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Africa’s Growing War on Corruption

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Africa's War On CorruptionTo the chagrin of most Africans, the world has long viewed their continent through the prism of the three “Cs” – conflict, contagion, and corruption.

Yet the first two are anything but general. Civil war is confined mainly to particular regions – for example, South Sudan or the Democratic Republic of Congo. And Ebola in West Africa spread more to Europe and the United States than to the rest of the continent. But the third, corruption, has been universal, blighting almost every country.

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Africa’s Hidden Hunger

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DAR ES SALAAM – Just over 20 years ago, South African photographer Kevin Carter shocked the world with a controversial photograph of a famished young Sudanese child being watched by a vulture during a famine. Critics slammed the shot as “disaster porn,” calling it yet another example of how the international media sensationalize African problems.

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Is China a Friend of Africa?

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For many developing countries, foreign direct investment is viewed as something very positive. International companies can bring cash, skills, technology, and high ethical standards to a host country. But others do not always regard such investors favorably: many stand accused of political meddling, polluting the environment, labor abuses, and other unscrupulous practices. This debate is particularly animated with respect to Chinese investment in Africa – a continent with a long history of political, economic, and commercial exploitation by foreign powers.

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The Vagina Chronicles

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Has there really been a sexual revolution? One of the themes that I explore in my new book, Vagina: A New Biography, is that the West’s supposedly sexually liberated societies, in which sexual images and content are available everywhere, have not really been all that liberating for women. Many of the reactions to my book tend to confirm that belief.

Many responses were positive: the book is Publishers Weekly’s top science book of the fall. But the tone of some of the criticism – from “mystic woo-woo about the froo froo” to “bad news for everybody who has one” – suggests that even a culture in which millions of women are devouring a novel about sadomasochism, Fifty Shades of Grey, still has problems discussing women’s sexuality in a positive, empowering way.

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Small Farms’ Large Benefits

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As drought becomes increasingly common, farmers worldwide are struggling to maintain crop yields. In the United States, farmers are experiencing the most severe drought in more than a half-century. As a result, global corn, wheat, and soybean prices rose in July and August, and remain high.

But the severe dry spell parching croplands across the US is only the latest in a global cycle of increasingly frequent and damaging droughts. In Africa’s Sahel region, millions of people are facing hunger for the third time since 2005. Lack of rain in the region and volatile global food prices have made a bad situation worse. Indeed, it is the world’s poor – particularly those in rural areas – that suffer the most from these combined factors.

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