Since travelling to Niyamgiri, Orissa, in December 2008, I have been following the Dongria Kondh tribe’s fight against Vedanta Resources’ plans to mine its land for bauxite. It’s good news, therefore, that the Indian Supreme Court yesterday rejected an appeal to allow the company to mine the Niyamgiri Hills. Instead, it has said that local tribal councils themselves should decide within the next three months whether or not the project should go ahead.
Earlier this week The Guardian reported that polio has almost been eradicated across the world. The total number of reported cases worldwide fell last year to an all-time low of 223.
Until 2002, India had the highest number of polio cases per annum. Now it’s not had a confirmed case for two years. The disease is now only found in three nations: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.
“The battle against polio is an extraordinary example of what can be achieved when we work together,” says Kofi Annan in The Guardian report. “This terrible disease, as my generation knows well, once cast a shadow over childhood across the world. Before the development of an effective vaccine nearly 60 years ago, it paralysed and killed up to half a million people every year.”