Good News Agency – Year II, n° 7
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.
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vienna, Austria - IAEA ( International Atomic Energy Agency) Director General M. El Baradei said that progress towards a nuclear-weapon-free world’s depend on a fundamental change in concept of ‘security’, and expressed his views pointing to four goal efforts: 1) accelerated and tangible progress towards nuclear disarmament; 2) the development of an alternative system of collective security that does not depend on nuclear deterrence; 3) universal adherence to the non-proliferation regime, with a credible international verification system adequately financed and supported by the Security Council; 4) effective national and international system for the physical protection of nuclear material and the combating of illicit trafficking.
Full text at
Projects in the areas of radiation safety, nuclear safety, radioactive waste safety and related IAEA actions, IAEA meetings, International convenctions and report at last issue of IAEA News Briefs, vol.16, february/march 2001 on the internet
President of IFAD awarded with high decoration from Repubblica Italiana
Rome, March 27 - The President of IFAD, Mr. Fawzi Hamad Al Sultan, a national of Kuwait was conferred the decoration of "Grande Ufficiale dell'Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana" by the Ambassador of Italy to the United Nations Agencies in Rome, H.E. Raffaele Berlenghi on behalf of the President of the Republic of Italy, H.E. Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. The Ambassador announced that the award is in recognition of Mr Al Sultan’s successful endeavours to improve the lives of the rural poor during his eight years as President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Mr Al Sultan has served as President of IFAD for two four-year terms which end on 31 March 2001. His tenure has been marked by a major upward swing in the global war on poverty.
23 March - The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) and three international donor agencies signed a three-year agreement worth US $3.7 million for the development of an integrated water resource strategy for the Zambezi River Basin, PANA reported on Thursday. The report quoted official sources as saying that in terms of the agreement signed in Lusaka on Tuesday, the ZRA would implement the project on behalf of the SADC-Water Sector Coordinating Unit, the Swedish International Development Authority, the Danish International Development Agency and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation. The overall aim of the project is to develop an integrated management strategy to facilitate cross-sectoral planning and co-ordination of the use of water within the basin.
The project also aims at improving water availability and protection against floods and droughts, the report said, adding that the agreement is expected to encourage the use of water in the Zambezi river basin in a co-ordinated and equitable manner to avoid possible conflict of interests between local, subregional and regional users.
28 March - The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved in principle a three-year arrangement for Ethiopia under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) for SDR 87 million (about US$112 million) to support the government's 2000/01-2002/03 economic program.
Further details: http://www.kabissa.org/newsletter.php?id=212
Paris/Nairobi, March 19 : A new breed of energy entrepreneurs is set to deliver clean, modern and affordable energy to poverty-stricken rural areas of Africa and South America with support announced today by the United Nations Foundation (UNF). The UNF will invest US$ 4.2 million in the successful United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) African Rural Energy Enterprise Development initiative (AREED) and begin a similar program in Brazil. The investment comes on top of UNF's initial US$2 million AREED investment in 1999.
UNEP's Executive Director, Klaus Toepfer acknowledged the UNF support, saying the investment is "a key element" in UNEP's push to promote sustainable energy - renewable energy and energy efficient technologies that link economic development to both local environmental improvement and reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions.
London: delivery of low emission buses
London, UK, March 30 -: “London is to take delivery of three hydrogen fuel cell buses”, Transport Minister Lord Whitty announced, “and the government will contribute towards the cost of this project.” The London trial will form part of a much wider project involving 27 fuel cell buses. The other eight EU cities are Reykjavik, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Barcelona and Porto.
The London buses will be delivered in 2003 and will be operated with a dedicated hydrogen refuelling facility to be provided by BP.
TfL(Transport for London), the executive body of the Greater London Authority, which runs London Buses, expects to use more fuel cell buses following the end of the trials in 2005. Adoption of the buses on a more extensive route network will depend on developing a wider hydrogen fuel infrastructure.
Historical studies of recycled uranium released
Washington, USA, March 29 - The Department of Energy today released nine site specific studies that examined the historical movement of recycled uranium throughout the Department's complex. The reports provide a general understanding of the flow and characteristics of recycled uranium at individual sites. They identify where recycled uranium and trace amounts of other radioactive contaminants could have concentrated or been released, including historical periods, activities and concentrations, which may be useful for identifying potential worker exposure.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 2 - Malaysia assured a sceptical palm oil market (stocks reached a record 1.52 million tonnes last November due to poor exports: Malaysia is in the world's largest producer) with a plan to use crude palm oil as fuel was realistic and that the country's largest power generator had already started to do so.
Primary Industries Minister Lim Keng Yaik said the government together with state-owned Tenaga Nasional Bhd would officially launch burning crude palm oil as fuel on April 12 at the power station in the northern state of Penang.
UNDP approves support of US $ 1.5 million for HIV/AIDS programme in India
New Delhi, 26 March - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has committed support of US $ 1.5 million (Rs. 70 million approximately) to the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) for prevention and control of HIV/AIDS. The UNDP-supported initiative will focus on creating an environment for changes in behaviour, policy and programming, important requisites for an effective response to the HIV epidemic. The project is a joint initiative between the Government, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), UNAIDS and the corporate sector through the Confederation of Indian Industries. The UNAIDS contribution of US $ 100,000 will especially focus on greater involvement of persons living with HIV/AIDS.
Democratic Republic of the Congo: ICRC unites 137 unaccompanied children with their families
Geneva, 23 March - Ninety-nine unaccompanied children and teenagers aged between one and 16 were flown today from the eastern town of Goma to the Congolese capital Kinshasa under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The ICRC-chartered Boeing 737 then headed back to Goma carrying 38 other children who were to rejoin their families in the east of the country. Most of the children concerned had been separated from their families since the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo flared up again in August 1998. Since January 2000, the ICRC has reunited 541 Congolese children with their families. It has also repatriated 640 children to Rwanda.
23 March - The European Commission (EC) said in a statement on Thursday that it was giving Mozambique US $58 million to aid the government's fight against poverty. The statement said the money would contribute "to the continuity of the positive results attained in the country's economic and social areas, particularly actions contributing significantly to the reduction of poverty".
The first US $22 million would be available immediately, while the remaining US $36 million dollars would be disbursed between June and July, the Commission said. Meanwhile news reports added that the European Investment Bank would also write off US $17.5 million of Mozambique's debt under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.
Meanwhile, AIM reported last Friday that the international community had disbursed some US $11 million so far in response to the Mozambican government's appeal for aid intended for the flood victims in the central regions. In February the government estimated it would need about US $36.5 million for flood victims in the provinces of Manica, Sofala, Tete and Zambezia, and for the repair of essential infrastructure.
Sierra Leone: l’ospedale di Bo riceve medicinali per un valore di 76.000 dollari
23 marzo – L’Agenzia d’Informazione della Sierra Leone ha reso noto mercoledì che l’ospedale governativo di Bo ha ricevuto medicinali per un valore di circa 76.ooo dollari donati dal Medical Research Centre.
Il Primario, dr. Amara Jambai, ha affermato che i medicinali sono già stati distribuiti a 34 unità sanitarie del distretto di Bo, nella parte meridionale del paese. I farmaci, pagati dal Dipartimento Britannico per lo Sviluppo Internazionale e dall’MSF del Belgio, saranno venduti sulla base del puro prezzo di costo..
World leaders in health philanthropy will convene in London for an Inaugural Global Health Philanthropy Summit, to be held at the Royal College of Physicians from 9-11 May 2001. The Academy for International Health Philanthropy's Summit will address how philanthropists can make a greater and lasting impact on world health by pooling knowledge and by more effective targeting of their support. Registrations applications are available at the AIHP website or by e-mail:email@example.com
Access to TB cure a human rights imperative
TB and HIV Linked, Joint Efforts Needed
Geneva, 22 March – Joint efforts are needed to confront tuberculosis (TB) and HIV, according to Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of the World Health Organization. TB is a leading killer of people living with HIV and it is highest in countries with the highest rates of HIV.
"Not only is reducing the TB and HIV burden a health imperative - it is fundamental to human rights. TB and HIV are both enhanced by poverty, homelessness, substance abuse, psychological stress, poor nutritional status, crowded living conditions," Dr Brundtland added, referring to a new report on TB entitled "A human rights approach to tuberculosis".
The new report was released in the lead-up to World TB Day 2001, on 24 March. Its theme, 'DOTS: TB cure for all', calls for equitable and discrimination-free access to adequate treatment and services for anyone who has TB.
UN agencies launch new plan to halve mortality of measles, a major childhood killer
Geneva/New York 29 March – In a concerted move against one of the world’s deadliest childhood diseases, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF today announced a new initiative designed to halve global measles deaths by 2005. Measles accounts for the majority of the estimated 1.6 million annual deaths due to childhood vaccine-preventable diseases. Failure to deliver at least one dose of measles vaccine to all infants remains the primary reason for the high incidence and mortality rates of measles.
The Global Measles Strategic Plan calls on countries to assess progress on measles control, identify reasons for low routine coverage, develop a three to five year plan for measles mortality reduction and fully implement the recommended strategies. The plan has been developed by UNICEF and WHO in cooperation with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), numerous experts worldwide and several other partners. It has the advantage of being a flexible framework that can be adapted to the specific needs and immediate goals of individual countries.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awards $10 million to develop new diagnostics for tuberculosis
On the eve of World TB Day (24 March), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $10 million to the UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Development in Tropical Diseases (TDR) at the World Health Organization (WHO) to facilitate the development of new tests for the diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB), a disease responsible for some 2 million deaths each year in developing countries, half a million of which occur in persons with HIV infection.
The five-year grant, supporting the Tuberculosis Diagnostic Initiative, will speed up efforts to design new approaches to detecting TB among patients with symptoms such as cough, so that they can have access to curative treatment. Work is also under way on simple and accurate methods to detect bacterial resistance to treatment quickly and to uncover latent infection or incipient disease in persons without symptoms.
Geneva, march 28 (ips) - Poor countries and transnational pharmaceutical firms are wrangling over the question of access to inexpensive medications, a controversy that has entangled the two international bodies governing health and trade, the WHO and the WTO, respectively.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) acknowledge that global debate is heating up in regard to the compatibility of trade regulations and the ethical principles concerning the right to medical treatment, especially in those countries hard hit by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The contradictions entailed will be on the table for all to see during the World Health Assembly, May 14-22 in Geneva, because Brazil and South Africa are going to demand that the WHO member nations emit a declaration in favour of low-cost access to drugs for treating specific diseases.
The Brazilian and South African governments are currently involved in cases brought before national and international tribunals, where they defend what they insist is their right to protect the access of their poorest populations to economically- priced medicine.By Gustavo Capdevila - from Inter Press Service
27 March - Three-fourths of Americans want to know if their food contains genetically engineered ingredients, according to a poll released yesterday by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology. Fifty-eight percent of the respondents did not want such ingredients in the food supply, period. However, when they were told that the ingredients were already in many food products on grocery store shelves, nearly half of the respondents said the products must therefore be safe. Despite pressure from environmental and consumer groups, the U.S. has said it won't require labeling of genetically engineered foods. Labeling is already required in Japan, South Korea, Australia, and most of Europe.
26 March - Some farmers in the U.S. are joining environmental and consumer groups in opposing genetically engineered crops, adding strength to campaigns to have the crops regulated more tightly. More than 40 state bills have been introduced this year to regulate the crops or the labeling of foods made from them. In North Dakota, a bill to ban the planting of genetically modified wheat for two years has already passed the state House and is now before the Senate.
Although many farmers favor genetically modified crops because they have traits like strong pest resistance, some farmers fear they won't be able to sell the crops abroad. Europe and Japan are strictly regulating such crops and consumers outside the U.S. are avoiding foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients.
22 March - The biotech giant Monsanto confirmed accounts this week that it will shelve its first genetically modified crop and stop selling the six-year-old NewLeaf potato to farmers in the U.S. and Canada. The potato, which contains a gene that produces a toxin to repel the Colorado potato beetle, was unable to capture more than 5 percent of the potato-seed market. Farmers were lukewarm on the product because of high prices, and food companies steered clear, with consumers growing increasingly concerned about whether genetically modified foods are safe to eat. Last year, for example, McDonald's told its french-fry suppliers not to use the NewLeaf potato.
23 March - The United Nations Children's Fund began its final round to vaccinate some 330,000 Sierra Leonean children in rebel-held areas of the country, the agency's communication officer, Jagmeet Uppal, told IRIN on Friday.
The day's effort began in the districts of Kono, Kailahun, Port Loko, Tonkolili, Bombali, Koinadugu and Kambia. UNICEF, WHO, Rotary International and USAID provided the money and technical support to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. UNAMSIL provided logistics.
The effort, which began in 1998, had been possible because of the "very close coordination" of RUF leaders, Joanna Van Gerpen, the UNICEF representative in Sierra Leone, told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday. The RUF allowed government health workers and over 1,000 volunteers into the north, she said, as UNAMSIL troops provided security. Each child must get at least four doses of vaccine to be fully covered.
23 March - Bo Government Hospital has received drugs worth some US $76,000 donated by the Medical Research Centre, the Sierra Leone News Agency reported on Wednesday.
The principal medical officer, Dr Amara Jambai, said that the consignment had already been distributed to 34 health units in Bo District in the south of the country. The medicines - paid for by the British Department for International Development and MSF-Belgium - will be sold on a cost-recovery basis.
19 March - With some 8.4 million people threatened with a deadly epidemic of meningococcal meningitis - the Ethiopian Red Cross has mobilized thousands of volunteers to begin a major social mobilization campaign on the disease, and to make sure those at risk are vaccinated. "There is serious cause for alarm about the spread of this epidemic. While to date there have been 1,700 cases reported and 140 deaths confirmed, this is probably a serious underestimate of the reality on the ground. Ethiopian Ministry of Health figures that 8.4 million people could be at risk are very realistic. It is vital that we act now," said Dr. Bradley Hersh, a senior medical epidemiologist with the International Federation. The group most at risk is between the age of two and thirty years old.
Melbourne, Australia, March 28 (ENS) - Two new projects expected to reduce greenhouse emissions by more than three million tonnes over five years have won A$26 million (US$12.84 million) in support from the Australian government's Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program.
Sierra Gorda (Mexico) and Waterberg (South Africa) join world network of UNESCO biosphere reserves
Paris, March 22 - Two new sites, Sierra Gorda in Mexico and Waterberg in South Africa, have been named as Biosphere Reserves by the Bureau of UNESCO’s intergovernmental Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, during a meeting at UNESCO Headquarters (March 21 to 23).
Approved, appropriately enough, on World Water Day which is celebrated on March 22 every year, the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve is located in the Northern Province of South Africa. The 415,000 hectare Waterberg serves as a natural water reservoir for the arid Northern Province. It is an area of low mountain ranges and escarpments with poor soils and a relatively low level of economic activity.
The 400,000 hectare Biosphere Reserve of Sierra Gorda is located in the State of Queretaro, Northern Mexico. Its geographic location has made it the habitat of plants and animals which are typical of the mountains of North America, Meso-America and South America, thus combining to make Sierra Gorda one of the most biologically diverse places of Mexico. Its population of 90,000 inhabitants is mainly engaged in large-scale cattle raising, seasonal agriculture and forestry.
The two new biosphere reserves are now part of the World Network of 393 sites in 94 countries.
The way Italy has decided to organise the elimination of used lubrificants from its country is generating considerable interest in Europe, pursuing a target which is at the same time environmental and industrial.
To make it compulsory for the companies that produce, sell and use lubricants to cooperate in favour of the environment, is the base point on which the legislator established the Mandatory Consortium of Used Oil in 1982. Operating since 1984, the Consortium collects waste oils and arranges for its appropriate reutilization, transforming it into new lubricants (90%) with chemical and physical characteristics similar to new base oils and into energy. It is a non-profit Consortium of no extra cost to the Government, even though it carries out an activity of considerable public interest, ensuring the collection and recycling of a potentially highly dangerous special waste product. The results of the collection (90% of recoverable oil), and the very high percentage of regeneration, make it an “avant-garde” structure in Europe.
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European Union elevates role of biodiversity in policy making
Brussels, Belgium, March 28 - The European Commission says a series of action plans adopted today will put protection of biological diversity at the heart of European Union agricultural, fishery and development policies. A rich biodiversity is important because it provides the raw materials society needs. It is essential for the long term sustainability of agriculture and fisheries, and it is the basis for many industrial processes and the production of new medicines. The aim of today's action plans is to stop losses in wildlife, ecosystems, varieties of crops, domestic animals and fish. The plans go beyond traditional natural conservation policies because they address specific areas where biodiversity loss has been felt most acutely. The plans will be followed up by performance evaluations to monitor their effectiveness.
Grand Canyon, Arizona, March 29 (ENS) - For the first time in 15 years, a California condor has laid an egg in the wild. Although the egg was found broken, biologists say this first nesting attempt illustrates the success of the captive breeding program that removed the last California condor from the wild in 1986. Meanwhile, five more young California condors are scheduled to be released into the wild next week.
29 March - A $32 million project to restore marine resources in the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand was launched yesterday by the U.N. Environment Programme. Seven Southeast Asian nations and donors from developed countries finalized an agreement last November to fund the five-year plan, which is intended to help some 270 million people whose livelihoods have been affected by declining fish stocks, damaged coral reefs, and disappearing mangrove forests.
Overfishing, pollution, and coastal development have led to the problems.
East Haddam, CT, March 19 - The Humane Society of the United States(HSUS), the nation's largest animal protection organization, and its youth education division, the National Association for Humane and Environmental Education (NAHEE), invite teenagers to visit Humane Teen, the world's first animal protection web site designed exclusively for teens. Teens can log onto the site directly at www.humaneteen.org or link to it via The HSUS' or NAHEE's online sites.
Humane Teen features true stories of young activists and teen clubs making a difference for animals and the environment…
Washington, DC, 19 March -- The United Nations Foundation (UNF) announced today funding for a pioneering project aimed at reversing the decline of the world's coral reefs.
The International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN), which has secured up to $10 million from the UN Foundation, the largest to date in the Foundation's environment portfolio, will support "flagship" coral reef management demonstration sites in four Regional Seas: the wider Caribbean, East Africa, East Asia and the South Pacific. These sites will become blueprints for managing threatened coral reefs worldwide, protecting them from over-fishing, pollution, oil spills and growing coastal populations.
Kiwayu, Kenya – Julie Church is managing a WWF educational project in the Kenya’s Kiunga Reserve, 250 km2 on eastcoast, about the women independence, their 80 children’s education (WWW provides the first school books) and the village community – 400 inhabitants – environmental education (the heart of the WWF camp is the Education Centre) about the consequences of over-fishing and too intensive deforestation.
The women of Kiwayu are making money - U$ 65 a month’s, more than the men earn by fishing – from the recycling handiwork of the sea-shore waste –become key rings, mobiles, serviette holders, fridge magnets - and benefiting at the same time the female turtles who come here to nesting and the freshly batched turtles that have to reach the ocean.
WWF Panda SA Zurich
China, March 24 - The second seminar on enterprises engagement into environmental protection (the first was held in Beijing in 1999) will be held in Shenzhen from May 31 to June 2, according to the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA).
The organization will try to give advice and information, from experts attending the seminar, about how to encourage enterprises to engage in environmental protection and expand the financing channel, said Yu Dehui, an official with SEPA.
"Basketball Without Borders" NBA Stars to Conduct Camp for Kids from Former Yugoslavia
United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP), FIBA, the National Basketball Association (NBA), Benetton and Blu Team up for basketball camp
Vienna, 26 March – Nine NBA players, led by veterans Vlade Divac of the Sacramento Kings and a native of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Toni Kukoc of the Atlanta Hawks and a native of Croatia, will conduct a basketball camp in Treviso, Italy June 29 – July 2 for young players (aged 12-14) from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Slovenia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, it was announced today by NBA Commissioner David Stern. "The NBA is proud to work with the United Nations to promote goodwill around the world and to use the sport of basketball as a common language for global peace, friendship and sportsmanship," said Stern. The three-day event, "Basketball without Borders," ("Košarka bez granica") also will include seminars designed to promote leadership, conflict resolution and living a healthy life without drugs as part of the celebration of the United Nations International Day against Drug Abuse (June 26, 2001).
UN in Vienna Seeking Nominees for Civil Society Award
Vienna, 21 March - In its continued effort to mobilize global solutions and new partnerships with civil society in the fight against drug abuse, crime and terrorism, the United Nations in Vienna is again calling for nominations of individuals and organizations that are doing outstanding work to build societies free from the evils of drugs and crime. Eligible candidates will be considered for the annual UN Vienna Civil Society Award, inaugurated with the support of the Austrian Government and the City of Vienna…
Those selected will receive their awards -- consisting of a medal, a certificate and a share of $100,000 in prize money -- at a ceremony in Vienna later this year. In December last year, the United Nations in Vienna, the Austrian Government and the City of Vienna honoured two individuals from Thailand and the United Kingdom and two organizations from Colombia and Chad for their outstanding contributions.
UNESCO to continue mobilization in favour of Afghanistan
Paris, March 27 - UNESCO is determined to pursue the mobilization in favour of Afghanistan’s heritage, despite the destruction of the Buddha statues of Bamiyan by the Taliban, focusing its future action on the safeguarding of Afghanistan’s remaining Islamic and pre-Islamic heritage, maintaining dialogue, pursuing discussions of a religious nature favourable to heritage protection and working to develop legal standards pertaining to the concept of cultural crime.
At a press conference he hosted this morning, UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura and his special envoy to Afghanistan, Pierre Lafrance, spoke both of the latter’s mission to Kandahar, Kabul, Islamabad and Doha and about UNESCO’s future action.
Mr Matsuura referred to the wave of indignation raised by the destruction of Afghanistan’s pre-Islamic heritage, stressing that “this general mobilization in favour of cultural heritage has transcended the boundaries between nationalities and religion”. He also highlighted the fact that many Moslem states refused “to see their religion associated to this fanatical gesture.”
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