Good News Agency – Year III, n° 5



Weekly - Year III, number 5 –  8 March 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 distributed through Internet to the editorial offices of more than 2,400 media in 46 countries, as well as to 1,000 NGO.




International legislation - Human rights - Peace and safety - Economy and development

Solidarity - Health - Environment and wildlife - Culture and education



International legislation



Codex Task Force agrees on final draft of principles for the evaluation of GM foods

8 March, Rome/Geneva - A Task Force of the Codex Alimentarius Commission has reached agreement on a final draft of "Principles for the risk analysis of foods derived from biotechnology," the UN Food and Agriculture Organzation (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today.  A round of applause by the 226 participants greeted the Wednesday agreement reached by the Codex Intergovernmental Task Force on Foods Derived from Biotechnology on Wednesday in Yokohama, Japan.

The Principles will provide a framework for evaluating the safety and nutritional aspects of Genetically Modified (GM) foods.  They define the need for a pre-market safety assessment of all such foods on a case-by-case basis.  According to the UN agencies, the assessment should look into both intended and unintended effects, identifying new or altered hazards and identifying changes, relevant to human health, especially in regard to key nutrients and potential allergenic components. (…)

For further information contact John Riddle, FAO Media Relations Officer, tel: 0039 5705 3259 or Gregory Hartl, WHO Communications Adviser for Food Safety, tel: 0041 227914458


French Public Prosecutor Files Civil Suit Against Government Over Chernobyl

France's Independent Commission on Research and Information on Radioactivity (CRIIRAD) is filing a civil suit against President Jacques Chirac's government on the grounds that the government covered-up risks to public health after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.  According to the CRIIRAD, the French government was aware that the radioactive fallout from the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant posed risks to public health, but deliberately failed to warn the public.

CRIIRAD said allegations were based on documents seized by official investigators probing the effects of a radioactive cloud that drifted across France between 27 April and 5 May 1986.  More than 150 French citizens have filed suit against their government after falling sick of thyroid and other ailments, accusing the French government of failing to warn them of the risks.  West Germany, Austria and Italy took precautions after the incident that included placing restrictions on consumption of milk and other dairy products.  However, French officials say there was no need for special measures to protect against health risks. (…)

Reuters; 14 February 2002

The Sunflower, March 2002 -


Proposals to ban GM fish from California

1 March - A coalition of lawmakers, environmentalists, and fishers are angling to ban genetically modified (GM) fish from California.  One proposed ban would prevent live transgenic fish from entering the state; another plan would require special labeling for GM fish sold for consumption in California stores.  One other state, Maryland, has restricted genetically altered fish, and federal rules to protect the endangered Atlantic salmon block such fish from Maine. Environmentalists worry that GM fish could escape from pens and breed with their wild counterparts, to the detriment of the gene pool of the species.  Proponents of genetic modification see a potential profit in transgenic species because fish farmers could get bigger fish to market for less money.  Under the proposed California legislation, anyone convicted of owning transgenic fish or planting them in state waters could be fined up to $50,000.



Human rights



International Confederation Of Free Trade Unions: Campaign for Women

 March 8: On International Women's Day, Global Unions launches the international Campaign: 'Unions for Women, Women for Unions'. The Campaign aims at increasing women's membership rates, with the ultimate goal of doubling the number of women union members. In addition, the Campaign aims at breaking down the barriers to women becoming union members, activists and leaders. The theme for 2002 is:  'Women's right to decent work'.  To kick off the campaign, a press conference and a workshop, jointly organised by the ICFTU and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) will take place in New York on March 7. The events coincide with the 46th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.


2002 International Essay Contest for Young People

Sponsored by The Goi Peace Foundation and The World Peace Prayer Society (UNESCO's Partners for the International Decade of a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World) and supported by the Ministry of Education of Japan.

The United Nations has designated 2001-2010 as the "International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World." Not only should every child benefit from this global movement, but they should be encouraged to play a leading role in the creation of a culture of peace. The theme of this year's International Essay Contest is "Harmony." Young people from around the world are invited to submit their creative ideas on this theme.

Theme: What is harmony? How can we achieve a world in which every individual and every nation can freely express their individual qualities, while living in harmony with one another and with all life on earth? What are some things you can do to promote harmony?

Guidelines: 1. Essays may be submitted by anyone up to 25 years old in one of the following two age categories: Children (ages up to 15), and Youth (ages 16 - 25); essays must be 800 words or less, typed or printed in English, Spanish, German or French(…)  Entries must be received by July 25, 2002. For receiving complete guidelines, as well as forwarding entries:

International Essay Contest c/o The Goi Peace Foundation, 1-4-5 Hirakawacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0093 Japan. Fax: 81 (3) 3239-0919 E-mail:


“Afghan Womwn Today: Realities and Opportunities”

4 March - An  event in observance of the International Women’s Day, entitled “Afghan Women Today: Realities and Opportunities” will be held at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, on Friday, 8 March 2002, from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.

The observance is being organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information and DESA's Division for the Advancement of Women, UNIFEM and the Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality. It will focus on the recent developments in Afghanistan, which have created new opportunities for women to claim their rightful roles as full participants in Afghan society. The event will also underscore the international community’s support for and solidarity with the women and girls of Afghanistan in the face of the long-term challenges that remain. (…)

The event will be broadcast live by UN TV. A live and archived webcast of the event can be accessed on the UN website.  The exact URL will be provided next week. For further information:

Mr. Oleg Dzioubinski, DPI/NGO Section, tel: (212) 963-1859, e-mail:, or

Ms. Cecilia Attefors, DPI/NGO Section, tel: (212) 963-2662, e-mail:


Mongolia moves to bolster human rights after survey finds many violations

1 March - A new survey finds extensive human rights violations in Mongolia, but credits the country with remarkable progress -- thanks to the formation of a democratic government in the early 1990s and more than 70 human rights provisions embodied in the 1992 constitution.

The survey's aim "is not to point fingers, but to reveal the problems and challenges we face and to seek solutions," said S. Tserendorj, Chief Commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission and a team leader for the project. A country's level of democracy "can be gauged by the degree to which it respects human rights," he added.

The comprehensive survey, Mongolia's first, examines five major areas of human rights: political, economic, social and cultural rights, individual freedom, and the rights of vulnerable groups. United Nations Volunteers helped survey more than 60,000 people for the project, which also reviewed government documents in all 21 provinces and Ulaanbaatar, the capital. (…)


Geoffrey Nyarota of Zimbabwe awarded World Press Freedom Prize 2002

Paris, February 25 - Zimbabwean journalist Geoffrey Nyarota, editor-in-chief of Zimbabwe’s only independent daily newspaper, the Daily News, was today awarded the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize for 2002 by UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura.

The $25,000 prize is awarded each year on the recommendation of an independent jury of journalists from all over the world. It will be presented in Manila (Philippines) on May 3 at a ceremony organized by UNESCO to celebrate World Press Freedom Day.

The jury was chaired by Jamaica’s Oliver Clarke, Chairman of Gleaner Company Limited, who declared: “I am particularly pleased that somebody from Africa has been chosen by the jury.” (…)

Mr Nyarota, 50, has been tireless in denouncing corruption and criminal activities among top government officials in his country despite two bomb attacks against his paper. He has been arrested and detained, repeatedly received death threats, and has four libel suits pending against him.



Peace and safety



Sixteen women elected to Burundi National Assembly

27 February - Sixteen women were elected to Burundi’s Transitional Assembly last month.  The elected women were candidates from 14 political parties and members of civil society. The elections come after intense years of lobbying by the women of Burundi, supported by UNIFEM and other partners, for the inclusion of women in decision-making and their participation in the Burundi peace process. In July 2000, UNIFEM’s briefing to Burundi’s 19 negotiating parties made possible the first All Party Burundi Women’s Peace Conference. As a result of the Peace Conference, twenty-three of the women’s recommendations to protect and promote women’s rights were included in the final peace accord.

For more information, contact Marie Goretti Nduwayo, UNIFEM Programme Officer in Burundi, at 



Economy and development



Lifestyle changes needed to overcome poverty

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that lifestyles in the developed world will have to change if the planet is to remain habitable. Speaking at the London School of Economics, Annan said the World Summit on Sustainable Development "must mark a break with business as usual".


Information technology forum in Bosnia and Herzegovina has ambitious agenda

4 March - A new National Information Technology Forum in Bosnia and Herzegovina is bringing together partners from government, the private sector, academia and the international community to harness information and communications technology (ICT) in support of development. During 2002, the Forum will encourage use of ICT to promote interaction and reconciliation among communities and access to the wealth of information resources available through the Internet and other ICT tools.

Exploring the potential of ICT to promote job creation for the young, educated workforce is another key mission. The aim is to help the country bridge the digital divide with its neighbours as it looks towards entering the European Union.

The recent launch of the Forum by the government and UNDP brought together more than 220 ICT experts from the private and public sectors, as well as international partners from Denmark, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. (…)


Ghana: Debt-reduction package

1 March - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have agreed to support a US $3.7 billion debt reduction package for Ghana, under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, the World Bank announced on Tuesday. Both institutions, the bank said, agreed to begin providing debt relief immediately along with most official bilateral creditors. The bulk of additional assistance under the enhanced HIPC Initiative will be delivered when Ghana completes a number of agreed measures.

In a separate announcement on 22 February the IMF said that it had approved a US $65 million disbursement for poverty reduction programmes in Ghana.


Cote d'Ivoire: ADB funds for governance, potable water

1 March - The African Development Bank (ADB) and Cote d'Ivoire's government signed on Tuesday two agreements totalling FCFA 4.3 billion (US $5.8 million) to foster good governance and to improve the water system in two of the country's biggest cities.

Some FCFA 3.5 billion (US $4.7 million) will aid the government's Good Governance and Capacity Building Programme, whose aims include decentralisation and improving the management of public resources. The remaining FCFA 785 million ($1.1 million) will finance a study on upgrading water supply systems catering for the three million people living in the economic capital, Abidjan, as well as the needs of some 500,000 people living in the central city of Bouake.

The funds come from the African Development Fund, the small-loans branch of the ADB.


African entrepreneurs join forces with UNIFEM to shrink digital divide for women

United Nations, March 1 - UNIFEM announced today the formation of a unique Global Advisory Committee comprised of African IT entrepreneurs living in the Diaspora and in Africa, as well as representatives from the private sector and the UN system. The Committee of 12 experts will work with UNIFEM on a programme to help bridge the digital divide in Africa by providing women with access to information communication technologies (ICTs) to improve their livelihoods. (…)

Committee members will work with UNIFEM to give women access to training, financing, jobs and mentoring. They will also work to enhance networks between entrepreneurs in the Diaspora and in Africa and encourage private sector and foundations partnerships.


Food safety conference favours European-wide cooperation and rapid alert system for consumer protection

Budapest, 28 February  - The first Pan-European Food Safety Conference has called upon Central and Eastern European countries today to join a Rapid Alert System for Food Products, already operational in the European Union. According to the report of the meeting, the system "has proved to be useful to support public health, consumer protection and transparency in international food trade" and countries are "encouraged to participate".

The system currently covers the 15 EU member states, as well as Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. In the case where a product poses a serious and immediate risk to the health of consumers, the countries have a duty to provide information to the EU Commission to find and withdraw the product from the market. This information is shared among the countries participating in the system so that they can take immediate action.

The Pan-European Conference on Food Safety and Quality, organised by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and hosted by the government of Hungary, ended today after four days of discussions. (…)


ILO tackles social consequences of globalization

Geneva, 27 February - The International Labour Organization (ILO) today launched a top-level commission comprising Presidents, politicians, academics, social experts and a Nobel Economics laureate which, for the first time, will address the social dimension of globalization. (…) Its ultimate goal is to use the process of globalization as a resource to reduce poverty and unemployment, to foster growth and sustainable development, said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia at a news conference.

"The Commission is an unprecedented effort to promote international dialogue on ideas to make globalization more inclusive, at a time when the debate is dominated more by polemics and preconceptions than by facts. " Juan Somavia, who was recently invited to address both the Porto Alegre Social Forum and Davos in New York, added that "the time for consensus-building and new thinking around these difficult issues has arrived."

"For some, globalization has been an instrument for progress. It has created wealth, expanded opportunities and provided a nurturing environment for entrepreneurship and enterprise. But for others, it has exacerbated inequalities and insecurity. They fear that the risks are too great, the benefits too small", Mr. Somavia said. (…) The Commission will "examine ways in which all international organizations can contribute to a more inclusive globalization process that is acceptable and fair to all”. (…)

The Commission has scheduled its first meeting for 25 March 2002 in Geneva. It is expected to complete its deliberations and present an authoritative report to the ILO's Director-General in the course of 2003.


New Drylands Development Centre to help countries overcome poverty

25 February - The new UNDP Drylands Development Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, aims to bring the problems faced by millions of people living in arid areas into the heart of national poverty reduction strategies in countries worldwide. The centre will be the UNDP flagship drylands programme, giving the world a major instrument for implementing the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. It continues the work of the Office to Combat Desertification and Drought (UNSO), which was based in New York, but with different approaches that will add to high-quality UNDP advisory services by providing technical support through UNDP country offices. (…)

The new programme focuses on three themes, the first being to ensure that dryland communities are adequately provided for in national development plans and budgets, especially poverty reduction strategies. The second will help countries to deal with the effects of current climate variability, especially droughts, and prepare for future effects of climate change. The third theme will address vital local issues affecting the use of resources, such as access to water and land tenure, that have great impact on people's livelihoods.


International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD)

Monterrey, Mexico, 18-22 March  - International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD), organized jointly by The United Nations General Assembly and the governing bodies of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO), is a process seeking innovative ways to strengthen the financing of development and the stability of the global financial system. UNIDO has presented three sets of initiatives in the context of the FfD process: strengthening of productive capacities; increasing export trade; promotion of foreign investment.



Africa: Hunger to Harvest campaign 2002

Bread for the World's “Africa: Hunger to Harvest” campaign aims to win US leadership for an international effort to reduce hunger and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, including an increase of US $1 billion in annual US funding for effective, poverty-focused development assistance. Throughout 2002, Bread for the World activists across the US will be lobbying Congress, especially the appropriations committees, for a further increase of poverty-focused development assistance to Africa in the 2003 financial year.






UNICEF to set up Child Friendly Spaces for displaced children in war-torn Liberia

Monrovia, Abidjan, Geneva, 26 February - UNICEF, together with its partners, is seeking to ensure that children's rights are protected in the present wave of insecurity in Liberia. It is particularly concerned that children not be drawn once again into an adult conflict - as they have been in the past.

Concerned about the well-being and safety of displaced children, UNICEF will set up Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) in each of the newly-established camps for internal displaced people (IDP). These will provide safe facilities for children to gather together to play, learn and acquire life skills. They will also provide mothers with an area to care for their infants. Most importantly, the CFS will provide a space, where children can experience a degree of normalcy amid the chaos unfolding around them. (…)


Non-profit distribution of surplus food and essentials to those who are in need

Recovery Relief, a non-stock non-profit organization (Washington, D.C.), is picking up nonperishable bakery, produce and other grocery items seven days per week from one supermarket, and is relying solely on volunteer assistance. Over 300 families per week are being served from just this one store! The Indian Nation of the Appalachian Cherokee Tribes is picking up bread from another store for Recovery Relief, so that all children living in the Appalachian Mountains can have bread every day. (…)






South Africa: Activists welcome AIDS budget

1 March - AIDS activists welcomed the increased expenditure on HIV/AIDS in the South African 2002-2003 budget released last week, but expressed concern that the funds could be misused at provincial level. "We are pleased that progress is being made by the treasury in combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic. There is now a basis to move forward on this issue," the Treatment Action Campaign said in a statement on Monday

In his budget speech, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel said that in addition to an estimated R4 billion (US $348 million) spent by provincial health departments on AIDS-related illnesses, funding for "prevention programmes in schools and communities, hospital treatment and community-care programmes will amount to R1 billion (US $87 million) next year, rising to R1.8 billion (US $156 million) in 2004/5."

More details:


Benin: UNICEF launches early-childhood development project

1 March - The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), in partnership with Benin's Health Ministry, has launched a programme aimed at improving early childhood development by reducing the incidence of preventable diseases and ailments linked to poor nutrition. The programme targets infants up to five years old. It aims to protect them against tetanus, measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases, reduce the incidence of malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea, and fight diseases linked to vitamin A deficiency. In the long term, the project aims to reduce the food deficiency/disease tandem by 25 percent in selected regions in Benin.


Burkina Faso-Cote d’Ivoire: Japanese funds for health

Abidjan, 1 March - The Japanese government has allocated at least 282 million francs (US $381,000) under its non-reimbursable fund for small local projects, to support health initiatives in Cote d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso. Cote d'Ivoire was allocated over 240 million francs (about $326,000), the bulk of which will be channelled to the health ministry and the newly created HIV/AIDS ministry to combat yellow fever, HIV/AIDS and epidemiological diseases, a communiqué from the Japanese embassy in Abidjan said. (…)

Japan initiated its non-reimbursable fund in Cote d'Ivoire in 1989, eight years before it began the similar scheme in Burkina Faso. The Japanese funds seek to improve living conditions of rural communities.


Fifth International Conference on Healthcare Resource Allocation for HIV/AIDS (ICHRA) - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 15-17 April

The ICHRA is an annual gathering of physicians, ethicists, government and private sector representatives, and those living with and/or affected by HIV/AIDS to explore solutions to the global crisis in access to HIV/AIDS care. This year's conference is coordinated in association with the European Commission, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and World Health Organization (WHO). For more information on the conference:


Campaign launched to eliminate tsetse fly, which has turned much of Africa into a green desert

A new campaign to control the deadly tsetse fly in Africa, parasitic carrier of sleeping sickness, has been launched by the Organization of African Unity (OAU).

African sleeping sickness affects as many as 500,000 people, 80 percent of whom eventually die, and the bite of the fly causes more than $4 billion in economic losses annually.

The tsetse fly has turned much of the fertile African landscape into an uninhabited "green desert," spreading sleeping sickness -- and killing 3 million livestock animals every year. The fly is the carrier of the single cell parasite, trypanosome, which attacks the blood and nervous system of its victims, causing sleeping sickness in humans and nagana in livestock. The biting tsetse fly transmits it when its seeks a blood meal. (…)



Environment and wildlife



21 Cities in Vermont, USA, vote on the Earth Charter

6 March - Every March, voters in Vermont, USA gather in their town halls for the Annual Town Meetings, which serve as an opportunity to make democratic decisions on the town’s budget for roads, schools, fire engines, trash removal, water, and social services. In many communities, they also consider issues of national and global importance.  To be placed on the agenda for the Town Meeting, 5% of the registered voters in town need to sign a petition. 

 For the Town Meeting 2002, 30 towns in Vermont had an article on their agendas that read:  “Shall the voters of [town] endorse the Earth Charter, and recommend that the Town, the State of Vermont, the United States of America, and the United Nations use the Earth Charter to guide decision-making on issues of local, state, national, and international importance.”

 Most of the Town Meetings in the state have taken place over the past several days, and 21 towns have now endorsed the Earth Charter, despite some fairly strong opposition. Many towns that participated in the campaign are now asking for assistance in implementing the principles of the Charter in their community.



European Space Agency launches satellite to monitor closely earth’s changes

1 March - The largest and most expensive satellite ever built by Europe blasted off today, beginning its mission to monitor the environmental health of Planet Earth.  The environmental satellite, or Envisat, was launched from French Guiana into orbit about 500 miles above the surface of the Earth, where it will circle the planet every 100 minutes.  Envisat's mission is to collect vital data on how Earth's land, oceans, ice caps, and atmosphere are changing.  The information will be analyzed by scientists and used to help establish European environmental policy.  The program's sponsors called it a powerful symbol of the strength of a united Europe, and Jose Achache, director of the Earth Observation program for the European Space Agency, said the mission would enable scientists and environmentalists "to trace the smallest changes to the Earth's surface anywhere on the globe."


BP will halt its political contributions worldwide

1 March - BP, the world's third-largest oil company, announced last night that it will halt all of its political contributions worldwide.  The decision appears to reflect a desire to avoid accusations of influence peddling in the era of Enron, and could set a precedent for other companies.  It could also be seen as a triumph for anti-globalization activists and other organizations, which BP CEO Sir John Browne said had "intensified scrutiny" on corporate activities.  Browne said the company would continue to engage in policy debate, but would not fund any political activity or party. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, BP, which makes about half of its money in the United States, spent $1.1 million on the 2000 U.S. elections, with two-thirds of the total going to Republican candidates.  BP was the first major oil company to acknowledge the threat of global warming.


GEF - Danube Basin TEST - Phase II

Vienna, Austria 20-21 February - The US$1 million UNIDO Danube Basin TEST (Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology) Programme, financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has entered phase two of its implementation. The national coordinators from the five Danubian cleaner production institutions (Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania) participating in the pilot study met at UNIDO headquarters (20 - 21 February 2002) to present the results of Phase I and finalise plans for Phase II, which runs until September 2003.

The Danube Basin Programme started in May 2001. (…)



Culture and education



Computer training in Tanzania benefits students and their country

Tuesday, 5 March 2002: Tanzanians striving to get a good quality education in information and communications technology (ICT) can now earn an internationally-recognized certificate locally.

A group of 38 students have just graduated from the Cisco Networking Academy Programme at the University of Dar-es-Salaam computing centre. They earned Cisco Certified Network Associate certificates, the same one awarded to students at many US universities and high schools.

The programme includes employment counselling, and many graduates will find jobs managing small and medium-sized computer networks for Tanzanian businesses and public institutions.

The Tanzanian programme benefits from the Least Developed Countries Initiative set up by Cisco Systems and UNDP to promote ICT training in countries facing the widest digital divide. Tanzania is a leader among 24 African countries participating in the initiative.

Through the initiative, Cisco provides training materials and UNDP helps make the programme affordable. The four-month course normally costs approximately US$3,000 per student outside the US, but the initiative cuts that in half. (…)


Traveling seminar for university students in India

27 February - In India, UNIFEM and the NGO AAKAR organized a ‘traveling seminar’ on gender, masculinity and violence against women. The seminar targets young men and women in six universities throughout the country and seeks to explore issues of sexuality and masculinity in relation to the increase in violence against women, as well as HIV/AIDS and population control policies. The traveling seminar has already visited universities in Baroda and Trivandrum and is currently at universities in Delhi.

For more information, contact Gitanjali Singh at the South Asia Office, at:


March 20: Earth Day, by John McConnell

This is the day that Spring begins and provides a powerful time for people worldwide to join in dedication to be responsible Trustees of Earth.  On this day, there is a moment that is special to the whole human family -- the March Equinox. (…)

The March Equinox was chosen for Earth Day in1970 -- the first Earth Day.  The idea was not local convenience or comfortable weather -- which varies from place to place, but a day suitable for international celebration.  On this day, night and day are equal.  This day is a million year symbol of the balance of nature and the equilibrium we seek on Earth. (…) Each year since then the Peace Bell at the United Nations has been rung on Earth Day at the moment Spring begins. This is followed by silent prayer  -- a time for heartfelt commitment to think and act as Earth Trustees. (…) On Earth Day join with your friends and family at home, church, school or work to mark this day with attention for the wonder of life and what we can do for people and planet. Let's have bells ring all over the world when the Peace Bells are rung on Earth Day. (…)  

March 20: world day of planetary consciousness

March 20th, the first spring day of 2002, marks the second annual “World Day of Planetary Consciousness” as events take place planet-wide from New Zealand to Samoa. Planetary consciousness is the recognition of the vital interdependence and essential interconnection of all humankind and the earth. It is a new consciousness that can help create a shared vision of "a united humanity living in harmony with nature", at this crucial time in our history.

People from many cultures and nations will again unite on this World Day under the banner of the Planetary Vision Festival to celebrate the spirit of humanity’s new consciousness, including in: Nelson, Brisbane, Fukuoka, St. Petersburg, Budapest, Sao Paolo, Washington D.C., Buffalo, Toronto, Mississauga, Trinidad & Tobago, Vancouver, San Francisco and Apia.

The Festival was launched in 2001, the official first year of the 21st Century and the Third Millennium. Thousands of people in over 50 countries joined together to participate in many new World Days and Festival events. The Planetary Vision Festival has been initiated by The Club of Budapest ( in partnership with the PVF Founding Alliance.


Season for Non-Violence: January 30 - April 4    

The Season for Non-Violence is being observed during the period between the assassinations of Mahatma Gandhi (January 30) and Martin Luther King (April 4). UN celebrations for the Season include presentation of the Gandhi-King Season for Non-Violence Award.

The closing event at the UN will be on April 9 from 1-3 PM. It will include entertainment, and special guests such as Amb. Iftekhar Ahmed of Bangladesh; Mahatma Gandhi's grandchildren, Parliamentarian from the Republic of South Africa, Ela Gandhi and her brother Arun, the founder of the MK Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence; and Yolanda, Bernice and Martin King III, the children of Martin Luther King, Jr.  For those who wish to attend, please register no later than April 3 by calling the Interfaith Center of NY, 212-685-4242 # 32.                     


March 15: Meditation for Peace in Sri Lanka & the World

The Sarvodaya Peace Operation 2002 (SPPO-2) is engaged in a massive peace campaign in Sri Lanka to bring a final end to the nation's bloody civil war - now in its nineteenth year. March 15th will see the largest peace meditation ever held in the country - and potentially the largest event of it's kind ever held anywhere. 500,000 people will spend the day in meditation for peace in the ancient sacred city of Anuradapura. The meditators are expected to come from 30,000 villages throughout the country. They will represent all ethnic and religious groups.

The first Sarvodaya Peace Meditation, held in Colombo in 1999, drew 170,000 meditators. Since then a series of smaller regional gatherings, attended by tens of thousands, have been held.

Sister Village Link-up

On 15 March Sarvodaya will also initiate a programme linking 1000 villages in the war-torn North and East with 1000 villages in the South. Villagers in the South will continuously go to the villages in the North and East with skilled and unskilled labour and material to begin rehabilitation of houses, wells, tanks, schools, toilets and places of religious worship. The slogan of this programme, linking villages of  different ethnic, religious and language groups is: village to village : heart to heart. (…)



* * * * * * *


Next issue: 22 March 2002


* * * * * * *


Good News Agency is distributed through Internet to over 2,400 editorial offices of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations with an e-mail address in 46 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, Indonesia, 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, the Club of Budapest, the Earth Charter, Radio For Peace International 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:


* * * * * * *