A billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has revealed that as part of the eight Millennium Development Goals, a global 15-year anti-poverty push, between 1990 and 2015 the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day has fallen from 1.9 billion to 836 million. The percentage of undernourished people globally has also fallen from 23.3% to 12.9%. The results mark “the most successful anti-poverty movement in history”, according to the UN’s official report. In spite of these achievementsseveral goals have not been met, and Mr. Ban has stressed the importance of the upcoming sustainable development goals, which the UN hopes will be fulfilled by 2030.
Rwanda’s health care system receives a Belgian boost
Belgium has donated €35.5 million ($39.2 million) to the Rwandan government, which will use the funds to improve healthcare and reorganise government services and energy sector infrastructure. The Belgian ambassador to Rwanda, Arnout Pauwels, said the new programme focuses on institutional strengthening, integration of mental health care, strengthening of the national asset management system and urban health.
The US unemployment rate dips to a 7-year low
The unemployment rate in the US dropped from 5.5% in May to 5.3% in June, following the creation of 223,000 jobs. Unemployment in the US is now at its lowest level since 2008. Thomas Perez, the labor secretary, said it represented “another solid jobs report”.
The app that enables blind people to navigate mountain trails
Navigation on a day-to-day basis is difficult enough for the blind, but five visually impaired hikers have reached new heights by crossing a mountain range in eastern France, unaccompanied. This feat was made possible by the new app Navi’Rando, in which hikers are directed by an automated voice that reads instructions aloud. This is the first system to use inertial measurement units to recalculate GPS coordinates, allowing the app to warn of obstacles ahead. Although hikers sometimes found it difficult to stay completely on the path, it marks an important advance for the visually impaired.
A new wearable device promises to help people change their moods
Scientists are confident we are on the brink of a new age of wearable technology, dubbed the ‘Doppel’, which will help users to change their mood. The Doppel fits onto the wrist like a watch delivering pulses through the wearer’s skin. The device affects people’s mood by tapping into their inner sense of rhythm. Students at Imperial College London say they have developed a slow beat and a fast beat, which work in a similar way to music, with the quicker beat motivating and stimulating the body, while the slow beat can help people to relax.