Good News Agency – Year VI, n° 14



Weekly - Year VI, number 14 – 18 November 2005

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. Editorial research by Fabio Gatti. 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 3,700 media in 48 countries, as well as to 2,800 NGO and service associations.

It is a service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, NGO associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information. The Association has been recognized by UNESCO as “an actor of the global movement for a culture of peace” and it has been included in the web site




International legislationHuman rightsEconomy and developmentSolidarity

Peace and securityHealthEnergy and SafetyEnvironment and wildlife

Religion and spiritualityCulture and education



International legislation




African Protocol on Rights of Women enters into force on 25 November 2005

which is also the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

31 October - The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, adopted in 2003, was ratified by the 15th African country (Togo) on 26 October 2005. This now allows the Protocol to come into force within 30 days, marking a milestone in the protection and promotion of women's rights in Africa. The other countries that have ratified the Protocol are Cape Verde, The Comoros, Djibouti, The Gambia, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Benin. The Protocol, which builds on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Platform for Action, has been in the making since 1994 when women’s rights groups called for such an instrument that would make explicit the fundamental human rights in the African Charter on Human and People's Rights as applied to women. The groundbreaking Protocol charges ratifying states to combat all forms of discrimination against women, including all forms of violence against women.The Protocol will come into force on 25 November 2005, which is also the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.


AEGEE Election Observation Mission to Azerbaijan

November 11 - For the Parliamentary elections of the Republic of Azerbaijan, November 6th 2005, a group from AEGEE (European Students' Forum, took part in a mission organized by Lymec (European Liberal Youth,, to contribute to free and fair elections.

Our accredited international mission was able to monitor polling stations thoroughly. They developed a specific understanding of the electoral process at a district level. Supported by 10 local assistants, the team of 33 observers from AEGEE, Lymec and Silba (a Danish cross-political NGO) exclusively focused on three districts in the northern border region of Azerbaijan. The observers operated in the districts Qusar (51), Khachmaz City (55) and Khachmaz rural area (56) (…) The team of 33 observers were accredited as the only youth organization conducting election observation in Azerbaijan. (…)

AEGEE is one of Europe's largest interdisciplinary and voluntary student associations, operating without being linked to any political party, promoting a unified Europe, cross-border co-operation, communication and integration in academic environment, and at the same time striving to create an open and tolerant society by involving students and young graduates in valuable projects and discussions over the topics of importance for the communities they live in. It is represented in 250 university cities, in 40 countries all around Europe and has about 15000 members.


Global Code of Ethics keeps growing in importance

Madrid, 7 November  – The WTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism has been translated into 35 different languages and has already been adopted by several countries as part of its tourism legislation or regulations, WTO Deputy Secretary-General Dawid de Villiers told the Second Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York on 2 November. “In the five years since its adoption the Code has been recognised and welcomed by more and more stakeholders in the tourism industry as a valuable tool to guide the development of sustainable tourism,” he said. “The strength of the Code lies in its simplicity. Together the ten articles constitute a powerful set of guidelines that provides clear direction for the development of a tourism industry that is socially responsible, culturally sensitive, environmentally sound and economically fair.”

The introduction of the voluntary Code, after being approved by the WTO General Assembly held in Santiago, Chile, in 1999, demonstrates that not all kinds of tourism are acceptable, he said. “(…) In the absence of sound development policies tourism can contribute to pollution and environmental degradation; lead to the exploitation of people and local communities – particularly women and children – offend traditional cultural values and customs and provide a cover for criminal activities.” The challenge is to “maximise the positive impacts of tourism”, and to achieve this the World Committee on Tourism Ethics was set up in 2003 to promote, evaluate and monitor the implementation of the Code as well as acting as conciliators in settling any disputes involving the application or interpretation of the Code. (…) 


Representatives from Eleven Countries Launch People’s International Initiative for Departments of Peace

London, United Kingdom – From the 16th to the 19th of October, civil society and political representatives from eleven countries met in London to lay out their vision for the establishment of Departments of Peace in their governments. (…) The countries represented at the conference were Australia, Canada, Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories, Italy, Japan, Spain, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States and Jordan. Prominent supporters of the conference include US Representative Dennis Kucinich, Marianne Williamson, John McDonnell MP of the UK, and Dr. Arthur Chesterfield-Evans MP and Senator Natasha Stott Despoya of Australia. (…)

The desire to establish Departments of Peace emerged from the belief that global peace is today both urgent and possible. U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich said on September 14, 2005, upon introducing the Department of Peace legislation in Congress: “We desire peace so intensely that we are willing to do almost anything to achieve it, including spending half our resources for arms . . . to feel secure. We know we cannot continue on this perilous path seeking peace through violence. We know this path offers our children no future at all. . . . We announce our desire for a new America. And a new world.”

The conference concluded with the launch of an international initiative that will support country-level working groups to establish Departments of Peace. The Romanian Peace Institute (PATRIR) was given the task to establish the International Secretariat for the coordination of the groups throughout the world. The second People’s Summit for Departments of Peace will be held June 21-22, 2006, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. For more information, please contact Mr. Eddy Canfor-Dumas, ministry for peace ( ),

Romanian Peace Institute (PATRIR)



Human rights



Fairness is the challenge APEC must meet 

Brussels, November 14  (ICFTU OnLine) -  Guy Ryder, the General Secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions will today meet the Korean Prime Minister, Lee Hai-chan in a bid to place social justice and workers' rights on APEC's agenda. Ryder will lead a delegation of Asian and Latin American trade unionists that will be holding a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Labour Network at the same time. They will urge the Prime Minister to work for setting up an APEC Labour Forum and adopt concrete measures to promote labour participation in APEC. (…)

The ILO estimates that 2 billion people in Asia live on 2 US Dollars or less per day.
"In this context, APEC must change its imbalanced, business-oriented approach to globalization and give the highest priority to achieving social justice based on decent work and full respect of fundamental workers' rights, with a concrete and detailed work programme to give
effect to that" Ryder added. The ICFTU/APLN has been calling on APEC leaders to endorse the establishment of an APEC Labour Forum, in the form of an APEC formal consultative mechanism with trade unions comparable with the current arrangements for access by the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). (…)

ICFTU Press Department:


Women scoop awards at film festival

Sydney, Australia, 9 November  (BWNS) -- A movie from a child's perspective about the equality of the sexes won the "best film" award at the Baha'i-inspired "Harmony Film Festival" held in Australia's biggest city on 22 October 2005. The Australian-made movie by Bita Haidarian, a Los Angeles-based filmmaker, tells the story of an eight-year-old girl whose father refuses to let her to swap her household chore (dishwashing) with her brother's (lawn mowing) because mowing is "for boys." The girl takes matters into her own hands and ends up with a humorous and telling result.

More than 600 people attended the festival, which had "woman" as its theme. Entries came from 25 filmmakers of diverse religious and cultural backgrounds and from countries including Australia, Japan, Spain, Russia, and the United States. (…)

The judges were from the film industry. (…) Eight of the 14 finalists were female directors, a gratifying result according to festival director Mehrzad Mumtahan. (...)


UNICEF applauds U.S. ratification of trafficking protocol

New York, 7 November  – UNICEF hailed the United States government today for ratifying a United Nations Protocol aimed at stopping the trafficking of women and children. The formal instruments of ratification were deposited at the UN last week. UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman noted that the ratification follows years of efforts by the US government to combat trafficking around the world, notably through its contributions to anti-trafficking programmes abroad. The United States becomes the ninety-fifth country to ratify the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, which supplements the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, and entered into force in 2003. The Protocol calls for specific measures to prevent human trafficking, prosecute traffickers and protect victims.(…) UNICEF’s efforts to protect children who are victims of trafficking include tackling the root causes of trafficking such as poverty, lack of education and life skills, discrimination and violence. UNICEF works to safeguard young victims of trafficking by identifying durable solutions for their protection based on their best interests. These and other efforts are part of UNICEF’s commitment to build a protective environment for children, one which safeguards children from violence, exploitation and abuse before it happens.


Ministers from Islamic countries convene for landmark meeting on children

The First Islamic Ministerial Conference on the Child will focus on urgent actions to address poverty, disease and lack of access to education and protection

Rabat, Morocco, 7 November – Senior representatives of almost 50 Islamic countries and nearly 20 international organizations have convened for a landmark meeting intended to make a real and lasting difference for more than a quarter of the world’s children, who are disproportionately burdened by poverty, malnutrition and disease. The First Islamic Ministerial Conference on the Child, which opened today in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco, reflects the recognition by leaders of Islamic governments that the challenges facing the children in their countries demand their urgent attention and a special focus. It also signals the renewed commitment on the part of these leaders to strengthen their co-operation on behalf of children. The three-day meeting has been co-organized by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), UNICEF and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), in response to a special resolution on "Child Care and Protection in the Islamic World" passed unanimously by OIC Member States at the 2003 OIC Summit in Malaysia. (…)

The more than 200 participants at the conference will focus on issues specific to OIC member countries under four major themes: health and HIV/AIDS; quality education and culture; protection against abuse, exploitation and violence; and mobilising resources. Participants will reflect on how Islamic countries have been striving to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, as well as on challenges, best practices and strengthening cooperation to accelerate progress for children. Recommendations from the conference will be submitted to the next sessions of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers and the next Islamic Summit for their adoption and support. (…)


Human Rights Watch Honors Global Rights Defenders

Efforts of Iran, Sudan and Uganda Activists Recognized

New York, October 27 - Human Rights Watch’s highest honor in 2005, the Human Rights Defender Award, will go to three courageous human rights activists from around the globe whose efforts illustrate major human rights challenges in the world today.

The three honorees for this year illustrate the limits of freedom of expression in the Middle East, the massive “ethnic cleansing” and injustice in Darfur, Sudan, and the plight of HIV/AIDS affected women in Africa. Human Rights Watch’s global rights defender awardees for 2005 are:  Omid Memarian, a journalist and web-blogger from Iran,  Salih Mahmoud Osman, a lawyer and human rights activist from Darfur, and  Beatrice Were, an advocate for the rights of women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Uganda. (…)

Human Rights Watch staff work closely with the Human Rights Defenders as part of our human rights investigations in more than 70 countries around the world. The 2005 Human Rights Watch Annual Dinners where the defenders will be honored will take place in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Chicago and Toronto.



Economy and development




New US$18.6 million loan to support microentrepreneurs and small rural businesses in the Philippines

Rome, November 11 - Rural poor people, including women, youth and indigenous peoples involved in microenterprises development, will benefit from a new development programme in the Philippines. The US$23.4 million programme will be financed in part by a US$18.6 million loan and a grant of US$500,000 from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).  The Government of the Philippines and local participating microfinance institutions will contribute US$4.2 million. Today’s loan agreement was signed at IFAD headquarters by the President of IFAD, Lennart Båge, and the Ambassador of the Philippines, Philippe J. Lhuillier.

The programme will support rural poverty reduction through increased economic development and job creation, and will raise the incomes of 200,000 poor rural households. Its enterprise capacity development activities will focus primarily on 19 of the poorest provinces in five of the poorest regions of the country, the Cordillera Administrative Region, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, SOCCSKARGEN and Caraga. Microcredit and financing operations will be made available to all needy poor rural entrepreneurs. As a result, the programme expects to see increasing numbers of new and existing rural microenterprises expanding and operating profitably and sustainably. It will make a major contribution towards meeting the Philippine Government’s target of creating between six and ten million jobs by 2010. (…)  For more information: Farhana Haque-Rahman, Chief, Media Relations, Special Events and Programmes


New US$15 million loan to help the coastal communities of Tamil Nadu recover from the tsunami

Rome, 11 November - Women, members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and fishermen in the coastal communities of Tamil Nadu will benefit from a new programme to help the communities become more resilient to natural disasters. The programme will be financed by an initial US$15 million loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Today’s loan agreement was signed by the President of IFAD President, Lennart Båge, and the Ambassador of India, Rajiv Dogra, at IFAD headquarters in Rome.

When the tsunami washed across the shores of the coastal communites of Tamil Nadu on December 26, 2004, the livelihoods of at least 174,590 fishers were destroyed. The programme will enable a large number of the people whose livelihoods were effected by the tsunami to re-establish stable and productive lives in the coastal communities of India’s Tamil Nadu. It will reduce the vulnerability of coastal communities to future natural disasters by providing access to new technology for fishing, packing, processing and selling fish. Additional employment opportunities in areas other than fisheries will be generated through skills training, especially for young people, in areas such as boat and housing construction.(…) For more information: Farhana Haque-Rahman, Chief, Media Relations, Special Events and Programmes


Finnish recommendations to protect children from food marketing

November 4 - The Finnish Consumer Agency and the Consumer Ombudsman, together with the Finnish National Public Health Institute have published principles for advertisers on food marketing aimed at children. The report first acknowledges that quantity and content of advertisement affect consumption and thus the healthy development of children. Hence formulates recommendations that take into account the health perspective and the vulnerability of children.

One of the first recommendations sets out that parents’ role is crucial in deciding on purchases. Consequently, advertising should not put parents’ power of decision into question. Nor should it appeal to children’s emotions or making them believe that social relations can be obtained by or compensated with food. The other recommendations focus on misleading advertisements: Advertisements should not be misled on product’s composition. Only relevant information about the nutritional contents of the products should be claimed.

Behavioural models are also addressed in the report: violence, alcohol and tobacco are not acceptable according to the authors. On the same topic, free gifts and lotteries should also be carefully restricted.


Synergies between cluster development and microfinance

The UN has declared 2005 as the International Year of Microcredit to increase awareness of the fact that, when effectively delivered, microfinance can contribute to the Millennium Development Goals of economic and human development. (…) As a contribution to the objectives of the International Year of Microcredit, UNIDO has prepared a paper entitled Combining Strengths: Synergies between cluster development and microfinance, drawing attention to the importance of microfinance for human and private sector development and exploring innovative uses of microfinance.(…)

It is now well over a decade that UNIDO has been implementing an innovative approach to assist micro-, small- and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) in the areas of network development. Its Cluster Development Programme assists MSME clusters, i.e. geographical concentrations of enterprises operating in the same or highly correlated activities, become more competitive by fostering inter-firm linkages and collaboration with local support institutions. The Programme helps MSMEs combine their strengths to jointly take advantage of market opportunities and to solve common problems. (…)


Millennium Campaign – Voices against poverty

News on Trade and Mobilisations ahead of WTO meeting in December

International trade carries enormous potential for reducing poverty worldwide. A 1% increase in the developing countries' share of world exports would lift 128 million people out of poverty. But the current global trading system discriminates against developing countries and hinders poor country participation in the global economy. The two biggest problems are agricultural policies in rich countries and poor countries access to international markets. What can you do?

With less than 40 days to go before World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong, Oxfam warned that rich countries must make better offers to help poor countries take advantage of opportunities to trade or the talks would be a failure.

The Millennium Campaign and the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) have launched an ad in Monday's New York Times to urge readers to demand that their Governments deliver a fairer deal on trade and agriculture at the WTO meeting in December.

On October 26, South African Civil Society Organisations united to make their policy demands and to support their government's position that trade policy should be driven by development goals and not the other way around.

The European Union has made another move to end the deadlock in the world trade talks. It has offered to reduce its agricultural tariffs by 46%. Europe’s farming subsidies are often blamed for the current stalemate in the trade talks.


United Nations calls on young people to achieve the Millennium Development Goals

New York City, November – The United Nations Millennium Campaign is calling on the young people of the world to play their part to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  “… tomorrow’s world is defined today and we need young people’s voice now…  Youth are not just the future, youth are the present, and we need them to get the Millennium Development Goals back on track.” noted Eveline Herfkens, Executive Coordinator of the UN Millennium Campaign. (…)

In collaboration with the Global Youth Action Network (GYAN) and TakingITGlobal (TIG), the Campaign developed a MDG Youth Campaign Kit, which was distributed worldwide in October 2005. The Campaign Kit provides a basic framework for young people to create their own advocacy campaigns around MDG issues that are important to their lives. (…) Thousands of MDG Youth Campaign Kits have been distributed in over 180 countries, which the partnering agencies hope will provide young people with information on engaging in advocacy efforts under way in their country, or to create projects that will contribute to achieving the Goals. (…)

The Global Youth Action Network (GYAN) acts an incubator of global partnerships, connecting thousands of organizations in more than 190 countries and territories. GYAN works to facilitate youth participation in global decision-making and at the United Nations, to foster collaboration and provide recognition for positive youth action. GYAN is a strategic partner of TakingITGlobal in offering an information clearinghouse for today’s youth movement, with Youth Service America on coordinating Global Youth Service Day and with Chat the Planet TV.


Haitian Milk Production Project Won First Place in Social Innovation Competition

Four other winning initiatives are from Argentina, Brazil and Guatemala 

11 November - The first round (2004-2005) of the Experiences in Social Innovation competition, organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, has been completed today. After two days of presentations of the 20 finalist projects, at ECLAC headquarters in Santiago, Chile, the jury evaluating these initiatives selected the experience "Milk Agogo", belonging to Veterimed, from Haiti, for the first place award. Under very difficult conditions this project has managed to achieve extraordinary changes in the production and sale of milk, by associating technical know-how and peasant wisdom, thereby generating benefits for the community itself, and the country as a whole. Second prize went to the Argentine project "Andean Crops Integrated Programme, C.A.U.Que.Va", while third prize went to the project "Prevention of the drug and street gang phenomenon in marginalized urban and rural areas", from Guatemala. (…)






'Quake Jumpers' reach people other aid workers can't

Teams of mountain experts known as 'Quake Jumpers' are being assembled to reach remote, earthquake-affected communities in Pakistan that aid workers have yet to access. Their mission: to prepare these communities for the harsh Himalayan winter that's just around the corner. WFP spokesperson David Orr reports.

Abbotobad, 14 November - The peaks and high ridges in the Kaghan valley in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province are covered with snow. As the ‘Quake Jumpers’ emerge from the helicopter and move to secure the landing zone, they are blasted by an icy wind. But if nature’s greeting is cold, the waving arms and smiles of the inhabitants, desperate for help after the 8 October earthquake that devastated the region, provide a warm welcome. (…)

The Quake Jumpers are teams of mountain experts assembled to reach communities in the Himalayas that other aid workers have yet to access; small, mobile units that are the brainchild of independent Pakistani film-maker, Nisar Malik. (…)  The Quake Jumpers will be targeting settlements of about 2,000 people that are being visited rarely or not at all. The plan is to open up 25 new helipads in mountain locations in the coming weeks, but to do this the operation will need more manpower. Malik’s goal is to have 14 four-man teams working through the winter. He sees the coming weeks as an advisory phase, during which the Quake Jumpers will help people to organise themselves and make decisions for the impending winter. Their longer-term job will be to assist and, if necessary, rescue people who have become snow-bound. (…)


Eritrea/Ethiopia: 298 Ethiopian civilians and 15 Eritrean civilians repatriated

On 11 November 2005, 298 Ethiopian civilians were repatriated from Eritrea to Ethiopia under ICRC auspices. The group included 8 unaccompanied minors, 2 elderly persons and 2 sick persons who were returning home to their families. As part of the same operation, 15 Eritrean civilians were repatriated from Ethiopia to Eritrea. This group included 4 unaccompanied minors who were also returning home to their families.

Acting in its capacity as a neutral and independent intermediary, the ICRC repatriated both groups with the cooperation of the authorities. (…)

The ICRC has been helping people affected by the 1998-2000 armed conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea to return to their respective countries since June 2000. At the same time it works to ensure compliance with the rules and principles of international humanitarian law, in particular the Geneva Conventions.


SoCal Doctors help raise over $175K to help rebuild a devastated village in Northern Pakistan.

Los Angeles, CA, November 8 – In conjunction with Relief International, three Southern California doctors who recently returned from Pakistan, were able to help raise over $175,000 for Relief International’s “Adopt a Village”program. The Adopt a Village program will rebuild an entire  earthquake-devastated community near Manserha where Relief International’s team of medical doctors were deployed. (…)

In reconstructing an entire village, Relief International will draw from its extensive experience of rebuilding devastated villages in Iran, Azerbaijan, Kosovo, and other countries. RI‘s holistic implementation methods will also work towards rebuilding the livelihoods of the local residents through the cash-for-work aspects of the Adopt a Village Program. In addition to permanent shelter, RI will seek to rebuild hospitals and schools so that life in earthquake-affected regions can one day return to normal. (…)

With over 15 years of experience, Relief International (RI) is a humanitarian non-profit agency that provides emergency rehabilitation, relief, and development assistance and program services to vulnerable communities worldwide. Headquartered in Los Angeles with additional offices worldwide, RI is solely dedicated to reducing human suffering and is non-political and non-sectarian in its mission.$175K_11_8_05.pdf


Escaping the past: the widows of Herat

Known as the "City of Cherished Martyrs", Herat bears the scars of 25 years of conflict. But thanks to new projects to improve literacy and self-reliance, some of the city's widows are finding ways to escape the past, as WFP spokesperson Jackie Dent discovered.

Herat, Afghanistan, 8 November - Jalil Ahmed, head of the Department of Martyrs in Herat, is in the middle of a conversation when a group of about 25 women, all widows, silently file into his office. Draped in black chadors or with burkas pulled up over their heads, the women choose different places to sit – the couch, on chairs, the floor – but all come with exactly the same request: please, please, help us. Some women sit quietly with their hands on their laps, gazing as if lost. Others are more impassioned and forthright in their pleading.(…)

Widows in Afghanistan, whether young or old, face many economic and social problems, particularly if they have no male relatives to support them. They eke out a meagre living by begging, washing clothes or working on construction sites carrying bricks. But through the assistance of the local government and WFP, some of the widows of Herat are finding there are opportunities to escape the daily grind; and the past. (…)


Rotary clubs continue efforts to assist earthquake victims in South Asia

Evanston, Ill., USA, November - Rotary clubs around the world have raised over US$500,000, organized medical teams, set up mobile relief camps, and collected blood and donated goods for the earthquake victims in South Asia.  “As winter arrives, the need for shelter and other supplies for families victimized by 8 October earthquake is acute,” says Abdul Khan, an officer with a Rotary club in Pakistani Kashmir. According to Khan, there are nearly 100 Rotary clubs in the affected areas. Many of the clubs are working around the clock to meet the urgent demands for aid. Examples of Rotary relief efforts:

Rotary clubs in Indian Kashmir and Punjab have sent 3,800 blankets, 1,400 sets of woolen garments, 10 tons of food and 50 large tents to Srinagar, Pakistan, to assist earthquake victims.

The Rotary Club of Karachi Midcity in Pakistan and Afghanistan has sent volunteers to most of the relief camps set up by Rotaract clubs throughout Karachi. The club is collecting funds to address the immediate need for 500,000 tents, dry milk and medicine.

Rotary clubs in Delhi have sent 10,000 blankets and 500 four-person tents to Jammu and Indian Kashmir. The Rotary clubs estimate that one million blankets and 2,000 tents will reach the affected area within days.

The Rotary Club of Rawalpindi Rohtas in Pakistan has collected medical supplies (bandages, ointment, analgesics and medicine), dry food items, warm clothing, blankets, tents and drinking water for victims in the most affected region of Bagh-Azad Kashmir.

Rotarians with medical background from Chandigarh and Punjab in India are working as volunteers in the affected areas. (…)


Switzerland: Decision on an additional emblem alongside the red cross and red crescent to be made in December

November 7 - The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement today welcomed the decision of the Swiss government to convene a diplomatic conference on 5-6 December that the Movement hopes will create an additional emblem alongside the red cross and red crescent emblems already in use. The proposal for an additional emblem is the result of a resolution passed in 1999 by the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent calling for a comprehensive and lasting solution to the question of the emblem. The diplomatic conference will bring together representatives of the 192 States that are party to the Geneva Conventions to decide on an additional protocol to those conventions. This is necessary because the additional emblem will need to have the same basis in international law as the red cross and the red crescent. (…)

 The additional emblem would provide an additional protective device for the medical services of armed forces and Red Cross and Red Crescent humanitarian workers in conflicts where the existing emblems cannot always provide protection because of perceptions of political, religious or other connotations. (…)


A milestone reached, World Vision hands over new homes after the tsunami

by Anish Premson – India Tsunami Response Communications

World Vision’s response to the tsunami in India achieved a major milestone on 7 November with the handing over of 100 permanent houses to the government in the tsunami-affected districts of Kerala. In a ceremony to mark the occasion, Asia Pacific Regional Vice President Lynn Arnold along with World Vision India National Director Jayakumar Christian and Operations Director of the India Tsunami Response Team Alex Snary, handed over a symbolic key to K.M. Mani, Kerala State Minister for Revenue and Disaster Mitigation. During the ceremony, keys were also handed out to beneficiaries of the houses.

World Vision is constructing 656 permanent shelters in Kerala, one of the ten areas affected by the tsunami in India. The first phase of 100 houses were handed over yesterday. (…)

World Vision is also assisting the communities with boats, nets, alternate livelihood and cash for work programs, and also special programs for children and youth. (…)


ERD assists people after prolonged drought in Malawi

November 3 - Episcopal Relief and Development is providing emergency food assistance to people in Malawi after an ongoing drought. The country has been at the epicenter of Africa's food crisis over the past five months. Nearly four million people in Malawi are at risk of starvation. An ongoing food crisis is affecting almost 12 million people in southern Africa. Most Malawians rely on farming for their food and income and sporadic rains have resulted in little to no harvests. (…)

In the Diocese of Northern Malawi, the worst affected area is in a remote part of southern Mzimba District in the villages of Mfula, Mgoza, and Kanjuchi where over 800 families have been affected by the crisis. Other affected areas include: Lupembe, South Karonga; Rumphi and Bolero; Usisya; Chitipa; and Likoma and Chizumulu.

ERD is supplying emergency assistance to the Diocese of Northern Malawi for food such as maize and seeds for the next planting season. The diocese expects to reach at least 1,600 of the 3,000 families in affected areas. ERD's partnership with the diocese will also train 25 farmers in eight communities on soil and water conservation and improving soil fertility. (…)


New website aims to connect donors to local community projects

Giving at the local level can provide a huge impact. That’s the message of a new website,, designed by Sister Cities International to connect donors with local sister city projects around the world. Donors can choose from helping a 250 bed hospital in Cap-Haiten establish a sanitary water supply, supporting the creation of an organic honey cooperative that helps farmers in Ghana and at-risk youth in the United States, or reconstructing Afghanistan’s war-torn classrooms.

Typically, the organization’s grassroots-based nonprofits are seeking to raise between $10,000 and $30,000 dollars. In the world of international development, that’s not a lot of money - but the impact on a community can be huge. “It empowers grassroots organizations to raise funds efficiently and communicate with donors directly about their projects and really build a relationship with them,” said Danielle Segall, sustainable development program manager and coordinator for the site. “So often people give money to worthy causes – and they don’t know the impact. This website lets donors talk to the real people conducting the project and get updates about it. It engages people from all over the world in making a difference.”

Segall said that the interactive website allows donors to ask questions directly to project contacts in the U.S. and abroad. It also lets them read progress reports as the project gets underway. They can easily tell friends about the project or make a donation with a few clicks of their mouse. 

For more information visit Representing nearly 2,400 communities in 132 countries, Sister Cities International ( is a citizen diplomacy network creating and strengthening partnerships between the U.S. and communities abroad.



Peace and security




6th  World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates: “Africa Emergency - from attention to action”

More than 20 Nobel Peace Laureates, women and men who with their actions have changed the world, meet in Rome for three days - Rome, Campidoglio – Teatro Eliseo   November 24th-26th 2005

Africa by itself seems to sum up all the problems of the world. For this reason the whole world would benefit from development, prosperity and stability on the African continent. For this reason, too, we have decided to dedicate our Summit this year to the “Africa Emergency”.

It is high time that international attention for this tormented land became international action.

Some highlights of the programme:

November 24 - Presentation of the “Manforpeace Award 2005” to Bob Geldof and of the “Special Man for Peace Award – Joseph Rotblat 2005” to Dawn Engle and Ivan Suvanjieff, founders of PeaceJam. Homage to a great man - In memory of Sir Joseph Rotblat, Nobel Peace Laureate. Introductory speeches by the Summit co-presidents Mikhail Gorbachev and Walter Veltroni. “Live 8: the long walk to justice”: Bob Geldof reports on the results and prospects of his project to fight poverty in Africa. “From attention to action”: various meaningful speeches and discussions by eminent speakers. 

November 25 - Teatro Eliseo   9.30 am – 11.30 am “Equal rights for a non-violent world” - Discussion with students of Università degli Studi Roma Tre and of other universities. 3.30 pm – 6.30 pm Teatro Eliseo  “Africa Emergency” - third session, “Italy for Rwanda. Memory, responsibility, justice, future: a discussion of the genocide of 1994”. chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev and Walter Veltroni.

November 26 - 11.00 am  “Africa Emergency” - Concluding plenary session

Municipality of Rome: International Relations Office:

The Gorbachev Foundation  Italian Branch:

Press Office: Kpr Comunicazione: 


Peace is possible: Caritas supports International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian People 

Vatican City, 11 November – In partnership with the global community in its annual expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people, the Caritas network of 162 member organisations working in 200 countries and territories worldwide supports the UN-hosted international day of observance on 29 November.

Based on our own Caritas campaign that “Peace is Possible” in the Holy Land, we stand in solidarity with all peace-seeking people of good will who recognise and publicly support the basic and inalienable rights of the Palestinian community. We stand in solidarity with all Moslems, Jews, and Christians who sacrifice and work together to build up, restore, and heal the deep wounds that still scar this Middle East society.

We call on our respective governments to pursue every path leading to peace, supporting the "Road Map for Peace in the Middle East", which was initiated and sustained by the members of the Quartet (the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, and Russia). We acknowledge the efforts made by the Quartet, but offer our global solidarity to press for greater practical realisations of a just and lasting peace for all. (…)


Western Sahara: The Polisario Front commits to ban antipersonnel mines

Author(s): Pascal Bongard <> 

Geneva, Switzerland, November 9 - On 3 November 2005, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario Front) signed the Geneva Call’s “Deed of Commitment for Adherence to a Total Ban on Antipersonnel Mines and for Cooperation in Mine Action” (Deed of Commitment) at a ceremony in Geneva. (…)

The Polisario Front has been struggling for the independence of Western Sahara since 1973. A United Nations brokered ceasefire ended the armed conflict in 1991; however, the question of its sovereignty is still a subject of dispute between Morocco and the Polisario Front. As a result of the war, Western Sahara is contaminated by mines and unexploded ordnances. Both parties used mines during the conflict and the disputed territory is divided by walls built and fortified with millions of landmines by the Moroccan army. Casualties are regularly reported, on both sides of the walls, particularly among civilians and their livestock.


UNA-USA's Adopt-A-Minefield has partnered with the Landmine Survivors Network to launch the 2005-2006 "That Landmine Thing" campaign

New York, November 3 - Thanks to That Landmine Thing, a campaign initiated by the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA), Adopt-A-Minefield® (AAM) and the Landmine Survivors Network (LSN), young people across North America are raising funds to clear minefields, assist survivors and raise awareness about the global landmine problem. Students drive the campaign, generating their own innovative fundraising ideas and hosting events such as potluck dinners, coin drives, carwashes and benefit concerts to support AAM and LSN. That Landmine Thing has already been incredibly successful, involving close to 1,000 schools, and raising more than $180,000—clearing four minefields—120,000 square meters of land—in Cambodia and Bosnia-Herzegovina and providing survivors with appropriate medical care and the means for establishing an ongoing livelihood. (…)

To kick off the 2005-2006 campaign, students, teachers and parents are coming together at Loyola Academy in Chicago to participate in a unique event commemorating the difference American students are making in the world. (…)

Adopt-A-Minefield® is a campaign of the United Nations Association of the USA in partnership with the Better World Fund, the United Nations and other leading mine action organizations around the world. For more information on Adopt-A-Minefield, log on to and for more information on UNA-USA and how you can become a member, log on to


MAIC hosts senior managers course

19 People from Around the World Participate

Harrisonburg, Va., USA, November 9 - The Mine Action Information Center (MAIC) at James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, Va., again hosted the Mine Action Senior Managers Course (SMC) sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This event took place from September 24 through October 28, 2005, and was designed for high-level officials who are involved in the management of humanitarian landmine action in nations at risk. This was the third SMC that the MAIC has conducted. (…)

Student participants for the SMC are chosen by UNDP in coordination with national mine action program staff and other responsible national government officials. (…) As a result of their participation in the SMC, attendees are better prepared to work effectively as leaders of their national mine action organizations.  (…)


Guinea-Bissau destroys last of its landmine stockpile

Author(s): Olivier Shu <> .

On 17 October 2005, Guinea-Bissau completed the destruction of antipersonnel mine stockpile, in compliance with its obligations under Article 4 of the Mine Ban Treaty.

Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, 27 October - On 17 October 2005, outside the city of Gabú, Handicap International was invited to a ceremony that marked the destruction of Guinea-Bissau’s last remaining landmine stockpile. (…) During the ceremony, specialists from the Engineering Branch of Guinea-Bissau's Armed Forces proceeded to destroy 4,943 mines, including 3,460 PMD 6, 587 PMD 6M and 896 POMZ2, with the support of technicians from two national demining NGOs. Speeches to commemorate this event were given by UNDP’s Deputy Resident Representative, the Minister of Defense, the Minister of Interior as well as by a representative of the Commander in Chief of Guinea-Bissau’s Armed Forces.

The ceremony was organized with the support of the Canadian Government, UNDP and UNICEF.

The destruction of landmine stockpile occurred shortly before Guinea-Bissau’s 1 November 2005 Mine Ban Treaty deadline. (…) Guinea-Bissau indicated that it retained 108 mines (50 POMZ 2, 50 PMD 6, 6 PMN, 2 M969 et 1 MAPS) for demining training purposes, as permitted under Article 3 of the Mine Ban Treaty.






Massive international effort stops polio epidemic across 10 west and central African Countries

'Maintenance' immunization programme launched to protect US$4 billion investment

Geneva/New York/Atlanta/Evanston, 11 November - Public health experts have confirmed that a polio epidemic in ten countries in west and central Africa - Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali and Togo - has been successfully stopped. The epidemic has paralysed nearly 200 children for life since mid-2003, but no new cases have been reported in these countries since early June. At the same time, polio eradication efforts are intensifying in Nigeria, where extensive disease transmission continues, as part of a mass polio campaign across 28 African countries beginning today.

Emergency efforts to stop the epidemic had been launched under the auspices of the African Union (AU), and largely underwritten through US$ 135 million in emergency funding from the European Commission (EC), Canada and Sweden. The 10 countries, which had previously been polio-free, participated in a series of mass immunization drives across 23 countries, reaching as many as 100 million children with multiple doses of polio vaccine over the last ten months. (…)

Experts cautioned, however, that ongoing disease transmission in remaining endemic areas continues to pose a risk of more outbreaks across the region. To minimise this risk, 28 African countries1 – including the 10 countries which have stopped their epidemics - today launched the first element of a 'maintenance' programme to sustain this progress, with an additional series of synchronized immunization activities to reach more than 100 million children with polio vaccine in November and December.

The 'maintenance' programme is part of a four-pronged strategy to protect the US$ 4 billion invested globally since the 1988 launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. The other elements of the strategy include: strengthening routine immunization at country level in close collaboration with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and through the new Global Immunization Vision and Strategy (GIVS); increasing surveillance sensitivity and outbreak response capacity, and increasing both the number and quality of polio campaigns in the remaining endemic areas, particularly in Nigeria. (…)


U.S. Avian flu expert traveling to Armenia to help stem the spread

November 10  - Dr. Elizabeth Krushinskie, DVM, PhD, vice president for food safety and production programs at the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, is traveling to Armenia November 11 -18 to conduct a preparedness assessment for detecting, diagnosing and containing the avian flu. An eminent expert on avian influenza, Krushinskie is going to Armenia as a volunteer under the auspices of the international nonprofit, ACDI/VOCA.

Although there have been no confirmed bird deaths from the avian flu in Armenia, the country falls within migratory paths that are thought to have brought the avian flu to Turkey, Armenia’s neighbor to the west, and it is possible that the lack of confirmed cases is a result of inadequate surveillance. As a result of the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture’s request for assistance, ACDI/VOCA identified Dr. Krushinskie as the most qualified candidate and made arrangements for the assignment. The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, which has endorsed her assignment, focuses on research, education, and communication as well as product promotion. (…)


Turkey provides funding for polio eradication

Turkey made a first-ever contribution of US$ 500,000 to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in support of a commitment made by member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) at the 10th Islamic Summit to eradicate polio from its Member States. Turkey's contribution could be a catalyst for other OIC members to financially support polio eradication in OIC countries.

Turkey's leadership role within the OIC was critical to ensure strong political support for polio eradication at the Islamic Summit (in Putrajaya, Malaysia in October 2003) and the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (in Istanbul, Turkey in June 2004 and Sanaa, Yemen, in June 2005).


ADRA commemorates World AIDS Day around the world

Silver Spring, Maryland, USA -On December 1, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) will join the world in celebrating World AIDS Day, a day aimed to increase awareness about the scourge of HIV and AIDS.

ADRA has also released an awareness kit addressing the tragedies caused by the HIV and AIDS epidemic, both in the U.S. and around the globe. The theme for this year’s kit is “Learn. Care. Act!” The kit includes a World AIDS Day poster, sermon/presentation outline, activity ideas, facts, stories, and a discussion and activity guide for youth. The materials aim to foster activism, and provide critical information to help win the fight against HIV and AIDS around the world. (…)

ADRA has been involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS for over a decade, educating individuals on treatment, care and prevention. ADRA also teaches communities how to address the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS, providing care for children who have been orphaned by the disease, and promoting better health care for those who suffer from HIV and AIDS, helping them to lead longer, more productive lives.

ADRA is present in 125 countries, providing community development and emergency management without regard to political or religious association, age, or ethnicity.



Energy and safety



Private money for play pumps at 60 schools in Mozambique

Water Institute of Southern Africa [Wisa], Members' Newsletter, 4 October - Some 40,000 children in 60 rural Mozambican schools will benefit from the joint project of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Dutch logistics company TNT, using the carousel Play Pump.  In rural southern Africa a common site is that of water carriers covering large distances in order to meet their daily water requirements. Traditional sources of water collection are from dams, springs, rivers, streams and farm reservoirs, with the introduction of boreholes where these traditional sources of water are unavailable. Until now such boreholes have been operated by handpumps as the use of alternatives such as diesel, petrol or electric pumps are costly to install and operate.

A new South African invention simplifies the whole, exercise - the Play-Pump. Cavorting on a roundabout has always been fun for children. Now pure, clean borehole water can be pumped into water storage tanks while the playground roundabout equipment is in use. The Play-Pump is capable of producing 1400 litres per hour at 16 rpm from a depth of 40m, and is effective up to a depth of 100m. A typical hand pump installation cannot compete with this delivery rate, even with substantial effort. (…) To date over six hundred installations have been completed, a large percentage of these installations are at primary schools.



Environment and wildlife



Deforestation continues at an alarming rate, but net forest loss is slowing down

FAO presents new global forest figures

Rome, 14 November – Each year about 13 million hectares of the world’s forests are lost due to deforestation, but the rate of net forest loss is slowing down, thanks to new planting and natural expansion of existing forests, FAO announced today. The annual net loss of forest area between 2000 and 2005 was 7.3 million hectares/year -- an area about the size of Sierra Leone or Panama -- down from an estimated 8.9 million ha/yr between 1990 and 2000. This is equivalent to a net loss of 0.18 percent of the world’s forests annually. These are some of the key findings of The Global Forest Resources Assessment 2005 (FRA 2005), the most comprehensive assessment to date of forest resources, their uses and value, covering 229 countries and territories between 1990 and 2005.(…)

Forests now cover nearly 4 billion hectares or 30 percent of the world’s land area, however 10 countries account for two-thirds of all forest area: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Indonesia, Peru, the Russian Federation and the United States of America. South America suffered the largest net loss of forests between 2000 and 2005 - around 4.3 million hectares per year - followed by Africa, which lost 4.0 million hectares annually. (…)


UNESCAP launches ‘Green Growth’ Initiative in Seoul

Republic of Korea pledges to fund and support project

Bangkok, 8 November (United Nations Information Services) -- UNESCAP and the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea will launch the Seoul Initiative on Environmentally Sustainable Economic Growth (Green Growth) at the First Meeting of the Seoul Initiative Network on Green Growth scheduled for 10-11 November 2005 in Seoul.

Approximately 60 representatives from 30 countries in the Asian and Pacific region and six international organizations including the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank, Institute of Global Environment and Strategies (IGES), and South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP), are expected to attend.

The Seoul Initiative on Green Growth was adopted at the UNESCAP Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in March 2005. The Initiative is aimed at addressing some of the major policy issues highlighted in the Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific 2005, and the Regional Implementation Plan for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific 2006-2010, and furthering their successful implementation.(…)


Tri-national commitment in Pacific raises hope for leatherback conservation

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 4 November – At a recent Pacific Islands Forum meeting, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands committed to developing a tri-national partnership focused on conserving the critically endangered western Pacific leatherback turtle within the Bismarck-Solomon Seas Ecoregion. The beaches of these three countries support the largest remaining leatherback turtle populations in the Pacific Ocean. (…)

Leatherbacks are found throughout the Bismarck-Solomon Seas Ecoregion, a biologically diverse area stretching 2.5 million sq km. from the Bird’s Head (Doberai) Peninsula of Papua, across the Admiralty and Bismarck archipelagos of Papua New Guinea, to Makira Island of the Solomon Islands. The ecoregion is also home to approximately three million people of which 80 per cent rely on coastal resources for their livelihoods. (…)


New species found in Fiji's Great Sea Reef, WWF survey reveals

Suva, Fiji, 3 November – The first ever comprehensive survey of Fiji’s largely uncharted Great Sea Reef, the world’s third longest barrier reef, has revealed a staggering array of life, including a new species of reef fish. The WWF survey, conducted during a 12-day expedition, not only looked at unique mangrove island habitats, several threatened species such as green turtles and spinner dolphins, but recorded a new species of damselfish (Pomacentrus sp.) and 43 new hard coral species.

Covering more than 200,000 sq km, the Great Sea Reef — locally known as Cakaulevu — is home to thousands of marine species, many of them endemic and is an important fishing ground for local communities.

The survey also identified significant threats to the Great Sea Reef, including overfishing and poaching by illegal fishers, poison fishing, sand dredging and other development activities.

In efforts to protect the fragile ecosystem, local village chiefs in Fiji have launched the first of the country’s networks of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) on the Great Sea Reef, which include permanent ‘tabu’ zones, where no fishing or harvesting of other marine resources can take place. (…)


Wetlands satellite mapping scheme yielding first results

European Water Management News, 12 October - Earth's wetlands are havens for wildlife and vital to the water cycle, but they are also under threat. An initiative led by the European Sapce Agency (ESA) aims to develop a global wetland information service based on Earth Observation for conservation efforts. The Globwetland project has now entered a new phase, with prototype products being developed based on sites across four continents.

Globwetland is a user-oriented, developing and demonstrating a space-based information service based on the specific requests of local and national users across 50 sites in 21 countries worldwide. The aim of Globwetland is to utilise satellite imagery to provide detailed wide-area views of individual wetlands and their surrounding catchment areas, and how they are changing. This will aid international, national and local conservation efforts.

Source:  EurekAlert



Religion and spirituality



“Routes to Peace” - The Council for religions meets the Nobel Laureates

Rome,24  November at 6:30 pm,  Auditorium Parco della Musica - Sala Santa Cecilia

For the first time, a lay institution is promoting a meeting between all religions. In the presence of three thousand people and the Nobel Peace Laureates, representatives of every faith will have the opportunity to express themselves freely through prayer, song, dance, reflection. All of the 17 religious organizations that make up the Council will take part in the event: The Italian Islamic Cultural Centre, The Catholic Church, “God’s Assembly in Italy” Evangelical Christian Churches, The Evangelical Baptist Churches of Rome, The Methodist Church, The Orthodox Church of Ethiopia, The Orthodox Church of Rumania, The Valdese Church, The Church of Christ Scientist, The Roman Hebrew Community, The Lutheran Community, The Salvation Army, Bahà’I Faith, The Soka Gakkai Italian Buddhist Institute, Sikh, The Italian Buddhist Union, The Italian Hindu Union.

Welcome by Mikhail Gorbachev and Walter Veltroni Mayor of Rome. Introduction: Franca Coen, Councillor for Multiethnicity of the Comune di Roma. Followed by music, song and dances from the Christian, Islamic, Hebrew, Indian, Tibetan, Bahà’i, Sikh and Japanese traditions.

Municipality of Rome: International Relations Office:

The Gorbachev Foundation  Italian Branch:

Press Office: Kpr Comunicazione: 


15th Israeli - Palestinian Retreat – November 24-25

The Food and food Traditions in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. A joint retreat of Hope Flower School and Interfaith Encounter Association

The Interfaith Encounter Association (IEA) is pleased to invite you to the 14th conference of interfaith dialogue and discussions for Israelis and Palestinians, co-organized by IEA with the Hope Flower School. After the significant success of the previous conferences, we are very excited to continue the process of true peace-building through deep and sincere interfaith dialogue. (…)

During the conference we will engage in non-political interfaith discussions designed to help participants better know "the other" in his/her humanity, which we believe can make a substantial contribution to human peace among the two peoples and three faiths that share this Holy Land. We will also sing together religious and cultural songs and have time for spontaneous conversations. 


In the Tracks of Hercules: A multi-media arts event – UK, December 3rd and 4th

Transforming this Ancient Hero into a Spiritual Trail-blazer for our time

London, November - The Hercules myth is the story of a man who is also a soul, facing the Labours that will awaken the highest within him. The Twelve Labours symbolise the struggle of humanity both individually and collectively. In her book The Labours of Hercules Alice Bailey explores the meaning of the myth and how each labour relates to one of the signs of the Zodiac. Inspired by her ideas, the composer, Kerry Woodward, created a musical score entitled Sidera Herculana, that combines the energy of the constellations and the Labours. This dynamic theatre/dance presentation, choreographed by Konstantin Pavlidis will be performed by Unstructured Light.

Other artists have contributed original works that in some way capture the essence of the spiritual struggle of Hercules. Their interest and enthusiasm has provided the spirit and energy to develop the project. We are delighted to present some of these creations at the event, at the exhibition and on our website.

Performances: Saturday Dec. 3rd, 2 – 9 pm, Sunday Dec.4th  1 – 7 pm, at the Wathen Hall at St Paul’s School, Lonsdale Rd Barnes SW13 9JT

Exhibition of Art at The Lennox Gallery, 77 Moore Park Road, Fulham SW6 2HH



Culture and education



Connecting rural communities: ICTs and rural poverty eradication

II phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), Tunis, Tunisia – 16-18 November

Tunis, Tunisia, 17 November 2005: What can ICTs do for the 800 million extremely poor people who live in rural areas? This question will be the focus of a side event sponsored by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) during the World Summit on the Information Society, on Thursday 17 November 2005.

The side event,  Eradicating rural poverty by connecting rural communities, will draw attention to the real-time experience and lessons learned emerging from IFAD’s First Mile Project in Tanzania, which links use of ICTs with issues related to market access. The project is tackling two challenges: access by rural poor people to information and knowledge, and ICTs such as mobile phones, the internet and email; and how they can build relationships, communicate and negotiate with others along the market chain to improve market relationships.

The side event will be held from 9 to 11 am in Meeting Room Béja, of the Parc des expositions du Kram (Kram PalExpo), Tunis, Tunisia. New ideas are expected to emerge from the discussion on how to increase the positive impact of ICTs in rural areas of developing countries, and how to ensure they can contribute in meaningful, substantive and sustainable ways to the eradication of rural poverty and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. (…) For more information: Chief, Media Relations and Special Events and Programmes, IFAD,


EDC signs declaration supporting women’s access to technology

Document signed by 32 organizations in 15 countries to be submitted at worldwide U.N. summit

Newton, MA, USA, November 10 - Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) has added its name to a declaration focusing on the importance of women’s access to information and communication technologies (ICTs), and the link between access and increasing gender equity around the world. EDC and its co-signers will present the declaration at the United Nations’ World Summit on the Information Society being held in Tunis, November 16-18.

The 4-page document has now been signed by 32 organizations from 15 countries, including many organizations that focus on increasing the active participation of girls and women in ICT. The goal is to have an impact on both U.N. and individual countries’ policy regarding issues of equity and economic development both at the summit in Tunis, and beyond. (…)

Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) is one of the world’s leading nonprofit education and health organizations, with 335 projects in 50 countries. EDC brings researchers and practitioners together to advance learning and healthy development for individuals of all ages and institutions of all types. For more information, visit


ANERA and INTEL announce plans to build "INTEL IT Center of Excellence" at Islamic University of Gaza

November 9 - American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) and the Intel Corporation today announced an agreement to build the "Intel Information Technology Center of Excellence" at the Islamic University of Gaza in the Gaza Strip. This agreement with ANERA expands Intel's comprehensive, multi-year "Digital Transformation Initiative for the Middle East" and underscores the company's long-term commitment to promote technology skills, knowledge transfer and economic development in the region. The Center is scheduled to begin construction in February 2006. The Intel IT Center of Excellence, the first of its kind in Gaza, will expand educational and employment opportunities, provide critical IT support for local businesses and organizations, and help stimulate the IT market in Gaza. (…)

For 37 years, American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) has been a leader in creating innovative job, health, and education opportunities in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, and Lebanon, and providing emergency relief in times of war. ANERA's mission is to create opportunity and hope for people in the Middle East by improving health care and education and stimulating job creation.


World Summit on the Information Society - From 16 to 18 November, in Tunis

It will bring together governments, private sector and civil society

2 November - Some 50 heads of state and government have confirmed their participation in the Tunis stage of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), to be held 16 - 18 November. (…) This Summit, the second phase of a process begun in Geneva in 2003, will bring together political, business and civil society leaders working to reduce the "digital divide", among other initiatives. The Summit will also monitor implementation of an ambitious calendar adopted by 175 countries in Geneva 2003, as part of the Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action to improve connectivity and access to information and communications technologies (ICTs).

The Tunis gathering will review the first two years of implementation of the Plan of Action and governments will develop agreements on financial strategies to promote ICT development in developing countries and Internet options for government. (…)

The private sector will also be represented at the WSIS and more presidents and CEOs have already confirmed their participation than in 2003, during the first phase of the summit in Geneva. Firms such as Alcatel, Ericsson, Huawei, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and ZTE are among those already confirmed. (…)


UNA Mauritius celebrates the 60th anniversary of the United Nations

Mauritius, 20 October -  In his address, the General Secretary of Mauritius United Nations Association, Mr. Nundkeswarsing Bossoondyal, after mentioning that MUNA is nearly reaching some 50,000 victims of last week earthquake in Pakistan and in India as well as Afghanistan, gave an overview of the Association. London College is playing a crucial part with the UNA Mauritius by assisting it in disseminating the aims and objectives of the United Nations in Mauritius. MUNA launched the first UN Clubs here in early 90’s. London College had some of its students participate in few UN Models held abroad. He also mentioned the success and the advancement of education at London College, which has until now created many professionals in Mauritius, among them doctors and lawyers, and that has now been able to create even its first Minister in the person of Hon. Sylvio Tang, the current Minister of Youth and Sports. (…)

The United Nations Association of Mauritius (MUNA) was launched in 1976. (…) MUNA main programmes of activities among others are: Eradication of poverty, Against corruption, Working for Food Security, Agriculture, Environment, Rural Development, Land Reforms, Education, Peace-Security and Disarmament, Gender equality, Health-HIV/AIDS, Population, Human, Women, Child & people’s Rights, Tourism, Youth, Students, the Elderly, the disabled and other key issues. “We further mobilized Mauritian opinions through local newspapers on the larger report presented by Mr. Kofi Annan on the reforms of the United Nations”, Mr. Bossoondyal said, “and we have expressed our support for the enlargement of the United Nations  Security Council and in the same wake to allocate two permanent seats to the African Continent.”


One Million Chinese children to participate in Arts Olympiad

Professor Shen Genlin, Executive Director of the Shanghai Cultural Development Foundation (SHCDF), ICAF's country partner in China estimates that more than one million children in China will participate in ICAF's Third Arts Olympiad. Professor Shen gave a presentation on the Chinese Arts Olympiad to executives of ICAF's Munich office during a joint-collaboration meeting held on October 10, 2005 at the ICAF eV art gallery in Munich. (…)

SHCDF is organizing the Arts Olympiad and a national competition on ICAF's theme, "My Favorite Sport". The Shanghai Children International Culture Development Company, China Welfare Institute Children's Palace and Shanghai ToonMax TV work as co-organizers.  (…)

The International Child Art Foundation is a nonprofit organization that prepares children for a creative and cooperative future so they can lead us into a safer and better world. ICAF's headquarters are in Washington, DC and its European office is in Munich.


* * * * * * *

Next issue: 9 December.


* * * * * * *


Good News Agency is distributed free of charge through Internet to over 3,700 editorial offices of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations with an e-mail address in 48 countries: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Holland, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, 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 service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, a registered non-profit educational organization chartered in Italy in 1979 and associated with the Department of Public Information of the United Nations.

The Association operates for the development of consciousness and promotes a culture of peace in the ‘global village’ perspective based on unity in diversity and on sharing.         

Via Antagora 10, 00124 Rome, Italy. E-mail:


* * * * * * *