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U.N.-NGO Conference On MDGs Kicks Off In Australia

Ahead of next month’s U.N. Summit in New York, a joint U.N.-NGO conference tracking the world’s progress toward reaching the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) kicked off in Melbourne, Australia, on Monday, ABC News reports (8/30).

HHS Unveils $1.9B Strategy To Better Prepare For Biological Threats

“Acknowledging that the development of medical countermeasures against bioterrorism threats and pandemic flu is lagging, [U.S.] federal authorities Thursday announced a $1.9 billion makeover of the system for identifying and manufacturing drugs and vaccines for public-health emergencies,” Tribune Company/Seattle Times reports. “The overhaul includes manufacturing refinements aimed at shaving weeks off the time it takes to produce pandemic flu vaccine and a series of steps aimed at more quickly detecting promising scientific discoveries and getting them to market,” the news service writes (Zajac, 8/19).

Donors Announce New Pledges For Pakistan Flood Relief

The U.S. and other donor nations “significantly upped their pledges” of aid for the flooding in Pakistan during a U.N. General Assembly meeting on Thursday, in which the U.N. “appeared to [meet] its target of $460 million in immediate aid for flood-stricken Pakistan,” the Associated Press reports.

Clinton, Shah Discuss Long-Term Help, Disease Monitoring In Pakistan After Flooding

After flooding in northwest Pakistan killed more than 1,500 people and displaced an estimated 300,000, leaders of the State Department and USAID are “promising an extended mission to deal with the long-term effects,” Foreign Policy’s “The Cable” blog reports. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah briefed reporters Wednesday about the disaster and their agencies’ efforts in the region (Rogin, 8/4).

Pakistan Floods Displace 1M More, U.N. Says

“Flooding has displaced an additional 1 million people in Pakistan’s Sindh province in the past two days, according to new U.N. estimates released Friday,” CNN reports.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek Explores Growing Trend In Pharma To License, Donate HIV Drugs

“Pharmaceutical companies, once blasted as uncaring or downright greedy for charging thousands of dollars for a year’s worth of AIDS medicines … in poor countries, lately have been slashing prices and licensing their drugs for free or nominal cost to nonprofits or local manufacturers in the developing world,” Bloomberg BusinessWeek writes in an analysis piece that examines how this trend, combined with a growing capability among aid agencies to distribute drugs, has the potential to increase access to HIV/AIDS drugs worldwide.

Media Examine Floods’ Impact In Pakistan

News outlets reported on the effects of major flooding in Pakistan and described the situation on the ground.

“The worst floods in Pakistan’s history already have swept through the nation’s most important breadbasket provinces, destroying cotton and corn crops … leaving many people in need of emergency food. Now experts warn that the food crisis could expand into a long-term problem if farmers can’t get the seeds, draft animals and irrigation repairs they need for the fall planting of wheat, the nation’s most important crop,” McClatchy/Miami Herald reports in a story examining the flood’s impact on the country’s food security.