BOGOTA, (Tierramérica).- The "chachafruto", or "balú", is a tree that produces a bean that is once again an essential part of the diet among the indigenous communities of southwest Colombia, the fruit of a 10-year project coordinated by the state-run National University.
It is a tree with legume-like seeds, comparable to maize or potato in nutritional value. The seeds are rich in essential amino acids. This tree also fixes nitrogen in the soil, a process enriched by the decomposition of the leaves that fall from the trees.
The experts in charge of the project plan to extend it to the Colombian departments of Valle, in the west, and Putumayo, in the south.
Call for Protection of Children
MEXICO CITY, (Tierramérica).- Experts from Canada, United States and Mexico are urging the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) to draw up policies for protecting children from environmental threats, even if these are not yet sufficiently documented.
The countries of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) must prevent dangers confronting the child population in their consumption of food and water, or in their exposure to other products, the CEC's council on childhood health and environment said last week.
Children can suffer gastro-intestinal ailments as a result of drinking contaminated water, develop asthma from breathing polluted air, or face irreparable harm from lead contamination of the blood.
Preventing Earthquake and Climate Disasters
LIMA, (Tierramérica).- Peru's Geology, Mining and Metallurgy Institute carried out studies of 18 watersheds and three geological basins in an effort to diminish the impact of natural disasters in the country's central mountain region and along the southern coast.
The analyses are seen as a tool to prevent damage caused by seismic movement in the coastal region, located over the unstable Nazca tectonic plate, and disasters caused by the El Niño climate phenomenon, a cyclical warming of the Pacific ocean that causes torrential rains and floods in this country.
BUENOS AIRES, (Tierramérica).- Health authorities in Argentina are attempting to control the propagation of the dengue-transmitting mosquito, the Aedes aegypti, in the northern provinces of Formosa, Misiones, Jujuy and Salta, where conditions are ripe for an epidemic of the tropical disease.
Salta is already under "epidemiological alarm" for the diagnosis of 21 cases in San Martín, bordering the city of San José de Pocitos, Bolivia, where more than 500 people have contracted dengue.
Northern Argentina is the area of the country at greatest risk due to its proximity to Brazil, where a national epidemic has already caused more than 30 deaths from the disease.
Tagaeri Peoples at War for Survival
QUITO, (Tierramérica).- Workers of the petroleum and logging companies in the Ecuadorian Amazon fear new attacks by the Tagaeri, an indigenous group they blame for the deaths last month of two Colombian logging employees in the eastern province of Pastaza.
The Tagaeri, also known as red feet, are one of the few Amazonian peoples that maintain very little contact with Western culture or other Indians. Numbering no more than 150, they are nomads, surviving by hunting and fishing deep in the jungle.
Their limited territory has been occupied since last year by petroleum companies that have pushed the people toward the lands of the neighboring Quichuas. A group of Tagaeris killed two Quichua last November.
The Tagaeri attack is seen as a wake-up call about oil industry activity in the Amazon, which could cause severe environmental and social damage, warned the editor of Tierra en Puyo press agency, Giovanna Tassi *Source: Inter Press Service.
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