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Utrikespolitiska föreningen in Swedish


The Dementia Time Bomb

The Human Brain: dangerously susceptible to the effects of degenerative cognitive symptoms. Source: J E Theriot, Flickr There is no doubt that people are living longer lives, and even in recent years the global life expectancy has continued to increase; between 1990 and 2011 life expectancy for both sexes has climbed from 64 years to 70 years. This is a pattern seen across the world with the majority of nations seeing an increase in life expectancy. However, this spike in life expectancy has some less happy ramifications. The most acute of these is a spike in diseases associated with old age particularly in neurodegenerative diseases like dementia.

By Alan Cartwright

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Fair Trade and Poverty: Not Quite a Panacea?  

Fair Trade. Source: Antony Theobald, FlickrConsumers' choices make the world go round as they influence the decisions of influential multinational companies and international politics. This process is constantly reinforced by the effects of globalization, with decreasing transportation costs and the continued facilitation of communication. These processes led to a system in which the production chain is often not transparent to the consumers anymore. The label in the clothes does not suffice to explain the origin of a product in our times. As economist Petra Rivoli explains in her book “The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy”, published in 2009, “Made In China” is really only half of the truth. Where has that led us?

By Yannick Schwarz

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A Polio Free World? 

A polio vaccination team immunizes children in the Kamla Nehru Nagar slum in Patna. Source: Gates Foundation, FlickrIn January 2014 it was reported that India had become polio free, marking three years since its last reported case. This is a major success not only for India but also for global eradication efforts. The World Health Organisation (WHO) launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in 1988, when the poliovirus was endemic in 125 countries and when approximately 350,000 people were paralysed each year due to the disease. The Gates Foundation has been a key player in supporting the WHO initiative and in pushing forward global eradication efforts. Since GPEI began, it has saved about 10 million children from paralysis, and now there are only three countries where polio remains endemic: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The success of GPEI is evident in these numbers, and the route to this success is interesting in relation to other global development efforts. But in the three remaining endemic countries, there is a political and social battle being fought through polio eradication efforts: Vaccination workers are being attacked by Islamic militants who oppose the Westernisation of their countries. 

By Kate O Donnell

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Football: more than just a game? 

Ultra graffiti. by Aslan Media, FlickrWatching 11 people chasing a ball for 90 minutes might not seem like something of great political importance, but if you thought football was just fun and games then think again! Football fans are a political force to be reckoned with. They have been at the frontline of the revolutions during the Arab spring, as well as standing at the barricades in both Turkey and Ukraine.

by Lotta Herz

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Uganda: Is Love a Crime?

Global day of action against Ugandas anti-gay laws. The anti-gay bill criminalize those who ”promote” homosexuality, including HIV health practitioners, making the prevention of HIV even more difficult. Source: Adrian Resa Jones, flickr Monday 24th February 2014, the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act, toughening already existing anti-gay laws in Uganda. This action has lead to a lot of criticism from Western countries. Barack Obama condemned the bill for being a step backward, while Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands were the first countries to cut aid to Uganda. Despite international reactions, Museveni is sticking to the new law, and states that it is needed to stop the spread of Western social imperialism. Consequently, the Western criticism seems to have the opposite effect than desired on the Ugandan authorities. In defiance of the West, Ugandan authorities have said President Museveni wanted "to demonstrate Uganda's independence in the face of Western pressure and provocation''.

by Tove Gustafsson

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