Cyclist Rides from Lisbon to Istanbul to Raise Money for Charity and Promote Climate Awareness
In eco news, a United States cyclist rides from Portugal to Turkey for charity and climate change awareness. Mr. Todd Miller, whose home is now in Hong Kong, began his TransEuropa 2011 journey in Lisbon, Portugal and rode 5,847 kilometers (3,633 miles) to Istanbul, Turkey. One of the purposes of his trek is to raise US$35,000 for Yaowawit School Kapong, a boarding school in Southern Thailand which provides education and vocational training to more than 120 disadvantaged children. In addition, he decided to go on this adventure to draw attention to climate change and encourage each person to pledge to adopt at least one eco-friendly activity of their choice. Our hearty congratulations, Mr. Todd Miller, on your amazing achievement. May your laudable accomplishment inspire many more individuals to take the noble path of assisting our Earth and her cherished inhabitants.
Literacy Campaign Broadened in El Salvador
In good governance news, a literacy program is expanded in El Salvador. According to Prensa Latina, the goal of the Government-sponsored campaign is to achieve illiteracy-free status in eight municipalities. One hundred thousand people have already learned to read and write through the project, which is based on the Cuban method “Yes I Can.” Kudos, El Salvador, on your laudable endeavor. May the warm-hearted people of your beautiful nation flourish in peace and plentitude.
Dog helps lightning strike Redruth mayor
In hero news, a loyal canine companion helps save a man who was struck by lightning. The victim, The Honorable Mr. Ian Thomas, Mayor of Redruth in Cornwall, England, regained consciousness after about 20 minutes, as five-year-old Monty licked his face and whimpered. The caring dog then allowed his caregiver to take a hold of his neck, and guided him about 100 meters to his home. The Honorable Mayor Thomas spent four days in the hospital recovering. Bravo, Monty, on your intelligence and love in action. We are so happy you are doing well, Your Honorable Mr. Ian Thomas. May you and your devoted friend Monty have many more wonderful years and safe adventures together.
Discriminatory laws leave stateless women open to abuse - US
FN… Countries pledge to improve lives at UN ministerial conference. Held in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday and Thursday, December 8, the largest ever United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) meeting brought together representatives from nearly 150 countries. The conference was held to boost international support for two UN accords, the 1951 Refugee Convention, which has helped save the lives of millions of people fleeing conflict, as well as the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
Antonio Guterres, High Commissioner for Refugee: Governments and mainstream social and political movements must also have the courage to take a strong stance against intolerance, discrimination, racism and xenophobia. Refugees are not a security threat, but the first victims of insecurity.
At its conclusion, 60 member states agreed to improve assistance for the estimated 44 million refugees and 12 million others who are still facing issues of statelessness as several ratified the two UN conventions while others made commitments toward doing so.
Gerald Otieno Kajwang, Minister of State for Immigration and Registration of Persons, Kenya: We must decisively deal with the conflicts that generate endless exodus of asylum seekers worldwide, and provide a durable solution to protracted refugee situations.
We respectfully salute all attendees for your fruitful meeting on behalf of brethren without permanent homes. Blessed be such endeavors in bringing peace and dignity to all lives across the globe.
Heavy rains lead to floods, damages and two deaths in Caracas
FN… Venezuela assailed by heavy rain. As the Latin American nation continues to be deluged with precipitation, the death toll as of Friday, December 9 rose to at least eight people, five of whom perished in the worst-affected state of Zulia, with at least 10,000 rendered homeless there from flooding. Hundreds were also evacuated with the help of the Civil Protection Agency in Miranda and Trujillo states. The capital Caracas has also been hard hit, with eight hours of non-stop rain on Tuesday that claimed the lives of three people and 2,000 residents evacuated by firefighters, as National Electric Corporation teams were dispatched for emergency repairs. Schools were canceled in the capital district as well as in the states of Mérida, Miranda and Vargas. Meanwhile, Venezuela’s national meteorological agency has forecast further rain until at least the middle of December.
Upon first hearing of the severe storm conditions at the end of November, Supreme Master Ching Hai requested that our nearby Association members please check with regional officials to see if any help is needed, asking that they also go if possible to assist the most vulnerable. Expressing all her love and prayers, she added that financial aid is available for urgent necessities.
Our sincere thanks, all Venezuelan officials and service personnel for your swift aid, as we also thank Supreme Master Ching Hai for her loving concern. May we act to minimize such distressing occurrences through our kinder care of one another and the Earth.
Quake Hits Southern Iran
FN… Earthquakes strike Chile, Indonesia, and Iran. On Thursday, December 8, Chile was rocked by a 4.0-magnitude temblor in the Atacama Region, which was followed soon after by a 4.4-magnitude quake further south, 38 kilometers southeast of Concepción in the BioBío Region. Also that day, the Sulawesi Islands in central Indonesia were shaken by a magnitude-5.0 tremor centered 55 kilometers northeast of Tahuna. On Friday, a temblor measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale rattled eastern and southeastern Iran as it struck the town of Gav bandi in southern Hormozgan province. Fortunately, there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage for any of the seismic events.
With thankfulness for the safety of those in the quake-hit regions, we pray that such potential disasters may be averted as we strive for more benevolent regard of all beings as a vegan world.
Urgent action still needed on climate change
SAVE OUR PLANET… Urgent action still needed on climate change. Leading up to the conclusion of this year’s United Nations climate change talks in South Africa, Supreme Master Television spoke with meeting participants. Especially highlighted was awareness of the most urgent and effective planet-cooling solution, the organic vegan diet.
Correspondent (M): It has been an intense two weeks of discussions for the United Nations delegates here in Durban, South Africa. Delegates now returning home know clearly that there is still a lot more to be done. And world citizens pray that climate change will stay high on the agenda. Climate change impacts are real and dangerous.
Dr. Andries Kruger – Chief Scientist, South African Weather Service (M): You will have a vast amount of melting of the permafrost which will release a lot of methane and carbon dioxide. And the methane is actually the biggest concern because of its powerful ability to retain heat, and absorb heat. And that has the ability to cause rapid climate change and runaway climate change, at the end.
Correspondent (M): It's also been encouraging to find that delegates are supportive of the organic vegan diet solution, given the research that warns of meat’s detrimental effects on health and the environment. The issue was even discussed by experts in several events.
Prof. Sir Andrew Haines – former Director, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (M): We often forget the food and agriculture sector – major contributor to global warming. The main driver is increasing demand for animal products, for meat and dairy. And we’ve estimated that if you could reduce animal source saturated fats in countries like the UK and Brazil, we could reduce heart disease deaths by about 15% in those two countries.
Parks Tau - Executive Mayor of Johannesburg (M): A healthy lifestyle means more vegetables. And of course, we need to encourage that.
Miracle Samuel Lekuku – South Africa activist (M): We don’t have much time! And the more we do to promote our good vegetarian lifestyle, the better it will be for our future generations.
Julie Clark – Manager, Drylands Funds, South Africa; vegetarian (F): If you’re going to revere God’s creation, you’re going to look after your own health, your family’s health, your friends’ health, do the right thing to save the Earth. You’re going to have to go vegetarian, you actually have no choice.
Correspondent (M): Meanwhile, members of the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association distributed, in total, over 20,000 SOS flyers, 26,000 DVDs, 24,000 copies of Supreme Master Ching Hai’s book, “From Crisis to Peace,” and more than 40,000 servings of tasty vegan fare.
Dhashen Moodley – Radio producer/presenter, South African Broadcasting Corporation; vegetarian (M): It’s an organization that obviously has realized that there’s a change that we can make on a very small level, just changing what’s in your plate, can have a big impact on climate change. I think that’s very commendable.
Correspondent (M): Supreme Master Television, Durban, South Africa.
VOICE: Our thanks, participating governments, organizations, scientists and individuals for your sincere endeavors toward protecting humanity from climate change. May we soon see more and more informed actions on the organic vegan way to halt global warming disasters.
During a June 2011 videoconference in Mexico, Supreme Master Ching Hai highlighted the essential advocacy of the plant-based lifestyle for governments to be able to halt climate change.
Videoconference with Supreme Master Ching Hai
Mexico City, Mexico – June 4, 2011
Supreme Master Ching Hai: So just this one change, simple change, small change: changing our diet to an organic vegan diet. This will help all the governments of the world to afford climate change mitigation and preserve biodiversity. It will also help us protect food security and conserve water. What is the use for us to satisfy our taste right now with meat when we know for certain that in the future our children will go hungry, our world will collapse? What is the use of that? However tasty the meat is, we have to consider this option and change it so that the world can continue to survive and thrive in abundance and happiness and health.
Elderly man returns cash stolen from Sears in 1940s
At a department store in downtown Seattle, Washington, USA, an elderly man delivers an envelope containing US$100 cash and a note explaining that the funds are intended to repay an original US$30 amount, plus interest, he had taken from a cash register while working in the store in the late 1940s.
Women's alpine skiing events cancelled due to lack of snow
SAVE OUR PLANET... As the European Alps experiences the warmest and driest autumn in 147 years, officials canceled the Women's World Cup Alpine skiing events originally scheduled to be held at the French resort of Val d'lsere on December 10, 2011, due to a lack of snow.
Ecuadorian Vice President Opens Neonatal Screening Program
Thanks to technical assistance from the Cuban government, a neonatal health program is officially launched by Ecuadorian Vice President Lenin Moreno, designed to prevent cases of infant disability through more timely diagnosis and treatment.
Ethiopia opens new camp for Somali refugees
To further assist Somali asylum seekers, Ethiopia opens a fifth camp, Bur Aminoa, designed to relieve crowded conditions at other facilities and provide better access to food, water, and health care as well as additional help for children.
Ocean cacophony a torment for sea mammals
SAVE OUR PLANET... In an interview on December 5, 2011, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society international director Mark Simmonds states that human-caused ocean noise such as ship propellers, oil and gas exploration and military actions have increased underwater sounds by at least 20 decibels since 1960, affecting the well-being and even resulting in death for marine animals.
Chicken liver causes food poisoning
WARNING NEWS... On Dec 2, 2011, the Health Protection Agency of the UK reported that outbreaks of Campylobacter food poisoning originating from bacterial contamination of chicken liver pâté increased more than 4.5 times from 2008 to 2010.
Khalifa bin Zayed Foundation distributes dates in Morocco and Sudan
The humanitarian foundation of United Arab Emirates' President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, provides six tons of fresh dates for the less fortunate in Morocco and Sudan.
Myanmar resumes border trade with Thailand
With the reopening of the Friendship Bridge, Thailand and Myanmar, also known as Burma, resume trading activities in the border region known as the Myawaddy zone, which is expected to enhance economic development in both countries.
7 Dec, 2011, 07.43PM IST, PTI Dead Sea may vanish completely soon: Scientists
SAVE OUR PLANET... In a December 8, 2011 report, scientists from Jerusalem University in Israel warn that the famed Dead Sea continues to diminish at an alarmingly rapid rate, saying that it may not survive another period of prolonged drought.
Malaysia opens embassy in Turkmenistan
During Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov’s first ever visit to Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib Razak announces the opening of a Malaysian embassy in Turkmenistan, to further enhance their countries' diplomatic ties.
Toddler saved by 'mother's instinct' after she was struck by drunk driver
Seeing a vehicle careening toward herself and her young son, British mother Yazmin Henderson quickly pushed two-year-old Leo out of harm's way and is now recovering from injuries she sustained in the impact, saying that she is relieved for her son's safety.
UN Humanitarian Chief welcomes Sweden’s contribution to the Horn of Africa crisis
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that Sweden has pledged an additional US$10 million in emergency food assistance, clean water and medical treatment to benefit drought-affected residents in the Horn of Africa.