China, Laos will expand nature reserve to protect Asian elephant
In animal welfare news, China and Laos join to enhance protection of the Asian elephant. According to Xinhua News Agency, the two nations will collaborate to build a nature reserve that will extend across 20,000 hectares of forest in China and 35,000 hectares in adjacent Laos. This land will be added to an original reserve, bringing the total safeguarded forest area to more than 100,000 hectares. The land will also facilitate a safe passageway for the endangered Asian elephants and other migrating wildlife. Our sincere appreciation, China and Laos, for this significant plan. May all the beautiful co-inhabitants on this planet be blessed and protected forever.
Zimbabwe and Donors Launch US$85 Million Program to Help Schools
In education news, free textbooks are provided for children in Zimbabwe. The Education Transition Fund, which is coordinated by the United Nations Children’s Fund, will make available 7 million textbooks to Zimbabwean secondary school children in 2000 schools throughout the nation. The US$85 million program has received donations from Australia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America, the European Union and Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, as well as the Zimbabwean Government. Our heartfelt gratitude, all contributors to this laudable endeavor. May the vibrant children of Zimbabwe have the best of educational opportunities and a bright future.
Man who aided driver saved by him a few miles later
In community news, a Good Samaritan’s kindness is returned. A Canadian man, Victor Giesbrecht, 61 years old, stopped on the highway in Wisconsin, USA to help stranded motorists Ms. Sara Berg and Ms. Lisa Meier change a flat tire. As he drove on his way just a few miles down the highway, he was afflicted with a sudden heart attack. Mr. Giesbrecht’s wife, Ann, helped to stop the vehicle when the car that Mr. Giesbrecht had just helped minutes before, pulled up to come to his aid. Ms. Berg immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) until the paramedics arrived. A helicopter transported Mr. Giesbrecht to a hospital, where he received medical care and was later released, able to drive back home to Winnipeg, Canada. During a heartfelt meeting with Ms. Berg while he was in the hospital, Mr. Giesbrecht said, “This is about the goodness of humanity at work.” Bravo, Ms. Sara Berg, Ms. Lisa Meier, as well as paramedics for your life-saving assistance. Also, we are delighted to hear of your recovery, Mr. Victor Giesbrecht. May you and your lovely wife have many more wonderful years full of safe travels and enduring friendships, with God’s blessings.
Toronto Subway Riders Come Face to Face with Farm Animals
FN… Toronto’s Be Veg campaign gets subway riders thinking. As part of a grassroots campaign whose one thousand posters represents a quadrupling of previous efforts, Canadians riding the subways in the major city of Toronto are being asked the question, “Why love one but eat the other?” With the posters depicting animals like dogs that are considered pets on one side, with others such as pigs that some consume, the subway riders are being called to re-think the notion of animals that they would call “family” and those they would identify as “food.” They are also provided with information that highlights the similarities between the two categories of animals as well as the shocking cruelty suffered by those being raised for food. The 2011 “Be Veg” campaign, which was originally conceived by television host Kimberly Carroll and University of Toronto finance professor Lisa Kramer, now has the support of organizations such as the US-based Mercy for Animals, Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Toronto Vegetarian Association.
Hats off, Ms. Kimberly Carroll, Professor Lisa Kramer and all others involved for your valued efforts to in these valued efforts to raise awareness and encourage a cruelty-free lifestyle. May more and more people choose compassion and create a kinder world for humans and animals alike.
Seven rescued after ships collide in Bay of Biscay
FN… Sailors rescued from capsized vessel. Following a collision of two ships in the Bay of Biscay off the European coast, seven Russian, Polish and Ukrainian nationals were saved from the sinking vessel Florece. Organizing the rescue together were the UK's Falmouth Coastguard in cooperation with the Spanish Coastguard. All seven sailors were reported to be safe and in good condition.
We are grateful, Falmouth and Spanish Coastguard personnel, for your quick actions that ensured the crew members' safety. Wishing them many happy reunions in the warm company of loved ones.
5.5-magnitude quake hits Sea of Okhotsk -- USGS
FN… Earthquakes rattle Japan, Fiji Islands, Chile, South Sandwich Islands, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Russia. On Sunday morning, December 11, southwestern Japan was shaken by a 5.8-magnitude temblor that occurred at Uke Island in Kagoshima Prefecture. Later that day, a magnitude-5.4 quake rattled the Fiji Islands as it hit 463 kilometers southwest of Ndoi Island. In Latin America, a magnitude-4.9 tremor that struck 72 kilometers northeast of the city of Chillán was felt in Chile’s Maule and Biobío regions. Also on Sunday, a strong quake registering 6.2 on the Richter scale hit the South Sandwich Islands region, 105 kilometers northwest of Visokoi Island. On Monday morning, residents in Indonesia’s city of Tual, Maluku Province ran from their homes as a 4.8-magnitude temblor rumbled the floor of the Banda Sea 219 kilometers away. A magnitude-5.1 quake then struck Papua New Guinea, 78 kilometers south of Arawa in Bougainville province, followed that evening by a 5.0-magnitude temblor in Russia, 163 kilometers north of Poronaysk, the second of similar magnitude to hit the Sakhalin Oblast in three days. Fortunately, there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries for any of these seismic events.
With thankfulness for the maintained safety of those in the quake-stricken regions, we pray that such potential dangers may soon be alleviated through humanity’s kinder actions as a vegan world.
Remembering a Legend
FN… Legendary Indian cartoonist remembered. On Sunday, December 11, illustrator and celebrity cartoon artist Mr. Mario Miranda passed away at the ripe age of 85. During his six-decade career, Mr. Miranda introduced to the world the culture and characters of his native Indian state Goa, becoming one of its greatest ambassadors through his illustrations. Readers eagerly looked forward to his works, which appeared in publications such as the Illustrated Weekly of India, The Times of India, the Economic Times, and several published books. Additionally, he became known for his illustrated travelogues of famous and faraway cities such as London, UK and Lisbon, Portugal. Mr. Miranda was also honored with India’s highest civilian awards, including the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan. Goa state Chief Minister Digambar Kamat shared his condolences as he stated, “Mario Miranda was one of the greatest artists the century ever produced…In his demise the country has lost a great son. No words can offer solace and fill the void.”
We, too, convey our sincere sympathies to the family and admirers of Mr. Mario Miranda, whose legacy and love for illustration will forever be immortalized in his works. May his soul rest serenely in Heaven’s love and light.
Tunisia installs former dissident as president
FN… Tunisia inaugurates new president. On Tuesday, December 13, physician and human rights activist Dr. Moncef Marzouki was sworn into office after receiving 153 of the 217 total votes the previous day from the nation's interim parliament. The elections were the first since 1956 and represent another significant step in Tunisia's democratic process. Upon his election, Mr. Marzouki stated, “I have the great honor of becoming the first president of the first free republic of the Arab world... I will exert all my efforts to be worthy of this trust.”
President Marzouki, we respectfully congratulate you on your new role. May your term in office be fruitful in serving the noblest goals of your cherished nation and her good-hearted citizens.
French Alpine glaciers in retreat
SAVE OUR PLANET… Results of a study by researchers at the University of Savoie in France, presented at the American Geophysical Union meeting on December 9, 2011 in California, USA, show that the glaciers in the French Alps have receded by a full 25% due to global warming over the past 40 years.
Campaigners write to minister to demand cigarette packs carry graphic health warnings
China's ThinkTank Research Center for Health Development presents a letter from more than 1,500 medical experts to the nation's Industry and Information Ministry, asking that graphic health warnings be placed on cigarette packs in an effort to better inform the public about smoking harms.
Azerbaijan directs $4.6 billion to solve refugee problem
With measures in place that have already helped reduce both homelessness and poverty nationwide, Azerbaijani Economic Development Minister Shahin Mustafayev announces an additional US$4.6 billion being directed towards further improvements in areas such as creating new jobs.
6,000 join horse campaign
Upon being alerted by a passerby that a horse was too weak to stand after a fall due to conditions of neglect, British veterinarian Vikki Fowler paid £1,500 for equipment to lift the mare and provide for her constant care, with the survival of the newly named Hope now seeming assured.
the great heart of Michael Gries Meier
German extreme athlete Michael Griesmeier credits his vegan lifestyle with the recent world record he set in stair running, a challenge he undertook in collaboration with the Albert Schweitzer Foundation to highlight the need for improved animal welfare.
Chicken Recalled for Possible Listeria Contamination
WARNING NEWS… The US Department of Agriculture's Food and Safety and Inspection Service reports on December 9, 2011 that more than 4,000 pounds of cooked chicken breasts produced by a company based in North Carolina, USA have been recalled due to possible Listeria contamination, which causes symptoms such as nausea and vomiting and could lead to death.
Durban deal will not avert catastrophic climate change, say scientists
SAVE OUR PLANET... Leading climate scientist warns of disaster with 2 degree Celsius temperature rise. As the 2011 climate summit concluded on Sunday, December 11 in Durban, South Africa, participants agreed to work toward a legally binding agreement, which would be written by 2015 and come into effect after 2020. Meanwhile, however, some scientists and environmental organizations have cautioned that current government pledges to reduce emissions would not be enough to prevent even a 2-degree global temperature rise, and that more urgent actions would be needed. Moreover, a new study by Dr. James Hansen and colleagues states that the 2-degree goal, which is equivalent to around 450 parts per million of carbon dioxide concentration, is a "prescription for long term disaster" as it points out that a current concentration of nearly 389 parts per million is already causing climate feedbacks to occur. In a recent presentation to the American Society of Geophysicists in California, Dr. Hansen, who is the director of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies, stated, "We should be aiming to keep CO2 no higher than about 350 parts per million and possibly somewhat less. That is probably necessary if we want to maintain stable ice sheets and shorelines and avoid many other issues." He went on to warn against allowing emissions to continue to increase, citing paleoclimate records showing that 50 million years ago, when CO2 reached 560 parts per million, the ice at both poles disappeared and the Earth's sea levels were 70 meters higher than they are today. Dr. Hansen stated, “If we want to maintain a planet that looks like the one humanity has known, then we're basically out of time. We have got to start reducing emissions.”
Thank you, Dr. James Hansen, for your insightful research indicating a more realistic threshold of climate safety. May such calls inspire leaders and individuals alike toward rapid changes to preserve our planet.
In a December 2010 interview in Cancún, Mexico with Encadena TV, Supreme Master Ching Hai expressed her concern about scientific projections on rising temperatures, while indicating humanity's most urgently needed countermeasures.
Interview with Supreme Master Ching Hai by Encadena TV
Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico – December 9, 2010
Supreme Master Ching Hai: The root is we have to stop the global warming, first of all, before we even think of anything else. Because if we don’t have the planet, because if global warming reaches more than two degrees, then we’re in trouble. They say they are going to increase to five degrees now. They predict like that. Can you imagine? You’ll be burning! We can never get out of the house, you understand me? (Journalist(f): Yes.) And then all the crops will die. Too hot.
Journalist(f): And people will die too.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: People die, animals die – not to talk about anything else. And then disease will spread because of the heat. When everything is so depleted like that, I don’t think it’s a very good idea. First, have to stop the animal industry to cool the planet and then everything else we can have time to take care.
Algeria, Mauritania sign cooperation agreements
Foreign Ministers Murad Madleci and Hamadi Ould Baba Ould Hamadi of Algeria and Mauritania, respectively, sign cooperation agreements in areas that include aid to people with disabilities, health care and work safety, as well as an executive program in the field of vocational training.
Ban urges Alliance of Civilizations to fight extremism, promote tolerance
Addressing the Alliance of Civilizations forum in Doha, Qatar, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomes the more than 2,000 participants from diverse backgrounds and countries as he encourages the meeting's goal of fostering intercultural understanding, respect and peace.
Myanmar eases censorship for some: local media
Weekly Burmese newspaper Myanmar Times reports that the nation's government has expanded press freedoms, with 54 journals, magazines and books that now may be released without review prior to publication.