Thursday, September 16, 2010

Big Bag o International Blog Links

Stuff I missed on vacation:

Good news: we're back under 1 billion hungry people. For the most part, nothing looks changed: more hungry people in Asia than anywhere else, higher percentages in Africa. However,
Progress varies widely at country level. As of 2005-2007 (the most recent period for which complete data was available), the Congo, Ghana, Mali and Nigeria had already achieved MDG 1 in sub-Saharan Africa, and Ethiopia and others are close to achieving it. However, the proportion of undernourished rose to 69 percent in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Maybe. If we were ever over 1 billion to begin with. Easterly posts on the FAO's new hunger numbers. Skeptical with good reason: the numbers come from models and extrapolations (okay, that's fine, but let's debate the model) rather than country-by-country data gathering, as seen by the FAO's own report (above) that only tells us about results from before the food price crisis.

Update: FAO responds ... the same way I did. No, they aren't wild guesses, we have a methodology and if you'd like to debate the methodology, come on over and show us what you're made of. ... They're more polite than that.

"Mongolians are voting with their wombs." - Good times ahead?

A number of bloggers have wondered why America is paying so little attention to Pakistan. I shared my favorite of their snarky reasons ("not a good tourist destination" and "flooding is sooo 2004") with my father and he came up with another good one: When an earthquake hits Haiti, Californians say, "There but for the grace of God go I" and open their wallets. Here is Pakistan's US ambassador lamenting American ignorance of their plight and praising the LDS Church for their generous humanitarian assistance and for being among the first on the ground as they worked through other agencies that have a presence in the area.

Beckworth on Japanese devaluation and the possibility of an exchange rate war.

India asks the UK for no more aid, partly for its own image, partly in advance of the changes at DfID:
Welcome to the paradox of aid to India. On the one hand, the World Bank still classifies India as a “lower middle income” country. With a per capita GNI hovering around $1000, it is home to one-third of the world’s poor, and 75 percent of its population lives on less that $2 per day.
On the other hand, India is the world’s 11th largest economy. It has a space program, a nuclear weapons program, and it is projected to grow by 9 percent this year and 8 percent the next.
Corruption in Sweden: the deck is stacked.

Measuring political will in Britain:
Where Blair, Brown, Benn and the rest pushed [African development] firmly into the limelight in 2005, Nick Clegg (acting leader of the Government in David Cameron’s absence) didn’t deign to attend.

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