Noteworthy News
      25 Feb 2011
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 Brooklyn dance teacher Cynthia King has special passion for animal welfare and advocacy
In animal welfare news, an American dance instructor demonstrates her deep care for our co-inhabitants. Long-time vegan Ms. Cynthia King teaches a variety of styles including ballet and hip-hop at her studio in Brooklyn, New York. She offers the nation’s only cruelty-free ballet slippers, which actress Natalie Portman used for her highly lauded performance in the movie “Black Swan.” Ms. King also arranges trips for her students to visit the Farm Animal Sanctuary in rural New York, giving them the opportunity to get to know the unique and lovely beings living there. In addition, Ms. King holds artistic events with music, dance and poetry, providing children with the opportunity to portray animal friends, and then enjoy delectable plant-based treats. Bravo, Ms. Cynthia King, for your creative methods of helping many to experience the beauty of our cherished co-inhabitants. May God bless you with many more years of continuing your noble work of integrating artistic expression with humanity’s innate compassion.
 To battle junk diets, grow veggies
In good governance news, the Philippines converts school yards to thriving vegetable gardens. The Education Department inaugurated the program in 2010, with the goal of improving the eating habits and health of students. In a primary school in Manila, the cultivation of many nutritious greens is a joint endeavor of teachers, students, and parents. The abundant produce, which is grown in all available space, is given to disadvantaged children or their families. Even schools without access to soil are taking part by transforming discarded plastic bottles into water receptacles used in hydroponic growing. In a pilot feeding program at Parañaque Central Elementary School in Manila, 100 of the most undernourished children were provided with food coming from the gardens. A nutritionist at the school stated, “Our charts now show they are more healthy, attentive and are performing better in school.” A big green salute, the Philippines, Paranaque Central Elementary School, and other schools involved in this fantastic project. May flourishing vegetable gardens help lead the beautiful children of your nation into vibrant well-being, and our planet into lasting sustainability.
 Mexico glacier melting quickly due to global warming
SAVE OUR PLANET… Mexican glacier could disappear in just a few years. Scientists warn that glaciers atop a Mexican volcano are melting at a far more rapid pace than previously believed and could disappear in four short years due to global warming. Currently dormant volcano Iztaccihuatl was once home to five glaciers, a number which has now dropped to three. It contains one of the world’s few tropical glaciers and one of only two such glacial fields remaining in Mexico. Dr. Hugo Delgado, glaciologist at Mexico City’s National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) believes that the current rapid pace of melting ice will render all to be gone by 2015. Commenting on previous estimates that the glacier would last several decades, he stated, “What we've seen at Iztaccihuatl is an intense period of glacial retreat in the last few years, which has changed the picture.” The glaciers’ thickest point is now only around 10 meters, down from 90 meters measured in the past. Snowfalls are also noted to be ever rarer on the 5,200-meter peak, with vegetation that now grows at higher altitudes. As is the case elsewhere in the world, Mexico’s disappearing glaciers spell trouble for populations and agriculture that depend on the annual snow melt for drinking water and hydropower.

Our appreciation, Dr. Delgado and colleagues, for your work that raises awareness on the rapid decline of the unique Iztaccihuatl glacier field. May we quickly act in all ways necessary to reverse climate change, thus preserving our beautiful planet and her diverse inhabitants.

Speaking during a March 2009 videoconference in Mexico, Supreme Master Ching Hai addressed humanity’s urgent need to adopt the most eco-conducive lifestyles to halt such dangerous glacier retreat and save the Earth.

Videoconference with Supreme Master Ching Hai
Xalapa, Mexico – March 6, 2009

Supreme Master Ching Hai: The glacier on the Iztaccihuatl volcano in Central Mexico lost 30 meters in 6 years. The temperature of the glaciers is close to freezing, but it’s not freezing. So, the temperature does not preserve the glacier, so the glacier on the Iztaccihuatl, Pico de Orizaba volcanoes, the glaciers there are expected to disappear in the next 10 or something years. You can look that up on the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: There are surely more terrible situations in Mexico that are not checked, due to our carelessness in taking care of the environment, and the global warming resulting thereof.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: We still have hope, high hope to save the planet. You just be vegetarian, and then you ask anybody who you know to be vegetarian with you. That’s the most simple solution and the most effective to save the planet, according to scientific research, according to medical research, and according to all the religious advice.
 Birdflu outbreak in Agartala due to virulent H5 strain
FN… Cambodian mother and son die of bird flu. A 19-year-old mother sadly passed away recently from the deadly H5N1 avian influenza, followed five days later by her 11-month-old son. According to a joint statement by the Cambodian Health Ministry and the World Health Organization, the two had been admitted to the hospital with high fever and coughing several days after they had eaten the meat of diseased birds. A five-year-old girl who died earlier this month brings the total to three human lives lost thus far to the virus this year. Cambodia is among a group of countries vulnerable to the avian flu virus, with governments in countries such as Egypt, Iraq, Turkey Indonesia, China, Thailand and Âu Lạc (Vietnam) attempting to control the spread of the highly contagious infection by killing affected poultry birds. In South Korea, nearly 5.5 million birds have been killed since December 2010, while Japan has killed more than 600,000. In northeastern India, some 4,000 were recently put to death when a virulent strain of the H5N1 virus was discovered there for the first time in two years.

Our sincere condolences for the precious lives lost to this disease, human and animal alike. May such deadly infections be prevented as humanity adopts a more caring approach towards our innocent animal friends by switching to the plant-based diet and lifestyle.
 Two hearts beating as one
FN… Cardiac patient receives second heart. Following a recent surgery, Mr. Tyson Smith woke up with two beating hearts — his own, which had become weakened and a newly transplanted heart. The rare, life-saving cardiac operation known as heterotopic heart transplantation was performed by a team from the UC San Diego Center for Transplantation in California, USA. The procedure involved positioning the new organ to the right of Mr. Smith’s own heart and then surgically attaching the donor and recipients' left atria. Mr. Smith was unable to have a standard transplant because resistance to flow in his lungs — called pulmonary hypertension — was very high. Now both hearts work in tandem to achieve circulation in the body. Mr. Smith is expected to resume normal levels of activities in the coming months, and he already says that he is gaining strength every day.

Bravo and our earnest appreciation, medical team at UC San Diego Center for Transplantation. Wishing Mr. Tyson Smith a continued rapid recovery to enjoy many vibrantly lived moments in the company of loved ones.
 Iran unveils supercomputers, hydro car
FN… Supercomputers unveiled in Iran. On Wednesday, February 23, two new supercomputers were celebrated in a special ceremony attended by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The two projects were officially launched by the president via videoconference in Amir Kabir University of Technology and Isfahan University of Technology. Designed and built by Iranian scientists, the supercomputer at Iran’s Amirkabir University has the power to perform 34,000 billion operations a second, with the other at Isfahan University of Technology being among the world’s top 500 supercomputers. On the same day, the president also revealed an experimental model of a clean electric-hydrogen powered vehicle that is the first of its kind in the Middle East, with the ability to drive at top speeds of 180 kilometers per hour and recharge within six minutes. In his address, the president encouraged further Iranian development, saying that it was possible for the country to become a scientific and technological model for the world.

Bravo, Iranian researchers and designers for these new innovations! May you continue with such advancements of intelligence and goodness that benefit both your country and the world.
 New Zealand: Hundreds missing after Christchurch quake
FN… International specialists add to New Zealand quake rescue efforts. As of Thursday, February 24, 98 people were noted to have perished in Tuesday’s devastating 6.3-magnitude earthquake in Christchurch, with the toll expected to rise as more than 200 people still remained missing. Of the 2,500 people who were injured, some 160 have been hospitalized with serious wounds, as 40% of the city remained without power and 80% with no running water. Moreover, residents continued to be traumatized as over 100 aftershocks have hit so far, with even rescuers having to evacuate at one point when the 26-story Hotel Grand Chancellor began to teeter and threatened to collapse. Roads have been inundated in large pools of water from broken pipes and sewers, with others submerged in lakes formed by the shallow water table rising to the surface. Although no one had been pulled out from the rubble alive in the 24 hours leading up to Thursday’s efforts, personnel resolved to continue the meticulous rescue operation and were further encouraged by the arrival of crews from Australia, Formosa (Taiwan), Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the US. Rescue official Keith Norton said, “Miracles happen and we're keeping that in the forefront of our minds. That sort of things drives you and pushes you on.”

Upon hearing of the initial disaster, Supreme Master Ching Hai had immediately requested that our Association members please go render whatever aid was required and to comfort the quake-affected, also offering NZ$27,000 for any urgent needs with her tearful prayers and all her love.

Our heartfelt gratefulness for the steadfast efforts of all officials, personnel, and individuals, as well as for Supreme Master Ching Hai’s attentive support. As we join in mourning the lives lost, we pray for the protection of the New Zealand people and that such tragedies are eased as humanity strives for greater benevolence toward the ecosphere.

RUNNING TEXT: Following disasters such as these, please use cell phones to text only; do not call unless really urgent to free up phone lines, so that victims who might be under the rubble or needing other emergency help have a chance to call. Every second counts.
 Libya: Ban strongly condemns Qadhafi’s actions against protesters, calls for punishment
FN… Libyan protesters gain presence and control in more cities. Amidst reports from PressTV and Al Jazeera of military members being executed for refusing to open fire on pro-democracy demonstrators, a growing number of soldiers, officers and in some cases entire bases have announced they are now supporting the protesters, including Libyan Army Commander Major General Suleiman Mahmoud in the eastern city of Tobruk, Security Chief Ali Huwaidi, and top security official Ahmed Gadhaf al-Dam, who is a cousin to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. According to PressTV, even the leader’s youngest son, Saif al-arab Gaddafi, has joined the movement. Their support has enabled the demonstrators calling for government change to gain control of major eastern coastal cities and towns, including Tobruk, Benghazi, Derna and Bayda, with soldiers there preparing to counter any government attack. In addition, news agencies BBC and Al Jazeera report that a number of provincial governors and the western cities of Misurata and Zuwarah are now also in the control of protesters. On Wednesday, US President Barack Obama spoke in support of the protesters’ actions.

US President Barack Obama (M): The change that is taking place across the region is being driven by the people of the region. This change doesn’t represent the work of the United States or any foreign power. It represents the aspirations of people who are seeking a better life. As one Libyan said, “We just want to be able to live like human beings.” It is the most basic of aspirations that is driving this change.

Foreign governments meanwhile continue efforts to remove their citizens from the volatile situation as they evacuate via plane, ferry and border crossings. These include Egypt, Tunisia, China, Turkey, Thailand, India, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Italy, Ukraine, United States, Russia, Canada, Brazil, France and the United Kingdom. The Egyptian people have also been organizing aid to help the brave Libyan protesters. The Egyptian Doctors’ Syndicate, comprising many of the same physicians and paramedics who were volunteering at Tahrir Square during the Egyptian protests, have been journeying into neighboring Libya, while the Egyptian military continues to operate field hospitals at the border.

As part of a renewed call by the international community for an end to the violence and for the government to respect Libyan citizens, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement as well.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (M): In the Middle East today, we see people - especially young people - pushing the frontiers of freedom. Yesterday, the Security Council and the League of Arab States each sent strong and unequivocal messages: no violence and respect for human rights. The world has spoken with one voice: the Government of Libya must meet its responsibility to protect its people.

On Thursday, phone conversations were held between US President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron, in which the three leaders discussed the Libyan crisis and ways to bring about an immediate end to the killing of innocent people. White House spokesperson Philip Crowley later stated that options being considered included imposing sanctions, establishing a no-fly zone and even military action.

US President Barack Obama (M): The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous, and it is unacceptable. So are threats and orders to shoot peaceful protesters and further punish the people of Libya. These actions violate international norms and every standard of common decency. This violence must stop.

Due to the large numbers of refugees already flooding into Italy, the nation’s government has appealed to the European Union for help, saying that it cannot cope with the anticipated increase in people seeking safety outside the borders of their own countries. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini estimates 350,000 will be coming from Libya, on top of the thousands who are already streaming in from Tunisia.

Among the countries where protesters continue to call for improved rights, freedom and democracy are Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Palestine, Yemen and Bahrain, where a group of police and military personnel joined the protests, expressing remorse that their previous actions had led to the deaths of fellow Bahraini citizens, saying that they now recognize their role is to protect Bahrainis rather than harm them. In addition, thousands gathered in Delhi, India to protest high unemployment and rising food prices, while other demonstrations were held in Greece, Bolivia, and Wisconsin, USA, where workers have been joined by others across the country in their protest against a bill intended to remove their collective bargaining rights. Still other countries with people who are calling for improved opportunities and well being include Morocco, Lebanon, China, Panama and Honduras.

With our sincere sympathies for the lives lost, we pray for Heaven’s protection of all countries and for the conflicts to cease so that peace may prevail among all people in shared dignity, respect and freedom.
 Health insurance for the poor
The second largest municipality in India’s Karnataka state, Mysore City, announces a new free health insurance plan for the underprivileged to improve their medical care.
 The methane monster under Arctic ice
SAVE OUR PLANET… Radio host Bob McDonald of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s popular, award-winning science program, “Quirks & Quarks,” urges the people of Canada to consider the devastating implications of global warming and to do more to alleviate it.
 Mexico state congress asks ban of video game
Legislators in the Mexican state of Chihuahua ask federal authorities to ban a video game that simulates the violence of actual events occurring in the country, in an effort to uphold higher moral values for the nation’s children.
 Social activity reduces elder disability
In a study of more than 950 healthy elderly participants that averaged age 82, US researchers find that people who participate frequently in social activities are twice as likely to stay free of disabilities.
 Recent Swiss drought sign of things to come, weather expert says
SAVE OUR PLANET… With the country having just undergone her worst dry spells in more than 30 years, Swiss experts affirm their severity, saying that diminished precipitation and drought risk are not only forecast to continue but will likely increase.
 Africa can feed the world, Kofi Annan tells IFAD Governing Council
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is now Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), states that if advancements in Africa’s sustainable agricultural development continue, her people may soon be able to export produce to the rest of the world.
 US to provide 10,200 schols
Thanks to a donation from the United States, Sri Lanka’s Higher Education Ministry announces that 10,200 scholarships are being granted to qualifying undergraduate students to improve their knowledge of English at the award-winning online school, Education First: Englishtown.
 Colombian Writer Wins ALBA Fiction 2011 Contest
Colombian writer Daniel Ferreira wins the 2011 ALBA Narrativa Award given to young writers to motivate them toward contributing to the enrichment of the Latin American and Caribbean literature through the publication of their awarded work.
 Runner Breaks Speed Record In NYC At 95
Ninety-five-years-young Ida Keeling of New York City, USA, sets a new speed record for her age by running 60 meters in less than 30 seconds during a recent Manhattan race.
 Chinese group vows greater efforts to save disabled children who are forced to beg
The China Disabled Person’s Federation pledges to work with the government in rescuing children with disabilities from situations where they have been forced to beg, providing them instead with safe environments that include education, health care, and living allowances.
 Individual mainland Chinese to be allowed to visit Taiwan
Chinese officials announce pilot programs being launched in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, intended to expand relations further with Formosa (Taiwan) by allowing tourist visits to the island for individuals in addition to those traveling as part of a group.
 Majority of Bulgarians Favor Immediate Full Smoking Ban
According to a poll by Bulgaria’s Health Ministry, 72% of Bulgarians are in favor of prohibiting smoking in all public places, calling for such a ban to become effective immediately.

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