The UN debate of the day: Where is the 7 billionth baby born?

From our UN-correspondent: In 1999, the UN decided the 6 billionth (is it 6 billionth or 6th billion or 6th billionth?) human being would be born in Sarajevo (picture). The fact that the Balkan area was still recovering from a nasty war, made that decision easy.

For months now, the UN member states have been debating when and where the 7 billionth member of our human community was to be born.

The US veto'd any country which had more than 10% of muslim population, forgetting that would not only outrule the Middle East, half of Asia and Africa, but at the same time would make most of European countries un-eligible.

It seems most other UN member states agreed the 7 billionth baby should be put somewhere with a symbolic value, a developing country. So most member states voted for the US, as a country with the world's highest rate of food-stamp-dependent people, though China veto-ed.

The finger was then pointed at Somalia, but the chances were the baby was going to die pre-maturely from malnutrition, shelling by Kenyan fighter planes, or in the hands of Al-Shabaab, Al Bashaab and Al Babaash extremists, thus limiting the PR-value of the baby. It was agreed the baby had to exceed a lifespan of at least six months. Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq were consequently immediately ruled out. Most of the ex-USSR satellite states too, as nobody would be able to pinpoint Armenia or Uzbekistan on the map.

Sudan was a good candidate, but when the UN called Sudan's president Al Bashir, the latter did not pick up. He does not pick up anymore if he sees the UN's number on his cell phone.

The big runner-up was the Democratic Republic of Congo, providing the baby was not to be born in the East, which was too difficult to access, for the press, and too vulnerable for tribal areas. The baby was to be a good vehicle for a PR machine on the plight of sexual abuse of Congo's women and blood minerals (though they are still trying to make the link with the latter).

So after months of hot debates, the member states decided, but they are still awaiting Ban ki-Moon's decision.  Which could take years, even though today was chosen as the "7th billion"-day. 

Picture courtesy BBC

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Video: Wear your seat belt

Amazing what emotional impact a good video clip can make, no? PS: Updated the post. Video fixed.

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The status of the world, according to the Global Hunger Index 2011

IFPRI (The International Food Policy Research Institute) just published its 6th annual Global Hunger Index. If you want an overview of the state of the world, related to poverty, hunger, and overall development achievements, I think this is a must-read.

The Index combines three equally weighted indicators into one score:
  • the proportion of people who are undernourished, 
  • the proportion of children under five who are underweight, and 
  • the under-five child mortality rate.

The 2011 Global Hunger Index (GHI) is calculated for 122 developing countries and so-called "countries in transition".
The most interesting, is the evolution of the index, per country, over the years. From the 1990 to the 2011 Index, the hunger situation worsened in six countries:the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, North Korea, the Comoros, Swaziland, and Cote d’Ivoire. Among these six countries, the DRC stands out. Its GHI score rose by about 63 percent. (Sometimes, I am ashamed to be a Belgian)

Here is an interactive map with the Hunger Index data, over the past 11 years:

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Steve Jobs: Lessons on life

Steve Jobs (RIP) talking about his lessons on life, to young Stanford University graduates.

About dropping out to drop in at college, about the trust that one day the dots in your life will connect. About to love doing what you do. About not loosing the limited time you have on Earth, by living someone else's life.

Truly inspiring. Reminded me of Randy Pausch's Last Lecture.

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