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A fish virus that poses a global threat, the plight of refugee scientists, and a UN treaty on killer robots are among the top-read articles published on SciDev.Net’s global edition in 2017.
Here’s a countdown.
10. The plight of Arab refugee scientists in the diaspora

Arab scienctists suffering

A meeting convened in Italy in March to discuss the challenges facing researchers who are fleeing conflict in the Middle East and North Africa attracted policymakers, representatives of scientific and educational institutions, refugee agencies, and refugee scientists.
9. Virulent bird flu strain threatens to spill out of China

A government veterinary worker
A virulent strain of bird flu resurfaced in China around April this year, threatening poultry farms in other countries and prompting the World Organisation for Animal Health to intensify control efforts in the region.
8. UN treaty against killer robots urged

UN treaty against killer robots urged_panos
In August, the founders of leading robotics and artificial intelligence companies wrote an open letter to the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons calling for an international treaty to ban killer robots.
7. Genetics to boost sugarcane production

caña de azucar by panos
Scientists in Brazil are taking steps towards genetically modifying sugar cane so it produces more sucrose, according to research published in March.
6. Youth in Tunisia find a way out of violence with tech

Tunisia youth in alley.jpg
Online mapping technology is helping keep young people in Tunisia’s marginalised neighbourhoods out of trouble, the CEO of NGO International Alert, Harriet Lamb, wrote in an opinion article.
5. Invention could slash energy consumption

Street lamp Varanasi
An Egyptian inventor has successfully tested a safe electricity system for homes that eliminates the risk of electric shocks and significantly reduces energy consumption, we reported last June.
4. Weather updates twice a day as apps transform farming

Kenyan lady farmer on phone
Hundreds of tech-based services which are being developed for agriculture are being assembled into an online database — a feature published this month explores the challenges and expected benefits.
3. Water and power: Mega-dams, mega-damage?

Three Gorges Dam.jpg
A data visualisation published in March looked at the impacts of hydropower as well as planned mega dams in key locations across the globe.
2. Egyptian invention cuts rice irrigation water by half

SWMR machine 2
In February, we wrote about a plough that saves about half the amount of water usually used for irrigating rice crops.
1. FAO warns of tilapia virus as outbreak spreads

tilapia fish
An emerging tilapia disease could impact global food security, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization warned in May.