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AFRICA: Rice is nice but not for long
25 March 2010 (IRIN ), The organizers of a week-long African Rice Congress in Bamako, capital of Mali, say African countries can decrease hunger and save millions of dollars if they wean themselves off rice imports and increase local production, but experts favour a "drastic" move away from rice to native grains.
WEST AFRICA: Fewer meningitis cases but more deadly
12 March 2010 (IRIN ), This year there are less than half the reported meningitis infections than in the same period in 2009, but more patients are dying - 13 percent in 2010 versus 8 percent in 2009 - according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Multi-Disease Surveillance Centre in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, which tracks 14 countries prone to meningitis outbreaks between Senegal and Ethiopia.
AFRICA: Finding the food crops of the future
24 February 2010 (IRIN ), Temperatures seem set to soar to perilously high levels because of climate change. In another 40 years, would maize still be the staple food in Kenya, already hit by five failed rainy seasons? If not, what could people grow and eat? And if you could grow maize, how much water and fertilizer would it need?
AFRICA: Early arrival of meningitis "alarming"
22 February 2010 (IRIN ), A meningitis epidemic has struck earlier than usual and is spreading across sub-Saharan Africa's "meningitis belt" from Senegal to Ethiopia, according to health ministries in the region. The disease occurs during the dry season, with most cases reported in mid-April.
NIGER: Constitution crisis turned coup
18 February 2010 (IRIN ), Small vendors abandoned their stalls as the typical lunch hour break opened with gunfire at the presidential palace shortly after 1pm local time in Niger’s capital, Niamey. Firing continued intermittently with the military blocking all roads leading to the palace. Government helicopters were circling the city and fired in the afternoon, according to residents.
WEST & CENTRAL AFRICA: Communities on the edge
5 February 2010 (IRIN ), Natural disasters, epidemics and political unrest deal a particularly heavy blow to communities in West and Central Africa, where people live in a “fragile” state daily, UN Children’s Fund said on 4 February.
AFRICA: Rotavirus data must propel immunization - experts
27 January 2010 (IRIN ), Health experts hope the release of data showing the success of rotavirus vaccine will help compel policymakers to ensure all children will be immunized.
AFRICA: Crackdowns on gays make the closet safer
19 January 2010 (IRIN ), More than two-thirds of African countries have laws criminalizing homosexual acts, and despite accounting for a significant percentage of new infections in many countries, men who have sex with men tend to be left out of the HIV response.
GLOBAL: Goodbye Copenhagen, hello Mexico?
19 December 2009 (IRIN ), After representing Africa’s smallest country, The Gambia, at the Copenhagen climate conference, Pa Ousman Jarju has little choice but to press on with future talks on climate change, despite his despondency at the lack of an overall deal.
AFRICA: Vaccination key to stemming rotavirus, say experts
8 December 2009 (IRIN ), African health experts are calling on governments to vaccinate all children against rotavirus, to end an “unacceptable” yet preventable situation in which the virus kills some 1,400 children in developing countries daily.

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