Good News Agency – Year III, n° 13



Weekly - Year III, number 13 –  28 June 2002

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 published in English on one Friday and in Italian the next.  It is distributed free of charge through Internet to the editorial offices of more than 2,400 media in 46 countries, as well as to 1,000 NGO.




Human rightsInternational legislationEconomy and developmentSolidarity

HealthEnergy and safetyEnvironment and wildlifeCulture and education



Human rights



Special representative for children and armed conflict visits Ingushetiya

20 June - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Olara A. Otunnu, arrived in the Northern Caucasus Tuesday, after meeting officials in Moscow.  He visited camps of the internally displaced Chechen people in Ingushetiya and sites of spontaneous settlements.  Mr Otunnu talked to the internally displaced children and families and he toured health centres, schools and sports facilities and witnessed cultural activities carried out by the displaced populations. The Special Representative was also able to observe the humanitarian activities of the United Nations agencies and various non-governmental organizations which are assisting the internally displaced families. (…)

In the context of his mandate, the Special Representative is in the Russian Federation to promote the protection, rights, and well-being of children affected by war.  One of the main objectives of the mission is to assess first-hand and seek to focus attention on the situation of children affected by the conflict in Chechnya.

The Special Representative serves as international advocate for children affected by armed conflict by promoting standards and measures for their protection in times of war, as well as their healing and social reintegration in the aftermath of conflict.


UNICEF officials negotiate with LTTE on the release of recruited children

Colombo, 20 June - Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels assured the United Nations Children's Fund, that it will not recruit anyone under the age of 18 years in their armed forces.

This verbal agreement is in compliance with the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. The Optional Protocol prevents the recruitment of children under age 18 in to armed forces.

Under this common understanding, UNICEF would maintain a central information system of all confirmed cases of under age recruitment for a follow up during regular discussions between UNICEF and the LTTE (Liberation Tamily Tigers Eelam). (…)

While actively advocating for the prevention of under age recruitment by the LTTE, UNICEF is also engaged in the cases of children who have been already recruited. The organisation's efforts have resulted in successful release of over sixty children from the LTTE. However, much more needs to be done.


Special Committee on Israeli practices to visit Egypt, Jordan and Syria

18 June - The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories will visit Egypt, Jordan and Syria from 23 June to 6 July 2002. The Committee plans to hold hearings in Cairo between 24 and 27 June; in Amman from 29 June to 1 July, and in Damascus from 4 to 5 July.

Since its establishment in December 1968, the panel has repeatedly been denied cooperation by the Government of Israel or access to the occupied territories. The Committee has none the less benefited from the cooperation and information provided by representatives from the Governments of Egypt, Jordan and Syria. The information gathered during these hearings, from witnesses having first-hand and recent experience of the human rights situation in the occupied territories, and from Governmental representatives, is taken into account in the Special Committee's reports to the General Assembly. Information appearing in the Israeli press and the Arab press published in the occupied territories is also made available to the Committee. The Committee formulates conclusions containing its evaluation of the situation as well as recommendations.

The Special Committee was established by General Assembly resolution 2443 (XXIII). It is composed of three Member States: Sri Lanka (Chairman), Senegal and Malaysia. (…)

The Special Committee's mandate was renewed for an additional year on 10 December 2001 by General Assembly resolution 56/59. The findings of the Special Committee are contained in its report to the General Assembly; document A/56/491 of 22 October 2001.

The territories to be considered as occupied territories for the purposes of the Special Committee's mandate currently are the occupied Syrian Arab Golan, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip



International legislation



South Eastern European countries to enhance intelligence sharing on drug trafficking

Vienna, 14 June - The United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) has launched a new project today aimed at strengthening the capacities of South-Eastern European states in the collection and analyses of criminal intelligence related to drug trafficking and organized crime (which is partly funded by the Government of the United Kingdom). At the meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria – attended by representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, and Slovenia – regional crime experts discussed the status of criminal intelligence analyses in their respective countries, regional cooperation and expectations from this new project. (…)


Afghanistan, neighbouring countries join counter-narcotic fight

Vienna, 14 June - Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries have taken new measures against the threat posed by drug cultivation and trafficking. Today the second phase of the project aimed at strengthening coordination in one of the largest opium poppy cultivation and drug-producing regions of the world has been announced. The project involving the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) in Vienna covers ten countries in Southwest and Central Asia which are members of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). (…)

ECO comprises ten countries: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. All ECO countries are affected by drug addiction, drug trafficking and related crime and it is the world’s largest opium-, morphine-, heroin- and cannabis-producing and trafficking region. (…)



Economy and development



IMF completes sixth review of Indonesia Program, approves US$358 million disbursement

June 21 - The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed today its sixth review of Indonesia's performance under a SDR 3.638 billion (about US$4.7 billion) Extended Fund Facility arrangement (see Press Release No. 00/4). This opens the way for release of a further SDR 275.24 million (about US$358 million) from the arrangement, which would bring total disbursements under the program to SDR 1.987 billion (about US$2.6 billion). (…)


IMF gives final approval of PRGF arrangement for Albania

June 21 - The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given its final approval of the three-year arrangement under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility for SDR 28 million (about US$36 million) for Albania to support the government's economic program (see Press Release No. 02/30).

The final decision by the IMF Executive Board was contingent on the World Bank Executive Board's endorsement of Albania's Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) today. The decision will enable Albania to draw SDR 4 million (about US$5 million) under the PRGF from the IMF immediately.


Africans call for political action to achieve Millennium Development Goals

21 June - Governments need to go beyond reliance on their development programmes and start mobilizing popular political support to achieve progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This was a key conclusion of a forum on the MDGs that brought together ministers and senior government officials from 14 eastern and central African countries in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this week. World leaders endorsed the goals at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, setting clear targets for reducing poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women by 2015. In some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, more than half the population lives below the poverty line and fewer than half of adults can read and write.

UNDP is using its global network to help raise awareness, track progress, and connect countries to the knowledge and resources needed to achieve the goals. Also participating in the Addis forum were representatives from civil society, the private sector, the UN system and the donor community. (…)


IMF and World Bank support US$ 1.1 billion in debt service relief for Mauritania: West African Country reaches completion point under enhanced HIPC initiative

June 20 - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) agreed that Mauritania has reached its completion point under the enhanced framework of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.1 Mauritania becomes the sixth country to reach this point (joining Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda).

Debt service relief under the enhanced HIPC Initiative from all of Mauritania's creditors will amount to approximately US$1.1 billion over time (US$622 million in net present value [NPV] terms). As a result of HIPC assistance, the net present value of Mauritania's total external debt is reduced by some 50 percent, providing a good basis for long-term debt sustainability. This, however, will require continued efforts to monitor the debt level and to apply prudent debt management policies.  (…)


ILO annual Conference adopts new measures to tackle the challenges of globalization

Geneva, 20 June - The International Labour Organization (ILO) concluded its 90th annual Conference today after adopting a series of measures designed to promote a more rigorous approach to tackling the challenges of globalization and create an "anchor" for personal security through poverty reduction, job creation and improved workplace health and safety.

The ILO's annual International Labour Conference, which groups governments, workers and employers representing the Organization's 175 member States, was marked by what ILO Director-General Juan Somavia called an "exceptionally rich" discussion surrounding globalization, child labour and other issues and saw a "broad and steadily deepening consensus over the goal of decent work for all". (…)

The Conference also debated the situation in the occupied Arab territories and heard pledges in support of enhancing ILO efforts to create jobs in the area and promote dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis. Mr. Somavia said the ILO would allocate resources immediately with a view to establishing a Palestinian Fund for Employment and Social Protection. (…)


India to displace Viet Nam as world's second biggest rice exporter after Thailand

Bangkok, 20 June - Competitive prices, timely monsoon rains and surplus stocks have set India on course to become the world's second largest rice exporter this year after Thailand, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a new global rice market report released today.

Lower export prices coupled with yet another anticipated bumper paddy harvest and the expected surge in imports by Indonesia and China, will enable the South Asian nation to displace Viet Nam as the number two rice exporting nation, FAO's Rice Market Monitor forecasts. Despite a projected decline of nearly 2 million tonnes in the 2002 paddy harvest, India is estimated to more than double its previous year exports to 3.6 million tonnes in 2002, says the report. (…)

 FAO has revised upward rice production estimates for Asia following expectations of timely arrival of monsoon rains and latest predictions of a much weaker 'El Nino' than forecast earlier this year.

However, fears of adverse weather have led the Government of Indonesia to double its rice import requirements in 2002 to 3 million tonnes over last year.

Full text of the report:


International Conference on Mountains in Adelboden, Switzerland says mountain people should have better access to markets and financial services

Adelboden, Switzerland, 20 June - The international community should pay more attention to the plight of millions of people in mountain areas, according to the final declaration of a four-day international conference, which ended today.

Mountain people are often neglected and exposed to poverty, hunger, social and political marginalization and conflicts, according to the Adelboden Declaration, adopted by some 200 representatives of mountain people, governments, international organizations and civil society groups from about 50 countries. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that about 770 million people or 12 percent of the world population live in mountain areas. (…)

Because globalization has often had negative effects on mountain areas, the declaration calls for the removal of market distortions. The declaration says mountain people should have better access to markets and financial services and should receive fair compensation for environmental and other goods and services. (…) The conference noted the key role of agriculture for the development of mountain areas and called for more economic diversification.

In order to improve the living conditions of people in mountain areas, the declaration called for recognition of the rights of local communities, indigenous and tribal people and vulnerable groups based on their knowledge, natural resources and technologies, property and access to land. (…)

 The results of the conference will be presented at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in Johannesburg 26 August - 4 September 2002 and the Bishkek Global Mountain Summit to be held in Kyrgyzstan in October 2002.

Conference's web site:   FAO:  


IFAD to support Rural Development Programme in the Republic of Haiti

Rome, Monday 17 June - A USD 28.1 million project in the Republic of Haiti – the ‘Productive Initiatives Support Programme in Rural Areas’ – will receive a USD 21.7 million loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). A loan agreement was signed today at the Fund’s Headquarters by HE Jean Walnard Dorneval, permanent representative of the Republic of Haïti and Mr. Lennart Båge, President of IFAD.

The beneficiaries of this programme will be small farmers, the landless and women and youth. Project activities will extend to their economic organizations, women’s groups and microfinance institutions. In a ten year period about 500,000 people directly or indirectly will benefit from this programme.(…) Specifically the programme aims to strengthen local and national capacities for development planning and management with the participation of grass-roots organizations; support initiatives related to recapitalization of farms, intensifiction and diversification of agricultural production, sustainable management of natural resources, processing and marketing of produce, improvement of rural infrastructure, non-agricultural and service microenterprises; facilitate sustainable access to financial services by the targeted rural poor and in particular the most marginal groups. (…)


United Nations Conference on Trade and Development presents report on Least Developed Countries for 2002

Geneva, 17 June - Extreme poverty in the world's 49 least developed countries is getting worse, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development's (UNCTAD) Least Developed Countries Report 2002. The Report's new estimates show that if current trends persist, the number of people living on less than $1 a dollar will rise from 307 million to 420 million by 2015.

The Report identifies the close link between extreme poverty and primary commodity dependence, asserting that the poverty trap ensnaring the least developed countries is reinforced by international trade and finance relationships.

Based on its new analysis of how extreme poverty falls as private consumption rises, UNCTAD also pinpoints a hitherto unrecognized opportunity for rapid poverty reduction. Doubling average household income through sustained economic growth could slash the percentage of the population subsisting on less than $1 day from 65 per cent to 20 per cent.

At a time when many governments are busy preparing poverty reduction strategies, UNCTAD is calling both for new national policies to increase investment, exports and productive capacity and for a more supportive international environment. (…)


Business Advisory Council of SPECA is launched

Geneva, 14 June - Strengthening economic ties among the Central Asian States and their economic integration with Europe and Asia would contribute to their transition to a market economy. International cooperation would also contribute to accelerating economic development of all the States of Central Asia. To achieve these goals, the Central Asian countries with the support of the United Nations, have established the United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA). Since its inception in 1998, the Programme has moved towards the above-mentioned goals. Yet, to be a success, SPECA must be supported by the business community. (…) When fully operational, the SPECA Council will bring together authoritative business personalities from SPECA participating States and from their major trade and economic partners. The Council will work to strengthen the involvement in SPECA of the private sector by creating conditions that favour private business. The Council will attract to the region foreign companies and capital, and will also promote regional goods and services on the world market. (…)






Canada Provides $5.5 Million for Children in Angola
Major gift will bring measles vaccine to newly opened regions

New York, 21 June - The Canadian Government has provided $5.5 million (Canadian) to UNICEF to jump-start a major measles vaccination campaign in Angola, where a recent peace deal has led to the opening of regions not accessed by aid agencies in years.

Measles is the first cause of vaccine-preventable mortality in Angola and is one of the leading killers of Angolan children. The nationwide measles campaign, to be launched late this summer, will help the Government of Angola, UNICEF and WHO reach a crucial objective: to reduce the number of measles cases and deaths by at least 75% over the next 5 years.

"This generous gift from Canada will truly be a life-saver," said Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF. "With this measles campaign, millions of children will be protected from this killer disease -- most for the first time. And millions of families across Angola will see that peace has real benefits." (…)


ADRA completes medical facilities in Rwanda

Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, June 21 - The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) office in Rwanda has completed construction of a new outpatient dispensary for the hospital that serves more than 91,000 people living in Mugonero, a community located in the hills at the edge of Lake Kibuye. ADRA Rwanda also is in the final stage of construction of the hospital’s new kitchen equipped with outside vents to channel heat from the stoves.

The new dispensary building includes a laboratory, a reception area, an office and storage room, an exam room, and three rooms for laboratory testing. In addition, a patient education room provides an area for community classes about HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other medical conditions. New latrines have been built near the new dispensary. The Japanese government funded construction of the dispensary. (…)


Rotary contribution for a polio-free world

On 21 June, the World Health Organization declared the European region polio-free.  Europe is now the third world region to be certified polio-free, and Rotary clubs throughout the world will soon embark on a new drive to raise funds needed to eradicate polio worldwide by 2005.  Yet the greatest threat to a polio-free world is a US$275 million funding gap.  As the leading private sector contributor to the global effort to eradicate polio, Rotary's 1.2 million members are doing everything in their power to ensure that nothing derails the dream of a polio-free world.

Starting July 2002, Rotary clubs worldwide will reach out to their communities with the goal of raising US$80 million through 2003. Why polio?  Because this disease is preventable, thanks to the oral polivaccine.  Since 1985, Rotary has been raising funds and providing volunteer support.  To date, Rotary has contributed more than US$462 million for the protection of more than two billion children in 122 countries.

The benefits of polio eradication far outweigh the costs.  The savings are potentially as high as US$ 1.5 billion per year worldwide - funds that could be used to address other public health priorities. The savings in human suffering will be immeasurable.


UN Population Fund and IFRC will work to make pregnancy and childbirth safer in disaster situations - World Refugee Day 2002

United Nations, New York, 20 June - Refugee women's need for safe birthing and reproductive health care is a critical humanitarian issue that calls for stepped up relief efforts and cooperation, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said today in statements as they marked World Refugee Day by agreeing to boost cooperation in this area.

Yesterday at a ceremony in Geneva, the Executive Director of UNFPA, Thoraya Obaid, and the secretary general of the IFRC, Didier Cherpitel signed a Memorandum of Understanding and pledged to expand and deepen the organizations' existing relationship. UNFPA is the world's largest provider of reproductive health assistance, IFRC is the world's largest humanitarian network. (…)


WFP expands school feeding programme in war-torn Chechnya

Rome, 18 June - Despite the ongoing conflict, the United Nations World Food Programme announced that it will double its school feeding operation in war-torn Chechnya starting from September.  (…) It is a high-risk operation. The food is transported into the region in convoys. Due to security concerns, WFP uses local and international partners to implement the programme and monitor how the food is distributed and cooked in each school.

Initial funding for the programme last year came out of a contribution of 500,000 euros from the European Union. The EU recently agreed to a second donation of 300,000 euros to fund the expanded programme.

The 1999 conflict has resulted in a massive displacement of the local population. Out of a total population of less than one million, nearly 118,000 people have fled to the neighbouring Republic of Ingushetia and over 140,000 people are displaced within Chechnya.

Since January 2000, WFP has been providing emergency food aid to over 300,000 displaced Chechens and economically vulnerable people in the North Caucasus.


WFP assists 35,000 malnourished children affected by political crisis in Madagascar

Antananarivo - The UN World Food Programme has just started to distribute emergency food aid to urban centres in Madagascar, to help feed some 35,000 malnourished children affected by the current politico-economic crisis.

Over the coming months, WFP will provide 350 tonnes of Corn Soya Blend - a highly nutritious mixture to make porridge - enough to feed 18,000 children in the capital, Antananarivo, as well as 17,000 children in five other major cities across the country. WFP’s partners include the World Bank, CARE, SEECALINE, and Catholic Relief Services (CRS).

In some areas, malnutrition levels among children under five have risen up to 45 percent as a result of the crisis that has gripped the country following the presidential elections held in mid December 2001. (…) WFP, in partnership with the non-governmental organization CARE, has launched a programme whereby food aid is provided in return for work to assist victims of the cyclone. Through these “food-for-work” projects, cyclone-damaged infrastructure will be rehabilitated, such as the main national road and the railway track – both critical for the transport of food and other commodities.  (…)






Europe achieves historic milestone as region is declared polio-free

Global polio eradication effort needs US$ 275 million to protect this achievement

Copenhagen 21 June - The historic decision to certify the WHO European Region polio-free was announced today at a meeting of the European Regional Commission for Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication (RCC) in Copenhagen. For some 870 million people living in the region's 51 Member States, this landmark decision is the most important public health milestone of the new millennium. (…)

The European Region has been free of indigenous polio for over three years. Europe's last case of indigenous wild poliomyelitis occurred in eastern Turkey in 1998, when a two-year-old unvaccinated boy was paralysed by the virus. Poliovirus imported from polio-endemic countries remains a threat. In 2001 alone, there were three polio cases among Roma children in Bulgaria and one non-paralytic polio case in Georgia -- all caused by poliovirus of Asian subcontinent origin. A decade ago, an imported poliovirus paralysed 71 people and caused two deaths in a community which refused vaccination in the Netherlands. (…)


New drug for visceral leishmaniasis is first step in tackling neglected diseases - but much more must be done

Geneva, 21 June - The humanitarian medical aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) welcomes this week's news from the World Health organization that miltefosine, a new drug to treat visceral leishmaniasis*, has been registered in India and can now be used to treat patients infected with this killer disease.

Visceral leishmaniasis affects around half a million people world-wide, almost all the poor in remote areas in the less-developed world. Without treatment, it is almost always lethal.

"This is excellent news for leishmaniasis patients," said Dr Bernard Pécoul, Director of MSF's Access to Essential Medicines Campaign. "New, effective treatments are desperately needed. Although miltefosine has its limitations, it is the first oral drug to treat the disease, making it a much more practical drug compared to the current injectable treatments.

"Miltefosine must now be made available in other countries afflicted by this killer disease. The drug also needs to be affordable to patients who need it. We hope the price can come down to around US$10 per treatment." This is roughly equivalent of the price of the generic version of SSG, the most commonly used drug today."


UNAIDS statement on United States government initiative to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission

Geneva, 19 June - The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) welcomes the U.S. initiative, announced this morning by President Bush, to provide an additional $500 million over a period of several years to efforts designed to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

UNAIDS estimates that close to 800,000 babies were infected with HIV last year as a result of mother-to-child transmission. Appropriate prenatal and antenatal care, including short course regimens of antiretroviral therapy, are a highly effective and inexpensive means of reducing HIV transmission. The initiative announced today will save lives.

Mother-to-child transmission is a significant part of the HIV epidemic. At last year's United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS, all of the member states signed a Declaration of Commitment that laid out substantial but achievable goals to dramatically reduce HIV infections, and to improve care for those already ill. (…)


Nationwide measles and polio vaccination campaign launched in Burundi

Bujumbura, 19 June - The National Immunization Days for Measles and Polio were launched on Monday with a call by the Vice President's wife, Mrs. Oda Ndayizeye, for all mothers to protect the lives of their children by having them vaccinated. This campaign, which is taking place 17-28 June and 23-26 July, seeks to vaccinate 3.3 million children between the ages of 9 months and 14 years against measles and 627,720 children between 0-59 months against polio.

The campaign also aims to provide 1.2 million children between 6-59 months with Vitamin A supplements, to help strengthen their immune systems. (…)



Energy and safety



Europe sets up chemical terrorism alert system

Copenhagen, Denmark, 21 June - Representatives of governments in the World Health Organization's European Region and international organizations are establishing a chemical incident alert system to meet any deliberate use of chemical agents by terrorists in Europe.

A meeting earlier this month in Copenhagen organized by United Nations agencies and the World Health Organization (WHO) heard evidence from officials in charge of anti-terrorist activities, poison centers, emergency preparedness units and national surveillance systems, and from the international organizations most involved in this area. Terrorism involving chemicals could not only cause explosions but also affect the public through food, air and other routes.

Work is now underway to devise an international incident scale that will quickly identify the severity of an incident. Delegates also agreed to share expertise and capabilities through a permanent forum. (…)


KBF executes joint venture to recycle and mine hazardous waste

Paterson, NJ, USA, 20 June - KBF Pollution Management, Inc. announced today the execution of a joint venture agreement with Westbury Metals Group, Inc., a prominent manufacturer and distributor of metallic commodities for industrial users in the electronics, chemical, aerospace and metal finishing industries. The joint venture represents KBF's first major investment in the distribution of the metallic commodities it mines from industrial hazardous wastes with its patented technologies.

KBF's technologies cost-effectively recycle, reuse and mine hazardous industrial wastes -- at the price point of disposal, and are the only cost-effective and environmentally beneficial alternative to land disposal and incineration today. (…)


BP-ARCO fined millions for storage tank leaks

San Francisco, California, USA, 20 June - Oil giant BP-ARCO will spend $45.8 million to settle charges that it installed inadequate underground storage tanks in at least 59 Arco gas stations in California. The leaky tanks may have allowed gasoline and the additive MTBE to leak into soil and groundwater, prosecutors charged. (…)


Russian nuclear weapons become U.S. nuclear fuel

Washington, DC, USA, 19 June - The U.S. Department of Energy signed an agreement with a publicly traded corporation, the United States Enrichment Corporation, late yesterday that mandates the company to take delivery of highly enriched uranium derived from Russian nuclear weapons. The uranium delivered to the U.S. comes from dismantled Russian nuclear weapons, reducing the inventory of highly enriched uranium in Russia under the Megatons to Megawatts program. The United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) purchases the nuclear fuel from Russia and sells it to customers to power their electric generating stations. (…)

USEC, headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, is a supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants with revenues last year of more than $1.1 billion. USEC operates the only uranium enrichment facility in the United States - a gaseous diffusion plant in Paducah, Kentucky. USEC also operates sampling, transfer and shipping facilities near Portsmouth, Ohio. In the early 1990s, USEC was created as a government corporation with the mission to restructure the government's uranium enrichment operation and to prepare it for sale to the private sector. The privatization of USEC Inc. was completed on July 28, 1998. (…)


Four major companies announce Green Power purchases and projects

Philadelphia, 11 June - Four leading U.S. companies announced clean energy projects today as part of the Green Power Market Development Group, a unique commercial and industrial partnership dedicated to building corporate markets for green power. The Group is convened by the World Resources Institute (WRI), and its members include Alcoa Inc, Cargill Dow LLC, Delphi Corporation, DuPont, General Motors, IBM, Interface, Johnson & Johnson, Kinko’s, and Pitney Bowes. The Green Power Market Development Group projects encompass 50 different corporate facilities in 12 states generating a total of 15 megawatts of green power - enough energy to power over 11,000 homes. Projects enacted since January 2001 include:


Search begins for missing radiation sources in Republic of Georgia

Vienna/Tbilisi, 10 June - An international team assembled by the IAEA will begin a search today for two abandoned Strontium 90 generators in a ca. 550 sq km area of Western Georgia. About 80 people, mostly Georgian nationals, will take part in the two-week search beginning on Monday, 10 June. Radiation experts from the IAEA, India, France, Turkey and the U.S. are also part of the team, which will set out on horseback, foot and by car.

Such highly radioactive Strontium 90 sources were used as thermo-electric generators for communication stations in remote areas. Six have been recovered so far, and it is believed that there are two more at large in the designated area to be surveyed.

The IAEA has been working with Georgia since 1997 to upgrade levels of radiation safety and security in the country, where over 280 radioactive sources have been recovered since the mid-90's. (…) The 10 June search marks the first operational phase of an action plan to conduct IAEA-supported radiological surveys of selected areas in Georgia. (…)



Environment and wildlife



Canada imposes new mining rules to benefit fish

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 19 June - Canada will implement new environmental regulations to reduce pollution entering waterways from metal mines across the country, Environment Minister David Anderson announced today. The new rules impose limits on releases of cyanide, metals, and suspended solids, and prohibit the discharge of effluent that is lethal to fish. (…)

The regulations require metal mines to conduct environmental effects monitoring programs to identify any adverse effects of their effluent on fish, fish habitat, and the use of fisheries resources. These new rules were developed through consultations with the mining industry, environmental organizations, First Nations, and provincial and territorial governments. They apply to the 100 metal mines operating in seven provinces and three territories.

Conservationists such as the Environmental Mining Council of British Columbia have been warning for years about the deadly effects of acid mine drainage on fish. (…)


Communities worldwide say no to waste incineration: 126 groups in 54 countries take action in first ever globally coordinated day of protest against incineration

Manila/ Berkeley/Geneva 17 June - Environmental groups and community organizations on six continents today took action against waste incineration, challenging their governments to put a stop to the deadly practice and move their communities towards sustainable waste systems.

Today's actions coincide with the first day of the sixth Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC 6) meeting on the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in Geneva. The Treaty, signed by 151 countries, aims to eliminate the most  persistent toxic substances known to science,  including the cancer-causing dioxins and furans. The Convention identifies all waste incinerators, including cement kilns burning hazardous waste as a major source of dioxins, furans and polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, and recommends the use of substitute techniques to avoid the generation of these byproduct POPs.  As reported by the United Nations Environment Program, incinerators are the source of 69% of dioxin emissions worldwide.

According to the Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance (GAIA), which is spearheading worldwide participation in this first ever global day of action against waste incineration, the objectives of the Stockholm Convention renders incineration as an untenable waste management option particularly for countries which have signed the treaty. GAIA is a growing international alliance of over 265 groups in 60 countries. Formed in Johannesburg in December 2000, the alliance seeks to phase out all forms of waste incineration and promote clean production, zero waste and sustainable discard management systems.



Culture and education



New sites proposed for World Heritage List

Paris, June 19 - Eleven new sites, including one in Afghanistan, are likely to be added to UNESCO's World Heritage List on June 27. These sites of exceptional cultural and natural value for humanity will be included on the List during the World Heritage Committee's 26th annual meeting in Budapest (Hungary) from June 24-29.

Nine countries have proposed sites: Afghanistan, Germany, Egypt, Hungary, India, Italy, Mexico, Poland and Suriname. The committee will also consider extending two sites already on the List, in Hungary and Costa Rica.

The Committee will also review the List of World Heritage in Danger. There are 31 sites on this List, most of them under serious threat from such things as mining or industrial pollution, looting, war, badly organised tourism, and poaching. (…)

On June 28, the Committee will adopt the Budapest Declaration on World Heritage, thus marking the 30th anniversary of the 1972 Convention on World Cultural and Natural Heritage. (…) The World Heritage Committee comprises representatives of 21 counties and is elected every six years by the general assembly of the Convention's signatories. (…)


New website brings african women's voices online

United Nations, June 18 - A new website to serve as a one stop regional portal for knowledge and information on gender issues in the Horn of Africa was recently launched with support from the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the World Bank. Hawknet, which stands for The Horn of Africa Region Women's Knowledge Network, is designed to enable women to discuss emerging national issues, network, participate in global debates and have a voice on national policies regarding information and communication technologies (ICTs). (…)

While the African continent contains 13 per cent of the total world population, Africans comprise a mere one per cent of Internet users globally. Limited technological access, know-how and literacy, especially among African women, prevent many people from taking full advantage of the opportunities offered by ICTs.

Hawknet is attempting to change that by offering women in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Sudan, and Somalia the opportunity to participate in various chat rooms, read the latest news on gender and business and take advantage of Internet networks and resources. The new website is hosted by the African Centre for Women, Information & Communications Technology (ACWICT) and can be accessed at (…)


Palestinian girls in Israel score the highest in education

Israel, June - For the first time in Israel, the sector that scored the highest in the "Matriculation" certificate, this month (that allows entry into universities), were not boys from European descent (Ashkenazi), as usual, but  Christian Palestinian girls.  This fact is due to the democratic system of education and high quality of teaching in Arab Christian schools in Israel. The girl students systematically scored higher on exams than the national average, and higher than the Palestinian boys. More than anything this stands out because the students in the whole education system, are taught to respect the values of tolerance and peace which seeks  to make them  productive citizens of the world. There are close to 6 million citizens in Israel, and 20% are Palestinian.

 At the monthly (June 2002) Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue, at IFLAC: The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace, in Haifa, on "The Sulha - The Reconciliation”, the president of the Association, Professor Ada Aharoni, congratulated the Palestinian girl students for their impressive achievement and success.  The participants commented that if the Palestinian Authority and all the neighbours in the Middle East promoted peace values and peace education, it would advance the reconciliation and  peace between Israelis and Palestinians.                                                

Rotary selects Barcelona, Spain as site of 93rd Annual Convention

Barcelona, Spain - More than 17,000 members of Rotary International will head to Spain, home of the first Rotary club in continental Europe, for this year's annual convention. Rotary members will gather 23-26 June in Barcelona to discuss the humanitarian organization's continuing role in worldwide polio eradication and peace efforts. Speakers will include Jerry Lewis and Mrs. Kofi Annan.

In addition to discussing peace and conflict resolution and polio eradication initiatives, this year's Convention will feature a variety of notable entertainers and political leaders including renowned humorist and humanitarian Jerry Lewis, former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, and Mrs. Nane Annan, wife of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Lewis is scheduled to receive the Rotary Medal of Honor at this year's Convention for his outstanding humanitarian service on behalf of children with disabilities and will also perform at the 26 June closing ceremonies; Gorbachev and Annan will discus peace initiatives. Louis Cobos, recipient of 50 platinum album awards, is slated to perform during the Convention's musical interludes.

The world's first and largest service organization has 1.2 million Rotary volunteers, who belong to more than 30,000 clubs in 163 countries. Members are business and professional men and women from around the world who share a commitment to humanitarian service and peace. The organization funds literacy, environmental, medical and peace projects in diverse communities throughout the world. (…)


Afghan Humanitarian Reporting and Journalists' Training Project

The Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR), in partnership with Media Action International (MAI), is implementing an intensive field programme to rebuild the independent print media in Afghanistan. The aim of the programme is to support the establishment of a responsible print media sector in Afghanistan as a key component of the democratisation process. (…)

IWPR and MAI, with support from the UK's Department of International Development (DFID), are currently operating "quick-impact" print training projects in Kabul and Peshawar. Further activities include maintaining an Afghan-run news website, training Afghan trainers and working with the university, and reporting on human rights and humanitarian issues.

Working in coordination with the UN's Peace and Security Section of the Department of Public Information, and in communication with many other international NGOs as well as local media and NGOs, IWPR and MAI have drawn on considerable institutional expertise in developing this training programme. For more than a decade, IWPR, based in London, has implemented major field training and development projects in the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia for a wide range of development agency donors, including the European Commission, the Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency, and the UK's Department for International Development (for whom IWPR also serves as a media advisor).


OneWorld Radio AIDS Network

27 June - The OneWorld Radio AIDS Network launches tonight with an event in Johannesburg, South Africa. This new portal offers services and networking for broadcasters and civil society organisations who are interested in using radio/audio to promote awareness, news and public education on HIV and AIDS.

The OneWorld Radio AIDS Network audio exchange is a platform for the free exchange of programmes between stations and organisations across the world, offering you access to a wide variety of excellent programmes addressing many aspects of AIDS awareness.

For more information about the OneWorld Radio AIDS Network:

OneWorld is an international network of over 1000 partner organisations harnessing the internet to promote human rights and sustainable development worldwide. For more information about OneWorld visit



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Next issue: 12 July 2002




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