Noteworthy News
 
      11 Aug 2011
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 Queen encourages youth participation in community development
In community news, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah graces the inauguration ceremony of the Jordan River Foundation Centre for Community Empowerment in Aqaba. The facility provides social and economic services to local residents. During the event, Her Majesty toured the daycare and counseling rooms, computer lab, and activities hall. She also met the trainees of several programs and beneficiaries of income-generating projects. Her Majesty praised the dedication of the center’s employees and called on young people to become involved in community development activities. Our respectful salute, Your Majesty Queen Rania, for your loving care of the warm-hearted citizens of your nation. May many individuals gain great benefits from your kind endeavors, with Allah’s immense blessings.
 Canada contributes $ 5.6 million for National Languages Project in Sri Lanka
In humanitarian news, Canada donates more than US$5.3 million to help Sri Lanka transition to bilingualism. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has provided the funding to be used for the implementation of the National Languages Policy, in which both Sinhala and Tamil would be the country’s official languages. Our sincere appreciation, Canada, for your support and generosity. May the pure-minded people of Sri Lanka be graced with lasting harmony and plentitude.
 East African's Kenya Aims to Sustain Wildlife Habitat
In animal welfare news, orphanages in Kenya help conserve rare wildlife. According to Arirang TV, several animal shelters are in operation in the Masai Mara National Reserve of southwestern Kenya to look after injured and abandoned animal co-inhabitants. Furthermore, a breeding program for the critically endangered mountain bongos, which is the world’s largest forest antelope, has been established. The herbivorous animals will be released to their natural habitat once their safety can be assured. Bravo, Masai Mara National Reserve, for your laudable efforts to protect our intelligent co-inhabitants. May all our blessed animal friends soon flourish in happiness and security on our shared eco sphere.
 Manuel Pinto da Costa elected as president of Sao Tome
FN… São Tomé and Príncipe elects president. After an announced win of the vote held on Sunday, August 7, Manuel Pinto da Costa is returning to the post of presidency. The former economist served previously as the western African nation's head of state during the first 15 years after her autonomy was achieved in 1975. For his re-elected term, the president has pledged to bring progress to the island by developing resources such as oil, cocoa, and tourism.

Our sincere congratulations, President Manuel Pinto da Costa for your renewed post. Wishing you the best in fostering expansion and stability for the fulfillment and peace of all fellow citizens.
 New Thai PM Takes Office with Unity Pledge
FN… Thai prime minister inaugurated. Recently elected Yingluck Shinawatra has officially assumed her post as the nation’s first female prime minister, following official endorsement by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. In a nationwide televised inauguration speech, the new premier vowed to restore unity in the country and to bring happiness and harmony to the people.

Prime Minister Shinawatra, we respectfully applaud your honorable new role. May your leadership be fruitful in serving the noble goals of the Thai people.
 Liaoning: Muifa touches down, chemical plant under threat
FN… Tropical storm Muifa batters China and Korean Peninsula. As of Tuesday, August 9, the storm had affected 5 million people and prompted the evacuation of nearly 1.5 million as gales and torrential rains since the previous Thursday had swept through 214 counties in the eastern coastal provinces of Liaoning, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Shandong, as well as Shanghai Municipality. Some 14,300 homes were destroyed or damaged, with roads there were blocked by floodwaters, and over 70 flights were cancelled. As the storm brought high waves to the coast, a levee near a Liaoning province chemical plant in the port city of Dalian was breached on Monday morning. Residents in surrounding areas were evacuated while troops and rescuers rushed to the site to help prevent a spill of toxic chemicals. Moving to the Korean Peninsula, the made landfall in North Korea late Monday and according to state-run news agency KCNA, claimed the lives of at least 10 people by Tuesday. In the provinces of South and North Hwanghae, over 100 homes and 10 public buildings were reportedly damaged, with at least 24,000 hectares of crops that were destroyed and 1,000 roadside trees toppled. In neighboring South Korea, four fatalities and two missing persons were also reported, according to Yonhap news agency. With utility poles and trees uprooted, some 32,000 households in South Gyeongsang experienced temporary blackouts, and a 600-year-old elm tree considered to be a part of Jeju Island’s heritage was destroyed.

Supreme Master Ching Hai asked that our nearby Association members in the affected regions please check with officials to see if help is needed. Sending all her love and prayers, she said that emergency funds are available as she also requested that they go if possible to comfort the most desperate.

We thank all officials and personnel for your timely efforts to ensure the safety of the storm-stricken residents. Our gratefulness also for Supreme Master Ching Hai's compassionate concern as we pray that such calamities subside through our kinder actions help toward humans, animals and the planet.
 Efforts turn to Ethiopia camps and Mogadishu airlift, as Horn of Africa crisis deepens
FN… More international aid reaches Horn of Africa in an effort to stem the crisis. On Monday, August 8, a UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)-chartered plane carrying 31 metric tons of food and other supplies landed in the famine-stricken Somali capital Mogadishu, as the first humanitarian aid to reach the city in five years. With the Al-Shabab group having announced its official withdrawal from Mogadishu and the government's offer of amnesty to those who put down their weapons, thousands of hungry Somali refugees poured into the capital city. Also on Monday, Iran donated US$25 million in goods as the country's Red Crescent Society prepared its second humanitarian aid convoy. The nation's Ministry of Foreign Affairs also called for an emergency summit among the 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to assist in a lasting resolution for the longstanding conflict in Somalia. Azerbaijan meanwhile donated US$100,000 in humanitarian aid, and a team of 20 medics and 12 journalists from South Africa-based humanitarian organization Gift of the Givers arrived with medical supplies. A mobile clinic from the United Arab Emirates was quickly set up in Mogadishu, which had provided medical and health services to approximately 750 patients by its second day. As the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced that only 44% of the appeal for funds to address the Horn of Africa crisis had been met, with another US$1.4 billion required, the US announced an additional US$105 million in assistance. To raise awareness of the crisis, Dr. Jill Biden, wife of US Vice President Joe Biden, visited a refugee camp in eastern Kenya, where tens of thousands of Somalis have sought help. USAID administrator Raj Shah, who accompanied Dr. Biden, warned that hundreds of thousands of children could ultimately perish to the famine. The Austrian government nearly doubled its pledge of emergency aid to €1.5 million, while private donors to the UK’s Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) East Africa Crisis Appeal have contributed £45 million. In northern Kenya, the first relief convoy from Malteser International, the relief service of the Roman Catholic Sovereign Order of Malta, together with local affiliate volunteers, has begun distributing rice, beans, and oil to 17,000 people in the region.

Upon first hearing of the tragic situation affecting the East African people, Supreme Master Ching Hai pledged US$100,000 each to Save the Children, Oxfam and the Red Cross, for a total of US$300,000 in urgent assistance for the crisis in the region, sending a message that she was doing so “with love and gratitude for these noble organizations' compassionate works.”

Our sincere thanks, United Nations and all governments, organizations, and individuals for your ongoing efforts to ease the suffering of the hunger-stricken, as well as for Supreme Master Ching Hai’s kindhearted care. We pray that the tragic loss of life is halted and the drought conditions eased through our more considerate regard of all beings as a vegan world.
 India police use water cannon on anti-graft protest
FN... Citizens speak out. People continue to rally as they strive for peace and stability as well as improved access to jobs, education, and democracy in countries such as Chile, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Syria, United Kingdom and Yemen.

UNITED KINGDOM - With unrest on Tuesday, August 9 occurring for the fourth consecutive night in primarily less fortunate neighborhoods marked by high unemployment, British officials continue seeking measures to restore calm. Meanwhile, three young men died in Birmingham after being struck by a car as they were reportedly acting to protect their communities.

CHILE - Tens of thousands of Chileans students maintained protests Tuesday, demanding that education remain in the hands of the government to guarantee fair opportunity for all. However, violence erupted as some began burning cars and barricades, with 273 who were arrested.

KYRGYZSTAN - Security forces on Tuesday surrounded a group of mainly women to prevent them from blocking a road in the activists' second straight day of protests being held in the capital as they called for their homes to be connected to water and electricity.

INDIA - Police used water cannons, tear gas and bamboo batons to subdue and disperse thousands of Bharatiya Janata minority party members who gathered outside the Parliament building Tuesday to protest government corruption.

YEMEN - The UN Security Council called on August 9 for both sides to reject violence and to ensure that all those needing humanitarian assistance are reached, while also calling for an orderly transfer of power. The activists' Common Forum of minority groups welcomed the UN's urgings as it pledged to establish an umbrella national council by August 17, toward the goal of a transitional government to implement long-time demands for change by the Yemeni people.

LIBYA - The Libyan government acknowledged on Tuesday for the first time that US writer Matthew VanDyke, who went missing in March during a visit to Brega, is currently imprisoned. Meanwhile, revolutionaries announced that they have successfully assumed control of Bir al-Ghanam, a western desert town only 80 kilometers from the capital of Tripoli.

With deep sympathies for those who have perished or suffer from injuries due to conflict, we pray that the strife in all nations may subside for people everywhere to live, dignified and free, as a peaceful world.
 U.S.: Thousands of fish turned up dead in Indiana lake
SAVE OUR PLANET... Thousands of fish found perished in an Indiana, USA lake during the July 2011 heat wave are thought by Department of Natural Resource officials to have suffocated from reduced oxygen levels in the overly warm water.
 India's oldest rebel group holds peace talks
Members of the United Liberation Front of Asom in India offer a 12-point charter of requests to Home Minister P. Chidambaram in an effort to end the conflict and bring lasting peace to the Indian state of Assam.
 July was NJ’s 2nd-hottest month ever
SAVE OUR PLANET... US meteorologists report that July 2011 was considered the second-hottest month in recorded history in New Jersey, USA, and was the hottest month ever in the nation's capital of Washington, DC.
 Iran hails boosting ties with Africa
Iran's Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar and his Benin counterpart Mr. Nassirou Bako-Arifari sign an agreement that mutually lifts visa requirements, with plans for further cooperation that they say signifies a new chapter in their countries' deepening ties.
 Smoking raises heart rhythm irregularity
WARNING NEWS... A new study published in the August 2011 issue of US-based cardiology journal HeartRhythm reveals that smokers are at more than double the risk of developing an abnormal heart condition called atrial fibrillation, with former smokers also being 32% more likely than those who never smoked.
 Raul Castro Attends Cuba-Angola Meeting
Cuban President Raul Castro welcomes Angolan Defense Minister, Cândido Pereira dos Santos Van-Dúnem in Havana for meetings to further the friendly relations and cooperation between their countries.
 IRELAND: Homeless Man Risks His Life to Save Bunny
In Ireland, the Animal Rights Action Network honors Mr. John Byrne with the Compassionate Citizen Award after the 38-year-old homeless man jumped immediately from a bridge into the cold waters of the river below to rescue his rabbit companion.

   
 
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