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ARGENTINA: Poor Nutrition

BUENOS AIRES - In Argentina, 20 percent of the people over age 60 suffer from poor nutrition and are vulnerable to disease, according to a report from the Secretariat for the Elderly.

In this country of 35 million, there are nearly five million people over 60 - mostly women -, representing 14 percent of the total population. One million of these older individuals consume less than 1,000 calories a day.

This is far below the daily calorie intake recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) of 1,900 calories for women and 2,300 calories for men.


CUBA: A Botanical Treasure

PINAR DEL RIO, Cuba - Specialists in Cuba are jealously protecting the Microcycas calocoma, better known as the cork palm, with the hope of expanding the plant's population to 15,000 so that it will not be considered to be in danger of extinction.

This species, considered a botanical treasure due to its more than 250 million years on Earth, is endemic to Pinar del Río, the western-most province of Cuba, 176 km from Havana.

According to the latest census, there are currently 7,000 cork palms, largely found in an inaccessible area between the Gramales and Cabezas Sierras.


MEXICO: Anti-Garbage Crusade

MEXICO CITY - Mexico produces 82,600 tons of garbage a day, 50,000 of which ends up in inadequate dumpsites and is left untreated.

To resolve this problem, the government of Vicente Fox will launch a national campaign in mid-June called ''For a Clean Mexico'', which is to include citizen education projects and an integral waste handling plan for the municipalities.

An estimated 60 percent of the garbage produced by Mexico's 100 million people ends up in the countryside, on the streets and in the rivers. It contaminates the nation's aquifers and air, and causes disease.

* Source: Inter Press Service.

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