a matter of months. Two other influenza pandemics killed millions in 1957 and 1968, including about 100,000 in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if a pandemic hit today, an estimated 89,000 to 207,000 Americans would die, with economic losses amounting to more than $70 billion. From year to year, influenza kills about 20,000 in the U.S. But every once in a while, the virus becomes much more dangerous, as it acquires the ability to attack a broader segment of the population. With thousands of flights taking passengers all over the world, a deadly virus could take only four days to circle the globe. If a pandemic occured, rough estimates for California, for example, would be 9 million cases of influenza, with 396,000 hospitalizations and about 168,000 deaths. The World Health Organization and the U.S. government are starting to seriously plan preventative measures.
  • December 15, 1999 Panafrican News Namibia Reduces Infant Mortality Rates.  Over the last decade, Nambia has reduced infant mortality rates by practising the Convention on the Rights of the Child, seeing that more women deliver in clinics and hospitals, offering vaccinations, and providing access to potable water. However, unemployment and poverty have been serious constraints in addressing the problems of under-nutrition, malnutrition and poor standards of living.
  • December 16, 1999 NY Times Abstinence Is Focus of U.S. Sex Education.  According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Alan Guttmacher Institute, more than 1 in 3 districts using an abstinence-only curriculum that permits discussion of contraception only in its failures. Most schools urge students to delay intercourse, but to use birth control and practice safe sex if they do not. 95% of public schools discuss AIDS and other STDs in sex education classes. 45% give informatin on where to get birth control, and only 39% tell how to use condoms. 37% mention abortion or sexual orientation as part of the curriculum. "Ten years ago, abstinence wasn't even considered; it was laughed at," said Amy Stephens, a spokeswoman for the National Coalition for Abstinence Education. Cory L. Richards of the Guttmacher Institute said: "What is the impact of hundreds of thousands of kids across the country being taught that contraception doesn't work well?" Teenage pregnancy rates have declined since 1991, but the shift toward abstinence has, in many cases, been only in the last few years.
  • December 16, 1999 UNwire Elderly Population To Double In Developing World.  According to Help Age International, despite poverty, AIDS-related illness and economic downturn, the number of older people in developing countries is expected to double in the next 25 years, "creating additional challenges for hard-pressed governments and aid agencies." In developing countries, by 2025, the number of people over 60 will reach 12% or 850 million. By 2050, the percentage will be 20%. In Africa, the older people will be expected to care for the large number of children orphaned by AIDS. In Hong Kong, the number of people over 60 has grown from 7% 20 years ago to nearly 15%.
  • December 14, 1999 Dawn Tuberculosis Threatens A Third Of World Population.  Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis may affect about one-third of the world's population -- nearly 1.9 billion people, according to a Harvard Medical School study titled, The Global Impact of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis. Over half the world's TB cases are found in five countries - Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan. In Pakistan, 350,000 new cases are reported every year, but only 2% of these cases use the World Health Organization's (WHO) strategy to fight the disease, Direct Observation Treatment Short-course (DOTS). TB cases in England and Wales "have soared by more than a fifth," usually from minorities who have been exposed to TB overseas.
  • December 14, 1999 AP U.S. Pregnancy Rate Hits Low.  According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of pregnancies fell 9% from 1990 and reached its lowest level, 6,240,000, since 1976. 62% ended in births, 22% in abortions and 16% in miscarriage. The pregnancy rate declined for all women under 30, with the sharpest drop coming among teen-agers, down 15% from its 1991 record high. The birth rate for married women was almost 10 times the abortion rate, while the birth and abortion rates for unmarried women were nearly equal. Abortions have dropped by 16%, and fetal deaths by 4%. According to the report, there are dramatic differences in pregnancy rates by race and ethnicity - Hispanic women want, and have, more babies than either white or black women. Overall, the average U.S. birth rate is 2.0, out of a total of total of 3.2 pregnancies each, with only 1.8 of the pregnancies planned.
  • December 12, 1999 The Orlando Sentinel Public-health Initiatives Spur Longer, Better Lives.  A person born in 1900 could expect to live about 45 years. Today, it's about 75 years. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains how Americans increased their life expectancy: childhood immunizations; infection control: better housing, improved water quality and sewerage, and the introduction of antibiotics; heart-disease reduction: plummeting 50% in 3 decades; better food: reducing nutritional deficiencies; workplace safety: mining disasters and occupational illnesses have declined; motor-vehicle safety: buckle-up laws, and better roads and safer cars; tobacco control; childbirth safety (was the leading cause of death for women in their reproductive years in 1913 - except for tuburculosis); family planning: spacing of children; fluoridation.
  • December 13, 1999 People Revolution In A Pill.  Ten years after it was introduced in Europe, the abortion pill mifepristone, known as RU 486, may soon be available in the United States. Clinical trials have been completed and the FDA may release it by the end of January. The pill may ultimately take away some of the steam in the national debate over abortion - because any doctor can prescribe the medication, which is taken during the first seven weeks of pregnancy in the privacy of a woman's own home. There will be no clinics to picket, and the pill is taken in the first stage of pregnancy, which most Americans find acceptable. The Pope called it "the pill of Cain--the monster that cynically kills its brothers." In 1994, French manufacturer Roussel-Uclaf donated its U.S. rights to the Population Council, a not-for-profit research organization. A woman is only given the pill if she is determined to be pregnant, usually determined by a sonogram. In early pregnancy, the embryo is the size of a grain of rice. The so-called morning-after pills Preven and Plan B are not the same as the abortion pill - they are emergency contraceptives that can be used for up to three days after an unprotected act of intercourse, before pregnancy begins.
  • December 10, 1999 The East African Church Must Face the Reality of Condom Use.  Kenya: The epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa had reached catastrophic proportions. The average Kenyan life expectancy is now only 49. Even so, it is often foreigners who seem most worried about AIDS in Africa. In September no African Head of State came to the 11th International Conference on Aids and STDs in Africa (ICASA) held in Lusaka. Belately, on November 25, President Moi declared Aids a national disaster. 75% of AIDS deaths occur between the ages of 20 and 45 - the most economically productive of the Kenyan population. Kenya's GDP will be 14.5% lower in the year 2005 than it would be without AIDS, while per capita income will drop by 10%. In the Nyanza Province, 95% of Sony Sugar Company worker deaths are due to AIDS! An estimated 14% of Kenyans have HIV. Even though the Catholic Church opposes the use of condoms, the government has increased the number of condoms it has distributed from 18 million in 1991 to more than 70 million in 1998. The distribution of condoms to commercial sex workers has played a major role in one part of Nairobi in reducing the incidence of new HIV infections among them. Author: John Githongo of the African Strategic Research Institute. E-mail: asri@africaonline.co.ke
  • December 10, 1999 Addis Tribune World Bank Issues a New Report.  Developing countries are expected to grow economically in 1999 by 2.7%, and by 4.2% in 2000. Growth in Asia will remain well below historical averages, despite a continued robust performance in China and India. East Asia, South Asia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and Middle East and North Africa appear to be on track for achieving significant poverty reduction. Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin American, the numbers in poverty is likely to rise.
  • December 6, 1999 IPS Rights: U.N. Concerned about Effects of Trade Liberalization.  The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights said that the wave of restructuring and downsizing of businesses in an increasingly competitive world and the dismantling of social security systems have generated unemployment, job insecurity and a worsening of labor conditions, thus giving rise to violations of basic economic and social rights. The committee sent a statement to the ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle, Washington. The committee, made up of 18 independent experts, has a mission to assess compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by signatory States. In its latest session, it discussed the cases of Bulgaria, Argentina, Armenia, Cameroon, Mexico and the Solomon Islands.
  • December 9, 1999 IPS Spain Shuts Door on Immigrants.  Spain may be about to pass legislation limiting immigration. There are currently some 800,000 legal and 200,000 illegal immigrants in Spain, which has a total population of 40 million.
  • December 10, 1999 Xinua A Quarter of the Third World in Extreme Poverty. 1.2 billion people, nearly 1/4 of the developing world, live in extreme poverty, according to the World Bank. In Sub-Sahara African 45% of the population lives on less than one dollar a day. This number could surpass 50% in 10 years
  • December 10, 1999 PRN Newswire NAHB Refutes Gore's Protest of Gobbled Land  The Agriculture Department 1997 National Resources Inventory states that nearly 16 million acres of forest, cropland and open space were converted to schools, shopping centers, houses, roads, employment centers and other urban uses from 1992 to 1997. But the National Association of Home Builders said that the conversion was a natural outgrowth of a growing population and helped fuel one of the longest and most prosperous economic expansions in U.S. history and an unprecedented increase in the nation's homeownership rate. NAHB said that the 3 million acres of land used for residential growth in the 1992-97 period represents about one-tenth of one percent of the nation's total land mass of 2.4 billion acres. Currently, less than 5 percent of the country is developed and being used for a wide range of residential, commercial and industrial uses [Contrary to Prof. David Pimental's figure of 11%.]
  • December 10, 1999 AP El Nino Effect Cuts Carbon Dioxide.  According to a study published in the journal Science, the periodic El Nino warming of the Pacific Ocean also reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. El Nino reduces the amount of carbon dioxide being released from deep water, where it is stored, thus reducing the amount (700 million metric tons of carbon) of that so-called greenhouse gas being added to the atmosphere. This is equivalent to half of the United States' total annual carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning. In addition, the massive oceanic changes cause a boom and bust cycle for tiny ocean plants called plankton, which are vital food for fish.
  • December 10, 1999 CNN Scientists Battle Brazilian Malaria Outbreak  The number of infected people in in Brazil's Amazonas State has recently doubled. More resources are needed to help educate local residents about preventative measures. The mosquitoes have adapted to the chemicals traditionally used to fight them. In a separate story, malaria during pregnancy causes miscarriages, as well as low birthweights that leave newborns vulnerable to numerous infections, plus it causes long-term neurologic damage in thousands of children. However, researchers have found a promising experimental vaccine has provided protection against the parasite for people living in a malaria-ridden region. In yet another article, at least 200 people have died of cerebral malaria in India's Bihar state and many more lives are in danger, reports NDTV. The state's health department lacks basic medicines.
  • December 8, 1999 ENN Ozone Inhibits Plants' Ability to Breathe.  In a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ozone, a major smog constituent, inhibits the ability of plants to open the microscopic pores on their leaves. $3 billion a year in agricultural losses are due to by ozone pollution in the U.S.
  • December 5, 1999 ENN Environmental Degradation Wears on Pakistan.  In Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province, stress on the environment and on forest cover in particular is amplifying social problems and creating both an ecological and human crisis, according to a recent study by Richard Matthew, professor of environmental policy and international relations in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of California, Irvine. Overpopulation, corruption, failure of the legal system, lack of funds for environmental programs and an absence of well-established property rights contribute to environmental degradation brought about by the swift removal of the thick Himalayan forests of walnut and pine trees cover. In turn, lack of resources means no jobs, fear and uncertainty, unrest, crisis, and conflict in the province. 3.5 million Afghan refugees came into the area in 1979 when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, which placed stressed the equilibrium between humans and the environmental resources. People who own a stand of trees often chop them all down fearing that someone else will take them. The area suffers flooding and severe soil erosion. There is very little arable land. There is up to 90% unemployment. The women in the area gather the wood and water. Foreign aid that could be directed toward the environment is being withheld because Pakistan has been developing nuclear weapons, unpopular among foreign countries.
  • December 8, 1999 Nambian 35% of Namibians have HIV-AIDS  New statistics in Namibia show that more than 50% of Namibians living in the Caprivi and Kavango regions are infected with HIV. Nearly 58% of those tested between January and October in the Caprivi region were HIV-positive. Nationwide, 35% of Namibians are infected.
  • December 8, 1999 Africa News Street Children: Numbers Rising In Zambia, Kyrgyzstan  More than 75,000 children live on the streets of Zambia's major cities. In addition, 13% of the child population of 4.1 million are orphans as a result of HIV/AIDS. Street children "fell prey" to drug and substance abuse and some have been raped. In the central Asian Republic of Kyrgyzstan a growing number of children in have been abandoned by their families and are forced to live on the streets due to poverty.
  • December 8, 1999 NY Times Zinc Can Combat Childhood Killers.  Two of the biggest killer diseases - pneumonia and diarrhoea - can be subdued by zinc supplements given to children in developing countries, according to the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore. Adding the mineral to a child's diet for as short a period as two weeks could reduce pneumonia episodes by 41% and diarrhoea by 25%. Their study was published in the Journal of Pediatrics. "This effect is greater than that estimated for any other intervention to prevent pneumonia." Studies were done on supplements given to children in India, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Vietnam, Guatemala, Jamaica, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Giving zinc to pregnant women may also help prevent low birth weight. Vitamin A has a similar theraputic effect.
  • December 6, 1999 NY Times Mozambique Enlists Healers in AIDS Prevention.  For nearly two decades, government officials derided traditional healers as quacks and enemies of the state. They burned the healers' tools and barred them from practicing. Today traditional healers are being recruited by the government as bearers of the safe-sex message in an impoverished country where millions of people still lack adequate access to doctors and modern medicine. Healers attend seminars on AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases and teach people to use condoms so the disease won't spread. The healers themselves were unwittingly spreading the fatal disease through the use of razor blades in their treatments, making small incisions in the flesh and pressing medicines directly into the blood, and reusing the razor blades. Now they have learned to sterilize the blades.
  • December 7, 1999 NY Times The Field Guide to the Sixth Extinction  According to the Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson, the sixth extinction is costing the earth some 30,000 species a year. There are an estimated 10 million species on earth right now. At this rate, the vast majority of the species on earth today will be gone by the next millennium. Our numbers have shot up from an estimated six million to six billion since humans domesticated plant crops and barnyard animals beginning some 10,000 years ago. We have "engaged in a radical, systematic transformation of the world's ecosystems -- replacing grasslands and woodlands with arable fields, cities, suburbs, malls and roadways." Timber and fisheries have been exploited; we have fouled the earth, the atmosphere and even much of the oceans; alien species have been spread around the globe.
  • December 7, 1999 Chicago Tribune Brazil Rainforests Face New Threat.  A bill that would allow landowners to cut the Amazon rainforest and replant the land with eucalyptus and pine while continuing to count it as forest "reserve" may come to a vote in Brasilia this week. An estimated 16% of the Amazon has been lost to deforestation and logging.
  • December 7, 1999 Pan African News Agency African Population Conference The African population conference in Durban, South Africa, entered its second day Tuesday with the 600 delegates continuing to exchange scientific data on population matters. South Africa's welfare, population and development minister said social development and population planning should be linked to economic strategies throughout the continent and the continent's shrinking natural resources, pollution, migration, and the growing inequalities within and between countries should also be addressed.
  • December 7, 1999 Reuters America's Conservation Efforts Falling Short.  Releasing a new Department of Agriculture study that shows America's conservation efforts falling short, Secretary Dan Glickman today called for a renewed national commitment to preserving private land. From 1992 to 1997, nearly 16 million acres of agricultural and forest land were developed. We are now losing 3 million acres per year of forest and agricultural land, double what was lost each year from 1982 to 1992. Nearly 2 billion tons of soil is eroding into waterways each year. Despite significant gains in erosion control during the past 15 years, there has been no additional improvement since 1995. Gross wetland losses have increased to 54,000 acres annually on agricultural land (Wetland gains are nearly 30,000 acres.) Tree and forest cover in urban areas is declining at an alarming rate. In the Chesapeake Bay region, for example, tree canopy has declined from 51% cover to 37% in the last 25 years.
  • December 6, 1999 NRDC Push for Smart Cars.  While technology races into the 21st century, the U.S. auto industry remains mired in the past, churning out combustion-engine vehicles that pollute the air and threaten our health and the health of the planet. NRDC is running an 'Earthsmartcars' campaign which aims to revolutionize the auto industry. The group, encouraged by decisions by Toyota and Honda to sell gasoline-electric hybrid cars in the United States, want Ford, GM and Chrysler to follow suit, in order to demonstrate significant demand for eco-friendly cars.
  • December 6, 1999 ABC News/Reuters/UnWire UNICEF Says It Lacks Funds for N.Korea Child Projects.  Inadequate funding is hampering U.N. efforts to provide crucial vaccinations and medicine to famine-stricken North Korea. "Sixteen-, 15-, 14-year-old girls and boys look like [they are age] 7 or 8." About 62% of the country's school children are underweight for their age. Iodine deficiency affects nearly 20% of North Korean children. IQ's are affected. Flood and drought from the mid-1990s brought famine, which has killed between 1.5 million and 3.5 million of the country's 23 million people since 1995.
  • December 3, 1999 PRNewswire American Life League: Ted Turner the Racist Strikes Again!. According to ALL President Judie Brown, "Ted Turner's personal population agenda is dead set against brown, black and yellow people," apparently because Turner compared Mexicans who cross the Rio Grande border to an "army of thousands of men", in statements made before a group of teenagers attending the National 4-H Congress in Atlanta. "He must not be reading about the impending population implosion the world is facing," Brown said. "In every aspect, there has never been a better time in the world's history to raise a family with many children. (Several inaccuracies in Ms. Brown's statement, including the misinterpretations of Turner's remarks, would merit a letter to Ms. Brown at <jbrown@all.org> to help her in her 'education'. Be polite.)
  • December 2, 1999 World Bank/WWF New Research Reveals Magnitude of Threat to World's Forest Protected Areas.  According to a IUCN-World Conservation Union, many of the world's wilderness areas are protected in name only, and are "in danger of being overrun by human settlement, agriculture, logging, hunting, mining, pollution, wars, tourism or other pressures." The study was prepared for the World Bank and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), who have launched a joint plan to monitor and improve 125 million acres of threatened areas by 2005. World Bank President James Wolfensohn said that "Alleviating poverty and protecting the environment go hand in hand."
  • December 2, 1999 Baltimore Sun Global Warming The Cause Of Arctic Melt?  According to a report today by U.S., British and Russian scientists in the journal Science, an expanse of sea ice the size of Maryland and Delaware has been lost each year since 1978. The northern sea ice also seems to be getting thinner. "The probability that it [the melting icecap] is just a manifestation of nature is very low." said Konstantin Vinnikov, a University of Maryland meteorologist. Another article on the subject is here. There is a less than 2% chance that arctic melting is a manifestation of nature.
  • December 2, 1999 Nairobi Daily Nation Kenyan Religious Leaders Oppose Condom Use  Despite the country's declaration that HIV/AIDS is a national disaster that has killed more than 700,000 Kenyans, a Muslim leader said condom use "would turn the country into a Sodom and Gomorra" (II, 2 Dec), and the Catholic Church said it "will never relent" on its stand against the use of contraceptives, especially condoms. Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi, however, may have dropped his opposition to condom use. The president has raised the minimum consent age for marriage from 14 to 18. From a BBC artice - In Kisumu, 33% of girls between age 15 and 19 were HIV positive. Prostitution, wife inheritance, and male dominance have contrubuted to this statistic.
  • December 3, 1999 ZPG Emergency Contraceptive Still Banned at all Wal-Mart Stores.  PREVEN, an FDA-approved emergency contraceptive kit, is still not being stocked or ordered by Wal-Mart Stores. Researchers estimate that if widely used, emergency contraception could prevent half of the yearly estimated 3 million unintended pregnancies, and half of all abortions in the United States!
  • December 1, 1999 UNESCO World Heritage In Danger List.  UNESCO's World Heritage Committee added 4 sites to it's World Heritage In Danger list: Iguacu National Park in Brazil, Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda, Salonga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Groups of Monuments at Hampi, India. Threats were: an illegal road that cut the Igaucu park in two, prevention of conservation activity by rebels in the Rwenzori Mountains, poaching and housing construction in the Salonga park, and the construction of two suspension bridges in the Groups of Monuments that threaten its integrity. The List now includes 27 sites. Sites on the list benefit from funds from the U.N. Foundation for personnel training, equipment and biodiversity conservation.
  • December 1, 1999 The Boston Globe/AP World AIDS Day, 1999.  More people died in 1999 than at any time since the epidemic was first recognized 18 years ago. According to the United Nations Program on AIDS, of the 5.6 million new HIV infections in 1999, 4 million were in Africa. Half were among young people ages 15 to 24. Life expectancy in Africa is likely to drop from 59 years to 45 years within the next five years. Millions of orphans will be left. Economic mainstays such as sugar farming are down 50% in productivity. AIDS is a bigger threat than hunger, overpopulation, malaria, or war. "Virtually no attention has been paid to the fact that we now have the medicine to keep people from dying of AIDS, and that from a purely medical standpoint, the deaths of 23 million Africans over the next 10 years are preventable." -- Raymond Dooley, the former chair of Boston's Department of Health and Hospitals.
  • November 30, 1999 New York Times Clinton Waives Limits on US Aid to Family Planning Programs Abroad.  President Clinton waived restrictions imposed by Congress in the federal budget on US aid to international family planning programs, including those that advocate abortion rights. The State Department will now have a greater latitude in dispensing about 400 million dollars for foreign aid to family planning. However, according to the deal, the waiver will result in a 3.5% cut in family planning funding and will put a $15 million limit on assistance that can be given to groups that perform or advocate abortions.
  • November 22, 1999 UNWire Individuals' Impact On Ocean Underestimated.  Individuals, not industries, pose the greatest danger to the seas, according to a report by The Ocean Project. Two out of three major cities in the world are sited along the coast, and more than 2 billion people live within 100 kilometers of a shoreline (40% of the world's population). Runoff from lawns, roads and farms is the primary source of ocean pollution. Urban runoff and individual dumping into storm drains sends about 15 times more oil into the ocean than the Exxon Valdez spill did.
  • November 22, 1999 Panafrican News Agency Call For Total Ban Of Ivory Trade. The limited lifting of a world-wide ban on trade in ivory is encouraging illegal poaching of Africa's elephants, said an advisor to the Kenya Wildlife Services. 29 elephants had been killed in 1999 for their ivory in Kenya's Tsavo National park, five times the average over the last six years, when a total ban on ivory was in effect.
  • November 27, 1999 ENN Mideast Fears Another Year of Devastating Drought.  Alarm is growing across the parched Middle East as meager rainfall so far this winter points to a continuation of last year's drought, already the worst in decades.
  • November 27, 1999 ENN Bhopal Still Contaminated.  Toxic chemicals continue to poison soil and water near the site of the world's worst industrial disaster in central India, 15 years after it claimed at least 7,000 lives, the environmental group Greenpeace said.
  • November 26, 1999 ENN Study Links the Pill to Increased Gum Disease Risk.  Oral contraceptives can damage women's gums and make then more vulnerable to gum disease, according to New Scientist magazine.
  • November 25, 1999 ENN Climate Change Propels Plague.  The rise of human plague caused by Yersinia pestis bacterium in the Southwestern U.S. may be due to climate change, according to National Science Foundation researchers. Cases occurred more frequently after wetter winter-spring time periods from October to May. The plague, which can be fatal, has come to the U.S. by way of infected rats from Asia. Rodent fleas carry the disease. There are 1,000 to 3,000 cases of this plague in the world each year. During years much wetter than normal, a 60% rise in the number of cases of human plague resulted.
  • November 30, 1999 Philadelphia Inquirer Experts Say Many Species Headed To Extinction.  "We are on the brink of losing a group of animals that has managed to survive the upheavals of the last 200 million years," said Russell Mittermeier, president of Conservation International. Almost half of the world's nearly 300 turtle species face possible extinction. A meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, will discuss the "worldwide turtle crisis." While in some areas, turtles are eaten as subsistence food for the poor, in China and Southeast Asia, some species have considered a delicacy and have reached more than $1,000 per turtle. In the U.S. desert tortoises face threats from a boom in off-road vehicles and an infection that may have been brought into the country by turtles in the pet trade. The pet trade, the disappearance of wetlands, and the nets of shrimp trawlers have also contributed to the decline of turtles.
  • November 30, 1999 UNEP $300-500 Million Considered for Ozone Layer Protection.  Under the Protocol, developing countries are to freeze their CFC and halon emissions at average 1995-97 levels during the 12-month period that began on 1 July 1999. They must then cut back rapidly to 50% by the year 2005. China, the meeting's host country, is the world's largest producer and consumer of CFCs and halons. Recent years have seen record thinning of the ozone layer, including large ozone "hole" over Antarctica which exceeded 22 million square kilometres during the September 1999 Antarctic spring.
  • November 30, 1999 Whitehouse Statement by the President on Waiver. From the President's statement on H.R. 3194, the Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY2000: "Unfortunately, the bill also includes a provision on international family planning that I have strongly opposed throughout my Administration. This is a one-time provision that imposes additional restrictions on international family planning groups. However, I insisted that the Congress allow for a Presidential waiver provision, which I have exercised today. I have instructed USAID to implement the new restrictions on family planning money in such a way as to minimize to the extent possible the impact on international family planning efforts and to respect the rights of citizens to speak freely on issues of importance in their countries, such as the rights of women to make their own reproductive decisions. As I have stated before, I do not believe it is appropriate to limit foreign NGOs' use of their own money, or their ability to participate in the democratic process in their own countries. Thus, I will oppose inclusion of this restriction in any future appropriations bill. The bill takes a step in the right direction in terms of paying our dues and our debts to the United Nations and other international organizations."
  • November 29, 1999 International News More Than One Million Abortions a Year in Vietnam.  Vietnam has one of the highest abortion rates in the world with more than one million pregnancies terminated each year. Thousands of abortions carried out secretly in private clinics were not included in the figures. People under the age of 18 accounted for around 20% of the terminated pregancies - young people tend to ignore contraceptives and sex education is a taboo in Vietnamese schools.
  • November 29, 1999 AP France to Make Morning after Pill Available in Schools.  More than 10,000 girls under 18 years become pregnant each year in France and 6,000 have abortions. The morning-after pill prevents the fertilized egg from being implanted in the womb. It has been available in France without a medical prescription since June.
  • November 29, 1999 RB Kenya Calls AIDS National Disaster but Bars Condoms.  More than half a million Kenyans have died of AIDS, but government still refuses to encourage condom use. President Daniel arap Moi ordered free air time on state radio and television to be given to AIDS awareness broadcasts, and that AIDS education is to begin in schools and colleges in January. Moi believes that talking about condom use will encourage youths to have sex. More than half the beds in Kenya's public hospitals are taken up by AIDS sufferers, and the government now spends an estimated $2.7 million each day dealing with AIDS.
  • November 29, 1999 Reuters Kuwait Women Rights Rejected by Parliament Panel.  Leading members of the ruling al-Sabah family have voiced support for women rights and hinted at possibly appointing women to the cabinet in the future, and the country's emir, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, has ordered full political rights for women, but a parliamentary panel unanimously rejected granting women full political rights. A full session of parliament is to decide on the issue of women's rights on Tuesday in a vote that is expected to be tight.
  • November 29, 1999 USA Today World's Rivers in Serious Trouble More than half the world's major rivers are going dry or are polluted, threatening the health and livelihoods of people who depend upon them for irrigation, drinking and industrial water, according to the World Commission on Water for the 21st Century. The pollution of waterways and river basins contributed to a total of 25 million environmental refugees last year. Of the major rivers in the world, the Amazon in South America and the Congo in sub-Saharan Africa are the healthiest. The Yellow River in China is severely polluted and ran dry in its lower reaches 226 days in 1997. Amu Darya's and Syr Darya's flow into the Aral Sea in Asia has been reduced by 3/4 and has caused a catastrophic regression in sea levels - 53 feet from 1962 to 1994. This area suffers a rate of infant mortality due to poor water flow and fertilizer runoff which have fouled the seabed. The Colorado River in the United States, irrigating more than 3.7 million acres of farmland, polluted by agriculture, leaves little to protect the ecosystem downstream, now salty and desolate marshes. 90% of the flow of the Nile River in Africa is used for irrigation or is lost through evaporation from reservoirs and is polluted with irrigation drainage and industrial and municipal waste when it reaches the Mediteranean Sea.
  • November 28, 1999 AP Russia Faces HIV Epidemic  According to a U.N. official, registered HIV cases in Russia have doubled to more than 23,000 in less than a year, with intravenous drug users accounting for the vast majority of the increase.
  • November 27, 1999 Washington Post So Many Mouths to Feed  According to the International Food Policy Research Institute, demand for grain in developing countries will grow rapidly in the next 20 years, and much of that demand will have to be met by imports from the United States. Many people in the third world will abandon subsistence farming to move into the cities, where they will enjoy higher incomes and more diversified diets, including more meat. Projected annual income growth in percent: East Asia 5.12%, South Asia 5.01%, Southeast Asia 4.44%, N. Africa and West Asia 3.83%, Latin America 3.59%, Sub-Saharan Africa, 3.40%, all developed nations 2.18%. To meet this growing demand, the world's farmers must produce 40% more grains, developing countries must double their cereal imports, 60% of the developing world's cereal imports will probably have to come from the United States.
  • November 19, 1999 Washington Post/UP Health Situation of Indigenous Peoples Said to Be Grim. The lives of 300 million indigenous people are cut short by disease and poverty and their existence is increasingly threatened by environmental degradation, said the World Health Organization. They die 10-20 years earlier and infant mortality rates are almost three times higher than national averages. "In many areas, health conditions are worsening, as demonstrated by rising rates of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, alcoholism, critical levels of infant mortality and decreasing life expectancies," said Wilton Littlechild, chief of Canada's Four Cree Nations. Malnutrition and diseases such as malaria and yellow fever are rampant. Suicide rates and domestic violence increase as traditional values break down. Incidence of disease and trauma increased "several hundred percent" since 1970 among indigenous peoples in Russia, who are exposed to industrial contaminants. Alaskan native peoples have poor housing, poor sewage disposal and lack of safe drinking water, while in Latin America, indigenous people struggle against encroachment on their land, often with resulting violence. Of Bolivia's indigenous population, 20% of children die before the age of 1 and 14% of those under school age. In Mexico, 12% die before school age, compared to 4.8 percent for children in the general population. In Guatamala, indigenous maternal mortality rate is 83% higher than average. Indigenous people in the Pacific are threatened by hazardous waste dumping, nuclear testing, chemical burn-off, mining, logging and pressure on space from tourist development. Maoris in New Zealand Australian Aborigines have far more psychiatric problems, more accidents and more disease than others in their country. In the Indian state of Maharashtra, thousands of Korku people have died in the past few years from starvation.
  • November 19, 1999 Washington Post/UP Albright Promises Family Planning Funds.  Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright said that the administration "remains deeply dissatisfied" with restrictions on aid to family planning groups that it reluctantly accepted in order to obtain money to pay U.S. debts to the United Nations in the fiscal 2000 budget, and she said that, for fiscal 2001, Clinton will ask Congress for $541.6 million for those programs, up from the $385 million in the budget deal completed last week, returning family planning funds to their record 1995 levels. Kate Michelman, president of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, called Albright's pledge "a first step to repairing the damage done by the bad deal the administration struck."
  • November 19, 1999 Seattle Times Japan's Future Brightened By `Demographic Decline'. by B. Meredith Burke. Look forward to 2100 - who will have the brightest quality-of-life prospects: Japan with a population projected to decline by nearly 60%, or the U.S., whose present population will approach 750 million if current policies continue? Today in Japan a million laid-off workers are still unemployed and millions more have entered the uncertain world of temporary or part-time employment. But after the aging of the Japanese baby boomers of the 1990s, those of traditional working age will soon shrink in numbers. Life expectancy gains means adults will live to 80, past the normal retirement age of 60. More than 20% of the population will be 65 or above in 2010, compared with a projected 13% for the U.S. Pension specialists overlook both the baby boom expenses of schools, then in job creation, and in housing and infrastructure expansion. A baby bust enables parents and society to invest in more per child while freeing up resources for other uses, including old-age supports. Japan has only one-quarter hectare of productive land per capita, but has an "ecological footprint" of at least two hectares. Since 1970, Japan's dependency upon imported cereals has risen from 55 to 75% while its population grew. Housing has been crowded, with Japanese living in "rabbit warrens", expensive, tiny, high-rise apartments located hours out of town. When population goes down, housing will be roomier, and employment will become more available to women. In the U.S., births to immigrant women have offset the beneficial effects of the birth dearth to baby boomers, boosting the 1990s' births by 25%. On this path, the U.S. will lose food self-sufficiency by the year 2040, according to Cornell University ecologists David and Marcia Pimentel. By the year 2100, Americans will apply the words "bright and shining" to their past, not their present - or their future.
  • November 24, 1999 UNWire Global Gage Rule Has Loopholes  The Congressional compromise on the U.S. dues to the UN included a ban on US aid to family planning groups that advocate liberalized abortion laws abroad. However, according to the New York Times, there are "ways" groups can get around the limit. In Bangladesh, which receives a large amount of U.S. birth control aid, abortions are not legal, but a practice called "menstrual regulation," which suctions the uterus when a woman misses her period, is permitted by the government. The woman is not considered to be pregnant, so authorities do not consider the procedure an abortion. The gag rule applies only to foreign NGOs, not to foreign governments and American organizations that operate abroad. The definition of terms is up to the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and other governments.
  • November 23, 1999 BBC Undersea Methane Gas: Fossil Fuel Revolution Begins. Japanese are attempting to recover vast reserves of frozen methane gas from under the ocean floor. The attempt is fraught with danger: accidental releases of vast volumes of the buried gas have in the past led to the destruction of oil platforms in the Caspian Sea. The cause of the danger is that much of the gas hydrate in the world is close to melting and even a small disturbance can release huge volumes of the gas. The ice, when melted, belches out 160 times its volume in gas. The huge amounts of methane frozen under the ocean may imply the "end of the energy crisis as we know it," said Professor Richard Selley, of the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, London. "This year or next year, depending on who you believe, we are at maximum production of conventional petroleum - we are no longer finding oil and gas at the rate at which it is being used up."
  • November 23, 1999 New York Times Abrupt Rise In Global Temperature Possible.  A sudden release of methane locked in the ocean floor may have prompted a "rapid" 9- to 12-degree rise in the earth's average surface temperature 55 million years ago according to a study in the current issue of the journal Science.
  • November 23, 1999 Seattle-PI-Com Desertificaton: Affected Countries Seek Financial Help.  The preservation of dry farmland will need financial help from industrialized nations, delegates were told at a UNCCD conference in Brazil. Delegates from 159 nations have signed the convention, but the U.S. has not yet ratified. In Brazil, desertification affects more than 17 million people and effects nearly 400,000 square miles. Worldwide, more than 23,000 square miles per year becomes desert, with losses at an estimated $42 billion.
  • November 23, 1999 UNWire Globalization Stunts Womens' Progress.  Angela King, UN adviser, told the sixth African Regional Conference on Women in Addis Ababa that globalization is having a major impact on women. Commercialization of agriculture has altered the gender division of labor, forcing women to take over tasks that men used to perform. Men must often migrate to urban areas for work, resulting in more female-headed households. With the transition to a market-based tenure system, the limited, but socially recognized land rights women enjoy under the customary tenure systems are in danger of being lost, while men tend to acquire total legal ownership of land as heads of households, and women become marginalized."
  • November 22, 1999 The Salt Lake Tribune Religions Set Family Agenda; LDS-led Alliance Fights U.N.  Geneva, Switzerland. At the World Congress of Families II, a global pro-family movement was being formed which was designed to challenge the United Nations' agenda on population, reproductive rights and other family issues. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), in an alliance with Roman Catholics, Muslims, Protestants and Jews are responsible. 1,575 delegates from more than 50 nations decried abortion and radical feminism, problems inherent in declining population trends and what they consider troubling language in U.N. statements. A BYU group has provided money, contacts in Muslim countries, and legal analysis of U.N. documents that can help in the fight. Max Padilla, Nicaragua's new minister for the family said his government believes strengthening the family will help solve his country's problems of teen-age pregnancy, prostitution, violence and drugs. The conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington is helping Padilla. China, India, and many Jews were absent from the convention.
  • November 11, 1999 Global Intersections Forest Futures: Population, Consumption and Wood Resources.  In a report from Population Action International (PAI), the amount of forested land available to each person has declined by 50% since 1960. The growing desire among women worldwide for smaller families is one of the most promising trends for conserving the world's remaining forests. The forest-to-people ratio and low forest cover are two concepts related to forest sustainability that are used in the report to assess the ability of each nation's forests to supply goods and services to its inhabitants. Low forest cover countries are defined as having less than 0.1 hectare of forest cover per person, which is manifested in watershed degradation, the loss of rare plant and animal species, and scarcities of forest products such as timber, paper and firewood. Per capita forest cover has declined even in countries where forests have expanded in size. In China, government conservation policies helped increase the size of its forests between 1980 and 1995. But the forest-to-people ratio shrank when the population grew. By 2025, India's per capita forest cover is projected to fall by 30% as its population increases by over 300 million people. 1.7 billion people live in countries with critically low levels of forest cover. This number could nearly triple to 4.6 billion people by 2025. Forest scarcity means scarcity of paper for education for eight out of every 10 people, which is vital to overall economic development. Half of the wood harvested each year is burned for fuel (nearly 3 billion people are dependent on wood for fuel). Women and girls must search longer each day for firewood, with no time to get an education.
  • November 11, 1999 Global Intersections International Meeting of Scientists in Sri Lanka Reviews Criteria for Tracking Endangered Species.  A recent assessment by experts suggests that global extinction rates are now between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural rate of loss. A group of scientists from 15 countries convened in Sri Lanka, at a meeting organized by the IUCN to update the global Red List, which identifies and ranks the risk of extinction for threatened species around the world. Keynote speaker Simon N. Stuart, said that "human population and consumption trends are leading to a shrinkage in the world's living natural resource capital," and affecting climate, sea level, the extent of ultra-violet radiation, the health and extent of natural ecosystems, the availability of agricultural land, and the survival of species. He added that "the levels of threat faced by species are much higher than was thought only five years ago." A computer program is available for applying IUCN criteria to regional data sets to produce the best-possible assessments of current environmental conditions and threats to biodiversity.
  • November 9, 1999 National Audubon Taking the Pulse of the Planet  Bill McKibben Talks to Lester Brown on sustainability - for the November Audubon magazine.
  • November 9, 1999 National Audubon Footprints on the Globe (Article is at the bottom of the page). The average French person requires 13 acres of land and ocean to support her consumption: the food she eats, the energy she uses, the products she buys. In Thailand, by contrast, one person requires 5 acres, which is the country's ecological 'footprint', says Mathis Wackernagel of the think tank Redefining Progress. No one's footprint should be more than 5 acres.
  • November 6, 1999 Agence France Presse Is the Pope Coming Around?  During the Pope's trip through Asia he acknowledged "concerns over population growth, but told Catholics in the region to resist the 'culture of death' promoted by pro-abortion lobbies. [In a Mar 12 1999 Reuters article entitled 'Pope Faults Rich Countries for Damaging Environment', the Pope said "Serious environmental unbalances" had wreaked "particularly nefarious and disastrous consequences on various countries and the world itself."]
  • November 19, 1999 World Bank India: Malnutrition Remains a Silent Emergency in India.  According to a new World Bank report, Wasting Away: The Crisis of Malnutrition in India, more than 50% of all children under the age of four are malnourished, 30% of newborns are significantly underweight, and 60% of women are anemic. Costs to India are $10 billion a year in lost productivity, illness, and death. Mortality has declined by 50% and fertility by 40%, but malnutrition has come down by only 20% in the last 40 years. Women and girls get smaller shares of household food and health care. Malnourishment in the mother can produce females with reduced pelvis sizes so that the second generation has problems with child birth. Malnourishment and anemia is known to reduce physical and mental performance, and so is major barrier to social and economic progress.
  • November 20, 1999 Xinhua Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Joins UNICEF and Bd in Effort to Prevent Newborn Deaths in Developing World.  $26 million was granted to fight to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT), a disease that was responsible in 1998 for nearly 250,000 deaths in developing nations. It is one of the world's most serious diseases that afflicts infants and their mothers. The money will buy and safely administer tetanus vaccines, promote the use of clean delivery kits and provide health education in 57 developing countries.
  • November 20, 1999 Xinhua Malaria Remains Major Cause of Poverty in Uganda.  Ugandans spend a total of 50 million (US) dollars on malaria treatment annually - enough to build 12,000 health centers. It is the top killer in Uganda. AIDS has hardly touched Uganda. Malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, is the prime suspect of every fever in Uganda. An adult suffers from it between one and 12 times a year while children get the disease between twice a month and twice a year.
  • November 19, 1999 Xinhua Children Stunted by Malnutrition.  Chronic malnutrition is stunting the growth of Kenyan children, with more than 30% of the children under the age of five years countrywide severely stunted, according to a 1998 Demographic and Health Survey. Children born after a long interval of 48 months or over are less likely to be stunted than children born after a shorter birth interval. About six% of children under five in Kenya are wasted, and 1% 'severely' wasted. Rural children are 40% more likely to be stunted than urban children. Ignorance, inadequate malaria control efforts, and scarce funding are blamed. More than 50% have no access to safe water and health services, 40% are illiterate, and 44% are living under the poverty line.
  • November 19, 1999 ENN Battle over Baja Salt Factory Rages On.  Jared Blumenfeld, director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare said "The world's largest corporation wants to build the world's largest salt factory in an area with four levels of legal protection which is also the last pristine breeding and birthing ground for the gray whale. There are only 60 western pacific gray whales left." The Mexican National Institute of Ecology rejected an environmental impact assessment file by the giant corporation and salt company owner, Mitsubishi, because the plan was incompatible with Laguna San Ignacio's protected status. In December 1997, at another salt plant operated by the company, 94 sea turtles died and washed ashore due to an increase in salinity in the lagoon caused by the salt factory.
  • November 4, 1999 Chicago Tribune French Block Vasectomy Ads: Cite Code of 1800. Frenchmen seeking a vasectomy can now take a day trip to Britain for the operation. Illegal in France under a 200-year-old Napoleonic law against self-mutilation. The operation can be obtained by a 10 minute operation in the English town of Ashford, where Frenchmen can take the train and be back by evening.
  • November 19, 1999 The Christian Science Monitor Iran: An unlikely model for family planning.  The United Nations considers Iran a model for Muslim nations worldwide. Though it is commonly believed in many Islamic societies that large families are good, Iran has embraced family planning. Its mullahs, who are often fundamentalist, have been very flexible, progressive, and pragmatic on family planning. 20 years ago babies were sought to bolster the ranks of "soldiers for Islam", but from 1976 to 1986 the population jumped 33 million to nearly 50 million. After the Islamic revolution, the economy fell, and the country faced serious challenges in supporting this number of people. Job shortages were acute. The Shiite spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini permitted debate on the subject of birth control. In the Koran the prophet says: "The most grueling trial is to have plenty of children with no adequate means." Women still must wear the baggy chador and head scarf in public, and abortion is forbidden - but every form of contraception is encouraged and has religious sanction. Iran's population growth rate has halved to less than 1.47% in a decade. Iran's family planning success is attributed to great religious support, political commitment, and a good health infrastructure. Iran's education system is also cited as a reason - the literacy rate has increased from 47% in pre-revolution days to 85% today. Health centers remote areas are stocked with an array of free contraceptives and sterilization is free for men and women.
  • November 19, 1999 The Beirut Daily Star Population Conference Urges Men’s Role in Family Planning.  Including both genders in family-planning decisions is an important step toward improving population issues, leaders from 16 Arab nations, including Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Tunisia, who were participants at a conference in Lebanon agreed. Health-behavior studies revealed that targeting women only in family-planning campaigns may prove unproductive when the man often plays the dominant role in the family. "The Arab region began to sit up and take notice of population issues" following the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, which educated countries about depleting natural resources and other negative effects of worldwide population growth. In Lebanon, family planning lessons have become part of school curricula, reproductive health guidelines have been established, and contraceptives have been made available at various health centers in the country.
  • November 17, 1999 ZPG Nov. 22-27 Sixth African Regional Conference on Women&  will meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to discuss progress made toward empowering women in Africa over the past five years. 1,500 participants representing governments, civil society, regional institutions, UN agencies and other groups will evaluate the Dakar and Beijing Platforms for Action made in 1995, formulate a plan of action for the next five years, and develop a framework for Africa's participation in the Beijing+5 summit in 2000 in New York as part of a special session of the UN General Assembly.
  • November 17, 1999 ZPG The Onerous Odious Global Gag Rule From ZPG: Currently no U.S. funds can be used to perform, promote, or lobby on abortion. But a small group of anti-family planning members of the House of Representatives want to tell foreign women's groups and family planning clinics overseas what they can and can't do with other privately raised money. And the restrictions they'd impose are devastating. First, they want to prohibit clinics from providing legal abortions in their own countries. They also want to impose shocking restrictions on the ability of organizations to participate in any public discussion of abortion laws in their own countries. Under this "Global Gag Rule", any organization that said or wrote anything that could be construed to be critical of abortion laws or policies would be banned from receiving U.S. family planning aid -- even though this aid actually reduces abortions. Such a policy would be unconstitutional if imposed in the United States, and flies in the face of other U.S. programs designed to encourage free speech and democratic participation around the world.
  • November 17, 1999 UNEP Antartic Ozone Hole As Big As Ever  The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) cautioned that the hole covers an area more than twice the size of mainland China. 172 countries will come together in Beijing from 29 November to 3 December 1999 for and ozone meeting to agree on funding for eliminating chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and ozone-destroying chemicals. According to the Scientific Assessment Panel of the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is projected to recover to pre-1980 levels in the year 2050. This will occur only if the Montreal Protocol is implemented and if all countries completely phase out the consumption of ozone-depleting chemicals. Since 1986, the total consumption of CFCs has fallen by 84% globally, and in industrialized countries by 97% .
  • November 17, 1999 Christian Science Monitor Arctic Ice Cap: It's Thinner Than We Thought.  Comparing ice thickness measurements by submarines between 1958 and 1976 with measurements made this decade, the cap is an average of 4.3 feet thinner, and has lost 40% of its volume. The results will be published in the Dec. 1 edition of Geophysical Research Letters. Climatologists can only speculate since the ice loss cannot be tied to any man-made or natural global warming. Weather changes may occur because the ice cap drives ocean currents, which in turn drive the weather.
  • November 16, 1999 Business Wire Congestion Continues to Worsen Nationally.  In a study of 68 urban areas in the United States, by the Texas Transportation Institute, the annual cost of traffic congestion per driver in about 1/3 of the cities studied exceeds the statewide average cost of auto insurance for those cities. Drivers in 1/3 of the cities spend at least half as much time stuck in traffic as they do on vacation each year. In more than half the cities studied, the amount of time drivers spend stuck in traffic has grown by at least 350% over the past 16 years. One measure, the Travel Rate Index, shows the difference between a trip taken during peak travel times and the same trip made in uncongested conditions. The study shows that drivers in more than half the cities studied needed anywhere from 20 to 50% more time to complete the rush hour journey in 1997. This peak-period time penalty nearly doubled in the 68 urban areas between 1982 and 1997. This includes a 260% increase between one and three million population and a 240% jump for cities between 500,000 and 1 million population. The cities with the largest yearly delays per driver are Los Angeles (82 hours), Washington DC-MD-VA (76 hours), Seattle-Everett, WA (69 hours), and Atlanta, GA (68 hours). Congestion costs - based on extra travel time and wasted fuel - were highest for Los Angeles at $1370 per driver.
  • November 15, 1999 IPS Human Activity Is Primary Cause of Food Crises.  United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that the causes of food emergencies around the world are changing and the crises themselves are growing more frequent. In 1984, catastrophes originating from human activity, such as civil wars and economic crises represented 10% of 1984s food emergencies, but now account for 50%, with a greater impact than natural disasters. World grain production is still less than the volume necessary to meet food needs. and it will again be necessary to turn to global food reserves, an inventory of nine million tons. 52 million people in 35 countries face food shortages. The effects of the 1997 Asian financial crisis still depress the purchasing power of consumers which endangers food security, while pushing agricultural prices down.
  • November 16, 1999 IPS Africa: Reducing Rural Poverty.  Every day, according to the U.N. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), some 40,000 people in the world die of hunger-related causes which can be avoided. 1.2 billion of the world's rural population live in conditions of extreme poverty. Representatives in Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe are meeting Nov 15-19 to plan ways to improve the living standards of the people in the rural areas. IFAD's mandate is to combat hunger and rural poverty in the low-income food-deficit regions of the world, and to improve the livelihood of the rural poor on a sustainable basis. Through loans and grants, 200 million people have been helped to work their way out of hunger, poverty and deprivation,
  • November 16, 1999 ENN Court Urged to Protect Turtle, Now.  Protection for the Pacific leatherback sea turtle cannot wait. Incidental capture and injury by fisherman, particularly through long line fisheries, has contributed to its decline. Dr. Pamela Plotkin, of the Center for Marine Conservation says that the number of turtles that have returned to their nesting grounds across the entire Pacific has declined by 50% over the last four years.
  • November 15, 1999 Washington Post Global Warming Could Starve Polar Bears  Increasing numbers of hungry bears have been seen in the northern Canadian community of Churchill, Manitoba. Ring seals, which are the bears' main food source, live on the ice in the Hudson bay, which has been breaking earlier by about about three weeks over the last 20 years. The polar bears weigh less and females have fewer cubs.
  • November 15, 1999 Washington Post Abortion Deal Ends Empasse on U.S. Dues.  The Clinton administration and congressional Republican leaders last night reached a tentative agreement on the payment of nearly $1 billion in back dues to the United Nations. Legislative language barring US aid to international family planning groups that lobby for abortion rights abroad [the Global Gag Rule] would be included. Clinton would have the option to waive that restriction on a case-by-case basis, automatically trigger a 6% cut [later changed to 3% - $ 12.5 million of the $ 385 million] in the overall family-planning aid budget. The restrictions would expire at the end of fiscal 2000 next September. "And the sources said there can be little doubt that Clinton will use the waiver". The new language would prohibit the organizations, such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation, from performing or advocating abortions with their own money if they take money from the United States. U.N. Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke said the agreement "will have minimal impact where it really matters, on women who need advice on family planning." Under the same agreement, the Clinton's proposal to expand the International Monetary Fund's debt-relief and forgiveness efforts would be approved. For more details, see the Sierra Club Bulletin here. From the Washington Post, November 16, 1999 - Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), an abortion rights supporter, and a key player, said the agreement "constitutes a gag rule which I cannot support," but she needs to see the legislation in its entirety before she decides how to vote.
  • November 16, 1999 NewsDay Human Rights, but Not for All Humans  Excellent Op-Ed on Chris Smith by Marie Cocco of Newsday. "The antiabortion Republicans insist that this (waiver) money may not be used for birth control. Specifically, they have taken a stand against using these funds to teach impoverished women in the developing world how to use birth control to space their pregnancies."
  • November 16, 1999 Sacramento Bee Abortion Extortion: Clinton Forced to Compromise on Family Planning Aid  Editorial- Clinton would accept language banning U.S. aid to foreign family-planning groups that promote abortion rights even with their own money.
  • November 15, 1999 The Commercial Appeal 'The Pill': Better Late Than Never; Many Unaware of Emergency Contraception.  Some say that the condom broke or slipped off. Others explain they aren't very sexually active and weren't prepared. But at the Planned Parenthood clinic, women can get four specially formulated birth control pills - two to take immediately and two to take in 12 hours. If taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse, those pills are 75 - 86% effective, which means for every 100 women taking emergency contraception following a single unprotected sexual encounter during the most fertile phase of their menstrual cycle, two, rather than the expected eight, will become pregnant. The Preven emergency contraception kit, includes a pregnancy test and four birth control pills. A newer pill, Plan B, relies solely on the hormone progestin. Both are different from the abortion pill, mifepristone, or RU-486, which is not available in the United States and is designed for use only after pregnancy is confirmed. Emergency contraception pills won't trigger an abortion if the fertilized egg has already implanted in the uterine wall. The copper intrauterine device can also block pregnancy following unprotected sex when inserted by up to five days after intercourse. Emergency contraception is expected to eliminate as many as 800,000 abortions and 1.7 million of the nation's roughly 3 million unintended pregnancies. Only 28% of U.S. women ages 18-44 know that emergency contraception is available. In Washington, the pills are now available from trained pharmacists without a doctor's prescription. Where to get help: the emergency contraception hotline, (888) Not-2-Late sponsored by the Reproductive Health Technologies Project ... Princeton University's Office of Population Research Web site http://opr.princeton.edu/ec ... The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation web site at http://www.kff.org Click on the reproductive and sexual health section ... The American Medical Women's Association Web site http://www.amwa-doc.org and click on the sex and sensibility section.
  • November 16, 1999 Agence France Presse Indonesia Could Reach Zero Population Growth in 2080.  According to the Jakarta Post, if the world's fourth most populous country manages to curb the fertility rate to 2.1 persons in 2020, the goal can be reached. The UNFPA says the target is not impossible and has named Indonesia as one of the four "centers of excellence" in its global family planning program, and is used by the organization as a role model for other nations. 57% of Indonesia's 17 million fertile couples use family planning, and that figure is expected to rise to nearly 70% by the year 2000. However, the country needs to work on its high maternal mortality rate of between 350-400. [2080 seems so very far away.]
  • November 16, 1999 UNWire India: Millions Of Children Orphaned By Cyclone.  According to UNICEF, more than 3 million children have been affected by India's devastating cyclone. "We fear that the problems of child sexual abuse, child begging and child labor will flare up now," said Mahendra Parida in the UNICEF campaign. The death toll was put at nearly 9,400 on Saturday but that number is expected to rise. Thousands of people are suffering from serious skin burns from acid that may have leaked into local water supplies from a damaged fertilizer plant.
  • November 12, 1999 Portland Oregonian Anti-WTO Ad Campaign Asks: But What are We Trading Away?  Environmental, labor, and human rights groups concerned about the impacts of free trade have launched a $40,000 advertising campaign on 90 buses and 14 billboards aimed toward delegates to the Seattle World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting later this month. The ads ask, "WTO: What are we trading away?" The billboards vary in the answer: the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund's response is: "Our forests?," and the Sea Turtles Restoration Project is "Endangered species?" The answers vary from worker's rights to human rights, from clean air and clean water to forests, family farmers and endangered species. Many of the advisory committees to the U.S. Trade Representative of WTO's free-trade talks are accessible only to preferred industries.
  • November 10, 1999 BCC Africa: Handover of Circumcision Tools Praised.  Opponents of female circumcision in Guinea have welcomed the decision by hundreds of women who circumcised young girls to hand in their special ceremonial knives. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) or female circumcision, a painful practice that often leads to excessive bleeding, infection, trauma and difficulties in childbirth, is practised in many parts of Africa. Some of the Guinean women were given financial help from opponents of the practice. In Tanzania, despite government attempts to ban FGM, the practice is on the increase. The Tanzanian group is now trying to promote a compromise experiment amongst the Maasai, where the circumcision ceremony is celebrated but the actual circumcision is not carried out. Female circumcision is said to be prevalent in Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia, Sudan, Egypt, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.
  • November 9, 1999 Environmental News Service Revving the Energy Engine Means Rising U.S. Emissions. Growth in energy demand in the United States will lead to increasing greenhouse gas emissions through 2020, according to the Energy Information Administration's(EIA) "Annual Energy Outlook 2000." The EIA is and agency of the U.S. Department of Energy. Already the U.S. emits more greenhouse gases than any other nation. China, with 4 times as many people, is second. Atmospheric emissions of carbon will increase 33% from 1990 to 2010. This means that the U.S. will fail to reduce its emissions by the Kyoto Protocol-assigned target of 7% over 1990 levels in the period 2008 to 2012. 39 industrialized countries would have been obliged by the 1997 international treaty to limit their emissions of six gases linked to global warming, if it is ratified. None of the 39 countries have ratified it, but many, including the European Union, are already working towards achieving their Kyoto Protocol limits. In the U.S. nuclear electricity generation declines and the use of renewable energy sources grows too slowly. Coal is the primary fuel for electricity generation in the U.S., but its share will decline slightly by 2020 as a result of the shift to generation from the comubstion of natural gas.
  • November 1, 1999 Earthtimes Arabian Gulf States Taking New Steps to Curb Population Growth.  The six members of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC),Bahrain, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, have a combined total population of 28 million, more than a third of them foreign workers. This figure is projected to be more than 56 million by 2025. The latest oil slump has given the GCC a foretaste of the fiscal troubles in store if they insist on maintaining the current generous level of social benefits to their citizens. Population projections portend large-scale unemployment, falling standards of living, economic decline and political disaffection. Population increased at an annual rate of 6.17% between 1975 and 1985, and at 4.45% between 1985 and 1995. The world annual growth rate was 1.5% in 1995. The United Arab Emirates has included family planning as a health service; Bahrain has taken up reproductive health programmes that include family planning projects; and Oman is aiming for a reduction in the size of families. In Qatar, one of the most sparsely populated Gulf states, the Qatar Red Crescent and other health centres are promoting awareness among young, educated people about the importance of adequate spacing between pregnancies. Early marriages have decreased. The decisions of educated women about when and whom to marry are becoming less influenced by traditional forces. Bahrain has 3.2 births per woman, Oman has 7.1, Kuwait and the UAE has 4.5, and Saudi Arabia has 5.7 births. Contraceptive use was over 66% for women with secondary or higher education and with 53% among illiterate women.
  • November 6, 1999 Los Angeles Times South Korea's Population Control.  At least 175 mentally ill or mentally retarded people were forcibly sterilized in South Korea from 1974 through the early 1990s, with one case reported as late as 1996. Last year the law allowing such sterilization was appealed, because it invited abuses. To end the poverty and the baby boom that followed the 1950-53 Korean War, a family planning program in 1961 was instituted that was aimed at persuading Koreans to "stop at two" children. Birth-control workers were given regional quotas for births and sterilizations. Married people with children were urged to volunteer for sterilization. Contraceptives were distributed. The birthrate dropped dramatically from 4.51 per woman in the 1970s to 1.56 in 1997.
  • November 10, 1999 ENN Don't Forget Methane.  According to a researcher in atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois in the Oct. 29 issue of the journal Science, by including methane in abatement strategies, the costs of US emission-reduction targets could be lowered by 25%. Methane remains in the atmosphere about 12 years, (as opposed to from 50 to 200 years for carbon dioxide) so concentrations will respond quickly to emission reductions, producing an immediate and significant impact on climate change. Methane is the second-most important greenhouse gas, and, along with other non-carbon dioxide gases, is currently responsible for about 40% of the problem. Methane concentrations in the atmosphere have doubled in the last two centuries. Landfills, coal mining, livestock, manure and the production and transmission of natural gas are the five major sources of human-produced methane in the US. The methane could be captured and sold or used as a substitute for other energy inputs. "For example, cattle manure can be collected and placed in a digestor. As anaerobic decay occurs, methane is produced. This methane can be removed from the digestor and used to generate electricity."
  • November 10, 1999 Reuters Asia Risks Surpassing Africa in AIDS Epidemic.  Asia could have more cases of AIDS than Africa by 2005, unless precautions are taken seriously, according to a senior Chinese health official. 7.28 million had HIV or AIDS in Asia in 1998. Africa had 23 million, but Asia's annual HIV growth rate is a fast 20%.
  • November 11, 1999 New York Times Abortion Discord Holds Up U.N. Dues and U.S. Budget  The white-hot domestic issue of abortion is holding up a deal to pay nearly $1 billion the United States owes the United Nations, which in turn is one of the main sticking points blocking a budget agreement between Congress and the White House. Republicans are demanding that the United States cut off financing to international organizations that promote abortion rights overseas as the price for paying Washington's back dues. Clinton has stayed loyal to an important Democratic constituency, women voters - an issue of free speech and providing health services that affects women's lives; but at the risk of increasing world ridicule that the lone global superpower was fast emerging as a global deadbeat. Both sides may begrudginly accept the Greenwood amendment which would cut United States financing from international organizations that lobby for abortion rights only in countries where local laws prohibit such lobbying.
  • November 4, 1999 All Africa News Agency Malawi: Growing Population, High Death Rate  The Minister of Health and Population, says the high rate of illiteracy (67% of the country's 9.8 million people), cultural and religious beliefs regarding reproductive health have left devastating problems to the socio-economic development of Malawi. The maternal mortality ration is at 620 per 100,000, and infant mortality is at 134 per 1,000 and child mortality at 234 per 1,000. Lack of knowledge regarding dangerous signs of pregnancy and delivery, inadequacy and distance of hospitals and health centres are other reasons cited. Malawi abolished family planning services in the early 1960s because messages of reproductive health were construed as challenging firmly-held cultural beliefs which say having many children is a step to riches. In 1982, however, authorities were persuaded to consider restarting family planning services but now under the guise of Child Spacing later renamed Maternal Child Health. It was introduced in government hospitals in 1992 when contraceptive prevalence was 1%. The prevalence gradually improved to 7% in 1994.
  • November 8, 1999 AP Vermont: Development More than Double Population Growth  Between 1982 and 1992, the amount of developed land in the U.S. state of Vermont grew by 25% while the population grew by 9.8%, a development rate 2.63 times its population growth, according to the Vermont Forum on Sprawl. In 1992, Vermont's developed land was 42% 'consolidated residential,' defined as 'closely spaced urban and suburban houses and other residences. 'Rural estates' accounted for another 30% - rural homes surrounded by 1.5 to 10 acres that are not part of a farming operation. Nearly 40% of the land developed in the 10 years ending in 1992 was former cropland or pasture.
  • November 11, 1999 Time Holy Owned;Is it Fair for a Catholic Hospital to Impose its Morals on Patients?  Zina Campos, 34, didn't intend to heed the biblical injunction to be fruitful and multiply, but she wasn't thinking of the Good Book when she had her first child at 17. She now has eight kids and another due any day. She didn't know about birth control, but now she has decided on a tubal ligation: because "nine is way more than enough." The procedure, a common one usually performed after delivery, permanently prevents pregnancy. It takes 15 min. and can often piggyback on the same epidural painkiller used during labor. However, the hospital in her town, which performed more than 400 tubal ligations last year, became a Catholic Hospital and will no longer perform tubal ligations. 10% of the nations hospitals are Catholic, which enjoy a nonprofit tax status, giving them a competitive advantage over other hospitals. Eight of the nation's 13 largest health-care systems are Catholic. Sometimes a Catholic hospital will join another institution and tolerate forbidden practices in an area kept physically and administratively separate, which is how there can be an associated facility that offers full reproductive services.
  • November 8, 1999 Associated Newspapers Ltd. 'Foolproof' Birth-Control Implant Lasts 3 Years  Implanon, a matchstick-sized device which is inserted into the upper arm, releases hormones into the bloodstream over three years, and is said to be extremely effective and with few side effects. A hormone called progestin is released, which fools the body into thinking that pregnancy has already occurred so that normal ovulation is suspended. The device is said to be better than Norplant, which required six rods to be inserted in the arm and was said to cause skin problems, hair loss and mood swings.
  • November 10, 1999 UN Wire Saudi Arabia: Women Get Their Own ID Cards -   a "step in the right direction." Currently women are listed on ID cards of a male next-of-kin, ns women often carry photocopies of their male relative's card when they travel, but their pictures are not on it, which makes identification hard. While many hope that the new identity cards could lead women to freely travel without their husband's or father's permission, others are skeptical.
  • November 1, 1999 Honduras This Week Greenhouse Gas Inventory, Endangered Species List for Honduras Now Available.  Two studies considered of vital importance to conservation efforts in Honduras: The List of Important Fauna to be Conserved in Central America and Mexico; and the Honduras National Greenhouse Gas Inventory were presented by the Honduras Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, the World Wildlife Fund and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • November 8, 1999 Planet Ark European Body Sets New Forest Certification Scheme  The Pan European Forest Certification Council, a body of European forest owners and the forest industry, said it had set up a framework for mutual recognition of national forest certification schemes, in an attempt to reassure environmentally-conscious consumers and boost trade. The council will soon accept applications for endorsement, and that 15 European countries and several industry bodies had backed the system. Other timber producers from Australia, the United States and Brazil, have expressed an interest. The goal of forest certification is to reassure increasingly environmentally-conscious consumers that the forest products they buy come from sustainably managed forests.
  • November 8, 1999 Union of Concerned Scientists Court Urged To Protect Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtles.  The primary cause of the leatherback decline in the Pacific is incidental capture in fisheries. Some nesting populations in the west Pacific are now "biologically extinct" - too few are left for the population to recover. In the east Pacific, similar population collapses are occurring. unless drastic measures are taken immediately to reduce the take of Pacific leatherbacks in longline fisheries, the turtles will be extinct in the next few years.
  • November 5, 1999 Center for Marine Conservation California's Environment Threatened by Global Warming.  The Ecological Society of America and the Union of Concerned Scientists have concluded a 2-year study: Confronting Climate Change in California: Ecological Impacts on the Golden State, which concludes that climate change poses a range of serious challenges for the state's environment and economy. It is predicted that California's future climate will be warmer and wetter in winters and hotter in summers, which means there will be less water to go around in an already thirsty state. Very likley impacts are: altered commercial fisheries, increased difficulty protecting rare and endangered species, floods, landslides, wildfires, disease and pest outbreaks. By 2030-2050 winters are likely to warm by 5-6? F, and summers to warm by 1-2? F. Precipitation will fall mostly as rain rather than snow with less water stored in the snow pack and more water running off immediately, adding to winter flooding and landslide problems. Flood controls and levees would be increasingly challenged, requiring additional management responses. Water shortages will worsen drought conditions, irrigation needs, and water-use conflicts. Crops that require large amounts of irrigation water (such as grapes, cotton, and alfalfa) will be among the hardest hit. An intensified summer drought will lead to hotter, harder-to-control wildfires, especially if Santa Ana winds increase. The sea level may rise 8 to 12 inches by 2100, amplifying storm surge, beach erosion, and flooding. There is evidence that El Nino may become more frequent with climate change, with stronger La Nina phases. There are already major shifts in California's ocean life, including decreases in zooplankton, sea bird populations, and northern cold-water species, but increases in southern warm-water species. A changing climate will exacerbate problems in California caused by intensive development and rapid population growth.
  • November 5, 1999 Marine Fish Conservation Network Report Finds Overfishing at Record High.  The Department of Commerce www.nmfs.gov/sfa/reports.html finds the number of overfished species has increased to 98. Over 40% of the fish stocks of which the status is known are classified as overfished. The status of 674 species is unknown - up 130 from last year. Nearly 75% of the stocks listed in the 1999 report are classified as "unknown." Many stocks of unknown status may also be overfished. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has the tools - and the directive - to address these problems. But more aggressive steps are clearly needed if the Congressional mandate to stop overfishing and rebuild overfished stocks is to be realized.
  • November 6, 1999 IPS U.S: Republicans Bow to CLINTON'S Foreign Aid Demands.  Clinton was able to get development aid boosted in the foreign aid budget bill by some $400 million, but he didn't persuade Republicans to grant all of the $370 million debt relief he had requested for the world's poorest nations. The debt relief money was increased from $33 million by $123 million. Washington can now cancel the bilateral debt owed by 41 of the world's poorest nations, most of them in Africa. The U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) will receive $110 million and the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) at least $80 million. $25 million for the U.N. Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) was also included; last year it was denied by anti-abortion forces in the Congress. This money will, however, will be reduced dollar-for-dollar by any money spent by UNFPA in China which leading Republicans accuse of practicing coercive abortions. [the UNFPA does have a program in China which stresses voluntary family planning and preventative contraception]. The bill did not include money to pay the U.S.'s huge U.N. arrears. These will be covered by a separate bill for State Department appropriations. Clinton wants Congress to approve almost $1 billion out of $1.7 billion the UN said it is owed for unpaid dues and peacekeeping bills. Anti-abortion lawmakers, mostly Republicans, may kill the arrears unless Clinton agrees to ban U.S. aid to overseas aid groups which lobby their governments to ease abortion laws.
  • November 5, 1999 Washington Post White House, Hill GOP Agree on Foreign Aid  Tenatively agreed to yesterday - $1.8 billion to help implement the Wye River peace accord between the Israelis and Palestinians, $170 million - "economic support funds," $150 million for international development assistance, $104 million- nuclear threat reduction in the former Soviet Union, and $75 million - UN peacekeeping operations. The US payment arrears to the UN is still being disputed in negotiations over another spending bill. [Foreign ops passed the House by a vote of 388-25 this morning and is going to the Senate. President Clinton is expected to sign the bill. It includes a $25 million U.S. contribution (full funding) to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and $385 million for U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs. However, the "global gag rule could still be attached later to the Commerce- Justice State bill, the spending bill that has jurisdiction over the U.S. contribution to the United Nations. NAS]
  • November 5, 1999 Xinhua Honduras Registers Highest Infantile Mortality Rate.  AT 168 deaths for each 100,000 born alive, Honduras has the world's highest infant mortality rate, says the World Health Organization (WHO). Honduras will reinforce family planning services to reduce the deaths of female adolescents, who get pregnant at a tender age risking their lives.
  • November 6 , 1999 Xinhua Africa's Major Obstacles to Development  Economically, since the mid-1980s, Africa has become increasingly marginalized in the world economy. In 1955, the continent's share of world trade was 3.1%. By 1990, however, this share had fallen to 1.2%. In 1992, the combined GNP of the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa did not even equal that of the Netherlands. Africa's debt burden in 1973 was $13.1 billion, growing to over $315 billion in 1997, exceeding Africa's total GNP. Levels of public and private assistance to Africa have considerably declined. The gap between the rich and poor nations has been expanding. The goal of the United Nations Development Decade (1960-1970) was that Third World national incomes would be increasing by 5% yearly by 1970, and that it would continue to expand at 5% thereafter. From 1960 to 1973, Africa's average annual rate of economic growth was 5.3%, but from 1980 to 1983, the growth rate fell to 0.5% annually. World trade, on the other hand, grew at an annual rate of 6%. Sub-Saharan Africa exports declined by 2.1%. 25 years ago, African countries were self-sufficient in food. But by 1995 1/4 of Sub-Saharan Africa people were homeless and jobless, and agricultural growth rates declined from 2.2% a year (1965-1973), to 1.0% (1974- 80), and 0.6% (1981-85). From 1980-1992, food aid increased from 1.6 million to 4.2 million tons. Average per capita gross national product declined 0.8% a year between 1980 and 1992. In 1973, Africa had a debt of $13.1 billion. Now the debt of the 52 Sub-Saharan African countries has reached $315 billion. The debt is mostly to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and individual governments. $4.5 billion of it is owed to the U.S. These countries spend more repaying their debts than they spend on primary education and health care. For example, Uganda spent only $3 per person on health care, while spending $17 per person on repaying its debts.
  • November 4, 1999 Xinhua Nepal's Population Reaches 22.5 Million.  Nepal's population growth is now 2.37%, no improvement over previous years. If the present growth rate and fertility rate (4.35) continue, the population will reach 32.2 million by 2016 and 62 million by 2050. Illiteracy, superstition, gender discrimination, lack of women empowerment, poverty and influx of immigrants contribute to the population increase.
  • November 4, 1999 Christian Scientist Monitor Glaciers in the Himalayas Melting at Rapid Rate  In a region has always been arid and desert-like, three walls of one of the world's oldest and most famous monasteries in the north India mountains have began to crumble, due to floods, mudslides, and spillover from the Indus River. The Himalayan glaciers, 15,000 of them, constitute the largest body of ice in the world, excepting the two polar caps, and are receding faster than in any other part of the world. Their runoff feeds the Indus and the Ganges, used by 500 million people on the northern Indian plains. The glaciers may disappear altogether by the year 2035. Instead of winter snows that allow glaciers to accumulate bulk, the summer monsoon rains are pelting the glaciers, causing them to melt. Scientists disagree over whether greenhouse gases are responsible. From 1430 to about 1850, the earth went through a "Little Ice Age." Average temperature has climbed 5 degrees in the last 30 years. Bangladesh could be under water in 15 years if global warming isn't controlled.
  • November 4, 1999 Earth Times Lack of Education in Children's Lives Causing Health Problems Globally  by Dr. César Chelala.   To educate all the world's children, governments have to spend an additional $7 billion per year for the next 10 years. This amount is less than what is spent yearly on cosmetics in the United States or on ice cream in Europe. 855 million people are functionally illiterate, according to UNICEF. Each additional year spent by mothers in primary schools reduces the children's risk of premature death by almost 10%. Education of mothers is also associated with smaller family size. In Brazil, illiterate women have an average of 6.5 children, but those with secondary education have 2.5 children. In urban India, the mortality rate among the children of uneducated women is more than double than those of children of educated women. Primary education among Philippine mothers reduces the risks of child mortality by half. Girls represent 2/3 of children who don't go to school. There are 250 million working children and also children caught in armed conflicts or other emergencies, who don't go to school. In Africa, children who lost one or both parents to AIDS will not be able to enroll or will have to drop out of school. It is suggested that both governments and international lending institutions implement debt-reduction policies for those countries willing to provide increased resources for basic education.
  • November 4, 1999 Nando Times Scientists say Nutrients are Destroying Lake Victoria  The world's second-largest freshwater lake (27,000-square-miles), which holds 20% of the world's freshwater supply, is being slowly destroyed by nutrients carried in soil from deforested land, according to the International Center for Research in Agroforesty. Satellite sensing detected a plume of nitrogen-and-phosphorous-rich sediments which feed the water hyacinths, which starve fish and plankton of oxygen and sunlight, cause the lake to stagnate, and block traffic, and serve as a breeding ground for malaria-bearing mosquitoes and snails that host bilharzia, a parasite that attacks the liver, lungs and eyes. Men are vacating villages in search of jobs, often leaving behind women and children who face severe poverty, disease and malnutrition. Vegetation, which used to filter the water of sediments from rivers that flow from the hills to the lake, has been removed.
  • November 5, 1999 UN WireHonduras: Rainforests could disappear in by 2011.  Despite the efforts of global and national environmental organizations to stop deforestation, broadleaf forests are disappearing at a rate of almost 8% a year.
  • November 5, 1999 Village Voice HIV/AIDS II: Threatens To "Dwarf Every Catastrophe" In Africa 11 million sub-Saharan Africans have died of AIDs since it was discovered in Africa 17 years ago. More than 22 million more are infected. Only 10% of the world's population lives south of the Sahara, but two-thirds of the world's HIV/AIDS cases are there and over 80% of all AIDS-related deaths are there. AIDS has killed 10 times as many people as all wars in Africa did last year. 59% of women attending prenatal clinics" tested positive for HIV. Drugs that cost more than $10,000 per patient per year has dropped the HIV death rate steeply in Western Nations. In hard-hit Africa, the per-capita health care budget is $10. Treatments for malaria, tuberculosis and diarrheal diseases, and vaccines for polio and measles have been subsidized by the international community for years, but treatment for HIV is too costly.
  • November 4, 1999 Times of India S. Asia badly governed, says UNDP  The United Nations Development Program has said that South Asia, including India and Pakistan, is one of the most corrupt and poorly governed regions of the world where the ruling elite is often too powerful to be accountable. In Bangladesh, for example, the cost of corruption --of setting up business comes to 340% of the estimated initial official cost. Nuclear tests by New Delhi and Islamabad, cost $15 billion over 10 years, enough to educate, nourish and provide healthcare to more than 37 million neglected children in the region. Governments collect taxes from the poor and middle class and enrich the rich with government contracts, concessions and loans from public-sector banks. The richest 20% earn almost 40% of national income and the poorest 20% earn less than 10%. Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka -- were identified as the most corrupt in the world. If Pakistan reduced corruption to the level of Singapore, its per capita income levels would increase by as much as 50%.
  • November 4, 1999 Washington Post Haiti: Deforestation, Unsafe Water Impede Growth  Despite Aid Programs, Haiti's Rural Areas Remain Mired in Poverty Haiti is a country of 7.6 million people, with a projected population in 2025 of 11.4 million. Life expectancy is about 53. Income is $410 a year. Five years ago Haiti's military dictatorship was removed and Haiti's first democratically elected president was reinstated. 5 million inhabitants reside in isolated squalor, the poorest of the poor in the Western Hemisphere. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) spent over $300 million in five years on rural programs such as vaccinations for children, distribution of contraceptives, school food projects, small loans for small businesses, development of local courts and a hillside agricultural program that boosted low incomes by 17% for about 166,000 farmers. Introduction of sound agricultural practices such as fruit tree grafting and cultivating high value export crops such as cocoa, coffee, mangoes and manioc have helped considerably. Haiti's agricultural sector grew 2.1% in 1998; it would have been 4% except for the ravages of Hurricane George. 200 miles of roads have been built in the rural areas. But aid has been inadequate. Land reform is still needed, with clashes over who owns the land: peasants or landowners whose claims to the land are dubious. Many plots are inadequate in size, the majority being about 3 acres. Haiti produces only half of its food requirements. 30-40% of harvests are lost or damaged while being transported due to poor roads. 75% of rural Haitian families spend more than 3/4 of their income for each member to eat at least 2,250 calories a day. Trees are being cut down for construction supplies and charcoal for cooking. Only 1.5% of Haiti's natural forests remain intact. Consequently a significant amount of top soil is washed away each year. 19% of Haiti's land can be irrigated from surface or ground water, but less than half of that actually is irrigated. Chronic malnutrition in children under 5 is 20% in the urban area, compared with 35% in rural areas.
  • November 3, 1999 Population Action International U.N. Arrears Debate Heats Up  The United States will soon face the loss of its vote in the U.N. General Assembly unless it pays a significant portion of its dues owed to the United Nations. Population Action International has run ads in Roll Call, CQ Daily, Congressional Daily, The Washington Times and will run ads Monday in The Washington Post and The Weekly Standard.
  • November 3, 1999 Interntl Herald Tribune Now Comes the Crunch for Salvaging Our Environment  One-third of the world's natural wealth has been lost in the last 25 years. The fires of 1998 turned the earth's forests into a net producer of carbon dioxide. Rising water temperatures due to global warming are likely the cause of the mass destruction of corals. In the seven years since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the global population has risen by 570 million, more than the population of the U.S. and Russia combined. As globalization progresses, the influence of the commercial sector grows. Fortunately many companies have recognized that proactive environmental protection and the sustainable use of resources make economic sense, as well as having a positive impact in the marketplace. We need to incorporate into our pricing systems the actual use of resources, pay the real costs of private transport, phase out environmentally harmful subsidies, such as $25 billion for the fishing industry, and the $650 billion paid to timber production, mining, oil production, agriculture and fishing, energy output and private transport.
  • November 3, 1999 World Watch The New Flat Earth Society  Forbes magazine claimed in its May 1999 issue that the Internet has become a major electricity consumer, driving demand skyward and urging that we dig more coal, to produce more energy. On the contrary, Internet-connected devices are increasingly energy-efficient, online transactions are displacing some energy-hungry activities, and computers are making possible more precise and thus less wasteful energy management in industrial operations and in buildings. The Forbes claim that, in 1998, the Internet used 8% of the U.S. electricity is several times overstated, and was based on a report by the Greening Earth Society, an arm of a coal industry lobby, the Western Fuels Association. Coal use is in decline, having fallen 2.1% in 1998. Apparently, coal producers have become desperate, and have resorted to some truth-twisting.
  • November 3, 1999 Time.com Will Malthus Be Right? His Forecast Was Ahead of Its Time, But Nature May Still Put a Lid on Humanity  Malthus' "Essay on the Principle of Population," published in 1798, predicted that our population would grow until it reached the limits of our food supply, ensuring that poverty and famine would mean dire doom and gloom for the world. The Pollyannas of this world say that Malthus was wrong - economies are robust and famines are more aberrations than signs of the future. Others say that techno-fixes have only postponed the day of reckoning, that 6 billion is twice as many as can be supported in middle-class comfort, and the world is running out of arable land and fresh water. Today Malthus is more right than wrong. With the birth of agriculture, we stepped outside the local ecosystem. Plants that were not cultivated became weeds, animals that were not domesticated herds, pets and game animals became pests and vermin. Population grew from an estimated 6 million people at the beginning of agriculture to 900 million by 1798. In 1679, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (inventor of the microscope) speculated that the limit to the human numbers would be about 13 billion. Today we have succeeded in creating a global economic entity - globally exchanging over $1 trillion in goods and services between ourselves daily. Out of approximately 10 million plant and animal species, 30,000 are lost each year, even though we rely on 40,000 or more species for food, shelter, clothing and fuel.
  • November 3, 1999 World Watch Environment: Challenging the WTO Global trade rules threaten to undermine environmental laws of sovereign nations. But with those nations often beholden to their own trade-hungry corporations, it has fallen to nongovernmental organizations to make sure the WTO is accountable. If the proposals of the developed countries, particularly the USA, are adopted the member countries of WTO will be obliged to change their national, domestic policies and laws. Ostensibly designed to create a uniform global investment and economic climate this measure will mean the further erosion of economic sovereignty of the development countries, including India.
  • November 1, 1999 Deutsche Presse-Agentur German Organization Links Health and Family Planning in Bangladesh.  Health workers help with simple illnesses, send difficult cases to a doctor, and advise mothers on nutrition and birth control. GTZ also tries to make the people help themselves, resulting in the digging of a fish pond, credit for cattle breeding and building simple but hygenic toilets. These things contribute to a decline in population growth, says Helga Piechulek of the German Development Cooperation (GTZ). Seventy per cent of the infants who die in poor countries fall prey to gastroenteritis, pneumonia, malaria or malnutrition. Maternity deaths are also high if women become pregnant at 15 and produce one child every year. When the infant mortality rate falls, they need not fear losing a child any more. Family planning is no longer taboo. The average children per woman has dropped from 7 children to three in 20 years. The growth rate has dropped from 2.7% in 1980 to 1.6%. Although population growth rates usually drop from increase prosperity, Bangladesh has remained extremely poor.
  • November 1, 1999 Panafrican News Agency Anti-Abortion Group Takes on the Billionaires Online.  Bill Gates, Ted Turner, George Soros, Warren Buffett and David Packard have all given away some of their money to international family planning programs aimed at curbing population growth. The American Life League, has launched a slick, anti-Bill Gates web site www.billgateseducate.com and placed newspaper ads in Seattle, where the Microsoft headquarters is located. Judie Brown, president of the league, said "The alleged population problem is merely a cover for racists to force abortion and contraception on poor women." "The whole issue when you come right down to it for us is that there should not be any family clinics - none, for any reason whatsoever." ... "There is no reason for anyone to be concerned with controlling someone else's family, none." [The whole WOA!! website is devoted to counter-arguments against ALL.]
  • November 1, 1999 Panafrican News Agency High Population Growth to Cause Water Shortage in Southern African Development Community  Rapid population growth, industrialisation and urbanisation will lead to serious water shortages soon.
  • November 1, 1999 Xinhua Worsening Ecology near Yellow River Source Warned.  The source of the Yellow River in northwest China is in trouble. Droughts have occurred every year for the last several years because of global warming, causing swamps to dry up, water levels to drop, more frequent winds, and serious sand erosion. In recent years, small hydro-electric power plants, dams, and highways have led to a reduction in water resources and enviromental degradation. Experts suggest planting trees and grass to alleviate the problem. The Yellow River starts on the northern slope of the Bayanhar Mountains in Qinghai and runs through nine provinces, where more than 100 million people live.
  • November 1, 1999 Business World (Phillipines) The Phillipines: Responding to Sex Education Need  20% of the population is between the ages of 15 to 24. 18% engage in premarital sex. 1.5 million of these young people are street youths who have menial jobs such as vendors or barkers. In Metro Manilla there are 75,000 street youth. ReachOut Reproductive Health Foundation operates a program called Barkadahan, which addresses the reproductive health needs of street youths. It is funded by the International Planned Federation. 74% of the estimated number of illegitimate births occurred to women 15 to 24 years old. The reproductive health program covers prevention of STDs and HIV/AIDS, treatment of infertility, prevention of abortion and treatment of its complications, family planning, prevention of cancers of the reproductive tract, maternal and child health and nutrition, sex education and counseling, prevention of violence against women, and the involvement of men in reproductive health matters.
  • November 1, 1999 World Watch Populations Outrunning Water Supplies  Water tables are falling on every continent and major rivers are being drained dry before they reach the sea, according to a report by the Worldwatch Institute. From the book Pillar of Sand: Can the Irrigation Miracle Last, by Sandra Postel, it is reported that 40 percent of the world's food comes from irrigated cropland and historically, most irrigation-based civilizations have failed, due to water-logging, salting and silting. Add to that aquifer depletion because overpumping resulting from the introduction of diesel and electrically powered pumps. India's water is being pumped at double the rate of aquifer recharge from rainfall, which could result in the grain harvest being reduced by a quarter. Water tables are falling in China almost everywhere that the land is flat, and fall by roughly 5 feet (1.5 meters) a year in some places. Together, China, the United States and India produce about one-half the world's food. Depletion of the Ogallala aquifer in the southern Great Plains of the United States has led to irrigation cutbacks.
  • November 1, 1999 Earth Negotiations Bulleting Climate Negotiations Continue In Bonn.  More than 150 countries are continuing to discuss the details of implementing the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change.
  • Octover 21, 1999 Gore Pledges Dramatic Progress on Environment  Al Gore promised that as President, he will work for dramatic progress toward a cleaner environment, protecting the clean air, water and open spaces so vital to the quality of life and economic strength of our nation. He that as President he would put a stop to all new oil drilling in federal waters off the shores of California and Florida. He also discussed the importance of creating more livable communities, regional cooperation for smarter growth, and limiting urban sprawl and traffic congestion.
  • October 15, 1999 ENN Direct Africa Can Feed Just 40% of its Population in 2025.  The continuing degradation of African soils threatens the world's fastest-growing region with starvation and poverty on an unprecedented scale within 25 years, warns a United Nations analysis. 48 African nations and territories south of the Sahara , where 550 million people now live, will produce enough food for just 40% of the projected one billion inhabitants in 2025. African soil degradation is due to: 1. overgrazing; 2. inefficient agricultural activities: ineffective use of fertilizers; cultivation on steep slopes or in arid areas without proper anti-erosion measures, improper irrigation; use of heavy machinery on soils with weak structural stability; 3. overexploitation: removal of vegetation for domestic needs; overuse of existing agricultural land for agriculture; 4. deforestation/vegetation removal through clearing, logging or development. Poor land management results in water erosion (responsible for 46% of soil losses), wind erosion (38%), improper chemical use (12%) and soil compaction due to overgrazing (4%). Crop residues and animal manure are increasingly used as livestock fodder and household fuel rather than soil nutrient replenishment. Good farming practices like allowing land to lie fallow and inter-cropping cereals with legumes and mixed crop / livestock farming -- have broken down due to the desperate demand for arable land of a growing population. "The consequences of Africa's worsening crisis include further economic decline, widespread environmental destruction, mass migration, social disruption, and escalating internal and cross-border conflict," says Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (INRA). Direct links have already been drawn between agricultural dependence and 14 African wars (conflicts resulting in more than 1,000 casualties) between 1989 and 1997. Such conflicts represent huge costs to other countries. $10 billion per year is spent by donor countries on international peacekeeping and emergency humanitarian aid. In sub-Saharan Africa, 72% of arable land and 31% of pastureland is degraded. Arable land per capita declined 24.5% in Africa between 1980 and 1993, 1.3 times the global average of 18%; Africans consume 20% less food than they did in the 1950s. Per capita cereal production in Africa, which averaged 144 kilos in 1970, dropped 9% to 132 kilos by 1997. In that time, it increased 48% in China, 14% in India, 39% in the USA and, on average, 12% worldwide. Farm yields for important cereals lag far behind other regions - 1.3 tons per hectare, compared with 4.8 in China, 2.2 in India, 5.7 in the USA, and 3.0 worldwide. 30% of African children today suffer malnutrition.. Malnutrition damage to the immune system underlies more than half of deaths among developing country children, often from common ailments like measles and diarrhea.
  • October 18, 1999 New York Times Weakness in Numbers  The military coup in Pakistan and its high population growth are not related. Urbanization, unemployment and depletion of resources have made the state increasingly hard to govern except through tyrannical means. Iran, Indonesia, Rwanda, Haiti, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Algeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Yemen have experienced war, famine and revolutionary upheaval in recent decades - a common element is population growth that led to urban overcrowding or severe strain on resources. Pakistan grows by 3% annually, doubling the population every generation. It's 135 million people are moving into vast shantytowns in the cities and depending on alkaline, nutrient-poor soil. Water supplies are beginning to run low, with the water table depleting. The largest city, Karachi, currently at over 10 million residents, adds 500,000 each year. One million live in squatter settlements with electricity and water systems in disrepair. There is chronic urban warfare among various Islamic groups. Many young people are reaching working age with no education and no prospects of employment. Urban dwellers are forced to depend on others for services such as sanitation and transportation. They cannot grow their own food, so they are subject to rising prices, which causes panic and tension. The cohesive community life of the villages is often replaced by extremist religious movements. Economic development has produced a subproletariat of working poor, who are far more demanding than their more fatalistic rural cousins. Civilian politicians often have to rely on tribal and ethnic patronage to maintain support. The overwhelming majority of births occur among the poor, leaving a relative shrinking of the middle class. Without the civil institutions that a middle class provides, democracies are very difficult to build. Thus nations like India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and China will likely be harder and harder to govern.
  • October 15, 1999 The Nation Anti-Choice, Anti-Child  Pro-lifers often accuse abortion rights supporters of being anti-child, hyperindividualistic, unwilling to protect the vulnerable. A new publication from the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy suggests that there is a strong correlation between the availability of abortion and social concern for the well-being of children. There is a stong correlation between a country being anti-choice and its having high infant mortality rates, no free schooling and no commitment to poor kids. Cuba, the only country in Latin America that permits abortion without restriction, has universal free healthcare and education, and the lowest infant mortality rates in that region. In anti-choice Egypt, Haiti, Guatemala, Indonesia, Paraguay and Brazil children live on the street. As for the United States, in a new book, Is the Fetus a Person? A Comparison of Policies in the Fifty States Jean Ruth Schroedel, associate professor of political science at Claremont Graduate University, finds that anti-abortion states do not consistently value fetal life. In six of the most stringent anti-choice states, it is not even a crime for a third party to kill a fetus--but drug users can be prosecuted for murder if the pregnancy goes awry. The lower women's status, the more stringent the abortion laws. Women's status was measured by education levels, ratio of female to male earnings, percentage of women in poverty, etc. Anti-choice states were also found to be "far less likely than pro-choice states to provide support for the poorest and most needy children."
  • October 31, 1999 Africa News Service Kenya: Famine, the Grim, Bitter Truth.  National strategic grain reserves have been so badly depleted that the government's relief can reach only 10% of the five million people threatened by the famine ravaging parts of the country. 31 districts are in dire need of food, as many as 70% of the population affected in some districts. A two-year drought and cheap imports have hindered crop production.
  • October 31, 1999 New York Times Climate Change: Energy Sector Trending Toward Carbonless Fuels.  Although levels of carbon dioxide are still rising in the atmosphere steadily, levels would be much higher but for a trend toward lower-carbon fuels over the last 100 years. The world's economy today burns less than two-thirds as much carbon per unit of energy produced as it did in 1860, with natural gas "may be entering its heyday," and "the day of hydrogen ... may at last be about to dawn." But it may take a century to fully decarbonize the energy industry. [If we run out of oil, it may happen sooner.]
  • October 12, 1999 India Times Treason, not Reason - Six Billion and Still Growing.  By Digvijay Singh, a former Union minister for environment, and present Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, second largest state in India. On October 12, 1999 when we cross the six billion mark, we should question ourselves on whether we deserve this earth. Voting patterns show that people's priorities are based on personal economic betterment. Is there hope for those who want to vote for 'fewer' humans? In the developed countries, how many will cast their votes for equitable consumption of global resources? In the developing world, it is a hopeless case where sustenance is the only criterion. In India's current elections, no candidate expressed distress at our crossing the one billion population mark. Most politicians and leaders think that overpopulation problems can be managed by human ingenuity, intensive development programmes and education. Maharaja Krishna Rajendra Wodeyar of Mysore introduced family planning as a state policy in 1932 and India was the first nation to proclaim it as a national policy in 1950. Yet India's population growth rate has not dropped below 1.9% a year. One method that has not yet been suggested is to define unsustainable population growth as anti-national. This last resort would be to classify having more than two children as an act of sedition resulting in the loss of voting rights. As for other methods, doling out cash incentives is burdensome in a poor country; denying food subsidies, housing, jobs and other facilities is cruel towards children, who are not responsible for the population problem. The proliferation of slums and their harmful impact on the future generation is beyond calculation. Unemployment and crime are also on the rise. Only the advanced nations have attained the below one per cent annual increase mark. Do all these nations have to become the employment exchange agencies of the world and incur the expense of housing millions of non-ethnics?
  • October 27, 1999 Washington Post Pakistan: Educated Girls Can Help Heal Broken Nation  In rural areas, only 2% of the females are literate. Girls cannot attend schools with boys and must be taught only by females. The Dutch-backed project goes in and builds schools for girls and trains teachers, who then are paid by the government. A local women's committee oversees the operation of the school. 'We want to send our daughters to school because we want them to have a better life than us,' Through the Dutch program, almost 15,000 young girls have gained access to primary education. There has been a 10% increase in girls' participation in schools. "Once you educate the girl, the life of the family changes totally," said May Rihani, director of girls' education at the Academy for Educational Development. "Nutrition and health improve, child and maternal mortality drops."
  • October 27, 1999 WorldWatch WTO Confrontation Shows Growing Power of Activist Groups.  Private citizens throughout the world, banding together in millions of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), are exercising an unprecedented level of influence over the decisions of governments and businesses, reports a new study by the Worldwatch Institute. As the powerful proponents of trade liberalization gather for the upcoming World Trade Organization (WTO) talks in Seattle, activists groups are planning their own meetings and demonstrations to fight for labor, health, consumer, and environmental standards threatened by the WTO's current agenda. "Many groups have proved more adept than governments and business at responding to social and environmental problems," said said Curtis Runyan, author of "Action on the Front Lines". "In Bangladesh, for example, a child is more likely to learn to read with the assistance of one of the 5,000 NGOs working on literacy programs than through a state school or organization."
  • October 28, 1999 Washington Post 'Ladies' of the House Rebuffed.  Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) yesterday called on Capitol Police to escort nine female House members from a committee hearing after they tried to present him with a letter calling for hearings on the 1979 United Nations Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Helms has refused to hold hearings on it, allow a vote or meet with House members who are pushing for ratification. The women's right pact has been ratified by more than 160 countries.
  • October 22, 1999 Washington Post Dispute Imperils U.S. Vote at U.N.; Abortion Issue.  Earlier this month President Clinton vetoed the foreign appropriations bill that included this year's installment of the U.N. payment because of the insufficient amount of money for foreign assistance. Clinton said approval of the U.N. funding was essential to America's ability to fulfill its international obligations and thus a matter of "national security." Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said Tuesday that Clinton must accept at least some abortion restrictions to get the U.N. funding. Earlier U.N. funding been included in the bill without any abortion restrictions. Key lawmakers said there is a slim chance that a breakthrough can be reached to ensure the payment before Congress leaves town sometime next month. Richard C. Holbrooke, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. said "If we lose the [General Assembly] seat, we lose a lot more than that. We lose our international standing."
  • October 22, 1999 ENN Solar cell efficiency makes big leaps.  Scientists at Spectrolab, a unit of Hughes Electronics Corp., and the Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory have increased the efficiency of terrestrial solar cells to 32%, double the current efficiency ratings, and hope to take it to greater than 40%. The new technology is called triple-junction gallium-indium-phosphide on gallium arsenide on germanium concentrator solar cell. Multi-junction cells are more efficient, only about one-half of the real estate is require to generate the same power output compared to crystalline silicon or thin-film flat-plate modules.
  • October 22, 1999 ENN Students Challenged to Build Better Century.  The National Science Foundation and Parade Magazine is sponsoring a contest called "JumpStart 2000", challenging students grades kindergarten through twelve to take a careful look at the world around them - their school, the economy, the trees, the air and soil - and to spell out what problems need to be addressed for a healthier planet in the next century. The winning teams will receive $500 to build a demonstration of their solution and an all-expense-paid, three-day trip to Washington, D.C., where an awards ceremony will be held in May. [Do you suppose working on population will be an allowable project?]
  • October 28, 1999 ENN Study Hints at Extreme Climate Change.  Abrupt climate change could be in the future for the Earth if a recently discovered pattern repeats itself. During the last ice age, sediment was deposited from the subtropical Atlantic Ocean. Examining this sediment, scientists from the University of Colorado Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research discovered extreme temperature fluctuations occurred during and at the end of the period. Even during an ice age, warm oceans can heat up. The records reveal a 9 degrees Fahrenheit fluctuation in the subtropical Atlantic Ocean, which is comparable to the total change between the ice age and the present day at the same location. Melting of glaciers into the waters and human emissions could account for the fluctuations. Trapping heat in the atmosphere can cut off ocean circulation.
  • October 25, 1999 Sierra Club Ensure Equality in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage (EPICC).  This bill would require insurance companies that cover prescription drugs to also cover prescription contraceptive drugs and devices. Similarly, the measure would require that health plans offering coverage for outpatient medical services also provide coverage for outpatient contraceptive services. EPICC would make contraceptives more affordable and accessible for all Americans, begin to bring parity to health care costs for men and women, improve women's and children's health, and protect the environment. EPICC (S.1200 and H.R. 2120) has been introduced in both houses of Congress. It is sponsored by Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Harry Reid (D-NV) in the Senate and Jim Greenwood (R-PA) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) in the House. It has 37 sponsors in the Senate and 118 in the House. To see if your Representative and Senators are co-sponsors visit http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d106:SN01200:@@@P and http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d106:HR02120:@@@P. Please ask your Senators and Representatives to co-sponsor this important legislation.
  • October 25, 1999 HHS Study Shows Dramatic Decline in Teen Birth Rates.  The Department of Health and Human Services says that, after rising steadily from 1987 to 1991, the birth rate for teens aged 15-19 declined for the seventh straight year in 1998, from a high of 62.1 per 1,000 in 1991 to 51.1 in 1998. The decline was 18% between 1991 and 1998. The birth rate for young teenagers 15-17 years fell 5% from 1997 to 1998, reaching a record low, 30.4 births per 1,000 teenagers. From 1991 to 1996, the pregnancy rate for 15- to 19-year-olds fell 15%. girls 15 to 17 years of age had the lowest birth rate in 40 years. For younger girls, ages 10 to 14, the rate was the lowest level since 1969. African-American teen-agers recorded the lowest birth rate since 1960, when such data were first gathered, and the rate among Hispanic women also dropped precipitously
  • October 27, 1999 AP  Environmental groups Warn New Hampshire Population Growth Will Cause Problems.  The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests and The Nature Conservancy report said the southern and eastern parts of the state are in the most peril. Population in the state will grow by nearly 350,000 during the next 20 years, with nearly all of the growth in those counties. 22% of all land in the state is protected from development, but most of that is in the northern part of the state. Most of the state's rare species are on unprotected lands. The state has gone from about 59 people per square mile in 1950 to 130 people per square mile, while farm land has declined 20% from 1974 to 1997. The birth rates among minority girls are falling particularly fast, the report found.
  • October 26, 1999 AP  Pollution, Population Growth Threaten U.S. Southeast Fish.  Freshwater fish in southeastern rivers and streams are threatened by runoff from farms, dams and increased demand for water that reduce flow to a trickle, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The region has about 140 dams, extensive farming, and rapid population growth. 32 Southeastern fish species are at significant risk and another 78 are vulnerable. Tennessee, reports 66 of its fish species are threatened. Hundreds of non-native fish have been imported to the waterways by dumping of aquarium fish and ship's bilgewater.
  • October 26, 1999 UN Wire  Honduras: Tropical Forest Reserve In Danger. The Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve may be removed from the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites if it's forests continue to be destroyed. Military officers and sawmill landowners have allowed the forest's precious mahogany, oak and cedar to be cut down. Forests cover 70% of the country. Each year, 120,000 hectares of forests are lost due to fires which in many cases are started by humans
  • October 26, 1999 Associated Press/San Francisco Chronicle South Africa: Country Faces Water Shortage, Ozone Depletion.  Demand for water may increase by 50% in the next 30 years due to population growth and economic development. 45% lack access to clean water. Water is "polluted by industrial effluents, domestic and commercial sewage, acid mine drainage, agricultural runoff and litter." Ozone depletion has caused dangerous levels of ultraviolet B radiation for 6 months in Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town.
  • October 26, 1999 Chennai Hindu US, India Sign Agreement To Reduce Pollution.  India and the U.S. will work closely with other countries to develop consensus international rules and procedures for the Kyoto mechanisms including the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). CDM would mean flow of new investments and transfer of clean and environment-friendly technology to India with an investment potential of more than $1 billion per annum.
  • October 27, 1999 Wall Street Journal Greenhouse Gases Grow Only Slightly.  While the economy grew by 3.9%, industry emissions fell 1.3%, and the overall production of carbon dioxide, methane and other gases increased just .02%, according to the US Department of Energy.
  • October 26, 1999 UNFPA Population Breakthroughs In Developing World May Be Imperiled By Flagging International Cooperation  United States administration 'Hopeful' of Restoring Contribution to Population Fund. "Socio-cultural factors still precluded gender equality and the full participation of women in the development process", said UNFPA's Dr. Nafis Sadik. "The feminization of poverty still persisted and recent domestic dislocations had disproportionately affected women, in some cases increasing gender-based violence and trafficking in women", she said. The need to ensure the reproductive rights of individuals, especially women and girls, was as pressing today as it was in 1994. The target amount of $17 billion, to be reached by 2000, was roughly what the world spent each week on armaments. The funding crisis has delayed plans to include family life education in the school curriculum in Tanzania, postponed plans for operations in remote villages in India, suspended training of health workers in Vietnam, and canceled the purchase of contraceptives for some 200,000 women in Ecuador. Because of the shortfall there will be 1.4 million additional unwanted pregnancies each year, 570,000 induced abortions and over 670,000 unwanted births - and these unwanted pregnancies will be linked to over 3,300 maternal deaths, nearly 41,000 infant deaths and 15,000 child deaths. A $25 million bill to fund the UNFPA in the next fiscal year is awaiting approval by U.S. Congress. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who said she got assurances Tuesday from White House chief of staff John Podesta and House minority leader Richard Gephardt that the money would be approved.
  • October 26, 1999 UN Wire Beijing+5: Asia, Arab World Review Women's Progress.  Countries belonging to the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) were today urged to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women by next year. 27 states which have not yet ratified. The meeting is the first regional session in preparation for the UN General Assembly's special session, "Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the 21st Century," to be held in New York in June.
  • October 26, 1999 Beirut Daily Star. Arab World "Has A Long Way To Go".  Statistics show that projects designed only for women ended up marginalizing them rather than incorporating them into the system. UNIFEM has had a difficult time with Lebanon's first efforts to educate low-income women in entrepreneurial skills. In Kuwait women will be allowed to vote by 2003.
  • October 26, 1999 Kuala Lumpur Star HIV/AIDS: Leads Causes Of Child Deaths Worldwide.  According to Kul Chandra Gnutam, UNICEF's regional director for East Asia and the Pacific, AIDS is now the leading cause of death for children around the world. 14 million women of childbearing age worldwide are infected with HIV, and infant mortality due to HIV infection is rising. There are now simpler measures which can reduce transmission from HIV-positive mothers to their babies by over 50%."
  • October 24, 1999 The Hindu India- Study finds wide acceptance for 'morning after pill'  More than 50% surveyed in in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and New Delhi, want the 'morning after pill' to be made available across the counter. Currently, the pill is available only through select medical practitioners and is not part of the family welfare scheme of the Government. The study was undertaken by the Population Council. Targets are being replaced with a 'better choices campaign'. Emergency contraception involves use of a higher dose of birth control pills within 72 hours of unprotected sex, followed by a second dose 12 hours later. The morning after pill only works before fertilization or implantation. The side- effects are nausea, vomiting and for some headaches, breast tenderness or fluid retention. A study in 1992-1993 showed that 78% of pregnancies in the country were unplanned and 25% were unwanted, contributing to 6.7 million induced abortions and 4 million spontaneous abortions, which result in an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 maternal deaths.
  • October 25, 1999 Africa News Service Sub Saharan Africa: About Half Adolescent Women Have Given Birth.  A 43% increase in births to teenagers is predicted in Uganda from 1995-2020. The media bombard young people with messages about sex. Sex appeal is a primary ingredient in most commercials. According to Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), 20% of teenagers in Sub-Saharan Africa have one or more children, and in Uganda, Liberia and Mali, between 33 and 50% of adolescent women have given birth or are pregnant. Unplanned pregnancies, STDs including HIV/AIDS, and unsafe abortions are having a devastating effect on the health and economic prospects of youth as well as on developmental expectations for Africa. The Center for Development and Population Activities CEDPA, says that young women ages of 15 to 19 are twice as likely to die during pregnancy and child birth because of premature labour and anemia. The Catholic Church says that sex education and availability of contraceptives compromises God's purpose for marriage and procreation.
  • October 24, 1999 Reuters Divided World Starts Global Warming Summit.  Officials from 168 states opened a two-week conference Monday aimed at cutting emissions of "greenhouse gases" blamed for global warming, in a follow-up of the UN Kyoto conference two years ago in Japan. Greenhouse emissions were supposed to be cut by 5.2% for industrialized nations from 1990 levels by 2008-2012. 2002 Implementation was considered unlikely because of major divisions over the deal. The U.S. wants to allow the unlimited purchase of pollution "credits" from other nations, but the European Union wants a limit. The U.S. is a heavy polluting nation and would like to buy flexibility in reaching emissions targets from countries that fulfill their targets, such as Russia. Also, penalties are missing for countries that fail to meet emission targets on greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
  • October 24, 1999 Singapore Straits Times Tuberculosis: Infections In Malaysia Nearly Doubled Since 1990.  The number of TB patients in Malaysia had increased to 14,000 last year from 10,000 in 1996 and 7,800 in 1990, and could be more because many people do not know they are infected.
  • October 24, 1999 Xinhua Indonesia: UNICEF Urges Reform To Avoid 'Lost Generation'.  With 50 million Indonesians living in poverty, malnutrition,a lack of education and parental care are threatening Indonesia's children. 60% of pregnant women and school children suffer from anemia, and 15% of newborns are underweight.
  • October 24, 1999 U.N. FGM: Female Genital Mutilation: UN Committee Passes Action Plan.  The General Assembly would call upon all States to develop and implement national legislation and policies which prohibit traditional or customary practices affecting the health of women and girls, including female genital mutilation. Meanwhile, agencies met in Senegal, to discuss an "ambitious" plan of action to eliminate the practice there by 2005. It is estimated that 20% of Senegalese women have already undergone FGM, though some studies claim that nearly 60% of women interviewed have been subjected to the procedure in some form. Legislators in Nigeria's Edo State are also considering outlawing the practice.
  • October 24, 1999 Sacramento Bee Our Century: Contraception Redefined Sex, Families, Workplace  In the early part of this century, straight talk about sex and contraception was hard to come by. And obtaining birth control devices, such as condoms and diaphragms, was even harder. Early methods included rhythm method, condoms, diaphragms, crude cervical caps, douching and withdrawal. When the birth control pill arrived in 1960, women could regulate family size effectively without sterilization. Contraception has opened workplace doors more widely to women, allowing them to pursue careers before starting families. Women most desperate to avoid motherhood sought illegal abortions, procedures that sometimes resulted in injury or death. In the first third of the century, crusaders Margaret Sanger and Emma Goldmand advocated birth control for working class women, who suffered from high infant- and maternal-mortality rates and who couldn't afford to support large families. Harper's Weekly in 1915 supported birth control in a series of articles - it improved children's health and living conditions by reducing family size. Katherine McCormick, one of the wealthiest women in America in the 1950s, helped finance research on hormonal contraception. By 1973, 36% of all married women using contraceptives were on the pill. With the advent of AIDS, condom users went from 5.1 million to 7.9 million between 1988 and 1995. $500 million in public funds goes towards 1,000 abstinence programs nationwide.
  • October 22, 1999 Sacramento Bee Controlling Sprawl - Sierra Club's Answer to Dan Walters  Re: "Sierra Club's myopic stand," Dan Walters, Oct. 7: The Sierra Club report shows that sprawl isn't inevitable, and that it can be addressed using tools tailored to local needs and designed to give Americans more choices about how we grow. California must deal with our unsustainable rate of population growth. This is covered in the report's introduction, and this is why the Sierra Club is working with Planned Parenthood and other groups to reduce teen births, to increase contraceptive coverage by insurance companies and to safeguard women's reproductive rights. ... Sprawl has as much to do with patterns as with numbers: People are fleeing urban areas and settling in the hinterlands. In California, which ranked 37th in revitalizing existing cities and suburbs, we have let our inner cities and existing suburbs decay while tax dollars support new development at the fringe. Many people would choose new patterns if they were given a broader range of options. --Bill Craven, San Francisco California State Director, Sierra Club; --Carl Pope, San Francisco Executive Director, Sierra Club
  • October 17, 1999 ENN Recovery Begins From Acid Rain Damage.  Lakes and streams in North America and Europe are beginning to recover from the damage inflicted by acid rain. A study under the auspices of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and published in the journal Nature, provides the first conclusive evidence that international and regional agreements designed to reduce the emissions that cause acid rain, beginning with the United Nations' First Sulphur Protocol in 1985, are working. Significant declines of one to six % per year in sulfate levels in many lakes and streams were found.
  • October 17, 1999 ENN U.S. Energy Activists Propose Lofty Goals.  The Sustainable Energy Coalition has sent to President Clinton a policy statement on how the U.S. ought to address the issue of global climate change - Financial institutions should fund renewable and efficient energy and stop funding new coal, oil and nuclear power projects. Fuel efficiency standards for all vehicles should be increased to 42 miles per gallon by 2010. Progressively tighter national emissions limits should be set on all power-plant pollution including carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. By 2010, the average energy use of most new appliances and equipment should be reduced by at least 30 percent. Building codes and other incentives should include "next generation" building designs that are at least 50 percent more efficient than 1998 levels by 2010. Other suggestions include a 25 cents per gallon gas tax and ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.
  • October 16, 1999 ENN Freshwater Species in Peril, Study Finds.  "A silent mass extinction is occurring in our lakes and rivers," said Anthony Ricciardi of Dalhousie University in Halifax. Common freshwater species - from snails to fish to amphibians - are dying out 5 times faster than terrestrial animals, 3 times faster than marine mammals, and at the same rate as rain forest species, yet receive little conservation attention. 123 freshwater species have been lost since 1900, and hundreds are considered imperiled - Ricciardi predicts four% per decade. "The affect of large dams on freshwater species has been disastrous," while the second leading cause of loss is due to invasion of non-native species. Noth America has 60% of all known crayfish, 1/3 of all freshwaterb mussels and three times more freshwater fish than all of Europe and the former Soviet Union.
  • October 22, 1999 Reuters US Expert Sees Drastic Fall in Russian Population.  Murray Feshbach, research professor at Washington's Georgetown University, predicted Russia's population could fall from 146 million to as low as 80 - 100 million. Besides gynological problems and sterility, by 2002 it is predicted there would be two million cases of HIV and AIDS in the country. In addition, there were 108,000 - 150,000 new cases of tuberculosis this year, compared to the U.S.'s 18,000 new cases. There has been an alarming increase in multi-drug resistant TB which could spill over into Western Europe if the epidemic is not checked. Other problems include the release of chemicals and heavy metals into the water supply and air which cause genetic and other diseases, the high consumption of alcohol and tobacco, a low-vitamin diet, bad harvests, poverty, and chaos in the food distribution system, and suicide.
  • October 21, 1999 AP AIDS Conference to Discuss Rapid Pace of Disease in Asia  The 5th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific meets Sunday to curb HIV's spread in nations that consider sex a taboo subject. About 7 million people in the Asia-Pacific region are living with AIDS or HIV, compared to nearly 21 million cases in Africa. But the trend is upwards in Asia. In Asia, AIDS is spread mainly by contacts between heterosexuals and by injected drugs. India has more HIV-infected (about 4 million) than any country in the world. One of every 25 adults Cambodians has HIV or AIDS. In Thailand, 2% of the population is infected. In the Islam religion, only married couples are legally allowed to have sex, so encouraging the use of condoms outside marriage is seen to promote promiscuity.
  • October 21 , 1999 ENN Tree Deaths Linked to Rise in Sea Level.  According to research published in the September issue of the journal Ecology, coastal forests in developed areas around the world are threatened by rising sea levels. An average 1.5 millimeter annual rise in sea level turns two [linear] meters of forest to salt marsh each year on the west coast of Florida where the study was conducted. The development of homes and farms along the coastline impede forests from renewing their growth on higher ground further inland, which is what these trees did for survival in the past. Even when older trees and palms survived they often failed to produce new seedlings.
  • October 21, 1999 The Washington Post Seven Million Drought Victims Need Relief Food in Ethiopia  274,000 metric tons of food are needed. The most affected areas are the drought-prone northern Wello, northern Gondar and southern Balle regions. Officials are hoping the December harvest will ease the shortage.
  • October 21, 1999 The Washington Post Bid to Sterilize Drug Addicts Is Opposed by Calif. Activists.  A controversial program that offers drug addicts $ 200 to undergo sterilization has run into a roadblock set up by California activists, who call it a plot by the rich to neuter the poor. An organization called Children Requiring A Caring Kommunity (C.R.A.C.K.), has put up a billboard in Oakland, that was immediately torn down. The CRACK progran is aimed at reducing the number of babies born addicted to crack cocaine and other drugs. Under the program, drug addicts get $200 for agreeing to any form of long-term or permanent birth control. About 85 women have accepted the deal, with 59 agreeing to undergo tubal ligations.
  • October 20, 1999 BBC Trees Will Not Avert Climate Change.  According to scientists working for the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), hopes that planting trees could absorb significant amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and so help to slow down global warming seem to be dashed. The U.S. and other developed countries, were hoping that they creating new forests to soak up their CO2. The U.S. is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. Although trees absorb CO2 during photosynthesis, they also release it back into the air during respiration (in breaking down the sugars they have made), which increases in response to temperature rises. Many scientists believe that respiration may be about to accelerate, turning the forests from sinks to sources of carbon.
  • October, 1999 National Audubon Society Wind Farm a Threat to Endangered California Condors.  The Enron Corporation proposed wind farm is next door to the designated habitat of the California Condor, a bird perched on the edge of extinction after a captive- breeding program has restored about 50 condors back to the wild in California. 53 wind turbines with 200 ft tall spinning blades would be a giant death trap for the condors. While wind power plays an important role in America's future, the survival of the condor comes first.
  • October 21, 1999 Washington Post Anti-abortion Efforts Wane as House Sentiment Shifts.  The House of Representatives has quietly become more supportive of abortion rights this year. There has been a modest increase in the number of lawmakers who favor abortion rights, as well an effort by GOP leaders to deemphasize the abortion issue in the annual budget bill process. This month, Republicans shepherded a foreign aid bill for $25 million in international family planning funds that was eliminated last year. They resisted efforts to impose on the bill abortion-related restrictions. For two years now, lawmakers agreed to provide contraception coverage for federal employees, and to drop language prohibiting the Food and Drug Administration from considering the approval of RU-486. Conservatives resisted offering abortion-related amendments to a measure that would require parental notice for contraception offered to minors by federally funded clinics. However, one high-profile anti-abortion bill this year would make it a separate federal crime to injure a fetus when attacking a pregnant woman and yesterday the Senate took up a bill to ban certain kinds of late-term abortions.
  • October 20, 1999 UN Wire Malaria: Threat Of Disease Spreads To Developed Countries.  Every 30 seconds, a child dies of malaria somewhere in the world. Malaria affects an estimated 500 million people every year. Drug resistance is on the rise in Sub-Saharan Africa. The disease is spreading northward due to climate warming, and is returning to areas where malaria was prevalent in early this century, in the southern United States and southern Europe.
  • October 20, 1999 UN Wire US: Asks To Reduce Its Share of UN Budget.  Richard Holbrooke, the US ambassador to the UN, asked the General Assembly finance committee to reduce the American share to 22%. The US is supposed to provide 25% of the UN's two-year budget of $2.5 billion for 1998-99. The US currently owes a total of $1.7 billion. If the US does not pay $550 million in arrears by the end of 1999, it could lose its vote in the General Assembly. In the past, debates over US arrears have centered on the issues of abortion and family planning aid. The Republican chair of the House Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, Christopher Smith says that the $57 billion to the UN since its inception, dwarfs the contributions of other countries, and that the UN Population Fund supports "coercive population control systems in China and Vietnam". Smith blames the delay of U.S. payments on Clinton for vetoing of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act last October. Smith claimed that Clinton wanted preserving foreign aid for abortionists and abortion lobbyists.
  • October 19, 1999 Times of India Despite more food, one-third of India is hungry.  According to the UNFPA, even though food production in India has been growing, 320 million consumed less than 80% of the minimum energy requirement in 1997 requirement. Food grains have increased by 3.5 times, cereals by about three times and protein by 1.5 times since Independence - yet the increase in per capita availability is much less. More than 80% of the rural populations of Assam, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra consume less than this minimum daily requirement, and 50% of rural Gujarat and Tamil Nadu receive less than the minimum. 20% of cereals are distributed to livestock and about 5% are used as seeds. Minimum requirement is set at 2,400 and 2,100 calories for rural and urban areas respectively. Rural land is fragmented every time it is passed from one generation to the next. [For more India News, click here.]
  • October 19, 1999 WWF Climate Change: Wide Range Of Effects Expected.  Global warming will bring flooding, drought, intense heat and fires in the coming decades,according to a report by the World Wildlife Fund. Outlined in the report are climate change scenarios in 15 countries and regions, including the United States, Russia and Japan. The US will warm more rapidly than average and will also become wetter overall. Coastal cities such as New York, Boston and Miami will have to deal with rising sea levels. Author Mike Hulme says "With no action to curb emissions, the climate on Earth over the next century could become warmer than any the human species has lived through. "
  • October 20, 1999 New York Times Family Planning Theory 'Flawed'.  Supplying contraception to women in developing countries to reduce population growth is a flawed theory says Mary Ann Glendon and Mary Haynes in their book. Population controllers have long ignored the desires of parents for large families," they argue. Where contraceptives are readily accessible, fertility rates remain high. There appears to be only a loose correlation between contraception and overall fertility. "Purely voluntary programs will do little to reduce fertility; only those population programs that override parental preferences through bribes, bullying, threats or outright coercion will lower birth rates significantly." [This commentary seems to ignore the successes in Kenya, Thailand, Bangladesh, Zimbwabe, the U.S. and other developed countries]. To submit a letter to the NY Times editor, send an e-mail to letters@nytimes.com, or mail a hard copy to: Letters to the Editor, The New York Times, 229 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036, fax: (212) 556-3622
  • October 18, 1999 Karachi Dawn Pakistan: Violence Against Women Reaches "National Crisis".  US-based Human Rights Watch says up to 90% of the female population is affected by domestic violence. So-called "honor killings," in which men kill female relatives who they believe have behaved immorally, are on the rise. Pakistani authorities "are doing nothing to help the victims." The legal framework is "deeply biased against women". Domestic violence is considered a private issue. The All Pakistan Women's Association (APWA) has asked the new military government to treat honor killings as willful murder under criminal laws.
  • October 18, 1999 IPS/TerraViva Nepal: Pneumonia Kills More Children Than Diarrhea.  Annually in Nepal about 30,000 children under the age of 5 die of pneumonia, accounting for 1/3 of total child deaths in the country. There is one doctor per 15,000 people, a poor rural road network, lack of health awareness. Nepal has one of the highest child mortality rates in the world. Only 20% of sick children are taken to health facilities.
  • October 18, 1999 Wall Street Journal Climate Change: Businesses Joining Global Warming Fight.  It's "becoming cool to fight global warming" as more large companies are beginning to accept that man-made emissions cause global warming. BP Amoco managers will be evaluated on how well they cut emissions. American Electric Power will spend $5.5 million on a Bolivian reforestation project to offset carbon dioxide emissions.
  • October 18, 1999 Reuters China: President Names Population As Biggest Problem.  President Jiang Zemin said "In the past 50 years, since the founding of the People's Republic of China, we have made a lot of achievements," "But when you divide these achievements by our 1.25 billion population, the figure becomes really small"
  • October 18, 1999 IPS Population-Vietnam: Social Factors Work Against More Condom Use.  The number of people living with HIV in Vietnam is around 80,000 -- a figure that could rise to 200,000 by the end of next year. The population is growing by 1.9 million a year. Society in Vietnam is less open than in Thailand and Cambodia and people are reluctant to discuss sex. Intra-uterine devices (IUD)are the most common form of contraception, at 63%, followed by condoms at 13.6% and oral pills at 12.1%. More than half of HIV/AIDS cases come from adolescents which make up 22% of the population. 30% of the nation's abortions involved girls under 18 years old. Condom usage among commercial sex workers is at 70%.
  • October 18, 1999 Xinhua Mideast Water Problems Certain to Increase.  "The high growth rate of population (3%) and its associated need for food production today constitutes the core problem in the development of water resources in West Asia, where water demand rates by far exceed the anticipated water resources development rates," a report by Waleed al-Zubari of Arabian Gulf University in Bahrain said. The annual per capita water share in the Arab world has gone from 2,200 cubic meters to 1,100 cubic meters in the last two decades. 1,000 cubic meters is the accepted benchmark below which chronic water shortages harm development and threaten health. Richer states can build desalinization plants. Drip-feed irrigation and patching leaks will help. Each Israeli consumes about five times as much water as a Palestinian. Turkey is planning a vast dam construction which will divert much of the water that goes to Syria and Iraq. In Gaza, the aquifer level drops maybe eight inches a year. In Jordan, the Azraq oasis is turning saline and drying out. Arab countries from the Atlantic to the gulf will rise in population from 227 million in 1990 to 446 million in 2025, while Jordan is predicted to go from 4.3 million people to 11.5 million.
  • October 18, 1999 Xinhua Urbanization a Top Priority in China's Development. China will plan and develop super-large and large cities, expand medium-sized cities, and improve small cities and towns. Accelerating urbanization pace is the most effective way to expand domestic demand and encourage rural modernization. While the world's urbanization rate was an average of 50%, China's is only 32%. Urban newcomers will purchase an estimated 400 billion yuan worth of consumer products such as color TVs, refrigerators and washing machines annually.
  • October 18, 1999 Sacramento Bee Clinton Vetoes Foreign Aid Bill. Foreign aid likely would continue to flow at current levels as part of stopgap spending legislation that covers agencies and departments for which there has been no appropriation.
  • October 18, 1999 Planet Ark African Soil Damage Threatens Food Disaster - U.N.  According to a U.N. analysis, "The continuing degradation of African soils threatens the world's fastest-growing region with starvation and poverty on an unprecedented scale within 25 years." The 48 African nations and territories south of the Sahara desert will be able to feed only 40% of their projected combined population of 1 billion, if trends continue. Today the region is only able to feed 70% of its population of 550 million people. The analysis was released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Bank Special Program for African Agricultural Research on World Food Day, October 16. Food shortages resulting from soil degradation cause up to half of all African children's deaths and is the root of many of the continent's armed conflicts. Contributing to soil degradation are overgrazing, inefficient farming practices, farmland overuse, loss of forest or vegetative covering, water erosion, wind erosion, improper chemical use and soil compaction. Common soil nutrients, such as crop residues and animal manure, are increasingly used as livestock fodder and household fuel. The United Nations estimates donor countries spend $10 billion per year on international peacekeeping and emergency humanitarian aid related to subsistence-related conflicts. The UNU/INRA, FAO, World Bank and other partners are helping African governments to develop implementing national action plans to improve soil fertility.
  • October 12, 1999 Turner BS and CNN Turner Year of Six Billion Hour Special Hosted by Jane Fonda. Reported by Barbara Pyle, photojournalist and Vice President of Environment Policy for Turner Broadcasting System and CNN. To coincide with the day of 6 billion, this one-hour special will air on CNNI on October 12. It also airs nationally on the TBS Superstation October 9 from 7:30 am - 8:30 am. In Nepal, Barbara Pyle treks with three sisters who have bucked the trend to have large families and started their own trekking business. With 14 young women guides now working for them, their business gives them self confidence and teaches them skills in a profession previously unheard of for women in Nepal. In India, we meet a dedicated hydraulic engineer who has spent 20 years working to clean up pollution in the Ganges River. Pyle has chronicled his work for 15 years. Like many cities worldwide, population increases have overwhelmed its crumbling infrastructure, designed for much smaller numbers. Back in the USA, we look at our own culture of consumerism while shopping and visiting the homes of celebrities Phyllis Diller and Ed Begley. We're accompanied by an expert who helps people simplify their lives.
  • October 7, 1999 IPS Rights-Cote D'Ivoire: Renewed Efforts To Outlaw Domestic violence. The Ivorian Association for Women's Rights (AIDF) is seeking 10,000 signatures in its campaign against violence toward women. The association, created in 1992, and funded by the UN Population Fund (UNPF), UN Children's Fund (Unicef), the UN Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Canadian embassy in Cote d'Ivoire, and a $16,000- grant from the U.S. Fund for Human Rights and Democracy, aims to combat harmful traditional practices, such as female genital mutilation, forced or under-age marriages, and wife-inheritance. In 1998, a Cote D'Ivoire law made female genital mutilation (FGM) a crime.
  • October 5, 1999 CNIE Rural women: Provide Key To Growing Global Demand For Food  At a 3 day conference in Rome, UN Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General Dr. Jacques Diouf said "There will be no food security without women. The global demand for food is expected to soar until 2030, as total world population grows by 2.1 billion people. Women already produce 50 to 90% of domestic food crops in Asia and 80 to 90% in many sub-Saharan African countries. The "progressive feminization" of poverty has happened because women's access is limited to land, credit, education, training and new technologies.
  • October 15, 1999 E-Wire Sierra Club Endorses Policy of "Negative Population Growth".  Recently, the nation's leading environmental organization adopted advocacy of reduction in human population in the United States and the world. According to Washington-based NPG, the decision by the Club's Board of Directors recognized that the Club's 1970 position to "stabilize" populations was no longer adequate in the face of the dire environmental consequences of overpopulation as Earth's population rockets past six billion. In 1970, the year of the first Earth Day, Zero Population Growth, or "ZPG" was a central theme in the U.S. because of alarm over the post WWII Baby Boom. Starting in 1965, changes in immigration law soon restarted growth and the term for reduction, or negative population growth was coined and the organization NPG was founded.
  • October 5, 1999 CNIE Marking a World Population of 6 Billion. CNIE - the Committee for the National Institute for the Environment, has produced A Collection of Online Resources. Included are numerous articles from such sources as the BBC, PBS, Chicago Tribune, Reuters, Associated Press, and many more. Also included are many web-based resources from the sources as the Muséum National d'Histoire in Paris, Population Action International, Population Reference Bureau, and others. And the National Library for the Environment’s own Population and Environment Linkages service includes extensive information resources on many subjects such as air & climate, biodiversity, demography, energy, coasts & oceans, development & economics, food & agriculture, and much, much more Includes reports, books, papers, maps, datasets, slideshows.....
  • October 1, 1999 CNN THE WORLD TODAY Catholic Hospitals Under Fire for Conservative Policies. According to Catholics For a Free Choice, nearly half the mergers between Catholic and non-Catholic hospitals in recent years have meant some restriction of the reproductive services offered, not just abortions, but most reproductive health care procedures related to birth control, like tubal ligations. Sometimes many low income women simply cannot afford to travel long distances to another hospital.
  • October 12, 1999 Wall Street Journal Six Billion Reasons to Cheer Alarms about 6 billion people are all recitations from a familiar doctrine: neo-Malthusianism. There's room for everybody. This "population explosion" did not erupt because people suddenly began breeding like rabbits, but because people finally stopped dying like flies. Infant mortality in the "less-developed regions" dropped by almost two-thirds. The gap between the rich and poor has never been so small. Per capita output for the world quadrupled between the start of the century and the early 1990s. Commodities are less scarce than ever before. Population planners haven't invented a pill that can alter family size preferences for women of childbearing age. [NOTE: This is a negative op-ed that appeared in the Wall Street Journal. Letters in repines should be directed to: Letter to the Editor; The Wall Street Journal; 200 Liberty Street; New York, NY 10281. Letters can also be faxed daily before 4:00 p.m. to 212/416-2658.]
  • October 08, 1999 Dallas Morning News Policy Lets Women File Discrimination Cases with U.N.  The U.N. General Assembly has adopted a protocol to enable women to submit sex discrimination complaints directly to the United Nations if their own country won't hear them. As soon as 10 countries have ratified it, it will enter into force. The convention, was adopted in December 1979 and ratified by 163 countries. The treaty requires that women have equal rights to work, pay, benefits and safe working conditions and prohibits discrimination against women in political activities and requires a minimum age for marriage.
  • October 14, 1999 Africa News Service AIDS Will Not Reduce Population.  Even though AIDS is reducing the annual life expectancy by seven years in Zambia, there will be no significant decline in population, according to a UNFPA representative. High fertility levels are due to the boom in population of those under 25 years old. "Even if they only produced one or two children each, they will still make a significant impact on population growth, even in Zambia," she said. Just by increasing the age of first birth from 18 years to 23 years would reduce population momentum by over 40%, a key point for societies to act on.
  • October 13, 1999 ENN Future Looks Brighter for the Tiger.  Wild tiger numbers around the world are increasing. Tigers currently number 5,000 to 7,000. The upswing is taking place in areas like the Russian Far East, Nepal and areas in India and Bhutan. The number one threat to tigers is loss of prey, but measures have slowed other threats to tigers: illegal exotic pet trade, and trade in tiger skins and tiger parts.
  • October 10, 1999 ENN Deadly Northeast U.S. Virus a New Strain.  A new virus strain that is the cause of an encephalitis outbreak in New York City has killed several people. It is related to the West Nile Virus and has never been seen in the Western Hemisphere. The life cyle of the virus involves crows and other birds as well as mosquitoes and humans. "We may be seeing these outbreaks because the world is becoming a smaller place, due to air travel and increased international trade," said Dr. Ian Lipkin, director of the Emerging Diseases Laboratory at the University of California at Irvine.
  • October 11, 1999 San Francisco Chronicle And Baby Makes 6 Billion.  Dianne Sherman, of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), said birth control accords reached during a 1994 international population conference in Cairo are working. Birthrates have dropped because women in developing countries are obtaining the information and materials they need to limit family size. Of her recent visit to India, she said "Much of our work is being done in Uttar Pradesh," a state in India with a population of about 220 million, (close to that of the United States). Uttar Pradesh is a very poor state with a rural, conservative culture. "Yet people are determined to control the size of their families." "Virtually everyone we talked to wanted no more than two children" "Reproduction is a politicized issue in India, but (birth control) enjoys tremendous support at the village level."
  • September 24, 1999 India Times Y6B Statement from the White House.  President Clinton said that "rapid growth and its effect on our environment and quality of life will pose difficult challenges for all of us." At the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt, "we agreed to work with other nations to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS; to improve the status of women; to enhance educational opportunities for children; and to support voluntary family planning and related health care." Clinton's administration as seen increased funding for U.S. family planning and reproductive health services, which have helped reduce teen pregnancies and abortions. Overseas, more than $5.5 billion was invested in "over 100 countries on health and population initiatives and on women's empowerment." Technology will help us address clean energy and will help developing countries bypass environmental costs of the industrial age. "The best way to stabilize population growth is to fight poverty and to build healthy, growing economies in the developing world." The world's wealthiest nations agreed to a debt relief package in Cologne this year to help us do that. Last month, it was announced that the United States will forgive 100 percent of the debt owed us by the world's least developed countries if they will use the savings to address basic human needs. Clinton committed the U.S. to the acceleraction of vaccines for diseases that devastate the developing world.
  • October 13, 1999 Washington Post A Dire Need for Family Planning Funds.  Some of the points not made in previous Y6B articles: per-capita water consumption is rising twice as fast as world population. Since 1970, globally, forests have shrunk from 11.4 to 7.3 square kilometers per 1,000 people, particularly noticed in developing countries, which are exporting forest products to meet the demand for wood and paper in the industrialized world. 12% of the planet's soil has been severely degraded in the last 50 years. Married couples using contraception in developing countries has risen from 10% in the '60s to 55%. Over 100 million women in developing countries want to avoid or postpone childbearing but do not use contraception. 15 years ago the U.S. gave $45 million to the UNFPA, but this year the figure was only $25 million. Donor countries had pledged to spend $ 5.7 billion a year on family planning programs, but they have given only $1.4 billion.
  • September 24, 1999 India Times India - Figuring it Out  In the UNFPA's latest State of the World's Population report 6 Billion: A Time for Choices, the world's increasing population, instead of being viewed as a potentially productive asset, is treated as a burdensome liability for want of basic social services. Unfortunately, for the developing world, this will prove true and nowhere more so than in India. India's figures are on a par with some of the chronically poor, war-affected African nations. Half of its women are illiterate, the infant mortality rate is unacceptably high, and access to natural resources is shrinking. No seeker of political office in recent elections has paid lip service to these crucial life and death issues. Most polititians believe that a growing population must be contained by undemocratic methods, even though the government instituted a client-friendly reproductive health policy which takes a holistic view of population two years ago. It offers women's empowerment, education, access to health services, and a choice of reversible contraceptive methods. In Kerala where this was done, fertility levels have been pushed to an all time low.
  • October 12, 1999 ENN Dan Walters: Sierra Club's Myopic Stand.  Walters says of the report "Solving Sprawl - The Sierra Club Rates the States" - that, "in its state-by-state grading on land use controls, transportation and other subjects, the Sierra Club completely ignored the powerful underlying factor: population growth." [Walters overlooks the statement on pg. 4 of the Introduction: "Though most sprawl can be traced to poor planning and inefficient development, the impact of a growing population should not be ignored. While we work to rein in growth, we must also remain committed to population stabilization."] Walters also points out that praising Oregon, Vermont and Maryland for their sprawl programs is like complimenting the sun for rising each morning. They experience relatively little population growth and thus have less demand for housing, retail services and transportation facilities which California and other high-growth states must confront. Oregon adds about 50,000 a year, while Vermont adds 3,000 annually and Maryland adds about 40,000 a year. California adds 40,000 each month, driven by foreign immigration (300,000 a year) and births (500,000-plus babies per year). Walters goes on to say that the Sierra Club is endorsing a block of denser housing in the already developed suburbs of Pleasanton, Livermore, Danville and San Ramon -- which are close to mass transit, which seems to go against the Sierra Club policy of denser "infill" development of existing urban areas. The Oakland-based Economic Development Alliance for Business says that the alternative would be to develop more farmland to the east. Walters says that affluent suburbanites don't want apartment complexes which would house blue-color workers.
  • October 12, 1999 ENN Most Abundant Greenhouse Gas, Water Vapor, Has Significant Effects on Global Climate.  It might have a negative affect on the greenhouse effect, but not much is really known. Results of a study will be presented at the American Geophysical Union conference in Potomac, Md. Water vapor is involved in the global hydrological cycle, participating in chemical reactions both in the troposphere (lower atmosphere), and in the stratosphere(6 to 10 miles above the Earth's surface), where it affects the quantity of ozone. It also absorbs radiation and does not allow it to escape into space, which is part of the greenhouse effect.
  • October 12, 1999 ENN Extinction Debts Come Due Long after Deforestation. Species extinction is likely to occur for up to a century after a tropical orest has been logged, says a scientist at the Zoological Society of London. Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Nigeria could lose more than a third of their primate species within the next few decades, even if no additional forest were lost.
  • October, 1999 Environmental News Service Climate Change Control Cheaper by the Half-Dozen.  Reducing emissions of all six greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol might cost 60% less than trying to curb carbon dioxide alone, say researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole in an article in the journal Nature. The six gases are: CO2, methane, nitrous oxide and three halocarbons used as substitutes for ozone damaging chlorofluorocarbons.
  • October 11, 1999 Xinhua Sarajevo Baby to be Honored as 6 Billionth Person on Earth.The U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan will symbolically give the first baby born after midnight in Sarajevo the honor of being baby number 6 billion. [A 29-year-old first-time mother, Fatima Nevic gave birth to the 8-pound, heathy boy two minutes after midnight after a seven-hour labor at Sarajevo's hospital.] Over 1 billion people have no clean drinking water, and 841 million are chronically malnourished. In 1994, it was determined that $17 billion was needed for global family planning programs, but by 1997, only $10 billion had been raised. In 29 African countries, the average life expectancy is seven years lower than it would have been without AIDS. Populations are not expected to decline because of the high birth rates in these countries, but health and reproductive care is needed to slow and stop the spread of infection.
  • October 11, 1999 Africa News Service Rwandan Population on the Rise.  Now at 8.1 million, and with 300 inhabitants per one sq. km, Rwanda has one of the highest population density of Africa. The average fertility rate increased from 6.2 to 6.5 per woman between 1992 and 1999. Living standards have deteriorated. The infant mortality rate is at 130 per 1000. 47% of the total population is illiterate; only 100,000 Rwandans have a paid job, while 90% depend on agriculture for a living.
  • October 11, 1999 Xinhua China Succeeds in Scaling down Population Growth. China's growth rate was below one % last year, a goal set for all member countries by the UN International Conference on Population and Development years ago. China's population was 1/5 of the world's total last year, instead of 1/4 ten years ago. The average birth rate is 1.8 children. Population is forecast to be 1.3 billion in 2003. China expects a zero population growth rate in 40 years, peaking at about 1.5 billion.
  • October 11, 1999 Xinhua UNFPA Supports Vietnams's Population, Development Program.  The UNFPA says that Vietnam has been doing well in the areas of reducing hunger and poverty, increasing women's power, curbing pollution, expanding education and improving people's health. The fund has provided technical help, implemented projects in reproductive health care, gender equality promotion, and improving policy-makers' and the press' awareness about population and development. Vietnamese women have 2.4 children now compared to 3.8 10 years ago. The average life expectancy is 64-69.
  • October 6, 1999 Seattle Post-Intelligence  Global Warming -- the Heat is On.  The National Environmental Trust, the Union of Concerned Scientists and Physicians for Social Responsibility have launched an $11 million public education campaign to pressure Congress on its "lack of action" on climate change. It will focus on the potential health risks and physical costs of global warming. The campaign urges Congress to take action on the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. The Clinton administration has not submitted the treaty to the Senate for ratification because Senate Republican leaders have "labeled it a job killer". In another article by National Journal magazine, The Department of Energy (DOE) wants carbon sequestration (storing atmospheric carbon in forests or other "sinks,") available as a "major option" by 2020 or 2030 and is seeking proposals for research projects. Industrialized countries may need to try "something radical." "Wild" ideas such as introducing microbes into CO2 reservoirs that would turn the gas into methane, to be used as natural gas, were discussed.
  • September 27, 1999 MSNBC News States Ranked in War Against Sprawl.  Maryland, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont are leading the way in the struggle against sprawl. States were ranked on four categories: land use planning, open space protection, transportation planning, and community revitalization. Negative Population Growth says the issue is all about population, not land use or transportation, espousing smaller families and limiting immigration. The Reason Foundation called the report a “mixed bag” - interesting ideas mixed with “archaic” proposals like more mass-transit funding. The Sierra Club report is online at www.sierraclub.org/sprawl/report99.
  • September 27, 1999 Geography Guide China Eases One-Child Rule.  After two decades of implementation the "one-child rule" will be relaxed by the year 2003. It was never all-encompassing because it only applied to ethnic Han Chinese living in urban areas. Because disdain for females resulted in a ratio 118 males for every 100 females, China has recently allowed some parents of a female to try for a male as their second child. Sibling-less couples are also allowed to have two children. IUDs, sterilization, and abortion are the most popular forms of contraception, but China recently has supported alternatives. China's total fertility rate is 1.8, greater than Germany at 1.2.
  • October 5, 1999 Washington Post Poll Outlines Millennium Woes. An ABC News poll says that the biggest challenge in the next millennium may be learning to live together. Pollution, violence, overpopulation, war, immorality, and food shortages, were next.
  • October 6, 1999 Christian Science Monitor Containing Earth's Population Girth.  It happened simply enough: Death rates declined and birth rates didn't. Modern medicine kept people, especially children, from dying, and these life-saving practices were spread throughout the world. Medicine also found ways to prevent births, but at first this encountered a multitude of political, cultural, and religious objections. These are slowly being removed. The rate of population growth peaked about 1970. But more women are having fewer babies -it will take at least a generation to slow the momentum of population growth. Pressure for immigration, legal or not, is high and will go higher, becoming an increasingly controversial issue in American. Overcrowding degrades sanitation and public health while polluted water and air make bad health worse. The pressure to increase food causes overgrazing, overfarming [and overpumping of water] and eventurally produces less food, not more.
  • October 6, 1999 NAS & PAI House Passes FY2000 Foreign Operations Appropriations Conference Repor  This was passed yesterday in the House by a vote of 214-211. Next Step: The report will go before the full Senate within the next couple of days. However, even if the report passes in the Senate, it is likely that the President will veto it because of unacceptably low funding levels. More details here.
  • October 3, 1999 Utne Reader Online McMansion Mania: We're supersizing in the suburbs, and we can't seem to stop.  Megahouses are ostentatious symbols of America's class divide, plus they "reflect a fundamental problem with American culture: impoverishment of the public sphere and glorification of the private." The public realm is squalid while the private realm is luxurious. Auto-based sprawl, decimation of green space, and restriction of pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use development are the results. Will land scarcity further divide rich and poor or will it compel policy makers to encourage cluster housing and smaller houses with smaller lots?
  • September 23, 1999 Rachel's Environment and Health Weekly Scientists Say Future is in the Balance.  In a joint report from the Royal Society of London, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, "Population Growth, Resource Consumption and a Sustainable World," "If population growth continues and patterns of human activity remain unchanged, "science and technology may not be able to prevent either irreversible degradation of the environment or continued poverty for much of the world." .. "The future of our planet is in the balance" .. "Sustainable development can be achieved, but only if irreversible degradation of the environment can be halted in time. The next 30 years may be crucial." The report says that, because of consumption habits of the developed countries and the potential for global warming due to use of fossil fuels, that prosperity and technology give developed countries the greater possibilities and the greater responsibility for addressing environmental problems. In the developing countries the rapidly growing population and the pressure to develop their economies are leading to substantial and increasing damage to the local environment - by pollution from energy use and other industrial activities, as well as by clearing of forests and inappropriate agricultural practices. LDCs have less than 15% of the world's GNP and have only 6-7% of the world's active scientists and engineers, which makes it difficult for them to manage their own environment. The overall pace of environmental changes has unquestionably been accelerated by the recent expansion of the human population. Surveys in LDCs reveal "large amounts of unwanted childbearing". The next 30 years may be crucial. Recommendations for science development: new and better contraceptives, alternative energy sources, agricultural production and food processing, improvements in human health, especially with malaria, hepatitis and AIDS, improved land-use to prevent erosion and desertification, protection of watersheds, waste and pollution control, and a better understanding of the dimensions of biodiversity.
  • Oct/Nov, 1999 Ms. Magazine Giving the Vatican the Boot.  A coalition of more than 100 international women's, religious, and reproductive rights groups launched the See Change Campaign to challenge the Vatican's power at the U.N.-and to downgrade its status from a nonmember state to a traditional NGO. It is the only only religious body to enjoy "nonmember state permanent observer" status. The Vatican has fought the morning-after pill for rape victims; opposed any mention of female condoms; advocated replacing "rights" with "status"-as in "respect for women's status" instead of "respect for women's rights," and is against confidential sex counseling for adolescents and for a reconfirmation of parental rights. One of its most extreme positions is the prohibition on the use of condoms for protection against sexually transmitted diseases, even for married couples in which one partner has HIV.
  • September 30, 1999 Deutsche Presse-Agentur Child Pregnancies: Britain's Sad Record.  "Twelve-year-old children should not be on the streets at night," said Prime Minister Tony Blair. 60 million pounds (about 100 million dollars) will be invested into family advice centres and education campaigns and to cut the rate of teenage pregnancies in half by 2010. Babies of teen mothers weigh less at birth, are more prone to accidents in childhood and suffer a 60% higher infant mortality rate. The teen birth rate in England is double that of Germany and 6 times higher than that of the Netherlands. The rate seems to be higher in areas of unemployment. Britain's youngest grandmother is age 26.
  • September 22, 1999 Discovery Health Accroding to U.N. figures released today, "far too many" women in developing countries still are denied access to education, family planning, contraception, and decent health care. Annually, 70,000 women die from unsafe abortions. One woman dies nearly every minute from problems related to childbirth and pregnancy; most could have been saved if health care and information had been available during pregnancies. Funding is needed to prevent continued high rates of "female illiteracy, unwanted pregnancy, abortion, maternal and child deaths, and an even faster spread of HIV/AIDS.". Generally women have been having fewer children, but so many are of childbearing age that birth rates have continued at a rate of about 78 million per year. Almost half the world's population is under the age of 25.
  • September 30, 1999 The Christian Science Monitor Welcome to Earth: Population 6 Billion.  This is another long article touching on several subjects. But items not covered in previous Y6B articles follow. At a meeting of the International Botanical Congress in St. Louis this summer, scientists reported that nearly half the earth's land mass already has been changed by human activity - wetlands filled in, forests cut down, prairies plowed under. Runoff from farms, industries, and urban areas has resulted in some 50 "dead zones" in coastal waters. Water temperature has increased, possibly from global warming." 1/4 of bird species have been lost, and 2/3 of fisheries have been depleted. From 1974 to 1995, rice production in increased in China by 88%; Indonesia's food production increased by 69%, Bangladesh - 100%, India - 117%, the UK - 50%. Brazil increased corn production by 63%, China - 213%, the US - 118%. But according to the World Watch Institute, the view that humans can engineer their way to unlimited prosperity is far too sanguine: 1.3 billion of the world's people are impoverished, living on less than 1 dollar a day. Increases in food production seem to have leveled off. 841 million people are chronically malnourished, and there are 88 "food deficit" countries. "They can neither feed themselves nor afford the imports they need," says the UNFPA.
  • September 30, 1999 The Christian Science Monitor Billionaires Giving to Get the Numbers Down. Bill Gates, Ted Turner, George Soros, Warren Buffett, the Rockefeller family and the Packard Foundation (the late David Packard of Hewlett-Packard fame), each has contributed large sums to support family planning efforts around the world. Computer software giant Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, have put $17 billion in a philanthropic foundation, much of it marked for global health and education issues. The three richest people in the world (Gates and Buffett are No. 1 and No. 3) have personal assets that together exceed the combined gross domestic product of the 48 least-developed nations in the world. Ted Turner has donated $1 Billion to the U.N., much of it for environmental and population programs.
  • October 1, 1999 AP Growing Pains Driving People out of Republican and Democratic Parties.  The growing population of the West is forcing politicians to rethink the way they court voters. They must focus less on crime and taxes, and more on education, building roads, water filtration plants, homes and schools, according to the Center for the New West. In California 5.3 million new residents, 3.2 million of them Hispanics will arrive in the next 10 years and the Latino vote will be up for grabs. According to the California Dept. of Finance, California will have to spend about $83 billion to build public services, to accommodate the population growth. "California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, among others, are also seeing a growing population of Hispanics, which both parties recognize as a political asset, especially in tight races."
  • September 24, 1999 Wired News More Than 6 Billion Served. By 2100, scientists predict that twice that many people will be rummaging for food. But an organization opposed to abortion and family planning refuses to believe the numbers, and it's pleading with the world's richest man [Bill Gates] to turn a blind eye to science. David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agricultural sciences at Cornell says that more than 3 billion suffer from malnutrition with food production decreasing due to a 20% decline in per capita cropland, a 15% decrease in water for irrigation, and a 23% drop in the use of fertilizers since 1983. But Steve Sanborn, director of public relations for Stop Planned Parenthood (STOPP) says the population crisis has nothing to do with overpopulation, and everything to do with underpopulation." STOPP is trying to convince the Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates that his contributions toward curbing population growth are aimed in the wrong direction. "people have been talking about the polar ice caps melting for 20 years. Yet they're actually getting bigger."
  • October 2, 1999 New Scientist Counting Down.  This article is betting that the world's population will peak in 2040 at around 7.7 billion people and then go into a long-term decline. "By 2100, it could be back below today's figure of six billion and by 2150 the projection is for just 3.6 billion people." The author ignores the impacts: destruction of species, overfishing, decline in water supplies, deforestation, global warming, and malnourished people, already happening.
  • September 27, 1999 Excite News 6,000,000,001 -- A Population Odyssey.  "The reality lies somewhere in-between the environmentalist model, (humanity will succumb to natural restraints), and the economic model (human nature can circumvent such natural restraints). We may be able to bend the laws of nature a bit, but it would be both arrogant and foolish to believe that we can continue to overburden the earth indefinitely." Many industrialized nations feel they have "done their part" by reducing their own birth rates. But the environmental toll that modernized nations exact has been overlooked. One average American child will use more resources than a Somalian family of eight.
  • October 4, 1999 PRnewswire Sierra Club Report Ignores Underlying Forces Behind Urban Growth, Says NAHB. The National Association of Home Builders president said: "We agree with the Sierra Club's conclusion that good planning at the local level can help alleviate the problems often associated with urban sprawl such as traffic congestion, overcrowded schools and the decline of the central cities. However, we part company with the Sierra Club on the definition of 'smart growth' and on many of the Sierra Club's recommendations. NAHB's definition of smart growth is clearly defined in its recent report, Smart Growth - Building Better Places to Live, Work and Play. In that report, NAHB defined smart growth as 'meeting the underlying demand for housing created by an ever-increasing population and prosperous economy by building a political consensus and employing market-sensitive and innovative land-use planning concepts.' [The Sierra Club believes that a large U.S. population growth is detrimental to the environment.]
  • September 28, 1999 Reuters India Heading For Ecological Disaster.  India's Environment and Forests Minister Suresh Prabhu said that failure to take effective measures to curb runaway population could lead to an ecological disaster. There is an urgent need to generate an awareness. The rivers, for example, with tens of millions of people living on their banks and millions of tons of daily waste, have lost their ability to revive themselves. Environment education in schools needs to be revitalized.
  • October 1, 1999 The New Republic Overpopulation is No Problem--in the Long Run.   In a lengthy discussion of the various issues surrounding world population, Gregg Easterbrook says: One of the oldest references to overpopulation is in the ancient Babylonian epic poem Atrahasis, where the gods were angry about too many people on the Earth, then numbering only 50 million. Today the population is 120 times that number. Opinions vary between calls of impending doom and the counterargument that the population actually needs to grow more. At least one more generation of increasing human population is a certainty. The "most likely" scenario is that the population will level off around nine billion around 2050, the equivalent of the impact of adding 33 more Mexicos to the world. Julian Simon called greater life expectancy "the most important achievement in human history." (from prehistory until the beginning of the twentieth century -life expectancy was 30 years, then it rose up to around 60 and 70). When the developing world's economy centered on feudal agriculture and high death rates meant that a woman needed to bear ten babies in order to see five survive to work the fields, fertility was high. Couples all over the world are responding by having fewer offspring, Demographic momentum means that population growth will continue for at least another 25 years, because a billion or so young people worldwide are just reaching childbearing age. Population growth is sometimes described as "a cancer on the Earth." Mayan society crashed in the ninth century, probably owing to resource exhaustion - those resources that were important at the time. Herve Le Bras in his studies found no relationship between density and quality of life. Malnutrition has declined from 1970 to the current time, even though population has increased. It is essential that the United States support international family planning. Slower growth did not happen by accident. Bangladesh's fertility rate fell from 7 births to 3.1 due to help with family planning efforts from international organizations. It would cost the typical taxpayer less than $3 per year to double U.S. family- planning support--far less than the likely price in treasure and blood if there were a war caused by overpopulation in which the United States had to intervene. [WOA!! does not agree with all his optimistic sustainability statements - see WOA!!s Sustainability page.]
  • September 28, 1999 New York Post Growing Pains  Ben Wattenberg tries to ridicule the truth about world population growth ("One Billion Missing People - But Don't Tell the U.N.!" Post Opinion, Sept. 18). Reply by Peter H. Kostmayer Zero Population Growth Washington, D.C. - The danger is that governments and concerned citizens will listen to Mr. Wattenberg and his anti-family-planning agenda and think that no further work is needed. However, half the earth's people are under 25, in or near their peak reproductive years, and most of them live in the developing world. Family-planning resources there are limited, as are opportunities for women. Fertility rates went up this year in several European countries, not down forever as Wattenberg says. The United States fertility rates earlier declined when women postponed children to go to college or get jobs. After that, U.S. fertility rates subsequently rose. His assurance that all will be well is dangerous. . 35,000 people, mostly women and children, die of malnutrition every day. [Ben Wattenberg of the American Enterprise Institute made the remark that world population has trebled over the past 70 years without triggering any crash or collapse.]
  • September 30, 1999 IPS Population-U.S.: Big Growth Rate in Rural Areas in 1990s.  Advances in transportation and technology and changes in the country's demographics have led to "More people are moving into rural areas than are leaving them," according to a report prepared by the Washington-based Population Reference Bureau (PRB). Industrial plants built in rural areas, attractiveness to retirees, recreation seekers, and lower tax rates are cited as among the reasons people move to the countryside.
  • October 1, 1999 Xinhua Tajikistan Proposes Year of Water.  We should declare the year 2003 as International Year of Water because of worsening situation with clean water, said President Emomali Rakhmonov to the 54th Assemply of the UN General Assembly. 50% of the world's population lives with unsanitary conditions due to water pollution. Over five million people die and three billion become ill annually. "With the population growth a likelihood of water wars between states for fresh-water sources is becoming ever more real", he said.
  • September 30, 1999 Reuters AIDS Pandemic Seen Worsening next Century.  According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, unless the search for a cure for AIDS accelerates or preventive methods improve, the worst of the HIV epidemic has yet to come. Although AIDS has leveled off for the time being in the U.S., Sub-Saharan Africa has the greatest burden of the epidemic worldwide, and cases in the former Soviet Union have escalated sharply, and India and Southeast Asia are threatened. 16,000 new cases occur each day, with over 95% in developing countries.
  • September 19, 1999 Sun-Sentinel Florida: Chastity Makes a Comeback; Abstinence Programs get a Big Boost   'Just say no to sex' is the message of abstinence-only training for teens in a program blessed by the federal government and Florida's secretary of health. Using $500 million of the public's money, hundreds of new programs instruct children that premarital sex will likely have "harmful psychological and physical effects" and that condoms and other contraceptives are unreliable. Family planning advocates say that teaching abstinence is a good start, but unrealistic since many teens are already having sex and that abstinence-only shuts off the discussion of sex and keeps teenagers from information they need to make informed decisions. Some statistics show that teen sexual activity may be dropping. But other surveys show that fewer than 15% of those who marry are virgins.
  • September 17, 1999 Washington Post Infant Mortality A Plague on Brazil; Despite Economic Gains, Disparities in Care Remain. Per capita income has been steadily increasing in Brazil, now over $ 4,700, but the infant mortality rate continues to be very high here--41 out of every 1,000 die before they are 1 year old. Other countries of comparable wealth, Malaysia and Poland fare much better, and even poor countries like Cuba and Costa Rica, have rates half as high. Income distribution is one of the most unequal in the world. Rural residents lack access to decent health care. Deaths are usually due to lack of prenatal care. Infants typically die of malnutrition, diarrhea and respiratory infections within the first month after birth. Sanitation and education would go a long way towards prevention of such diseases. [Lowering infant mortality rates have been shown to lower the number of children women feel they need to have].
  • September 28, 1999 Audubon Update Good News! - Family Planning Funding Steps Forward.  On Tuesday the House and Senate Foreign Operations Conference Committee completed the FY2000 Foreign Operations Appropriations conference report. The conferees agreed to restore a $25 million U.S. contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), minus the amount that UNFPA spends in China. The President is likely veto by because of unacceptably low funding levels. The "Global Gag Rule" Issue Remains Unresolved: Even though the conference report does not include any new restrictions on international family planning (including Rep. Smith's "global gag rule" restriction), it is not a done deal (click here for more).
  • September 28, 1999 UNwire Congress Drops Limit On Aid To Family Planning Groups.  A compromise version of a $12.6 billion international programs spending bill was completed by a House-Senate negotiating team, but President Bill Clinton may veto it because it provides less than Clinton's requests for global environmental efforts, peacekeeping operations and other key programs. It would provide more for UNICEF and international children's health than Clinton requested. The dropped language that would have forbidden aid to private organizations that use their own money to promote liberalized abortion laws abroad. The measure would provide $385 million for international family planning aid. A compromise was reached to provide as much as $25 million to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), but the pace at which they will receive promised aid has once again been restricted.
  • September 27, 1999 ZPG Alert Calif. Governor Approves Contraceptive Coverage Bills.  Governor Gray Davis signed the bills requiring health plans to cover prescription drugs to cover prescription contraceptives on Monday. Similar legislation was vetoed on three previous occasions by former Governor Pete Wilson. California is now the tenth state to require health insurance companies to treat women fairly in prescription coverage.
  • September 28, 1999 Reuters Small Islands Face Ecological Woes.  According to the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP), many small and vulnerable island states would face massive environmental problems unless steps were taken to combat land degradation, water shortages and pollution. Many are struggling with rapidly increasing populations, spreading urbanization, poverty, unsustainable consumption patterns, and mismanagement of natural resources. Their unique biodiversity is severely threatened and soaring tourism has also caused a burden by increasing sewage and waste. Global climate changes may have caused a rise in devastating cyclones and hurricanes. Rising sea levels are contaminating fresh water supplies and threatening the actual existence of some states.
  • September 27, 1999 AP TB, Other Diseases Reemerge to Threaten Millions in the Americas.  Tuberculosis, cholera, malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia (which) together kill more than 10 million people worldwide each year, have developed drug-resistant strains and again threaten millions in the Americas - according to Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Dengue fever, a highly debilitating and untreatable disease infected 770,000 people in the Americas last year. Mosquitoes have become resistant to chemical pesticides, and sanitation is inadequate, providing an environment for mosquitoes to breed. Urbanization is a factor, with people living close together more likely to infect one another. Bubonic plague has returned to Peru. 150,000 children under 5 who die every year from easily treated diarrhea and respiratory infections.
  • September 28, 1999 Reuters Syria "Faces Oil Depletion, Dire Economy".  Syria will run out of petroleum, its main export commodity, in 10 years, said Info-Prod, an academic-staffed Israeli market research company, which cautions that Syria's population is growing faster than its economy.
  • September 26, 1999 Denver Rocky Mountain News Troubled Waters in A Crowded World.  Op-ed by Holger Jensen. The UNFPA reports that the number of humans has doubled since 1960. John Bermingham, president of Colorado Population Coalition, says: "We must become more and more accustomed to sprawl, congestion, wilderness losses, ethnic enclaves, families locked in underclass for generations, lopsided school costs, battles over biligualism, demeaning of citizenship and - perhaps most important of all - a contined lessening of the chance that an ordinary American will ever converse with any member of Congress". And in Botswana - 1/4 of all adults have HIV. Life expectancy today is 47 years, while in the 1980s it was 61. By 2010 it will be 38. Nevertheless, population is expected to double by 2050.
  • September 25, 1999 Reuters World Must Create a Billion Jobs for Youth,  said U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. 5 billion people live in developing nations and half of them are under age 25. Annan suggested: -- developing nations reorient their development strategies toward job creation, with particular emphasis on agriculture, which now employs 70% of workers; -- more spending on education and health care and less on defence and security; -- make developing nations more attractive to investment by strengthening regulatory and financial systems and good governance; -- the international financial mechanism (World Bank and International Monetary Fund) should be strengthened to facilitate a flow of long-term capital from developed nations; -- an increased flow of long-term capital to the very poorest nations.
  • September 13, 1999 ENS Latin America Burns Under Combination of Climate Change and Indiscriminate Fire Settings.  Attributed to global warming and human over-use of remaining forests lands, thousands of fires which have burned millions of acres in South America - Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, and Paraguay, which are in the middle of winter dry season. The climate is becoming dryer, plus, under growing population pressures and the human demand for more cleared forests, many more fires are being set.
  • September 13, 1999 Gallon Pacific Institute has New Climate Change Database.  The Pacific Institute offers a searchable bibliography of literature related to climate change and its impacts on plant and animal species, agriculture, and ecosystems.
  • September 13, 1999 Environmental News Service Violent Conflict Growing Over the Environment in the U.S. Increases.  "As natural resources disappear and as the population and resource extraction increases in the United States, the battle for how the remaining resources will be used is heating up." Battles are over the uses of resources such as forests, wildlands and habitat. "Beatings, bombings, and death threats against public resource employees have been rising, particularly in the west.
  • September 13, 1999 UNESCO UNESCO Preparing Text Book with Section on Ecological Economics. The Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems is currently under development in partnership with UNESCO. The encyclopedia is a major global project and is expected to be a highly significant source of knowledge on environment and economics for the next decade.
  • September 27, 1999 BusinessWorld Rapid Population Growth Worries Phillipine Health Secretary.  The population is expected to reach over 76 million by the end of the year. The growth rate is still too high for government to keep up. The Health department continues to provide family planning programs for Filipinos. The population is expected to reach 86 million in 2005. There are 36.84% under age 14 and 27.6 ages 15 to 29.
  • September 24, 1999 Africa News Service Namibia;Population Bulge Poses Chicken and Egg Riddle.  Namibia needs to promote and safeguard the reproductive rights of individuals and couples, says the Health Permanent Secretary. "We must promote access to family planning services. We must link population issues to sustainable development." But Nambia needs more people "to explore its natural resources". Up to 3 children are acceptable. 24% of Namibians are 10 to 19 years old. Youth need to make informed choices for a better tomorrow.
  • September 27, 1999 Deutsche Presse-Agentur Poverty-stricken Laos Launches Population Control Programme.  10 years ago, contraceptive sale in land-locked, Laos was banned, and the communist government promoted population growth. Today, the government wants to halve the birth rate, and will encourage couples to get married later and to have only two children. Laos has a population of an estimated 5.3 million with an annual growth rate of 3.1 per cent - the highest in Southeast and East Asia. Laos has 80% mountainous terrain, with a large proportion of the population comprising ethnic minority hilltribe people living in remote areas. The U.N. has established a 6-million-dollar reproductive health programme there. The government acknowledges that population growth is the leading cause of poverty.
  • September 27, 1999 UNwire Tigers And Tusks On Agenda Of CITES Meeting. Representatives of 147 countries are meeting at the the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Lisbon. Tiger hunting is already illegal worldwide, and international trade in tiger parts is completely banned. The Earth's wild tiger population has plummeted from an estimated 100,000 in the 19th century to about 6,000 today.
  • September 25, 1999 Sacramento Bee Foes Stalking Genetic Engineering of Crops.  There is evidence that genes engineered into crops may kill good insects as well as pests, and may transfer herbicide resistence to weeds. Unknowingly Americans routinely eat food made with genectically modified ingredients. Already genetically altered are 54% of U.S. grown soybeans and 33% of corn. Plants are altered to make their own insecticide, or to make them resistent to herbicides. Studies are underway to make apples crunchier, retard rot, and to grow compact sizes of fruit. Underground protesters call the plants 'Frankenfoods'. This spring a study showed that pollen from insecticidal corn can kill nearby monarch butterfly caterpillers.
  • September 23, 1999 World Watch Populations Outrunning Water Supply as World Hits 6 Billion.  From World Watch Institute: water tables are falling on every continent, major rivers are drained dry before they reach the sea and millions of people lack enough water to satisfy basic needs. China, India, and the U.S., which together produce half the world's food, are experiencing falling water tables. In the past irrigated farming has experienced waterlogging, salting, and silting, but now, add aquifer depletion to the list, due to powerful diesel and electrically powered pumps. In China's breadbasket, the Northern China Plain, water tables are falling 5 feet a year. In India, pumped underground water is double the rate of aquifer recharge from rainfall. The depletion of the Ogallala aquifer in the southern Great Plains of the United States has caused cutbacks in irrigation. Texas has lost 1% per year since 1980. The Yellow River in China first ran dry in 1972. Every year since 1985, it has run dry for part of each year. In 1997, it failed to reach the sea about 7 months of the year. Farmers in India are leaving little water in the Ganges for the farmers of Bangladesh. Farmers in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan take water from the Amu Darya in Central Asia, shrinking the Aral Sea to almost half its original size, killing all the fish with high salt concentrations. The Colorado river in the U.S. and the Nile river rarely make it to their destination. This water deficit is equal to 160 million tons of grain. Annual world grain exports equal 200 million tons. As cities grow, countries take water from agriculture to satisfy expanding urban water needs. The countries then import grain to offset the water losses.
  • 6 Billion: according to the New York Times ... If this page were filled with periods, (69 dots per line in 6, 157-line columns) 6 billion of them would take up about 92,000 pages.
  • September 24, 1999 ABC Human Weight on the World.  The woes of the world - famine, habitat destruction, pollution - come down to too many people. The world’s population continues to burgeon. Unless we bring it under control ourselves, this old planet’s "human carrying capacity," as scientists call it, will do it for us.
  • September 23, 1999 ABC Going On 6 Billion. "One billion people still live without the fundamental elements of human dignity - clean water, enough food, secure housing, basic education and basic health care,” said Dr. Nafis Sadik of UNFPA. "We need $5.7 billion from the international community. We have $2 billion and $2.5 billion will have to be spent on Africa alone." According to a UNFPA report, continued population growth affects environmental trends, which leads to collapsed fisheries, shrinking forests and the extinction of plants and animals. "One of the real choices we will face in the 21st century is how many species and ecosystems we are willing to eliminate in order to make more space for human activities.” ''In developing countries reproduction is the single greatest threat to their health,'' said Sadik. ''Women are urged by society that that is their role, but then they're not really supported.''
  • September 23, 1999 The Daily Telegraph (London) Vatican 'Has Accepted UN Family Planning' According to Dr Nafis Sadik, of the UN Population Fund, the Vatican has given up attempts to stop the United Nations providing family planning for women in the poorest countries, endorsing a five-year review of the plan for slowing world population growth. While the Roman Catholic Church is still opposited to contraception, it had stopped trying to hold up proceedings by inserting reference to "natural methods" of birth control. "It is accepted that the international community has accepted that family planning is one of the human rights of women.", Dr. Sadik said. The annual population growth this year is 78 million, down from about 90 million in the late 1980s, and is expected to fall again to 64 million in 2020-2025 and to 33 million in 2045-2050. About 585,000 women in developing counties died as a result of pregnancy and 70,000 died each year due to unsafe abortions. Aids caused by unprotected sex was shortening lifetimes in many countries.
  • September 22, 1999 BBC Ozone Hole Opens Again. The ozone layer helps filter out harmful ultra-violet radiation from the sun. A hole in the ozone layer, which has formed over the Antarctic between August and early October, is now near its greatest ever extent, 10 million square miles, larger than the United States, Canada and Mexico combined. Man-made chemicals, chlorofluorocarbons, cause ozone depletion. An editorial in the Los Angeles Times criticizes a move in Congress to eliminate the US contribution to the Montreal Protocol Multilateral Fund, which helps developing countries phase out ozone-depleting substances.
  • September 23, 1999 IPS Africa: Region Grapples with Highest Birthrate in World.  From the 1999 UNFPA State of the World report: Africa's population has tripled since 1960 and continues to grow faster than any other region. One of the fastest-growing areas is Sub- Saharan Africa, where there are 5.5 children per woman. In developing countries, contraceptive use has increased by only 1.2% annually between 1990 and 1995, and the needs of up to 25% of couples are still not being met. One in 15 women in Africa dies in pregnancy or childbirth. "The problem is that the rest of the world wants to make Africa like them," he added. Timothy Stamps, Zimbabwe's health minister said "Population densities in Europe are much higher than in Africa. Their resources are more meager than ours, but they have developed through their ability to use our resources in Africa." In 1960, Africa had half as many people as Europe. By 2050, Africa is estimated to have three times as many as Europe.
  • September 22, 1999 AP Spending Panel Deadlocks on Abortion.  Congressional conservatives have once again have tried to attach anti-abortion restrictions to foreign policy measures which have drawn vetoes from President Clinton in the past.The $12.6 billion foreign aid bill was deadlocked Wednesday. House negotiators were willing to drop controversial language that would deny U.S. funds to support organizations that lobby foreign governments to repeal anti-abortion laws - in exchange for eliminating $25 million previously approved for the United Nation's family planning assistance program. According to the Congressional Quarterly Daily Monitor (9/23), "the bill will hang in limbo until House and Senate leaders can reach an agreement."
  • September 23, 1999 Xinhua Women in Poor Countries More Exposed to Birth Harms,  says the UNFPA State of World Population 1999. Hundreds of millions of women in the world continue to suffer needlessly from unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and ill-health related to childbirth. 350 million women in developing countries who do not have access to a range of safe and effective family planning methods and up to half of the nearly 175 million pregnancies each year are unwanted or ill-timed. Every minute more than one woman die of problems related to childbirth and pregnancy. at least 7 million women suffer from serious health problems and as many as 50 million suffer some health consequences after childbirth each year. The UNFPA claims moderate success in putting the brakes on population growth, saying that without its work, the 6 billion mark would have been hit four years earlier.
  • September 4, 1999 NY Times Indifferent to a Planet in Pain.  By Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature. "Noctilucent clouds," usually an occurance of far northern or southern latitudes, are appearing near to the Equator. These clouds develop at high altitudes - about 50 miles - so high that they reflect the sun's rays long after nightfall. Carbon dioxide warms the lower layers and cooler the outer layer, causing clouds to form. Scientists the world over have formed an "ironclad consensus" that we are heating the planet. In the Northern Hemisphere, Spring comes a week earlier than just 30 years ago. Severe rainstorms have grown by almost 20%; the Arctic ice sheet is 40 inches thinner in many places. Coral reefs have bleached worldwide. The oceans are rising. "We live on a new, poorer, simpler planet, and we continue to impoverish it with every ounce of oil and pound of coal that we burn."
  • September 22, 1999 Washington Times Newcomers: Bush's Agenda Won't be Complex, 'But it's Going to be Profound'. "There's in the United States a need for [newcomers] in terms of high-tech jobs, we ought to increase [their] visa allotment. It's to our nation's advantage to say, if we have a shortage of Ph.D.s in a particular area and Ph.D.s are interested in coming, we ought to give them visas."
  • September 21, 1999 Cornell A.D. 2100: Cornell Study Warns Of A Miserable Life On Overcrowded Earth If Population And Resources Are Not Controlled. In a report by David Pimentel, titled "Will Limits of the Earth's Resources Control Human Numbers?", published in the new journal Environment, Development and Sustainability, says that it will be much more difficult "to survive in a world without voluntary controls on population growth and ever diminishing supplies of the Earth's resources." One hundred years from now, democratically determined population-control practices and sound resource-management policies could have the planet's 2 billion people thriving in harmony with the environment. But, even if there were only 2.1 children per couple in the world tomorrow, population momentum would cause human population to continue to increase before stabilizing at around 12 billion in more than 60 years. Production of grains per capita has been declining since 1983, due to a 20% decline in per capita cropland, a 15% decrease in irrigation water, and a 23% drop in the use of fertilizers. Increasing U.S. and global population will place restrictions on certain freedoms: freedom to travel and commute to work quickly and efficiently, freedom to visit and enjoy natural areas, freedom to select desired foods and freedom to be effectively represented by government.
  • September 21, 1999 Express News Environmental Activist Warns of Dim Future. Environmental journalist, consultant and author Ross Gelbspan discussed the future of the planet if countries don't start cleaning up after themselves in the area of global warming. The fossil fuel industry is responsible for this country being the only one denying that global warming exists. Gelbspan cited the first ever wildfires burning in a South American rainforest, the worst drought in 150 years in Portugal, the heaviest rains in Bolivia in 30 years, the massive flooding of the Oder river in Poland and the Czech Republic and a 60 degree Easter Sunday in Boston that was followed two days later by 30 inches of snow as indicators of what computer projections show for the first stage of global warming. Everyone must work together to reduce carbon emissions, because controls developed and used by a superpower can be counteracted by an oil burning developing nation which doesn't have the technology to produce renewable energy.
  • October 6, 1998 ENN Family Planning Urged for Developing Nations  In 32 countries, representing 14% of world population, growth has stopped, but by 2050, Ethiopia's population will triple to 213 million, Pakistan's will double to 357 million, and Nigeria's will go from 122 million to 339 million. There will be more people in Nigeria then than there were in all of Africa in 1950. India is expected to add another 600 million. Deforestation, soil erosion, falling water tables, and AIDS have stretched these countries to the limit. International family planning assistance must be expanded so that millions of couples who want to limit family size can have access to family planning services.
  • September 22, 1999 ENN Earth-Friendly Living: How Many Kids Does an Environmentalist Have?  Bill McKibben, author of "Maybe One: A Personal and Environmental Argument for Single-Child Families" thinks that the population surge in the next 50 years, if unchecked, will so degrade the natural environment that supports us that life as we know it will be unsustainable, and so just one child is the recommended number. The U.S. population is scheduled to go from 270 million today maybe even 400 million. He also suggests that we'll need tougher greenhouse gas controls, increase our energy efficiency, consume less, and even curb immigration.
  • September 21, 1999 CNN Latin America Struggles to Cope with Expanding Population  In Mexico City, 4 out of 5 couples couples have agreed to take family planning measures, in part due to family planning clinics throughout the city. Mexico's population is expected to increase by nearly 50% by 2030. The average age is expected to increase as well. In Latin America, nations such as Mexico and Brazil are coping with population growth that is accompanied by economic problems.
  • September 21, 1999 UNFPA UNFPA Releases 1999 Annual Report: 6 Billion - A Time for Choices.  Population growth has slowed - from 2.4 to 1.3 percent in 30 years. But global population is still growing by about 78 million people annually mostly because half the world is under 25, with 1 billion ages 15-24. Most of the growth is in the least-developed countries. There is a strong need to increase education, promote gender equality and ensure the universal exercise of the right to health, including reproductive health. Sub-Saharan Africa, and parts of South Asia and Western Asia see the fastest growth while population growth in Europe, North America and Japan has slowed or stopped . The U.S. is the only industrial country where large population increases are still projected, largely as the result of immigration. 4.8 billion are in the less-developed countries. 3/5 of these have no basic sanitation, and 1/3 have no clean water. Gender-based violence and harmful traditional practices are being eliminated by growing efforts against female genital mutilation (FGM), rape, forced marriage, domestic violence, dowry murder, and "honour" killings. Fifteen African countries have outlawed FGM. Infant mortality has fallen by 2/3 and life expectancy has risen from 46 to 66 years in the past half-century. Raising mothers’ age at first birth from 18 to 23 would reduce population momentum by over 40%. Rich countries, whose share of funding for improving birth control and reproductive health was set five years ago at $5.7 billion annually, were providing far less in 1997 - less than $2 billion. The number of people in the world is expected to peak at 8.9 billion, lower than the 9.4 billion predicted by the United Nations two years ago, mostly due to the increased mortality rates from AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of the Indian subcontinent. Global infant mortality has fallen by two-thirds since 1950, from 155 per 1,000 live births to 57 per 1,000. This rate is projected to be reduced by a further two-thirds by 2050.
  • September 22, 1999 Xinhua 43 Percent of Bangladeshis Below 15 Years Old.  From the UNFPA (United Nations Population Population Fund), the potential for future growth is tremendous. Bangladesh now has 126 million people. Remarkably, the country has brought it's birth rate down from 3% in 1973 to 1.6% in 1999. Population stabilization at 170 million, is expected in 40-45 years - if replacement level -2 children per woman -is reached by 2005. More realistically, population will stabilize at 200-250 million in 2050. By 2000-2005 22% of the population will be 10-19, while the elderly population will be 7.7% in 2000 and 9.1% in 2010. About 50% of Bangladeshi live in poverty and the same number is illiterate.
  • September 22, 1999 AP & U.S. Newswire GOP Proposes Abortion Alternatives.  -or - So-Called 'True Choice' Equals No Choice.   Legislation is being introduced that would spend $85 million annually to private groups for maternity homes, adoption services and ''crisis pregnancy'' centers, and abstinence counseling. The money would not be available to agencies that refer women to abortion services. From Planned Parenthood: "With teen pregnancy rates and abortion rates declining rapidly in the 1990s due to increased access and use of contraceptives, we have statistical proof what the pro-family planning community has been saying all along -- prevention works. -- Teen birth rate in the U.S. declined 16 percent between 1991 and 1997. -- The number of abortions performed in the U.S dropped 11 percent between 1992 and 1996. Since 1974, the Title X Family Planning Program has been on America's front line in the fight to prevent unintended pregnancy, providing contraceptives, counseling and other reproductive health care services to 6.5 million low-income women per year. Publicly funded family planning successfully avert 1.5 million unintended pregnancies and 632,000 abortions annually."
  • September 21, 1999 Wall Street Journal Selling Birth Control to India's Poor.  A marketing program called 'Butterfly' hopes to revolutionize the way India's curbs its soaring population; in return for advocating a formalized birth-control program, medicine men who participate in the program receive free radio ads and other benefits, such as customer referrals. [All I have is this abstract].
  • September 20, 1999 ENN N.Y. Encephalitis Outbreak called a Global Warning [of Global Warming].  Outbreaks of this and other mosquito-borne diseases (like malaria and yellow fever) will be on the rise if global warming remains on its current path and milder winters prevail. To prevent global warming, conserve energy. Ask yourself if it is necessary to drive a huge car that gets five miles to the gallon to pick the kids up from school. Use of water requires electricity for purification. Reduction of rubbish means less burning and less carbon that is put into the air. The Kyoto plan must be followed. Western nations should offer renewable solar or wind technologies to developing countries, rather than hydroelectric or nuclear energy. It is possible that ocean currents may be harnessed to generate electricity.
  • September 20, 1999 ENN Global Warming Unpredictable, Scientists Say. In a Sept. 16 issue of New Scientist, by 2010, emissions could be up to 5 times higher than today's, or they could lower, depending on the technology developed. The report, a special release from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, comes from a concensus of hundreds of scientists and economists.
  • September 22, 1999 Reuters Brazil Forest Tops Global Ecology Concerns.  The Atlantic rain forest, or "Mata Atlantica," is now one of the 5 most-threatened regions in the world, with only 7% remaining. Conservation International and Brazil's SOS Mata Atlantica environmental group are documenting thousands of animal and plant species using satellite images, and are promoting alternative forms of income and enforcing laws that make it illegal to cut down trees in the region. Plans for a water theme park in the forest have been cancelled. The use of brazilwood for textiles, sugar cane, coffee and cocoa plantations, and urban development, have all contributed to the decline. The forest still hosts regions with the highest recorded tree diversity in the world, and 5% of the world's animal species and 7 percent of its plant species - many unique to the region. The forest was opened up for Brazil's major cities Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. 60% of Brazilians live there.
  • September 21, 1999 Reuters Time is Running out for the Environment, UN Says.  More on Global Environment Outlook 2000. "The gains made by better management and technology are still being outpaced by the environmental impacts of population and economic growth. We are on an unsustainable course," the head of the UNDP - United Nations Environment Programme, Klaus Toepfer, said in Nairobi. Emissions of greenhouse gases are 4 times what they were in the 1950s. The world has lost or degraded 80% of it's original forest cover while logging and mining threaten almost 40% of the remaining forest. 1/4 of mammal species risk extinction. Over 50% of all coral reefs are threatened by human activity. Hurricanes and forest fires are increasing and have killed three million people in 30 years. Armed conflicts and displacement are also causing more damage to the environment than ever before. Humans seem to be disturbing the nitrogen balance through intensive agriculture and fossil fuel burning. A 90% reduction in the consumption of raw materials in industrialised countries may be required.
  • September 18, 1999 WorldWatch Plant Losses Threaten Future Food Supplies and Health Care.  In a new study called Nature's Cornucopia: Our Stake in Plant Diversity, by John Tuxill, "The genetic diversity of cultivated plants is essential to breeding more productive and disease resistant crop varieties." But diversity is disappearing. In 1949, China grew 10,000 different wheat varieties, compared to 1,000 in the 1970s. Mexican farmers are raising only 20% of the corn varieties they cultivated in the 1930s. Biotechnology, which cannot create new varieties, will not solve this problem. 25% of prescribed U.S. medicines are based on a chemical found in a plant. 3.5 billion people rely on plant-based medicine for their primary health care. But less that 1% of all plant species have been screened for bioactive compounds. Rural residents rely on plant resources for up to 90% of their needs. 1/8 of plants are at risk due to loss of habitat, pressure from non-native species, and overharvesting. Key traits such as like disease resistance are often found in wild relatives of crops.
  • September 20, 1999 NY Times Rethinking Population at a Global Milestone.  [Is Democracy Bad For Population Policy?] Contrasting the two most populous countries, India, home to 1 billion, which became a democracy, and China, home to 1.2 billion, which became authoritarian communist. China issued the harsh one-child policy, but the Chinese also made positive changes in the area of the economy, rural land ownership and social services. Semi-socialist India, because it was a democracy, lagged in introducing fundamental economic and social reforms. Only big industries were targeted, not rural doctors or village schools. While Indians enjoy free expression, other indicators would show the Chinese are better off: Literacy rate: China- 83%, India- 53-64% (depending on who you ask). Female primary school enrollment: China- 99.9%, India- 66%. Malnourished and underweight children under 5: India- 50%, China- 16%. Annual income $365 or less: China- 1/3, India-50%. China's exports are more than five times those of India. Lester Brown,of the Worldwatch Institute says it "is not whether India is a democracy or not, but whether there is leadership." Nobel laureate Amartya Sen says, "When lower fertility is harnessed to democracy it creates a dynamo," ..."more so if literacy and economic opportunities for women as well as basic health services are added to the mix." Much of India's leaders and thinkers have not seen these connections.
  • September 17, 1999 Bee Washington Bureau State's Environment Tarnished: Four-year study explores how natural features are vanishing. A new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report warns that many of California's distinctive natural features have been wiped out. In a $1 million 1,000-page survey of America's biological resources, the Golden State's image is tarnished by logged-out Sierra Nevada forests, dammed-up rivers, disappearing fish. Ducks on the California flyway have been reduced from 12 million to 2 million now. Lawmakers such as Rep. George Radanovich and Rep. Richard Pombo are leery of the regulatory consequences that may follow from studies suggesting environmental decline. Some alarming numbers from the report: Californians have eliminated 85% of the state's old-growth redwoods, 91% of the state's wetlands and 99% of the state's once-expansive grasslands. Almost 60% of California fish species are extinct or nearly extinct. Over 50% of the state's frog species need protection. 20% of the 342 species of California land birds found is listed as 'endangered'. Contact USGS for ordering information.
  • September 16, 1999 NY Times Policy on Prescription Orders At Wal-Mart Draws Praise.  Wal-Mart Stores Inc. recently instructed its pharmacists to fill all prescriptions or refer customers to another store if they had an objection about dispensing a drug. In May Wal-Mart was criticizeed for refusing to carry Preven, a high-dose birth control medication to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. It was approved for sale in the United States last year. Planned Parenthood now has hope that Wal-Mart will stock Preven and a recently approved similar product called Plan B. A representative of Wal-Mart expressed confusion about the attention and noted that doctors sometimes prescribed birth control pills at higher doses that may work as emergency contraceptives and that Wal-Mart pharmacists had always filled those prescriptions.
  • September 17, 1999 International Herald Tribune Breaking the Cycle of Poverty. The U.N.'s Kofi Annan says of the rach of recent natural disasters - "we must never forget that it is poverty, not choice, that drives people to live in risk-prone areas." Sarah C. Clark, director of the population program at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation adds that it is lack of choice and opportunity that traps people in poverty. Providing women with information and choices regarding their reproductive health is one of the simplest and most profound solutions to break the cycle of poverty. Women choose to have fewer children in countries where family planning methods and opportunities for women exist. They provide for their families by limiting the number of mouths to feed, bodies to clothe and children to care for. Critical to reducing human suffering and mitigating the effects of natural disasters is support for family planning and reproductive health care.
  • September 16, 1999 AP One American in 10 Born Elsewhere.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 25,208,00 people (9.3%) are foreign born - a proportion not seen since 150 years ago. In the 1990s, foreign born numbers in the U.S. increased 4 times faster than native born. While in the 1850s, foreign born were mostly European, today's foreign born are Latinos and Asians. Foreign born Asians outnumber native-born Asian Americans, 6.4 million to 4.1 million.
  • September 16, 1999 JHUCCP Donor Support Urgently Needed for Family Planning  In a report called Why Family Planning Matters from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, even though global fertility rates are falling, funding and support for international family programs in developing countries remains a critical need. "As demand for services grows, will support for programs keep pace?" The world's population continues to increase by one billion people every 12 to 13 years.
  • September 16, 1999 World Bank World Bank Development Report Sees Poverty Rising.  Those living in absolute poverty will go from 1.5 billion people today to 1.9 billion by 2015. Income disparities between rich and poor will continue to grow. The key issue is how leaders manage the paradoxical forces of globalization and localization. Communications and transportation are knitting together the global economy, creating "a mix of opportunities and risks." Overwhelmed by population growth, the developing world's cities have been unable to provide sufficient basic services. 220 million people, or 13% of the world's urban population, have no access to clean drinking water; 26% lack access to even simple latrines. 1/2 of the solid waste goes uncollected, leading to a range of water-borne diseases and diseases such as malaria and dengue fever, from which half the urban population is suffering. Micro-credit schemes continue to get high marks in pulling people out of poverty. In Delhi, 1 in 10 children aged 5 - 16 suffers from bronchial asthma, caused partly by air pollution. China has nine of the 10 cities most affected by total suspended particles (TSPs), with mean annual concentrations exceeding 500 micrograms per cubic meter, 400 above WHO's acceptable levels. In the 1970s, a medium-sized city had a population from 250,000 to 500,000 and there were 163 metropolitan areas worldwide that had over a million citizens, and less than 40% of the world's population lived in urban areas. Today, a medium-sized city is has one million citizens and there are 350 such areas around the world.
  • September 17, 1999 CCMC Talking Points: International Family Planning and the 106th Congress - It’s complicated but a reasonable compromise exists. Ideas for your Letter to the Editor.
  • August 29, 1999 Denver Rocky Mountain NewsOur Conflicting Views of Sprawl  People may say they want to curb sprawl, but few favor the higher densities and loss of open space that would be required to achieve that goal. "Like it or not, there is simply no way to settle an expected 700,000 more people in metro Denver by the year 2020 without gobbling up a lot more field and farm." Congestion is almost always a problem in high-density cities.
  • August 1, 1999 MSBN Germany's Special Shade of Green.  With environmentalists in power, much is expected. Can an environmental friendly nation also keep pace economically? Ecological Modernization is the new catchword. Information on the 3-litre (200 miles on a gallon of gas) car.
  • August 1, 1999 MSBN A Fuel Cell Revolution Could Provide the Key Weapon Against Global Warming.  "The beginning of the hydrogen age." Fuel cells tap hydrogen’s carbon-free energy, and may have supplanted solar and nuclear alternatives as a growth research area. The basic fuel cell mixes hydrogen and oxygen, and electricity is produced in the resulting chemical reaction. They can be used in vehicles, offices, homes, industries, and even cell phones and laptops. Global warming is probably caused by the 22 billion tons of CO2 put into the atmosphere each year, created when carbon is burned. Fuel cells were used by by NASA to power the Gemini and Apollo spaceships and are still put to such uses today. DaimlerChrysler unveiled a subcompact fuel-cell car this year. Pure hydrogen is the cleanest fuel for fuel cells, but is highly explosive. Other fuels: regular unleaded, methanol, ethanol, natural gas and others will work, but are not as clean as hydrogen, yet cleaner than the internal combustion engine because they get 2-3 times the energy per gallon. In Iceland, where 67% of the economy runs on geothermal or other renewable power, the government, with the help of Shell and DaimlerChrysler, wants to replace all internal combustion engines on its transportation and fishing fleets with fuel cells.
  • September 14, 1999 Greenpeace New Report Reveals Solar PV Electricity Ready to Compete With Fossil Fuels. In a KPMG report, "Solar Energy: From Perennial Promise to Competitive Alternative," one large-scale solar PV factory producing five million solar panels a year could reduce the cost f solar power by 75% or more. This cost reduction would make PV cost-competitive, for domestic consumers, with electricity produced from existing polluting sources. U.S. buildings currently represent around 10% of world energy consumption. Such a large scale factory could supply 250,000 U.S. homes with a two kilowatt system sufficient to provide half of a typical household's energy requirements. There is a market impasse in getting rooftop solar panels turned into standard household appliances, but government and industry heavyweights such as Shell Solar, BP Solarex and Spire Corporation of the U.S., are in a "position to act".
  • September 16, 1999 Greenpeace U.S. Illegally Dumps Genetically Engineered Corn on Russia.  Russian import laws blantantly ignored.
  • September 15, 1999 MSNBC ‘Transgenic’ Pollution a New Concern.  Traces of genetically modified corn were found in certified organic corn chips. 87,000 bags of Apache Tortilla Chips were destroyed by their producer, Terra Prima. Apparently genetically modified (GM) corn was blown over from another farm and cross-pollinated with the organic corn. The GM corn was engineered with the Bt (Bacillus thuriengensis) insecticide - a natural bacterial toxin used for years as a spray by organic farmers who grow crops without using industrial pesticides. [environmentalists and organic farmers fear the Bt will lose it's strength when used this way]. The more than 70 plaintiffs include Greenpeace and the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (with 650 member groups in 100 countries).
  • September 15, 1999 New York to Sue Over Acid Rain.  17 companies have been accused of violating the 1990 federal Clean Air Act because they haven’t upgraded equipment to clean up emissions. According to a report released by the Sierra Club and other groups, rain contaminated with mercury from coal-fired electric plants is fouling Midwest lakes and rivers. Up to 90% of the sulfates over the mid-Atlantic and New England states originate in Midwestern power plant emissions. Apparently the electric utility industry is exempt from emission controls for mercury from coal-fired power plants.
  • September 15, 1999 National Audubon Society Legistlative Update - FY2000 Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill,  which contains international family planning and population assistance funds. The FY2000 Budget year starts October 1, but the bill may not be completed by then. The Senate version contains $400 million for U.S.-sponsored population programs and $25 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). It does not contain the so-called "global gag rule" or other restrictions on international family planning programs. The House bill includes $385 million for U.S.-sponsored population programs and $25 million for UNFPA. It does, however, contain two measures imposing additional restrictions on international family planning programs: one is Rep. Chris Smith's (R-NJ) "global gag rule" (which would restrict the activities and free speech of foreign reproductive health programs that receive US funds), and the other is a compromise set of restrictions brokered by pro-family planning Representatives Jim Greenwood (R-PA) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) (which focuses on the importance of providing family planning to reduce the incidence of abortion and respects the right of groups in other countries to exercise free speech within the limits of the laws in those countries). Clinton promises to veto any bill that contains the "global gag rule". Grassroots efforts at this point may not have an impact, but the plethora of Day of 6 Billion events planned for Oct. 12 and beyond will surely help. Contact: Pam Doorley, NAS Population & Habitat Policy Associate, PDoorley@audubon.org.
  • September 14, 1999 Your Support Needed For Title X of the Public Health Service Act --Domestic Family Planning Assistance which pays for gynecological and contraceptive services for low-income US women through a network of more than 4000 health centers. Planned Parenthood Federation of America says that the bill should come up in about a week, so now is a great time to write.
  • September 15, 1999 MSBC The People Bomb - China's Unrelenting People Problem. China adds an estimated 14 million people each year, more than the population of Florida. China women have just 2.5 children each, on average. Chinese people are eating more meat, buying private cars, burning more coal, using more water, cutting more trees and dumping more waste. The amount of land, farmland, and grassland water resources per person is less than 1/3 of the global average and forest and oil resources are only 1/10 of the world’s average.
  • September 15, 1999 AP UNEP Warns: Time is Running out Fast to Reverse Global Environmental Damage.  In a new report, Global Environment Outlook 2000, Several "full-scale emergencies" already exist, including worsening water shortages in many regions; land degradation that is undermining agricultural productivity; heavy air pollution in many major cities; and global warming, which "now seems inevitable." Tropical forests and marine fisheries have been overexploited, while many plant and animal species and unique habitats have been "lost forever." "Postponing sustainability is no longer an option". The report suggests a ten-fold reduction in resource consumption in industrialized countries to free up resources for developing countries.
  • September 14, 1999 LA Times  California Awarded For Cutting Out-of-Wedlock Births.  The federal Department of Health and Human Services announced that California had the highest decline (5.7%) in out-of-wedlock births in 1994-95 and 1996-97. Contestants in the race had to show a decline in abortions as well. The race was a result of the 1996 welfare reform act. California's success was attributed to birth control and 'changing social mores'. In addition to birth control, promoting abstinence and capping welfare after additional births were used. One in 3 babies are born to single women. Teens have 1/3 of unwed births.
  • September 15, 1999 AP New Population Estimates Show Hispanics, Asians Dominate [California] State Growth.  The number of Hispanics and Asians increased by more than 30% in California from 1990-98. Most of the Hispanic growth was due to births inside the state while most of the Asian growth came from immigration. Even though the state's total birth rate has declined this decade, 40% - 50% of the births were Hispanic children. Nationwide, according to the Census Bureau, Hispanic numbers grew by over 35% and Asians by over 40%, while blacks and American Indians grew by only 3% and 2%. In Orange County the number of Asians grew by 41% and Hispanics grew by 36%.
  • September 14 1999 Reuters Greenpeace Mexico Decries Genetically Altered Food. Imports from the United States contain a high percentage of genetically modified corn; the adapted plant jeopardizes 300 corn varieties existing in Mexico. Corn pollen can travel several miles (kilometres) and may contaminate local varieties, as well as threaten monarch butterflies. Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs, are resistant to some herbicides, so more powerful ones have to be applied that may damage the ecosystem. GMO resistance to existing plant infections can cause new plant diseases to appear. Greenpeace said that large multinationals hope to take control of and dominate the corn industry.
  • September 13 1999 IPS Mexico: New Plan to Combat Severe Pollution. Mexico City has a new plan to promote the conservation and sustainable management of its natural resources, and to abate the pollution of its rivers and air by thousands of factories. Situated in a valley surrounded by mountains that prevent winds from clearing the air, with 105,721 tons of contaminants per day from 4,623 factories, 48% of its residents suffer some chronic air pollution symptoms. The city wastes more than 40% of the 70,000 liters/second of water that its 20 million inhabitants require. 190 million tons of waste categorized as dangerous are produced each year, most coming from the chemical industry. Plans include reforestation, recovery of wetlands, cleanup of canals, control of mini-watersheds, and the creation of agro-ecological units.
  • September 14 1999 Reuters South Africans Know about AIDS but Spurn Protection.  AIDS infects 1,600 South Africans every day. 6 million, out of a total population of 40 million, will be infected within five years. 87% know that condoms could protect them, but only 22% ever used them. The unemployment rate of 30% is blamed - people with time on their hands find sex the only activity they could easily engage in. Most men see condoms as a challenge to their virility and proof their partner does not trust them.
  • September 14 1999 Xinhua Cambodia's Population Reaches 11.4 Million.  Cambodia's population has doubled in the last 36 years. The average annual growth rate of 2.5% is higher than neighboring Vietnam's 1.8% and Thailand's 1.0% and marginally lower than Laos' 3.0 percent. The country must try to reduce the size of families to ensure everyone a fair share of resources, Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng said. "Birth spacing should be encouraged, couples should be permitted to have only the desired number of children and safe motherhood should be ensured."    84% of the population are rural. 42.8% are under age 15. About 64% of the children ages 7 to 14 attend schools. Cambodia's territory is 181,035 square kilometers and it's density is 64 persons per square kilometer.
  • September 14 1999 Xinhua More than Half Million Tanzanians in Food Shortage.  Over 600,000 people in the Shinyanga region are facing an acute food shortage of 158,000 tons of grain caused by a prolonged drought and lack of food storage. Residents have been encouraged to plant at least 2 acres of drought-resistant crops such as sorghum, millet, cassava and sweet potatoes and to plant cotton as a cash crop so that they aren't tempted to sell their food for money.
  • September 9 1999 IPS Venezuela: Bank Offers Poverty-Fighting Loans.  The People's Bank is offering financial support for the poor, using micro-credits in which "the human factor is more important than capital." Its goal is to formalize the informal economy, stimulate small businesses, and encourage individual savings. Following the example of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which recovers 95% of its loans and charges market-rate interest, the program will loan from $160 to $8,000, with an average of $800, in short-term loans that come due within three to twelve months. Venzuela's unemployment rate is 15%, with an expected 4% drop in the year's gross domestic product (GDP), and a fiscal deficit of $8 billion.
  • September 12, 1999 LA Times How Do We Bridge the Housing Gap? California is among the worst in terms of affordable places to live.   Rents are so high that working poor can't afford a decent apartment; but housing costs are also high - the lowest home ownership rate of any state is in California. Affordable housing bond measures have been introduced for the November 2000 ballot. A minimum-wage worker in Southern California would have to clock between 100 and 154 hours per week for an average two-bedroom apartment. Consequences are: overcrowding and slums; less disposable leading to degradation of local and neighborhood economic health, traffic congestion and pollution because people can't afford to live near work. The report was produced by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
  • September 10, 1999 FT.com China Relaxes It One-Child Policy.  Beijing says that demographic growth is coming under control and that the government is looking at the social consequences of the one-child family, ending the generation of pampered only children - known as 'little emperors'. Experimental programs have been started in over 300 localities which give people "informed choice" over the use of contraceptives.
  • September 11, 1999 LA Times Canadians Begin to Say No to Immigrants From China A recent string of smuggling ships is testing the nation's reputation as welcome mat to the world. Canada absorbs 225,000 legal immigrants a year, more in proportion to its population than any other Western country. Canadians spend $5 million in estimated tax dollars spent on immigrants and some of them are fed up with multiculturalism. Also Canadians dislike anyone flouting the rules--like showing up illegally at the border. One out of 5 asylum seekers resurface in the U.S., many working for years as indentured servants in New York sweatshops to pay back smuggling debts.
  • September 10, 1999 IPS Panama: Water Quality Declining Due to Pollution.  Panama City's water has, in the last 10 years, suffered a severe decline due to urban sprawl, chaotic growth of industry, deforestation and the pollution of water sources. The country may have no clean water by 2010 if urgent measures are not taken. Dumps, created by companies and informal, unplanned urban settlements are leaching into the water. Pig and chicken manure are dumped into the rivers. The population of the canal zone has increased 10-fold from 1950 to around 200,000 today. 80% of 344,000 hectares of natural forests in the area around the canal have been deforested. Average annual rainfall has fallen from 1,739 millimeters in the 1980s to 1,550 millimeters by the early 1990s due to deforestation and climate changes like El Nino.
  • September 10, 1999 PRNewswire

  • September 9, 1999 Harvard World Health News Can AIDS Be Stopped?  In an interview with Dean Barry, 33 million people are currently being ravaged by AIDS, 2/3 living in Southern Africa. Southeast Asia, India, and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union suffer a growing threat. India has the fastest growing infection rate. It is spreading through heterosexual contact, during childbirth and breastfeeding. The rate of infection in the U.S. is currently under control, but hundreds of thousands of travelers enter the United States every day from AIDS-endemic countries. New strains of the AIDS virus are spreading overseas very rapidly. Resistance to drug therapies may increase due to improper use of the therapies. At $12,000 to $15,000 per patient per year, obviously drug treatments are not available to most people in developing countries. Education has had an impact in some countries, for example, Uganda, who government is open about the problem. Prevention efforts include condom distribution, HIV testing, counseling, support services, and widespread mobilization involving women's and community groups. 9 million children in Africa have lost one or both parents to AIDS. In the next 10 or 15 years there will be 40 million orphans. There are some treatments to save newborns, but very few of the mothers will survive. Effective vaccines are not in the foreseeable future.
  • September 10, 1999 ZPG Governor Davis to Decide on Contraceptive Equity Bills.  The California state legislature passed legislation (H.B. 39 and S.B. 41) requiring health insurance companies to cover prescription contraceptives in the same manner they cover other prescription drugs. Governor Gray Davis has said in the past that he would support such legislation, but he is under intense pressure from opposing groups to veto this bill. Your help is needed in convincing Gov. Davis to sign! The failure to cover contraceptives is one of the major causes that women between the ages of 18 and 44 pay nearly 70% more than their male counterparts in out-of-pocket health care costs.
  • September 1999 Scientific American U.S. Immigration.  U.S. immigration was largely unrestricted until the mid-1920s, after which Congress passed legislation severely limiting entry from all regions except northwestern Europe. In 1965 immigration laws have been more liberal, including the Immigration and Reform Act of 1986, under which 2.7 million illegal aliens, mostly from Mexico, were given legal immigrant status. Since 1965, 27 million have immigrated to the U.S., including illegal entries. In recent years, typically there will be 916,000 legal immigrants, an estimated 275,000 illegals, while emigration reduce those numbers by about 220,000 annually. The U.S. Census Bureau projects the U.S. population to 394 million in 2050. Of the 122 million increase, 80 million would be added because of immigration.
  • September 10, 1999 International Herald Tribune. An Increasing Vulnerability to Natural Disasters.  In an article by Kofi Annan, weather-related disasters in 1998 exceeded the costs of all such disasters in the decade of the 1980s - tremendous earthquakes in Turkey and Afghanistan, hurricanes George and Mitch, a cyclone in India in June causing an estimated 10,000 deaths, major floods in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, China's catastrophic Yangtze River flood, and fires ravaging tens of thousands of square kilometers of forest in Brazil, Indonesia and Siberia. 90% of disaster victims worldwide live in developing countries, where poverty and population pressures force growing numbers of people to live in harm's way. People live in unsafe buildings in floodplains, unstable hillsides, or earthquake zones. Logging and destruction of rain-absorbing wetlands have increased erosion and flooding. Disaster control programs such as the ones put in place in China are needed.
  • September 3, 1999 WWF Freshwater Species in Dramatic Decline Worldwide.  Fifty-one percent of freshwater species, from fish and frogs to river dolphins, are declining in numbers, due to decline of the the world's rivers, lakes and other wetlands from pesticides, fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals are washed into the waterways by rain. The use of fertilizer has increased 5 times since the 1960s. Since 1970, the world has lost 10 per cent of its natural forests. Only half of the world's original forest cover remains.
  • September 3, 1999 WorldWatch Unemployment Climbing As World Approaches 6 Billion.  American unemployment may have reached near record low, but unemployment in the rest of the world is at an all-time high. The world's labor force has expanded from 1.2 billion people in 1950 to nearly 3 billion in 1999, with 1 billion unemployed or underemployed, and this number will reach nearly 4.5 billion by 2050, while in the world's 50 poorest countries, the work force will surge some 235%. Peru, Mexico, Indonesia, Zambia, and other nations that have half of their population below the age of 25 will feel the burden of this labor flood. In the Middle East and Africa, 40% of the population is under the age of 15. In Africa, 40% of the population lives in absolute poverty and underemployment is already the norm. The United States work force will grow from 139 million in 1999 to 162 million in 2050, adding roughly half a million job seekers each year. Increased mechanization and shrinkage of cropland per person (by 1/2 in 50 years) as reduced the labor needs on the farm-where most of the world still derives its food and income-while the flood of cheap food imports undermine rural livelihoods. Enhanced domestic and international support for family planning services, reproductive health care, the education of young people, and other efforts to stabilize population will yield the dual benefits of better living conditions and brighter job prospects in the next century.
  • September 9, 1999 The Washington Post Journey of the Abortion Pill  RU-486, or mifepristone, which induces non-surgical abortion and could be prescribed by any doctor, has been available in Europe for over 10 years. On the other hand, in the U.S., legislation has just missed blocking the the Food and Drug Administration was nearly from completing its safety tests on the drug two years in a row by language inserted into a congressonal agricultural appropriations bill. Hopefully this language will once again be thrown out. "As long as the right to an abortion remains the law of the land, though, Congress has no business using the appropriations process to block access to a safer means of obtaining one".
  • August 25, 1999 Population Council Improving Quality of Care in India's Family Welfare Programme, The Challenge Ahead,  is new Population Council book illuminating the poor quality-of-care issues facing India's family planning program, which argues for a more intense focus on providing client-centered, high-quality family planning services. The book is edited by Michael A. Koenig and M.E. Khan, with contributions from more than two dozen social scientists, public health physicians, members of nongovernmental organizations, and women's health activists. "India's Family Welfare Programme remains characterized by an overriding concern for numbers--as measured by the recruitment of sterilization acceptors", the editors note. "The problems described are clearly not unique to India, but broadly characteristic of health and family planning services in many, if not most, developing-country settings." This book demonstrate how poor-quality services lead to lower levels of client satisfaction, a poor image, and general distrust of the public-sector system. For further information e-mail: pubinfo@popcouncil.org.
  • September 2, 1999 BCC Drug to Combat Growing Malaria Menace. A new drug that can be taken orally, and is inexpensive, may be effective in combating malaria - a disease that is becoming resistant to current medications. The drug appears to cure malaria in mice. Malaria causes up to 2.7 million deaths per year. Global warming may cause malaria will spread to temperate climates, including the UK.
  • September 6, 1999 IPS Ethiopia: 40 Million at Risk of Malaria.  Two-thirds of the Ethiopian population are at risk for malaria, which attacks after the heavy rainy season from September to November. Five million are infected every year. The solution is to pour burned engine oil or kerosene on the swamps or ponds where the mosquitos which bear malaria live. Malaria is also spread to urban areas by way of trucks, helicopter or railways from the rural areas. The main transmiiter, the anopheles mosquito, has been found to be resistant to chloroquine. Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine is now being used for the anopheles while chloroquine is still being used for other mosquito types.
  • September 6, 1999 Xinhua Bangladesh to Announce National Health Policy Shortly.  "Our government has been pursuing consistently a policy of health development, particularly for the under-served rural masses," Prime minister Sheikh Hasina said. Health problems are due to the vicious cycle of population explosion, poverty, low literacy rate and malnutrition. Communicable diseases are high, especially preventable diseases among the children under age five.
  • September 6, 1999 Xinhua Cambodia to Strive Against AIDS Spread.  Use of condoms, educating people about the danger of HIV/AIDS and expanding health care for people infected by HIV/AIDS are the proposed measures. 100% use of condoms is advised, especially in brothels. Cambodia is a small country with 11.5 million population. 20,000 have AIDS while 200,000 are infected with HIV.
  • September 7, 1999 NYT Bid To Ban DDT Draws Fire From Health Experts Efforts by the United Nations to ban the insecticide DDT and other "persistent organic pollutants" (POPs) are being opposed by public health experts who "say DDT is necessary to stop the spread of malaria." 370 doctors, health economists and scientists, and three Nobel laureates, have sent an open letter to oppose the UNEP's DDT campaign, arguing that any POPs treaty should include an exception to "allow DDT to be sprayed in small quantities on the interior walls of homes, where it acts as a repellent" of malaria-carrying mosquitoes. The World Health Organization estimates that 300 million to 500 million new cases of each year, "killing many more people than it did decades ago." The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Physicians for Social Responsibility argue that even small amounts of DDT sprayed inside homes are harmful to the environment and human health and that the pesticide turns up in human breast milk. Behind using DDT are The Malaria Foundation International and the Malaria Project.  Malaria "is far, far more deadly than the worst that one could imagine about DDT."
  • September 2, 1999 USA Today Men Should Share Birth Control Burden - Untapped Demand for Male Pill. Researchers have been focusing on two methods: stopping sperm production and rendering sperm useless to fertilize an egg. This has to be done without lowering muscle mass, HDL (good) cholesterol levels, libido, and other testosterone-related benefits. One researcher is working on an implant and testosterone patch that, used together, will suppress sperm production while maintaining male hormone levels. A patch to be worn on the upper arm that releases a sperm-blocking synthetic steroid has been developed by the Population Council. A four-week study shows that this method may be safe and effective. But U.S. pharmaceutical companies do not seem to want to invest significantly in male birth control research. According to the World Health Organization, men would prefer a male pill or injection over condom use or vasectomies, which are the only two choices for men.
  • August 15, 1999 San Francisco Chronicle Now Serving 6 Billion We should reflect on our collective ability to feed everyone. In Africa, food production has lagged; in Latin America extreme inequality drives growing hunger; in the United States, which has more hungry people than any other industrial nation. While per capita food production in the world has outstripped population growth by 16% during the last 35 years, and we now have more food per person available than ever before, there are still more than 800 million hungry people, according to the United Nations, 36 million of them in the US, which is the world's top food exporter. In the US, a full-time, minimum wage earner does not make enough to cover both housing and food for a family of four. Impoverished peoples in third world countries cannot afford food harvested from their country's soils. In the global marketplace, food is distributed not according to human need, but rather in response to money. Family farm agriculture is more productive than corporate farming because it is based on principles of equity and ecological sustainability. "While slowing population growth in itself cannot end hunger, the changes that would help ensure equitable food distribution -- the democratization of economic life and the empowerment of women -- also have been shown to be the keys to reducing birth rates, so that the human population can come into balance with the rest of the natural world".
  • October 7, 1999 IPS Rights-Cote D'Ivoire: Renewed Efforts To Outlaw Domestic violence. The Ivorian Association for Women's Rights (AIDF) is seeking 10,000 signatures in its campaign against violence toward women. The association, created in 1992, and funded by the UN Population Fund (UNPF), UN Children's Fund (Unicef), the UN Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Canadian embassy in Cote d'Ivoire, and a $16,000- grant from the U.S. Fund for Human Rights and Democracy, aims to combat harmful traditional practices, such as female genital mutilation, forced or under-age marriages, and wife-inheritance. In 1998, a Cote D'Ivoire law made female genital mutilation (FGM) a crime.
  • October 5, 1999 CNIE Rural women: Provide Key To Growing Global Demand For Food  At a 3 day conference in Rome, UN Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General Dr. Jacques Diouf said "There will be no food security without women. The global demand for food is expected to soar until 2030, as total world population grows by 2.1 billion people. Women already produce 50 to 90% of domestic food crops in Asia and 80 to 90% in many sub-Saharan African countries. The "progressive feminization" of poverty has happened because women's access is limited to land, credit, education, training and new technologies.
  • October 15, 1999 E-Wire Sierra Club Endorses Policy of "Negative Population Growth".  Recently, the nation's leading environmental organization adopted advocacy of reduction in human population in the United States and the world. According to Washington-based NPG, the decision by the Club's Board of Directors recognized that the Club's 1970 position to "stabilize" populations was no longer adequate in the face of the dire environmental consequences of overpopulation as Earth's population rockets past six billion. In 1970, the year of the first Earth Day, Zero Population Growth, or "ZPG" was a central theme in the U.S. because of alarm over the post WWII Baby Boom. Starting in 1965, changes in immigration law soon restarted growth and the term for reduction, or negative population growth was coined and the organization NPG was founded.
  • October 5, 1999 CNIE Marking a World Population of 6 Billion. CNIE - the Committee for the National Institute for the Environment, has produced A Collection of Online Resources. Included are numerous articles from such sources as the BBC, PBS, Chicago Tribune, Reuters, Associated Press, and many more. Also included are many web-based resources from the sources as the Muséum National d'Histoire in Paris, Population Action International, Population Reference Bureau, and others. And the National Library for the Environment’s own Population and Environment Linkages service includes extensive information resources on many subjects such as air & climate, biodiversity, demography, energy, coasts & oceans, development & economics, food & agriculture, and much, much more Includes reports, books, papers, maps, datasets, slideshows.....
  • October 1, 1999 CNN THE WORLD TODAY Catholic Hospitals Under Fire for Conservative Policies. According to Catholics For a Free Choice, nearly half the mergers between Catholic and non-Catholic hospitals in recent years have meant some restriction of the reproductive services offered, not just abortions, but most reproductive health care procedures related to birth control, like tubal ligations. Sometimes many low income women simply cannot afford to travel long distances to another hospital.
  • October 12, 1999 Wall Street Journal Six Billion Reasons to Cheer Alarms about 6 billion people are all recitations from a familiar doctrine: neo-Malthusianism. There's room for everybody. This "population explosion" did not erupt because people suddenly began breeding like rabbits, but because people finally stopped dying like flies. Infant mortality in the "less-developed regions" dropped by almost two-thirds. The gap between the rich and poor has never been so small. Per capita output for the world quadrupled between the start of the century and the early 1990s. Commodities are less scarce than ever before. Population planners haven't invented a pill that can alter family size preferences for women of childbearing age. [NOTE: This is a negative op-ed that appeared in the Wall Street Journal. Letters in repines should be directed to: Letter to the Editor; The Wall Street Journal; 200 Liberty Street; New York, NY 10281. Letters can also be faxed daily before 4:00 p.m. to 212/416-2658.]
  • October 08, 1999 Dallas Morning News Policy Lets Women File Discrimination Cases with U.N.  The U.N. General Assembly has adopted a protocol to enable women to submit sex discrimination complaints directly to the United Nations if their own country won't hear them. As soon as 10 countries have ratified it, it will enter into force. The convention, was adopted in December 1979 and ratified by 163 countries. The treaty requires that women have equal rights to work, pay, benefits and safe working conditions and prohibits discrimination against women in political activities and requires a minimum age for marriage.
  • October 14, 1999 Africa News Service AIDS Will Not Reduce Population.  Even though AIDS is reducing the annual life expectancy by seven years in Zambia, there will be no significant decline in population, according to a UNFPA representative. High fertility levels are due to the boom in population of those under 25 years old. "Even if they only produced one or two children each, they will still make a significant impact on population growth, even in Zambia," she said. Just by increasing the age of first birth from 18 years to 23 years would reduce population momentum by over 40%, a key point for societies to act on.
  • October 13, 1999 ENN Future Looks Brighter for the Tiger.  Wild tiger numbers around the world are increasing. Tigers currently number 5,000 to 7,000. The upswing is taking place in areas like the Russian Far East, Nepal and areas in India and Bhutan. The number one threat to tigers is loss of prey, but measures have slowed other threats to tigers: illegal exotic pet trade, and trade in tiger skins and tiger parts.
  • October 10, 1999 ENN Deadly Northeast U.S. Virus a New Strain.  A new virus strain that is the cause of an encephalitis outbreak in New York City has killed several people. It is related to the West Nile Virus and has never been seen in the Western Hemisphere. The life cyle of the virus involves crows and other birds as well as mosquitoes and humans. "We may be seeing these outbreaks because the world is becoming a smaller place, due to air travel and increased international trade," said Dr. Ian Lipkin, director of the Emerging Diseases Laboratory at the University of California at Irvine.
  • October 11, 1999 San Francisco Chronicle And Baby Makes 6 Billion.  Dianne Sherman, of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), said birth control accords reached during a 1994 international population conference in Cairo are working. Birthrates have dropped because women in developing countries are obtaining the information and materials they need to limit family size. Of her recent visit to India, she said "Much of our work is being done in Uttar Pradesh," a state in India with a population of about 220 million, (close to that of the United States). Uttar Pradesh is a very poor state with a rural, conservative culture. "Yet people are determined to control the size of their families." "Virtually everyone we talked to wanted no more than two children" "Reproduction is a politicized issue in India, but (birth control) enjoys tremendous support at the village level."
  • September 24, 1999 India Times Y6B Statement from the White House.  President Clinton said that "rapid growth and its effect on our environment and quality of life will pose difficult challenges for all of us." At the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt, "we agreed to work with other nations to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS; to improve the status of women; to enhance educational opportunities for children; and to support voluntary family planning and related health care." Clinton's administration as seen increased funding for U.S. family planning and reproductive health services, which have helped reduce teen pregnancies and abortions. Overseas, more than $5.5 billion was invested in "over 100 countries on health and population initiatives and on women's empowerment." Technology will help us address clean energy and will help developing countries bypass environmental costs of the industrial age. "The best way to stabilize population growth is to fight poverty and to build healthy, growing economies in the developing world." The world's wealthiest nations agreed to a debt relief package in Cologne this year to help us do that. Last month, it was announced that the United States will forgive 100 percent of the debt owed us by the world's least developed countries if they will use the savings to address basic human needs. Clinton committed the U.S. to the acceleraction of vaccines for diseases that devastate the developing world.
  • October 13, 1999 Washington Post A Dire Need for Family Planning Funds.  Some of the points not made in previous Y6B articles: per-capita water consumption is rising twice as fast as world population. Since 1970, globally, forests have shrunk from 11.4 to 7.3 square kilometers per 1,000 people, particularly noticed in developing countries, which are exporting forest products to meet the demand for wood and paper in the industrialized world. 12% of the planet's soil has been severely degraded in the last 50 years. Married couples using contraception in developing countries has risen from 10% in the '60s to 55%. Over 100 million women in developing countries want to avoid or postpone childbearing but do not use contraception. 15 years ago the U.S. gave $45 million to the UNFPA, but this year the figure was only $25 million. Donor countries had pledged to spend $ 5.7 billion a year on family planning programs, but they have given only $1.4 billion.
  • September 24, 1999 India Times India - Figuring it Out  In the UNFPA's latest State of the World's Population report 6 Billion: A Time for Choices, the world's increasing population, instead of being viewed as a potentially productive asset, is treated as a burdensome liability for want of basic social services. Unfortunately, for the developing world, this will prove true and nowhere more so than in India. India's figures are on a par with some of the chronically poor, war-affected African nations. Half of its women are illiterate, the infant mortality rate is unacceptably high, and access to natural resources is shrinking. No seeker of political office in recent elections has paid lip service to these crucial life and death issues. Most polititians believe that a growing population must be contained by undemocratic methods, even though the government instituted a client-friendly reproductive health policy which takes a holistic view of population two years ago. It offers women's empowerment, education, access to health services, and a choice of reversible contraceptive methods. In Kerala where this was done, fertility levels have been pushed to an all time low.
  • October 12, 1999 ENN Dan Walters: Sierra Club's Myopic Stand.  Walters says of the report "Solving Sprawl - The Sierra Club Rates the States" - that, "in its state-by-state grading on land use controls, transportation and other subjects, the Sierra Club completely ignored the powerful underlying factor: population growth." [Walters overlooks the statement on pg. 4 of the Introduction: "Though most sprawl can be traced to poor planning and inefficient development, the impact of a growing population should not be ignored. While we work to rein in growth, we must also remain committed to population stabilization."] Walters also points out that praising Oregon, Vermont and Maryland for their sprawl programs is like complimenting the sun for rising each morning. They experience relatively little population growth and thus have less demand for housing, retail services and transportation facilities which California and other high-growth states must confront. Oregon adds about 50,000 a year, while Vermont adds 3,000 annually and Maryland adds about 40,000 a year. California adds 40,000 each month, driven by foreign immigration (300,000 a year) and births (500,000-plus babies per year). Walters goes on to say that the Sierra Club is endorsing a block of denser housing in the already developed suburbs of Pleasanton, Livermore, Danville and San Ramon -- which are close to mass transit, which seems to go against the Sierra Club policy of denser "infill" development of existing urban areas. The Oakland-based Economic Development Alliance for Business says that the alternative would be to develop more farmland to the east. Walters says that affluent suburbanites don't want apartment complexes which would house blue-color workers.
  • October 12, 1999 ENN Most Abundant Greenhouse Gas, Water Vapor, Has Significant Effects on Global Climate.  It might have a negative affect on the greenhouse effect, but not much is really known. Results of a study will be presented at the American Geophysical Union conference in Potomac, Md. Water vapor is involved in the global hydrological cycle, participating in chemical reactions both in the troposphere (lower atmosphere), and in the stratosphere(6 to 10 miles above the Earth's surface), where it affects the quantity of ozone. It also absorbs radiation and does not allow it to escape into space, which is part of the greenhouse effect.
  • October 12, 1999 ENN Extinction Debts Come Due Long after Deforestation. Species extinction is likely to occur for up to a century after a tropical orest has been logged, says a scientist at the Zoological Society of London. Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Nigeria could lose more than a third of their primate species within the next few decades, even if no additional forest were lost.
  • October, 1999 Environmental News Service Climate Change Control Cheaper by the Half-Dozen.  Reducing emissions of all six greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol might cost 60% less than trying to curb carbon dioxide alone, say researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole in an article in the journal Nature. The six gases are: CO2, methane, nitrous oxide and three halocarbons used as substitutes for ozone damaging chlorofluorocarbons.
  • October 11, 1999 Xinhua Sarajevo Baby to be Honored as 6 Billionth Person on Earth.The U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan will symbolically give the first baby born after midnight in Sarajevo the honor of being baby number 6 billion. [A 29-year-old first-time mother, Fatima Nevic gave birth to the 8-pound, heathy boy two minutes after midnight after a seven-hour labor at Sarajevo's hospital.] Over 1 billion people have no clean drinking water, and 841 million are chronically malnourished. In 1994, it was determined that $17 billion was needed for global family planning programs, but by 1997, only $10 billion had been raised. In 29 African countries, the average life expectancy is seven years lower than it would have been without AIDS. Populations are not expected to decline because of the high birth rates in these countries, but health and reproductive care is needed to slow and stop the spread of infection.
  • October 11, 1999 Africa News Service Rwandan Population on the Rise.  Now at 8.1 million, and with 300 inhabitants per one sq. km, Rwanda has one of the highest population density of Africa. The average fertility rate increased from 6.2 to 6.5 per woman between 1992 and 1999. Living standards have deteriorated. The infant mortality rate is at 130 per 1000. 47% of the total population is illiterate; only 100,000 Rwandans have a paid job, while 90% depend on agriculture for a living.
  • October 11, 1999 Xinhua China Succeeds in Scaling down Population Growth. China's growth rate was below one % last year, a goal set for all member countries by the UN International Conference on Population and Development years ago. China's population was 1/5 of the world's total last year, instead of 1/4 ten years ago. The average birth rate is 1.8 children. Population is forecast to be 1.3 billion in 2003. China expects a zero population growth rate in 40 years, peaking at about 1.5 billion.
  • October 11, 1999 Xinhua UNFPA Supports Vietnams's Population, Development Program.  The UNFPA says that Vietnam has been doing well in the areas of reducing hunger and poverty, increasing women's power, curbing pollution, expanding education and improving people's health. The fund has provided technical help, implemented projects in reproductive health care, gender equality promotion, and improving policy-makers' and the press' awareness about population and development. Vietnamese women have 2.4 children now compared to 3.8 10 years ago. The average life expectancy is 64-69.
  • October 6, 1999 Seattle Post-Intelligence  Global Warming -- the Heat is On.  The National Environmental Trust, the Union of Concerned Scientists and Physicians for Social Responsibility have launched an $11 million public education campaign to pressure Congress on its "lack of action" on climate change. It will focus on the potential health risks and physical costs of global warming. The campaign urges Congress to take action on the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. The Clinton administration has not submitted the treaty to the Senate for ratification because Senate Republican leaders have "labeled it a job killer". In another article by National Journal magazine, The Department of Energy (DOE) wants carbon sequestration (storing atmospheric carbon in forests or other "sinks,") available as a "major option" by 2020 or 2030 and is seeking proposals for research projects. Industrialized countries may need to try "something radical." "Wild" ideas such as introducing microbes into CO2 reservoirs that would turn the gas into methane, to be used as natural gas, were discussed.
  • September 27, 1999 MSNBC News States Ranked in War Against Sprawl.  Maryland, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont are leading the way in the struggle against sprawl. States were ranked on four categories: land use planning, open space protection, transportation planning, and community revitalization. Negative Population Growth says the issue is all about population, not land use or transportation, espousing smaller families and limiting immigration. The Reason Foundation called the report a “mixed bag” - interesting ideas mixed with “archaic” proposals like more mass-transit funding. The Sierra Club report is online at www.sierraclub.org/sprawl/report99.
  • September 27, 1999 Geography Guide China Eases One-Child Rule.  After two decades of implementation the "one-child rule" will be relaxed by the year 2003. It was never all-encompassing because it only applied to ethnic Han Chinese living in urban areas. Because disdain for females resulted in a ratio 118 males for every 100 females, China has recently allowed some parents of a female to try for a male as their second child. Sibling-less couples are also allowed to have two children. IUDs, sterilization, and abortion are the most popular forms of contraception, but China recently has supported alternatives. China's total fertility rate is 1.8, greater than Germany at 1.2.
  • October 5, 1999 Washington Post Poll Outlines Millennium Woes. An ABC News poll says that the biggest challenge in the next millennium may be learning to live together. Pollution, violence, overpopulation, war, immorality, and food shortages, were next.
  • October 6, 1999 Christian Science Monitor Containing Earth's Population Girth.  It happened simply enough: Death rates declined and birth rates didn't. Modern medicine kept people, especially children, from dying, and these life-saving practices were spread throughout the world. Medicine also found ways to prevent births, but at first this encountered a multitude of political, cultural, and religious objections. These are slowly being removed. The rate of population growth peaked about 1970. But more women are having fewer babies -it will take at least a generation to slow the momentum of population growth. Pressure for immigration, legal or not, is high and will go higher, becoming an increasingly controversial issue in American. Overcrowding degrades sanitation and public health while polluted water and air make bad health worse. The pressure to increase food causes overgrazing, overfarming [and overpumping of water] and eventurally produces less food, not more.
  • October 6, 1999 NAS & PAI House Passes FY2000 Foreign Operations Appropriations Conference Repor  This was passed yesterday in the House by a vote of 214-211. Next Step: The report will go before the full Senate within the next couple of days. However, even if the report passes in the Senate, it is likely that the President will veto it because of unacceptably low funding levels. More details here.
  • October 3, 1999 Utne Reader Online McMansion Mania: We're supersizing in the suburbs, and we can't seem to stop.  Megahouses are ostentatious symbols of America's class divide, plus they "reflect a fundamental problem with American culture: impoverishment of the public sphere and glorification of the private." The public realm is squalid while the private realm is luxurious. Auto-based sprawl, decimation of green space, and restriction of pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use development are the results. Will land scarcity further divide rich and poor or will it compel policy makers to encourage cluster housing and smaller houses with smaller lots?
  • September 23, 1999 Rachel's Environment and Health Weekly Scientists Say Future is in the Balance.  In a joint report from the Royal Society of London, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, "Population Growth, Resource Consumption and a Sustainable World," "If population growth continues and patterns of human activity remain unchanged, "science and technology may not be able to prevent either irreversible degradation of the environment or continued poverty for much of the world." .. "The future of our planet is in the balance" .. "Sustainable development can be achieved, but only if irreversible degradation of the environment can be halted in time. The next 30 years may be crucial." The report says that, because of consumption habits of the developed countries and the potential for global warming due to use of fossil fuels, that prosperity and technology give developed countries the greater possibilities and the greater responsibility for addressing environmental problems. In the developing countries the rapidly growing population and the pressure to develop their economies are leading to substantial and increasing damage to the local environment - by pollution from energy use and other industrial activities, as well as by clearing of forests and inappropriate agricultural practices. LDCs have less than 15% of the world's GNP and have only 6-7% of the world's active scientists and engineers, which makes it difficult for them to manage their own environment. The overall pace of environmental changes has unquestionably been accelerated by the recent expansion of the human population. Surveys in LDCs reveal "large amounts of unwanted childbearing". The next 30 years may be crucial. Recommendations for science development: new and better contraceptives, alternative energy sources, agricultural production and food processing, improvements in human health, especially with malaria, hepatitis and AIDS, improved land-use to prevent erosion and desertification, protection of watersheds, waste and pollution control, and a better understanding of the dimensions of biodiversity.
  • Oct/Nov, 1999 Ms. Magazine Giving the Vatican the Boot.  A coalition of more than 100 international women's, religious, and reproductive rights groups launched the See Change Campaign to challenge the Vatican's power at the U.N.-and to downgrade its status from a nonmember state to a traditional NGO. It is the only only religious body to enjoy "nonmember state permanent observer" status. The Vatican has fought the morning-after pill for rape victims; opposed any mention of female condoms; advocated replacing "rights" with "status"-as in "respect for women's status" instead of "respect for women's rights," and is against confidential sex counseling for adolescents and for a reconfirmation of parental rights. One of its most extreme positions is the prohibition on the use of condoms for protection against sexually transmitted diseases, even for married couples in which one partner has HIV.
  • September 30, 1999 Deutsche Presse-Agentur Child Pregnancies: Britain's Sad Record.  "Twelve-year-old children should not be on the streets at night," said Prime Minister Tony Blair. 60 million pounds (about 100 million dollars) will be invested into family advice centres and education campaigns and to cut the rate of teenage pregnancies in half by 2010. Babies of teen mothers weigh less at birth, are more prone to accidents in childhood and suffer a 60% higher infant mortality rate. The teen birth rate in England is double that of Germany and 6 times higher than that of the Netherlands. The rate seems to be higher in areas of unemployment. Britain's youngest grandmother is age 26.
  • September 22, 1999 Discovery Health Accroding to U.N. figures released today, "far too many" women in developing countries still are denied access to education, family planning, contraception, and decent health care. Annually, 70,000 women die from unsafe abortions. One woman dies nearly every minute from problems related to childbirth and pregnancy; most could have been saved if health care and information had been available during pregnancies. Funding is needed to prevent continued high rates of "female illiteracy, unwanted pregnancy, abortion, maternal and child deaths, and an even faster spread of HIV/AIDS.". Generally women have been having fewer children, but so many are of childbearing age that birth rates have continued at a rate of about 78 million per year. Almost half the world's population is under the age of 25.
  • September 30, 1999 The Christian Science Monitor Welcome to Earth: Population 6 Billion.  This is another long article touching on several subjects. But items not covered in previous Y6B articles follow. At a meeting of the International Botanical Congress in St. Louis this summer, scientists reported that nearly half the earth's land mass already has been changed by human activity - wetlands filled in, forests cut down, prairies plowed under. Runoff from farms, industries, and urban areas has resulted in some 50 "dead zones" in coastal waters. Water temperature has increased, possibly from global warming." 1/4 of bird species have been lost, and 2/3 of fisheries have been depleted. From 1974 to 1995, rice production in increased in China by 88%; Indonesia's food production increased by 69%, Bangladesh - 100%, India - 117%, the UK - 50%. Brazil increased corn production by 63%, China - 213%, the US - 118%. But according to the World Watch Institute, the view that humans can engineer their way to unlimited prosperity is far too sanguine: 1.3 billion of the world's people are impoverished, living on less than 1 dollar a day. Increases in food production seem to have leveled off. 841 million people are chronically malnourished, and there are 88 "food deficit" countries. "They can neither feed themselves nor afford the imports they need," says the UNFPA.
  • September 30, 1999 The Christian Science Monitor Billionaires Giving to Get the Numbers Down. Bill Gates, Ted Turner, George Soros, Warren Buffett, the Rockefeller family and the Packard Foundation (the late David Packard of Hewlett-Packard fame), each has contributed large sums to support family planning efforts around the world. Computer software giant Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, have put $17 billion in a philanthropic foundation, much of it marked for global health and education issues. The three richest people in the world (Gates and Buffett are No. 1 and No. 3) have personal assets that together exceed the combined gross domestic product of the 48 least-developed nations in the world. Ted Turner has donated $1 Billion to the U.N., much of it for environmental and population programs.
  • October 1, 1999 AP Growing Pains Driving People out of Republican and Democratic Parties.  The growing population of the West is forcing politicians to rethink the way they court voters. They must focus less on crime and taxes, and more on education, building roads, water filtration plants, homes and schools, according to the Center for the New West. In California 5.3 million new residents, 3.2 million of them Hispanics will arrive in the next 10 years and the Latino vote will be up for grabs. According to the California Dept. of Finance, California will have to spend about $83 billion to build public services, to accommodate the population growth. "California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, among others, are also seeing a growing population of Hispanics, which both parties recognize as a political asset, especially in tight races."
  • September 24, 1999 Wired News More Than 6 Billion Served. By 2100, scientists predict that twice that many people will be rummaging for food. But an organization opposed to abortion and family planning refuses to believe the numbers, and it's pleading with the world's richest man [Bill Gates] to turn a blind eye to science. David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agricultural sciences at Cornell says that more than 3 billion suffer from malnutrition with food production decreasing due to a 20% decline in per capita cropland, a 15% decrease in water for irrigation, and a 23% drop in the use of fertilizers since 1983. But Steve Sanborn, director of public relations for Stop Planned Parenthood (STOPP) says the population crisis has nothing to do with overpopulation, and everything to do with underpopulation." STOPP is trying to convince the Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates that his contributions toward curbing population growth are aimed in the wrong direction. "people have been talking about the polar ice caps melting for 20 years. Yet they're actually getting bigger."
  • October 2, 1999 New Scientist Counting Down.  This article is betting that the world's population will peak in 2040 at around 7.7 billion people and then go into a long-term decline. "By 2100, it could be back below today's figure of six billion and by 2150 the projection is for just 3.6 billion people." The author ignores the impacts: destruction of species, overfishing, decline in water supplies, deforestation, global warming, and malnourished people, already happening.
  • September 27, 1999 Excite News 6,000,000,001 -- A Population Odyssey.  "The reality lies somewhere in-between the environmentalist model, (humanity will succumb to natural restraints), and the economic model (human nature can circumvent such natural restraints). We may be able to bend the laws of nature a bit, but it would be both arrogant and foolish to believe that we can continue to overburden the earth indefinitely." Many industrialized nations feel they have "done their part" by reducing their own birth rates. But the environmental toll that modernized nations exact has been overlooked. One average American child will use more resources than a Somalian family of eight.
  • October 4, 1999 PRnewswire Sierra Club Report Ignores Underlying Forces Behind Urban Growth, Says NAHB. The National Association of Home Builders president said: "We agree with the Sierra Club's conclusion that good planning at the local level can help alleviate the problems often associated with urban sprawl such as traffic congestion, overcrowded schools and the decline of the central cities. However, we part company with the Sierra Club on the definition of 'smart growth' and on many of the Sierra Club's recommendations. NAHB's definition of smart growth is clearly defined in its recent report, Smart Growth - Building Better Places to Live, Work and Play. In that report, NAHB defined smart growth as 'meeting the underlying demand for housing created by an ever-increasing population and prosperous economy by building a political consensus and employing market-sensitive and innovative land-use planning concepts.' [The Sierra Club believes that a large U.S. population growth is detrimental to the environment.]
  • September 28, 1999 Reuters India Heading For Ecological Disaster.  India's Environment and Forests Minister Suresh Prabhu said that failure to take effective measures to curb runaway population could lead to an ecological disaster. There is an urgent need to generate an awareness. The rivers, for example, with tens of millions of people living on their banks and millions of tons of daily waste, have lost their ability to revive themselves. Environment education in schools needs to be revitalized.
  • October 1, 1999 The New Republic Overpopulation is No Problem--in the Long Run.   In a lengthy discussion of the various issues surrounding world population, Gregg Easterbrook says: One of the oldest references to overpopulation is in the ancient Babylonian epic poem Atrahasis, where the gods were angry about too many people on the Earth, then numbering only 50 million. Today the population is 120 times that number. Opinions vary between calls of impending doom and the counterargument that the population actually needs to grow more. At least one more generation of increasing human population is a certainty. The "most likely" scenario is that the population will level off around nine billion around 2050, the equivalent of the impact of adding 33 more Mexicos to the world. Julian Simon called greater life expectancy "the most important achievement in human history." (from prehistory until the beginning of the twentieth century -life expectancy was 30 years, then it rose up to around 60 and 70). When the developing world's economy centered on feudal agriculture and high death rates meant that a woman needed to bear ten babies in order to see five survive to work the fields, fertility was high. Couples all over the world are responding by having fewer offspring, Demographic momentum means that population growth will continue for at least another 25 years, because a billion or so young people worldwide are just reaching childbearing age. Population growth is sometimes described as "a cancer on the Earth." Mayan society crashed in the ninth century, probably owing to resource exhaustion - those resources that were important at the time. Herve Le Bras in his studies found no relationship between density and quality of life. Malnutrition has declined from 1970 to the current time, even though population has increased. It is essential that the United States support international family planning. Slower growth did not happen by accident. Bangladesh's fertility rate fell from 7 births to 3.1 due to help with family planning efforts from international organizations. It would cost the typical taxpayer less than $3 per year to double U.S. family- planning support--far less than the likely price in treasure and blood if there were a war caused by overpopulation in which the United States had to intervene. [WOA!! does not agree with all his optimistic sustainability statements - see WOA!!s Sustainability page.]
  • September 28, 1999 New York Post Growing Pains  Ben Wattenberg tries to ridicule the truth about world population growth ("One Billion Missing People - But Don't Tell the U.N.!" Post Opinion, Sept. 18). Reply by Peter H. Kostmayer Zero Population Growth Washington, D.C. - The danger is that governments and concerned citizens will listen to Mr. Wattenberg and his anti-family-planning agenda and think that no further work is needed. However, half the earth's people are under 25, in or near their peak reproductive years, and most of them live in the developing world. Family-planning resources there are limited, as are opportunities for women. Fertility rates went up this year in several European countries, not down forever as Wattenberg says. The United States fertility rates earlier declined when women postponed children to go to college or get jobs. After that, U.S. fertility rates subsequently rose. His assurance that all will be well is dangerous. . 35,000 people, mostly women and children, die of malnutrition every day. [Ben Wattenberg of the American Enterprise Institute made the remark that world population has trebled over the past 70 years without triggering any crash or collapse.]
  • September 30, 1999 IPS Population-U.S.: Big Growth Rate in Rural Areas in 1990s.  Advances in transportation and technology and changes in the country's demographics have led to "More people are moving into rural areas than are leaving them," according to a report prepared by the Washington-based Population Reference Bureau (PRB). Industrial plants built in rural areas, attractiveness to retirees, recreation seekers, and lower tax rates are cited as among the reasons people move to the countryside.
  • October 1, 1999 Xinhua Tajikistan Proposes Year of Water.  We should declare the year 2003 as International Year of Water because of worsening situation with clean water, said President Emomali Rakhmonov to the 54th Assemply of the UN General Assembly. 50% of the world's population lives with unsanitary conditions due to water pollution. Over five million people die and three billion become ill annually. "With the population growth a likelihood of water wars between states for fresh-water sources is becoming ever more real", he said.
  • September 30, 1999 Reuters AIDS Pandemic Seen Worsening next Century.  According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, unless the search for a cure for AIDS accelerates or preventive methods improve, the worst of the HIV epidemic has yet to come. Although AIDS has leveled off for the time being in the U.S., Sub-Saharan Africa has the greatest burden of the epidemic worldwide, and cases in the former Soviet Union have escalated sharply, and India and Southeast Asia are threatened. 16,000 new cases occur each day, with over 95% in developing countries.
  • September 19, 1999 Sun-Sentinel Florida: Chastity Makes a Comeback; Abstinence Programs get a Big Boost   'Just say no to sex' is the message of abstinence-only training for teens in a program blessed by the federal government and Florida's secretary of health. Using $500 million of the public's money, hundreds of new programs instruct children that premarital sex will likely have "harmful psychological and physical effects" and that condoms and other contraceptives are unreliable. Family planning advocates say that teaching abstinence is a good start, but unrealistic since many teens are already having sex and that abstinence-only shuts off the discussion of sex and keeps teenagers from information they need to make informed decisions. Some statistics show that teen sexual activity may be dropping. But other surveys show that fewer than 15% of those who marry are virgins.
  • September 17, 1999 Washington Post Infant Mortality A Plague on Brazil; Despite Economic Gains, Disparities in Care Remain. Per capita income has been steadily increasing in Brazil, now over $ 4,700, but the infant mortality rate continues to be very high here--41 out of every 1,000 die before they are 1 year old. Other countries of comparable wealth, Malaysia and Poland fare much better, and even poor countries like Cuba and Costa Rica, have rates half as high. Income distribution is one of the most unequal in the world. Rural residents lack access to decent health care. Deaths are usually due to lack of prenatal care. Infants typically die of malnutrition, diarrhea and respiratory infections within the first month after birth. Sanitation and education would go a long way towards prevention of such diseases. [Lowering infant mortality rates have been shown to lower the number of children women feel they need to have].
  • September 28, 1999 Audubon Update Good News! - Family Planning Funding Steps Forward.  On Tuesday the House and Senate Foreign Operations Conference Committee completed the FY2000 Foreign Operations Appropriations conference report. The conferees agreed to restore a $25 million U.S. contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), minus the amount that UNFPA spends in China. The President is likely veto by because of unacceptably low funding levels. The "Global Gag Rule" Issue Remains Unresolved: Even though the conference report does not include any new restrictions on international family planning (including Rep. Smith's "global gag rule" restriction), it is not a done deal (click here for more).
  • September 28, 1999 UNwire Congress Drops Limit On Aid To Family Planning Groups.  A compromise version of a $12.6 billion international programs spending bill was completed by a House-Senate negotiating team, but President Bill Clinton may veto it because it provides less than Clinton's requests for global environmental efforts, peacekeeping operations and other key programs. It would provide more for UNICEF and international children's health than Clinton requested. The dropped language that would have forbidden aid to private organizations that use their own money to promote liberalized abortion laws abroad. The measure would provide $385 million for international family planning aid. A compromise was reached to provide as much as $25 million to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), but the pace at which they will receive promised aid has once again been restricted.
  • September 27, 1999 ZPG Alert Calif. Governor Approves Contraceptive Coverage Bills.  Governor Gray Davis signed the bills requiring health plans to cover prescription drugs to cover prescription contraceptives on Monday. Similar legislation was vetoed on three previous occasions by former Governor Pete Wilson. California is now the tenth state to require health insurance companies to treat women fairly in prescription coverage.
  • September 28, 1999 Reuters Small Islands Face Ecological Woes.  According to the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP), many small and vulnerable island states would face massive environmental problems unless steps were taken to combat land degradation, water shortages and pollution. Many are struggling with rapidly increasing populations, spreading urbanization, poverty, unsustainable consumption patterns, and mismanagement of natural resources. Their unique biodiversity is severely threatened and soaring tourism has also caused a burden by increasing sewage and waste. Global climate changes may have caused a rise in devastating cyclones and hurricanes. Rising sea levels are contaminating fresh water supplies and threatening the actual existence of some states.
  • September 27, 1999 AP TB, Other Diseases Reemerge to Threaten Millions in the Americas.  Tuberculosis, cholera, malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia (which) together kill more than 10 million people worldwide each year, have developed drug-resistant strains and again threaten millions in the Americas - according to Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Dengue fever, a highly debilitating and untreatable disease infected 770,000 people in the Americas last year. Mosquitoes have become resistant to chemical pesticides, and sanitation is inadequate, providing an environment for mosquitoes to breed. Urbanization is a factor, with people living close together more likely to infect one another. Bubonic plague has returned to Peru. 150,000 children under 5 who die every year from easily treated diarrhea and respiratory infections.
  • September 28, 1999 Reuters Syria "Faces Oil Depletion, Dire Economy".  Syria will run out of petroleum, its main export commodity, in 10 years, said Info-Prod, an academic-staffed Israeli market research company, which cautions that Syria's population is growing faster than its economy.
  • September 26, 1999 Denver Rocky Mountain News Troubled Waters in A Crowded World.  Op-ed by Holger Jensen. The UNFPA reports that the number of humans has doubled since 1960. John Bermingham, president of Colorado Population Coalition, says: "We must become more and more accustomed to sprawl, congestion, wilderness losses, ethnic enclaves, families locked in underclass for generations, lopsided school costs, battles over biligualism, demeaning of citizenship and - perhaps most important of all - a contined lessening of the chance that an ordinary American will ever converse with any member of Congress". And in Botswana - 1/4 of all adults have HIV. Life expectancy today is 47 years, while in the 1980s it was 61. By 2010 it will be 38. Nevertheless, population is expected to double by 2050.
  • September 25, 1999 Reuters World Must Create a Billion Jobs for Youth,  said U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. 5 billion people live in developing nations and half of them are under age 25. Annan suggested: -- developing nations reorient their development strategies toward job creation, with particular emphasis on agriculture, which now employs 70% of workers; -- more spending on education and health care and less on defence and security; -- make developing nations more attractive to investment by strengthening regulatory and financial systems and good governance; -- the international financial mechanism (World Bank and International Monetary Fund) should be strengthened to facilitate a flow of long-term capital from developed nations; -- an increased flow of long-term capital to the very poorest nations.
  • September 13, 1999 ENS Latin America Burns Under Combination of Climate Change and Indiscriminate Fire Settings.  Attributed to global warming and human over-use of remaining forests lands, thousands of fires which have burned millions of acres in South America - Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, and Paraguay, which are in the middle of winter dry season. The climate is becoming dryer, plus, under growing population pressures and the human demand for more cleared forests, many more fires are being set.
  • September 13, 1999 Gallon Pacific Institute has New Climate Change Database.  The Pacific Institute offers a searchable bibliography of literature related to climate change and its impacts on plant and animal species, agriculture, and ecosystems.
  • September 13, 1999 Environmental News Service Violent Conflict Growing Over the Environment in the U.S. Increases.  "As natural resources disappear and as the population and resource extraction increases in the United States, the battle for how the remaining resources will be used is heating up." Battles are over the uses of resources such as forests, wildlands and habitat. "Beatings, bombings, and death threats against public resource employees have been rising, particularly in the west.
  • September 13, 1999 UNESCO UNESCO Preparing Text Book with Section on Ecological Economics. The Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems is currently under development in partnership with UNESCO. The encyclopedia is a major global project and is expected to be a highly significant source of knowledge on environment and economics for the next decade.
  • September 27, 1999 BusinessWorld Rapid Population Growth Worries Phillipine Health Secretary.  The population is expected to reach over 76 million by the end of the year. The growth rate is still too high for government to keep up. The Health department continues to provide family planning programs for Filipinos. The population is expected to reach 86 million in 2005. There are 36.84% under age 14 and 27.6 ages 15 to 29.
  • September 24, 1999 Africa News Service Namibia;Population Bulge Poses Chicken and Egg Riddle.  Namibia needs to promote and safeguard the reproductive rights of individuals and couples, says the Health Permanent Secretary. "We must promote access to family planning services. We must link population issues to sustainable development." But Nambia needs more people "to explore its natural resources". Up to 3 children are acceptable. 24% of Namibians are 10 to 19 years old. Youth need to make informed choices for a better tomorrow.
  • September 27, 1999 Deutsche Presse-Agentur Poverty-stricken Laos Launches Population Control Programme.  10 years ago, contraceptive sale in land-locked, Laos was banned, and the communist government promoted population growth. Today, the government wants to halve the birth rate, and will encourage couples to get married later and to have only two children. Laos has a population of an estimated 5.3 million with an annual growth rate of 3.1 per cent - the highest in Southeast and East Asia. Laos has 80% mountainous terrain, with a large proportion of the population comprising ethnic minority hilltribe people living in remote areas. The U.N. has established a 6-million-dollar reproductive health programme there. The government acknowledges that population growth is the leading cause of poverty.
  • September 27, 1999 UNwire Tigers And Tusks On Agenda Of CITES Meeting. Representatives of 147 countries are meeting at the the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Lisbon. Tiger hunting is already illegal worldwide, and international trade in tiger parts is completely banned. The Earth's wild tiger population has plummeted from an estimated 100,000 in the 19th century to about 6,000 today.
  • September 25, 1999 Sacramento Bee Foes Stalking Genetic Engineering of Crops.  There is evidence that genes engineered into crops may kill good insects as well as pests, and may transfer herbicide resistence to weeds. Unknowingly Americans routinely eat food made with genectically modified ingredients. Already genetically altered are 54% of U.S. grown soybeans and 33% of corn. Plants are altered to make their own insecticide, or to make them resistent to herbicides. Studies are underway to make apples crunchier, retard rot, and to grow compact sizes of fruit. Underground protesters call the plants 'Frankenfoods'. This spring a study showed that pollen from insecticidal corn can kill nearby monarch butterfly caterpillers.
  • September 23, 1999 World Watch Populations Outrunning Water Supply as World Hits 6 Billion.  From World Watch Institute: water tables are falling on every continent, major rivers are drained dry before they reach the sea and millions of people lack enough water to satisfy basic needs. China, India, and the U.S., which together produce half the world's food, are experiencing falling water tables. In the past irrigated farming has experienced waterlogging, salting, and silting, but now, add aquifer depletion to the list, due to powerful diesel and electrically powered pumps. In China's breadbasket, the Northern China Plain, water tables are falling 5 feet a year. In India, pumped underground water is double the rate of aquifer recharge from rainfall. The depletion of the Ogallala aquifer in the southern Great Plains of the United States has caused cutbacks in irrigation. Texas has lost 1% per year since 1980. The Yellow River in China first ran dry in 1972. Every year since 1985, it has run dry for part of each year. In 1997, it failed to reach the sea about 7 months of the year. Farmers in India are leaving little water in the Ganges for the farmers of Bangladesh. Farmers in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan take water from the Amu Darya in Central Asia, shrinking the Aral Sea to almost half its original size, killing all the fish with high salt concentrations. The Colorado river in the U.S. and the Nile river rarely make it to their destination. This water deficit is equal to 160 million tons of grain. Annual world grain exports equal 200 million tons. As cities grow, countries take water from agriculture to satisfy expanding urban water needs. The countries then import grain to offset the water losses.
  • 6 Billion: according to the New York Times ... If this page were filled with periods, (69 dots per line in 6, 157-line columns) 6 billion of them would take up about 92,000 pages.
  • September 24, 1999 ABC Human Weight on the World.  The woes of the world - famine, habitat destruction, pollution - come down to too many people. The world’s population continues to burgeon. Unless we bring it under control ourselves, this old planet’s "human carrying capacity," as scientists call it, will do it for us.
  • September 23, 1999 ABC Going On 6 Billion. "One billion people still live without the fundamental elements of human dignity - clean water, enough food, secure housing, basic education and basic health care,” said Dr. Nafis Sadik of UNFPA. "We need $5.7 billion from the international community. We have $2 billion and $2.5 billion will have to be spent on Africa alone." According to a UNFPA report, continued population growth affects environmental trends, which leads to collapsed fisheries, shrinking forests and the extinction of plants and animals. "One of the real choices we will face in the 21st century is how many species and ecosystems we are willing to eliminate in order to make more space for human activities.” ''In developing countries reproduction is the single greatest threat to their health,'' said Sadik. ''Women are urged by society that that is their role, but then they're not really supported.''
  • September 23, 1999 The Daily Telegraph (London) Vatican 'Has Accepted UN Family Planning' According to Dr Nafis Sadik, of the UN Population Fund, the Vatican has given up attempts to stop the United Nations providing family planning for women in the poorest countries, endorsing a five-year review of the plan for slowing world population growth. While the Roman Catholic Church is still opposited to contraception, it had stopped trying to hold up proceedings by inserting reference to "natural methods" of birth control. "It is accepted that the international community has accepted that family planning is one of the human rights of women.", Dr. Sadik said. The annual population growth this year is 78 million, down from about 90 million in the late 1980s, and is expected to fall again to 64 million in 2020-2025 and to 33 million in 2045-2050. About 585,000 women in developing counties died as a result of pregnancy and 70,000 died each year due to unsafe abortions. Aids caused by unprotected sex was shortening lifetimes in many countries.
  • September 22, 1999 BBC Ozone Hole Opens Again. The ozone layer helps filter out harmful ultra-violet radiation from the sun. A hole in the ozone layer, which has formed over the Antarctic between August and early October, is now near its greatest ever extent, 10 million square miles, larger than the United States, Canada and Mexico combined. Man-made chemicals, chlorofluorocarbons, cause ozone depletion. An editorial in the Los Angeles Times criticizes a move in Congress to eliminate the US contribution to the Montreal Protocol Multilateral Fund, which helps developing countries phase out ozone-depleting substances.
  • September 23, 1999 IPS Africa: Region Grapples with Highest Birthrate in World.  From the 1999 UNFPA State of the World report: Africa's population has tripled since 1960 and continues to grow faster than any other region. One of the fastest-growing areas is Sub- Saharan Africa, where there are 5.5 children per woman. In developing countries, contraceptive use has increased by only 1.2% annually between 1990 and 1995, and the needs of up to 25% of couples are still not being met. One in 15 women in Africa dies in pregnancy or childbirth. "The problem is that the rest of the world wants to make Africa like them," he added. Timothy Stamps, Zimbabwe's health minister said "Population densities in Europe are much higher than in Africa. Their resources are more meager than ours, but they have developed through their ability to use our resources in Africa." In 1960, Africa had half as many people as Europe. By 2050, Africa is estimated to have three times as many as Europe.
  • September 22, 1999 AP Spending Panel Deadlocks on Abortion.  Congressional conservatives have once again have tried to attach anti-abortion restrictions to foreign policy measures which have drawn vetoes from President Clinton in the past.The $12.6 billion foreign aid bill was deadlocked Wednesday. House negotiators were willing to drop controversial language that would deny U.S. funds to support organizations that lobby foreign governments to repeal anti-abortion laws - in exchange for eliminating $25 million previously approved for the United Nation's family planning assistance program. According to the Congressional Quarterly Daily Monitor (9/23), "the bill will hang in limbo until House and Senate leaders can reach an agreement."
  • September 23, 1999 Xinhua Women in Poor Countries More Exposed to Birth Harms,  says the UNFPA State of World Population 1999. Hundreds of millions of women in the world continue to suffer needlessly from unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and ill-health related to childbirth. 350 million women in developing countries who do not have access to a range of safe and effective family planning methods and up to half of the nearly 175 million pregnancies each year are unwanted or ill-timed. Every minute more than one woman die of problems related to childbirth and pregnancy. at least 7 million women suffer from serious health problems and as many as 50 million suffer some health consequences after childbirth each year. The UNFPA claims moderate success in putting the brakes on population growth, saying that without its work, the 6 billion mark would have been hit four years earlier.
  • September 4, 1999 NY Times Indifferent to a Planet in Pain.  By Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature. "Noctilucent clouds," usually an occurance of far northern or southern latitudes, are appearing near to the Equator. These clouds develop at high altitudes - about 50 miles - so high that they reflect the sun's rays long after nightfall. Carbon dioxide warms the lower layers and cooler the outer layer, causing clouds to form. Scientists the world over have formed an "ironclad consensus" that we are heating the planet. In the Northern Hemisphere, Spring comes a week earlier than just 30 years ago. Severe rainstorms have grown by almost 20%; the Arctic ice sheet is 40 inches thinner in many places. Coral reefs have bleached worldwide. The oceans are rising. "We live on a new, poorer, simpler planet, and we continue to impoverish it with every ounce of oil and pound of coal that we burn."
  • September 22, 1999 Washington Times Newcomers: Bush's Agenda Won't be Complex, 'But it's Going to be Profound'. "There's in the United States a need for [newcomers] in terms of high-tech jobs, we ought to increase [their] visa allotment. It's to our nation's advantage to say, if we have a shortage of Ph.D.s in a particular area and Ph.D.s are interested in coming, we ought to give them visas."
  • September 21, 1999 Cornell A.D. 2100: Cornell Study Warns Of A Miserable Life On Overcrowded Earth If Population And Resources Are Not Controlled. In a report by David Pimentel, titled "Will Limits of the Earth's Resources Control Human Numbers?", published in the new journal Environment, Development and Sustainability, says that it will be much more difficult "to survive in a world without voluntary controls on population growth and ever diminishing supplies of the Earth's resources." One hundred years from now, democratically determined population-control practices and sound resource-management policies could have the planet's 2 billion people thriving in harmony with the environment. But, even if there were only 2.1 children per couple in the world tomorrow, population momentum would cause human population to continue to increase before stabilizing at around 12 billion in more than 60 years. Production of grains per capita has been declining since 1983, due to a 20% decline in per capita cropland, a 15% decrease in irrigation water, and a 23% drop in the use of fertilizers. Increasing U.S. and global population will place restrictions on certain freedoms: freedom to travel and commute to work quickly and efficiently, freedom to visit and enjoy natural areas, freedom to select desired foods and freedom to be effectively represented by government.
  • September 21, 1999 Express News Environmental Activist Warns of Dim Future. Environmental journalist, consultant and author Ross Gelbspan discussed the future of the planet if countries don't start cleaning up after themselves in the area of global warming. The fossil fuel industry is responsible for this country being the only one denying that global warming exists. Gelbspan cited the first ever wildfires burning in a South American rainforest, the worst drought in 150 years in Portugal, the heaviest rains in Bolivia in 30 years, the massive flooding of the Oder river in Poland and the Czech Republic and a 60 degree Easter Sunday in Boston that was followed two days later by 30 inches of snow as indicators of what computer projections show for the first stage of global warming. Everyone must work together to reduce carbon emissions, because controls developed and used by a superpower can be counteracted by an oil burning developing nation which doesn't have the technology to produce renewable energy.
  • October 6, 1998 ENN Family Planning Urged for Developing Nations  In 32 countries, representing 14% of world population, growth has stopped, but by 2050, Ethiopia's population will triple to 213 million, Pakistan's will double to 357 million, and Nigeria's will go from 122 million to 339 million. There will be more people in Nigeria then than there were in all of Africa in 1950. India is expected to add another 600 million. Deforestation, soil erosion, falling water tables, and AIDS have stretched these countries to the limit. International family planning assistance must be expanded so that millions of couples who want to limit family size can have access to family planning services.
  • September 22, 1999 ENN Earth-Friendly Living: How Many Kids Does an Environmentalist Have?  Bill McKibben, author of "Maybe One: A Personal and Environmental Argument for Single-Child Families" thinks that the population surge in the next 50 years, if unchecked, will so degrade the natural environment that supports us that life as we know it will be unsustainable, and so just one child is the recommended number. The U.S. population is scheduled to go from 270 million today maybe even 400 million. He also suggests that we'll need tougher greenhouse gas controls, increase our energy efficiency, consume less, and even curb immigration.
  • September 21, 1999 CNN Latin America Struggles to Cope with Expanding Population  In Mexico City, 4 out of 5 couples couples have agreed to take family planning measures, in part due to family planning clinics throughout the city. Mexico's population is expected to increase by nearly 50% by 2030. The average age is expected to increase as well. In Latin America, nations such as Mexico and Brazil are coping with population growth that is accompanied by economic problems.
  • September 21, 1999 UNFPA UNFPA Releases 1999 Annual Report: 6 Billion - A Time for Choices.  Population growth has slowed - from 2.4 to 1.3 percent in 30 years. But global population is still growing by about 78 million people annually mostly because half the world is under 25, with 1 billion ages 15-24. Most of the growth is in the least-developed countries. There is a strong need to increase education, promote gender equality and ensure the universal exercise of the right to health, including reproductive health. Sub-Saharan Africa, and parts of South Asia and Western Asia see the fastest growth while population growth in Europe, North America and Japan has slowed or stopped . The U.S. is the only industrial country where large population increases are still projected, largely as the result of immigration. 4.8 billion are in the less-developed countries. 3/5 of these have no basic sanitation, and 1/3 have no clean water. Gender-based violence and harmful traditional practices are being eliminated by growing efforts against female genital mutilation (FGM), rape, forced marriage, domestic violence, dowry murder, and "honour" killings. Fifteen African countries have outlawed FGM. Infant mortality has fallen by 2/3 and life expectancy has risen from 46 to 66 years in the past half-century. Raising mothers’ age at first birth from 18 to 23 would reduce population momentum by over 40%. Rich countries, whose share of funding for improving birth control and reproductive health was set five years ago at $5.7 billion annually, were providing far less in 1997 - less than $2 billion. The number of people in the world is expected to peak at 8.9 billion, lower than the 9.4 billion predicted by the United Nations two years ago, mostly due to the increased mortality rates from AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of the Indian subcontinent. Global infant mortality has fallen by two-thirds since 1950, from 155 per 1,000 live births to 57 per 1,000. This rate is projected to be reduced by a further two-thirds by 2050.
  • September 22, 1999 Xinhua 43 Percent of Bangladeshis Below 15 Years Old.  From the UNFPA (United Nations Population Population Fund), the potential for future growth is tremendous. Bangladesh now has 126 million people. Remarkably, the country has brought it's birth rate down from 3% in 1973 to 1.6% in 1999. Population stabilization at 170 million, is expected in 40-45 years - if replacement level -2 children per woman -is reached by 2005. More realistically, population will stabilize at 200-250 million in 2050. By 2000-2005 22% of the population will be 10-19, while the elderly population will be 7.7% in 2000 and 9.1% in 2010. About 50% of Bangladeshi live in poverty and the same number is illiterate.
  • September 22, 1999 AP & U.S. Newswire GOP Proposes Abortion Alternatives.  -or - So-Called 'True Choice' Equals No Choice.   Legislation is being introduced that would spend $85 million annually to private groups for maternity homes, adoption services and ''crisis pregnancy'' centers, and abstinence counseling. The money would not be available to agencies that refer women to abortion services. From Planned Parenthood: "With teen pregnancy rates and abortion rates declining rapidly in the 1990s due to increased access and use of contraceptives, we have statistical proof what the pro-family planning community has been saying all along -- prevention works. -- Teen birth rate in the U.S. declined 16 percent between 1991 and 1997. -- The number of abortions performed in the U.S dropped 11 percent between 1992 and 1996. Since 1974, the Title X Family Planning Program has been on America's front line in the fight to prevent unintended pregnancy, providing contraceptives, counseling and other reproductive health care services to 6.5 million low-income women per year. Publicly funded family planning successfully avert 1.5 million unintended pregnancies and 632,000 abortions annually."
  • September 21, 1999 Wall Street Journal Selling Birth Control to India's Poor.  A marketing program called 'Butterfly' hopes to revolutionize the way India's curbs its soaring population; in return for advocating a formalized birth-control program, medicine men who participate in the program receive free radio ads and other benefits, such as customer referrals. [All I have is this abstract].
  • September 20, 1999 ENN N.Y. Encephalitis Outbreak called a Global Warning [of Global Warming].  Outbreaks of this and other mosquito-borne diseases (like malaria and yellow fever) will be on the rise if global warming remains on its current path and milder winters prevail. To prevent global warming, conserve energy. Ask yourself if it is necessary to drive a huge car that gets five miles to the gallon to pick the kids up from school. Use of water requires electricity for purification. Reduction of rubbish means less burning and less carbon that is put into the air. The Kyoto plan must be followed. Western nations should offer renewable solar or wind technologies to developing countries, rather than hydroelectric or nuclear energy. It is possible that ocean currents may be harnessed to generate electricity.
  • September 20, 1999 ENN Global Warming Unpredictable, Scientists Say. In a Sept. 16 issue of New Scientist, by 2010, emissions could be up to 5 times higher than today's, or they could lower, depending on the technology developed. The report, a special release from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, comes from a concensus of hundreds of scientists and economists.
  • September 22, 1999 Reuters Brazil Forest Tops Global Ecology Concerns.  The Atlantic rain forest, or "Mata Atlantica," is now one of the 5 most-threatened regions in the world, with only 7% remaining. Conservation International and Brazil's SOS Mata Atlantica environmental group are documenting thousands of animal and plant species using satellite images, and are promoting alternative forms of income and enforcing laws that make it illegal to cut down trees in the region. Plans for a water theme park in the forest have been cancelled. The use of brazilwood for textiles, sugar cane, coffee and cocoa plantations, and urban development, have all contributed to the decline. The forest still hosts regions with the highest recorded tree diversity in the world, and 5% of the world's animal species and 7 percent of its plant species - many unique to the region. The forest was opened up for Brazil's major cities Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. 60% of Brazilians live there.
  • September 21, 1999 Reuters Time is Running out for the Environment, UN Says.  More on Global Environment Outlook 2000. "The gains made by better management and technology are still being outpaced by the environmental impacts of population and economic growth. We are on an unsustainable course," the head of the UNDP - United Nations Environment Programme, Klaus Toepfer, said in Nairobi. Emissions of greenhouse gases are 4 times what they were in the 1950s. The world has lost or degraded 80% of it's original forest cover while logging and mining threaten almost 40% of the remaining forest. 1/4 of mammal species risk extinction. Over 50% of all coral reefs are threatened by human activity. Hurricanes and forest fires are increasing and have killed three million people in 30 years. Armed conflicts and displacement are also causing more damage to the environment than ever before. Humans seem to be disturbing the nitrogen balance through intensive agriculture and fossil fuel burning. A 90% reduction in the consumption of raw materials in industrialised countries may be required.
  • September 18, 1999 WorldWatch Plant Losses Threaten Future Food Supplies and Health Care.  In a new study called Nature's Cornucopia: Our Stake in Plant Diversity, by John Tuxill, "The genetic diversity of cultivated plants is essential to breeding more productive and disease resistant crop varieties." But diversity is disappearing. In 1949, China grew 10,000 different wheat varieties, compared to 1,000 in the 1970s. Mexican farmers are raising only 20% of the corn varieties they cultivated in the 1930s. Biotechnology, which cannot create new varieties, will not solve this problem. 25% of prescribed U.S. medicines are based on a chemical found in a plant. 3.5 billion people rely on plant-based medicine for their primary health care. But less that 1% of all plant species have been screened for bioactive compounds. Rural residents rely on plant resources for up to 90% of their needs. 1/8 of plants are at risk due to loss of habitat, pressure from non-native species, and overharvesting. Key traits such as like disease resistance are often found in wild relatives of crops.
  • September 20, 1999 NY Times Rethinking Population at a Global Milestone.  [Is Democracy Bad For Population Policy?] Contrasting the two most populous countries, India, home to 1 billion, which became a democracy, and China, home to 1.2 billion, which became authoritarian communist. China issued the harsh one-child policy, but the Chinese also made positive changes in the area of the economy, rural land ownership and social services. Semi-socialist India, because it was a democracy, lagged in introducing fundamental economic and social reforms. Only big industries were targeted, not rural doctors or village schools. While Indians enjoy free expression, other indicators would show the Chinese are better off: Literacy rate: China- 83%, India- 53-64% (depending on who you ask). Female primary school enrollment: China- 99.9%, India- 66%. Malnourished and underweight children under 5: India- 50%, China- 16%. Annual income $365 or less: China- 1/3, India-50%. China's exports are more than five times those of India. Lester Brown,of the Worldwatch Institute says it "is not whether India is a democracy or not, but whether there is leadership." Nobel laureate Amartya Sen says, "When lower fertility is harnessed to democracy it creates a dynamo," ..."more so if literacy and economic opportunities for women as well as basic health services are added to the mix." Much of India's leaders and thinkers have not seen these connections.
  • September 17, 1999 Bee Washington Bureau State's Environment Tarnished: Four-year study explores how natural features are vanishing. A new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report warns that many of California's distinctive natural features have been wiped out. In a $1 million 1,000-page survey of America's biological resources, the Golden State's image is tarnished by logged-out Sierra Nevada forests, dammed-up rivers, disappearing fish. Ducks on the California flyway have been reduced from 12 million to 2 million now. Lawmakers such as Rep. George Radanovich and Rep. Richard Pombo are leery of the regulatory consequences that may follow from studies suggesting environmental decline. Some alarming numbers from the report: Californians have eliminated 85% of the state's old-growth redwoods, 91% of the state's wetlands and 99% of the state's once-expansive grasslands. Almost 60% of California fish species are extinct or nearly extinct. Over 50% of the state's frog species need protection. 20% of the 342 species of California land birds found is listed as 'endangered'. Contact USGS for ordering information.
  • September 16, 1999 NY Times Policy on Prescription Orders At Wal-Mart Draws Praise.  Wal-Mart Stores Inc. recently instructed its pharmacists to fill all prescriptions or refer customers to another store if they had an objection about dispensing a drug. In May Wal-Mart was criticizeed for refusing to carry Preven, a high-dose birth control medication to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. It was approved for sale in the United States last year. Planned Parenthood now has hope that Wal-Mart will stock Preven and a recently approved similar product called Plan B. A representative of Wal-Mart expressed confusion about the attention and noted that doctors sometimes prescribed birth control pills at higher doses that may work as emergency contraceptives and that Wal-Mart pharmacists had always filled those prescriptions.
  • September 17, 1999 International Herald Tribune Breaking the Cycle of Poverty. The U.N.'s Kofi Annan says of the rach of recent natural disasters - "we must never forget that it is poverty, not choice, that drives people to live in risk-prone areas." Sarah C. Clark, director of the population program at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation adds that it is lack of choice and opportunity that traps people in poverty. Providing women with information and choices regarding their reproductive health is one of the simplest and most profound solutions to break the cycle of poverty. Women choose to have fewer children in countries where family planning methods and opportunities for women exist. They provide for their families by limiting the number of mouths to feed, bodies to clothe and children to care for. Critical to reducing human suffering and mitigating the effects of natural disasters is support for family planning and reproductive health care.
  • September 16, 1999 AP One American in 10 Born Elsewhere.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 25,208,00 people (9.3%) are foreign born - a proportion not seen since 150 years ago. In the 1990s, foreign born numbers in the U.S. increased 4 times faster than native born. While in the 1850s, foreign born were mostly European, today's foreign born are Latinos and Asians. Foreign born Asians outnumber native-born Asian Americans, 6.4 million to 4.1 million.
  • September 16, 1999 JHUCCP Donor Support Urgently Needed for Family Planning  In a report called Why Family Planning Matters from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, even though global fertility rates are falling, funding and support for international family programs in developing countries remains a critical need. "As demand for services grows, will support for programs keep pace?" The world's population continues to increase by one billion people every 12 to 13 years.
  • September 16, 1999 World Bank World Bank Development Report Sees Poverty Rising.  Those living in absolute poverty will go from 1.5 billion people today to 1.9 billion by 2015. Income disparities between rich and poor will continue to grow. The key issue is how leaders manage the paradoxical forces of globalization and localization. Communications and transportation are knitting together the global economy, creating "a mix of opportunities and risks." Overwhelmed by population growth, the developing world's cities have been unable to provide sufficient basic services. 220 million people, or 13% of the world's urban population, have no access to clean drinking water; 26% lack access to even simple latrines. 1/2 of the solid waste goes uncollected, leading to a range of water-borne diseases and diseases such as malaria and dengue fever, from which half the urban population is suffering. Micro-credit schemes continue to get high marks in pulling people out of poverty. In Delhi, 1 in 10 children aged 5 - 16 suffers from bronchial asthma, caused partly by air pollution. China has nine of the 10 cities most affected by total suspended particles (TSPs), with mean annual concentrations exceeding 500 micrograms per cubic meter, 400 above WHO's acceptable levels. In the 1970s, a medium-sized city had a population from 250,000 to 500,000 and there were 163 metropolitan areas worldwide that had over a million citizens, and less than 40% of the world's population lived in urban areas. Today, a medium-sized city is has one million citizens and there are 350 such areas around the world.
  • September 17, 1999 CCMC Talking Points: International Family Planning and the 106th Congress - It’s complicated but a reasonable compromise exists. Ideas for your Letter to the Editor.
  • August 29, 1999 Denver Rocky Mountain NewsOur Conflicting Views of Sprawl  People may say they want to curb sprawl, but few favor the higher densities and loss of open space that would be required to achieve that goal. "Like it or not, there is simply no way to settle an expected 700,000 more people in metro Denver by the year 2020 without gobbling up a lot more field and farm." Congestion is almost always a problem in high-density cities.
  • August 1, 1999 MSBN Germany's Special Shade of Green.  With environmentalists in power, much is expected. Can an environmental friendly nation also keep pace economically? Ecological Modernization is the new catchword. Information on the 3-litre (200 miles on a gallon of gas) car.
  • August 1, 1999 MSBN A Fuel Cell Revolution Could Provide the Key Weapon Against Global Warming.  "The beginning of the hydrogen age." Fuel cells tap hydrogen’s carbon-free energy, and may have supplanted solar and nuclear alternatives as a growth research area. The basic fuel cell mixes hydrogen and oxygen, and electricity is produced in the resulting chemical reaction. They can be used in vehicles, offices, homes, industries, and even cell phones and laptops. Global warming is probably caused by the 22 billion tons of CO2 put into the atmosphere each year, created when carbon is burned. Fuel cells were used by by NASA to power the Gemini and Apollo spaceships and are still put to such uses today. DaimlerChrysler unveiled a subcompact fuel-cell car this year. Pure hydrogen is the cleanest fuel for fuel cells, but is highly explosive. Other fuels: regular unleaded, methanol, ethanol, natural gas and others will work, but are not as clean as hydrogen, yet cleaner than the internal combustion engine because they get 2-3 times the energy per gallon. In Iceland, where 67% of the economy runs on geothermal or other renewable power, the government, with the help of Shell and DaimlerChrysler, wants to replace all internal combustion engines on its transportation and fishing fleets with fuel cells.
  • September 14, 1999 Greenpeace New Report Reveals Solar PV Electricity Ready to Compete With Fossil Fuels. In a KPMG report, "Solar Energy: From Perennial Promise to Competitive Alternative," one large-scale solar PV factory producing five million solar panels a year could reduce the cost f solar power by 75% or more. This cost reduction would make PV cost-competitive, for domestic consumers, with electricity produced from existing polluting sources. U.S. buildings currently represent around 10% of world energy consumption. Such a large scale factory could supply 250,000 U.S. homes with a two kilowatt system sufficient to provide half of a typical household's energy requirements. There is a market impasse in getting rooftop solar panels turned into standard household appliances, but government and industry heavyweights such as Shell Solar, BP Solarex and Spire Corporation of the U.S., are in a "position to act".
  • September 16, 1999 Greenpeace U.S. Illegally Dumps Genetically Engineered Corn on Russia.  Russian import laws blantantly ignored.
  • September 15, 1999 MSNBC ‘Transgenic’ Pollution a New Concern.  Traces of genetically modified corn were found in certified organic corn chips. 87,000 bags of Apache Tortilla Chips were destroyed by their producer, Terra Prima. Apparently genetically modified (GM) corn was blown over from another farm and cross-pollinated with the organic corn. The GM corn was engineered with the Bt (Bacillus thuriengensis) insecticide - a natural bacterial toxin used for years as a spray by organic farmers who grow crops without using industrial pesticides. [environmentalists and organic farmers fear the Bt will lose it's strength when used this way]. The more than 70 plaintiffs include Greenpeace and the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (with 650 member groups in 100 countries).
  • September 15, 1999 New York to Sue Over Acid Rain.  17 companies have been accused of violating the 1990 federal Clean Air Act because they haven’t upgraded equipment to clean up emissions. According to a report released by the Sierra Club and other groups, rain contaminated with mercury from coal-fired electric plants is fouling Midwest lakes and rivers. Up to 90% of the sulfates over the mid-Atlantic and New England states originate in Midwestern power plant emissions. Apparently the electric utility industry is exempt from emission controls for mercury from coal-fired power plants.
  • September 15, 1999 National Audubon Society Legistlative Update - FY2000 Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill,  which contains international family planning and population assistance funds. The FY2000 Budget year starts October 1, but the bill may not be completed by then. The Senate version contains $400 million for U.S.-sponsored population programs and $25 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). It does not contain the so-called "global gag rule" or other restrictions on international family planning programs. The House bill includes $385 million for U.S.-sponsored population programs and $25 million for UNFPA. It does, however, contain two measures imposing additional restrictions on international family planning programs: one is Rep. Chris Smith's (R-NJ) "global gag rule" (which would restrict the activities and free speech of foreign reproductive health programs that receive US funds), and the other is a compromise set of restrictions brokered by pro-family planning Representatives Jim Greenwood (R-PA) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) (which focuses on the importance of providing family planning to reduce the incidence of abortion and respects the right of groups in other countries to exercise free speech within the limits of the laws in those countries). Clinton promises to veto any bill that contains the "global gag rule". Grassroots efforts at this point may not have an impact, but the plethora of Day of 6 Billion events planned for Oct. 12 and beyond will surely help. Contact: Pam Doorley, NAS Population & Habitat Policy Associate, PDoorley@audubon.org.
  • September 14, 1999 Your Support Needed For Title X of the Public Health Service Act --Domestic Family Planning Assistance which pays for gynecological and contraceptive services for low-income US women through a network of more than 4000 health centers. Planned Parenthood Federation of America says that the bill should come up in about a week, so now is a great time to write.
  • September 15, 1999 MSBC The People Bomb - China's Unrelenting People Problem. China adds an estimated 14 million people each year, more than the population of Florida. China women have just 2.5 children each, on average. Chinese people are eating more meat, buying private cars, burning more coal, using more water, cutting more trees and dumping more waste. The amount of land, farmland, and grassland water resources per person is less than 1/3 of the global average and forest and oil resources are only 1/10 of the world’s average.
  • September 15, 1999 AP UNEP Warns: Time is Running out Fast to Reverse Global Environmental Damage.  In a new report, Global Environment Outlook 2000, Several "full-scale emergencies" already exist, including worsening water shortages in many regions; land degradation that is undermining agricultural productivity; heavy air pollution in many major cities; and global warming, which "now seems inevitable." Tropical forests and marine fisheries have been overexploited, while many plant and animal species and unique habitats have been "lost forever." "Postponing sustainability is no longer an option". The report suggests a ten-fold reduction in resource consumption in industrialized countries to free up resources for developing countries.
  • September 14, 1999 LA Times  California Awarded For Cutting Out-of-Wedlock Births.  The federal Department of Health and Human Services announced that California had the highest decline (5.7%) in out-of-wedlock births in 1994-95 and 1996-97. Contestants in the race had to show a decline in abortions as well. The race was a result of the 1996 welfare reform act. California's success was attributed to birth control and 'changing social mores'. In addition to birth control, promoting abstinence and capping welfare after additional births were used. One in 3 babies are born to single women. Teens have 1/3 of unwed births.
  • September 15, 1999 AP New Population Estimates Show Hispanics, Asians Dominate [California] State Growth.  The number of Hispanics and Asians increased by more than 30% in California from 1990-98. Most of the Hispanic growth was due to births inside the state while most of the Asian growth came from immigration. Even though the state's total birth rate has declined this decade, 40% - 50% of the births were Hispanic children. Nationwide, according to the Census Bureau, Hispanic numbers grew by over 35% and Asians by over 40%, while blacks and American Indians grew by only 3% and 2%. In Orange County the number of Asians grew by 41% and Hispanics grew by 36%.
  • September 14 1999 Reuters Greenpeace Mexico Decries Genetically Altered Food. Imports from the United States contain a high percentage of genetically modified corn; the adapted plant jeopardizes 300 corn varieties existing in Mexico. Corn pollen can travel several miles (kilometres) and may contaminate local varieties, as well as threaten monarch butterflies. Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs, are resistant to some herbicides, so more powerful ones have to be applied that may damage the ecosystem. GMO resistance to existing plant infections can cause new plant diseases to appear. Greenpeace said that large multinationals hope to take control of and dominate the corn industry.
  • September 13 1999 IPS Mexico: New Plan to Combat Severe Pollution. Mexico City has a new plan to promote the conservation and sustainable management of its natural resources, and to abate the pollution of its rivers and air by thousands of factories. Situated in a valley surrounded by mountains that prevent winds from clearing the air, with 105,721 tons of contaminants per day from 4,623 factories, 48% of its residents suffer some chronic air pollution symptoms. The city wastes more than 40% of the 70,000 liters/second of water that its 20 million inhabitants require. 190 million tons of waste categorized as dangerous are produced each year, most coming from the chemical industry. Plans include reforestation, recovery of wetlands, cleanup of canals, control of mini-watersheds, and the creation of agro-ecological units.
  • September 14 1999 Reuters South Africans Know about AIDS but Spurn Protection.  AIDS infects 1,600 South Africans every day. 6 million, out of a total population of 40 million, will be infected within five years. 87% know that condoms could protect them, but only 22% ever used them. The unemployment rate of 30% is blamed - people with time on their hands find sex the only activity they could easily engage in. Most men see condoms as a challenge to their virility and proof their partner does not trust them.
  • September 14 1999 Xinhua Cambodia's Population Reaches 11.4 Million.  Cambodia's population has doubled in the last 36 years. The average annual growth rate of 2.5% is higher than neighboring Vietnam's 1.8% and Thailand's 1.0% and marginally lower than Laos' 3.0 percent. The country must try to reduce the size of families to ensure everyone a fair share of resources, Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng said. "Birth spacing should be encouraged, couples should be permitted to have only the desired number of children and safe motherhood should be ensured."    84% of the population are rural. 42.8% are under age 15. About 64% of the children ages 7 to 14 attend schools. Cambodia's territory is 181,035 square kilometers and it's density is 64 persons per square kilometer.
  • September 14 1999 Xinhua More than Half Million Tanzanians in Food Shortage.  Over 600,000 people in the Shinyanga region are facing an acute food shortage of 158,000 tons of grain caused by a prolonged drought and lack of food storage. Residents have been encouraged to plant at least 2 acres of drought-resistant crops such as sorghum, millet, cassava and sweet potatoes and to plant cotton as a cash crop so that they aren't tempted to sell their food for money.
  • September 9 1999 IPS Venezuela: Bank Offers Poverty-Fighting Loans.  The People's Bank is offering financial support for the poor, using micro-credits in which "the human factor is more important than capital." Its goal is to formalize the informal economy, stimulate small businesses, and encourage individual savings. Following the example of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which recovers 95% of its loans and charges market-rate interest, the program will loan from $160 to $8,000, with an average of $800, in short-term loans that come due within three to twelve months. Venzuela's unemployment rate is 15%, with an expected 4% drop in the year's gross domestic product (GDP), and a fiscal deficit of $8 billion.
  • September 12, 1999 LA Times How Do We Bridge the Housing Gap? California is among the worst in terms of affordable places to live.   Rents are so high that working poor can't afford a decent apartment; but housing costs are also high - the lowest home ownership rate of any state is in California. Affordable housing bond measures have been introduced for the November 2000 ballot. A minimum-wage worker in Southern California would have to clock between 100 and 154 hours per week for an average two-bedroom apartment. Consequences are: overcrowding and slums; less disposable leading to degradation of local and neighborhood economic health, traffic congestion and pollution because people can't afford to live near work. The report was produced by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
  • September 10, 1999 FT.com China Relaxes It One-Child Policy.  Beijing says that demographic growth is coming under control and that the government is looking at the social consequences of the one-child family, ending the generation of pampered only children - known as 'little emperors'. Experimental programs have been started in over 300 localities which give people "informed choice" over the use of contraceptives.
  • September 11, 1999 LA Times Canadians Begin to Say No to Immigrants From China A recent string of smuggling ships is testing the nation's reputation as welcome mat to the world. Canada absorbs 225,000 legal immigrants a year, more in proportion to its population than any other Western country. Canadians spend $5 million in estimated tax dollars spent on immigrants and some of them are fed up with multiculturalism. Also Canadians dislike anyone flouting the rules--like showing up illegally at the border. One out of 5 asylum seekers resurface in the U.S., many working for years as indentured servants in New York sweatshops to pay back smuggling debts.
  • September 10, 1999 IPS Panama: Water Quality Declining Due to Pollution.  Panama City's water has, in the last 10 years, suffered a severe decline due to urban sprawl, chaotic growth of industry, deforestation and the pollution of water sources. The country may have no clean water by 2010 if urgent measures are not taken. Dumps, created by companies and informal, unplanned urban settlements are leaching into the water. Pig and chicken manure are dumped into the rivers. The population of the canal zone has increased 10-fold from 1950 to around 200,000 today. 80% of 344,000 hectares of natural forests in the area around the canal have been deforested. Average annual rainfall has fallen from 1,739 millimeters in the 1980s to 1,550 millimeters by the early 1990s due to deforestation and climate changes like El Nino.
  • September 10, 1999 PRNewswire

  • September 9, 1999 Harvard World Health News Can AIDS Be Stopped?  In an interview with Dean Barry, 33 million people are currently being ravaged by AIDS, 2/3 living in Southern Africa. Southeast Asia, India, and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union suffer a growing threat. India has the fastest growing infection rate. It is spreading through heterosexual contact, during childbirth and breastfeeding. The rate of infection in the U.S. is currently under control, but hundreds of thousands of travelers enter the United States every day from AIDS-endemic countries. New strains of the AIDS virus are spreading overseas very rapidly. Resistance to drug therapies may increase due to improper use of the therapies. At $12,000 to $15,000 per patient per year, obviously drug treatments are not available to most people in developing countries. Education has had an impact in some countries, for example, Uganda, who government is open about the problem. Prevention efforts include condom distribution, HIV testing, counseling, support services, and widespread mobilization involving women's and community groups. 9 million children in Africa have lost one or both parents to AIDS. In the next 10 or 15 years there will be 40 million orphans. There are some treatments to save newborns, but very few of the mothers will survive. Effective vaccines are not in the foreseeable future.
  • September 10, 1999 ZPG Governor Davis to Decide on Contraceptive Equity Bills.  The California state legislature passed legislation (H.B. 39 and S.B. 41) requiring health insurance companies to cover prescription contraceptives in the same manner they cover other prescription drugs. Governor Gray Davis has said in the past that he would support such legislation, but he is under intense pressure from opposing groups to veto this bill. Your help is needed in convincing Gov. Davis to sign! The failure to cover contraceptives is one of the major causes that women between the ages of 18 and 44 pay nearly 70% more than their male counterparts in out-of-pocket health care costs.
  • September 1999 Scientific American U.S. Immigration.  U.S. immigration was largely unrestricted until the mid-1920s, after which Congress passed legislation severely limiting entry from all regions except northwestern Europe. In 1965 immigration laws have been more liberal, including the Immigration and Reform Act of 1986, under which 2.7 million illegal aliens, mostly from Mexico, were given legal immigrant status. Since 1965, 27 million have immigrated to the U.S., including illegal entries. In recent years, typically there will be 916,000 legal immigrants, an estimated 275,000 illegals, while emigration reduce those numbers by about 220,000 annually. The U.S. Census Bureau projects the U.S. population to 394 million in 2050. Of the 122 million increase, 80 million would be added because of immigration.
  • September 10, 1999 International Herald Tribune. An Increasing Vulnerability to Natural Disasters.  In an article by Kofi Annan, weather-related disasters in 1998 exceeded the costs of all such disasters in the decade of the 1980s - tremendous earthquakes in Turkey and Afghanistan, hurricanes George and Mitch, a cyclone in India in June causing an estimated 10,000 deaths, major floods in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, China's catastrophic Yangtze River flood, and fires ravaging tens of thousands of square kilometers of forest in Brazil, Indonesia and Siberia. 90% of disaster victims worldwide live in developing countries, where poverty and population pressures force growing numbers of people to live in harm's way. People live in unsafe buildings in floodplains, unstable hillsides, or earthquake zones. Logging and destruction of rain-absorbing wetlands have increased erosion and flooding. Disaster control programs such as the ones put in place in China are needed.
  • September 3, 1999 WWF Freshwater Species in Dramatic Decline Worldwide.  Fifty-one percent of freshwater species, from fish and frogs to river dolphins, are declining in numbers, due to decline of the the world's rivers, lakes and other wetlands from pesticides, fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals are washed into the waterways by rain. The use of fertilizer has increased 5 times since the 1960s. Since 1970, the world has lost 10 per cent of its natural forests. Only half of the world's original forest cover remains.
  • September 3, 1999 WorldWatch Unemployment Climbing As World Approaches 6 Billion.  American unemployment may have reached near record low, but unemployment in the rest of the world is at an all-time high. The world's labor force has expanded from 1.2 billion people in 1950 to nearly 3 billion in 1999, with 1 billion unemployed or underemployed, and this number will reach nearly 4.5 billion by 2050, while in the world's 50 poorest countries, the work force will surge some 235%. Peru, Mexico, Indonesia, Zambia, and other nations that have half of their population below the age of 25 will feel the burden of this labor flood. In the Middle East and Africa, 40% of the population is under the age of 15. In Africa, 40% of the population lives in absolute poverty and underemployment is already the norm. The United States work force will grow from 139 million in 1999 to 162 million in 2050, adding roughly half a million job seekers each year. Increased mechanization and shrinkage of cropland per person (by 1/2 in 50 years) as reduced the labor needs on the farm-where most of the world still derives its food and income-while the flood of cheap food imports undermine rural livelihoods. Enhanced domestic and international support for family planning services, reproductive health care, the education of young people, and other efforts to stabilize population will yield the dual benefits of better living conditions and brighter job prospects in the next century.
  • September 9, 1999 The Washington Post Journey of the Abortion Pill  RU-486, or mifepristone, which induces non-surgical abortion and could be prescribed by any doctor, has been available in Europe for over 10 years. On the other hand, in the U.S., legislation has just missed blocking the the Food and Drug Administration was nearly from completing its safety tests on the drug two years in a row by language inserted into a congressonal agricultural appropriations bill. Hopefully this language will once again be thrown out. "As long as the right to an abortion remains the law of the land, though, Congress has no business using the appropriations process to block access to a safer means of obtaining one".
  • August 25, 1999 Population Council Improving Quality of Care in India's Family Welfare Programme, The Challenge Ahead,  is new Population Council book illuminating the poor quality-of-care issues facing India's family planning program, which argues for a more intense focus on providing client-centered, high-quality family planning services. The book is edited by Michael A. Koenig and M.E. Khan, with contributions from more than two dozen social scientists, public health physicians, members of nongovernmental organizations, and women's health activists. "India's Family Welfare Programme remains characterized by an overriding concern for numbers--as measured by the recruitment of sterilization acceptors", the editors note. "The problems described are clearly not unique to India, but broadly characteristic of health and family planning services in many, if not most, developing-country settings." This book demonstrate how poor-quality services lead to lower levels of client satisfaction, a poor image, and general distrust of the public-sector system. For further information e-mail: pubinfo@popcouncil.org.
  • September 2, 1999 BCC Drug to Combat Growing Malaria Menace. A new drug that can be taken orally, and is inexpensive, may be effective in combating malaria - a disease that is becoming resistant to current medications. The drug appears to cure malaria in mice. Malaria causes up to 2.7 million deaths per year. Global warming may cause malaria will spread to temperate climates, including the UK.
  • September 6, 1999 IPS Ethiopia: 40 Million at Risk of Malaria.  Two-thirds of the Ethiopian population are at risk for malaria, which attacks after the heavy rainy season from September to November. Five million are infected every year. The solution is to pour burned engine oil or kerosene on the swamps or ponds where the mosquitos which bear malaria live. Malaria is also spread to urban areas by way of trucks, helicopter or railways from the rural areas. The main transmiiter, the anopheles mosquito, has been found to be resistant to chloroquine. Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine is now being used for the anopheles while chloroquine is still being used for other mosquito types.
  • September 6, 1999 Xinhua Bangladesh to Announce National Health Policy Shortly.  "Our government has been pursuing consistently a policy of health development, particularly for the under-served rural masses," Prime minister Sheikh Hasina said. Health problems are due to the vicious cycle of population explosion, poverty, low literacy rate and malnutrition. Communicable diseases are high, especially preventable diseases among the children under age five.
  • September 6, 1999 Xinhua Cambodia to Strive Against AIDS Spread.  Use of condoms, educating people about the danger of HIV/AIDS and expanding health care for people infected by HIV/AIDS are the proposed measures. 100% use of condoms is advised, especially in brothels. Cambodia is a small country with 11.5 million population. 20,000 have AIDS while 200,000 are infected with HIV.
  • September 7, 1999 NYT Bid To Ban DDT Draws Fire From Health Experts Efforts by the United Nations to ban the insecticide DDT and other "persistent organic pollutants" (POPs) are being opposed by public health experts who "say DDT is necessary to stop the spread of malaria." 370 doctors, health economists and scientists, and three Nobel laureates, have sent an open letter to oppose the UNEP's DDT campaign, arguing that any POPs treaty should include an exception to "allow DDT to be sprayed in small quantities on the interior walls of homes, where it acts as a repellent" of malaria-carrying mosquitoes. The World Health Organization estimates that 300 million to 500 million new cases of each year, "killing many more people than it did decades ago." The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Physicians for Social Responsibility argue that even small amounts of DDT sprayed inside homes are harmful to the environment and human health and that the pesticide turns up in human breast milk. Behind using DDT are The Malaria Foundation International and the Malaria Project.  Malaria "is far, far more deadly than the worst that one could imagine about DDT."
  • September 2, 1999 USA Today Men Should Share Birth Control Burden - Untapped Demand for Male Pill. Researchers have been focusing on two methods: stopping sperm production and rendering sperm useless to fertilize an egg. This has to be done without lowering muscle mass, HDL (good) cholesterol levels, libido, and other testosterone-related benefits. One researcher is working on an implant and testosterone patch that, used together, will suppress sperm production while maintaining male hormone levels. A patch to be worn on the upper arm that releases a sperm-blocking synthetic steroid has been developed by the Population Council. A four-week study shows that this method may be safe and effective. But U.S. pharmaceutical companies do not seem to want to invest significantly in male birth control research. According to the World Health Organization, men would prefer a male pill or injection over condom use or vasectomies, which are the only two choices for men.
  • August 15, 1999 San Francisco Chronicle Now Serving 6 Billion We should reflect on our collective ability to feed everyone. In Africa, food production has lagged; in Latin America extreme inequality drives growing hunger; in the United States, which has more hungry people than any other industrial nation. While per capita food production in the world has outstripped population growth by 16% during the last 35 years, and we now have more food per person available than ever before, there are still more than 800 million hungry people, according to the United Nations, 36 million of them in the US, which is the world's top food exporter. In the US, a full-time, minimum wage earner does not make enough to cover both housing and food for a family of four. Impoverished peoples in third world countries cannot afford food harvested from their country's soils. In the global marketplace, food is distributed not according to human need, but rather in response to money. Family farm agriculture is more productive than corporate farming because it is based on principles of equity and ecological sustainability. "While slowing population growth in itself cannot end hunger, the changes that would help ensure equitable food distribution -- the democratization of economic life and the empowerment of women -- also have been shown to be the keys to reducing birth rates, so that the human population can come into balance with the rest of the natural world".
  • August 25, 1999 Los Angeles Times Accommodating Growth, Improving Quality of Life Next year Southern California's population will grow by more than 275,000 and the state of California will add half a million residents. Population growth will triple in the next five years. There will be enough jobs since 1.6 million additional jobs in Southern California will be created in the next five years. But, Philip Angelides, California's treasurer says California will need 250,000 new housing units every year, while only 126,000 were built last year. $14.8 billion is wasted annually on delayed deliveries and idled trucks due to congested roads and highways. The state plans to spend between $68 billion and $94 billion to upgrade roads and waterways, schools, parks and telecommunications and power facilities in the next 10 years. Angelides' emphasis will be on apartment construction and multifamily housing near transportation. But in Southern California, many communities believe that high density housing reduces overall property values and that services for more residents drain tax revenue. Los Angeles County issued only 4,805 apartment permits last year--less than 10% of the permits issued a decade ago. Workers must travel long distances to and from jobs because the only affordable housing is built out in outlaying desert reaches. LA has less people per square mile than Chicago (13,180), Berlin (8,982), Toronto (14,239), Paris (53,079), Tokyo (38,819), Manhattan (64,922) and London (11,094). Source: Center for Study of Latino Health, UCLA.
  • August 10, 1999 UNwire China: Condom Machines Deployed To Curb Diseases.  China, with the help of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), is installing condom vending machines in residential areas, college campuses, subway stations and public toilets in Beijing and Shanghai. Other machines have been installed in smaller cities in China. (Only 4.1% of Chinese men choose to use them). The Chinese government spends about $36 million annually on contraceptives. Grassroots volunteers sometimes knock door to door to distribute them.
  • August 25, 1999 Los Angeles Times Accommodating Growth, Improving Quality of Life Next year Southern California's population will grow by more than 275,000 and the state of California will add half a million residents. Population growth will triple in the next five years. There will be enough jobs since 1.6 million additional jobs in Southern California will be created in the next five years. But, Philip Angelides, California's treasurer says California will need 250,000 new housing units every year, while only 126,000 were built last year. $14.8 billion is wasted annually on delayed deliveries and idled trucks due to congested roads and highways. The state plans to spend between $68 billion and $94 billion to upgrade roads and waterways, schools, parks and telecommunications and power facilities in the next 10 years. Angelides' emphasis will be on apartment construction and multifamily housing near transportation. But in Southern California, many communities believe that high density housing reduces overall property values and that services for more residents drain tax revenue. Los Angeles County issued only 4,805 apartment permits last year--less than 10% of the permits issued a decade ago. Workers must travel long distances to and from jobs because the only affordable housing is built out in outlaying desert reaches. LA has less people per square mile than Chicago (13,180), Berlin (8,982), Toronto (14,239), Paris (53,079), Tokyo (38,819), Manhattan (64,922) and London (11,094). Source: Center for Study of Latino Health, UCLA.
  • August 10, 1999 UNwire China: Condom Machines Deployed To Curb Diseases.  China, with the help of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), is installing condom vending machines in residential areas, college campuses, subway stations and public toilets in Beijing and Shanghai. Other machines have been installed in smaller cities in China. (Only 4.1% of Chinese men choose to use them). The Chinese government spends about $36 million annually on contraceptives. Grassroots volunteers sometimes knock door to door to distribute them.
  • August 31, 1999 Africa News Service Grand Plan in Place to Save World's Rare Plants.  A seed bank project targeting 10% of the world's plants has been started by Britain's Royal Botanic Gardens. Seeds will be taken from Kenya, the United Sates, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Egypt and Australia. "We expect conversions of wildlands to continue, rather than complain and grumble, we decided to act," said Dr Smith of the Royal Botanic Gardens. He "does not expect politicians in the world to support conservation at the expense of development." If the trend of indiscriminate exploitation continues, 20% of the world's flora will be condemned to extinction by 2050. The drylands which make a large part of Africa will be the first focus. Kenya has approximately 6,000 plant species, with 1,100 (including exotics) being cultivated. The tropical drylands have over 20% of the world's population and this is where the conflict between man and nature is highest and the threat of desertification at its peak.
  • September 3, 1999 CNN Uganda's Successful Anti-AIDS Program Targets Youth. About 10% of Uganda's 20 million people has HIV or AIDS, but Uganda has one of the most aggressive AIDS control programs in the world, resulting in a decline in the national AIDS rate. Young people have the fastest- spreading rates of HIV infections and AIDS in the world. Educating young people about safe sex includes speaking their language, using music, videos, radio and newspapers to spread the message, which are used by the Straight Talk Foundation, which produces a hip, weekly radio program that reaches 1.5 million young people. Myths such as "sexual organs will disfunction if you don't have sex" are debunked. Clinics also dispense advice to teenagers.
  • September 3, 1999 Africa News Service Nairobi: Meteorologists Confirm Impending Famine  The rains due in October will be poor and unevenly distributed, resulting in poor harvests especially in arid and semi-arid regions. Farmers in the North Eastern region are already experiencing poor pasture and browsing land. The staple crops of maize, rice and beans have already shown poor harvests. Meanwhile, the Head of the Civil Service, Dr Richard Leakey, said the government will protect farmers against cheap imports as part of its economic revival strategy. Dr Leakey is participating in a two-day workshop on "Women and the national food policy", and said that women had for long been ignored in the formulation of national policies although they produce 80% percent of total food.
  • August 31, 1999 Africa News Service Nigeria: Growing Opposition to Male Sterilization. More and more women in Nigeria are opposed to vasectomy as a means of birth control, according to the Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria. Unfounded fears of castration and loss of erection, as well as the realistic concern of not being able to father more children are given as reasons. However, Bilateral Tubal Ligation, where the woman's tubes are cut, is on the increase. Condoms, pills, injectables and diaphragms have been accepted, but more campaigns are needed to promote them. Nigerian women have an average of 6.2 children in a lifetime. Nigeria's population is estimated to be 120 million, and may reach 157 million by 2010.
  • September 6, 1999 Africa News Service Southern Africa Development Community Cereal Production Far Short of Demand.  Zimbabwe will experience the highest cereal deficit of 1.3 million tonnes, according to a special report issued bythe Famine Early Warming System. 1998/99 cereal production and opening stocks is estimated at 23.5 million tonnes while domestic uses including human consumption, animal feed and seed are estimated at over 24.5 million tonnes, declining by 6% from the preceeding year. Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Angola will suffer the most. Late rains, water logging, and long dry spells are cited as the reason for the shortages.
  • August 23, 1999 Sample Letter to Gov. Davis for Sex Education
    Gov. Gray Davis
    RE: Sex Education:
    AB 246, authored by Assemblymember Jim Cunneen (R-Cupertino), ensures that students, in school districts that opt to teach sex education, will receive medically accurate information that is free of racial and gender bias.
        This legislation will guarantee that California's students receive honest, medically accurate information that helps them make responsible choices about sexual activity.
        Our young people need knowledge about reproduction. Forty percent of girls in the US are pregnant by the time they are twenty. Our country has the highest teenage pregnancy rate of any industrialized nation.
        Please support AB#246 by signing this bill that is now on your desk.
    Thank you.
    Sincerely,
  • September 1, 1999 Africa News Service Early Sexuality Fingered for Rise in AIDS. Much of the rise in HIV/AIDS in Kisumu, Western Kenya, is due to an increase in teenage sex - from a study by the Kenyan Population Council. 70% of the boys and 73% of the girls ages 15-19 sexually active. 23% of the girls and 4% of the boys had contracted HIV. Despite a 99% awareness among Kenyans on how the disease spreads, HIV cases are still increasing. [From another article on AIDS - SF Chronicle-8/15/99: Plagues Persist Despite Century of Miracles. ... Next year AIDS is projected to account for a 100% increase in child mortality in South Africa and Zimbabwe and throughout the world there will be 13 million AIDS orphans, 10.4 million of whom will be under the age of 15.]
  • August 31, 1999 IRIN Central African Republic: Worsening Conditions Amid Deepening Poverty.  Poverty has deepened and living conditions have deteriorated from the economic situation in the CAR since the civil strife of 1996-97. Each employed person supports about 20 family members, thus the rise in unemployment and irregular payment of civil servants’ salaries has meant destitution for many. People are weak and more susceptible to disease, eating only one meal a day and incomplete cassava-dependent diets. 79% of children under five are anaemic, and 23% with severe anaemia. Diarrhoeal diseases have increased and malaria has doubled among children. The CAR is ranked among the bottom 10 countries. 63% of the country’s population live in poverty. 87% of the rural population has no access to potable water. Parents can no longer to afford to send girls to school.
  • August 25, 1999 NWF 6 Billion Consumption Machines   from the September/Octover 1999 issue of National Wildlife Federation's International Wildlife magazine: This special report examines six elements of the natural world - water, forests, soil, air, oceans, and animals - and probes the impacts that human consumption has on ecological communities and the species that depend on them. The take home lesson is that human population growth and consumption patterns are taking a heavy toll on the Earth. Readers are challenged to submit ideas for solutions to mitigate the growing impact of human population on the natural world.
  • August 30, 1999 ENN Home Depot Decision Cheered.  Home Depot plans to phase out the sale of old-growth forest products by 2002. This includes lauan, redwood and cedar products which are from environmentally sensitive areas. Home Depot plans to use only wood that has been deemed okay by the Certified Forest Products Council. Some of the giant trees are 2,000 years old. Less than 20% of old growth forests remain on Earth and less than 4% in the U.S. The old growth wood The Home Depot sells comes from the ancient temperate rain forests of British Columbia, Southeast Asia and the Amazon, according to Rainforest Action Network (RAN).
  • August 27, 1999 ENN Air Pollution Kills, but Deaths Can Be Prevented From a report by Australia's ommonwealth Science Council. 8,000 people a day die from air pollution. Of the 3 million annual deaths, 2.8 million are from indoor air and .2 million are from outdoor pollution. 90% of the deaths occur in developing countries. China has 500,000 deaths a year due to air pollution. In the developed world and in some of the developing countries, the greatest source of particulate matter is from diesel engines. "Transport and industrial emissions generate smog that destroys sensitive tissues (in people and animals), as well as producing fine carcinogenic particles that reduce lung function, and are ultimately responsible for many untimely deaths each year," the report said. The indoor use of coal and biomass fuels for cooking and heating is a killer in Asian and African countries. Ventilation of the smoke to the outside can greatly reduce the problem, while replacing biomass fuels with kerosene or natural gas, or building cities so that cars aren't need are suggested solutions. Monitoring the air is also important.
  • August 26, 1999 ENN Half of Worlds' Turtles Face Extinction,  due in large part to the growing use of turtles as sources for food and medicinal ingredients, particularly in SE Asia. Freshwater turtles and tortoises face an even more critical situation than saltwater turtles. Vietnam, Bangladesh and Indonesia are exporting large numbers of turtles to China. 55 species of turtles representing approximately 20 percent of the world's total turtle diversity are in the US, which exports more than 7 million turtles every year as pets or food products. Turtles have survived the upheavals of the last 200 million years, including the extinction of the dinosaurs.
  • August 25, 1999 ENN U.S. Soil Erosion Not as Severe as Thought.  Fertile topsoil is not flowing down the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico as fast as thought, according to research published in the Aug. 20 issue of the journal Science. David Pimentel of Cornell University reported in 1995 in Science that the world had lost nearly 1/3 of its arable land over the past 40 years due to unsustainable farming practices. A study by Stanley Trimble from the University of California, Los Angeles uses 140 years of information on sediment buildup and erosion from the Coon Creek River in Wisconsin farm country. Soil erosion in this watershed, he concludes, has been steadily decreasing, to 6% of what it was during the 1930s. The slow down has been attributed to soil conservation efforts such as the tilling the soil as little as possible, or fitting crops to the contours of the land.
  • August 23, 1999 ENN Solar Thermal Technology Deemed a Success.  Immediately applicable to sun-drenched markets where energy costs are high. In Daggett, Calif, 2,000 giant mirrors reflect sunlight onto a centrally located 300-foot tall receiver. Molten salt flowing through the receiver is heated to 1,065 degrees Fahrenheit and transferred to a storage tank where it generates electricity on demand by churning a steam generator. The facility generates 10 megawatts of electricity which is enough to power 10,000 homes. The heat is retained into the night, so electricity is generated long after the sun sets. In the United States it is cost prohibitive, with coal and natural gas being less expensive, but in the Middle East, where electricity is expensive and there is abundant sunlight, the technology is immediately applicable.
  • August 31, 1999 Xinhua Steady Growth of Urbanization in China. The number of cities has grown from 132 in 1949 to 668 today and the urban percent of the population has grown from 12% to 30%. The country's urbanization development strategy has been to control the development of large cities and give rational development to small and medium-sized cities. Cities account for 18% of the country's total land area, as against 7.6% in 1984. Uneven economic development has resulted in an uneven distribution of cities between eastern and western China.
  • August 31, 1999 Reuters Nepal Hopes to Clear the Air with Motorbike Ban. The import of two-stroke motorcycles has been banned to improve air quality in the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal. Three-wheeled auto rickshaws have been banned due to diesel exhaust fumes.
  • August 31, 1999 Xinhua Poorest Villages in Northwest China Now Well-Off.  The per capita net income of 180 experimental villages with a combined population of 320,000 has risen from 455 yuan to 2,235 yuan a year, and 52 of them are now considered the well-to-do. Business endeavours that are encouraged include cattle and sheep butchering and transporting, and forestry.
  • August 30, 1999 AP Decline in AIDS Deaths Slows Dramatically.  Deaths from AIDS have declined to 17,000, down 20% from 1997. From 1996 to 1997, the drop in deaths was a much more dramatic 42%, which is attributed to the effectiveness of new drugs.
  • August 30, 1999 Xinhua Ethiopians Urged to Utilize Potential Water.  Only 20% of the 60 million people have access to potable water, and sanitation coverage is even lower. 46% of child mortality is caused by unsafe water supply and lack of sanitation. 80% of water-borne diseases are due to an unsafe water supply and poor hygiene.
  • August 30, 1999 Reuters India Population at Brink of 1 Billion.  India's huge numbers will lead to severe malnutrition, greater unemployment and massive sanitation problems. 30% now live in cities, but by 2040, half will live in cities. India is growing not just by natural increase, but also by an influx of immigrants. Sanitation problems in cities and urban areas that are becoming super-slums is a big problem. One out of 10 children die before the age of 5. 50% of children under 15 are suffering from malnutrition. The poorer states like Bihar have a much higher birth rate than the national average of 3.4 children per woman, up to 10 children in rural regions, where having sons are important. In 1994, following a world trend, India switched its emphasis from demographic control to health care and education of women. But various programs, which included sterilization of men and distribution of free condoms and birth control pills, have not had much impact. [Perhaps because the birth control is not reaching the rural areas].
  • August 19, 1999 AP Booming Population Fuels Southern Forest Study In a study of the health and sustainability of forests in 13 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, population has roughly doubled, from 40 million to 80 million people, in 30 years. During the same time, stands of natural pine have decreased from 70 million acres to 40 million acres, while industry- managed pine plantations have increased. A coalition of 60 environmental groups in 17 states, Dogwood Alliance, has called for a moratorium on new chip mills in North Carolina. The Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Tennessee Valley Authority will begin an assessment of timber markets and forest management; forest extent, conditions and health; watersheds, aquatic and riparian ecosystems and forested wetlands; landscapes and terrestrial ecosystems; and social and economic factors.
  • August 14, 1999 Washington Post No Abortions from UNFPA.  In a letter to the editor, Alex Marshall, Chief of Media Services, United Nations Population Fund, New York, wrote: "To put the record straight regarding the United Nations Population Fund and abortion, UNFPA does not support abortion services or information anywhere, nor do we provide equipment for performing abortions. The reproductive health and safe motherhood kits provided in Kosovo contain only standard equipment, including vacuum aspirators, which are used to help in delivery. Women do not want to have abortions; they want not to be pregnant. Every rational observer agrees that helping women avoid unwanted pregnancy is the most effective way to fight abortion. That is what UNFPA does. The human right to choose the size and spacing of the family has been recognized internationally since 1968. Persistent misrepresentation of our work by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and his supporters only puts back the day when all women can exercise this right."
  • August 16, 1999 Daily University Science News Tax Cut Carries Huge Price Tag For Environment.  According to Friends of the Earth and University of Wisconsin-Madison's Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COW), the tax cut includes $1 billion in new and existing subsidies for polluting industries -- including petroleum, chemical, and timber interests. It could jeopardize long-term financing for hazardous waste cleanup, and reduce incentives for the protection of land from development.
  • August 26, 1999 Xinhua Dutch Population Continues to Grow By January, population will be 15.9 million, three times what it was in 1900. Births and immigration are expected to bring the number up to 2 million in the next 15 years. 120,000 immigrants are projected for the Netherlands in 1999, mostly coming from Turkey, Morocco, Surinam, the Antilles, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. A large baby boom occured after World War II, but contraceptives and social trends like individualization and women's liberation reduced the birth rate, but the fall was then offset by immigration. (The Netherlands has a high population density: 450 people per square kilometer, compared to 343 in Japan and 28 in Canada.)
  • August 26, 1999 Xinhua China Winning Population Battle.  The People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, and since then improved living standards and health services have led to a drop in mortality rate from 2% in 1949 to 0.65%; and the infant mortality rate from 20-25% to 3.3%, while life expectancy has gone from 35 years to nearly 71 years. Education has improved with the literacy rate at 12%. China's "one child" policy has saved China - and the world - the burden of coping with an extra 300 million people, more people than there are in the United States. Ethnic minorities are allowed two children per couple and consequently have exceeded the population of the largest group, the Han group. The country continues to grow at 12 million per year and is expected to level out at 1.6 billion by 2050. China has a long way to go in controlling and stabilizing its population growth and improving the quality of life of its citizens for a sustainable development.
  • August 26, 1999 WorldWatch Drought Foreshadows Larger Water Threat.  This year, much of the eastern United States is suffering through the third worst drought of the century. If this pattern continues through fall and winter, it could surpass the devastating droughts of 1929 and 1966. Near-record low flows, rising salinity and low oxygen levels have killed massive numbers of fish. Wells run dry. Corn crops wither. While the drought is temporary, bigger worries are ahead as water runs short in many of the world's major food-producing regions. Ground water is being over-pumped in the breadbaskets and rice bowls of central and northern China, northwest India, parts of Pakistan, much of the United States, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Arabian Peninsula. Up to 1/4 of India's grain production may suffer due to ground water depletion. In the US, 1/5 of irrigated land gets water from the Ogallala underground reserve which services states from South Dakota to Texas. The loss of water amounts to the annual flow of 18 Colorado Rivers. Worldwide, 1/5 of all irrigated land is damaged by a buildup of salt. The people in the poorest countries live in the most water-stressed regions and are the fastest growing in population. Whether wealthy countries can keep up enough production of grains to feed these people is one question, but an even harder question is whether these people can afford to buy it! Adding to the problem is the question of climate change. When temperatures rise, snow packs melt too early for irrigation usage.
  • August 24, 1999 Karachi Dawn UNFPA to grant $250,000 to Pakistan for reproductive health and family planning centers in rural areas of the country. Pakistan has the highest growth rate among the 7 most populous countries of the world. Estimates suggest that currently 43% population is under the age of 15 and about 47% of the female population are of reproductive age. The position of women and girls in areas of education, employment opportunities, mortality and health is much lower than for men and boys.
  • August 25, CNN 6 million South Africans (out of 40 million) will be infected with HIV by 2005, leaving the country with 1 million orphans. 1,600 are infected daily with HIV. 60% of the patients at Johannesburg's biggest hospital have HIV-related illnesses. Sexual abstinence, faithfulness and the use of condoms are recommended solutions. Activists upset over a trade dispute with South Africa targeted U.S. Vice President Al Gore over a law designed to bring cheaper medicines to millions of South Africa AIDS victims.
  • August 24, The Reporter (Addis Ababa) Ethiopia - 40 million People Exposed to Malaria.  - two-thirds of all Ethiopians may become malaria victims in the next epidemic. 90% of malaria patients in Sub-Saharan Africa are in Ethiopia. 300- 500 million people suffer from malaria in the world.
  • August 25, 1999 Worldwatch Phasing Out Coal.  Environmental Concerns, Subsidy Cuts Fuel Global Decline. The global phaseout of coal both necessary and feasible, says the Worldwatch Institute. Coal's share of world energy, has declined since 1910, when it peaked at 62%; today the percentage of coal to world energy is about 23% about where it was in 1860. However, coal's "environmental and health costs have never been higher." The decline in the use of coal must be hastened to prevent climate change. Coal releases 29% more carbon per unit of energy than oil, and 80% more than natural gas. Particulate and sulfur dioxide pollution from coal, which cause 500,000 premature deaths per year and coal smoke from cooking is responsible for up to 1.8 million deaths globally. So-called solutions include higher smokestacks which have lead to acid rain and the hunt for low-sulfur coal which has led to strip mining, mountaintop removal, and the up-rooting of indigenous peoples. More promising solutions are elimination of coal subsidies, construction of natural gas lines, and solar cell manufacturing. Thirteen countries in the world use on coal for at least 1/4 of their total energy, including the US - 53%, Denmark - 74%, South Africa 78%, and China - 73%
  • August 13, 1999 World Watch India Reaches 1 Billion on August 15, No Celebration Planned. By Lester Brown and Brian Halweil. Reaching one billion is not a cause for celebration in a country where 1/2 of the adults are illiterate, more than half of all children are undernourished, and 1/3 of the people live below the poverty line. Demographers expect the population to reach 1.5 billion by 2050. India is experiencing shrinking forests, deteriorating rangelands, and falling water tables. Even though grain production has tripled in the last 50 years, food production has barely kept up with population. In 1960, there was 0.21 hectares of grainland per person. By 1999, there was only 0.10 hectares per person and it is expected to shrink to 0.07 by 2050. Water levels are dropping now that water pumping is more common. Irrigated land accounts for 55% of the grain harvest. Farmland is divided each generation into smaller and smaller portions, resulting in a flight to the cities. The government of India, overwhelmed by sheer numbers, is suffering from demographic fatigue. India should look at the example of Zimbwabe where, after several decades of rapid population growth, the government has been unable to respond effectively to problems such as the HIV epidemic. Life expectancy there has fallen from 60 years in 1990 to 44 years at present and is expected to drop to 39 years by 2010. India spends only 0.7% of its GNP on health, which includes family planning.
  • August 5, 1999 Planned Parenthood House Denies Access to Abortion to Women in Federal Prison
  • August 22, 1999 UN Wire Gates Donates $6 Billion To Research Effort. Targeting malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, the Gates Foundation also wants to lower the costs of any newly developed vaccines. The Foundation will support programs in global health and learning, with the hope that as we move into the 21st century advances in these critical areas will be available for all people. To date, Gates has set aside $17 billion for his charitable foundation
  • August 20, 1999 Popin Hillary Clinton Praises Women Who Rise So High in The Battle of the Everyday.Smaller families and population stabilization depend not on control but on the freedom to make real choices. Women, given choices, prefer a higher quality of life for a few children, rather than the unending cycle of poverty and perpetual pregnancy. Yemen is to be praised for tripling girls' school enrollment since 1994.
  • August 20, 1999 Mail and Guardian Millennium Countdown: the World Is Dying Out ... As fertility rates fall, a "birth dearth" is spreading, write Anthony Browne and Richard Reeves. By the end of the next millennium, Tokyo will be a ghost town, and Japan will be empty. The country's population will be just 500 by the year 3000, and just one by 3500. 1.4 children is the Japanese average now. After centuries of population growth ... (And so on it goes ... carrying projection forward 1000 years for the developed countries, but not worrying much what will happen to the developing countries and the environment in the meantime. Who could have said, 1000 years ago, that, based on current rates, population would mushroom as it has today?)
  • August 16, 1999 ZPG Contraceptive Coverage Legislation Picks Up Momentum In July, Senator Olympia Snowe (ME), joined Sen. Harry Reid (NV), Rep. Nita Lowey (NY), Rep. Jim Greenwood (PA), Supermodel Beverly Peale and actresses Kathleen Turner and Sally Kellerman participated in a press conference to announce their support for the ZPG-backed Equity in Prescription Insurance Contraceptive Coverage Act of 1999 (S. 1200 and H.R. 2120) The legislation has already garnered 31 cosponsors in the Senate and 25 in the House. More sponsors are expected to be added soon. According to ZPG, fewer than 1 in 7 insurers cover the 5 most common FDA-approved contraceptive methods. Women of reproductive age spend 68% more than men each year, in out-of-pocket expenses for health care. Last year Congress approved a provision to require that all federal employees (1.2 million women) have access to the full range of contraceptives through their health plans. Maryland, Georgia, Maine, Vermont, Nevada, and Connecticut have passed contraceptive coverage bills and similar bills in North Carolina and Hawaii are awaiting governor's signatures. More than half of state legislatures are expected to consider contraceptive coverage bills this year.
  • August 19, 1999 Inter Press Service Mexico: When Toxic Air Is a Fact of Life.  When pollution levels are at their peak, outdoor activities for children are taboo. Efforts have been made: lead-free gas is now the norm, catalytic converters have been compulsory for all cars built after 1991, and heavy fuel oil for industrial use has been substituted with gas oil that contains 33 percent less sulphur. Two power plants and 365 other major industries now use natural gas. A pollution levels index is announced daily. The index ranges from 0 to 500, where 200 is considered "dangerous" and 301-500 is "extremely dangerous," with the air containing unhealthy amounts of sulphur, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and ozone. In 1996, the standards for air quality were exceeded on 333 days -- including 71 days when the index level topped 200 and five days when it reached 250. Polluted air contains unhealthy amounts of sulphur, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and ozone. Mexico City, at 20 million people, is the world's largest metropolis. In 1940, it had only 1.7 million people. Residents must endure contaminated water, broken underground pipes and stringent but rarely enforced laws. Mexico City, Beijing, Cairo, Jakarta and Sao Paulo exceed WHO's pollution guidelines.
  • August 16, 1999 India Today India Steps Into The BC Era Our demographic karma reflects both success and failure. By Jairam Ramesh. As India celebrates its 52nd Independence Day, it population will reach one billion, but M. Vijayanunny, the census commissioner, says that India's b-date will will be nearer to May 11, 2000, ironically, the second anniversary of India's nuclear bomb! India will surpass China around 2040, and could well enter the 22nd century closer to the two billion mark. Unfortunately, three out of every five infants in India are born underweight and malnourished. Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura also reached the transition point in population growth is when the total fertility rate (TFR) drops to the replacement rate of 2.1. Andhra Pradesh is expected to reach this transition point in 2002, then Karnataka, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Orissa in 2009-10, Gujarat in 2014, Assam in 2015, Punjab in 2025, Haryana in 2025, Bihar in 2039, Rajasthan in 2048, Madhya Pradesh beyond 2060 and Uttar Pradesh beyond 2100. The average fertility rate of India will reach the 2.1 replacement rate in 2026. However, 34% of the population is under 15, which gives an already large base the extra momentum of continued growth. Because of this momentum, the population of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar may not stop growing until 2045-2060 when population of these four will equal 60% of the population of India. Urbanisation is a powerful stimulus to reduce the fertility rate. However jobs are running short. 10 million new jobs have to be created every year across the country. In the '80s, the annual rate of job creation was 5-5.5 million and in the '90s, around 6.5-7 million. 370 million tons of cereals will be needed by 2020. But cereal production peaked at about 185 million tons in 1996-97, so cereal output has to double in the next 20 years. However rapid economic growth will lead to escalating demand for milk, eggs and meat which will mean greater use of cereals for livestock feed.
  • August 19, 1999 AP 'Baby Boom' Echo Propels Record School Enrollment.  According to the Dept. of Education, school enrollment, at 53.2 million, broke the record for kindergarten through 12th grades again, the fourth consecutive year, due to a second baby boom and increased immigration. "Many of our schools are overcrowded and will stay that way," Education Secretary Richard W. Riley said in statement. College enrollment also hit a high. Annual school construction and repair spending reached a record $17 billion. A 9% increasse is projected through 2009. Nevada expects 77% more high school graduates over 10 years, Arizona - 56% and North Carolina - 40%. Births dropped to 3.1 million after the first baby boom in the early 1970s, but this time around births are expected to slowly increase to 4.2 million live births in 2009 and to 4.8 million in 2028.
  • August 19, 1999 Africa News Service, The Economist 50% of Zambians Will Eventually Die of AIDS.  Nearly the entire population lives in abject poverty and therefore they cannot afford the right medication. 23/ of patients at the Ndola Central Hospital die of AIDS. Yet patients' more immediate requirement is for food. High poverty levels are attributed to the increasing number of people retrenched as a result of the privatisation of the mines.
  • August 19, 1999 IPS South Asia: a Himalayan Water Problem. In Farakka India, giant sluice gates regulate the flow of the mighty Ganges and the river divides into two main streams, one flowing southward to the eastern Indian port of Calcutta and the other eastward to Bangladesh. Unfortunately, too much of South Asia's rainfall pours down in too short a time, during the four monsoon months beginning June, when the rivers have been found to swell nearly 20 times. Barrages have been built on Indo-Nepal border across the Mahakali river which forms the western border Indo-Nepal, and on the Kosi river near the eastern Indo-Nepal border. Harnessing South Asia's Himalayan water resource is key to raising living standards in one of the world's poorest regions. An agreement was reached 3 years ago for sharing dry season flows at Farakka, New Delhi and Dhaka. But mutual trust and coordination seem to be lacking. Bangladesh is not satisfied even after years of diplomatic negotiations and various accords on sharing the river water. Nepal and tiny Bhutan feel disadvantaged with Indian involvement in joint river water development schemes. The Ganges and its Himalayan tributaries have provided the plains of north India and Bangladesh with farm abundance. The two largest Himalayan rivers -- the Ganges and the Brahmaputra -- along with their tributaries, feed into a large basin stretching from southern Tibet to the arid western region of India, providing the third largest water resource in the world after the Amazon and the Congo-Zaire group of rivers. Unfortunately, due to the huge population (half a billion people, and including the single largest concentration of the world's poorest) the region has nearly the lowest per capita water availability. The population is expected to double in the next three decades and there is expected to be a large increase in industrial demand for water.
  • August 20, 1999 BCC Scientists Develop Genetically Engineered Salt-Resistant Plant.  Since 1/3 of the world's irrigated land is contaminated by prohibitive levels of salt, this could dramatically increase global food production. Such plants can thrive even when salt levels are twice the amount that would kill a normal crop of corn. Scientists tested this genetic engineering on Arabidopsis thaliana, which is a member of the Mustard family, which includes broccoli and cauliflower. About 10 million hectares of crops are lost each year because of the high level of salts in the water used for irrigation. Large areas of North and South America, Australia, Asia and Europe have experienced a serious decline in crop productivity due to salinity of soils.
  • August 19, 1999 AP Replanting, New Logging Techniques Could Save the Amazon.  The Rio do Norte mining company (a joint venture whose partners include U.S. companies Reynolds and Alco), is changing the notion that the jungle must be destroyed to tap its riches -- reforests with the same species it cuts down in the heart of the rain forest, 1,736 miles northwest of Rio de Janeiro. The company is reinvesting 10% of its dividends in the reforestation. Many simply would plant eucalyptus, a fast-growing Australian import, and turn the area into a paper and pulp producer when the ore runs out. Birds and animals are returning to the replanted forest, but about 5% of the original species have been lost. Following the reduced-impact techniques, the land must be left untouched for 30 or 40 years to regenerate. Greenpeace believes that the Amazon rain forest will be wiped out in 80 years if multinational logging companies continued deforestation at current rates. Many scientists believe the deforestation is accelerating global warming. A recent study by the Tropical Forest Foundation and the U.S. Forestry Service in conjunction with local logging companies, has shown that planned extraction is cheaper than unplanned logging.
  • August 19, 1999 IPS Trinidad and Tobago: Child Marriage Customs under Scrutiny.  In this multi-ethnic and religious country, girls are allowed to become brides when they reach puberty. But the government is planning on raising the age of consent for marriage, perhaps to age 16, which the majority of the country favors. Currently Muslim girls can marry at age 12, while Hindu girls are allowed to marry at 14, although the Sexual Offenses Act makes it illegal to have sex with a girl under the age of 14. The Roman Catholic Church has a "universal law" which allows girls to marry at 14 and boys at 16. Some feel that it is better to have an early marriage than to have abortion or to have a child out of wedlock.
  • August 18, 1999 IPS Malaysia: Good News for Palm Oil Firms, Not for Indigenous People.  The palm oil export business saved the Malaysian economy from bankruptcy. but the indigenous people of this West Malaysian state of Sarawak fear a possible loss of their native land to plantation firms and logging companies and are gearing up for a bitter battle against the government and companies. A non-governmental organization PUSAT is educating indigenous people about their legal rights, as well as train them in business skills to help establish and run their own plantation companies on native land. 1.5 million of Sarawak's 12 million hectares is categorized as Native Customary Land (NCL) and most of it is suitable for palm oil plantations. Such indigenous people make up about 30% of Sarawak's population. Land in an NCL belongs to the community, not to an individual.
  • August 17, 1999 Los Angeles Times Helping the Poor to Help Themselves.  Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus recounts in his book Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty, recounts how he set out in the 1970s to provide small loans to poor people in his native Bangladesh. He says that "state-imposed action to lift the poor from poverty will not work. Governments tend to work for the benefit of the governors, not the people they purport to help." Despite resistance from the World Bank he has brought his model to other countries. (Micro Credit is said to help slow population because it allows women to start small business, allowing them to provide income for their families, and establishing self-esteem and their worth consequently is no longer measured in how many children they can have.)
  • August 17, 1999 The East African Ships' Sulphur Fuels Climate Change. In 1990, shipping emissions are believed to have caused 14% of the change in global atmospheric heat balance that is caused by sulphate from human activities in 1990, according to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Ships' emissions promote cloud formation, which affects the climate; in addition, these additions can also have a marked effect on land, in the form of acid rain. ENN also carried an aritcle on this subject which came out in full in the magazine Nature.
  • August 18, 1999 Boston Globe Editorial Playing Politics with Population.  As long as children have a 1-in-10 chance of dying before their fifth birthday, it will be difficult to persuade India's women to plan smaller families. A comprehensive package that includes immunizations and prenatal checkups in small villages is replacing the old target based policies. But India cannot do it alone. Wealthier nations, including the United States, must keep up their commitment to achieving a sustainable population. Later this summer the House-Senate committee will be hammering out the differences between two compromise resolutions: the usual strictures that would gag family planning organizations from even discussing abortion, and the one requiring that family planning organizations certify that they are using US funds to reduce the incidence of abortion. The people of India and the developing world cannot wait much longer for the politicians to catch up.
  • August 17, 1999 The East African Climate Change Killing Coral Reefs. Tropical marine environments may be the first casualties of climate change. Reefs in the West Indies in the Caribbean may be gone in twenty years, the Great Barrier Reef in thirty years, and in the Central Pacific area in fifty years. The plant cells in coral cannot cope with rising temperatures. Fish that feed there starve to death. Scientists have found a wall of water two or three degrees warmer than usual right along the tropical band and thus across much of the coral reef area. An Australian Green Peace spokesman said that "coral reefs are now in effect the canaries in the cage, warning the world that something must be done to limit carbon emissions and slow down global warming."
  • August 17, 1999 The Guardian (London) Overcrowded World Faces Battle For Scarce Resources.  On October 12, 1999 the UN Secretary General will declare the world's population at 6 billion. The 5 billionth human alive today, is not yet a teenager, the 4 billionth is just over 30, and the 2nd billonth is still under 70. It took almost all human history to reach 1 billion people. 97% of the growth is from the developing world. The best estimates from the UN Population Fund are that, barring huge natural and human disasters, in fifty years we will reach 8.9 billion. By then, Africa will have 3 times as many people as Europe, and the US, currently the 3rd biggest, will be the only developed country in the world's 20 biggest. The UN thinks maybe population will level off in 120 years time at about 11 billion. Others think that eventually there will be too few people. Millions still do not have access to contraceptives. 5 years ago, it was agreed globally to provide universal access to cheap reproductive health services and $5.7 billion was pledged over 20 years. Britain, the US and France are well behind their share while India, China, Mexico, Malaysia and Iran now contribute more than 80% of the money. Almost all the people born in the next 50 years will live in urban areas, many which can barely provide minimal services for people now. Food shortages, sanitation and health problems, social tension, and breakdowns in law and order are expected.
  • August 17, 1999 San Francisco Chronicle Environmental 'Air Force' Shows Sprawl at its Starkest.  From the Central Valley to the Bay. Tract houses, freeways, big malls. Office parks, luxury homes on hilltops, serpentine tangles of freeways, feeder roads and side streets. An association of 150 volunteer pilots, called LightHawk, gives power brokers a birds' eye perspective in the hope of influencing future development policies. They started by taking politicians, journalists and educators on flyovers of heavily logged Western woodlands from Alaska to New Mexico. Now it's urban sprawl. Every Seattle City Council member has been flown over the Cedar River watershed south of Seattle, making obvious the threats from logging and urban encroachment. After the flights, the Seattle council voted to ban logging along the Cedar River for 50 years. This summer the LightHawks are working with the Bay Area Transportation and Land Use Coalition, an alliance of environmental groups that promotes regional planning and conservation of open space.
  • August 17, 1999 M2 Communications President Clinton and Vice President Gore Clean Waters across America. The Clean Water Action Plan launched last year by the President provides communities with new resources to reduce dirty runoff and other threats to water quality. 40% of America's surveyed waterways remain too polluted for fishing and swimming. Today's proposal would strengthen EPA's "total maximum daily load" requirements to help restore 20,000 waterways nationwide.
  • August 13, 1999 CNN Study Finds Asthma Under-Diagnosed.  In a survey of 638 kindergarten children in 11 inner-city Chicago schools, researchers found that the prevalence of diagnosed asthma was 10.8%, or twice what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates in such a population nationally. Estimates say that the prevalence of undiagnosed asthma among inner-city children may be as high as 7.5%.
  • August 13, 1999 PAHO Pregnancy Risk is Greater for Disadvantaged Teens in Latin America and the Caribbean.  According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), poverty increases the risk of pregnancy among young women, ages 15 - 19. Numbers are even higher in rural areas. 75% of women who have children before they are 20 are themselves the daughters of teenage mothers. Suggested solutions include parliamentary commissions, that include young people, to discuss adolescent health and development, with an emphasis on preventing pregnancy; improving media communications specifically adapted for adolescents; better health services coverage for adolescents; health promotion and prevention activities should be emphasized; and programs to train primary health care personnel.
  • August 17, 1999 The East African Level of Malnutrition in Kenyan Children on the Rise.  The number of Kenyan children who are severely malnourished has reached 37%, an increase of 33% from just four years ago. Immunization for children below five years against measles, tetanus and diphtheria, had declined from 85% in the 1980s to 67%. HIV/Aids is also a threat. 90 out of every 1,000 will die before their fifth birthday. Three indicators - stunting, wasting and weight - were used to measure the degree of malnutrition.
  • August 18, 1999 The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Study Finds TB Infects a Third of World Population. According to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) 1.86 billion people (32% of the world's population) are infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes TB. The global case fatality rate (the proportion of people that are known to have TB disease that die from it) was 23% for 1997. The case fatality rate exceeded 50 percent in some countries in Africa with high HIV infection rates. 80% of all incident TB cases were found in 22 countries, more than half occurring in 5 Southeast Asian countries, and 9 of the 10 countries with the highest incidence rates per capita were in Africa. For information on tuberculosis, click here.
  • August 14, 1999 Times News The Bering Sea: Will we exhaust the world's last great fishery?  While the majority of the world's fisheries are in a state of collapse, the Bering Sea is the last great refuge of marine abundance. Annually over 2,000 boats from the U.S., Russia, Japan, Norway, China, Poland and the Koreas haul in about $1 billion worth of fish. Commercial fishing vessels in U.S. waters take 1/2 their take off the shores of Alaska. The international part of the Bering Sea, is called the Doughnut Hole, and has been severely depleted of commercial fish., as is the Russian zone. The fur-seal population has not increased even with a longstanding ban on commercial hunting. Steller's sea lions, has fallen 80% since the 1970s, and some seabirds are also in trouble. Fish are thrown over the side; halibut and salmon are dumped if fishing boats aiming to catch pollack. Wasted fish in the Bering Sea is equivalent to 25% of the revenues from the entire fishery. Trawling nets drug across the sea floor destroy the habitat of all the bottom-dwelling animals .
  • August 14, 1999 Associated Press Burgeoning N.C. Town Hits Cul-De-Sac When Water Runs Out.  Cary, a town of 85,000, learned this summer that it had become the seventh-largest community in North Carolina. Yellow trees, dying shrubs, and wheat-brown lawns tell the tale. The Town Council placed a moratorium on new home and building permits after it was found that Cary didn't have enough treated water for many more water hookups. Most of the growth has been due to immigrants from the North (Yankees they call them) lured by computer- and science-related jobs in Research Triangle Park. For over a decade the town's pro-growth leaders worked with developers. Having only 6,000 people in 1970, Cary is expected to hit 100,000 in 2005, with a growth of an average of 10% a year. Roads are clogged with commuter traffic, schools are crowded, water cost twice what it does in Raleigh. Cary expects to expand its water treatment plant, but in the meantime, has adopted an adequate public facilities ordinance tied to schools: housing development will be again be halted when schools grow too crowded. Each new home costs the town $6,000 in roads, water and sewers, but developers were being charged only $1,800 in impact fees. A $200,000 office building gets only $90,000 in developer impact fees, but costs the town $900,000 in water, sewer and roads.
  • August 14, 1999 PRNewswire India Population Reaches One Billion.  Packard Foundation: UN officials say a baby born today, August 15th, will bring India's population to the one billion mark. The baby will likely be born to a rural family since 72% of Indians live in rural areas. If this baby is a girl, her opportunities for education and prosperity are far fewer than if she is born a boy. Regardless of gender, he or she will have difficulty finding enough food to eat or clean water to drink. India adds more people to the world annually than any other nation. Unitl recently in India, sterilization has been the only available means of contraception available to women. Today, one out of every four Indian women is not aware that modern methods (such as the pill, IUD, injections or condoms) exist or where to find these services. Uttar Pradesh is considered the most populous Indian state. If it were independent, it would be the fifth largest country in the world. A mass media program in Uttar Pradesh uses puppet shows, radio and television advertising, traditional folk media and other forms of mass media to communicate messages about informed choice and spousal communication. Funding from private organizations such as the David and Lucile Packard Foundation advances this work. The Foundation's five-year plan to provide over three hundred million dollars makes it the largest private donor in the population field. [For more information on India, visit WOA!!s India Page]
  • August 12, 1999 CNN Growing Demand for 'Bushmeat' Threatens Great Apes.  In central Africa thousands of hunters earn their living in the trade of the meat of forest animals, popularly known as "bushmeat." The most desirable bushmeat comes from elephants, chimpanzees and gorillas, all endangered. The animals are supposed to be protected by law, but government officials seem unaware of the growing crisis. Conservation groups are working to convince hunters that they could earn money by attracting tourists eager to see the animals in their natural habitat. But the apes must be conditioned to allow human beings to approach them to make this work. Logging companies have been convinced to keep poachers out of the forest and stop their truck drivers from delivering bushmeat to the cities. (This is a most serious problem - large mammals and apes are threatened with extinction. If you care, contact the Dian Fossey Gorrilla Fund.)
  • August 2, 1999 San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Bay: Our Poisoned Bay Even though sewage is no longer piped directly into the bay, and the bay waters are relatively clear and sweet-smelling, pollution is worse now than 30 years ago. The bay was far richer in fish then. Pollution results from oil and gas spilled on streets, pesticides from farms and lawns, and polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxin buried in soil at thousands of small, contaminated sites. Today there are 11 million people in the 31 counties that border San Francisco Bay or the rivers that ultimately flow into it. And as the population expands, the pollution worsens, Annually 2.97 million gallons of oil a year are flow into the bay-Delta watersheds. Fish eggs, fry, and adult fish are deformed or killed by long-term exposure to oil in the parts per billion range. Another pollutant Dioxin, is manufactured as pesticides or formed in diesel, wood, or coal fuel combustion. Minute amounts can cause cancer and reproductive disorders. Several species of San Francisco Bay fish contain enough dioxin to make them unsafe to eat. Organophosphate poisons get into the bay by the tons each year -- from farms in the Central Valley, from golf courses and the lawns and gardens of the thousands of homes. Pesticides are often applied more heavily in and around homes than on commercial crops. Diazinon is used in agriculture and around the home to control fleas and ants. Copper, another pollutant, comes from brake pad dust.
  • August 12, 1999 Panafrican News Agency Senegalese Becomes First African Female Head of Regional International Planned Parenthood Association.  Tamaro Toure, chairperson of the Senegalese Association for Family Welfare became the first African woman to head the executive committee of the African region of the IPPF. "Women's success can only come from women. That is why our governments should ensure that women fully participate in development activities," Toure said. African women need to "reaffirm their role as mothers in a context of free choice, with the possibility for them to enjoy the progress of science in of reproductive health." Toure advocates reproductive health among youths.
  • August 12, 1999 Associated Press Research Finding Could Lead to Cheaper Fuel Cells.  Published in the science journal Nature: An experimental fuel cell has been developed that runs on natural gas instead of pure hydrogen. Fuel cells are an alternative power source for cars, power plants and individual buildings. They use a chemical reaction between gas and oxygen to produce electricity, water, heat -- and virtually no pollutants. So far, they are too expensive for practical small scale use. Fuel cells used for power plants run at high temperatures and convert the natural gas into hydrogen by recycling their own heat and steam. Smaller fuel cells will need costly external converters, but if you could just put natural gas into your fuel cell, cutting out the conversion process, smaller fuel cells would be cheaper.
  • August 6, 1999 The Independent Bangladesh: Maternal Health Services and Women's Education. Since the Cairo Conference (ICPD), policies based on population control are moving towards more people- oriented, reproductive health approaches. In Bangladesh, a new government policy is to increase girls' ability to stay in school through the secondary level, seeking to reverse currently low school enrolment rates of adolescent girls. Tuition and book stipends are provided to girls living in rural and peri- urban areas, along with free education through the college level for girls who are an only child and free food for girls who attend school regularly. Girls are discouraged from getting married before the age of 18. Analysis showed a strong relationship between women's education and their use of maternal health services. The level of female literacy in Bangladesh is still quite low: in a sample, 55% had never been to school, 29% had primary education, 14% had secondary education and less than 2% had higher education.
  • August 12, 1999 Reuters Population in Hard-Hit Ukraine Falling -Officials.  Ukraine's population has declined by more than two million since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, going from 52.04 million to 49.89 million on July 1, a government committee said. Poor living standards and economic hardship have contributed to the decline.
  • August 2, 1999 ENN Lemurs Called Key to Forest Survival in Madagascar Forests.  The dry forests of western Madagascar have the greatest diversity of trees in the world but the lowest diversity of animals that disperse tree seeds. Lemurs are among Madagascar's most endangered species, but have been decimated by habitat destruction with the growing human population's need for usable land and forest products and illegal logging, agricultural burning and over-farming. In the 2,000 years that Madagascar has been inhabited, almost 97% of the dry deciduous western forests have been destroyed and those that remain are extremely fragmented. About 10% of the trees are dispersed by lemurs.
  • August 11, ENN "No, it's not global warming," says Professor of Current Heat Wave.  It's La Nina. These things run in run in six- to eight-year cycles. The jet stream, which usually moves in an "s" pattern, generating cool, then warm weather, has been running parallel to the Canadian border lately. This is drawing warm air masses from the southern Gulf regions and giving the Northeast a long taste of the South's tropical, maritime weather.
  • February, 1999 PR Watch Mad as Hell? This Program May Have Your Number.  Is ToxicSludgeCo trying to build in your neighborhood? Are you and your neighbors swarming like angry bees to attack and drive away the intruder? If so, you may be have become a blip on someone's "Outrage" meter. A $3,000 computer program for Windows includes a demo which offers a sample scenario: "Our factory in the South Side neighborhood has long had visible air emissions, sometimes very thick. The poor, minority residents, with whom we have very little relationship, recently began organizing to do something about the problem, maybe even shut us down." The demo shows how to categorize people as allies, neutrals, or opponents. Among the sample "opponents," it lists names including "S.S. Latino Assn.," "Mrs. Charles," "City Air Quality Board," "Sierra Club," "Greenpeace," "South Side Elementary School" and "nearest neighbors." The software formula maps the overlap between "passion" and "power" among stakeholders. Depending on how they rank in these two areas, the company can choose one of four strategies: "deflect, defer, dismiss, or defeat."
  • August 13, 1999 LA Times Southeast Asia's Mega-cities are Drowning in a Sea of Trash. Rural people have been mass migrationing to the cities since the 1980s, which left many municipal services far behind the need. Jakarta "deals with its rubbish problem by more or less ignoring it." The haze hanging over the city is attributed to piles of smoldering garbage. In Bangkok, "canals are swamped with garbage, and most of the fish are dead." Hanoi is reaching the crisis point in waste management.
  • August 12, 1999 Inter Press Services Central America: Water Scarcity A Growing Problem, and could prompt conflict. The storage capacity of regional water basins is declining due to deforestation and erosion, while pollution from large cities has turned some rivers into "open sewers." In a study released last month from the UN Development Program (UNDP) and the European Union, "the degradation and loss of hydric resources in Central America is beginning to limit the quality of life". The study looked at three important river basins: the Lempa River, shared by Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua; the Tarcoles River in Costa Rica; and the aquifers of Managua. In El Salvador, urbanization will leave the country's largest city, San Salvador, without reliable water supplies. The city relies heavily on the polluted Lempa River for its water. Environmentalists, including the group Unidad Ecologica Salvadorena, oppose plans to permit development of the El Espino natural reserve, which contains an aquifer that holds one-sixth of the country's renewable water supply.
  • June 16, 1999 UNDP Women Hold Key to Halting Desertification. One in three people worldwide living in ecologically fragile drylands. Poverty and its side effects are taking an increasing toll on the world’s drylands, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Many of these areas are under siege by environmentally inadequate farming, urban sprawl, and worsening water shortages. Dryland degradation is a vicious circle. Poverty drives people to exploit fragile natural resources for their survival, and the ensuing environmental decay hurts the poor the most. The poor typically live in marginal areas, which are especially vulnerable to drought, floods and other calamities. An estimated 70 per cent of the world’s poor are women.
  • August 12, 1999 NWF Alert Senate Bill Rider to Create A Gaping Environmental Loophole for the Grazing Industry comes up for vote after Labor Day weekend - contact your Senator now. This sweeping rider allows the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to renew livestock grazing permits under the same terms and conditions contained in the old permits without undergoing the environmental reviews. This rider affects millions of acres of public rangelands that support 216 threatened and endangered species, wildlife, recreation, and cultural resources. It provides a disincentive to BLM to do environmental reviews, and instead simply renew existing permits. If history is any indication, wildlife, streams, and native grasses on our public lands will suffer. Government records indicate that over half of the public's lands are in "unsatisfactory" ecological condition because of livestock grazing. (26% of US land is used for livestock, compared to 20% for crops and 25% for forestry. The rest is human habitat, industry, desert and treeless mountain tops) For how to reach your senators and lobbying and letter-writing information, click here
  • August 12, 1999 Associated Press INS: Legal Immigration Rate Falling. Last year the US Immigration and Naturalization Service granted legal permanent residence to 660,477 foreigners, a 17% decrease from 1997 and a 28% decrease from 1996. The decrease was due to INS's difficulty in dealing with a rising backlog of applications, numbering 890,000. Nearly 3/4 of the green cards granted last year went to relatives of U.S. citizens. 1/5 of the immigrants were from Mexico and 38% were from North America. 33% came from Asia and 14% were from Europe.
  • August 11, 1999 Africa News Service Senegal Takes Bold Step for Reproductive Health  The National Committee is working to remove legal and non-legal barriers to reproductive health. Senegal's fertility rate went down from 7.1 children per woman in 1978 to 6.6 in 1986, 6.0 in 1993, and 5.7 in 1997.
  • August 10, 1999 Xinhua Chinese Premier Stresses Importance of Soil Erosion Control  Zhu Rongji has called for "unremitting efforts" to control soil erosion on the upper and middle reaches of the Yellow River to bring benefits to future generations, and asked for the return of farmland and the cordoning off of hills for forestation and grass planting. The key to harnessing the Yellow RiverSoil is erosion control on the Loess Plateau. The Yellow River is the second longest river in China and a source of frequent flooding for 2,500 years.
  • August 10, 1999 Xinhua Agressive US Global Warming Policy Would Mean Large Cost Savings and Job Gains.  The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said that the United States currently accounts for half of all carbon dioxide emissions by western industrialized nation, but the the U.S government has favored using the potential loopholes in the 1997 Kyoto climate treaty, rather than reducing emissions domestically. Other countries are waiting for a leadership signal from the U.S. and "it is a matter of economic self interest." The US could save as much as $43 billion per year on energy costs, and create more than 870,000 new jobs by 2010, while reducing emissions by 14% below 1990 levels, twice the Kyoto specified amount. Recommendations include: incentives for fuel-efficient vehicles and energy-saving equipment; elimination of regulatory impediments; new efficiency standards for buildings, cars, household appliances and office equipment; enhanced research and development; and improvements in land-use and infrastructure reductions in subsidies to polluters. Job increases would occur in services, construction, education, manufacturing, transportation and communications, agriculture, and finance.
  • August 10, 1999 Healthwire Why Norplant, a Safe Contraceptive, Has Been Bombarded by Lawsuits. From the September issue of Glamour magazine: due to the numerous lawsuits, pharmaceutical companies may become wary about researching and developing new methods of birth control. Cross-examined plaintiffs admitted that symptoms had existed prior to their getting the device, or stemmed from other causes, or that they continued wearing the device, or never mentioned to their doctors that they were having problems.
  • August 10, 1999 Inter Press Service Environment: Forests' Survival Linked to Smaller Populations. According to a study from Population Action International, a declining population growth could be the key to the ultimate survival of forests in poor countries. PAI sees a bit brighter future "with the emerging possibility that world population will peak before the middle of the next century." The growing desire for smaller families is a promising trend. About half of the world's aboriginal forests -- those which covered the Earth after the last ice age -- have disappeared. In the last century, global wood consumption has tripled, and so has the worlds population. Per capita consumption has remained the same. Forest cover per person fell by 50% from 1960 to 1995, from 1.2 hectares to 0.6 hectares. Forty countries, mostly poor, have a per capita forest cover of less than 0.1 hectares, and consequently watershed degradation and flooding, as well as the loss of rare plant and animal species, and scarcities of products like timber, paper and firewood. Greatest at risk are Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Central America. Much of the loss is due to increased need for farmland and commercial logging. US inhabitants use 15 times more lumber and paper as a resident of most developing countries, but most of the wood consumed in the North comes from trees grown there. 3 billion people depend on wood for cooking and heating. Poor women and girls must walk long distances for wood and are often forced to drop out of schools or to forgo micro-enterprise. Poor countries even lack the necessary paper needed for education.
  • August 8, 1999 Earthtimes Billion People and Still Counting: India and a Terrible Tragedy. The billion people club: India joined China as one of only two countries with populations of more than a billion each. China reached that number in 1980. The next largest country, the United States, has only 276 million people and won't reach the billion mark for at least another hundred years. Countries with rapid population growth such as Kenya, Nigeria and Brazil, won't reach a billion for another 200 years. Russia and the 15 countries of the European Union will be eligible for billion-people club membership in 300 years. China's draconian measures of abortions and one-child families slowed down growth rates dramatically. India's population is doubling every three decades. Because most of India's growth is occurring in impoverished rural areas and in urban slums, increased population contributes significantly to the already huge cohort of poverty. 300-400 million people earn less than a $1 a day. India needs to make available more condoms and other contraceptives, plus provide more jobs for women. $200 million a year for family planning comes from foreign aid. But much of this money lies unused because of bureaucratic infighting, lack of adequate distribution, and political indifference to the population issue.
  • August 9, 1999 Xinhua Heavy Indonesian Haze Triggers Collision, Threatens Health. An oil tanker and a tugboat collided, caught fire and engulfed a nearby cargo ship, in thick haze over the weekend. Singapore and Malaysia are also affected by the haze. The fires are attributed to blazes set by plantations and timber firms to clear forest areas in anticipation of this year's dry season, and to local farmers practicing the slash-and-burn method to clear land before starting planting. Indonesian President B.J. Habibie has asked for coordination of efforts to stop the fire, but little has been done.
  • August 8, 1999 Xinhua China's Central, Western Economies Improving  The regions, with 86% of the country's territory and 58% of the population, have abundant energy and raw material resources, as well as cheap labor. Mutually- beneficial cooperation between the eastern and the western areas has now been encouraged by China. Infrastructure construction has helped. Multinational giants such as Motorola (China) Electronics Ltd, plans to consolidate its position in the western part of China by investing 100 million U.S. dollars to set up an electrical parts and components plant.
  • August 3, 1999 Africa News Online Packard Foundation's Population Program in Ethiopia. The program will aim to expand family planning and reproductive health service, target expanding access by young people and foster a social environment for family planning and positive reproductive health practices. The program in Ethiopia will utilise resources of about $30 million and will include monitoring and evaluation. Targeted for similar programs are India, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, and the Sudan. Packard Foundation's Guidelines.
  • August 9, 1999 Xinhua China to Promote Reproductive Health Service.  The Contraceptive Service Center of the State Family Planning Committee is cooperating with the UNPF to promote the sale of contraceptive pills and devices in China where sales promotions for contraceptives are a new concept. Pills and other methods of contraception have been distributed for free.
  • August 9, 1999 UN Integrated Regional Information Network Nearly 10 Million People in Sub-Saharan Africa Need Emergency Food Aid.  In Somalia alone, "one million people are facing serious food shortages, with over 400,000 at risk of starvation" due to adverse weather, civil war, and uncontrolled crop pests and diseases. In Ethiopia, 5 million people need emergency food aid, 385,000 have been displaced by the war with Eritrea. In the western part of Uganda a prolonged drought has affected crop production and livestock. Below-average rainfall in Kenya will reduce crop and livestock production. Several regions in Tanzania have experience serious crop failures. One million civil-war displaced people in Angola need food-aid. South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe have all reported below average cereal crops.
  • August 8, 1999 CNN Conference calls for the Legalization of Abortion Delegates from 19 countries from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and Oceania, called for the decriminalization and legalization of abortion in all countries in a meeting held in Metro Manila July 22-24. They also called for the provision of high quality abortion services at all levels of the public healthcare system. They noted that where abortion is illegal (as it is in the Philippines) women die or suffer severe complications from what would be a safe procedure. Further, making abortion illegal did not reduce the number of abortions but only the deaths and complications arising from the procedure. Countries who had recently legalized abortion also noted decreases in the maternal mortality rate as a result. Delegates from Nepal and Chile shared the heart-rending stories of women imprisoned because of seeking abortions, some of them for pregnancies resulting from rape.
  • August 3, 1999 Associated Press Second Emergency Contraception Drug Approved.  Plan B, a new emergency contraceptive that works with less nausea and vomiting than earlier "morning-after" drugs has received marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Plan B consists of two tablets of levonorgestrel, a synthetic hormone that blocks ovulation or fertilization. Plan B reduces the risk of pregnancy from a single act of unprotected sex from about 8% to 1% and will not terminate an existing pregnancy.
  • July 30, 1999 STTP World's Poor Pay Most For Drinking Water. Millions die each year due to contaminated water, a U.N.-affiliated water commission reported. The poor pay on average 12 times more per liter, mostly to independent vendors who sell tap water in small jugs or buckets often drawn from polluted rivers. 1.2 billion people have no access to clean water. In Port-au-Prince, Haiti, vendors charge 100 times more than the cost for tap water; in Karachi, Pakistan, 83 times more; and in Jakarta, Indonesia, 60 times more. The cheapest water is in Canada, at an average of 31 cents per cubic meter, the highest is in Germany at $2.16, and in the United States, it's between 40 cents and 80 cents. Prices are in the developing world range anywhere from a few cents to just over $1 per cubic meter.
  • July 30, 1999 STTP Califronia Safe Routes to School and Other Community-oriented Transportation Bills Advance.  The state Senate Transportation Committee approved several bills that would free up millions in federal transportation funding for pedestrian, bicycle and other community-oriented projects. On 7/6, the committee passed the Safe Routes to School bill (AB1475), legislation sponsored by STPP and the California Bicycle Coalition and authored by Assemblywoman Nell Soto (D-Pomona). The bill would dedicate nearly $20 million a year in federal traffic safety funding for projects that would make it safer for children to walk and bike to school. Additional legislation to devolve nearly $180 million a year in one of the lesser know federal transportation funding sources (the Minimum Guarantee program)--from the state down to the regions with no strings attached--was also substantially amended to include a 20% set-aside for transportation "enhancements" activities such as bicycle and pedestrian projects, scenic easements, habitat restoration and historic preservation.
  • July 29, 1999 Catholics for a Free Choice Change the Holy See's Status at the United Nations. Hundreds of organizations and thousands of people worldwide have initiated a campaign to change the status of the Roman Catholic church at the United Nations and are calling on the Secretary-General to review the church's current status as a Non-Member State Permanent Observer. The Holy See, the government of the Roman Catholic church, should participate in the UN in the same way as the world's other religions do-as a non-governmental organization. Every other religion with representation at the UN, like the World Council of Churches, is rightly restricted to an affiliation based on that of other non-governmental organizations. Only countries should decide policy. The above link takes you to a postcard campaign. Organizations can endorse this campaign by going to www.seechange.net/form1.htm Some of those organizations endorsing the campaign are listed at www.seechange.net/endorsers.htm.
  • August 4, 1999 Africa News Service Ghana: Poverty and Increasing Population Leads to Eco-Disaster.  Destruction of the ecological system is attributed to poverty, increasing population, greed, carelessness, apathy, selfishness and sheer ignorance. Bad agricultural practices, misuse of agro-chemicals and small scale mining have left the soil infertile and degraded resulting in erosion and desertification.
  • August 4, 1999 Africa News Service Chiefs Accept Family Planning.  Rural Zambian communities have been enticed to accept family planning, agreeing that smaller families often fare better economically than larger families, and that smaller population growth reduces competition for land between wildlife and human beings. Thousands of male and female condoms and other contraceptives have been sold to these communities at subsidised prices. Revenue had been lost from hunting due to a continuous opening of settlements in wilderness areas, and game being pushed into the parkland where hunting is illegal.
  • August 3, 1999 PRNewswire National Coalition to Meet in Colorado in Support of Immigration Moratorium to Protect Environment.  ASAP! (The Alliance for Stabilizing America's Population), a coalition of over 45 environmental, population, and immigration reduction organizations from across the country, will meet in Colorado this week (August 5 to 7) to discuss the U.S. high population growth and evaluate the progress since it called for an immigration moratorium in 1997. ASAP claims that immigration has accounted for 70% of U.S. population growth this decade. At current rates, U.S. population of 273 million will nearly double to 500,000 by 2050 unless mass immigration of over one million per year is stopped.
  • August 3, 1999 Inter Press Service Food-Indonesia: Not Your "Traditional" Famine. Indonesia became the world's largest food aid recipient last year in a "manufactured crisis" -- sparked by economic collapse. The South East Asia Food Security and Fair Trade Council, a coalition of activist groups in the Asian region and the US said that food aid to Indonesia should be reduced, that Indonesians need economic and agricultural reforms, not food aid. Indonesians need "jobs and income that will enable them to surmount not only hunger, but poverty." Food is abundant, but not all can afford it. The country's 1998-99 rice shortfall was exaggerated by the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Program (WFP). Peter Rosset, co-author of "World Hunger: Twelve Myths." (1998) said "Local food production is undercut in recipient countries, as farmers cannot compete with free imports and have to abandon the land," while the US, Canada, Australia are seeking long-term markets for their surplus wheat and rice. The "Green Revolution", started in Indonesia in 1984, required Indonesians, - many who traditionally had subsisted on corn, roots, or other staples, - to raise rice, which forced a single model of wetland rice cultivation on geographically distinct regions, some of which were unsuited to this type of farming.
  • August, 1999 CNN Indonesian Fires Revive Regional Concerns.  Forest fires on the island of Sumatra left a thick haze over Indonesia because farmers and developers have burned huge tracts of forest land during the dry season. Satellite images showed 111 hot spots in Sumatra and 80 more in Kalimantan. Malaysia suffered a 13% drop in the number of visitors during the fires of 1997.
  • August 3, 1999 CNN China: Forced Abortion Still Occurs, Emigre Testifies.  Wong, a doctor who said she had been required to perform abortions on women as much as 7.5 months pregnant, fled China after the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident. She was told during a visit home in 1997-98, that the practice was still going on and that those who ignore the one-child policy often lose their jobs and health benefits. Doctors may be sent to jail if they don't carry out the policy.
  • August 3, 1999 CNN U.N.: Huge Need for Food Aid in Sierra Leone. Up to 1.5 million people urgently need food aid in rebel-held areas of Sierra Leone.
  • August 3, 1999 National Audubon Society Paul Amendment Fails, Funding for International Family Planning One Step Closer to Success.  Clinton may veto because of deep spending cuts and a tough anti-abortion provision. The final vote on H.R. 2606 was taken today. A House and Senate conference committee will meet after the August recess (August 9 - September 8) to work on the final version of the FY 2000 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. Last week, by a 228-200 vote, the House passed a now-familiar amendment sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J. (Global Gag Rule), banning aid to any group lobbying for changes in abortion laws even if the group uses privately raised funds. However, in a 221-208 vote, a counter measure was passed that would require groups receiving aid to certify that they will use funds to reduce the incidence of abortion. (Family planning prevents abortions). The legislation cuts $1.9 billion from President Clinton's requests, which Clinton says would hurt the poorest countries, and diminish the ability to respond to foreign crises, to prevent nuclear smuggling, to deal with the Asian crisis, to expand the Peace Corps and to help refugees. The bill's funding is $715 million less than that of last year's bill and $20.7 billion less than this year's actual spending on foreign assistance, including emergency appropriations. Many Democrats agreed to support it the legislation, saying there is hope for finding more money for critical programs during House-Senate negotiations on the fiscal 2000 budget. Provisions of the foreign operations bill include $410 million for family planning activities, including $25 million for the United Nations Population Fund. The Pitts Amendment was defeated late last night, by a vote of 187-237. The Paul amendment may be debated Monday. For more details, click here.   Both the Smith and Greenwood amendments will remain in the final House bill. The House-Senate conference committee will iron out the differences in the bills passed by the respective bodies and produce the final spending bill. Your action is needed today!
  • August 2, 1999 The White House Vice President Gore Announces Release Of Declassified Arctic Images To Help Research Global Warming. Calls on Congress to Fully Fund the Administration's Climate Change Initiatives. "By making these satellite images available to the scientific community, [the National Science Foundation (NSF) SHEBA project] we take another important step toward meeting the challenge of global warming." Preliminary findings from SHEBA show that the Arctic ice sheet is roughly five percent smaller, and one meter thinner, than in the 1970s. The Administration, which secured a record $1 billion this year for clean energy research and development, is proposing an increase to $1.37 billion in fiscal year 2000. So far, Congress has appropriated almost none of the proposed increase.
  • August 1, 1999 Deutsche Presse-Agentur India Gets Condom Vending Machines, Amid Concerns about Population Growth.  India's first condom vending machine went into operation in a crowded marketplace in Delhi. Each costs one rupee (about 2.5 cents). The "Delhi experiment" of openness comes nearly 47 years after India become the first country in the world in 1952 to establish an official government family planning programme. Volunteer suppliers will be touring remote rural areas central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, where there is a lower couple protection rate. Condom and oral contraceptives are free throughout the country through government hospitals and health workers, but they have not been available on a regular basis. Many couples do not use contraceptives because of lack of assurance about supply. A group of experts recently favoured doing away with the idea of incentives and disincentives in achieving population targets in the country. The government's plan for giving "special salary raises" for employees who had sterilised themselves after two children was criticised. The country's first and only attempt at mass population control ended in disaster in the mid-1970s under the direction of Sanjay Gandhi, son of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Sanjay was accused of encouraging state government doctors to operate on as many people as possible, resulting in some people being forced to undergo sterlisation or being sterilised without their knowing.
  • July 27, 1999 World Watch World Carbon Emissions Fall,  down 0.5% to 6.32 billion tons, partly due to falling coal use and improved energy efficiency. In the last two years, the global economy has grown by 6.8%, leading to a 6.4% decrease in the amount of carbon emissions required to produce $1,000 of income. It may be less difficult to slow global warming under the Kyoto Protocol than assumed by industry leaders. Much of the economic growth has come in information technologies and services. Steel and other resource-intensive sectors are growing more slowly. In 1998, emissions in China dropped 3.7 percent, while its economy grew 7.2%.
  • July 27, 1999 NYT India's Population Approaches 1 Billion.  When India threw off colonialism 52 years ago, it had 345 million people; since then, its population has tripled, now growing at 1.6% a year. China has three times the area of India, and reached a billion people in 1980. Within 40 years, India will surpass China - China's growth rate is only 0.9 percent. Indians say China achieved the lower rate through coercion and forced abortion, which democratic India could not condone. India's life expectancy is 63 years, up from 39 in the 1950s. Its fertility rate is 3.1, down from six births per woman in the 50s. Fields like education, health and agriculture may fail to stay ahead of the surging population. Underground water levels are lowering as more farmers turn to pumps to accomplish double-cropping for higher food production. For more on India, click here.
  • July 26, 1999 Dawn The Pakistani newspaper Karachi Dawn, in an editorial, called for greater health care for women. "Unfortunately, women in Pakistan have to contend with the twin evils of generally poor health services as well as a deep-rooted bias that often deprives them of the essential health care which is more easily available to men. Hence the child mortality rate for girls is far higher than it is for boys." The editorial came a day before Pakistan's information minister Mushahid Hussain Syed, speaking at a Pakistan Red Crescent Society event to raise awareness about the Day of 6 Billion, emphasized the need to curb population growth as part of national efforts to improve the country's socio-economic status.
  • July 31, 1999 The London Guardian Fierce Fish Flock to Mediterranean to Frolic in Increasingly Warm Waters.   A study by ICRAM, Italy's leading marine research center, shows that growing numbers of tropical fish have been migrating to the Mediterranean Sea, attracted by a warming trend in the sea's waters. "Experts say a quarter of the marine life in the Mediterranean are recent immigrants, and there are now more than 100 species of tropical fish competing with the indigenous residents". New residents include skorpionfish, fierce conger eels, and a stinging worm which causes lesions when touched. Mediterranean waters have risen by 1-2 degrees during the past 30 years. Some of the fish fish come with new micro-organisms that can be toxic to fish, consume the oxygen in the water and cause gastroenteritis in humans.
  • July 31, 1999 The London Guardian Biodiversity: Botanists Call For Better Plant Protection. 4,000 scientists are attending the 16th International Congress in St. Louis, Missouri,  Up to 66% of the world's plant species will be at risk of extinction in the second half of the 21st Century, says Peter Raven, director of the Missouri Botanical Garden. About 33% of the world's plant species are being grown by humans. Nearly 50% of the planet's land surface has been altered by human activities, including filling in wetlands and converting grass prairies to agricultural production, says Jane Lubchenco, of Oregon State University. http://www.eurekalert.org/releases/ibc-nho073099.html
  • July 30, 1999 Africa News Service Rumbles in the Jungle. Cameroon, Central Africa - the last rainforest is being fought over for money, bushmeat and mahogany. This is a well-worth reading article, but read it fast - the link expires in two weeks. If the logging companies go, there is no work. People need food and schools and hospitals. But unless logging is brought under control, this expanse of forest - 15 000 years in the making and second in size only to the Amazon - will be devastated, and gone by 2020. In the world the equivalent of 37 football fields of tropical forest is being felled every minute. In 1990, the volume of timber exported from the countries of the Congo Basin was 200,000 cubic metres. In 1997, it was two million. Four million hectares of African tropical forest are destroyed every year. Logging tracks have left a path to the annihilation of the forest's wildlife - literally eaten to extinction. Now animals are being sold as bushmeat. Deer, monkeys, anteaters, chimpanzees, gorillas, and even elephants are being slaughtered for food or used for medicinal purposes. Some people sprinkle powder made from dried gorilla hands into their baby's bath. It is thought that consumption of forest apes may lead to the spread of AIDS and Ebola fever. Economic decline has lead to a 70% fall in civil service salaries in the past 15 years, which has led to corruption and poaching. 90% of the rainforest in West Africa is totally gone. In Gabon, chimpanzees and several other large mammals will be extinct in five to 10 years.
  • August 1, 1999 Reuters Nation's Largest Biomass Conference To Draw International Experts.  Experts from around the world will review technical achievements, major new bioenergy initiatives and environmental issues surrounding the use of biomass for fuels, power and products at the Fourth Biomass Conference of the Americas Aug. 29 - Sept. 2 in Oakland, Calif. The conference will focus on new initiatives from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) - "Growing Energy to Power America" - to spur the growth of a domestic biomass industry to produce power, fuels and chemicals from crops, trees and waste. One goal is to make a "ton of biomass" compete with a barrel of imported oil. Goals are to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, promote agricultural development, strengthen U.S. energy security and encourage a cleaner environment.
  • August 1, 1999 Reuters 175 More Belgium Farms Quarantined in Dioxin Scare.  Toxic chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which can indicate the presence of dioxins, had been found at the farms, bringing the total to 1,000 farms since the scandal erupted in late May. Worldwide bans on sales of Belgian meat, chicken, eggs, dairy products and processed foods were triggered.
  • July 30 1999 Xinhua Chinese Ethnic Group Saying Good-Bye to Out-Of-Date Farming Methods.  The Yao tribes in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region have abandoned the farming method of burning off the mountainside and have begun using more ecologically-sound farming techniques. Since logging and the burning of forests were banned in the 1980s in the Dayao Mountains, forest coverage has increased to 73% from 39% and mountain slopes are now covered with fir and fruit trees and spice bushes (including anise, which brought in 30 million yuan in export earnings last year. In Bama 3,400 Yao households have moved out of small huts into larger buildings. Instead of using straw and tree branches for fuel, cleaner energy like marsh gas is being used, with 70% of the farmers having marsh gas pits in their courtyards. Decomposed straws from the marsh gas pits are used to fertilize their fruit trees instead of chemicals.
  • July 13 UNWire WHO Warns: Disease Control Is Getting Harder.  : AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, measles, diarrheal diseases, and acute respiratory diseases (such as pneumonia)--are responsible for one in every two deaths among children and working-age adults. Stopping the spread of these infectious diseases is growing harder because of drug resistance, the emergence of new diseases, and increased travel. In the past 50 years malaria, AIDS, and tuberculosis have claimed six times as many lives as warfare. Yet the funds devoted to fighting these three diseases amount to than 2% of global military spending.
  • July 7 Christian Science Monitor Turner's $1 Billion Gift Starts Giving.  More than $109 million in UN projects has been underwritten. Grants include $700,000 to promote responsible fatherhood in Central America, $1.5 million to save coral reefs, $1 million to halt the spread of AIDS in Ukraine, $3 million to extend "micro-credit" lending to women in eight poor countries, a project modeled on Bangladesh's highly successful Grameen Bank, and efforts to reform the UN itself. UN agencies submit proposals to UN headquarters where UNFIP (UN Fund for International Partnerships) decides which ones to submit to Turner's UN Foundation. The Foundation then decides which projects it wishes to fund, in accordance with its own priorities. The UN's yearly regular, peacekeeping, and development budgets total about $8 billion to $9 billion each year. Jim Paul, executive director of the Global Policy Forum, which monitors UN financing, says that this is an "extremely bad precedent" for the UN. Other philanthropists might have less admirable priorities than Turner.
  • July 29 NRDC 122 Companies Responsible for Nearly 80 Percent Of World's Fossil-Fuel Carbon Pollution The world's major energy companies contribute more to global warming than many developing countries, according to a report released today by NRDC, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund. "This report puts the polluting behavior of companies like Shell, Exxon, BP Amoco and Chevron front-and-center in the debate over how to reduce global warming pollution." Nearly 80% of the fossil carbon released into the atmosphere as manmade carbon dioxide is produced by these 122 companies. The combined annual carbon production of Exxon and Mobil exceeds that of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines combined. Shell's annual carbon production is greater than that of Mexico, Argentina and Chile, combined. Peabody's yearly carbon production is greater than Brazil's. The NRDC used the data to explain why energy industry is lobbying against the Kyoto climate change treaty and pitting developed and non-developed against each other. When you add up the totals, North and South come out about the same. Does not include agricultural burning.
  • July 28 CNN Sizzling Summer Not Hot Proof of Global Warming, Scientists Say. Sizzling temperatures in the US are blamed for dozens of deaths; Russians suffer the longest heat wave on record; Beijing has highest recorded temperature in 50 years. Scientists don't like to make conclusions from such anectdotal evidence, but there is a consensus among most scientists that human activity, such as burning fossil fuels, causes global warming. 1999's has actually been cooler than previous years and may be the first year since early 1990s that a new record for global average temperatures will not be set. 1999 will still probably be the 23rd year in a row that global temperatures are above the long-term average.
  • July 29 U.S. Newswire House Denies Poor Women in the District of Columbia Access to Abortion Services.  Congress has blocked every attempt the District has made to use locally raised funds to pay for abortions for poor residents, making the District the only "state" in the country that does not have the right to ensure access to abortion services. From Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
  • July 29 Xinhua Annan Says Poverty Growth Is Scandalous.  U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that there are 3 billion poor people in the world today and that the number living in absolute poverty has substantially increased in the past decade. Plus, "problems without passports", such as global warming, infectious diseases, drugs and international crime, terrorism and weapons proliferation, must be addressed.
  • July 28 PRNewswire Preven(tm) Emergency Contraceptive Kit Prevents Chemical Abortion  Each PREVEN(TM) Kit includes a pregnancy test, to reassure a woman that she is not pregnant from a previous sexual encounter when she uses the emergency contraception. Started as soon as possible within 72 hours after sex, the Prevent pills prevent pregnancy by delaying or preventing the release of an egg. It is not an "abortion pill" because if a woman is already pregnant, emergency contraceptive pills will have no effect.
  • July 28 Xinhua China Plans to Abolish Plastic Fast-Food Containers.  Degradable packages, made from amylum plant fiber and rice husk as raw materials, and developed by the Institute of Chemistry under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, will replace plastic fast-food containers, source of 'white pollution. More than 100 countries and regions have banned their use. 10 billion fast-food containers were used in China in 1994,and is expected to exceed 18 billion next year.
  • July 28 PRNewswire Hypocrisy of Planned Parenthood. According to Stopp of American Life League, the nation's largest pro-life educational organization, says "Dangling $200 in front of seriously addicted women seriously calls into question whether participation is voluntary. Where is the informed consent?" Talk about a stretch of the imagination! But the American Life League's 300,000 supporters may buy this type of logic.
  • July 28 AP Environmental Group Warns of Pesticide in Tap Water Problems.   The Environmental Working Group has posted a warning about atrazine, a pesticide sprayed on corn for weed control. Atrazine has been linked cancer and has been found to contaminate the tap water of almost ten million people. Newborns being fed with formula mixed with tap water are particularly at risk.
  • July 22 ENN Speed Urged for Climate Change Solutions.  The Business Roundtable recommends the development, large-scale commercialization and global dissemination of innovative long-term including: Information technology, which will bring pervasive and deep changes in how energy is managed and used; The development of fuel cells, which convert chemical energy into electricity without combustion; Aerodynamic technologies, which would improve the fuel efficiency of airplanes, trains and ships; Biotechnology, which may increase crop yield, reduce spoilage and reduce both fertilizer and water usage - to reduce energy use and emissions; Emerging building technologies, such as "smart" windows, that can match changing heating conditions; Carbon sequestration - removing carbon from the Earth's atmosphere.
  • July 27 Xinhua Malaysia to Draw up Guidelines on Wetlands Use, safeguarding water catchment areas and maintaining the required water table in forests. The increasing rate of development that had led to degradation of wetlands, including peat swamps. Malaysia's peat swamp areas are estimated at 30 to 45 million hectares, which is 60% of the world's tropical peat lands and 1/10 of the world's peat lands.
  • July 27 PRNewswire Child Health Problems Linked to Smog Produced by Power Plants.   Pennsylvania's dirty and outdated coal fired power plants create smog and pollution which combines with summertime's hot air to create ozone, which can burn fragile lungs, which can be deadly for children with asthma, the elderly, and anyone with respiratory problems. These power plants make as much air pollution as 5 million cars. Pennsylvanians are urged to choose Green-e electricity, and force the dirty power plants to clean up.
  • July 27 Reuters Irish Economic Boom Fuels Population Growth.  The population of Ireland, which was 6.6 million before the 1841 famine and subsequent emmigration, and which fell to under three million for much of the 19th century, is expected to grow to 4.6 million by 2031. Current immigration (into Ireland) is 23,000 per annum, while the birth rate is only 1.93 (fallen from four births per woman in 1970). Of the European league, Iceland has the highest birth rate at a little over 2 births per woman, with Ireland following. The number of people over age 65 is expected to double from 1996 to 2031.
  • July 28 National Audubon Society Population & Habitat Campaign Action on FY2000 Population Funds Expected Tomorrow The House is expected to take up the FY2000 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, H.R. 2606 tomorrow. Last night the House Rules Committee decided to allow both Rep. Chris Smith's (R-NJ) anti-family planning amendment (the "global gag rule") and a pro-family planning amendment sponsored by Rep.s Jim Greenwood (R-PA) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Audubon supports the Greenwood-Pelosi amendment, which offers terms and conditions that family planning providers in developing countries say will not harm their ability to provide quality services.
  • July 26 WWF Bears Threatened by Poaching, Pollution, Deforestation.  From a report by the World Wildlife Fund. The sun bear and black bear in southeast Asia are being captured for sale of body parts and for food. Animals in the Americas are targeted by traders. In Russia, poaching for gallbladders and hides increased dramatically this decade. Forest fires and lumbering have killed a number of sun bears on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. The bear's survival is doubtful in India and Bangladesh. In South America, the spectacled bear's forests are threatened by logging, cattle ranching, and clearance for drug crops, while the bears also are hunted for bile and meat. In the US, the taking of land for agriculture and other development has reduced the range of the black bear to 20% of its original size and the range of the grizzly bear in the continental US is only 2% of its original size. Climate change and pollutants threaten polar bears.
  • July 26 Africa News Service Soil Erosion Threatens Lake Malawi's Biodiversity.  Africa's third largest lake, home to about 700 species of fish (representing 14% of the world's fresh water fish), "treasure of biodiversity and food basket of ernomous value." Erosion is carrying fertile topsoil into the lake. Plumes of sediment cause huge umbrellas of shade under which primary productivity ceases. Mercury and DDT are building up. An important source of protein for 70% of the country's people, fish has dropped from 14.7 kg per capita in 1970 to 7.0 kg in 1990.
  • July 26 Times Union INS Clamps Down at Border.   Four times as many undocumented immigrants are being removed from the US as were in 1993. Most of the 172,312 recently removed undocumented aliens were taken from California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, but some also from New York, a result of new laws that make it easier to expel undocumented immigrants. It is estimated that the government is expelling 172,000 a year. The INS budget has increased by 163% since 1993, up to $3.96 billion this year. The number of "inadmissible" immigrants was 126,682 last year - up from 52,680 the year before,due to a new "expedited removal" law, which allows immigration inspectors to deport immigrants in 24 hours, rather than sending them to detention centers. Studies show that undocumented immigrants contribute to the economy because they tend to work hard for low pay, helping to keep down costs for businesses and consumers. But other recent studies have shown more of a mixed bag, with some immigrants burdening schools, tapping into welfare and increasing competition for jobs.
  • July 24 New York Times Condoms for Women Gain Approval Among Africans, a new weapon in the fight against the AIDS epidemic. Female condoms have been distributed by United Nations AIDS in 34 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It may be better than the male condom at preventing infection, because it is stronger, but it is slightly less effective at preventing pregnancy than the male condom. Prostitutes and women with multiple partners are the first priority. In Cape Town, Somerset district, women earn $25 for sex with a condom and up to $50 without. The female condom is expensive - 62 cents, compared to 3 cents bulk rate for a male condom. For this reason, washing and reusability of the device is being researched. Men seem to prefer the female condom over the male condom, finding it stimulating. In the U.S. the device is $2.25 and only 700,000 a year are sold.
  • July 23 States Indiana among Top States in Generating Pollution Caused by Rise in Coal-fired Power Generation.  Increased electricity generation by coal-burning power plants caused 755,000 more tons of nitrogen oxide pollution in 1998 than in 1992, equivalent to that emitted yearly by 37 million cars. Indiana had a 17% increase in coal fired plants. The increased smog pollution from Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, North Carolina, Missouri and Georgia each equaled that from two million cars. The increased global warming pollution in the nation is equal to that from 44 million cars. Older power plants are exempted from the emissions controls enforced by the Clean Air Act passed in 1970.
  • July 23 AP Program that Pays Addicts for Long-Term Birth Control Going National.  CRACK, for Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity is a privately-funded program that pays $200 to drug-addicted women to get their tubes tied or use some other long-term means of birth control. 57 California women who had given birth a total of 262 times have been paid. Now the program is catching on in Chicago, Minneapolis, Fort Pierce, Fla., and Dallas. The long term birth-prevention procedures are often covered by state-funded health-care programs.
  • July 22 Xinhua Ethiopia Allocates $53m for Soil, Water projects to be carried out through a food-for-work program in drought prone and denuded areas, to include construction of terraces and transplanting of tree seedlings on 496,000 hectares of land and water supply development projects.
  • July 22 Africa News Service Malawi Not Ready to Legalise Abortion.  Religious and cultural leaders would have to be consulted first. The Catholic Church, strongly opposed to abortion, forms a large part of the Malawi society. Malawi does not have adequate equipment in its clinics to safely perform the procedure. Nearly 65% of Malawian girls get pregnant before the age of 20. Family planning is the answer. Dorothy Ng'oma of the Banja La Mtsogolo (Modern Family) family planning clinic, said the Malawi government needed to step up its reproductive health education- only 20% of those sexually active practice family planning methods.
  • July 22, 1999 How Your Lawmakers Voted on Funding for Foreign Family Planning - UNFPA
  • E/The Environmental Magazine : July-August 1999 Now We are Six.   The five billionth baby isn't even a teenager yet, having been born in 1987. A comprehensive article from the Centre for Development and Population Activities and the Population Council
  • July 22, 1999 The Atlanta Journal and Constitution Turner Tackling the World Population Boom   ATLANTA. The U.N. Ted Turner Foundation is set up to distribute $1 billion to to stem population growth. The relief agency CARE, had no family planning program until 1991, now helps offer birth control to 4 million people in 36 countries. In Ghana, for example, hairdressers are trained on how to use condoms so that they can show their customers. Since Turner was born 60 years ago, the world has added 2 billion people. In the U.S., the Turner Foundation funds the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy and Prevention. Economic and cultural reasons impede access to birth control for women in developing nations. In India, water tables are dropping 3.3-9.9 feet a year cutting India's grain harvest by one-fourth. The U.S. provided $540 million for global family planning in 1994 and only $365 million this year.
  • August, 1999 Atlantic Monthly The Population Surprise - After 50 Years, Population Will Decline.   The author, Max Singer, argues that, because fertility rates continue to go down even after they decline past replacement rates, population will decline after 50 years. In fact, several centuries from now there could be fewer people living in the entire world than live in the United States today. In Italy, for example, the rate has fallen to 1.2. In Western Europe and in Japan it is down to 1.5. In the 1960's world population was growing by 2% a year; it is now down to 1% a year, and continuing this trend, the rate will go into negative numbers. The assumption that birth rates would stop falling when they matched new low death rates has not been shown to be true.
  • July 20, 1999 National Audubon Society Good News! Campbell UNFPA Amendment Passes House!  The House just passed the Campbell amendmet to reinstate a $25 million U.S. contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) by a vote of 221 - 198! The amendment replaces an earlier amendment by Rep. Chris Smith to strip the funding, which also passed by voice vote. For a transcript of the heated debate about the UNFPA click here. This is the first time in several years that the full House has voted in favour of funding for UNFPA. 46 Republicans joined the overwhelming majority of Democrats Tuesday in support of the bill. "These funds will be used to advance reproductive health and rights, including family planning, maternal health and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV/AIDS. It will also help in the fight for gender equality and equity and the full empowerment of women," said Dr. Nafis Sadik, the Executive Director of UNFPA. The victory on the House floor included the support of a number of "pro-life" members of Congress who recognized UNFPA's work in promoting the health of women and preventing abortion. On the abortion issue, the bill would still deny any U.S. money for UNFPA programs in China, addressing the concern of antiabortion groups that accuse China of forcing abortions. The bill would decrease U.S. contributions by $1 for every $1 that UNFPA budgets for China. Under the UNFPA program, the Chinese authorities have agreed to abandon quotas like the one-child policy in 32 areas covered by the pilot project, and adopt instead new strategies to slow birth rates, such as better contraception, health care and expanded economic opportunities for women. New York Times July 15, 1999

    Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill This evening the House Appropriations Committee approved a measure to provide $25 million in funding to UNFPA by a vote of 30 -26! The measure, sponsored by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), reflects the provisions dictated in the Campbell amendment to H.R. 2415 passed earlier today. The narrow margin in the committee meant that in order to win members not usually supportive of UNFPA or family planning voted in support of population funding. Other threatened amendments, the amendment to cut $100 million from family planning programs and the Smith "global gag rule" amendment, were not offered when sponsors could not find sufficient support within the committee. The Foreign Operations Appropriations bill must next be passed by the full House. The House may consider the bill as early as next week. At that time, it is possible that family planning opponents will again try to introduce harmful amendments.

  • July 20, 1999 AP Johnson Johnson Is Developing a Contraceptive Patch, a device that will deliver contraceptives through the skin for a week, contains the same ingredients as the pill and works just as well. Approval by the FDA could take a year or more. It is the size of a half-dollar and can be worn on the arm, the buttocks or abdomen. It may cause less nausea and vomiting since it does not go through the digestive system. As many as 20% of teens using birth control pills forget to take them at least twice a month. Population Council 1999
  • July 19, 1999 PRNewswire Los Angeles May Birthplace of Six Billionth Baby, claims UCLA professor Ben Zuckerman, and Californians for Population Stabilization. "The number of Californians per square mile is now larger than the entire European continent," says Zuckerman. "Europe's population rate has stabilized but California's is exploding. Projections indicate that about 30 years from now, California will be as densely populated as China is now." "It is Los Angeles that is growing faster than India and has surpassed any third world nation in terms of population growth."
  • July 15, 1999 The National Academies of Science Environmental Accounting Needed For More Accurate Picture of U.S. Economy  A new National Research Council report has urged Congress to authorise the Department of Commerce to renew development of a "Green GDP" indicator which would track economic output and take environmental issues into account. The National Research Council said in a report published late last week the development of "green" economic indicators would benefit the United States which it claimed has fallen behind other countries in efforts to link economic growth and natural-resource consumption. Congress should authorize the U.S. Department of Commerce to resume development of a national accounting method that links economic activity, natural resources. The department also should be directed to develop a broad, comprehensive set of economic accounts that includes the contribution of nonmarket services, such as home schooling, and the value of clean water and other environmental assets.
  • July 18, 1999 Xinua Sino-U.S. Population Cooperation Expanding The Population Institute in the U.S. is joining with China to increase world understanding of China's family planning program, give Chinese family planning workers training and have the chance to observe population programs in the United States. Werner Fornos, president of the institute, remarked that China has seen a sharp decline in population growth, improved economic conditions, success in poverty eradication efforts, empowering of women, community projects, and improvements in sanitation, housing and education. He said that China is a valuable partner in international development, particulary in south- to-south relations and teaching countries in the developing world to manage their economy and social system".
  • July 12, 1999 ENN Snake River Chinook Extinction Set at 2017 Based on annual studies by Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologists on Snake River tributaries for approximately 30 years. Human factors that have all influenced the decline of the wild salmon: dams, overfishing, the misuse of hatcheries and habitat destruction. The billboard in downtown Portland shows a picture of an infant and reads, "Wild Snake River Spring Chinook will be extinct before her 18th birthday".
  • July 19, 1999 ENN Efforts to Mitigate Acid Rain May Actually Increase Regional Warming.  Michael Schlesinger, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign said that the sulfate aerosols, compounds which fall to the Earth as acid rain, wreak havoc on the world's forests and streams, but also also reflect sunlight back into space, acting as a negative radiative forcing which partially compensates for the positive radiative forcing due to greenhouse gases. Sulphate aerosols are formed from the sulfur dioxide emissions from coal and oil burning that react with water and oxygen in the air. Decreasing the sulfur dioxide emissions (using low-sulfur fuels and "scrubbers" placed in smoke stacks) has been discovered to lead to significant regional warming in North America, Europe and Asia. However the problem of acid rain and the breathing difficulties experienced in Beijing, China, are a good reason to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions.
  • July 14, 1999 ENN Small Island States Meet Over Rising Sea Levels 40 small island states gathered in the Marshall Islands to hammer out a position on the lowering or global emissions of greenhouse gases. Findings will be presented to the United Nations assembly in New York, Sept. 17-18 to discuss a climate treaty that was signed December 1998 in Kyoto, Japan. Sea level is projected to rise six to 37 inches by the year 2100, according to the U.N. sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of 2,500 scientists. Sea level has risen 4 to 10 inches over the past 100 years and two small Pacific islands have disappeared.
  • July, 1999 The Sacramento Bee Globalization Creates Increase in Economic Inequity.  In it's 1999 Human Development Report, the UN Development Program says that economic globalization has created a "grotesque" polarization between rich and poor societies. In an index that measures per-capita income, life expectancy, school attendance, adult literacy, and poverty, Canada ranks first, followed by Norway, the United States, Japan, Belgium, Sweden, Australia, the Netherlands, Iceland, and Britain. Last is Sierra Leone, Niger, Ethiopia, Burinka Faso, Burundi, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Eritera, Mali, and the Central Africa Republic. However, in ranking gender equality, Costa Rica (ranked 23) beating out France (36), Israel (37) and Japan (38). In the Third World during the last two decades, life expectancy increased from 53 to 62 years, adult literacy rose from 48% to 76%, infant (under age 5) fell from 149 to 85 per 1,000 live births. 2.6 billion people still lack basic sanitation, 840 million people are malnourished, 1.3 million live on less than on U.S. dollar a day, 1/4 to 1/2 of all women are victims of abuse, and 250 million children are working instead of going to school. The most widespread discrepancy is still between the sexes. The Internet is blamed for leaving the poor out of the global conversation. Cosmetic drugs and slow-ripening tomatoes are higher on the list than a vaccine against malaria or drought-resistant crops.
  • July 15, 1999 Inter Press Service Mexico: No End in Sight to Illegal Immigration to U.S.  In a study, the Mexican government's National Population Council (Conapo) said that emigration from Mexico to the U.S. will increase by at least 50% in the next 15 years. The Mexican-born population of the U.S. is eight million - 1/3 of which are undocumented aliens. This number is expected to reach 12.48 - 13 million in 2015. The reasons for emigration are not just economic. Strong family and community ties in the U.S. compel thousands to leave Mexico for the U.S. There are 20 million Mexicans in the U.S. if you count their descendants. The U.S. and Mexico share a 3,200 km border, where contrasts between social and economic development, languages and cultures are apparent. More than 315,000 undocumented Mexicans annually enter the U.S. to look for work. Mexican President Zedillo says that xenophobia, confusing immigration with crime, mistreatment of Mexicans, exploitation and persecution describe the migration policies of its northern neighbor. 300 Mexicans died trying to enter the U.S. in 1998 due to tough border restrictions. Many Mexicans go to California to become agricultural workers where most of California's rural workforce is Mexican. One-third of the total U.S. farm production is in California. Reinforced police controls, construction of walls, tougher punishments and the use of military technology to detect movement across the border have not had a significant impact on immigration.
  • July 15, 1999 AP Beach Pollution on the Rise A report by the Natural Resources Defense Council says that there were more than 7,000 beach closings and advisories in the U.S. last year, 75% increase over 1997. Reasons given were sewer overflows and sewage spills and heavy rains from El Nino in Southern California that carried contaminants onto beaches. The NRDC gives this advice to citizens: redirect runoff from roofs and driveways to lawns and gardens; use such natural fertilizers as compost; maintain septic systems; and properly dispose of household toxins and used motor oil.
  • July 15, 1999 Interpress Service Peru: Glacial Snow Disappearing from Andes The increase in global temperatures in the last 27 years has caused a loss of 12 billion cubic metres of snow from the Peruvian glaciers and possible irreversible damage. The flow of water for urban and agricultural uses has dropped considerably. 70% of the glaciers feeding the world's tropical regions are located in the Andes, effecting the great semi-tropical forests of the Amazon that extend across various countries of South America. $1 billion has been lost in irrigation water.
  • July 13, 1999 Xinhua U.N. to Finance Population Project in Nicaragua. $250,000 has been granted for population policy coordination, monitoring, evaluation, and plan of action. The population is almost 5 million, and the life expectancy rose from 44 to 66 years in four decades. Half of the population live in poverty and 1/5 in extreme poverty.
  • July 14, 1999 Xinhua Arsenic-Related Diseases Wide-Spread in Bangladesh.  The disease initially starts with skin diseases on hands and legs, but ultimately their kidneys and livers are damaged and fail, resulting in death. People cannot afford to dig deep wells (cost about $100 U.S. dollars) which has less arsenic contamination.
  • July 11, 1999 Xinhua Myanmar's Young-Aged Population Reaches Over 9 Million 18.75% of 48 Myanmar's million people are between ages 15 and 24. 7.9% of the people are age 60 and above. The annual growth rate is about 2% or about 800, 000 people. The population density is 70 persons per square kilometer.
  • July 11, 1999 Xinhua Mine Closure Could Result in Ecological Disaster in South Africa. The government may revoke its monthly 1.7 million rand (280,000 U. S. dollars) subsidy to purify toxic water in Gauteng's East Rand Proprietary Mines. A subterranean dam is poisoned with pollutants of steel and iron oxide from underground mining activities, which will contaminate the Blesbok River if it overflows, causing the toxification of the drinking water of millions of people.
  • July 13, 1999 The Washington Times Transfer of Funds Not the Answer to Improving Child Survival Programs.  Joseph R. Pitts proposes to transfer $100 million from USAID's family planning programs to child survival programs. USAID uses both family planning and child survival programs together - along with initiatives in education, agriculture and other areas of need - to save millions of lives in developing nations. Couples in the developing world lack family planning methods to choose the number and timing of their children. 1/4 of infant deaths can be prevented by spacing births at least 2 years apart. 1 in 4 maternal deaths can be prevented by allowing women to delay motherhood and avoid unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions.
  • July 8, 1999 Universal Press by Georgie Anne Geyer Population Growth is Pivotal Issue in Economic Development.  "In the history of the world, no century can match the population growth of the one now coming to an end. We entered the 20th century with less than 2 billion people, and we leave it with more than 6 billion." - Population Reference Bureau. It's time for those people who are pushing for more and more population growth -- and who refuse to see the clear warning signals -- to simply admit that they don't really care if others stay in poverty, ignorance and chaos. Because, in fact, that is what they are really saying.
  • July 8, 1999 Reuters China Receives $420 Million to Protect Ozone Layer.   A fund set up in 1987 as part of the Montreal pact has raised $1.14 billion to help developing countries implement ozone-depletion protection programs. The ozone layer protects the earth from the sun's harmful radiation. Large holes have been eaten out of it by substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used in refrigerators. The stronger radiation from the sun is causing illnesses including skin cancer and cataracts.
  • July 8, 1999 ENN Alien species: A Slow Motion Explosion.   According to a report by the federal government, exotic weeds, pests and diseases cause more damage in the U.S. than forest fires, tornadoes, flooding, earthquakes and mudslides. 2,000 alien plant species have been introduced. Non-native animal species cause an annual $123 billion worth of damage to crops, range land and waterways. Weeds consume 4,600 acres of wildlife habitat on public lands a day. The main mode of transport is by ships: 40,000 gallons of foreign ballast water are dumped into U.S. harbors each minute.
  • July 7, 1999 Xinhua Ethiopia: More Women Have Access to Family Planning Services.  10% of the Ethiopian women have access to family planning services while it was only 4% 6 years prior, according to the National Population Office of Ethiopia. The population is 60 million, making Ethiopia the third largest population country in Africa, following Nigeria and Egypt.
  • July 9, 1999 Deutsche Presse-Agentur Abortion rate still skyrocketing in Hanoi.   Vietnam has the highest abortion rate on earth, according to a study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute. Abortions are increasing by 3% a year and there twice as many foetuses that are aborted as there are births. "The high abortion rate is due to insufficient awareness of birth control methods," said an officer at the city's Maternal Child Health and Family Planning Centre. Authorities are trying to lower the high birth rate.
  • July 7, 1999 Reuters What Happens When US Government Collides with UN Policy Making?   Conservative lawmakers believe that "good governance" means a country should impose its moral order on the rest of the world. The US Senate voted 98 to 1 last week to authorize $800 million in back dues to be paid to the United Nations, including $25 million for the UN Population Fund. But there is concern that, in the House, the abortion issue will derail the bill again.
  • July 7, 1999 Washington Times Children Who Can be Saved, But Too Many Contraceptives Laying About.   Byline: Joseph Pitts. Supposedly a Kenyan physician said "A mother brought a child to me with pneumonia, but I had no penicillin to give the child. What I have in the stores are cases of contraceptives." "As young children in developing nations are struggling for life, they're doing so even as they have a plentiful supply of condoms for street play." Information supplied by The Population Research Institute. The Save the Children Act, H.R. 2028, which I've introduced this session, transfers $100 million from dubious population control funds [funding for the United Nations Population Fund and USAID for family planning and reproductive health] to programs that save the daughters and sons of women in developing countries.

  • July 2, 1999 ENN USGS Tallies the Extras in Our Water Aquatic species are more at risk than humans when exposed to the complex mixtures of nutrients and pesticides that are almost always in streams that pass through agricultural and urban areas, according to a report released June 28 by the U.S. Geological Survey. 50% of such streams had concentrations of at least one pesticide harmful to aquatic life. Nitrogen and phosphorus can contribute to excessive growth of algae which can dissolve oxygen and result in foul water. DDT is still detected it in fish and streambed sediment even though it was banned in the early 1970s.
  • July 2, 1999 ENN Ozone-depleting Gases are Not Natural but man-made, as shown by a study of pre-20th century air trapped in the polar snowpack.
  • June 26, 1999 BBC World Population: Why We Should Worry.   Global birth rates are slowing- to 1.4% in the industrialised north and 1.7% in developing countries. But the number of births continues to rise due to number of 15 to 24-year-olds, at nearly one billion. The United Nations' Population Fund (UNFPA) predicts that if we introduce the correct policies now, population will stabilise at 7.9 billion people by 2050. But if the UN-agreed policies fail, there could be 12 billion people by 2050.
  • July 7, 1999 Deutsche Presse-Agentur Philippines Expects Shortage of Free Condoms and Pills Next Year  due to lack of funding. The Department of Health (DOH) supplies nearly 40% of condoms as well as the bulk of nearly 15 million cycles of pills nationwide every year. Previously financial support has come from the United States Agency for International Development. But the agency is scheduled to withdraw its aid in 2000. $2 million is needed to keep this program going. The Phillipine population is growing at 2.3% a year.
  • July 6, 1999 Wall Street Journal The Church of Malthus.  Malthus' philosophy, that human beings are fated to breed themselves to destruction--has over the centuries hardened into an established orthodoxy, complete with its own high priests and votaries. Just last week they gathered under the auspices of a special session of the United Nations General Assembly to consider how best to get the organization's member governments (especially Uncle Sam) to pony up the cash to keep the message of people reduction alive.

  • July 7, 1999 Associated Press Germany Clears Sale of Abortion Pill.  Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder welcomes the alternative to surgical abortion. The RU-486 pill, sold under the trade name Mifegyne, causes an abortion if taken within the first 49 days of pregnancy.
  • July 5, 1999 The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY.) UN Population Efforts Need our House Members' Votes The Cairo conference produced surprising agreement among disparate people: the Pope, Vice President Al Gore, leaders of Christian and Islamic countries, feminists, greens, scientists, prophets of doom, and condom salesmen. The abortion issue stymied unanimity, but there was broad commitment to more family planning, more education, and more effort to improve women's and children's health. Thanks to efforts by governments, charities and the UN, there's still a chance to hold the total to maybe 9.8 billion by 2050. Mexico is showing how it can be done, reducing birth rates to 2.5. This is crucial since Mexico already can't supply jobs for the 1.3 million new workers who enter the job market each year, and it's important to the US. Joblessness has sent 277,00 Mexican workers annually to the US, up from 27,000 in the 1960s. More could have been done but for the hundreds of millions in cuts imposed by the GOP Congress on overseas family planning, defunding the U.N. effort last September.
  • July 6, 1999 Denver Rocky Mountain News Some Pharmacists Refuse to Carry FDA-Approved Contraceptive Previn. Sometimes mistaken for RU- 486 - the so-called abortion pill which is still illegal in the U.S. - Preven is usually 4 regular birth-control pills packaged together, along with a home pregnancy test. The pills are to be taken 2 at a time, 12 hours apart, within 72 hours of unprotected sex. It is considered about 75% effective. It was designed to block pregnancy by stopping ovulation, but if fertilization has already occurred, Preven will prevent implantation in the uterus of the fertilized egg, preventing the continuation of pregnancy.
  • July 7, 1999 Reuters U.N. Warns of New Population Boom in Iran.   The growth rate, 1.4% in 1996, is expected to rise to 1.7% in 2001 when post-revolution babyboomers reach reproductive age. 52% of Iranians are under the age of 20 and 62% are under 25. Current population is believed to be 63 million. After the 1979 Islamic revolution, birthrates soared, until the growth rate reached 3.2% in 1986. In 1988 the UN helped establish a population control program. The late spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ruled that contraception was not un-Islamic in 1989. Pre-marriage family planning counseling has helped raise the average marriage age from 19.9 in 1986, to the current age 22.4, an important step in reducing 'population momentum'.
  • July 7, 1999 Sacramento Bee Sierra Club and Greenlining Institute Clash over Urban Renewal, Toxic Land.  Greenling Institute and the California Center for Land Recycling apparently have lower standards than the Sierra Club for cleaning up toxic lands, called brownfields, for redevelopment. But they didn't have to say that the Sierra Club doesn't care about minorities.
  • July 6, 1999 Sacramento Bee Brouhaha over Mexican Whale Sancturary.   On one hand you have the National Resource Defense Concil (NRDC), an environmental group whose 'Save the Whale' mailings to 5 million American households at a $7.4 million cost, returned only $5 million. "Mexico is ready to endanger the gray whale for ... 200 salt factory jobs." said a recent mailing. "This is a World Heritatge Site, a biosphere reserve, and a whale santuary. It's the wrong place to make salt." said an NRDC attorney. On the other hand you have the Exportadora de Sal, partner of Mitsubishi Corporation, the world's largest salt factory, who already produces salt at one of the whale sancturaries, Laguna Ojo de Liebre, and who wants to expand to the other santurary 75 miles south, Laguna San Ignacio. The site of the first salt plant seems to be teaming with whales, migratory shorebirds, and waterfowl. The Mexican government established the two whale sancutaries to counter pressure to resume whale hunting, and a decade later added to the boundaries to establish El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve, now a U.N. World Heritage site. The governor of Baja says that "The project doesn't represent any risk ... The production of salt is 100 percent natural". A marine ecologist from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, part of a $1 million team of specialiststo do an environmental impact study, sees no problem with the salt plant being there.
  • July 6, 1999 USA Today Don't Back Down Now According to the Census Bureau, today's population of 270 million will surge to 400 million by 2050, with 90% of the increase caused by immigrants and their descendants. No one in Washington is assuming responsibility for managing the consequences of such enormous population growth.
  • July 6, 1999 Xinhua Algeria's Population Hits 29.2 Million.   The population annual growth rate from 1987 to 1997 was 2.28%. From 1977 to 1987 it was 3.06% and 3.12% from 1966 to 1977. 80.8% of the population are centered in major residential areas, up from 56.1% in 1966.
  • July 4, 1999 Reuters Ambassador Rejects U.S.-Mexico Army Border Patrol.   The U.S. ambassador to Mexico said that army patrols could not stem the northward flow of undocumented immigrants across the border between the two countries. He estimated that 1.5 million are seeking to cross the border without documents and that about one million will be expelled this year. (The INS says there are about 300,000 undocumented immigrants).
  • July 3, 1999 AP UN OK's Population Growth Proposals.   U.N. General Assembly has approved proposals providing for making abortions 'accessible' and safe where they are legal and dedicating money to give girls education about family planning and access to reproductive health care and confidential counseling, over objections from the Vatican and some Islamic countries.
  • July 6, 1999 AP Honda Develops Ultra-Low Fuel Consumption Car.   Honda's Insight cars will be released later this year. They are equipped with a motor assist system, with a motor and a battery, and have an aluminum body, and a new catalytic converter. The car will use 84 miles per gallon of fuel and emit 50% less exhaust fumes.
  • July 6, 1999 Africa News Service Nigeria: Lawmakers Charged on Population.   Action on Population Concerns, APC, has sent a proposal to members of the State House of Assembly to create population stabilisation programs. Despite the enormous earnings from oil and other natural resources, the quality of life has deteriorated over the last 15 years, with Lagos being one of the cities with the fastest population growth in the world. Nigeria has 110 million people.
  • July 6, 1999 Business Wire Drinking Water Purification System Yields Dramatic Results In a test, water from Oregon's Willamette River was treated using a electro-catalytic process, killing all but a small percentage of bacteria. This promises to be a simple, low-cost, dependable water purification.
  • July 6, 1999 Xinhua China to Eliminate Pollution in Taihu Lake, one of the 23 most polluted lakes in China, by building at least 71 urban sewage treatment plants and dredging rivers and minor lakes.
  • July 5, 1999 Reuters Global Warming to Ravage World's Coral.   A Greenpeace report says that global warming could eliminate coral reefs from most areas of the planet by 2100, bleaching and killing the them. Bleaching occurs when coral becomes stressed and expel their life-giving microscopic plants called zooxanthellae, which provide the coral with color and food through photosynthesis. Tourism and fisheries will be consequently affected. Even modest improvements in greenhouse pollution levels could save reefs.
  • July 4, 1999 Reuters South Asia More Prone to Natural Disasters.   Environmental changes are increasing instances of cyclones, earthquakes, floods and famines, affecting the highest population in the world. Fights over water and other key resources are expected to increase. For example, climatologists have predited the Indus river, which is between India and Pakistan, will lose 40% of its flow.
  • July 2, 1999 Reuters Japan Facing Problem of Dioxin Pollution.   Dioxin, released when plastics and wastes containing chlorine-based chemicals are burned as trash, is a chemical compound linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems. Japan's dioxin pollution may be the worst in the world. Dioxins can also seep into the soil and water, contaminating farm, dairy and fish products. Japan lacks space for landfill, and has 3,840 functioning incineration facilities, compared to the U.S.'s 200. Last year, 2,046 incinerators were closed.
  • July 2, 1999 Reuters Maryland Sees Worst Fish Kill in Over a Decade, along two tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. Dead fish included yellow perch, menhaden, silversides and catfish. Rainfall has been 10 inches below normal. The kills are blamed on a buildup of nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen that create algae blooms which, in turn, deplete oxygen in water. Sometimes droughts enhanced water quality by limiting runoff from farms and land developments. But this time low rainfall has choked rivers and creeks of the water needed to flush heavy concentrations of the nutrients out.
  • July 2, 1999 US Census Bureau Remember the Baby Boom?   Now their children are jamming the classrooms. In 1997 the number of students enrolled in U.S. elementary and high schools reached 48 million in 1997. The all-time high was 48.7 million recorded in 1970. Children of persons immigrating to the US as well as increased numbers of nursery school children are included in the total number of students.
  • July 4, 1999 NPR Protests for the taking of Great Lakes Water for China.  The five bodies of water that make up North America's Great Lakes contain more fresh water than anywhere else on earth. Canadian entrepreneurs want to ship some of that water to China where drinking water is scarce. This would set a dangerous precedent would establishing water as a saleable commodity under the protection of NAFTA, allowing a private company ripping off a public resource. The Great Lakes, which contain 1/5 of all the planet's fresh water, are now at a 35-year low level, down 2.5 feet due to high temperatures and low rainfall.
  • July 2, 1999 Xinhua U.N. Calls for Further Action on Population, Development. U.N. General Assembly urged governments to better understand the relationships among population, poverty, gender inequity, health, education, the environment and financial and human resources.
  • July 1, 1999 Reuters German Population Falls for Eighth Straight Year.   Deaths outstripped births and net immigration was negative.
  • July 1, 1999 Reuters Greenpeace Calls on EU to Withdraw Gene Maize.   The environmental group asked the European Commission to withdraw authorisations for genetically modified maize after researchers at Cornell University found that the hybrid crop, produced pollen that could harm the monarch butterfly larvae.
  • July 1, 1999 Xinhua Chinese Scientist Predicts Colder Global Climate based on studies of ice core samples which suggest that the global climate is entering a period of transition from warm to cold weather.
  • June 30, 1999 Africa News Service Poverty and the Environment Moving the Agenda Agenda 21, the blueprint for sustainable development developed at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held at Rio de Janeiro, has not seen the rapid progress we had hoped for. While the growth rate of ozone-destroying chemicals has been slowed, but there has been little progress on global warming. Wealthy and developing nation governments are subsidizing the misuse or overuse of natural resources. Deforestation continues to pose a threat to biodiversity and to livelihoods. 2 billion people still cook with traditional fuels, 1.5 billion lack access to electricity, and millions of women and girls spend hours daily looking for wood for cooking, taking time they could spend in school or earning money. The UNDP is pilot-testing projects for food security, sustainable forestry, water resources management and sustainable natural resource exploration.
  • July 1, 1999 ENN Pesticides Found in Amniotic Fluid.  Preliminary research presented at the Endocrine Society'smeeting in San Diego, shows that, among the 30 pregnant women who participated in the study, 30% were found to have low levels of industrial chemicals and pesticides such as such as DDE, a byproduct of DDT, in the amniotic fluid surrounding an unborn baby. Although these chemicals were banned in the 1970's, they persist in the soil and are also thought to travel in the wind from developing countries where it is still used.
  • July 1, 1999 ENN Waste to Fuel Process Wins Award.  The Environmental Protection Agency Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award was given to a small Massachusetts company called Biofine, which has found an economical method of turning paper mill sludge, municipal solid waste, unrecyclable waste paper, waste wood and agricultural residues, into levulinic acid, which can be used to make a variety of useful products, including petrochemicals and alternative fuel component called methyltetrahydrofuran, which can be used with ethanol and natural gas liquids to create a cleaner-burning fuel.
  • July 1, 1999 New York Times Groups Oppose Vatican on Family Planning.   Women's organizations from all over the world, including 57 Latin American organizations, presented an open letter to the Roman Catholic Church today at a UN conference asking how a church could watch thousands of women die because they lack access to family planning and abortion, and complained about the Vatican "blocking advances in contraception, sexual education and H.I.V. prevention". Meanwhile, Catholics for a Free Choice, and 70 other voluntary groups are seeking to downgrade the Vatican's status from nonmember observer to nongovernmental organization.