Noteworthy News
 
      22 Dec 2011
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 Organic farming a sustainable pathway to food security in Africa: experts
In agricultural news, a Kenyan conference highlights the importance of organic farming to food security and ecological management. The symposium was organized by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), which consists of approximately 750 organizations from more than 100 countries. IFOAM collaborated with the African Union, the Kenyan Organic Agriculture Network and Colabora to sponsor “Ecological Organic Agriculture: The agricultural alternative for Africa.” It brought together farming experts, policy makers, funding partners, non-profit organizations, retailers and media to discuss ways to enhance organic practices. Our hats off, all organizers and participants, for this productive meeting. May organic agriculture soon prevail on the African continent and the world at large for a green and abundant future.
 Japanese Assistance to Strengthen Essential Health Care Services in Northern Province
In humanitarian news, Japan provides more than US$1.3 million to enhance health services in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. According to ReliefWeb, the funds will be used to create a regional training center in Jaffna and construct a blood bank at the District General Hospital of Vavuniya. Furthermore, nursing officers’ quarters will be built and medical equipment acquired for the Intensive Care Unit at the District General Hospital in Kilinochchi. Our earnest gratitude, Japan, for your kind assistance. May Buddha abundantly bless the pure-hearted people of Sri Lanka with good health on a flourishing and long-lasting planet.
 Locals rush to the aid of those in need of assistance
In community news, Bangkok residents help each other in flood relief efforts. According to reports by the Jesuit Refugee Service in Thailand, both citizens and the migrant communities joined together to assist each other and relief workers to accomplish their missions. These acts of kindness include delivering food, water, and goods, providing translation, serving as guides, and simply showing their appreciative smiles. With their timely help, agencies including the Jesuit Refugee Service and the local Labor Protection Network worked with government bodies such as the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources to reach out to people in isolated areas. Our heartfelt thankfulness, all volunteers and participating organizations. May beautiful Thailand soon flourish again as humanity grows in responsible guardianship of our treasured Earth.
 Arctic ice retreat frees deadly methane gas
SAVE OUR PLANET... Unprecedented release of deadly methane in the Arctic. In an extensive field study of 10,000 square miles of sea floor near the East Siberian Arctic shelf, researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences measured the number and size of plumes or fountains of methane bubbling to the surface from the sea bed. To their surprise, they found over 100 plumes, with some whose size exceeded one kilometer in diameter, representing a massive increase compared to visits a decade earlier when they had been less than 100 meters wide. Scientists have already been expressing concern for the hundreds of millions of tons of methane locked in frozen permafrost beneath the Arctic, which could cause runaway global warming once a certain amount melts and is released into the atmosphere. Lead author Dr. Igor Semiletov of the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences said he had never witnessed methane being released on such a scale or with such force before, saying that the gas being measured was not only going directly into the atmosphere, it was doing so at concentrations 100 times higher than normal.

In appreciation for your work, Dr. Semiltov, we join in deep concern for these findings. May we step together in rapid efforts to restore planetary balance through humane and sustainable lifestyles.

During a December 2010 press conference in Cancún, Mexico, Supreme Master Ching Hai mentioned the dangerous methane gas release from the Arctic as being just part of the reason why a faster solution is needed to stop rising temperatures.

Press Conference on Climate Change with Supreme Master Ching Hai
Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico – December 18, 2010

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Potent methane gas, once frozen beneath the Earth, has become a ticking time bomb due to rising temperatures in the Arctic and is now set to trigger runaway climate change. We are living the worst-case scenario and the scientists are crying out for us to hit the emergency brake now, and hard. Scientists are now saying that we must take advantage of shorter-lived emissions like methane, which heats the atmosphere 100 times more than CO2 but disappears quickly, in 9 or 12 years, and black carbon (or soot), which generates 4,470 times more warming potential than CO2, but disappears within a few weeks. So it’s the emergency brake that we need, and the place to start is the livestock industry. Because the livestock industry, animal raising, generates the largest human-made source of methane. It is also a very large source of black carbon, or soot, and accounts for at least 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions that heat up our planet. So if we stop the livestock industry, then we will stop global warming – fast and simple.
 Somalia - Reporter shot dead in Mogadishu is fourth journalist killed this year in Somalia
FN… Somali journalist remembered. On Sunday, December 18, news reporter Abdisalan Sheikh Hasan was injured in an attack on his car while on the way to a press conference, succumbing later despite medical efforts to gunshot wounds. The freelance journalist contributed to the Horn Cable TV channel, as well as Hamar Radio and Voice of Democracy. Speaking in sorrow for his passing, Horn Cable Director Abdulle Haj Ali said, "Hassan was a very ... professional journalist who relayed very neutral coverage... I ... cannot understand why anyone would target such a professional and likeable journalist."

We send our respectful condolences to the family and colleagues for the untimely loss of Mr. Abdisalan Sheikh Hasan. May his soul rest peacefully in Heaven's love and grace as we pray for all journalists' protection as they endeavor to share accurate and timely information that brings clarity and understanding to our world.
 Russia’s Ban on Harp Seal Skin Imports a Big Hit to Canadian Seal Hunt
FN… Landmark harp seal skin ban in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. On Monday, December 19, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) announced that Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan had notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of their intent to ban both the import and export of harp seal fur. They now join the European Union, which has already enacted a similar ban. With Russia previously occupying 90% of the Canadian seal export market, IFAW seal program director Sheryl Fink noted that this virtually eliminates such trade.

Our heartfelt accolades, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan for your humane decision. May many more governments be similarly motivated to halt such cruel practices and instead offer compassion in honoring the sanctity of life for all animal co-inhabitants.
 Blizzard makes travel 'dangerous' or 'impossible' in parts of West, Midwest
FN… Blizzard shuts down parts of US West and Midwest. Snow and high speed winds that prompted the closure of highways in five states and led to a fatal car accident on Monday, December 19, moved further into the Great Plains and toward the Midwestern Great Lakes on Tuesday. The storms impacted an unusually wide area, and the National Weather Service announced blizzard warnings from southeast Colorado to western Kansas, the Oklahoma panhandle, and into northern Texas. Visibility was reduced to less than a quarter-mile in parts of western Kansas as well as southeast Colorado, where snow drifts reached as high as 10 feet, while zero visibility prompted the New Mexico state police to shut down Interstate 40. The southern state of Louisiana was also affected, with one tornado that was reported to have damaged a hospital. As a precautionary measure, the Texas military and emergency teams in other states were dispatched to help on the roads.

Our appreciation, all officials and personnel, for your initiatives to ensure the safety of those in the blizzard-affected areas. May such hazardous conditions be eased as we more kindly care for one another and the environment.
 Spanish parliament approves Rajoy as new PM
FN… New prime minister in Spain. On Tuesday, December 20, Spain's Parliament voted in favor of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy whose Conservative party had secured 187 of 350 Parliamentary seats in a general election held on November 20. The new prime minister was sworn into office the following day before Their Majesties King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia in the Zarzuela Palace near Madrid. As he pledged to prioritize the country's economy, Prime Minister Rajoy said, "I know that things are not easy... but I am enthusiastic and hopeful and am determined to lead Spain forward."

Our respectful congratulations, Your Excellency, on your new post. Wishing you success as you strive to serve the highest standards for your fellow citizens and all of Spain.
 Bridge collapse after mild earthquake in Sikkim kills 8 people
FN… Earthquakes hit India, US, Mexico, and Guatemala. On Monday, December 19, a temblor measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale caused eight people in India to perish when a bridge collapsed in east Sikkim due to the quake. Centered east of the shared border with Nepal near Chungthang, the tremors were also felt in Darjeeling in India's West Bengal. Just three months earlier, a 6.9-magnitude quake in the same region had claimed over 70 lives. On Tuesday, an earthquake of magnitude-3.5 shook the Greater Los Angeles area of California, USA, its epicenter 6 kilometers southeast of Ontario, followed by a 4.2-magnitude temblor that rocked southern coastal regions of Guatemala as it struck 104 kilometers southwest of Guatemala City. Also on Tuesday in Mexico, a magnitude-5.0 temblor struck off the coast of Chiapas state, 125 kilometers southwest of Tapachula.

With sympathies for the precious lives lost to the quake in India, we are grateful for the general safety of others in these earth disturbances, as we pray that such distressing events may subside through our greater benevolence for all beings as a vegan world.
 Large tract of old growth redwood forest protected in the San Francisco Bay Area
A group of non-profit organizations join in a US$30 million purchase of 8,500 acres of land, to preserve and protect from logging and development the area's old growth redwood forest and wildlife habitat in the Santa Cruz mountains of California, USA.
 Kids' leukemia tied to father's smoking
WARNING NEWS... A study conducted by scientists at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Australia finds that children who are conceived by fathers who are smokers are 15% more likely to develop acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer.
 Morocco presents human rights action plan
Magharebia news agency reports that, in honor of the 2011 UN Human Rights Day, the Moroccan government unveils a plan to create new national policies as well as ensure that existing ones are integrated with standards that uphold the values of democracy and human rights.
 Press Release: Wellolistic.com announces launch of World’s First Vegan Social Network
Founder Colm Maher launches the first ever vegan social network Wellolistic.com to connect all those interested in sharing their thoughts and inspiration about the beneficial plant-based lifestyle through blogs, forums, videos, photos, podcasts, and music.
 ALARM OVER DRY DANUBE, BARGES STUCK, TURBINES SLOW
SAVE OUR PLANET… A report dated December 14, 2011 reveals that water level on the River Danube in Europe continue to diminish due to the persistent drought in Southern and Eastern part of the continent, creating further transportation difficulties and impacting the generation of electricity from hydropower.
 Clinton: U.S. hopes for improved ties with people of N.Korea
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expresses her thoughts and prayers for the people of North Korea as they mourn the loss of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il, while conveying her nation's continued wish for peace and stability across the Korean peninsula.
 Prime Minister starts Myanmar visit
During his visit to Myanmar (Burma), Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng of Âu Lạc (Vietnam) highlights the cordial relations between their nations as well as growing cooperation in fields that include aviation, tourism and agriculture.
 US provides eye care for 8,800 in Kon Tum
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) sponsors a project to provide ophthalmic care to more than 8,800 primary and secondary school Aulacese (Vietnamese) students in Kon Tum province, including free eyeglasses for those in need.
 South Sudan leader makes first visit to Israel
Following talks with visiting President of South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledge their country's continued support for the development of the newly formed country.
 Russia, Europe plan joint mission to Jupiter
With several joint space missions under discussion, Russia’s Federal Space Agency and the European Space Agency agree to prioritize two, one to the Moon and another to Jupiter, as they proceed toward the next steps of conducting feasibility studies for the two research projects.

   
 
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