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USGS — Global Platinum-Group Resources Estimated at More than 150K Metric Tons

May 19, 2014 Comments off

Global Platinum-Group Resources Estimated at More than 150K Metric Tons
Source: U.S. Geological Survey

The first-ever inventory and geological assessment of known and undiscovered platinum-group element (PGE) resources estimates that more than 150,000 metric tons of PGEs may exist in the two southern African countries that produce most of the global supply of these critical elements.

The USGS study identifies 78K metric tons of known PGE resources in South Africa and Zimbabwe and estimates 75K metric tons in PGE resources that may be present, but are undiscovered. This is more than 20 times the total tonnage produced since the 1920s when PGE mining began in these countries.

The U.S. is 90 percent reliant on imports of PGEs which are essential for cleaning automobile exhaust, for manufacturing glass, fertilizer, high-octane fuel, and a variety of chemicals, including cancer fighting drugs. They are widely used in jewelry and electronics such as hard drives, circuitry, and cell phones. PGEs could play a crucial role in fuel cell technology to produce clean energy for cars, homes, and businesses.

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High Rates of Contraceptive Discontinuation Highlight Need for Stronger Family Planning Services in Developing World

June 29, 2011 Comments off

High Rates of Contraceptive Discontinuation Highlight Need for Stronger Family Planning Services in Developing World
Source: Guttmacher Institute

In six diverse developing countries, more than four in 10 women discontinue use of their method within one year, according to a study by Sian Curtis of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, et al., published in the June issue of International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. Data from 1999–2003 Demographic and Health Surveys from Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic, Kazakhstan, Kenya, the Philippines and Zimbabwe indicate that contraceptive discontinuation rates ranged from 20% in Zimbabwe to 48% in Bangladesh and the Dominican Republic. In every country, with the exception of Kazakhstan, the top three reasons for discontinuation were the desire to get pregnant, contraceptive failure and side effects.

To explore how fertility desires contribute to stopping contraceptive use, the researchers examined women’s attitudes toward pregnancies following discontinuation for reasons other than a desire to have a child. The proportion of births reported as intended following contraceptive failure ranged from 16% in Bangladesh to 54% in Kazakhstan, while the proportion of such births following discontinuation because of side effects ranged from 37% in Kenya to 51% in Kazakhstan.

Because relatively high proportions of births were reported as intended following contraceptive failure or discontinuation for reasons other than wanting to get pregnant (for example, side effects), Curtis et al. suggest that ambivalent fertility desires are an important factor in contraceptive discontinuation. In addition, older age, having fewer than five living children, and longer durations between contraceptive discontinuation and pregnancy were associated with reporting births as intended.

In all countries except Kazakhstan, 71–84% of women who became pregnant while using a contraceptive method and 56–63% of women who gave birth after discontinuing use because of side effects reported the birth as unintended. According to the researchers, increasing the proportion of couples adopting a contraceptive method who continue to use it successfully or switch to another method is a critical element in preventing unwanted births and reducing the need for induced abortions. Curtis et al. conclude that reducing unintended pregnancy will require identifying women who strongly want to avoid a pregnancy and finding ways to help them maintain contraceptive use.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

Country Specific Information: Zimbabwe

June 12, 2011 Comments off

Country Specific Information: Zimbabwe
Source: U.S. State Department

June 07, 2011

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in southern Africa, bordered by the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. The official language is English, however, the majority of the population speaks Shona. Although Zimbabwe offers popular tourist attractions in Victoria Falls, Great Zimbabwe, and selected game parks, much of the country’s infrastructure remains depressed and emergency medical care is limited. Please read the Department of State Background Notes on Zimbabwe for additional information.

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