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Front Page: Annan in Kenya, the FDA, and Rainforests

  • Kofi Annan is in Kenya today, mediating talks between Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader, Raila Odinga. Mr. Annan's presence has already halted one planned protest. The face-to-face talks are hoped to calm the violent clashes between the two parties that have raged since a contested election last month. Recently, the opposition has claimed that the ruling party planned the violence as part of ethnic cleansing.
  • Studying suicide rates is now mandatory as part of medical trials, according to a recent announcement by the FDA. After evidence that antidepressants may cause psychiatric problems in children, combined with a growing number of new pills that may have psychiatric side effects, the FDA orders that this factor be tested before the drug is approved and given to millions. Dr. Sidney M. Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s health research group said, “the list of drugs that causes psychiatric problems is a very long one.”
  • The Brazilian Government announced a troubling spike in the rate of Amazon deforestation. In the last half of 2007, Brazil lost 1,250 square miles of forest. Rising prices for crops like soy are thought to encourage farmers to level forests as a source of cheap land, regardless of environmental impact. Gilberto Camara of satellite imaging service INPE said, "We've never before detected such a high deforestation rate at this time of year."
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