This is how the myth goes: two brothers vie throughout their youth and at the first contest the younger wins. The elder flees in humiliation, but the younger ultimately fails. The elder returns and at the second contest he triumphs, or, if you like your myths bleak, he too fails. Karma complete.
At the end of 2013 I will be stepping away from blogging until June 2016, by which time I'm sure blogging will be obsolete. It feels excellent to discard a cultural practice which sounds and has begun to feel like a combination of bragging, slogging, slobbing, blabbing, blubbing, gobbing, gagging, dragging and blagging.
The World Health Organisation is making a strong move to tackle a common and vital theme in all its global health initiatives, an issue which, if ill-managed, would jeopardise even the best intentioned and best planned projects: human resources for health. The effective recruitment, education, support, deployment and distribution of human resources is a key factor in achieving the goal of universal health coverage.
A little over a year ago I highlighted the work of PAWA, the Pan Asian Women's Association, which focuses on global development and girls' and women's empowerment across multiple territories. By raising and carefully apportioning funds for credible, manageable-scale local charities, PAWA's work covers 30 countries from Iran to Japan, Indonesia to Kazakhstan.
Kanchi Tamang is a waste-picker in Nepal. A mother and a grandmother, she works long hours in unsafe and unclean conditions for a pittance. After contracting Hepatitis C, then developing painful gallstones, she faces the prospect of medical treatment that will require her to be absent from work and hospital bills that, together with the loss of work income, might mean that she loses her home and cannot support her family. Yet if she does not receive treatment, she might lose her life, not just her livelihood.
The story begins in the 19th century, when Indian labourers were put to work in British East Africa by English colonial rulers. This rule, and it exploitation and appropriation of peoples and lands, continued for a generation and was followed by the fight for liberation from dominance and for independence.
Was it to do with the control of women's and girls' bodies? Was it an older generation demonstrating that they had the ability to show authority, to violate their young? Was it about traumatised women visiting the same pain on girls, using custom as an excuse, in some subconsciously re-enacted cycle of abuse?
According to the latest update from Doctors Without Borders/ Medecins Sans Frontieres, three hospitals in Syria's Damascus governorate that are supplied by Doctors Without Borders reported that they received approximately 3,600 patients displaying neurotoxic symptoms such as convulsions, excess saliva, pinpoint pupils, blurred vision and respiratory distress, in less than three hours on Wednesday.
In my 10 days at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival, which closes this weekend, I've tried to see as much as possible in between my presenting commitments. So far, the bigger ticket events have been a little disappointing.
A great deal of fascination with a vaguely defined 'Muslim world' and 'Muslim values' has been sparked by the Arab revolutions and, before that, by the 9/11 Twin Towers attacks. One can critique this interest as unsophisticated or reactive - 'Who are these strange brown foreign people and why are they angry?'
Academic and medical research lies at the core of the advocacy and consciousness-raising that global health journalists undertake, although the details of their vital labour, fieldwork and analysis are often unseen by lay readers.
Last Friday, Women for Women International opened its landmark Women's Opportunity Centre in Kayonza district, Rwanda. The WOC will serve as a centre of excellence and innovation supporting women's economic and social development in the region through training, employment, and business opportunities.
The poorest people are affected by these issues the most - in particular, women and children. Lack of water leads to the failure of crops which would be eaten or sold at market; the absence or extreme diminution of these can lead to starvation and poverty.
24/06/2013 16:45 BST
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