Noteworthy News
 
      16 Dec 2011
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 Government to Plant Over 67 Million Trees
In good governance news, Rwanda plans to plant a minimum of 67 million trees throughout the country. The Ministry of Forests and Natural Resources will work with the Reserve Force in carrying out the project, which will initially focus on the most deforested areas. These include the Eastern Province Districts, where 20% of the total number of trees will be seeded. A big green thumbs up, Rwanda for your Earth-loving decision. May eco efforts such as this one, combined with the low-emissions vegan diet, bring us to a glorious and calm state of our planet.
 Estonia Helping to Provide Education to Palestinian Children
In humanitarian news, Estonia donates €50,000 for the education of Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip. According to Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the fund will be used to support efforts of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency(UNRWA) to help upgrade infrastructure, furnish classrooms, and procure study materials for 213,000 students from grades one to nine. Our earnest appreciation, Estonia, for your generosity. May the bright Palestinian youngsters have excellent educational opportunities, with Allah’s abundant blessings.
 American girl, just 12, builds 27 homes in Haiti
In humanitarian news, a 12-year-old girl from the United States builds homes in Haiti. Since she was only 9 years old, Rachel Wheeler from Florida has raised over US$250,000 through various fund-raising activities. With the finances, she was able to build 27 earthquake-proof cement houses in a village near the capital of Port-au-Prince. Rachel’s next goal is to rebuild a school for up to 600 students that had been severely damaged in the 2010 earthquake. Our admiring salute, Rachel, for your loving heart and exemplary actions. May your kindness help many pure-minded Haitians to greet happier and more secure tomorrows.
 Hachiko from Yakutsk: A dog’s loyalty in minus 50 degrees Celsius
FN… Russian stray dog stands vigil for a perished friend in the cold. In Russia’s Siberian city of Yakutsk, the canine local residents have named Hachiko has stood guard near the body of his female dog friend for over two weeks in freezing -50 degree Celsius temperatures. After the story was posted on the Internet, animal lovers everywhere have come to provide food and a makeshift shelter for the loyal dog whose name is in honor of the Japanese dog that waited each day for his passed away human companion at a train station for 7 years. Although some locals, concerned for his wellbeing in the cold, had tried to take Hachiko home, they noted with astonishment that after just a few hours he managed to escape and had quickly found his own way a full 7 kilometers back to his vigil post.

We, too, are touched by the Yakutian Hachiko’s faithfulness as well as the animal-loving community that has come to support him. May he one day allow a new home to fill his heart with the love he has so selflessly given.
 China frees cyber dissident after 8 years in jail
FN… Journalist Huang Jinqiu freed. The release of reporter and activist Huang Jinqiu, detained since September 2003, was announced on Tuesday, December 13. With the penname Mr. Clear Water, the prolific writer has been a key organizer of the China Patriot Democracy Party. With an original 12-year sentence that was reduced by four years, Mr. Huang has been able to reunite with his parents in Shandong Province and has conveyed his gratitude to all who have offered support to himself and his family.

We are glad for your freedom, journalist Huang Jinqiu. May your renewed life with family and friends be blessed in Heaven's protection and love.
 Monster waves, gale force winds and snow lash the north coast
FN… Heavy storms and snow inundate UK. Torrential rains and gale force winds that began on Tuesday, December 13 have been sweeping through parts of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, with some residents evacuated to safety in England and Wales. As wind gusts reached 80 miles per hour (129 kilometers per hour), cross-channel ferries were halted and flights in several airports delayed. In just 12 hours, London, England received 40% of normal rainfall for the entire month of December, while Devon and Cornwall saw regional flooding. Off the coast of Ireland, a 20.4 meter wave was recorded as the largest ever documented there, and the Hampshire Police emergency lines received over 200 calls within 24 hours. Meanwhile, the rain has turned to snow in many areas, with the Met Office issuing warnings for continued severe weather over the weekend, saying that the high-speed winds will continue, with snow that could also spread throughout Wales and southeast England.

Our appreciation, Met Office and all other personnel for your efforts to inform and assist during these harsh weather conditions. May Heaven protect the storm-affected residents as we pray that our kinder regard for the environment helps alleviate such extreme events as these.
 Costa Rica: unexpected rains left one dead and one missing
FN… Unseasonable rain inundates northern Costa Rica. On Wednesday, December 14, the National Meteorological Institute in Costa Rica reported that days of unusually heavy rains have affected residents throughout the country’s northeast and the Caribbean coast. In Sarapiquí canton of Heredia province, more than 1,000 people were evacuated to some 15 shelters provided by the government's disaster response agency to remove them from the danger of flooding after over 250 millimeters of precipitation fell in a 24-hour period. Food is also being delivered to several isolated communities. The National Emergency Commission meanwhile issued a yellow alert for Sarapiquí canton and the Caribbean coastal region, with residents in mountainous areas who were cautioned against possible landslides and overflowing rivers as rains are expected to continue for the rest of the week.

We thank the National Meteorological Institute, National Emergency Commission and all other agencies for your help in ensuring the safety of affected residents. May our more considerate actions as a vegan world restore planetary balance for all beings.
 WFF 2011: Inuit villagers battle power giants in climate change documentary Kivalina v. Exxon
SAVE OUR PLANET... At the December 2011 Whistler Film Festival in Vancouver, Canada, Best Documentary Award went to Canadian director Ben Addleman for "Kivalina v. Exxon," which depicts the challenges faced by indigenous Inuit island dwellers off the coast of Alaska, USA as they cope with being forced from their homeland due to the realities of climate change.
 Study links tropical cyclones to earthquakes
SAVE OUR PLANET... US researchers report on December 8, 2011 that large Earth tremors such as the devastating 2010 quake in Haiti are linked to extreme tropical cyclone seasons, saying that the landslides and erosion associated with the wet weather set off greater movement along the fault lines.
 Vietnam warns of new swine flu virus
WARNING NEWS… Âu Lạc's (Vietnam) Health Ministry on December 8, 2011 calls on epidemic institutes to prepare and take active measures to prevent a new swine flu strain from entering the country, which combines a rare H3N2 influenza virus with the H1N1 swine flu virus that circulated the world in 2009.
 Winners of the Marrakech International Film Festival
At the 11th annual International Film Festival of Marrakech in Morocco, the Grand Prix prize goes to the Danish film "Out of Bounds," with Best Director award being shared by Italian twin brothers Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serio for their movie, "Seven Acts of Mercy."
 Qatari Prime Minister Arrives in Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse welcomes Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr Al Thani, with the two leaders discussing ways to enhance bilateral cooperation as His Highness offers his country's support in furthering Sri Lanka's development.
 Secret Santas pay off Kmart layaways
Anonymous good Samaritans dubbed "Secret Santas" have been making daily donations of up to US$5,000 in stores across the US such as retail chain K-Mart, helping families with their gift purchases in a wish to spread hope and holiday cheer.
 Cruelty-Free Fashion E-Store Vegan Chic™ Launches
With the motto, “Where Style Meets Kindness and Fashion Meets Compassion,” animal lovers Vessela and Mark Mulcahy of Los Angeles, USA launch VeganChic.com, an e-store offering ethical shopping for those seeking stylish, cruelty-free, vegan shoes and other designer options.
 Mexican farmers despair over record drought
SAVE OUR PLANET… Historic drought grips Mexico. In an article published on December 13, 2011, Mexican officials state that more than one million hectares of crops have now been damaged by extreme dry conditions, with some farmers saying they have seen hardly any rain the entire year. In mid-November, National Meteorological Service General Director Felipe Adrián Vázquez Gálvez reported that more than 70% of Mexico’s total area was drought stricken and experts now estimate that 80,000 families in the state of Chihuahua alone could be seriously impacted. The government is offering subsidies to small farmers in an attempt to compensate for their losses, as well as delivering water to remote areas in need. However, meteorologists have also forecast that the dry weather is likely to continue throughout the winter. Scientists in Mexico have begun working to address the issue with fellow researchers in the southwestern United States, where unprecedented drought also continues to persist.

We appreciate the efforts of Mr. Gálvez and other experts in raising awareness of this urgent drought crisis. May governments and individuals alike strive to alleviate such conditions through our more conscientious stewardship of the ecosphere.

Speaking with concern of the planetary emergency during a June 2011 videoconference in Mexico, Supreme Master Ching Hai addressed the devastating drought in the nation, as well as what must be done to stop climate change.

Videoconference with Supreme Master Ching Hai
“From Crisis to Peace: The Whole Universe is Blessing Us”
Mexico City, Mexico – June 4, 2011

Supreme Master Ching Hai: With all the droughts and wildfires Mexico is facing, food security is really at risk, and climate change – through droughts and floods that destroy crops – is, of course, a major cause of high food price and food insecurity.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: There is a solution. he United Nations proposed that the best way to bring about cooling, rather than focusing on carbon dioxide, would be to reduce the shorter-lived global warming agents. These include methane, black carbon, and ground-level ozone.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: So we all should go vegan, and the best is organic vegan.
 EU streamlines residence, work permits for migrants
The European Parliament approves legislation to streamline migrant residency and work permits into a single procedure in member states, with legal foreign workers also being granted the benefit of European Union pensions, social security and public services.
 Dog rescued after being buried alive
After noticing that Lucky, one of the stray dogs she feeds daily, had gone missing, Ms. Gina Mihlet of Florida, USA finds and rescues the canine from being buried alive beneath a newly plowed nearby field, transferring her to Miami-Dade Animal Services, where Lucky now awaits a caring home.
 TPRF to Aid Water Purification in Horn of Africa
The US-based charity Prem Rawat Foundation donates US$10,000 to provide clean drinking water for 20,000 people affected by the drought in the Oromia region of Ethiopia.
 Karen Faction Sign Peace Deal with Burma Govt
In a meeting between Burmese government representatives and members of Kalo Htoo Baw, the two parties sign a six-point peace accord, with the government issuing orders for a ceasefire as the ethnic group agrees to work toward integration and lasting peace.

   
 
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