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The Price For Private Funding Of The World Health Organization

A shrinking budget, and ever increasing influence of private actors could spell the end of the UN agency as we know it.

WHO Director General Margaret Chan and Bill Gates at the recent World Health Assembly
WHO Director General Margaret Chan and Bill Gates at the recent World Health Assembly
Stéphane Bussard

In Bill Gates' speech this past week in front of nearly 60 government ministers and 1,800 delegates at the 64th Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, the Microsoft cofounder urged countries to invest in vaccines and "save ten million lives' by 2020. The timing of the billionaire's appearance was highly symbolic, as the United Nations agency is about to "embark on the most extensive financial accountability reforms in its 63-year history", according to WHO director-general Margaret Chan.

Dr Chan's assessment is dire. She says that, having fought on too many fronts and taken on too many commitments over the last decade, the WHO now finds itself in need of reform. It needs to be more selective and strategic in setting priorities. Chan says that even if the institution has already been living on an austerity budget, it will have to go through deeper structural reform if it is to cope with the health challenges of the 21st century, such as the rise of chronic, non-communicable diseases. She said the recent financial crisis had opened a "new and enduring era of economic austerity."

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Ideas

García Márquez And Truth: How Journalism Fed The Novelist's Fantasy

In his early journalistic writings, the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez showed he had an eye for factual details, in which he found the absurdity and 'magic' that would in time be the stuff and style of his fiction.

Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez reads his book

J. D. Torres Duarte

BOGOTÁ — In short stories written in the 1940s and early 50s and later compiled in Eyes of a Blue Dog, the late Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia's Nobel Prize-winning novelist, shows he is as yet a young writer, with a style and subjects that can be atypical.

Stylistically, García Márquez came into his own in the celebrated One Hundred Years of Solitude. Until then both his style and substance took an erratic course: touching the brevity of film scripts in Nobody Writes to the Colonel, technical experimentation in Leaf Storm, the anecdotal short novel in In Evil Hour or exploring politics in Big Mama's Funeral. Throughout, the skills he displayed were rather of a precocious juggler.

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