Kate Middleton: A boost for British fashion?

The royal wedding has been one of the most hotly discussed topics since Prince William announced his engagement to Kate Middleton.

Photographs of the prince's bride-to-be - and fellow former University of St Andrews student - have adorned every British newspaper on a regular basis since the engagement was announced.

Everything from her hairstyle to her weight has come under scrutiny. But like Diana, Princess of Wales, the clothes she has been pictured in have become the main talking point. With just under three weeks to go until the big day, the designer of Ms Middleton's dress has yet to be unveiled.

Judging by the way copies of her £399 Issa engagement dress were snapped up, it looks like the future princess could already be on her way to becoming a huge fashion trend-setter.

"Whenever any important figure wears fashion it's going to influence people all over the world, and obviously this is her moment, so anything that she chooses is going to be of huge interest," says Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue.

"Obviously Kate Middleton is going to be put under a microscope in terms of the press coverage, and how important she'll be is really her call," she adds.

Ms Middleton's style has been described as "classic, stylish and conservative", and most high street stores are scrambling to sell copies of Ms Middleton's key outfits.

Indonesia needs 600 new pilots a year

With the increasing number of aircraft passengers every year, Indonesian airlines also plan to increase their fleets, but this is expected to create a shortage of human resources, particularly pilots, a Transportation Ministry senior official says.

“Generally, with the current growth in passenger numbers for air transportation reaching 15 percent every year, there is a wide gap in the availability of local pilots,” Air Transportation Director General - Heri Bhakti said Thursday.

Heri was talking on the sidelines of the Indonesian National Air Carriers Association (Inaca) general meeting in Jakarta.

He added that in 2010 there were around 51.7 million passengers on domestic flights, an increase of 18 percent over the 43.8 million recorded in 2009.

The association also saw an increase in international routes that recorded 6.6 million passengers in 2010, far more than the 5 million passengers in 2009.

This situation would force air carrier companies to increase their fleets, which will require an addition of up to 600 pilots a year, Heri said, adding that the current output of pilots from the eight
local aviation schools only amounted to around 200 to 300 people a year.

“And they cannot fly planes immediately after they graduate. They must at least become copilot candidates, copilots and then captains, which takes at least a year or up to 3,000 flying hours,” Hari said. By the middle of 2011, there were around 7,000 pilots working for Indonesian airlines, 300 of them foreign.

African Refugee Children at High Risk for Kala-azar, Malaria, Viral Infections

Some 300,000 children are receiving vaccinations against polio and measles at one of the largest refugee camps in Kenya. They also are receving vitamin A and de-worming tablets as health workers try to protect the children against deadly viral and parasitic infections.

Severe malnutrition has blinded one child, but her mother still hopes she will survive.

"I pray so that she gets back on her feet here, otherwise there is not much I can do but leave it all to God," said a mother. Yet another child has met an all-too-familiar fate. She is among the 40 to 50 children who the United Nations estimates die every day from malnutrition on the Horn of Africa.

Josette Sheeran, executive director of the U.N. World Food Program, says the epic drought often forces mothers to abandon weak children as families walk for days to get to refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia.

“About one out of four are really in dire conditions and if children get to level four malnutrition only about 40 percent can even be revived," said Sheeran.

Pediatricians warn that malnourished children are susceptible to infections and that mortality is particularly high among children under five.

Dr. Peter Hotez is a tropical disease expert.

“Children are vulnerable to a number of viral pathogens, including measles, bacterial pathogens including those that cause cholera and other diarrheal diseases, as well as bacterial pathogens that cause bacterial meningitis," said dr. Hotez. "Finally they are susceptible to parasitic infections especially a terrible disease called Kala-azar, otherwise known as visceral leishmaniasis.”

Dr. Hotez says that in addition to their urgent need for food and shelter, these children also need essential vaccines.

“Measles vaccines, possibly cholera vaccines as well, the meningitis vaccine - remember this is not too far from the meningitis belt of Africa so immunizing against meningococcus A," he said. "And then we want to provide hepatitis control so hepatitis vaccination would be ideal."

Health experts also advise sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets to prevent deadly outbreaks of malaria in overcrowded refugee settings. More than two million children are at risk of malaria and kala-azar in famine stricken Africa.