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    Global land deals: What has been done, what has changed, and what’s next?

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    In 2010, the Land Deals Politics Initiative formed to study the rising number of large-scale land deals taking place around the world. As the so-called ‘global land grab’ took shape, we organised small grant competitions to generate more empirical research into the phenomenon, and we organised conferences to debate the parameters and dynamics from the local level to the global. In this article, we take stock of what has been written about land grabbing as well as the way in which the context has changed since 2010. We highlight the ongoing need for research, as well as the changing nature of financial capital, the institutional “reforms” that resulted from calls for change, new technologies that have emerged to measure and distribute land access, the role of climate change in underpinning powerful new green grabs, and the changing geopolitical context that challenges resistance even as people struggle to retain their access to land. Finally, in the lead up to the 2024 Conference on Global Land Grabbing in Bogotá, Colombia, we highlight several challenges for the next decade of research on global land grabbing

    Intervention in mothers and newborns to reduce maternal and perinatal mortality in 3 provinces in South Africa using a quality improvement approach: Protocol for a mixed method type 2 hybrid evaluation

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    The COVID-19 pandemic undermined gains in reducing maternal and perinatal mortality in South Africa. The Mphatlalatsane Initiative is a health system intervention to reduce mortality and morbidity in women and newborns to desired levels. Our evaluation aims to determine the effect of various exposures, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and a system-level, complex, patient-centered quality improvement (QI) intervention (the Mphatlalatsane Initiative) on maternal and neonatal health services at 21 selected South African facilities. The objectives are to determine whether Mphatlalatsane reduces the institutional maternal mortality ratio, neonatal mortality rate, and stillbirth rate (objective 1) and improves patients’ experiences (objective 2) and quality of care (objective 3). Objective 4 assesses the contextual and implementation process factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, that shape Mphatlalatsane uptake and variation

    Women’s Lived Realities Under Customary Tenure in Rural South Africa and Policy Implications

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    Understanding key vectors and vector-borne diseases associated with freshwater ecosystem across Africa: Implications for public health

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    The emerging and re-emerging vector-borne diseases transmitted by key freshwater organisms have remained a global concern. As one of the leading biodiversity hotspots, the African ecoregion is suggested to harbour the highest number of freshwater organisms globally. Among the commonly found organisms in the African ecoregion are mosquitoes and snails, with a majority of their life cycle in freshwater, and these freshwater organisms can transmit diseases or serve as carriers of devastating diseases of public health concerns. However, synthetic studies to link the evident abundant presence and wide distribution of these vectors across the freshwater ecosystems in Africa with the increasing emerging and re-emerging vector-borne diseases in Africa are still limite

    Hypoglycaemic activity of biosynthesized copper oxide nanoparticles in alloxan-induced diabetic Wister rats

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    Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disorder that affects the body's ability to produce or use insulin. This study evaluated the hypoglycaemic activity of biosynthesized copper oxide nanoparticles (CuO-NPs) in alloxan-induced diabetic Wister rats. CuO-NPs were synthesized via the green route and characterized using different analytical tools. Diabetes was induced intraperitoneally using 90 mg/kg body weight of alloxan monohydrate in albino rats. Thirty (30) rats were randomly divided into 5 groups of 6 rats each and orally treated for 21 days. Groups I and II were treated with 300 mg/kg bwt Cereus hildmannianus extract and CuO-NPs, respectively. Groups III and IV received 5 mg/kg bwt of Glibenclamide and 2 mL of normal saline, respectively, while Group V was left untreated as the diabetic control. Blood glucose (BG) levels and body weight changes were monitored at 3- and 7- day intervals, respectively, throughout 21-day treatment period. Lipid profiles, enzyme assays and histopathological studies of the liver were also carried out

    Role of Indigenous and local knowledge in seasonal forecasts and climate adaptation: A case study of smallholder farmers in Chiredzi, Zimbabwe

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    Accessible, reliable and diverse sources of climate information are needed to inform climate change adaptation at all levels of society, particularly for vulnerable sectors such as smallholder farming. Globally, many smallholder farmers use Indigenous knowledge (IK) and local knowledge (LK) to forecast weather and climate; however, less is known about how the use of these forecasts connects to decisions and actions for reducing climate risks. We examined the role of IK and LK in seasonal forecasting and the broader climate adaptation decision-making of smallholder farmers in Chiredzi, Zimbabwe. The data were collected from a sample of 100 smallholder farmers. Seventy-three of the 100 interviewed farmers used IK and LK weather and climate forecasts, and 32% relied solely on IK and LK forecasts for climate adaptation decision-making. Observations of cuckoo birds, leafsprouting of Mopane trees, high summer temperatures, and Nimbus clouds are the main indicators used for IK and LK forecasts. The use of IK and LK climate forecasts was significantly positively associated with increasing farmer age and farmland size

    Smallholder views on Chinese agricultural investments in Mozambique and Tanzania in the context of VGGTS

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    Based on a case study in each country, this study documents the views of Mozambican and Tanzanian smallholders regarding Chinese agricultural investments and the extent to which investors abide by their legitimate land tenure rights as defined by the Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Forests and Fisheries in the Context of National Food Security (VGGTs). The VGGTs offer guidelines to government on how to protect the land tenure of rural communities when land is being acquired for large-scale land investments. The study also assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on smallholders. Due to COVID-19, instead of fieldwork, we conducted telephone interviews with 20 smallholders in Mozambique and 35 in Tanzania. The Mozambican case showed that even when land set aside for investors was not in dispute, smallholders still had unmet expectations, especially regarding investors’ corporate social responsibility activities. In the Tanzanian case, even though the land leased by the Chinese investor had been designated as general land, it had laid fallow for a long period, and smallholders had moved back onto the land, only to be displaced in 2017

    Polyaniline entrapped water-dispersible 3mpa-znse quantum dots and their application for the development of an enzymatic electrochemical nanobiosensor for the detection of 17β-estradiol, an endocrine-disrupting compound

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    17β-estradiol is used as a growth and fertility stimulant in the agronomic sector to induce fertility and manipulate reproductive characteristics in animals. However, unintended or unregulated distribution and exposure to even significant low levels of 17β-estradiol estrogen have detrimental health implication that can lead to reproductive abnormalities and even cancer. This could have severe effect on the ecosystem imbalance, food safety, to such a degree that its health impact necessitates rapid methods to probe for its prevalence and occurrence in the environment. Herein a simple, robust, sensitive and once-off use electrochemical biosensor to detect 17β-estradiol is developed, using 3-mercaptopropionic acid capped zinc selenide quantum dots trapped within the polyaniline (PANI) framework structure. The biosensor’s interaction with the substrate was based on the capability of the hemeprotein, horseradish peroxidase (HRP) enzyme (i.e., baroreceptor) to alternatively catalyze phenolic alcohols. The biosensor displayed a significantly low limit of detection limit (LOD) of value 0.2 × 10−6 M towards 17β-estradiol. The Mechaelis-Menten constant (Km) with the magnitude of 0.64 × 10−6 M was obtained; this indicates an outstanding affinity of the biosensing films towards 17β-estradiol. Subsequently, the developed biosensor was able to accurately and efficiently measure successive concentrations of 17β-estradiol from 0.2 × 10 to 4 × 10−6 M. The fabricated biosensor showed good selectivity towards 17β-estradiol compared to the other estrogenic endocrine-disrupting compounds such as estrone (E1), ethnylstradiol (EE2), and estriol (E3). The biosensor was capable of detecting 17β-estradiol in spiked tap water samples with good recoveries, thus affirming its potential to be applied for real electro-analysis of 17β-estradiol in treated wastewater

    The fore ground transfer function for H I intensity mapping signal reconstruction: MeerKLASS and precision cosmology applications

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    Blind cleaning methods are currently the preferred strategy for handling foreground contamination in single-dish H I intensity mapping surv e ys. Despite the increasing sophistication of blind techniques, some signal loss will be inevitable across all scales. Constructing a corrective transfer function using mock signal injection into the contaminated data has been a practice relied on for H I intensity mapping experiments. Ho we ver, assessing whether this approach is viable for future intensity mapping surv e ys, where precision cosmology is the aim, remains unexplored. In this work, using simulations, we validate for the first time the use of a foreground transfer function to reconstruct power spectra of foreground-cleaned low-redshift intensity maps and look to e xpose an y limitations. We rev eal that ev en when aggressiv e fore ground cleaning is required, which causes > 50 per cent ne gativ e bias on the largest scales, the power spectrum can be reconstructed using a transfer function to within sub-per cent accuracy. We specifically outline the recipe for constructing an unbiased transfer function, highlighting the pitfalls if one deviates from this recipe, and also correctly identify how a transfer function should be applied in an autocorrelation power spectrum. We validate a method that utilizes the transfer function variance for error estimation in foreground-cleaned power spectra. Finally, we demonstrate how incorrect fiducial parameter assumptions (up to ±100 per cent bias) in the generation of mocks, used in the construction of the transfer function, do not significantly bias signal reconstruction or parameter inference (inducing < 5 per cent bias in reco v ered values)

    New constraints on primordial features from the galaxy two-point correlation function

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    Features in the primordial power spectrum represent the imprinted signal in the density perturbations of the physics and evolution of the early Universe. A measurement of such signals will represents the need to go beyond the minimal assumption made for the initial conditions of the cosmological perturbations. For the first time, we study different templates with undamped oscillations or a bump from the two-point correlation function measured from BOSS DR12 galaxies constraining the amplitude of the features to be at most a few percent. Constraints are competitive to the ones obtained with Planck DR3

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