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    Is there still a sustainable future?

    IN former British colonies such as India, Kenya, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, it is quite common to find so-called “hill stations” in the mountains established by the colonialists looking for a cool escape from the steamy temperatures and humidity of the tropical lowlands. In 1885, a young geologist and explorer named William Cameron came across...
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    Nurture new breed of citizens with ‘STEMM’, ‘HASS’

    EXCEPT for the oil-rich countries on the Arabian Peninsula, the rich, industrialised countries of the West and Asia all owe their good fortune to their mastery of science, technology and innovation (STI). Indeed, with few exceptions that prove the rule, a nation’s economic prosperity is determined less by the richness of its natural resources than...
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    Reducing biodiversity loss

    AN observer recently likened the creeping problem of biodiversity loss to watching rivets pop off the wings of an airplane in flight — how many can we lose before a catastrophe occurs? Over the next 20 minutes, the number of people on earth will grow by 3,500 and the number of species that share the...
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    Adding to Malaysia’s MIGHT

    TO earn the title ‘World’s Best Science Communicator’, a young scientist must explain an important science idea in a compelling, easy-to-understand way, and in less than three minutes — a tremendous challenge of World Cup proportions. So it was with great pride that we learned one of our own had won the top honours at...
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    They’re banking on our help

    HAVING been involved in international scientific governance for more than 30 years, I couldn’t help but feel a lump in my throat in Turkey on June 4 when witnessing the inauguration of the United Nations’ Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries (LDCs). It marks the beginning of realising a dream long held by many colleagues...
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    Science and International relations

    IN THE 19th century, renowned French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur famously said: “Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world.” The wisdom of that remark has proven itself often in the many decades since. Successfully advancing research depends on sharing ideas and knowle...
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    Plight of pygmy elephants

    AN almost immediate challenge to Sabah’s newly installed government is a seemingly local problem, but, with national and global implications: how to ensure the ultimate survival of Borneo’s unique pygmy elephants. Last week, Sabah again made international headlines with news of the death of six pygmy elephants in several different oil palm plantati...
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    Using academia to advance international relations

    IN Austria in 1973, at the height of the Cold War, six years of effort by United States president Lyndon Johnson and USSR premier Alexey Kosygin culminated in their nations’ joint establishment of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. It marked the beginning of a remarkable project to build bridges between the West and...
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    Sheikh Zayed, early leader in sustainable development

    LONG before “sustainable development” became a global buzzword in 1987, the principle of “utilising natural resources to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs” had already been practised by many cultures and individual leaders beyond the Western world. In this regard the late Sheikh...
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    The problem with plastic

    From humble beginnings in Birmingham, England, in 1856, plastic has become a mainstay of modern life. Waterproof, inexpensive, easy to manufacture and shape, plastic has replaced wood, stone, ceramic and many other traditional natural materials. It is now used in everything from pens and plumbing supplies to spaceships. Indeed, plastic is everywher...
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