the world beyond four walls


Antibiotics crisis could kill 300m people prematurely in the next 35 years

And read this article for a full understanding of what this crisis is all about



Without ensuring universal access to water, there can be no food security

The Guardian

Ensuring universal access to water is vital in order to address food security and improve nutrition, yet recognition of the links between water and food are too often missed.

A major report on water for food security and nutrition, launched on Friday by the high-level panel of experts on food security and nutrition (HLPE), is the first comprehensive effort to bring together access to water, food security and nutrition. This report goes far beyond the usual focus on water for agriculture.

Safe drinking water and sanitation are fundamental to human development and wellbeing. Yet inadequate access to clean water undermines people’s nutrition and health through water-borne diseases and chronic intestinal infections.

The landmark report, commissioned by the committee on world food security (CFS), not only focuses on the need for access, it also makes important links between land, water and productivity. It underlines the message that water is integral to human food security and nutrition, as well as the conservation of forests, wetlands and lakes upon which all humans depend.

Policies and governance issues on land, water and food are usually developed in isolation. Against a backdrop of future uncertainties, including climate change, changing diets and water-demand patterns, there has to be a joined-up approach to addressing these challenges. Read More


Top 10 Countries in 2015 Social Progress Index

So it seems that it’s quite the norm to use GDP as a measure of a country’s success? But is this the best way to do so?

Check out this article on the Social Progress Index, which suggests an alternative to GDP as a yardstick of a country’s success.


Students in South Africa march against xenophobic unrest

Thousands of students gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Wednesday to protest against xenophobic violence calling for Africa to “unite” against the unrest.

The demonstration, which took place at the University of the Witwatersand, saw students waving placards and chanting amid tensions with immigrants, who have been accused by some South Africans, in poor areas, of seizing economic opportunities at their expense.

More than 2,000 Mozambicans have returned home from South Africa because of violence across the country, according to Mozambique’s deputy health minister.

Hundreds of immigrants have also taken buses back to Malawi and Zimbabwe.

As many as 7,000 immigrants are living in South African refugee camps after fleeing their homes, according to humanitarian aid organisation, Doctors Without Borders.


Why water is key to beating poverty piece by Dick Durbin and Pete Wentz/16th April 2015

Extreme poverty is one of humanity’s grave injustices. Across the world, more than 1 billion people live on less than $1.50 a day for all their needs — food, housing, medicine, water, sanitation, everything. What’s more astonishing is that 748 million people around the world do not have access to clean water. And 2.5 billion people do not have access to basic sanitation — that’s one out of every three individuals on the planet. Think about that for a second.

We might seem like an unlikely team of authors to write an opinion piece together. But we are an example of what can be achieved when people from different backgrounds unite to help promote a solution to a global issue. In this case, it’s access to water and sanitation, one of the best ways to address extreme poverty and save lives.

Ending extreme poverty requires tackling the global water and sanitation crisis, a valuable investment in public health that will help protect people from diseases such as Ebola and cholera. Doctors Without Borders explains that disease outbreaks are more likely to occur in areas where hospitals have poor infection control and limited access to running water. In West Africa, for example, this lack of access to water and basic sanitation has made responding to Ebola slower and riskier for everyone involved. Read More


Racial, religious harmony something to be worked on continually: PM Lee

Do you know that our very own Mr Gurmit Singh is the current President of the IRO? What’s the IRO? Read on to find out! April 2015

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singaporeans of all races and religions are able to live peacefully side by side despite the fact that the country’s racial and religious harmony is an “unusual and unnatural state of affairs”.

Mr Lee spoke at a Harmony Dinner at the Singapore Expo on Wednesday evening (Apr 15), an event organised by the Taoist Federation to celebrate its Silver Jubilee.

“There are studies of different societies and there was one study called a report on ‘Global Religious Diversity’ looking at how mixed different societies were – and in fact they ranked Singapore as the most religious diverse society out of 232 countries in the world, and we were the most religiously diverse,” said Mr Lee.

“The most different religions, the most intermingled, all the world’s major faiths are present in Singapore and many smaller faiths too. And yet we enjoy racial and religious harmony, and we live peacefully and happily side by side every day,” added the Prime Minister. It is something that should be continually worked on to be preserved, he said.

Mr Lee said building a multi-racial and multi-religious society is a key ideal that Singapore was founded upon.

Quoting the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the Prime Minister said Singapore does not belong to any single community, but to everyone. Mr Lee said the Taoist Federation worked hard to foster good relations between the different religious groups in Singapore.

All 10 constituent religions of the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) were also present at the Harmony Dinner, and Mr Lee called on the religious leaders to lead by example.

Said Mr Lee: “Your communities look to you as role models. How you counsel and lead your congregations, your flocks, will shape religious relations in Singapore. So I am very happy that so many of our religious leaders are committed to building trust and friendships with other communities.”

“We also of course need to keep our society open and inclusive. We can be any race, any religion, but we are also – at the same time – all Singaporeans together. And we have learnt to trust and respect our different races and religions, and to live peacefully with one another,” he said.

The IRO said racial and religious harmony is also enhanced by having more dialogues between people of various faiths.

“It is educating everyone as to what another religion has and if you have better understanding of another religion besides your own, that’s when you have a better understanding and that’s where you will have peace and harmony,” said IRO President Gurmit Singh.



The ‘invisible’ victims of Edomex, Mexico’s most dangerous place to be female

By Nina Lakhani

Mothers with missing daughters accompany Maria Eugenia Fuentes and her family at the funeral of her daughter Diana.
Mothers with missing daughters accompany Maria Eugenia Fuentes and her family at the funeral of her daughter Diana. Photograph: Ginnette Riquelme

Sobbing mourners released a cloud of tiny white butterflies as a coffin holding the remains of 14-year-old Diane Angelica Castañeda Fuentes was lowered into the ground, 18 months after she disappeared on her way to a friend’s house in Ecatepec, a dusty suburb on the northern fringes of Mexico City.

Diana’s skull and feet had been found in a plastic bag dredged from a foul-smelling waterway known as the Great Canal, which runs through the State of Mexico – the country’s most densely populated state.

The schoolgirl, a devoted fan of One Direction and Justin Bieber, was the first to be positively identified after the remains of dozens of people were recovered last year from the black waters of the canal.

Her funeral on 26 March was attended by members of several other families whose own missing daughters are among the thousands of young women to have disappeared in the past decade from the state, known in Spanish as Edomex.

The mourners’ sorrow was shot through with anger as they called on the country’s authorities to stop the violence which has made Edomex the most dangerous place in Mexico to be female.

“Enough!” they cried. “Not one more girl!” Read More