Haiti Adopts Food Fortification, Following UC Davis Advice

The government of Haiti recently announced a program to fortify wheat flour with iron and folic acid, following a recommendation by UC Davis researchers who calculated that adding these nutrients to wheat flour during milling would prevent infant deaths and improve the health especially of women and children.

Farmers in Haiti’s Artibonite Valley

The new Haitian program, known by its French acronym RANFOSE, is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In addition to adding folic acid and iron to wheat flour, it will fortify vegetable oils with Vitamin A and salt with iodine. RANFOSE will increase the availability of high-quality, fortified staple foods across the country and expand the local production and importation of fortified foods, according to a US Embassy news release.

UC Davis plans joint research with Brazil

FAPESP, the São Paulo Research Foundation and UC Davis announced May 12 the launch of a new program to strengthen collaborative research in physical sciences, engineering, biomedical sciences and agriculture within the framework of the cooperation agreement signed by the two institutions in 2012.

The announcement was made during the opening of FAPESP Week UC Davis in Brazil, a two-day event attended by 26 scientists from UC Davis and institutions in São Paulo State to present research findings in a range of knowledge areas. The event is a follow-up to FAPESP Week California, held in November 2014 at UC Davis and UC Berkeley in the United States.

Treating rabies, at home and around the world

An 8-year-old from Humboldt County has become only the third person in the U.S. to have survived neurological rabies after being treated at UC Davis Medical Center. Precious Reynolds was put into a drug-induced coma while her body fought off the virus —  an experimental protocol first used in Wisconsin in 2004. Read the full story here.

In the U.S., most people bitten by a rabid animal are treated with antibodies to block the infection before it can reach the nervous system. If the rabies virus does reach the central nervous system, the results are almost always fatal — with Precious being a rare exception.

10+10 bring Chinese chemists to UC Davis next week

Chemists from Peking University, China will be on campus next week, May 5-6, for a workshop on “New Global Frontiers in Chemical Biology.” The event is the fourth in a series of half-yearly meetings that alternates between the UC Davis Department of Chemistry and Peking University’s College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering.

The meetings are part of the “10 + 10 Alliance” between the University of California’s ten campuses and ten premier Chinese universities launched in 2005. The UC Davis chemistry department has a relationship with Peking University under the 10 + 10 Alliance as well as a separate agreement extending collaborations to include postdoctoral researchers as well as faculty and students.

Pirates, mercenaries and international law

UC Davis law student Ansel Halliburton has posted an interesting paper discussing the legal issues raised by how shipping companies might defend themselves from Somali pirates. Here is the abstract:

Because of the recent surge in piracy emanating from the failed state of Somalia, the world’s navies have focused unprecedented resources and attention on the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. Despite a few successes, this military might has largely failed to reverse the tide of piracy. Shipping companies have begun to hire armed private guards to protect their vessels and crew where the public navies cannot. But should private force take a larger role? Should shipping companies hire mercenaries to go on the offensive against pirates? Does, or should, international law allow them to do so? This paper surveys public international law, emerging transnational criminal law, human rights and humanitarian law, and the histories of piracy and transnational private violence in search of answers.

Dr Verosub Goes to Washington

Last February, on his first day at the State Department, Ken Verosub was told to prepare a briefing book on water issues for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Ken Verosub meets Hillary ClintonA few weeks later, on World Water Day, Clinton drew on Verosub’s material as she gave a speech at the National Geographic Society, announcing that water would be a foreign policy imperative for the United States.

Verosub, a distinguished professor of geology at UC Davis, spent six months at the U.S. Agency for International Development and then six months at the Department of State — with both assignments comprising his one-year of service as a Jefferson Science Fellow.

Japanese consul speaks on political change

Contributed by Clifton Parker

Japan’s stunning political shift last summer is a reflection of deep-rooted angst within the Japanese people, a top diplomat of that country said.

Yasumasa Nagamine, the San Francisco-based consul general of Japan, told a campus audience Jan. 28 that he expects big adjustments ahead as a result of the Democratic Party of Japan’s landslide election in August 2009.

“A very dramatic change has taken place,” said Nagamine, who has worked as a Japanese diplomat for 33 years.

“The Japanese people feel a loss of direction and frustration about future planning and job security.”

Duelling voices: Obama vs Osama

Religious studies professor Flagg Miller was extensively quoted in this article from the New York Times Week in Review section on reaction to President Obama’s Cairo speech — especially the apparent attempt to upstage it with a new audio tape message from Osama bin Laden.

Miller noted that Obama’s speech was about consensus building, while bin Laden’s rhetoric was polarizing. But many in the West miss how effective bin Laden’s language can be, Miller says: he is a good poet in classical Arabic, using imagery of 12-century Muslim warriors fighting heroically against Crusaders.

North Korea: don’t take the bait, says poli sci prof

By Clifton B. Parker

North Korea’s nuclear testing and bellicose rhetoric are raising the stakes for the U.S. and its allies.

Rather than take the bait, the U.S. should act “unimpressed with the nuclear brinksmanship,” said Miroslav Nincic, an international relations scholar who studies war, U.S. foreign policy and national security.

“A minimal response,” Nincic said, “allows the ineffectiveness of attempts to play the nuclear card to sink in. This might, in a few months, lead Pyongyang to explore better ways of acquiring the assistance and respect it wants.”