Good News Agency – Year X, n° 166
“…In conveying the appreciation of the Head of State for the passion and the professionalism with which you spread, above all among the young, the culture of "good news", I would like to take this opportunity of adding my personal greeting”. (From the letter of the Adviser for the Press and Information of the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, to the Editor of Good News Agency, 12 October 2007.)
Good News Agency carries positive and constructive news from all over the world relating to voluntary work, the work of the United Nations, non governmental organizations and institutions engaged in improving the quality of life – news that doesn’t “burn out” in the space of a day. It is distributed free of charge through Internet to 10,000 media and editorial journalists in 54 countries and to 2,800 NGOs and 1,700 high schools, colleges and universities. It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, an educational charity associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information. The Association has been recognized by UNESCO as “an actor of the global movement for a culture of peace” and it is a member of the World Association of Non Governmental Organizations.
Agreement reached on integrated safeguards in European Union
8 January - The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in cooperation with the European Commission, has reached agreement on arrangements to implement “integrated safeguards” in all non-nuclear-weapon States of the European Union with significant nuclear activities.
“This important milestone is
the result of the constructive common efforts of all parties concerned. It is a
clear signal of the importance attributed by the EU and its
“Once we have sufficient confidence that a State’s nuclear activities are purely peaceful, we can apply safeguards measures in a less prescriptive, more customised manner. This reduces the inspection burden on the State and the inspection effort of the IAEA, while enabling the IAEA to maintain the conclusion that all nuclear material has remained in peaceful activities,” said Olli Heinonen, Deputy Director General and Head of IAEA Safeguards Department. (...)
Entry into force of new, stronger system to control fisheries and stamp out illegal fishing,
1st January 2010
A streamlined, more efficient control system under the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy will enter into force on 1 January 2010. The new rules will step up controls to stamp out illegal fishing, and show that the EU is determined to lead the way towards responsible and sustainable fishing both inside and outside the EU. The new system has three pillars: the first pillar is a Regulation against illegal fishing worldwide (the IUU Regulation). From now on, all marine fishery products traded with the EU, wherever they come from in the world, will have to be certified and their origin will be traceable (...) in an effort to close the EU market to illegally caught fish. The second pillar is a Regulation on control that brings in a targeted, more effective and less costly fisheries control system. It will apply inside the EU and to EU vessels wherever in the world they are operating. It introduces harmonised rules for inspection, monitoring, control, surveillance and enforcement throughout the chain from net to plate. Like the IUU Regulation above, it contains strong measures to sanction law-breakers. (...) The third pillar is a Regulation on fishing authorisations for the EU fleet operating outside EU waters, which is in force since October 2008. (...)
A stronger Europol
Under the new legal framework Europol’s accountability arrangements have also been strengthened, with a bigger role established for the European Parliament in scrutinising activities and setting the Agency’s annual budget. Meanwhile Europol’s data protection regime, already one of the most robust in the world, has also been further improved. (...)
UN-backed container-profiling project leads to seizure of drugs, counterfeit goods
29 December - Latin American port authorities are seizing more drug consignments and counterfeit goods along container routes thanks to a United Nations-backed initiative that is showing growing success after its inception six years ago.
Under the Container Control Programme - a joint project of the UN Office on Drugs and
Crime (UNODC) and the independent, inter-governmental World Customs Organization
- a newly established and trained Panamanian inter-agency profiling unit in the
UN official welcomes European Union approval of Internet copyright treaties
14 December - The head of the
United Nations agency tasked with safeguarding intellectual property rights
today welcomed the European Union’s ratification of the so-called Internet
Treaties. Noting that the EU plays a leading role in promoting use of the
Internet and in developing on-line content, World Intellectual Property
Organization (WIPO) Director General Francis Gurry
said the step would positively influence the growth of creativity within the
digital environment in
All 27 EU Member States have now implemented the European directive incorporating the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), which establish the basic standards of protection for copyright and related rights of digital material.
In 2000, the EU and its members took the formal decision to ratify the WIPO Internet treaties, bringing the number of signatories for the WCT to 88 and 76 for the WPPT.
The treaties update the legal principles underpinning international copyright protection and the rights of performers and phonogram producers on the Internet and other digital networks.
The UN & Human Rights - A Year in Review: 2009
2009 was an active year in the
U.N. human rights system, especially in the context of the global financial
crisis and the issues arising out of the climate change debate. From special
sessions and fact-finding missions to conferences and country visits, we’ve
tried to highlight some of the key events that took place at the U.N. office in
Fund for Gender Equality announces more than US$9 million in grants to advance women’s economic and political empowerment worldwide
Gender Equality Efforts by Civil Society and Governments in 26 Countries to Be Supported
“This new Fund has tremendous potential to bring about concrete and sustainable changes in women’s lives. Very impressive efforts to advance women’s political and economic empowerment are underway in every corner of the world. Yet this work is critically under-funded. It is important that the Fund supports both governments and civil society organizations - and very significantly, partnerships between them as well,” said Inés Alberdi, UNIFEM Executive Director. (...)
OHCHR Thematic Strategies for 2010-2011
For the first time since the creation of the OHCHR's Strategic Plan and after extensive consultation involving all department of the Office, High Commissioner Navi Pillay presented a series of six thematic strategies that could align the field presences and divisional activities of the Office. These strategies are intended to not only guide the work of the OHCHR for 2010-2011 but also assist Member States, NGOs and other civil society organizations focus their efforts on these areas to contribute towards their achievement. It is hoped that by outlining core strategies, the Office will soon be able to engage the expertise of all relevant stakeholders including non-governmental organisations and national human rights institutions.
The focus areas include: eliminating discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, religion and other marginalised groups; ensuring the human rights of migrants; protecting economic, social and cultural rights to combat poverty, protecting human rights in armed conflict, violence and insecurity; combating impunity and strengthening accountability, rule of law and democratic societies; and strengthening international human rights mechanisms and law.
completes initial round of training for local judges in eastern
8 January - Some 75 local
civil servants from eastern
The training, organized by the
UN Development Programme (UNDP) and MINURCAT, is
expected to guarantee an impartial, independent and credible justice system in
the region, where 256,700 Sudanese refugees from the
“This is, by all means, an
important step in the reinforcement of the justice system in eastern
Cambodian-UN prison initiative improves conditions for detainees
5 January - More than one thousand inmates at the Siem Reap prison now have more water for daily drinking, cooking and personal hygiene thanks to an innovative partnership between the United Nations human rights office and the Government of Cambodia aimed at prison reform.
The Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights in
Before the system was
introduced, the 1,300 detainees had to rely on limited underground water for
drinking, preparing meals, washing and sewage disposal. However, now with the
new system, the prisoners have access to an average of over
31 December - The UN Refugee
Agency (UNHCR) in
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
India boosts ties with Africa, expands credit lines
11 January -
“The India-Africa forum summit
which took place in 2008 has given a new thrust to India’s engagement with
Africa, as reflected by increases in exiting credit lines to Africa from
$2,15-billion to $5,4-billion up until
8 January -
The major objective of the center is to uplift the lives of youths by providing an opportunity to make a world of difference, to promote and encourage corporate volunteering, to provide peer mentoring, counseling, coaching and supportive communication, building quality relations and bringing about partner solidarity, promoting self-investment and social entrepreneurship, to link with global volunteer partners to promote volunteerism, localize global volunteer concepts for effective local participation and consolidate the volunteer efforts in Fiji for impact imposition. (...)
The funding will provide food assistance, the distribution of seeds, food-for-work programmes, the improvement of water distribution and stocking systems, as well as a system of surveillance for food security. Around 20,000 of the most vulnerable people in the region, whose survival is threatened by the recent climatic events, will benefit from this aid. (...)
31 December - The United
Nations agency responsible for financing agricultural development in poor
countries has given $10 million to
The agreement, signed in
IFAD has so far financed eight
International, NGO Council and USAID sign a Memorandum on cooperation in
Memorandum signed to further NGO Council as part of Counterpart’s Civil Society Project
The NGO Council was established by Azerbaijani Presidential decree on May 15, 2008. It has implemented two grant rounds, providing 430 Azerbaijani NGOs with a total of $4 million in grants assistance on a competitive basis. In 2010 the NGO Council expects to launch a third round of grants, totaling approximately $3.5 million. (...)
Nations - Aid arrives in
Distributions of food and medical
assistance have begun in
The aid effort will increase rapidly in the coming days as the scale of need among survivors becomes clear. Dozens of countries have offered assistance, and specialist UN coordination teams are working to ensure aid quickly reaches the right people at the right time. Immediate needs identified include medical support, food, water, and emergency shelter. Many survivors have serious injuries, including traumatic wounds, compound fractures and crushed limbs. The World Health Organization is coordinating medical assistance and sending a 12-member team specializing in victim care, while NGOs such as Medecins sans Frontiers are scaling up their efforts on the ground as quickly as possible. (…)
months after devastating earthquakes and floods in
6 January - (…) In the three months since the earthquake struck, Save the Children’s humanitarian response has reached more than 30,000 families, including more than 67,000 children. In just two of the most severely affected districts of West Sumatra, Agam and Lubuk Basung, Save the Children has served a total of 143,777 people, including 64,942 children.
In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, Save the Children distributed relief items, such as cooking utensils, soap, and tools and materials to build basic shelters. Now Save the Children is shifting its focus to ensure children and their families recover as quickly as possible. The agency is helping some of the most vulnerable families to buy building materials, promoting maternal health and offering children safe spaces where they can express themselves and overcome the stress of the earthquake and its aftermath. Save the Children is also ensuring that children can quickly return to safe, temporary classrooms, so they can continue their education. (…)
UN boosts aid to vulnerable Afghans as winter conditions take hold
5 January - United Nations
agencies have stepped up their humanitarian relief efforts to help tens of
thousands of vulnerable Afghans survive the bitter winter weather in the east
of the country, the world body’s mission there, known as UNAMA, said today. Last
month the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) began
distributing blankets, plastic sheets, jerry cans, warm clothing and gas
cylinders to some 4,100 returning refugee and displaced families in eastern
provinces where temperatures can plummet to minus 20 degrees Celsius in
January, the coldest month. In addition, more than 12,000 vulnerable families,
or 72,000 individuals, will receive a cash voucher worth $30 to buy heating
materials or other items of their choice from approved retailers. (...) The
World Food Programme (WFP) and World Health
Organization (WHO) have also provided extra
assistance to the vulnerable people in
29 December - (...) Upali, his wife Rupawathie, 45, and
his four children live in Peraliya,
Upali and Rupawathie are two of 99 beneficiaries in southern Godagama GN Division in
IRC aids thousands of people fleeing fighting in
Dera Ismail Khan,
Now the International Rescue
Committee, in partnership with a local Pakistani organization, has launched an
effort to deliver medical services to some 27,000 people who fled the fighting
For further information: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm
8 January - Thanks to the good
current cooperation results and significant involvement of the Principality of
Monaco to resolve the mine problem in natural protected areas in the
UN brings Sudanese tribes together for historic peace talks
29 December - The United
Nations has paved the way for historic talks between clashing tribes to bolster
the fragile peace in the disputed oil-rich area of Abyei,
close to the border between
Recognizing the need for dialogue at this critical juncture, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan (UNMIS) and the Abyei Area Administration joined forces to bring the leaders of the two tribes together for the first time in the conflict’s history. During the 14 December meeting, which kicked off to cheering, drumming and dancing, top officials from the tribes discussed border security, arms control and migration issues. (...) The dialogue was also the first in the history of peacebuilding in the Abyei area in which women took an active part in the talks. (...) UNDP stressed in a press release that “only through the support to community reconciliation dialogues in Sudan that bring together women groups, youth and traditional leaders will the region be able to ensure its hard-won peace.”
28 December - Through its
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Italy recently authorized two
financial contributions for 166,300 US dollars (112,000 Euros) to the
Organization of American States’ (OAS) Mine Action assistance program, known as
Today, AICMA assists
quicken pace at UN-backed reunification talks for
21 December - The Greek
Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders are intensifying their United Nations-backed
talks aimed at reunifying the Mediterranean island, scheduling two three-day
series of discussions next month after a senior UN official said they had made
good progress over the past year. Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris
Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met today under
UN auspices in
In remarks to the media over the weekend, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer said the two leaders had showed “a very strong commitment to achieve a successful negotiation and they have made good progress” throughout the last year. He also said that the next year would be a pivotal point. (...)
concluded demining programme
On Monday, 21 December
Demining programme in
Critical step as global eradication effort faces entrenched challenges
UNA-USA has successfully concluded its Adopt-A-Minefield® Campaign!
Thank you for your support of our life-saving work over the last ten years!
As planned and in alignment with 10th anniversary and second review conference of the Mine Ban Treaty, UNA-USA successfully crossed the finish line and concluded its Adopt-A-Minefield (AAM) Campaign on December 31, 2009. UNA-USA is very proud of AAM’s work over the past ten years. We raised over $25 million for mine action, cleared over 1,000 minefields, and assisted thousands of survivors. There are lots of reasons to celebrate! Globally, now there are only 6,000 new casualties each year - as opposed to the 25,000 annual rate recorded in the late 1990’s. There are 156 signatories to the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) - that’s 80% of the world’s nations! Only two countries used landmines last year - rather than the previously widespread use in over 80 countries.
12 January - The United
Nations is seeking to virtually eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV
“AIDS has become the leading
cause of death among infants and young children in much of sub-Saharan Africa,”
Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Executive
Director Michel Sidibé said during a visit to Sauri in western
MSF starts work in the ‘hunger prison’, Bunia, DRC
8 January - Over a two-month period, 17 prisoners referred from Bunia Prison to the city’s hospital have died - victims of severe malnutrition. The MSF team working in Bunia, located in the eastern district of Ituri, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), recently intervened to put an end to the tragedy that is occurring at the prison. More than 500 prisoners are crammed into this desolate place, barely one third of them have been before a judge. (…)
The first phase of the MSF intervention is initially planned to last three weeks. Since the first day approximately 50 prisoners have received therapeutic food. All prisoners have been seen by medical staff and are now receiving the necessary care. Emergency measures were taken to supply water and improve sanitation. During the second phase, which should last three months, medical, nutritional, logistical, and other activities will be carried out in cooperation with other organisations, including the ICRC. The goal is to know for certain at the end of this period that the minimum of food and medical care is being provided to all prisoners. (...)
By Dan Nixon
Rotary International News, 8
January - The incidence of polio in
The World Health Organization’s Advisory
Committee on Polio Eradication attributes 95 percent of the world’s progress
against the disease in 2009 to
A bivalent vaccine, already in
clashes, MSF continues activities in the Galgadud
Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) continues activities in Dhusa Mareb, despite growing insecurity due to clashes on Saturday
6 January - In response to
severe drought conditions, MSF started supplying water on December
In 2009, MSF Somali medical
teams performed 732 surgeries, 709 deliveries and 40,190 consultations took
place in the out patient department (...) to all people who need medical care,
regardless of their clan, religious or political affiliations. MSF has worked
Ethiopian and UN officials devise plan to boost maternal and newborn health
6 January - United Nations agencies and Ethiopian health officials have developed a comprehensive two-year work plan to boost maternal and newborn health and survival in the Horn of Africa nation, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has announced.
The work plan focuses on both immediate and long-term interventions and involves increasing demand, access and utilization of quality maternal and newborn health services, as well as improving the quality of these services. In addition, it focuses on strengthening monitoring and evaluation of these services, and improving managerial and institutional capacity, advocacy and partnerships to encourage increased political and financial commitment.
The plan was developed during last month’s visit to Ethiopia of UN Health 4 (H4), a joint effort by UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Bank to support countries in improving maternal and newborn health and saving the lives of mothers and babies. (...)
UN offers online courses to boost cancer treatment in developing nations
5 January - To bridge the gap in developing countries where there is a shortage of cancer specialists, the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has helped spearhead a web-based course on radiation oncology. Radiotherapy plays a positive role in treating nearly half of all cancer patients, as cancer rates continue to climb in poorer nations. The course contains 80 training modules classified into eight different topics, and the materials are expected to complement the training that radiation oncologists receive through their formal education in their respective countries. This initiative is part of an IAEA programme involving 17 Member States in the Asia-Pacific region, and the material for the course - entitled “Applied Sciences of Oncology Distance Learning” - was developed by an Australian organization.
4 January - Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations agency tasked with
fighting the spread of HIV today congratulated the
President Obama awards $2.3 billion for new clean-tech manufacturing jobs
Recovery Act Tax Credits to Enable More Than $7 Billion in New Manufacturing Projects and Create Tens of Thousands of Jobs
The projects announced today address the broad spectrum of manufacturing capabilities needed to support a robust clean energy economy. The projects were competitively selected through a rigorous merit review process and the companies chosen say they will create more than 17,000 jobs in some of the fastest growing parts of our economy. (...)
Act Projects to Lower Energy Use by
Under the patronage of H.H.
General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme
Commander of the UAE Armed Forces,
The four-day summit will build on the successes of its predecessors, with more than 30 individual conference sessions and more than 200 international influencers addressing future energy strategies, policies and technologies.
World Future Energy Summit, the world’s platform for sustainable future energy solutions, provides an ideal networking event for industry leaders, investors, scientists, specialists, policymakers and researchers to discuss the challenges of rising energy demand and actions to achieve a cleaner and more sustainable future for the world.
12 January -
The Tunisian government has
set an initial budget of around US$580,000 for the project. Hussein said that
the group also has promises from the government for funding for other projects
until 2016 if this one succeeds. The project, partially funded and supported by
Earth Charter+10 plans
By ECI Sec1
1 January - 2010 represents the 10th year since the launch of the Earth Charter. ECI is planning to have a number of activities and events organized around this and hope many individuals and organizations from around the world will also organize events or workshops locally.
To help guide this process a Draft Concept Paper for EC+10 has being designed. This Concept Paper outlines a proposal for activities that should take place throughout 2010. The main idea of Earth Charter+10 (EC+10) is to use this as an opportunity to scale up the outreach and impact of the Earth Charter. It is envisioned that, during 2010, there will be at least one major Earth Charter gathering in each region of the world (...). In addition, it is expected that a number of local gatherings will take place, in different locations, which will occur simultaneously. ECI suggests Earth Day, April 22, as the day for affiliates, youth groups, volunteers and partners to organize these local gatherings, public events or workshops in order to further promote and raise awareness about the Earth Charter. (...)
UN opens Biodiversity Year with plea to save world’s ecosystems
1 January - In a bid to curb the unprecedented loss of the world’s species due to human activity - at a rate some experts put at 1,000 times the natural progression - the United Nations is marking 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity, with a slew of events highlighting the vital role the phenomenon plays in maintaining the life support system on Planet Earth.
“Humans are part of nature’s rich diversity and have the power to protect or destroy it,” the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which is hosted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said in summarizing the Year’s main message, with its focus on raising awareness to generate public pressure for action by the world’s decision makers.
“Biodiversity, the variety of life on Earth, is essential to sustaining the living networks and systems that provide us all with health, wealth, food, fuel and the vital services our lives depend on. Human activity is causing the diversity of life on Earth to be lost at a greatly accelerated rate.
These losses are irreversible, impoverish us all and damage the life support systems we rely on every day. But we can prevent them.” (...)
UN agency sets out priority steps to realize Green Economy for 21st century
31 December - The United Nations environmental agency has identified three priority areas in the race to mitigate climate change based on harnessing the benefits of ecosystems, from coral reefs to forests, coupled with non-fossil fuel technology that exploits solar, geo-thermal and wind energy. “It is now widely recognized that healthy ecosystems from coral reefs and wetlands to mangroves and fertile soils are a key to successfully adapting to climate change,” the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said in a news release on what it called a rapidly evolving strategy “in response to the needs of Member States and the growing number of requests on how best to realize a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy for the 21st century.”
Calling the management and maintenance of such systems “a buffer and an insurance policy against extreme weather events and a rapidly changing climate,” UNEP stressed that ecosystems and the services they provide represent serious, multi-trillion dollar economic assets. (...)
8 January - A 26-strong
delegation of bishops and representatives from Bishops’ Conferences and church
bodies from Europe and North American countries will visit the Christian
peoples and Churches in the
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2010
During the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2010, Christians throughout the world will be listening together to the promise and commission that are part of Christ's final words before his ascension: "You are witnesses of these things."
7 January - Traditionally celebrated between 18 and 25 January (in the northern hemisphere) or at Pentecost (in the southern hemisphere), the Week of Prayer enters into congregations and parishes all over the world. Preachers are exchanged, and special ecumenical worship services are arranged. The production of the liturgical and biblical material for the week of prayer is jointly coordinated since 1968 by the World Council of Churches (Faith and Order Commission) and the Roman Catholic Church (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity).
The theme for 2010 was chosen
Resources for the week include
an introduction to the theme; a suggested ecumenical celebration which local
churches are encouraged to adapt for their own particular liturgical, social
and cultural contexts; biblical reflections and prayers for the "eight
days"; and additional prayers from, and an overview of the ecumenical
UNESCO: Online discussion on Gender equality, Education and Training - 10 January to 7 February 2010
As part of the debates and events commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, the United Nations’ Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE) is organizing a series of online discussions dedicated to specific critical areas of action related to gender equality. These discussions will contribute to the 15-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action at the 54th session of the Commission on the Status of Women from 1-12 March, 2010. The online discussions are designed to catalyze debate, to analyze progress and to provide an important interactive forum where perspectives, successful initiatives and information can be shared.
UNESCO will be hosting the online discussion focusing on the theme of Gender equality, Education and Training from 10 January to 7 February. During these four weeks, discussions will be organized around a framework of thematic questions in order to stimulate debate between participants. (...)
Astronomy Beyond 2009
Ceremony International Year of Astronomy, 9 - 10 January 2010, Padova -
On 9 and 10 January 2010 the
International Year of Astronomy 2009 will be officially closed. A ceremony will
be held in
Astronomy Beyond 2009 is the title of the meeting and the aim is both to have an initial account of this fantastic year and discuss the astrophysics of the next decade, and beyond.
Professional astronomers, historians of science and Single Points of Contact from various countries that participated in IYA will deal with the impact of IYA, the legacy of Galileo, the role of science in society and the future of astronomy. Besides this, a number of diverse activities are planned that will involve both the public in Padova and individuals who participated in the programs of the IYA2009.
9, 10 and 16 January 2010
As we enter the year 2010, the
new European Capitals of Culture -
In the city of
In Pécs, the official opening of the European Capital of Culture 2010 will offer 24 hours of ongoing attractions in public spaces of the city, including carnival and theatrical programs, interactive walls, projections at several different places in the city, painting by light in the evening etc.
Start of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion
1 January - 2010 will be the European
Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion - a one-year programme aimed at raising awareness on poverty and social
exclusion. It will be implemented in all EU Member States as well as in
The Year will be launched in
31 December - As part of a
United Nations-backed plan to restore historical architectural gems that have
deteriorated into slums, residents of Rimac, one of
the poorest neighbourhoods in
Located in downtown
Education Camp in
By UPF -
The purposes were to help
these youths build their character and empower them to deal with the varioust challenges facing them today, namely, peer
pressure, drug abuse, premature sex, teenage pregnancy, sexually-transmitted
diseases, HIV infections, rape, crime, and teenage suicide, just to name the
major ones. In opening the camp, Rev. Jean Augustin Ghomsi, Secretary General of the Universal Peace Federation
to help needy students in
Washington, DC, 22 December -
ANERA (American Near East Refugee Agency) is pleased
to announce a $411,000 grant from UNESCO to help improve learning skills for
vulnerable Iraqi and Jordanian students in
ANERA president Bill Corcoran welcomed the opportunity to provide the much-needed academic support. “We are reaching out to vulnerable youth to help keep them in school and provide some of the building blocks for a productive future.” (...)
sparks greater development in
Silver Spring, Md., USA, 15 December - In northeastern Uganda, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) recently launched a new three-year project designed to support and improve the capacity of the region’s underserved population by increasing the quality of, and their access to, basic social services through formal and non-formal education initiatives.
The project is currently being implemented in the chronically food-insecure Karamoja region due to its limited access to basic social services, such as education, health care, and safe water and sanitation. (…) The new project’s educational initiatives are strengthening the capacities of new and existing civil society organizations (CSOs) and improving collaboration between local authorities, instructors, and the participating CSOs to provide, support, and sustain literacy services within these communities. (...)
* * * * * * *
Lastly, with the first issue of the year we are pleased to offer our readers a unique story of peace.
(Reprint with permission of Rotary International, 2009)
Sister clubs turn scars of war into bonds of peace
by Vanessa N. Glavinskas and Suzelle Tempero
clasps his prayer beads and bows his head as the Peace Bell tolls, marking the
exact moment that
Nishikiori was just eight years old when the bomb shattered the city on 6 August 1945. A week passed before his parents located his eldest sister, who had volunteered to work in a downtown factory. Badly burned, she told them how she had desperately repeated their address to anyone who passed by. She died two days after being reunited with her family.
Now, as Nishikiori
observes the crowd gathered in
Hiroji Mukasa of
It wasn’t a perfect fit with club members, however. “It was most difficult on our club president, Seiki Hirotani,” Nishikiori says. “He worried what his deceased family would think, especially his parents.” Hirotani had lost his parents, two sisters, a younger brother, and a grandmother in the attack, and he was so conflicted about establishing the sister club relationship that he had nightmares in which his parents and siblings would appear.
Hawaiian Rotarians didn’t immediately embrace the idea, either.
Willpower to forgive
“Anytime you go through an
agonizing experience, it always takes tremendous willpower to forgive,” says
Bob Deibler, a retired U.S. Navy officer who was
president of the Rotary Club of Pearl Harbor,
Deibler was boarding a
Although they saw the war from different sides, once the conversation turned to Rotary, Hirotani and Deibler found themselves seeing eye to eye. “[We said] we’re all Rotarians, and we should focus on projects and helping people, and forget about the scars of the war,” Deibler remembers.
By September of that year,
both clubs were in favor of forming a sister relationship, and Hirotani and Deibler signed the
affiliation agreement in
Now every year, Hiroshima
Rotarians visit Pearl Harbor, or Pearl Harbor Rotarians visit
Hirotani’s widow, Semae, still marvels at the relationships that blossomed
among the Rotarians. On the 10th anniversary of her husband’s death, more than
50 people gathered at his tomb to honor his memory. Many were members of the
To commemorate the 50th
anniversary of the attack on
On the 50th anniversary of the
Other joint club efforts have
included a Group Study Exchange to promote better understanding between the
cultures, and an art contest for Japanese and
Kazuya Nakatani, president of the Hiroshima Southeast club, hopes the bond between the clubs will serve as a powerful symbol of Rotary’s work for peace, and will inspire younger generations to avoid the misunderstandings that lead to war.
“Right now is a time to look
at peace,” adds Donna McLaughlin, of the
* * * * * * *
Next issue: 5 February 2010.
* * * * * * *
Good News Agency is
published in English on one Friday and in Italian the next. Past issues
are available at www.goodnewsagency.org
Managing Editor: Sergio Tripi, Ph.D. Editorial research by Fabio Gatti, Maria Grazia Da Damos, Arianna Cavallo, Azzurra Cianchetta. Editorial Secretary: Maria Grazia Da Damos. Webmaster: Fabio Gatti.
Good News Agency is distributed free of charge through Internet to 10,000 media and editorial journalists of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations in 54 countries: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bermuda, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Caribbean Islands, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Holland, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Oceania, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, USA. It is also distributed free of charge to 2,800 NGOs and 1,700 high schools, colleges and universities.
It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà
Mondiale, a registered educational charity
chartered in Italy in 1979 The Association operates for the development of
consciousness and promotes a culture of peace in the ‘global village’
perspective based on unity in diversity and on sharing. It is based in Via Antagora 10, 00124
* * * * * * *