Questions that have always intrigued you about the world will appear in this, your section,
and be answered by other readers. Please address your answers and questions to ‘Curiosities’.
Does giving blood benefit the donor?
Since the Blood Transfusion Service goes to great lengths to ensure that it takes only blood from healthy donors, you get what amounts to a free health check. Some people even see a blood donation certificate as conferring ‘bed cred’ upon the holder! But, of course, the best reasons for donating blood is that it saves lives.
There is no benefit unless you have a condition called haemochromatosis whereby you store too much iron and get ill as a consequence. Blood taken for this therapeutic purpose is not used to treat others.
People used to benefit from being bled if they suffered from hypertensive heart failure. This was common 200 years ago but is now extremely rare and treated in other, more effective ways.
Dr James Barrett
How will the European Monetary Union affect the countries of the South?
It is unlikely to have a massive impact. The EMU is a stage in a gradual shift to a united Europe, not an abrupt change. The currencies of Europe are already ‘strong’ and so the EMU is likely simply to confirm the post-war trend towards the concentration of investment in Europe, North America and Japan. And anyway, the European Union already has a long-standing policy towards the developing world from the Yaoundé convention of 1963 to the latest Lomé convention due to expire in the year 2000.
There is some talk of using the European currency as a stabilizing system for developing world currencies – but this is not a new idea and previous efforts have not been very successful. The EMU may strengthen the relatively politically neutral Lomé aid and trade convention above the more self-interested aid of EU member countries, but there is also evidence that Lomé IV has come under the powerful influence of the neo-liberal agenda in its criteria for aid allocation.
The best literature on this subject is probably the series EEC and the developing world edited by Chris Stevens (Hodder and Stoughton).
awaiting your answers
Is the inter-tribal sign language of the Native North Americans completely extinct? Have there been any other cultures – apart from modern Western societies – that have developed a sign language?
Where does the tradition of dressing girls in pink and boys in blue come from? Is it a purely Western invention? How do other cultures differentiate between the sexes of their babies?
Wanganui, Aotearoa/New Zealand
If you have any questions or answers please send them to Curiosities, New Internationalist, 55 Rectory Road, Oxford OX4 1BW, UK, or to your local NI office (see inside front cover for addresses).
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS SECTION ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF NI.
1 Swift to pursue article on mountain dweller (6)
4 Melancholy flower coming from 33... (4,4)
9 …also losing love in area of Kazakhstan’s part of 33 (4,3)
11 The last character one sees concerning the first Jew in Palestine (7)
12 The active male criterion in every angry situation (4)
13 Nixon’s man’s informal address has nothing on back rents (5)
14 Jacob’s brother is heard when starting off see-saw (4)
17 1 across part of 33 where CIA mixed up in attic mystery (8)
18 That the Himalayan beast is tail-less is arguably due to Mao’s marshal (3,2)
20 See 16
22 Controversial sermon I’m about to kick-off with - but not this term (8)
26 A wee cup of Soviet hype? (4)
27 Old American stays when the old Asian kicks out the French (5)
28 Egyptian god meandering through Oxford? (4)
31 Ran around a barrier, turning fast (7)
32 The first two faxes - Scottish and Israeli - greet the end of Nazism-totalitarianism (7)
33 Suspiciously take Natal tribal leader away to the source of 4 (4,4)
34 Smoothed over by the golfer when on the fairway? (6)
1 He breaks down those who break down! (7)
2 Police search for a trawler (7)
3 Resort, in a roundabout way, to the English in church (4)
5 Alfalfa, is, according to the Germans, to be found at the part of 33 (6)
6 River island where the alien takes in US naval affirmative (4)
7 I find various clues about one who succeeds Ceausescu (7)
8 Without Trudeau, to the French, it loses thrust (7)
10 It carries for 1 across from a moving mountain above California... (6)
15 …to a West African city - a curve going back to upstate California (5)
16,20 ac Australia’s common name given to single-film block for UV rays (5,5)
19 A very strong underlying edge about this dish (6)
20 Thinking is not central to solving this clue! (7)
21 Hay mask adapted for veil (7)
23 Aim to lose 34’s implement not right (7)
24 Continued to ponder over scarlet wrap (7)
25 North Carolina’s turn-about in the year re the gun (6)
29 Correct over tide (4)
30 The stinking rats that led the Russians for many years? (4)
1 Inhabitant of, or relating to, South American uplands (6)
4 Section of a great river with its source in the Ethiopian highlands (4,4)
9 Lake fed mainly by the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers (4,3)
11 Member of movement to develop a Jewish homeland centred on Jerusalem (7)
12 Active, male, Confucian principle of life (4)
13 First name of Nixon’s Vice-President, 1969-73 (5)
14 Son of Isaac and brother of Jacob (4)
17 Straddling the borders of Peru and Bolivia, the largest lake in South America (8)
18 He co-organized the Long March, 1934-36, with Mao Zedong (3,2)
20 See 16
22 A wrong or unsuitable name (8)
26 Telegrafnoye Agentstvo Sovyetskovo Soyuza? (4)
27 Pre-conquest inhabitant of Central America (5)
28 The Thames at Oxford (4)
31 The ninth month of the Muslim calendar (7)
32 Authoritarianism which spread across Europe between the World Wars (7)
33 Source of the Nile – other than Lake Victoria (4,4)
34 Pressed for wear (6)
1 One skilled in evaluating the constituents and structure of something (7)
2 Extensive, painstaking police search (7)
3 Angular or round section often found in the eastern part of a church (4)
5 The German name for a Swiss lake and resort (6)
6 Islet found in a river (especially in England) (4)
7 President of Romania since 1990 (7)
8 Force out (7)
10 Mountain beast of burden (6)
15 The capital of the former Gold Coast (5)
16, 20ac Stratospheric band which protects Earth against solar radiation (5,5)
19 Savoury dish of Asian origin (6)
20 At, or to, the side (7)
21 Facial covering worn by Muslim women in public (7)
23 Vocation, or a special task (7)
24 Took up again (7)
25 Gun fired by old warship (6)
29 Revise (4)
30 Word derived from Caesar, first used by a European emperor in 1547 (4)
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©Copyright: New Internationalist 1996
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