Good News Agency – Year VIII, n° 9



Weekly - Year VIII, number 9 – 6th July 2007

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 (in charge) and Elisa Peduto. 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 and to 2,800 NGOs.

It is an all-volunteer 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



UNICEF Congratulates the Government of Madagascar on two new laws to reinforce child protection, including increasing the legal age of marriage to eighteen years

Antananarivo, 28 June – New ground was broken today when the Government of Madagascar’s Parliament approved two new laws; the first a broad bill to ensure increased child protection for vulnerable children throughout the country, and the second to change the legal age of marriage from 14 years for girls and 17 years for boys, to 18 years for both genders.  Even in exceptional cases, where parents have agreed to the marriage of their children between 14 or 17 and 18 years of age, a Judge’s approval will still be needed to allow the union to take place, challenging the process of early marriage to the highest degree.

These new laws are crucial steps in putting Madagascar’s child protection legislation in line with international standards, namely the United Nations Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and its optional protocols, and the African Charter for the Wellbeing of Children, ratified by the Government of Madagascar in March 1989, March 1991 and August 1991 respectively. The Malagasy Parliament’s decision to pass these new laws has been deeply applauded by UNICEF’s Madagascar Country Office.(…) The next step is to ensure that this new legislation is put into practice, and that families and communities are educated on the importance of postponing the marriages of their sons or daughters, and the protection of separated children, thereby improving the environment for children at the family level. UNICEF will carry on supporting the Malagasy Ministries of Justice and Health and Family Planning in doing so, and continue to work at the community level to disseminate information and develop the capacities of key stakeholders such as local police, magistrates, social workers, administrative officials and Fokotany chiefs.



Human rights



Spain offers jobs and visas to fight illegal migration

26 June - Spanish businessmen have taken a pioneering step towards stemming the waves of illegal African migrants, by travelling to Senegal to hire workers directly and offering them an alternative to a dangerous journey in a rickety boat. Recruits will get contracts, visas and training, instead of paying extortionate sums to trafficking mafias with no guarantee of reaching their destination. Last year around 35,000 Africans arrived on the shores of Spain's Canary Islands, but untold others drowned. "We say to the mafias that we will fight them, and to youngsters that they must come to Spain with the help of Spanish entrepreneurs, not risk their lives in canoes," said the Interior Minister, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, who accompanied the executives to Senegal in the first visit of its kind. Many of the thousands of young Senegalese battling their way to Europe are among the country's brightest, whose relatives see them as a meal ticket to support their family. (…)

More than 500 workers from this part of the west African coast have moved to Spain since a pilot scheme was introduced early this year, armed with a contract, a work permit and a residence permit. So far, most have ended up in Galicia as fishermen but now the scheme is to be expanded into the construction, retail, tourism and agriculture industries. Five Spanish vocational training schools are also to open in Dakar, to provide recruits for Spanish companies and also make a dent in Senegal's 65 per cent unemployment rate. Two of the centres will train workers for the airline Air Europa. "The company always needs airport personnel, especially for the heaviest work - loading and unloading - and to make telephone reservations," said Juan Jose Hidalgo, chairman of Globalia, a tourism consortium that includes Air Europa. (…)

© Independent Digital


USA - National Survey finds strong support for path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants

Philadelphia, June 26 - The Immigration Opinion Survey conducted for the American Friends Service Committee, the year’s largest opinion study on the U.S. public’s views on immigration topics, finds that the public is strongly in favor of immigration reform that includes a path to permanent residency for undocumented immigrants and keeps immigrant families together. Public supports family unity, path to citizenship and opposes more fences (…)

The survey results indicated that most of the U.S. public does not view immigrants as a threat. They strongly agreed (7.56) that “Immigrants come to the U.S. to work, not do us harm.” Respondents felt, “Immigrants are hard working people who take any job they can get (7.71).”  (…)

Respondents very strongly agreed (8.4) with the statement, “We are a nation of immigrants.”

By high margins the U.S. public indicated they felt that immigrants come to the country to escape poverty (88.9%), to escape persecution in their home country (68.1%) and to seek more economic opportunity (96.0%).

Most respondents (82.7%) felt that the rate of undocumented immigration to the U.S. has increased over the past ten years. (…)


Nepal: establishment of a Commission on the Missing

22 June - The ICRC has welcomed the decision of the Nepalese government to establish a Commission on the Missing. "The decision of the government of Nepal on 21 June 2007 to establish a Commission on the missing people is a sign of recognition to all the families suffering from this humanitarian tragedy." said Raoul Forster, the ICRC spokesperson in Nepal. He added, "The ICRC welcomes the decision of the government and insists that the adequate Terms of References be given to this independent commission in order to answer all the needs of the families of the missing people."

Shanta Bahadur Ranabhat from Nawalparasi is a victim the ICRC and the Nepal Red Cross Society met on 21 June 2007. He was assisted with a pair of oxen under ICRC Micro Economic Initiative programme. He said, ''Dead or alive, we want the confirmation of our daughter's fate. We cannot die every minute, everyday.'' Shanta Bahadur Ranabhat is a member of one of the 973 families having reported a disappearance to the ICRC and still seeking information on the fate of their loved ones.

Under international humanitarian law, all parties to a conflict must take all feasible measures to account for persons reported missing as a result of the armed conflict and must provide their families with any information they have on their fate and whereabouts. The ICRC continues to support with its experience and technical expertise the government of Nepal in formulating the Terms of References of this Commission on the Missing.


Sierra Leone: landmark convictions for use of child soldiers

New York, June 20 – The war crimes court for Sierra Leone has handed down the first convictions by a UN-backed tribunal for the crime of recruiting and using child soldiers. Human Rights Watch said that these convictions are a ground-breaking step toward ending impunity for commanders who exploit hundreds of thousands of children as soldiers in conflicts worldwide.

In Freetown today, the Special Court for Sierra Leone handed down verdicts against three accused men from the rebel Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), one of three warring factions during Sierra Leone’s 11-year brutal armed conflict, which ended in 2002. The judges found the three accused – Alex Tamba Brima, Brima Bazzy Kamara and Santigie Borbor Kanu – guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law, including the recruitment and use of child soldiers.  (…)

Thousands of children were recruited and used by all sides during Sierra Leone’s conflict, including the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the AFRC, and the pro-government Civil Defense Forces (CDF). Children were often forcibly recruited, given drugs and used to commit atrocities. Thousands of girls were also recruited as soldiers and often subjected to sexual exploitation. 

The Special Court for Sierra Leone was established in 2002 to prosecute those “who bear the greatest responsibility” for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law, along with several domestic offenses, committed since 1996. All nine defendants being prosecuted by the Special Court have been charged with the recruitment and use of child soldiers. The trial phase is complete for cases involving individuals associated with the CDF and AFRC. For accused associated with the RUF, the defense began presentation of its case this May. The Special Court began the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor on June 4 in The Hague. (…)



Economy and development



ERD receives leadership gift to support women’s empowerment programs

June 25 - Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) received a leadership gift to support its programs working with women globally to fight disease, hunger, and poverty, announced Robert W. Radtke, ERD President. The gift was given by the Laura Ellen and Robert Muglia Family Foundation.

Close to eighty percent of ERD’s program beneficiaries are women. ERD’s integrated community development programs give women access to resources and tools which promote self-reliance and support families and communities worldwide. With Anglican and ecumenical partners, ERD works with local communities to: protect women and their children from preventable diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria; provide opportunities for women to earn an income through small business development programs; and teach women improved farming techniques. (…)

ERD is changing the lives of women in communities around the world. For example, in partnership with the Province of the Church of Burundi, ERD is helping women living with HIV/AIDS establish small businesses focused on trade, small livestock, and fruit and vegetable gardening. Many of these women were unable to support their families and contribute to their community due to the social stigma of HIV/AIDS. Through this program, women make a valuable contribution to their communities by operating businesses that cater to the needs of the community. They are able to use the income to purchase food and medicine for their families. Above all, the women’s self-esteem increases substantially. (…)


Global Coalition for Africa (GCA) contributed to positive changes in Africa, says Janneh

Addis Ababa, 22 June - The Global Coalition for Africa (GCA) has helped Africa in identifying key development issues and contributed to positive changes on the continent since its inception in 1990, UN-Under Secretary General and Executive Secretary of Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Mr. Abdoulie Janneh said today in Addis Ababa.

In a statement at the opening of GCA meeting, Mr. Janneh said the Coalition had contributed to the growth rate of African economies from an average of 1.8% between 1980 and 1989 to 5.7% in 2006, continuing the upward trend of 5.2 % in 2004 and 5.3% in 2005. He commended the GCA for its contribution to shaping the debate on issues of critical importance to Africa, noting that its inception was predicated on a difficult period in Africa's history, marked by conflicts, single-party or military governments, weak institutions and poorly performing economies. 

GCA has been effective in keeping Africa on the global agenda and promoting action, said Janneh, adding that the Coalition had served “as a space for engagement to overcome apprehensions and wrong perceptions.”  GCA, an intergovernmental forum , is holding its last meeting this week in Addis Ababa after 17 years of bringing together senior African policy makers and their partners to deepen dialogue and build consensus on Africa's priority development. (…) The Coalition ends its operations in its current format and structure at the end of June 2007. Among the issues to be discussed are the operational modalities required for ECA and ADB to carry the GCA agenda to the next level and continue to address current and other emerging challenges facing Africa .


Tackling hunger in the Horn of Africa

Governments, UN agree on road map

26 June, Nairobi/Rome – Six African governments and the United Nations today agreed on a road map to tackle the root causes of rising hunger across the drought-plagued Horn of Africa, warning that the next major crisis could force more than 20 million people into needing emergency assistance. The road map was the result of months of planning capped by two days of talks in Nairobi that ended today between government representatives of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda, regional bodies, donors, international financial institutions, research organizations, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and the United Nations.  (…)

More than 70 million people – 45 percent of the total population – in the Horn live in abject poverty and face food shortages. In the past six years, four major droughts hit the region.

The result of government-led consultations with the support of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Programme is a road map to scale-up prioritized interventions in the six countries. National talks since January produced a list of 170 successful projects, an armoury of interventions that can be extended and expanded in the battle against hunger. (…) The 170 best projects drawn from the six countries include among many others growing trees; rehabilitating land; veterinary services for drought-stricken pastoralists; agricultural advisory services for farmers; bee-keeping; dairy development; fisheries; micro-enterprises; eco-tourism; digging water wells and irrigation systems, and establishing vegetable gardens. 


US$10.9 million IFAD-supported programme will bring small loans and jobs to young people in rural Sierra Leone

Rome 25 June – A new US$10.9 million programme supported by IFAD will bring small loans and jobs to poor rural people in Sierra Leone. About 34,000 rural households will take part. The programme will focus on the four remote eastern districts of Koinadugu, Kono, Kailahun and Kenema. This is the second development programme supported by IFAD in the war-torn country since the end of the civil strife and the installation of an elected government in 2002. “To consolidate peace, the programme’s primary target is young people, including ex-combatants, sexually abused young women and single mothers,” said IFAD’s country programme manager for Sierra Leone, Mohamed Tounessi.

The Rural Finance and Community Improvement Programme will be funded largely by a grant of US$9.9 million from IFAD. As a highly vulnerable indebted country, Sierra Leone is eligible for 100 per cent grant assistance under IFAD’s newly approved debt sustainability framework.(…) With this programme, IFAD will have financed six programmes and projects in Sierra Leone for a total commitment of US$57 million.


UK signs rs. 2.2 billion (£18 million) agreement with UNDP to support devolution reforms in Pakistan

June 27, Islamabad - The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) is to give more than Rs. 2.2 billion (£18 million) to support citizens’ engagement with government through devolution in. The grant funding will be provided to the Devolution Trust for Community Empowerment (DTCE) and the National Reconstruction Bureau (NRB) The funds will be administered by UNDP Pakistan. The aim of the programme is to support increased accountability of the state to its citizens. It will achieve this by supporting increased citizen participation, and improved utilisation of district development funds in local governments in .  The four-year programme will help DTCE to broaden its interventions to promote the establishment of Citizen Community Boards (CCBs) and other citizen entitlements as provided by the provincial Local Government Ordinances of 2001. A key focus for this programme will be to increase support for women and the poor to take a more prominent and meaningful role in local government.


Eyeglasses stimulate economic growth: Scojo India Foundation's entrepreneur network demonstrates role of market-based development models, says WRI case study

Washington, DC, June 21 -  Scojo Foundation's network of entrepreneurs selling reading glasses in India demonstrates how market-based development models can provide much-needed services to the poor while stimulating economic growth, according to a case study released today by the World Resources Institute. The case study, What Works: Scojo India Foundation, authored by Sachin Kadakia and Nico Clemminck of Columbia Business School, is an analysis of Scojo India Foundation's business model and best practices.

The work of Scojo India Foundation tackles presbyopia, or blurry up-close vision, while providing employment to hundreds of microfranchisees.(…) Scojo Foundation has established and is continuing to expand a network of "Vision Entrepreneurs," low-income men and women who sell reading glasses directly to rural  villagers throughout India.  Scojo Vision Entrepreneurs earn significant supplementary income and enjoy a better standard of living, as well as increased self-respect and influence in their communities.  Their customers benefit from ready and convenient access to inexpensive reading glasses, which translate into restored eyesight and improved livelihoods.

The case study is part of WRI's What Works case study series, which offers in-depth analyses of businesses that are successful in serving the 4 billion people whose incomes place them at the base of the world's economic pyramid. The What Works: Scojo India Foundation case study is available for downloading at: The case study was made possible through the sponsorship of Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation and Columbia Business School.


Georgian President attends dairy plant opening held by AgVANTAGE

June 21 - Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili officiated the opening of two modern cheese-processing plants established through ACDI/VOCA’s USAID-funded AgVANTAGE project.

To modernize the regional dairy sector and increase local incomes and job opportunities, AgVANTAGE teamed up with Cooperative Orlavka and Spasovka Ltd., two local processors in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region, and assisted in the acquisition of two cheese-processing plants. The plants are capable of processing up to 5 tons of raw milk per day, and together, they will produce 1,000 kg of cheese per day, resulting in annual sales of about $508,829. These plants will provide a stable source of income for more than 400 smallholder farmers in the region and directly employ 40 individuals.  (…)

As part of a comprehensive assistance package designed to develop a complete dairy product production chain, AgVANTAGE is assisting with the rehabilitation of six dairy farms in six villages in the Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda districts. These farms will be able to utilize modern dairy equipment, including manure transporters, milking machines and chilling tanks to allow farmers to supply the high-quality raw milk needed to produce quality dairy products.


Top MCC officials attend Armenia water-to-market activity graduation

June 12 - Chief Executive Officer for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) U.S Ambassador John Danilovich attended a water management trainee graduation in Armenia. The event recognized 29 farmers from ACDI/VOCA’s Water-to-Market Activity (WTM) in Armenia, which is funded by Millennium Challenge Account-Armenia (MCA-Armenia). The Armenian Minister of Agriculture David Lokyan, MCC-Armenia Resident Country Director Alex Russin and MCA-Armenia Chief Executive Officer Ara Hovsepyan also attended the graduation.

Commending the trainees, Danilovich said, “This particular program has tremendous significance for us. Not only for you who are here but also eventually for the 60,000 farmers who will participate in this particular farmer training program and the additional 30,000 who will participate in another training program.” (…)

To date, 469 beneficiaries from the areas of Armavir, Lori and Gegharkunik have received training in proper water management techniques.


 “Successful sub-regional mineral centre goes continental”

12 June - The Southern and Eastern Africa Mineral Centre (SEAMIC), an intergovernmental mineral services provider, established in 1977, under the umbrella of the ECA, has decided to open its membership to all African States. The decision, which was taken on 31 May during the 27 th session of the Centre's Governing Council in Maputo (Mozambique), aims to expand SEAMIC's services to the mining community across the continent. It will also help in improving the Centre's viability by increasing the pool of countries from which it can mobilize support. The ministers responsible for mineral resources development, and other senior officials, of Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda, attended the 27th Governing Council. The Prime Minister of Mozambique presided over the event. (…)

The decision to expand SEAMIC's membership will be of great interest to West and North African countries as plans to set up minerals centres in these sub regions have not yet materialized. Although Central Africa managed to establish a mineral centre in 1983, it was destroyed by the conflict in Congo-Brazzaville in the 1990s and has remained ineffective since then.






UN steps up efforts to deploy heavy support package to Darfur

27 June – A senior United Nations peacekeeping official said today that the world body is stepping up its preparations for the heavy support package to the war-ravaged Darfur region of Sudan, while efforts are under way to establish a hybrid UN-African Union force.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” Hédi Annabi, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said to reporters after briefing the Security Council. The current focus is on expediting the deployment of the heavy support package, which is the second leg of the three-phase programme to support and enhance the under-resourced AU Mission in Darfur (AMIS), he said. “Most, if not all” the offers necessary have been received, he noted, and the next step will be for potential contributors to visit Darfur to assess the situation to determine equipment needs.

Regarding the hybrid operation, the last phase of the programme, Mr. Annabi welcomed the Sudanese Government’s unconditional support of a joint AU-UN peacekeeping force in Darfur following talks with a Council delegation earlier this month. He added that the 15-member body will next adopt a resolution regarding the establishment of such a force, after which a budget must be prepared. A large troop contributors’ meeting will be held this Friday to discuss the “shape and form of this hybrid operation,” the official said.

Mr. Annabi said that despite the challenges the new hybrid force – which will report to both the UN and the AU – could face, the two organizations are “committed to working together to coordinate their work so that the operation can work as smoothly as possible.”


Prominent hollywood artists give $1 million to assist women and children in West Darfur, Sudan, and Eastern Chad

Westport, CT, USA, June 27 -  Not on Our Watch, a new organization headed by George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, Jerry Weintraub and David Pressman, has announced a $1 million donation to Save the Children to assist more than 70,000 displaced women and children living in temporary camps in West Darfur, Sudan and in eastern Chad. In announcing the grant and the organization’s support for Save the Children, George Clooney said, “Save the Children is saving lives in Darfur.”  Save the Children President and CEO Charles MacCormack praised the founders of Not on Our Watch for their commitment to raise funds and awareness in support of children and families impacted by war and conflict. (…)

With funding from the new grant, Save the Children's program in West Darfur will provide reproductive health care, protection and emotional support services for women and girls, including essential care for newborns as well as low birth-weight and pre-term babies. Construction of a new women's center in Krenek camp will provide referrals for health care and support to survivors of sexual violence. (…)

Save the Children is the largest international organization conducting relief efforts for displaced families in West Darfur, now reaching approximately 500,000 children and women, in camps and surrounding conflict-affected communities each month. In response to the overwhelming need in the region, Save the Children is currently expanding relief operations into Chad to respond to the emergent needs of displace children and their families. (…)


Catholic Relief Services launches the CRS blog

June 27 - Catholic Relief Services announces the inauguration of the CRS Blog, an outlet that will provide the most up-to-the-minute news and background on our relief work and development programming around the world. The CRS Blog can be accessed from the home page of our website, The blog address is

Please feel free to use any material in the blog in your publications, including blog postings and CRS photographs. For example, there are currently three dispatches from Darfur, Sudan, that provide a rare look into what is happening on the ground – as well as some of the good work being done – in this troubled part of the world. An RSS feed of the CRS Blog is available.


Medical Teams International raises $1.5 million at ‘Field of Dreams’

June 25 - Friends of Medical Teams International hit a grand slam at Safeco Field last weekend when they raised a record $1.5 million dollars to help impoverished families around the world.

More than 730 people attended the “Field of Dreams,” a dinner and auction featuring Medical Teams International’s lifesaving work, including a life-sized, walkthrough multimedia exhibit. Jim & Joy Zorn chaired this major league event.  (…) Presenting sponsors, each contributing $25,000, included Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air, Cenorin, ExOfficio, Franciscan Health System, MCM A Meisenbach Company and Regence.

Founded in 1979 as Northwest Medical Teams, Medical Teams International is a non-profit humanitarian relief and development organization that exists to demonstrate the love of Christ to people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty around the world. In its 27-year history, Medical Teams International has deployed more the 1,600 volunteer teams and shipped more than $1 billion in antibiotics, surgical kits and lifesaving medicines to care for 35 million people in 100 countries.


Central African Republic: ICRC aids the displaced

21 June - The ICRC has for the first time come to the aid of some 6,500 people who have taken refuge in the town of Kaga-Bandoro, 250 km north-east of the capital, Bangui. They have been living in harsh conditions since they fled their villages in the area half a year ago following an outbreak of fighting between the armed opposition in the north-west of the country and government forces. "The northern part of the Republic is prone to armed violence," explained Jean-Nicolas Marti, head of the ICRC delegation, "and the situation there remains one of great concern to us." As the rainy season approached and roads became impassable, he said, living conditions for the most vulnerable among the population could be expected to deteriorate further.

This week's aid delivery was planned to precede the rains and thus ensure the beneficiaries have essential items such as tarpaulins, mats, blankets, soap, basins, and cooking kits. The operation, which is being carried out in conjunction with volunteers from the Central African Red Cross Society, will continue for several weeks.

The ICRC opened an office in Kaga-Bandoro last April in order to better meet the aid and protection needs of people affected by the violence. The ICRC's delegation in the Central African Republic currently has 20 expatriate and 60 locally hired staff. Apart from its relief activities, it works across the country with bearers of weapons, the political authorities, academic milieux and civil society to promote compliance with international humanitarian law.


Blankets bring comfort

© Nils Carstensen By Charlotte Brudenell, ACT-Caritas field communicator

20 June - The Mennonite Central Committee, a long-standing partner of ACT-Caritas, sent over 40,000 blankets to the Darfur Emergency Program (DERO), to assist conflict-affected communities in the province. But these are no ordinary blankets - they have been individually hand-made by members of the Mennonite community in the U.S.  The first batch arrived in Darfur in November 2005, and the second consignment in May 2006. Since then, thousands of the blankets have distributed to those in need. (…)

Action by Churches Together International (ACT) and Caritas Internationalis (CI) are working together in a joint response to the Darfur crisis. ACT International is a global alliance of churches and related agencies working to save lives and support communities in emergencies worldwide. Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development, and social service organizations present in 200 countries and territories. DanChurchAid is a member of ACT International - a global alliance of churches and related agencies working to save lives and support communities in emergencies.



Peace and security



Sister Cities International calls on American citizens to help change global attitudes toward U.S.  --  176 foreign communities seek a U.S. sister city and want friendship

July 3, Washington - With anti-Americanism running "deeper" and negative views of the U.S. persisting, new study released by the Pew Global Attitudes Project last week, Sister Cities International is issuing a call to all Americans to support the more than 700 U.S. sister city programs and to find U.S. communities to adopt 176 cities abroad seeking sister cities.

"It is time for Americans to start waging peace," said Patrick Madden, executive director of Sister Cities International. "Americans care deeply about the image of our country. We aren't going to wait around for ambassadors and formal diplomatic channels to solve this crisis faced by the United States." Rather, says Madden, the solution to our global image problem rests with ordinary citizens forging friendship ties through sister city programs. (…)

According to the Sister Cities International database,, 176 foreign communities have expressed interest in building friendly ties with communities in the United States. Even in geographic areas where a majority of people expressed distaste for the U.S. and its policies, there are still many communities who are eager to work with U.S. communities in friendship. Eleven cities in Turkey, 14 in China, 2 in Morocco, one in Pakistan, one in France, and one in the Palestinian Authority want U.S. sister cities.

Nearly 1,000 people will gather later this month in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. for the Sister Cities International Annual Conference, July 17-21, 2007, and discuss how to advance the citizen diplomacy movement. The event will include match-making sessions for cities trying to pair up and a series of discussions about joint sister city projects in sustainable and economic development, arts and culture, youth and education, and humanitarian assistance.

Sister Cities International is a citizen diplomacy network creating and strengthening partnerships between the U.S. and communities abroad. Begun in 1956 after a White House summit where U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower called for people-to-people exchanges, sister city partnerships are tailored to local interests and increase global cooperation at the grassroots level. Media Contact: Ami Neiberger-Miller, ami@steppingstoneLLC


Netherlands - Cabinet suspends use of cluster bombs

27 June - The cabinet has decided to suspend the use of cluster bombs by the Dutch army, foreign affairs minister Maxime Verhagen told MPs on Tuesday.

But the cabinet does not want to ban cluster bombs altogether and feels they could be used in certain circumstances, Verhagen said. Cluster bombs break up into a large number of smaller explosives which do not always detonate instantly and cause large numbers of civilian casualties. Verhagen said the cabinet has decided to impose the moratorium because of the current international debate on the use of cluster bombs.


Strengthened mine action rapid response capacity

27 June - The first ever ICRC mine action rapid response exercise was organised in Sweden 7-13 June. The exercise was a first step towards implementation of the mine action rapid response agreements that were signed recently with the Swedish Rescue Services Agency’s (SRSA) and the Norwegian Red Cross.

"In many of today's conflicts, mines, cluster munitions and other problems related to weapon contamination cause significant humanitarian challenges", says Ben Lark, head of the ICRC mine action sector in Geneva. "Quick response in affected areas can reduce loss of lives and other problems caused by this contamination until more systematic clearance can take place."

"The ICRC is therefore developing a pool of trained mine action personnel that can be deployed on short missions in emergency situations. The delegates will support the gathering of information related to incidents and dangerous areas, ensure necessary emergency awareness activities and facilitate clearance of areas of particular humanitarian urgency."

Ten delegates from the Norwegian Red Cross and the SRSA were trained during a large mine action rapid response exercise in Sweden. During the exercise, the delegates learnt about the ICRC approach to mine action rapid response and subsequently participated in a larger exercise with the UN and other actors. (…)


Word of caution: Red Cross announces landmine awareness program (Armenia)

27 June - The Armenian Red Cross announced today an education program aimed at raising awareness toward land mines in five provinces of Armenia.  Beginning early next month residents of 16 communities will be warned against the dangers of landmines and taught how to avoid them. The program will be implemented by the Mine Risk Training Program, funded through a charity event held in April by the US Embassy in Armenia in which some $4,000 was raised for the work.

In announcing the program, Red Cross general secretary Anna Eghiazaryan told journalists some 321 square kilometers in Armenia hold landmines, and that nearly 69,000 residents live under threat. “In the recent years 394 people have suffered of mine explosions, 110 out of which died, 294 were wounded. Only in 2006 14 people died,” Eghiazaryan said. RA Ministry of Defense representative Vostanik Adoyan, who was present at the press conference, told ArmeniaNow that since 2003, 170 workers of the Ministry’s Center for Mine Clearing have cleared over 100 hectares (1 square km) of mines. This year, about 60 hectare are expected to be cleared in the Syunik region. “The number of victims has significantly decreased in recent years, and that is also thanks to raised awareness. This training program assists greatly to inform people,” says Adoyan.

Sara Khojoyan,


Russia to help Lebanon clear bombs left since 2006 conflict (Lebanon)

19 June - Russia is ready to assist Lebanon in clearing unexploded bombs left on its territory after a military conflict with Israel in 2006, a senior emergencies ministry official said Tuesday.

During the 34-day military confrontation last summer, Israel reportedly pounded Lebanon with over 4 million cluster bombs and artillery shells, leaving at least 1 million munitions unexploded. Only 300,000 of those have been cleared during the past 10 months. "At the request of the Lebanese government, Russia will help clear the territory of the country [Lebanon] from explosive mines," said Yuri Brazhnikov, director of the Emergency Situations Ministry's international department, adding that the operation would be fully financed by Russia. The official, who is heading a group of Russian experts on a week-long reconnaissance visit to Lebanon, said the first step was to establish contacts with the Lebanese military and UN peacekeepers, and to determine the scope of future work. Brazhnikov said that a group of emergencies ministry's specialists, up to 40 people, could be later deployed in a designated region of Lebanon to clear it from unexploded bombs. The operation will be part of Russia's humanitarian aid to Lebanon, which Moscow has been providing since the end of hostilities in the region. (…)

RIA Novosti,


Clear Path International to assist Afghan landmine survivors as part of U.S. Department of State contract

Posted by: James Hathaway

Kabul, Afghanistan, 21 June – Clear Path International (CPI), a U.S.-based humanitarian mine action nonprofit organization, has received a multi-year contract from DynCorp International to start a landmine survivor assistance program in Afghanistan on behalf of the U.S. Department of State.

With an average of 90 casualties from landmine and explosive remnants of war per month, Afghanistan is one of the world’s most “mine-affected” countries. Nearly half of all casualties die trying to reach a hospital. One in every 10 adult men is a victim of a landmine or explosive remnant of war. Women and children are also victims. Landmine and explosive remnants of war contaminate 27 of the country’s 29 provinces.

Clear Path’s subcontract with DynCorp International supports program design, led by long-time CPI consultant Kristen Leadem in Kabul, and survivors assistance services at least through 2008. It is part of larger humanitarian mine-action effort sponsored by the Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement. (…)

DynCorp International is a U.S-based company that provides support services to military and civilian government institutions in such areas as aviation, infrastructure development, security and logistics (






New phase of largest-ever measles vaccination campaign begins in Pakistan

More than 63 million children to be vaccinated through 2008

Washington D.C., June 29 - The government of Pakistan is launching a new phase of the largest-ever national measles vaccination campaign, with a goal of reaching more than 63 million children by March 2008. This campaign will protect millions of children against measles in Pakistan, and will also be a significant step toward reaching the global goal of reducing measles deaths by 90 per cent by the year 2010 (compared to 2000). (…) An estimated 21,000 children die from measles and its complications in Pakistan each year.

From July 2 through 18, 2007, 1.5 million children aged 9 months to 13 years will be vaccinated against measles in eight districts in the western province of Balochistan. To reach the goal, the national campaign is being conducted in phases throughout the country from March 2007 to March 2008. (…) The Measles Initiative is a partnership led by the American Red Cross, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UN Foundation, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). Largely through the commitment of national governments and support from the Measles Initiative, measles deaths were reduced by more than 60 percent globally between 1999 and 2005. This surpassed the global goal of reducing measles deaths by more than 50 per cent (compared to 1999).


Countries making progress in response to avian influenza

Situation remains serious in Egypt, Indonesia and Nigeria

Rome, 27 June - The response to the deadly H5N1 virus in poultry has significantly improved over the past three years, but the virus remains entrenched in several countries and will continue to spread, FAO’s Chief Veterinary Officer Joseph Domenech said today.

Reports of human cases occur only very sporadically, apart from Egypt and Indonesia, following the progressive control of H5N1 in poultry. “This achievement is the most important demonstration of the effects of worldwide efforts to contain the H5N1 virus,” Domenech said.

“In the 15 or so countries in Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, where the H5N1 virus was introduced during the past six months, it was rapidly detected and eliminated or controlled. Most affected countries have been very open about new outbreaks. This shows that countries are taking the H5N1 threat seriously. They are better prepared today and have improved their response systems,” Domenech said at a press conference in Rome on the occasion of the Technical Meeting on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Human H5N1 Infection.

But Domenech also stressed that there should be absolutely no reason for complacency.  “Recent H5N1 outbreaks in Bangladesh, Ghana, Togo, the Czech Republic and Germany are a clear reminder that the virus still succeeds in spreading to new or previously already infected countries,” Domenech said. A potential human influenza pandemic can not be ruled out as long as the virus continues to exist in poultry.


Rotary helps world move closer to polio-free status

Vivian Fiore

Salt Lake City, Utah – 17-20 June – In 2006, Rotary International contributed US$ 22.6 million and countless volunteer hours to help immunize more than 350 million children in 33 countries against polio – a crippling and sometimes fatal disease that still threatens children in parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Rotary and its global partners at the World Health Organization (WHO), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF, helped the world move several critical milestones closer toward eradicating polio globally – Rotary’s top philanthropic goal.  Almost all outbreaks in previously polio-free countries have been stopped after an international spread between 2003 and 2006. Only four countries (Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan) are considered polio-endemic (never interrupted the spread of polio) – an all time low.

The tools to eradicate polio are better than ever, as the program now has vaccines that are three times as effective and diagnostic tools that detect and track the poliovirus twice as fast.

Policies to minimize the risks and consequences of international spread of polio are now in place, as travelers to and from polio-endemic countries are advised to be fully vaccinated before travel.

Though great progress has been made, challenges remain.    Overall, the quality of immunization campaigns must be improved with strong political oversight from the governments of the endemic countries.  In addition, more funding is critically needed, as the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is facing a funding gap of US$540 million for 2007-08.   In response, high-level representatives from governments, donors and international agencies, recently met and endorsed a final plan with clear milestones over the next 24-months to tackle these and other challenges to a polio-free world.  (…)

With its community-based network worldwide, Rotary is the volunteer arm of the global partnership dedicated to eradicating polio.  This year nearly 500 volunteers from the United States, Canada and Europe traveled to India and African nations where they joined fellow Rotarians from those countries to immunize millions of children under the age of five against polio. (…) To date, the number of polio cases has been reduced from 350,000 children annually in the mid 1980s to approximately 2,000 cases all last year.  The Americas were declared free from polio in 1994, as well as the Western Pacific region in 2000 and Europe in 2002. Once eradicated, polio will be the second disease after smallpox ever to be eliminated worldwide.



Energy and safety



China closes ozone depleting chemical plants

A contribution to avert a global health catastrophe

Chiangshou, China 1 July - China, the world's largest producer of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and halon, today shut down five of its six remaining plants, putting the country two and a half years ahead of the Montreal Protocol's 2010 deadline for phase-out of the two ozone depleting chemicals. The facilities were closed during a symbolic ceremony organized by Chinese authorities in recognition of chemical companies' efforts to stop manufacturing products that harm the ozone layer and as part of the global 'Remembering Our Future' initiative sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Such chemicals contribute to weaken the Ozone layer allowing for dangerous ultraviolet radiation producing skin cancer, eye cataracts and suppression of human immune system. Without the Montreal Protocol, levels of ozone depleting substances in the atmosphere would have increased tenfold by 2050, which could have led to up to 20 million more cases of skin cancer and 130 million more cases of eye cataracts relative to 1980.

The shut down of the five facilities, in Chiangshou City, near Shanghai, will bring China's production of CFCs to just about 550 metric tons, down from 55,000 metric tons at its peak in 1998. The remaining production is being kept strictly to produce CFCs for metered-dose inhalers, used in the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The phase-out of the majority of CFC production marks the second major class of ozone depleting chemicals that China has ceased to produce. China has also recently ended the production of halon for emissive use, in other words, any use that will have the chemical eventually end up in the atmosphere. (…)



Environment and wildlife



More than 7,000 ‘Friends of Live Earth’ events now registered in 129 countries, all 50 US states…and growing

Los Angeles, July 2 – Live Earth organizers announced today that 7,112 ‘Friends of Live Earth’ events have now been registered in 129 countries and all 50 states. Organizers expect the number of registered events to grow even larger in the lead up to the official Live Earth concerts on July 7, 2007. Friends of Live Earth is an official Live Earth program designed to enable individuals, groups and communities to host and attend events in support of the Live Earth message and build a worldwide community-level movement to combat the climate crisis.

“Live Earth is about building a global movement of people committed to solving the climate crisis, and the Friends of Live Earth program represents true grassroots-level participation in Live Earth’s message and mission,” said Kevin Wall, Live Earth Founder and Producer. “Reaching 7,000 local events in 129 countries is an important milestone, but we hope it’s just the beginning. We encourage everyone to ‘Answer the Call’ by hosting or attending a Friends of Live Earth event in their community.”

Friends of Live Earth has partnered with the following organizations on this effort:, Avaaz, Alliance for Climate Protection, Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club, WWF and ICLEI. Thousands of and Avaaz members have signed up to host events through this program, and all of these organizations have encouraged their members to host events in support

of the Live Earth message and cause. Evite is also encouraging its users to hold Live Earth viewing parties at For a complete list of events and to search for an event near you, visit:


Live Earth will bring together 2 billion people to combat the climate crisis

Live Earth is a monumental music event that will bring together more than 2 billion people on July 7, 2007 to combat the climate crisis. Live Earth will stage concerts in New York, London, Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg and Hamburg, and will feature more than 150 of the world’s best music acts – a mix of both legendary music acts like The Police, Genesis, Bon Jovi and Madonna with the latest headliners like Kanye West, Kelly Clarkson, Black Eyed Peas and Jack Johnson.

Live Earth's 24 hours of music across 7 continents will deliver a worldwide call to action and the solutions necessary to answer that call. Live Earth marks the beginning of a multi-year campaign to drive individuals, corporations and governments to take action to solve the climate crisis. Live Earth is partnering with the Alliance for Climate Protection, The Climate Group, Stop Climate Chaos and other international organizations in this ongoing effort. Live Earth was founded by Kevin Wall, CEO of Control Room, the company producing the concerts globally. Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore is the Chair of the Alliance for Climate Protection and a Partner of Live Earth. (…) You can see all 8 Live Earth concerts live and on demand at  - and you can take action there, too!


Asian-Pacific mayors exchange experience on greening cities

Fourth Meeting of the Kitakyushu Initiative Network took place in Japan

Bangkok (United Nations Information Services) – Mayors and administrators from around 25 Asia-Pacific countries have come together in the Japanese city of Kitakyushu to share experience of mitigating pollution and improving environment. The event of 25-26 June 2007 brought together more than 30 cities. Organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment of Japan and the host city, the meeting was part of the Kitakyushu Initiative for a Clean Environment.

The Initiative was adopted by the 4th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific, held in Kitakyushu in 2000. It emphasizes the vital role of local governments in improving urban environmental quality and human health. This fourth meeting of the Kitakyushu Initiative Network aimed to shape innovative actions for simultaneously addressing urban environmental issues and promoting local socio-economic livelihood. It came at a crucial time as the size of world’s urban population is expected to overtake that of rural areas for the first time in the next few months. Continuing rural to urban migration is putting greater strains on cities in dealing with a variety of issues, including solid wastes management. (…)


EU greenhouse gas emissions decrease in 2005

15 June - Emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases (GHG) decreased between 2004 and 2005, according to the annual GHG inventory report of the European Community prepared by the European Environment Agency (EEA), in Copenhagen. The report, 'Annual European Community Greenhouse gas inventory 1990-2005 and inventory report 2007', was submitted to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as the European Community's official submission. The EEA released the main, preliminary, messages of the report in May 2007 because of public and political interest in the issue of climate change. The final version of this report was submitted to the UNFCCC on 27 May 2007. (…)

Germany, Finland and the Netherlands contributed most to the EU-15 reduction in absolute terms. Reduction of CO2 emissions drove the overall decrease of greenhouse gas emissions in these countries. (…) In absolute terms, the main sectors contributing to emissions reductions between 2004 and 2005 in the EU-15 were public electricity and heat production, households and services, and road transport. (…)

The EEA GHG data viewer is an interactive tool that allows easy web access to the main data contained in the EC Greenhouse gas inventory report. The GHG data viewer enables the user to view and analyse emission trends for the main sectors and their sub sectors. It also facilitates comparison between emissions from selected countries and sectors. In addition, the GHG data viewer enables the production of graphics and the downloading of key emission estimates.



Religion and spirituality



Cardinal Tauran to Head Interreligious Council

26 June - Pope Benedict XVI appointed a French cardinal, Jean-Louis Tauran, to lead the Vatican’s newly restored Council for Interreligious Dialogue, which oversees dialogue with Muslims and other faiths. Cardinal Tauran, 64, was the Vatican’s foreign minister under Pope John Paul II. [...] The Cardinal is scheduled to fully assume this position on September 1 of this year.


Interreligious Peace Sports Festival 2007

Asan (Korea), 1-11 July 2007 - IPSF utilizes the globally popular medium of sports to promote cooperation between young athletes of all religions.

While the world longs for peace, our religious, national and cultural differences have at times allowed misunderstanding, suspicion and violence to flourish instead.

The Interreligious Peace Sports Festival brings youth from all faiths and nations together to compete honorably in their sport, and to share their faith and cultural heritage with others. The vision of IPSF combines the love of sports with cultural programs that uplift each other’s traditions in an international athletic arena, setting a long term vision for athletes to become young ambassadors for peace.


13th Asia-Pacific Youth Conference

“Change begins with me: Who I am Today Will Make a Difference Tomorrow”

Philippines, 20-28 July 2007 - Each person, race, and nation has a story from their past a story that is at times inspiring and wonderful and at others, full of pain and suffering. These stories affect our perspective on life. Past hurts remain in our minds and hearts and can cause fresh feelings of hatred, anger and prejudice. Unconsciously, these negative influences shape us because our attitude and understanding towards the past has not changed.

How do we heal the wounds of the past?

How can we learn from it so that we free ourselves from the conflict and corruption in our way of life?

What is our hope for positive change and peace based on?


Religious Youth Service: Netherlands Peace Park 2007

Bridging the Gap of Religious and Cultural Differences

Utrecht, 29 July-8 August - Participants of this RYS Peace Park project will be involved in creating an artwork to enhance the local community, adding value to a selected location: a local mosque, community center, park or garden. The theme of this RYS will be: Bridging the Gap of Religious and Cultural Differences. These activities will benefit participants in these ways:

·          Provide the opportunity for youth from different faith traditions to consider the importance of interreligious cooperation and understanding.

·          Create an opportunity for interreligious youth to integrate with the local grassroots community.

·          Raise young ambassadors for peace promoting tolerance, and living for a greater purpose.

·          Demonstrate the use of art as a tool for peace.

Since the Netherlands, has the second largest Muslim population in Europe, it is certainly the place to launch such a project. […]


Seeds of Peace International Camp 2007

Empowering Leaders of the Next Generation

Maine, USA, July 23-August 14 - Set in the neutral, supportive environment of our camp in Maine, Seeds of Peace [founded in 1993] creates a community in which Arab and Israeli youngsters as well as teens from other conflict regions live together in cabins, share meals, and participate in numerous summer camp activities. Often meeting teens 'from the other side' for the first time, these youngsters canoe, swim and play sports together; they find creative expression through music, drama and fine arts and enter the threshold of the information age in state-of-the-art computer classes.

A ropes and initiatives course provides them with additional challenges that are designed to foster self-discovery, confidence, teamwork, communication and group process skills.

The daily schedule is designed to maximize the interaction of each Arab and Israeli, Indian and Pakistani, Afghan, Greek and Turkish Cypriot and Balkan teenager in intimate group settings.

Over 450 teenagers participate in Seeds of Peace each summer. […] All international campers are selected by their respective governments or other organizations on the ground in their regions. The Americans, as host delegates, are selected by Seeds of Peace. [...]

Founded in 1993, Seeds of Peace is dedicated to empowering young leaders from regions of conflict with the leadership skills required to advance reconciliation and coexistence.  



Culture and education




UNESCO: Stopping violence in schools; what works?

Finding solutions that work is the goal of this meeting.

Paris, 27-29 June - Bullying, corporal punishment, gender-based aggression, gang assaults and other types of violence in schools will be tackled at an expert meeting in UNESCO, Paris. [...] The experts will also address the integration of violence prevention strategies in schools into policy and practice. 

This meeting is a follow-up to the World Report on Violence against Children, and within the framework of the World Programme for Human Rights Education and the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for Children of the World (2001-2010).

A group of experts, including researchers, policymakers, and practitioners from all regions of the world, as well as from UN agencies and NGOs will consider the global context of school violence, the school experience, innovative policies and practices, as well as the role of civil society and the media in making schools free from violence. Organized by the Section for the Promotion of Rights and Values in Education, the meeting will explore solutions to a number of key challenges related to violence against children.


The Earth Charter keeps on spreading around the world

Tatarstan surges to implement the Earth Charter's principles 

A remarkable series of events took place recently in Kazan, Tatarstan, where the President, Prime Minister, and many top officials and ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the Earth Charter. (Tatarstan is a semi-autonomous, multi-ethnic Republic within the Russian Federation. Its Parliament formally endorsed the Charter in 2001.) With its nearly-even mixture of Muslim and Christian peoples, Tatarstan has long provided a prominent example of how the Earth Charter can be used to promote common understanding and peace. Its recent momentum for the implementation of the Earth Charter is truly inspiring.

Encompassing new text books, conferences, competitions, and commemorative monuments, the scope of work now underway for the Earth Charter is extraordinary, extensive, and taking place at all levels of government. Tatarstan has become a world leader for putting principles of the Earth Charter to work in practical ways. Read more about the diverse Earth Charter activities in Tatarstan...

ECI launches EC-Assess Ethical Assessment Tool 

At the CIVICUS World Assembly (held in Glasgow, Scotland, 23-27 May), ECI launched EC-Assess - a brand new, integrated assessment tool based on the ethical framework of the Earth Charter. Inspired by the Preamble to the Earth Charter, which affirms the 16 Principles as “a common standard by which the conduct of all individuals [and] organizations…is to be guided and assessed,” EC-Assess measures both a subject’s level of declared commitment and level of performance in pursuit of a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world. The new tool got positive reviews at two separate workshops during the annual weeklong meeting of civil society organizations. Please Download the tool yourself and share your comments and suggestions on the blog. Click here to find out more about EC-Assess and Civicus ...

Costa Rican Electricity Sparks Earth Charter Learning

Over 200 Costa Rican schoolchildren -- plus their teachers and parents -- received an inspiring introduction to the Earth Charter recently, thanks to the sponsorship of the nation's National Electricity Company (CNFL). Guided by the ECI staff in Costa Rica, the children drew pictures showing how Earth Charter Principles were being put to work in their schools and homes, and their questions and comments revealed a remarkably insightful grasp of the spirit of the Charter. Children, parents, and teachers went home excited and inspired.   

Read more about the workshops...

The Earth Charter is the most widely recognized and authoritative reference document on the vision, values, and ethics of sustainable development, and is available in over thirty languages.

Click here to learn more about the Earth Charter ...


Edinburgh Evening News prints “good news day” edition

The June 28 edition of the daily Edinburgh Evening News contained only positive news stories. Under the title The Edinburgh "Evening Good News," the special edition aimed to interest readers by celebrating the local community and its events.

A hair salon offering free vodka shots to each customor and the record numbers of travelers expected to travel through the local airport during the weekend were just some of the positive stories in the special edition that celebrated local news. In addition, the Evening News got to report some bigger and breaking stories, including a new job-creating B&Q warehouse store and the record deal of local “Any Dream Will Do” runner-up Keith Jack. The Life & Style section featured a story on the approval of a city tram project by the Scottish Executive. “Of course that is subjective, some people might think the scheme is a bad idea, but that is not our position,” said editor John McLellan on the paper’s coverage of the breaking story.

Plans for the special edition drew a lot of interest and had made the paper a topic of local conversation. Although the Evening News refrained from printing negative stories, McLellan explained that the paper otherwise covered everything it would have on a normal news day.

“It raised the profile of the paper and the issue of the role of local newspapers so it has been a positive exercise,” he added. Source: Hold the Front Page


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Next issue: 27 July 2007.


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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. It is also distributed free of charge to over 2,800 NGOs around the world and it is available in its web site:

It is an all-volunteer 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:


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