Noteworthy News
      4 Dec 2011
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 Pakistan tackles water crisis with rainwater harvesting
In eco news, a rainwater collection project helps bring clean water to villagers in Pakistan. A pilot project involving the construction of a large covered pond in the village of Morry-je-Wandh has the capacity to supply water needs of 20 families for more than eight months. The humanitarian Sukkar Foundation built the pond with financial and technical support from the Pakistan chapter of the United Kingdom organization WaterAid. Mr. Sobho Bheel, one of the recipients of the endeavor, said, “The new rainwater harvesting facilities have transformed the lives of people, as we have now a safe source of clean water.” Kudos, Sukkar Foundation and WaterAid, on your vital work. May the pure-minded people of Pakistan be graced with an abundance of clean water, pristine air, and nutritious plant-based food, with Allah’s blessings.
 Saving lives and inspiring volunteers during storms in Guatemala
In relief news, a Guatemalan Red Cross volunteer helps save his family from mudslides. According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), 19-year-old Diego Paz heard a loud noise from the collapse of a house next door. He checked to see his neighbors were unharmed, and then quickly evacuated his mother and sister. They soon found themselves trapped in the area but were rescued by members of the fire department before their home was buried by another landslide. Despite the loss, Diego continues to help during emergency operations, and recommends others to join the Red Cross. He said, “I see these moments as an opportunity to get stronger so that the next time there is an emergency we are better prepared.” Bravo, Mr. Diego Paz for your quick-thinking action and your continued dedication to the noble cause of helping others. May the kind people of beautiful Guatemala soon greet serene and happy days.
 600 laptops from Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charity and Humanitarian Establishment for university students
In education news, 600 laptops are gifted to United Arab Emirates’ university students. The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charity and Humanitarian Establishment is donating the computers to those attending the Higher Colleges of Technology and Zayed University. The project to support the nation’s students and learning institutions, which began eight years ago, will take place in Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah this year, in addition to Dubai. Our earnest appreciation, The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charity and Humanitarian Establishment, for your caring endeavor. May the intelligent youth of the United Arab Emirates have the best of educational opportunities on a sustainable Earth.
 5.8-magnitude quake hits Nicobar Islands, India region -- USGS
FN… Quakes shake China, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicobar Islands and Japan. On Thursday, December 1, a 5.1-magnitude temblor shook western Tibet’s Ngari Prefecture in China, 56 kilometers southwest of Lumaringbo, followed by a 5.3-magnitude temblor 32 kilometers southwest of Shache in the autonomous region of Xinjiang. On Friday, a 4.7-magnitude earthquake shook Kyrgyzstan, 19 kilometers northeast of Balykchy city in Issyk Kul Province. That afternoon in Indonesia, Central Sulawesi province was rocked by a tremor registering 5.5 on the Richter scale, 110 kilometers southeast of Palu. A magnitude-5.0 quake also occurred on Friday in Panama, 38 kilometers west of David, as it rumbled the border region shared with Costa Rica. Early Saturday, the Nicobar Islands were shaken by a magnitude-5.4 quake after two measuring up to 5.5 in magnitude struck on Thursday, while a 5.3-magnitude quake then jolted Japan’s Chiba Prefecture 60 kilometers southeast of Tokyo. Immediate reports indicated no injuries or significant damage for any of the events.

Thank Heaven for the safety of those in the quake-shaken regions. Our prayers that such harmonious balance may be renewed through our more benevolent lifestyles as a vegan world.
 140 mph gusts cause damage, outages, delays in California
FN… Extreme winds batter southwestern US. On Friday, December 2, crews worked to clear debris from areas in California and neighboring states after unusually strong easterly winds hit on Thursday, causing concrete light poles to break in half and entire trees to topple onto homes, apartments and cars. Gusts of extremely dry air moving at up to 140 miles per hour ( 225 kilometers per hour) also prompted the temporary closure of the Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday evening, and traffic was disrupted as signals went out. A state of emergency was declared in Los Angeles County, where the fire service received thousands of calls for downed power lines, and over 200,000 residents remained without electricity as of early Friday. Further north, over a dozen wildfires were fanned by the high-speed winds, while warnings were issued in the neighboring states of Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. In Utah, the Department of Transportation stated that 11 large cargo trucks overturned on highways and nearly 50,000 homes and businesses lost power. Fortunately, there were no casualties or injuries reported.

Our appreciation, US officials and emergency teams, for your efforts to assist and restore services to the wind-stricken areas. May such extreme conditions be eased through our greater kindness toward all beings on our shared Earthly abode.
 Guyana governing party's Donald Ramotar wins election
FN... Guyana elects new president. In results posted on Thursday, December 1, the Guyanese Election Commission announced Mr. Donald Ramotar as the Latin American nation's next president, after the People's Progressive Party he leads won the largest number of seats in the Parliament. An economist by training, the president-elect pledged to uphold initiatives begun by incumbent President Bharrat Jagdeo, which have focused on social policies that include improving education, housing, health care and infrastructure development.

Your Excellency, our respectful accolades on your new term in office. May your nation flourish as you seek to continue improving the lives of all gracious Guyanese fellow citizens.
 Uganda - Rwandan exile journalist gunned down in Kampala
FN... Rwandan journalist remembered. News editor Charles Ingabire lost his life early Thursday, December 1 when he succumbed to a gunshot wound in the Ugandan capital of Kampala. Mr. Ingabire, who had previously served as editor of the Umuco newspaper in Rwanda, had been living outside his homeland since 2007 and in Uganda, he had launched Inyenyeri News, an online news publication. Conveying the sadness of the international journalism community, the organization Reporters Without Borders also called for an investigation into Mr. Ingabire's passing.

We join in sincere sympathies for the untimely loss of Mr. Charles Ingabire. May his soul rest serenely in Heaven's loving grace as we pray that journalists everywhere may work in safety as they strive to share the most accurate and up-to-date information for the good of the public.
 “Veganism to Save the Planet” offers inspiration at COP 17
SAVE OUR PLANET… “Veganism to Save the Planet” offers inspiration at COP 17. On Thursday, December 1, coinciding with the COP 17 in Durban, South Africa, the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association hosted the special gala at the Olive Convention Center. Grant Nash, vegan radio presenter at 5fm, one of South Africa's largest radio stations, was on location.

(In English)
Grant Nash, Radio presenter, 5fm, South Africa – Vegan (M): Hi, I'm Grant Nash, and I am a radio presenter here in South Africa for a nationwide radio station called 5fm. Welcome to our beautiful country! You’re in Durban, South Africa at the Olive Convention Centre. And we are here this evening for the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association “Veganism (audio paste) to Save the Planet” gala dinner. And we have some incredible guests that are going to join us here this evening: our very own Director General of Kwa- Zulu Natal, Mr. Ngidi, we have His Majesty the King Thobejane of Bapedi joining us this evening, and we have IPCC scientist and vegetarian Dr. Kirk Smith. So the formalities are about to begin, the speeches, we’ve got some entertainment, and then a delicious vegan 5-course meal.

VOICE: With some 400 guests from across the globe attending, distinguished speakers for this unique event described the link from animal agriculture to climate change as they highlighted the necessity of adopting the Earth-saving plant-based diet, including a message from Supreme Master Ching Hai.

Grant Nash (M): So we’re ending the formal part of the evening this evening. And we started off by hearing from Supreme Master Ching Hai herself today. She spoke about the urgent crisis that is facing our planet and then the most effective solution, an organic vegan diet, that me and you can adopt.

Video Message from Supreme Master Ching Hai (Vegan)
October 29, 2009

Supreme Master Ching Hai: I can only honor you with the truth when I say that we must become vegan to save our planet. We cannot wait for the sustainable energy and green technology to be available and used by everyone. It would be too late. I call upon the courage of all counsel present, with the authority and power vested in you, may you lead your co-citizens toward the noble, virtuous, life-saving, and planet-sustaining path.
Grant Nash (M): We also heard from Professor Harold Herman, who is the Secretary General of the UN Association of South Africa. We heard from the vegetarian movie producer Stephan McGuire, and then Indian Member of Parliament Ms. Maneka Gandhi spoke to us as well about the urgency that me and you face, and her shared vision for the world at this very critical part.

Maneka Gandhi (F): The good news is that methane, as the Supreme Master said, is a relatively short-lived gas. The answer to global warming lies beneath your nose. You can help reduce both methane and nitrous oxide simply by choosing from tonight not to eat animals and animal products.

Bando Gaven, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment, North West Province, South Africa (F): Today it has completely changed my perspective in the effect that you know you can actually be healthy and live longer without harming the environment and harming yourself. Be a vegan and heal the world, and heal yourself.

Grant Nash (M): So, the audience of course enjoyed vibrant entertainment from Zulu singer Tu Nokwe, as well as the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir that is coming past me right now—fantastic evening. And it was also complemented by an incredible 5-course vegan meal. It was absolutely delicious. It’s a great, meaningful evening, shedding light on a truly vital solution on this planet.

Sastri Ramiah, CEO, Olive Convention Center, South Africa (M): My view is that this has been the most significant event of COP 17. It is by far the most effective event, and we are so proud to have hosted it with you. And I was quite amazed just listening to the video, and the entire atmosphere was so amazing. And I think there were many people converted tonight, including ourselves. 2012, I wish the World Vegan, World Peace.

Stephan McGuire, Film producer, “The 11th Hour” – Vegetarian (M): The experience was multi-layered in the sense that it’s amazing and beautiful. Look, the energy, the vibration here is really high; they are singing in the hallways as they’re leaving.

Grant Nash (M): As COP 17 continues, let us wish that everybody – leaders and co-citizens – will do their part before it’s too late. This is Grant Nash, reporting from Durban, South Africa, for Supreme Master Television.

VOICE: Our appreciation for the insights of Supreme Master Ching Hai as well as the distinguished speakers, VIP guests, and all concerned participants of “Veganism to Save the Planet.” May such vital information and uplifting events motivate all people to quickly join the vegan circle for the protection of our unique Earth.
 Howard G. Buffett Foundation's Brown Revolution Program to Fund Improved Soil Fertility in Africa in Partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The US-based Howard G. Buffet Foundation donates US$2 million to Wageningen University in the Netherlands to support the N2Africa initiative, which seeks to help improve depleted soils in countries across the continent.
 Deforestation was reduced 46 percent
Guatemala's Land Protection Council Executive Director Claudia López reports in the online news source Prensa Libre that thanks to the cooperative efforts of fellow citizens working together with environmental groups, the nation's deforestation in 2011 has declined by 46% compared to 2010.
 Warning on Danube drought as shipping halted
SAVE OUR PLANET… On November 29, 2011, environmental organization World Wildlife Fund (WWF) stated that drought in Germany and Switzerland has caused levels of the Danube and Rhine Rivers to reach their lowest in nearly a decade, with cargo limitations now being imposed that are hindering the shipment of vital goods such as grain.
 Turtles 'communicate with each other before hatching'
In studying Murray short-necked turtles in Australia, scientists from the University of Western Australia find that the unborn babies send signals to encourage the speedier growth of their more slowly developing siblings so that no smaller turtles are left to hatch alone.
 Iceland votes to recognize Palestine
Iceland's Parliament recognizes Palestine as an independent and sovereign state, becoming the first country in western Europe to do so, as it also urges the Israeli and Palestinian governments to reach a peaceful accord based on international law and United Nations resolutions.
 Armenian president visits Georgia
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili welcomes visiting Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, with the two leaders signing agreements on ministry and border cooperation as they also discuss the resolution of regional conflict through peaceful negotiations.
 WATCH: Michael Douglas Calls for Permanent Global Ban of Nuclear Weapons
Academy Award winning actor Michael Douglas joins the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization in a series of public service announcements to support the campaign for a permanent international ban on nuclear weapons.
 Kazakhstan launches first metro
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev presides over the inauguration of the country’s first metro line in the commercial capital Almaty, with the construction of a second line already planned for 2012.
 MSF starts emergency medical response for refugees fleeing bombing raids in Sudan
An emergency team from France-based Doctors Without Borders provides medical care in Doro, South Sudan to some 13,000 men, women and children who have fled internal conflict in north Sudan's Blue Nile State.

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