Good News Agency – Year II, n° 12



Weekly - Year II, number 12 –  6 July 2001

Managing Editor: Sergio Tripi, Ph. D.

Rome Law-court registration no. 265 dated 20 June 2000.           

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.

Good News Agency is distributed through Internet to over 2,500 editorial offices of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations with an e-mail address in 45 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Finland, Holland, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway,  Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, USA, and it is also available in its web site:

It is a free of charge service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, a registered non-profit educational organization chartered in Italy in 1979. The Association operates for the development of consciousness and supports the activities of the Lucis Trust, Radio For Peace International, The Club of Budapest and other organizations promoting a culture of peace in the ‘global village’ perspective based on unity within diversity and on sharing.          Via Antagora 10, 00124 Rome, Italy. E-mail:



International legislation


Energy and safety


Human rights


Science and technology


Economy and development


Environment and wildlife




Culture and education








International legislation



Conditional nuclear arsenal cuts

2 July - Russian President Vladimir Putin repeated an offer to the USA to reduce its nuclear arsenal from some 6,000 warheads to 1,500 provided there is a controlled process of elimination and provided the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty remains intact.  Putin reiterated the offer while meeting with French President Jacque Chirac.  The two leaders issued a joint statement on 2 July on international strategic issues.  The statement notes that destruction of the ABM Treaty could lead to a new arms race and also that an international conference on nuclear proliferation would be useful.  Both Russia and France oppose US plans to build a national missile defense (NMD) system, which they believe will be harmful to the future of international security. (source: AP, 2 July 2001)


Congo: Kabila orders demobilisation of child soldiers

20 June - DRC President Joseph Kabila has launched a national campaign to prevent the recruitment of child soldiers and to prepare for their demobilisation from the Congolese army and their reintegration into society, UNICEF announced on Thursday. The initiative, which has the financial support of UNICEF, seeks to prohibit all children under 18 years of age from being sent to the frontline and from being involved in any purely military task, such as the handling of weapons.


Kenya: legislation promises cheaper drugs for AIDS patients

20 June - The Kenyan parliament on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill which looks set to reduce the cost of essential AIDS treatment significantly. The Industrial Property Bill will allow the government to import or manufacture cheaper copies of brand-name drugs, including the anti-retrovirals (ARVs) used in the drug cocktail used to fight AIDS, according to campaigners for the affordable availability of drugs.


Nigeria: Government ratifies child labour conventions

20 June - The Nigerian government has ratified five of the eight core conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions against child labour, 'The Guardian' newspaper reported on Thursday. The ratification was disclosed by Godfrey Preware, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Employment, Labour and Productivity, at the 89th plenary session of the ILO which ended in Geneva recently, the paper said.


Argentine lawmakers approve Kyoto Climate Protocol

Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 22 - The Argentine House of Representatives has approved the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement which aims to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These gases are linked to global warming. This approval was the last step needed towards the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by the Argentine Congress.

The approval is welcome support for the embattled Kyoto Protocol, but Argentina is not one of the 39 industrialized countries that is actually governed by the agreement. (…)

The Kyoto Protocol was signed by most countries including Argentina and the United States in 1997 as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, but has not yet entered into force. The protocol will not take effect until it is ratified by 55 percent of the nations emitting at least 55 percent of six greenhouse gases that trap the Sun's heat close to the Earth's surface.

The Kyoto Protocol is the only international agreement to address greenhouse gases emissions linked to global warming. The aim of the protocol is to reduce by an average of 5.2 percent the emissions of the industrialized countries relative to their 1990 emissions levels.

By Alejandra Herranz


Education bill targets pesticides in schools

Washington, DC, USA, June 20 - The education bill passed last week in the U.S. Senate could help protect children from pesticides in schools. The legislation would promote safer pest management practices in schools, reducing the chemicals used in classrooms, playgrounds and other school properties, to safeguard the nation's most vulnerable population from the toxic effects of pesticides.

The School Environment Protection Act (SEPA) of 2001 was sponsored by Senator Robert Torricelli, a New Jersey Democrat. The measure, included in the Senate version of the Better Education for Students and Teachers Act, resulted from an historic agreement between agricultural, environmental, children and labor groups, and the chemical and pest management industries.

Thirty-one states have taken some level of action in protecting children from pesticide use in, around or near their schools, according to a report, "The Schooling of State Pesticide Laws-2000," by the environmental group and public health group Beyond Pesticides.

By Cat Lazaroff


EU renewable energy law virtually finalized

Brussels, Belgium, June 20 - A draft European Union law to promote electricity from renewable sources came close to finalization today as the European Parliament's energy committee endorsed a compromise reached between governments and the assembly's rapporteur Member of the European Parliament Mechtild Rothe. But an argument over whether biodegradable waste burning should be classed as renewable is likely to delay adoption of the law.

Under the deal, individual EU country targets to increase renewable electricity generation will remain non-binding. National renewable support plans will enjoy a seven year transition period once the European Union agrees on a harmonized support scheme.

The European Commission, the EU's executive branch, is to propose harmonizing rules within four years of the directive's entry into force.


Ship dismantling industry set to go green

Geneva/Nairobi, 19 June - International experts on hazardous wastes and shipping are joining forces in Geneva today under the auspices of the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal to start finalizing international Guidelines for the environmentally safe dismantling of obsolete ships. (…)

Although ships played a role in inspiring the international community to adopt the Basel Convention in 1989 - as the vehicles for highly publicized cargoes of hazardous wastes sent from industrialized countries for dumping in developing and East European countries - it is only in the last several years that the toxic materials they themselves are made of have become a priority issue.(…) The 89-page Guidelines seek to minimize or eliminate these risks by introducing universally applied principles for the environmentally sound management of ship dismantling. They detail procedures and good practices for decommissioning and selling obsolete ships, dismantling them, sorting the parts (for reuse, recycling and disposal), identifying potential contaminants, preventing toxic releases, monitoring environmental impacts, and responding to emergencies and accidents. They also address the design, construction and operation of ship dismantling facilities.



Human rights



Colombian towns choose peace at last

21 June - "The only war you win is the one that you can prevent." This maxim underlies the main achievement of the Colombian communities of Lejanías, El Dorado, El Castillo, San Martín, Cubarral and Guamal, which are overcoming a legacy of bloodshed and taking a path of reconciliation and development. (…)

The communities have been able to embark on the path of peace thanks to three reasons. First, the commitment of the local governments, led by the Alto Ariari Association of Municipalities, whose mayors decided to sit down, get to know each other, and start to work together. Second, the people of the communities dared to participate in local governance. Third, the communities found support from the General Directorate for Resettlement of the Ministry of Interior, as well as from UNDP and international NGOs. Human rights and democratization had become a priority in Alto Ariari and the armed groups had to respect this.


Bosnia-Herzegovina: Exploring humanitarian law

28 June  A month-long pilot programme to introduce secondary schoolchildren to the principles of international humanitarian law has just been completed in Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of the 'Exploring Humanitarian Law' project currently being developed by the ICRC in more than a dozen countries worldwide.

Designed to encourage children and adolescents to think about respect for life and humanitarian principals, the project uses a participatory approach to stimulate discussion and analysis of issues such as the protection of civilians in wartime, the role of combatants, the displacement of communities, child soldiers, mob violence and other forms of civil disturbance. (…)

The programme, which received the blessing of the Ministries of Education, was led by school teachers in collaboration with ICRC dissemination officers, representatives of local educational institutes and personnel from the Red Cross Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina.



Economy and development



High expectations for the “World Food Summit” to be held in Rome 5-9 November

New York, 25 June – The AIDS epidemic is rapidly spreading to rural areas in developing countries and is contributing to an increase in the number of people who go to bed hungry every night, the Director-General of the Rome-based UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Dr. Jacques Diouf, said in a message delivered to the Special Session of the UN General Assembly on HIV/AIDS.

“Unless national governments, international bodies and organizations of civil society step up their efforts, the vicious circle of poverty, hunger and HIV/AIDS will not be broken. Indeed, it will intensify,” Dr. Diouf said. He hopes that the “World Food Summit: five years later”, to be held in Rome 5-9 November 2001, will contribute to breaking this vicious circle. The purpose of the Summit is to raise both the political will and the financial resources to fight hunger.


Mexico: World Bank reviews strategy, launches projects to expand health coverage, restructure banks

Washington, June 22 - The World Bank's Executive Board reviewed a two-year progress report this week on implementation of the Bank's assistance strategy in Mexico, and also approved two new loans to Mexico, respectively, $350 million to expand and improve health services to the poor, and $505 million to deepen reforms in the country's banking sector.

The report on Mexico's Country Assistance Strategy, in effect since June 1999, noted that the relationship between Mexico and the World Bank Group is, "at an encouraging high point," due to a "combination of country development progress and success in delivering assistance." (…)

The Bank's portfolio in Mexico is expected to begin 2002 with 23 projects, with disbursements in the past three fiscal years totaling $3.9 billion. Loans and analytical work have focused on social sustainability, including support for basic education and health services, and addressing the needs of the rural poor, and support for a viable macroeconomic framework which, the report says, has "placed Mexico among the best macroeconomic performers in the region." The Country Assistance Strategy Progress Report also highlights the Bank's support for private sector growth and competitiveness, improvements in infrastructure, agricultural productivity, environmental protection, and public governance.


India boosts wide range of poverty reduction programs with World Bank support totaling US$ 914 million

New Delhi, June 21 - The World Bank today approved four loans and credits totaling US$ 913.8 million, for a current fiscal year total lending of US$ 2.5 billion, to the Government of India to support programs vital to lasting poverty reduction. The four loans and credits finance programs implemented at the national, state and local levels. (…)

Reinforcing initiatives by the Government of India to support economic reforms at the state level, two of the loans and credits approved today support reforms and poverty reduction within the State of Karnataka. The Karnataka Watershed Development Project (US$100.4 million) finances improved services to poor communities in semi-arid regions and the Karnataka Economic Restructuring Project (US$150 million) supports ongoing efforts to improve fiscal stability and government effectiveness in the state.

The Grand Trunk Road Improvement Project (US$589 million) is part of the Central Government's broader program to relieve transport bottlenecks on India's key highways. The World Bank is financing expansion of the national highway which connects New Delhi to Calcutta. The expanded highway, which passes through some of India's poorest states, will facilitate trade and the movement of people and goods while reducing the high number of road accidents.

The Second Rajasthan District Primary Education Project (US$74.4 million) supports expansion of the nationwide District Primary Education Program in the state of Rajasthan which is increasing access to quality primary education for poor people-particularly girls. Coordinated by the Government of India, the project builds on successful experiences in parallel programs in other states and within Rajasthan.


China receives $100 million loan to improve inland waterways

Washington, June 21 - The World Bank today approved a US$100 million IBRD loan for the China Third Inland Waterways Project, which will help to reduce transport and energy bottlenecks in Hunan Province. The project will improve market access for the remote inland areas of the province, provide more efficient and economic inland waterway transport, and generate power to supplement the needs of the remote areas.

Infrastructure improvement is a vital part of China's development agenda, particularly in the inland provinces. This project, a combination of navigation and hydropower, aims to improve the economic well-being of the majority of the poorest families along the Xiangjiang River in Hunan Province. The project will remove dangerous shoals, upgrade the 157-kilometer channel, and create a deeper channel along the Xiangjiang River in order to enhance the safety and productivity of the Inland Waterways system. These improvements will allow a more efficient mix of vessel sizes to use the waterways, and will reduce their travel time by up to 2.5 hours. In addition, almost 640.5 million kwh of power will be produced annually for Hunan Province, which will reduce the incidence of power outages.


Congo: Sabena/Swissair declares embargo on transport of coltan

22 June - The Belgian-Swiss airline consortium Sabena/Swissair has announced an embargo on the transport of "coltan and all related minerals" from all points of the company's operations in eastern Africa (Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda), airline industry sources told IRIN on Wednesday. The decision was announced on 15 June and became effective immediately, they added. The announcement follows the release of a UN report in April that named the consortium as among those transporting the highly sought-after mineral coltan (a naturally occurring compound of columbium and tantalite found in eastern DRC and Rwanda), the exploitation of which has been cited as a factor fuelling the conflict in the DRC.

Coltan is an essential ingredient of high-tech components in the aerospace and communications industries, and demand and prices for the mineral have risen markedly in recent years. The UN report, completed by a panel of experts chosen to investigate allegations of illegal exploitation of the natural resources of the DRC, accused Rwanda and Congolese rebel groups of profiting from their control of the eastern provinces of the Congo to mine and sell coltan in order to finance military operations and enrich themselves.


Better seeds can boost harvests for Iraq

20 June - With assistance from UNDP, Iraq is upgrading the quality of seeds for cereal crops to boost yields of these poor people's staples and improve farmers' livelihoods. (…)

Planting low quality seeds leads to problems such as weed and pests, low productivity and an inability to use seed processing machinery efficiently. Lack of high-yielding seed has reduced farm efficiency and often forced poor farmers to abandon their lands.

To help Iraq improve seed quality, UNDP launched an initiative in 1998 at the request of the government to restore the seed multiplication programme. The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) is implementing the $1 million project, building up stocks of healthy, genetically pure seeds for multiplication, based on modern agricultural standards.

Initially, the project imported 45 tonnes of high productivity wheat seed, then distributed to selected farmers for multiplication, along with a modern seed processing plant. About half the farmers are women. The project has produced 5,000 tonnes of seed, and is replacing low-yielding wheat varieties with new, more productive ones. The project aims to output enough certified seed to meet 70 per cent of the country's requirements within several years and eventually enable Iraq to meet all its cereal needs.






UNAIDS welcomes financial contribution by Gates Foundation to the Global AIDS and Health Fund - Statement by Peter Piot, Executive Director, UNAIDS

Geneva, 19 June  – "UNAIDS warmly welcomes the financial contribution of US$ 100 million to the global AIDS and health fund by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We commend the Gates Foundation for being the first private foundation to commit needed resources in the fight against HIV/AIDS to the global fund. In making this contribution, the fund becomes a still more diverse and international partnership - which is surely the only way we will defeat this epidemic and reverse its terrible consequences. The Foundation has also set out the high priority that they give to stopping transmission and protecting a new generation of young people from becoming infected. We hope that today's announcement by the Gates Foundation will catalyse other donors including other private foundations to channel major contributions to the global fund."


Sierra Leone: Plastic surgeons to remove children's scars

22 June - Some 136 children on whose faces and bodies rebels carved their groups' acronyms during Sierra Leone's 10-year civil war are to have them removed by two visiting plastic surgeons from the International Medical Corps. A UNICEF official told IRIN the first surgeon was due to arrive in mid-July. The official said some 95 percent of the children had been branded with the letters RUF or AFRC, the acronyms of the Revolutionary United Front and the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, which ruled Sierra Leone in 1997-1998.

Many of the children were forcibly separated from their relatives. Child protection agencies have started a massive effort to trace the families of minors released from militia service or captivity, OCHA reported in a review of the country's humanitarian situation from 10 May to 16 June.

OCHA said that up to 11 June, UNICEF and its partners had reunited 153 children who served in the pro-government Civil Defence Forces with their families.


Congo: WFP begins massive food airlift in Katanga

22  June - The WFP on Monday began a two-month airlift operation targeting 25,600 accessible people in the north of Katanga Province, southeastern DRC. The operation, based out of Kalemie in the east of the province by Lake Tanganyika, aimed to fly some 650 mt of food and 100 mt of non-food items into six war-ravaged locations in northern Katanga for hungry and vulnerable populations, the agency said in a statement on Tuesday. (…)

The target population in all six locations comprised severely malnourished children and their family members. The food is to be distributed at hospitals and feeding centres rehabilitated in the last months and weeks by the Italian NGO Nuova Frontiera, according to WFP. Over the next two months, the DC-3 would make several flights a day to the six northern Katanga locations, "all of which have been cut off from markets and their food-producing fields by extreme insecurity for the past several years", the agency added.


Kenya: legislation promises cheaper drugs for AIDS patients

20 June - The Kenyan parliament on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill which looks set to reduce the cost of essential AIDS treatment significantly. The Industrial Property Bill will allow the government to import or manufacture cheaper copies of brand-name drugs, including the anti-retrovirals (ARVs) used in the drug cocktail used to fight AIDS, according to campaigners for the affordable availability of drugs.


Yugoslavia: ICRC steps up mine-awareness campaign

28 June  ICRC teams in southern Serbia have stepped up their efforts to warn the population of the threat posed by mines and unexploded ordnance, the dangerous legacy of recent violence which has already claimed the lives of five people in the area and injured several more.

The easing of tension in and around the so-called Ground Safety Zone has prompted farmers to start tending their fields again and displaced families to return home. This has heralded a new problem, since members of these groups, and especially children, are the most likely to be injured by mines and unexploded ordnance.

To respond to the danger, the ICRC has expanded its existing mine-awareness programme in the schools so as to reach as many schoolchildren as possible before the end of the term. In addition, all relief beneficiaries are receiving mine-awareness leaflets and posters, and local TV and radio stations have agreed to broadcast an ICRC public information campaign. The ICRC is also actively recruiting and training volunteers from the Yugoslav Red Cross and the local community in order to ensure that the message reaches as many people as possible.


Reinsurance firm makes donation to ICRC

22 June 2001 – Geneva (ICRC) – The Board of Directors of the New Reinsurance Company in Geneva has decided to forego celebrations to mark the company's 75thanniversary and instead donate one million Swiss francs to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The ICRC will use the money for water-supply projects in Afghanistan and East Timor.

By means of this donation, the New Reinsurance Company seeks to give expression to its humanitarian commitment and to make an active contribution to restoring facilities on which people depend for their very survival. The money will support projects that give access to clean water to men, women and children living in areas that lack even the most basic infrastructure as a result of war and general impoverishment. This in turn will lead to a considerable improvement in the hygiene conditions and health of large groups of people living in war-torn areas.


Peru: MSF provides sanitary assistance to victims of earthquake

Lima, June 28th  - Volunteers of the international humanitarian aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) are working in the Departments of Arequipa, Moquegua and Tacna in Peru, to assist the victims of last Saturday's earthquake. The teams, made up of medical staff and water and sanitation specialists, are focusing their efforts to respond to most urgent medical needs of people living in rural areas and the most affected urban areas. (…)

At the time of the earthquake, MSF was already present in Peru running different medical programmes. In Satipo, the organisation runs a project to improve diagnosis and treatment of cutaneous and muco-cutaneous Leishmaniasis. In Lima, teams run various HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programmes. At the end of this month, MSF will end a six-year project to improve access to healthcare for indigenous and mestizo populations who live along Ucayali river in Pucallpa region.






Vigorous leadership and adequate resources prerequisites to fighting AIDS, UNAIDS says

New UNAIDS report singles out leadership as key to unlocking broad AIDS response

New York, 21 June – The magnitude of the AIDS effort requires vigorous leadership and additional resources, according to a report released today by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The report, entitled "Together We Can," notes that leadership is fundamental to effective action against HIV/AIDS and that leaders at every level have been at the forefront of the many successes achieved in fighting the epidemic. (…)

The report highlights advances in the response to the epidemic and gives concrete examples of the successes achieved in the 20 years since the first clinical description of AIDS was made. It singles out leadership as one of the critical factors in mobilizing action and resources to fight HIV/AIDS.


UNAIDS signs up Coca-Cola in battle against AIDS

The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation will co-ordinate local support for AIDS programmes across the continent

Geneva, 20 June – UNAIDS today announced a partnership with The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation to bring new impetus to the battle against AIDS.  Under the terms of the three-year agreement, the Foundation will co-ordinate the efforts of Coca-Cola Africa and its bottling partners across the continent to support AIDS education, prevention and treatment programmes. This partnership is fully in line with the philosophy behind the International Partnership against AIDS in Africa.(…)

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) brings together seven United Nations system organizations (UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, UNDCP, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank) to help the world prevent new HIV infections, care for those already infected and mitigate the epidemic's impact. (…)


Namibia: nation urged to join polio fight

20 June - The Ministry of Health and Social Services yesterday launched this year's National Immunisation Days of June 19 and 20 and July 24 and 25 countrywide, under the theme 'Let's Kick Polio Out Of Namibia'. The project, which is part of the global effort to eradicate polio was initiated in Namibia for the sixth consecutive year.


Uganda: Kampala chosen for major AIDS training centre

20 June - Africa's first major treatment and training centre for HIV/AIDS is scheduled to open in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, early next year, according to a press statement on Monday from the Academic Alliance for AIDS Care and Prevention in Africa.



Energy and safety



USA: Chicago increases electricity from renewable resources

20 June -  Chicago officials say that within five years, at least 20 percent of electricity used by the city to power everything from public buildings to elevated trains will come from renewable sources like wind and solar power.  City Environment Commissioner Bill Abolt said, "The competition Chicago is involved in is an international one to establish itself as the premier environmentally friendly city." Since Mayor Richard Daley (D) took office, Chicago has planted thousands of trees, created more than 100 miles of bike paths, installed solar panels on city museums, and built a rooftop garden on City Hall.


Japanese and US groups working together on certifications for biodegradable and compostable plastics

Tokyo, Japan; New York, USA, June 25 - The Biodegradable Plastics Society of Japan (BPS) and the International Biodegradable Products Institute of the United States (BPI) announced the signing of an agreement to cooperate in the development of comparable tests and standards for biodegradable plastic products. This effort will eventually result in the recognition of each other’s certifications, facilitating the approval process for manufacturers. The action is an important sign that the standards for biodegradable plastics are converging on a global basis. "The agreement between the BPS and the BPI shows that Japan and the United States are moving in the same direction in the critical areas of test methods and specifications," noted Kazushi Ohshima, General Manager of the BPS.

The agreement stemmed from meetings held over the past 2 years between the BPS and BPI.



Science and technology



Cooperative research brightens future of fiber-optic networks

Genoa Corp. (Fremont, California, USA) recently unveiled a semiconductor chip roughly a square millimeter in size that soon may revolutionize the design of local communication networks, bringing the speed and capacity of fiber-optic networks dramatically closer to the individual consumer. Genoa’s new device is the world’s first single-chip linear optical amplifier, developed as part of a research project under the NIST Advanced Technology Program. Fiber-optic networks are used increasingly for communications because they can move “firehose” quantities of data at literally lightning speed.


COVAX, virtual filing for libraries, archives and museums.  

An international consortium has given life to COVAX (Contemporary Cultures Virtual Archive in XML), a biennial project financed by the European Commission and forming part of the Information Society Technologies program (IST) with a cost of 2 million Euros.  

The project, created for demonstrating the feasibility of accessing distributed resources and to obtain on the Web simple and advanced searches of electronic collections, aims at putting together the descriptive and digital material of libraries, archives and museums for the building of a global search and information retrieval system. The project will demonstrate its feasibility through a prototype containing a meaningful sample of all the different types of documents. The fundamental idea resides in the application of XML and the varied DTDs defined in libraries, archives and museums.  

ENEA's Research Service (with L. Bordoni as its scientific head) will represent Italy in the project, together with: Angewandte InformationsTechnik Forschungsgesellschaft mbH and Salzburg Research (Austria), Blekinge Tekniska Högskola (Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden), Software AG España, S.A., Universitat Oberta de Catalunya and the Biblioteca de Menéndez Pelayo (Spain), Laser (London and South Eastern Library Region, UK). The Residencia de Estudiantes (Spain) will co-ordinate the project.


Unaltered foods thanks to an innovative system of concentration at low temperatures.  

Italian ENEA (Biotecnological and Agricultural Division, Biotecnological Plant and Processing Department), the Bologna University (Department of Chemical Engineering, Mining and Environmental Technologies - DICMA), the COIMEX corporation and the Experimental Institute for industry of Food Preserves in Parma have developed an innovative process for the low temperature concentration of liquid foods such as vegetable juices, grape must, tomato juice, etc. that conserves intact the organical and nutritional qualities of the foods themselves. 

The experiment so far involves a test plant for the concentration at low temperatures and through a process of direct osmosis or, more precisely, of gaseous membrane extraction, that exploits the properties of hydrophobic porous membranes to prevent the passage of water in the liquid state, but allowing permeation of it in the gaseous state; the concentration occurs through the use of a lower water vapor pressure (or of a higher osmotic pressure) than the one processed.  

With this method, for example, strongly concentrated fruit juices have been obtained (up to 65° Brixes) but which remain sufficiently liquid; the key to the process is the extractor, developed by ENEA and DICMA, and the type of membrane used, protected by patent.



Environment and Wildlife



Action to save albatross

20 June - Seven countries signed a plan yesterday meant to save the albatross, those big seabirds with wingspans of up to 11-and-a-half feet. Australian Environment Minister Robert Hill said all 20 albatross species in the Southern Hemisphere would become extinct if steps weren't taken to protect them.  Australia, Brazil, Britain, Chile, France, New Zealand, and Peru have pledged to find ways to reduce the threats posed to the birds by pollution and fishing.  The birds often get tangled up in long fishing lines, which are commonly used by poachers fishing for sea bass.


Humane Society of the United States plans "Humane Summer"

Web Site to Provide Tips for Animal-Friendly Summertime Activities

Washington, June 21 - The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the nation's largest animal protection organization, today is launching "Humane Summer" - a series of weekly reports on the Internet. The reports will feature streaming media on The HSUS's website - - that will provide tips on having an animal-friendly summer.

"We think people will be amazed at the ways their choices for summer activities can help - or harm - animals," said Kathy Milani, director of video projects and new media for The HSUS. "It's so easy to have a more humane summer without sacrificing fun and good times."



Culture and education



Israel: Peace Seminar and Culture Festival a big success

July 3- The Peace Seminar and Culture Festival held on June 29 at the IFLAC - EL Badia Tent of Peace in Ussfiya, on Mount Carmel, near Haifa, was a great success, with more than 300 people attending:  Jewish, Moslems and Christians, Israeli and Arab/ Palestinians.  The harmonious and fruitful exchange of opinions and conceptions proved again that working for peace in the Middle East in these hard times is more crucial and urgent than ever. 

Important resolutions were taken at this Peace seminar, among them:  "Jewish and Arab / Palestinian participants of the IFLAC Peace Culture Seminar, demand the immediate cessation of violence and shootings on both the Palestinian and Israel sides, and an immediate return to the peacemaking and negotiations table."


FAO-MIT media lab initiative aims to close digital divide

Rome, 20 June - The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today launched a new initiative aimed at closing the digital divide between rich farmers in developed countries and poor rural communities in developing countries, through innovative uses of technologies at the grassroot level that can increase food production in environmentally sound and sustainable ways.

An agreement aimed at developing and improving the use of digital information in the developing world was signed today by the FAO and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Laboratory (MIT Media Lab). (…)

The agreement provides for the World Agricutural Information Centre (WAICENT) of the FAO to serve as a platform for disseminating and supporting programmes initiated by the MIT Media Lab, such as "Digital Life", "Digital Nations", and "Things-that-Think". Both parties will join efforts to create effective synergies in areas of common interest, particularly in FAO programmes such as improving access to FAO information beyond the Internet, the FAO virtual Library, and other related FAO-WAICENT activities.


UNIFEM calls on world leaders to make women's role central in the fight against HIV/AIDS

New York, United Nations, June 22 - UNIFEM Executive Director, Noeleen Heyzer, today announced a 5-point Call for Action to make women central to every strategy in the fight against HIV/AIDS. "There is a direct correlation between women's low status, the violation of their human rights and HIV transmission," said Heyzer. "This is not simply a matter of social justice. Gender inequality is fatal." The announcement comes just before world leaders meet in New York from June 25-27 for the first Special Session of the General Assembly on HIV/AIDS. "The reason that AIDS has escalated into a pandemic is because inequality between women and men continues to be pervasive and persistent," said Heyzer. "Too often, women and girls cannot say no to unwanted and unprotected sex without fear of reprisal." (…)

The Call for Action includes: Guarantee Access to Prevention and Treatment, Make Research Gender Sensitive, Educate and Inform, Address Gender Inequality in Policy, Address HIV Transmission in Conflict Situations. UNIFEM has been working to mainstream gender within the UN system and to promote gender equality, women's development and human rights in developing countries. Given UNIFEM's expertise in gender mainstreaming, UNAIDS signed a Cooperation Agreement with UNIFEM last month. The agreement will help to strengthen the gender perspective in the UN response to the pandemic.


Chad: Islamic Bank lends US $7.3 million for education

22 June - Chad will receive a US $7.3-million loan from the Islamic Development Bank to support educational projects, AFP reported, citing a statement from the Jeddah-based institution. Primary school enrolment in Chad is about 52 percent while some 10 percent of eligible children attend secondary school, according to 1996 figures. The country has one university and several technical colleges.




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Next issue: 27 July 2001