Around the World

News from around the globe impacting your world.

Ecuador Expels US Ambassador. The government of Ecuador has declared Susan Hodges, the U.S. ambassador to the small Andean country, a "persona non grata," demanding the envoy leave over disparaging remarks made by her about the country's police chief, Jaime Hurtado Vaco. The remarks were revealed in the leaked Wikileaks cables. The full story in the Los Angeles Times.

Germany's Free Democrats Select a New Leader. The pro-business Free Democrat Party (FDP) have selected Philipp Rösler to replace outgoing party leader Guido Westerwelle. Rösler, 38, was born in Ba Xuyen Province in 1973 in what was then South Vietnam and adopted by a German couple at the age of nine months. Rösler, a physician, currently serves as the Health Minister in Chancellor Merkel's cabinet. He is expected to retain that post and not assume the post of Foreign Minister that Mr Westerwelle held. The FDP has been in a free fall ever since Westerwelle led the FDP to its best-ever general election results in September 2009 when it garnered 14.6 percent of the vote. Since then however, the FDP has had disastrous losses in three major state elections in Saxony-Anhalt, Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. Under Westerwelle, the FDP came to be seen as a party predominantly focused on getting tax breaks for its core corporate constituency. More from Der Spiegel.

Inflation Pressures in Emergent Asian Economies. Asia's emerging economies, a diverse group of economies that includes China, India, Azerbaijan, Thailand and Fiji among others, are expected to grow 7.8 percent in 2011 and 7.7 percent in 2012, robust rates albeit slower than the 9 percent seen in 2010, the Asian Development Bank said in its latest Asian Development Outlook report. At the same time, inflation is expected to quicken to an average 5.3 percent this year from 4.4 percent in 2010, before easing to 4.6 percent in 2012, the ADB said. Some countries such as Vietnam and Pakistan could see inflation rates climb well into the double digits. More from Reuters India.

In related news, China's central bank increased interest rates on Tuesday for the fourth time since October, raising suspicions that data next week may show inflation rose more than expected in March. China is due to report the March consumer price index on April 15. Economists expect the data to show that consumer inflation rose to 5.1 percent in March, matching a 28-month high seen in November. China has set a 4.0 percent target for inflation in 2011.

India Bans Japanese Food Imports. India has imposed a three-month ban on imports of food articles from the whole of Japan on fears that radiation from an earthquake-hit nuclear plant was spreading to other parts of the country, becoming the first country to introduce a blanket ban.

Negotiations Ongoing in the Côte d'Ivoire. France and the United Nations forces continue to prepare the framework for strongman Laurent Gbagbo's departure after air strikes prove decisive in battle with opposition. The crisis has sent 130,000 refugees across the border into Liberia, displaced up to a million people internally and set a toll which is expected to rise sharply from the 1,300 deaths reported so far. More from All Africa.

Around the World

News from around the globe impacting your world.

Ecuador Expels US Ambassador. The government of Ecuador has declared Susan Hodges, the U.S. ambassador to the small Andean country, a "persona non grata," demanding the envoy leave over disparaging remarks made by her about the country's police chief, Jaime Hurtado Vaco. The remarks were revealed in the leaked Wikileaks cables. The full story in the Los Angeles Times.

Germany's Free Democrats Select a New Leader. The pro-business Free Democrat Party (FDP) have selected Philipp Rösler to replace outgoing party leader Guido Westerwelle. Rösler, 38, was born in Ba Xuyen Province in 1973 in what was then South Vietnam and adopted by a German couple at the age of nine months. Rösler, a physician, currently serves as the Health Minister in Chancellor Merkel's cabinet. He is expected to retain that post and not assume the post of Foreign Minister that Mr Westerwelle held. The FDP has been in a free fall ever since Westerwelle led the FDP to its best-ever general election results in September 2009 when it garnered 14.6 percent of the vote. Since then however, the FDP has had disastrous losses in three major state elections in Saxony-Anhalt, Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. Under Westerwelle, the FDP came to be seen as a party predominantly focused on getting tax breaks for its core corporate constituency. More from Der Spiegel.

Inflation Pressures in Emergent Asian Economies. Asia's emerging economies, a diverse group of economies that includes China, India, Azerbaijan, Thailand and Fiji among others, are expected to grow 7.8 percent in 2011 and 7.7 percent in 2012, robust rates albeit slower than the 9 percent seen in 2010, the Asian Development Bank said in its latest Asian Development Outlook report. At the same time, inflation is expected to quicken to an average 5.3 percent this year from 4.4 percent in 2010, before easing to 4.6 percent in 2012, the ADB said. Some countries such as Vietnam and Pakistan could see inflation rates climb well into the double digits. More from Reuters India.

In related news, China's central bank increased interest rates on Tuesday for the fourth time since October, raising suspicions that data next week may show inflation rose more than expected in March. China is due to report the March consumer price index on April 15. Economists expect the data to show that consumer inflation rose to 5.1 percent in March, matching a 28-month high seen in November. China has set a 4.0 percent target for inflation in 2011.

India Bans Japanese Food Imports. India has imposed a three-month ban on imports of food articles from the whole of Japan on fears that radiation from an earthquake-hit nuclear plant was spreading to other parts of the country, becoming the first country to introduce a blanket ban.

Negotiations Ongoing in the Côte d'Ivoire. France and the United Nations forces continue to prepare the framework for strongman Laurent Gbagbo's departure after air strikes prove decisive in battle with opposition. The crisis has sent 130,000 refugees across the border into Liberia, displaced up to a million people internally and set a toll which is expected to rise sharply from the 1,300 deaths reported so far. More from All Africa.

Around the World

News from around the globe impacting your world.

Ecuador Expels US Ambassador. The government of Ecuador has declared Susan Hodges, the U.S. ambassador to the small Andean country, a "persona non grata," demanding the envoy leave over disparaging remarks made by her about the country's police chief, Jaime Hurtado Vaco. The remarks were revealed in the leaked Wikileaks cables. The full story in the Los Angeles Times.

Germany's Free Democrats Select a New Leader. The pro-business Free Democrat Party (FDP) have selected Philipp Rösler to replace outgoing party leader Guido Westerwelle. Rösler, 38, was born in Ba Xuyen Province in 1973 in what was then South Vietnam and adopted by a German couple at the age of nine months. Rösler, a physician, currently serves as the Health Minister in Chancellor Merkel's cabinet. He is expected to retain that post and not assume the post of Foreign Minister that Mr Westerwelle held. The FDP has been in a free fall ever since Westerwelle led the FDP to its best-ever general election results in September 2009 when it garnered 14.6 percent of the vote. Since then however, the FDP has had disastrous losses in three major state elections in Saxony-Anhalt, Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. Under Westerwelle, the FDP came to be seen as a party predominantly focused on getting tax breaks for its core corporate constituency. More from Der Spiegel.

Inflation Pressures in Emergent Asian Economies. Asia's emerging economies, a diverse group of economies that includes China, India, Azerbaijan, Thailand and Fiji among others, are expected to grow 7.8 percent in 2011 and 7.7 percent in 2012, robust rates albeit slower than the 9 percent seen in 2010, the Asian Development Bank said in its latest Asian Development Outlook report. At the same time, inflation is expected to quicken to an average 5.3 percent this year from 4.4 percent in 2010, before easing to 4.6 percent in 2012, the ADB said. Some countries such as Vietnam and Pakistan could see inflation rates climb well into the double digits. More from Reuters India.

In related news, China's central bank increased interest rates on Tuesday for the fourth time since October, raising suspicions that data next week may show inflation rose more than expected in March. China is due to report the March consumer price index on April 15. Economists expect the data to show that consumer inflation rose to 5.1 percent in March, matching a 28-month high seen in November. China has set a 4.0 percent target for inflation in 2011.

India Bans Japanese Food Imports. India has imposed a three-month ban on imports of food articles from the whole of Japan on fears that radiation from an earthquake-hit nuclear plant was spreading to other parts of the country, becoming the first country to introduce a blanket ban.

Negotiations Ongoing in the Côte d'Ivoire. France and the United Nations forces continue to prepare the framework for strongman Laurent Gbagbo's departure after air strikes prove decisive in battle with opposition. The crisis has sent 130,000 refugees across the border into Liberia, displaced up to a million people internally and set a toll which is expected to rise sharply from the 1,300 deaths reported so far. More from All Africa.

Around the World

News from around the globe impacting your world.

Ecuador Expels US Ambassador. The government of Ecuador has declared Susan Hodges, the U.S. ambassador to the small Andean country, a "persona non grata," demanding the envoy leave over disparaging remarks made by her about the country's police chief, Jaime Hurtado Vaco. The remarks were revealed in the leaked Wikileaks cables. The full story in the Los Angeles Times.

Germany's Free Democrats Select a New Leader. The pro-business Free Democrat Party (FDP) have selected Philipp Rösler to replace outgoing party leader Guido Westerwelle. Rösler, 38, was born in Ba Xuyen Province in 1973 in what was then South Vietnam and adopted by a German couple at the age of nine months. Rösler, a physician, currently serves as the Health Minister in Chancellor Merkel's cabinet. He is expected to retain that post and not assume the post of Foreign Minister that Mr Westerwelle held. The FDP has been in a free fall ever since Westerwelle led the FDP to its best-ever general election results in September 2009 when it garnered 14.6 percent of the vote. Since then however, the FDP has had disastrous losses in three major state elections in Saxony-Anhalt, Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. Under Westerwelle, the FDP came to be seen as a party predominantly focused on getting tax breaks for its core corporate constituency. More from Der Spiegel.

Inflation Pressures in Emergent Asian Economies. Asia's emerging economies, a diverse group of economies that includes China, India, Azerbaijan, Thailand and Fiji among others, are expected to grow 7.8 percent in 2011 and 7.7 percent in 2012, robust rates albeit slower than the 9 percent seen in 2010, the Asian Development Bank said in its latest Asian Development Outlook report. At the same time, inflation is expected to quicken to an average 5.3 percent this year from 4.4 percent in 2010, before easing to 4.6 percent in 2012, the ADB said. Some countries such as Vietnam and Pakistan could see inflation rates climb well into the double digits. More from Reuters India.

In related news, China's central bank increased interest rates on Tuesday for the fourth time since October, raising suspicions that data next week may show inflation rose more than expected in March. China is due to report the March consumer price index on April 15. Economists expect the data to show that consumer inflation rose to 5.1 percent in March, matching a 28-month high seen in November. China has set a 4.0 percent target for inflation in 2011.

India Bans Japanese Food Imports. India has imposed a three-month ban on imports of food articles from the whole of Japan on fears that radiation from an earthquake-hit nuclear plant was spreading to other parts of the country, becoming the first country to introduce a blanket ban.

Negotiations Ongoing in the Côte d'Ivoire. France and the United Nations forces continue to prepare the framework for strongman Laurent Gbagbo's departure after air strikes prove decisive in battle with opposition. The crisis has sent 130,000 refugees across the border into Liberia, displaced up to a million people internally and set a toll which is expected to rise sharply from the 1,300 deaths reported so far. More from All Africa.

Getting Water to Crops

Cross posted from Border Jumpers, Danielle Nierenberg and Bernard Pollack.

In 1999, when he purchased his first treadle pump, Robert Mwanza, a farmer in Lusaka, Zambia, was struggling to  make ends meet and without reliable access to water. As his country dealt with  drought and economic weakness, Robert lacked the necessary resources to irrigate  his farm and “couldn’t grow enough to eat, let alone sell.”

Access to  water is a luxury that many rural households, particularly in sub-Saharan  Africa, do not have. Farmers must often travel long distances to collect water  from streams or public wells, making it impossible to irrigate crops or have  enough water for cooking and bathing.

But affordable technologies such as  the treadle pump (a foot-powered pump that sits on top of a well  and irrigates small plots of land), the rope  pump (a manually powered alternative to the treadle pump), and a variety of  water storage systems (made of plastic and used as sources for  sprinkler or drip irrigation systems) are changing all of that. The systems are  developed and supported by International Development Enterprises (IDE), an organization  working to improve the livelihoods of farmers in 13 countries in Asia and Africa  through improved agriculture technology and market access. (See also: Harnessing  Too Much of a Good Thing, Addressing  Soil Erosion to Improve Production, Income, and Nutrition, and Persistently  Innovative: One Farmer Teaches by Example.)

IDE is making irrigation  more efficient by combining technology specially designed to address the needs  of small-scale farmers with on-the-ground support staff to provide training and  education. This allows farmers to expand their farms, feed their families, and  earn a profit from selling surplus crops.

After just two years of  improved irrigation provided by a treadle pump, Robert Mwanza grew more than  enough vegetables to feed his wife and eight children. He also earned enough  money to purchase an additional pump, doubling the amount of land he could  irrigate. He recruited his brother, Andrew Mwanza, to work the additional pump,  and in three years, with the help of IDE field staff, Robert began to sell his  produce to Agriflora, a company that exports high-quality vegetables to Europe.  Now the two brothers are growing enough vegetables to afford a motorized petrol  pump for $750, further reducing the labor required to increase  production.

To read more about the importance of getting water to crops,  as well as other examples of innovations that help farmers do this, see: Water Harvesting, Weathering the Famine, and Persistently Innovative: One Farmer Teaches by Example.

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