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International aid saves 700 million lives but gains at risk: report

LONDON: International aid financing and innovation has helped to save nearly 700 million lives in the past 25 years, but those gains could be lost if momentum and political will wane, global health experts said on Monday. A report by international aid advocacy group the ONE Campaign said the progress against preventable deaths and diseases since 1990 could stall, and even go into reverse, unless donor governments make new commitments to innovation and action. The good news is that the world knows what it takes to…

Delhi smog shortening lives, say doctors as hospitals fill up

DELHI: In the emergency ward of a Delhi hospital, men and women gasp for breath as they wait to be treated for symptoms triggered by the choking blanket of smog that descended on the Indian capital this week. Doctors at the government-run Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute say patient numbers have more than tripled since pollution levels spiked amid a change in weather conditions and the annual post-harvest burning of crop stubble in surrounding areas. Shopkeeper Manoj Khati said he initially dismissed his heaving cough…

Waiting periods on guns prevent 750 US deaths per year: study

WASHINGTON: Laws that require waiting periods before the purchase of handguns save hundreds of lives per year and reduce the rate of gun homicides by 17 percent, US researchers say. More than 33,000 gun-related deaths occur annually in the United States, said the study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed journal. Researchers at Harvard University looked at laws that require would-be gun purchasers to wait before obtaining a firearm, and how the number of…

‘Beyond the Wall’: Tales of persecuted lives at the Berlin Wall

BERLIN: An open-air installation is to open along an old section of the Berlin Wall at the weekend, featuring photos of soldiers patrolling the former deadly border, and stories of those persecuted behind it. "Beyond the Wall" -- 229-metres (250 yards) long and facing the West -- is designed to keep alive the memory of the dividing wall put up by Communist East German authorities nearly 56 years ago on Aug. 13, 1961. It fell in November 1989 due to mass popular pressure and the decline of Soviet Union power. The…

The snake-catching tribe saving lives in India

CHENGALPATTU, India: A small scythe, a crowbar and a bundle of canvas bags are all that Kali and Vedan carry when they venture into the fields of southern India to catch some of the world's deadliest snakes. Their skills, passed from generation to generation of the Irula tribe they belong to, are crucial for the production of anti-venom in a country with the world's highest number of deaths from snake bites. Since it began in the 1970s, the Irula snake-catchers' cooperative on the outskirts of the southern city of…