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Good News Agency

Monthly – year 13th, number 208 – 7 December 2012


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. It is distributed free of charge through Internet to 10,000 media and editorial journalists in 54 countries and to 3,000 NGOs and 1,600 high schools, colleges and universities.

It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, an educational charity associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information. In the final report of the Decade for a Culture of Peace project (2001-2010) presented to the UN General Assembly, Good News Agency is included among the three NGOs that have been playing a major role in the field of Information via Internet*.




International legislationHuman rightsEconomy and developmentSolidarity

Peace and securityHealthEnergy and SafetyEnvironment and wildlife

Religion and spiritualityCulture and education

UN S-G message on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people


International legislation


General Assembly grants Palestine non-member observer State status at UN

29 November - The General Assembly today voted to grant Palestine non-member observer State status at the United Nations, while expressing the urgent need for the resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians leading to a permanent two-State solution.

The resolution on the status of Palestine in the UN was adopted by a vote of 138 in favour to nine against with 41 abstentions by the 193-member Assembly.

In the resolution, the Assembly also voiced the hope that the Security Council will “consider favourably” the application submitted in September 2011 by Palestine for full UN membership.

Today’s action comes on the same day that the UN observed the annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Established in 1977, the Day marks the date in 1947 when the Assembly adopted a resolution partitioning then-mandated Palestine into two States, one Jewish and one Arab.



UN committee approves first-ever text calling for end to female genital mutilation

28 November  – United Nations Member States have approved the first-ever draft resolution aimed at ending the harmful practice of female genital mutilation, in a move hailed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as a major step forward in protecting millions of women and girls.

The text was approved by consensus on Monday by the General Assembly’s so-called Third Committee, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural issues, and will be acted on by the Assembly next month. It would have the Assembly urge States to take all measures – including legislation prohibiting female genital mutilation – to both protect women and girls and end impunity for this practice.

Speaking at a special event at UN Headquarters today to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Mr. Ban applauded the Third Committee for passing its first-ever resolution on ending female genital mutilation. “I look forward to the Assembly’s adoption of this resolution, which would mark a major step forward in protecting women and girls and ending impunity for this practice,” he stated.

Over the past three years, some 8,000 communities across the world, including in 15 African countries, have abandoned the practice, according to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). Last year alone 2,000 communities declared that they will no longer allow the human rights violation to continue.



Building More Democratic Families in Argentina

26 November -A wide-ranging reform of Argentina’s civil code is looking to replace traditional concepts of parental authority and control with one of parental responsibility, while expressly prohibiting corporal punishment for children and adolescents. The proposed changes, prepared by over 100 experts, are now being analysed by Congress, which will convene public hearings in every province in the country in order to foster broad debate. Both chambers of Congress are expected to vote on the measures in March 2013.

The text of the bill incorporates into the civil code international treaties on human rights, including women’s, children’s, indigenous people’s and consumers’ rights, as well as protection of environmental resources.




Human rights


On World AIDS Day: More pregnant women and children must get treatment, says UNICEF

28 November - New HIV infections in children are down, but reaching the goal of an AIDS-free generation requires treating more pregnant women and children living with HIV, UNICEF said today. Thanks to remarkable global commitment, the world has seen a 24 per cent reduction in new HIV infections in children – from 430,000 in 2009 to 330,000 in 2011. And, as of December 2011, over 100,000 more children were receiving antiretroviral treatment compared to 2010. But less than one-third of children and pregnant women are receiving the treatment they need, as opposed to the global average of 54 per cent for adults overall. Treating HIV-positive pregnant women not only keeps them alive and well, but prevents babies from acquiring HIV during pregnancy, delivery and the breastfeeding period. Treatment can also prevent sexual transmission from an HIV-positive woman to an HIV-negative partner.



Feminists want to paint Cuba purple

28 November - There are no purple billboards on city streets, and no public service announcements on television to mark the date. But many different voices in Cuba remember that this year marks the centennial of the birth of the local feminist movement, a platform for fighting for equality and against gender-based violence.

“Ideas about women’s emancipation had existed in the country since long before,” said González Pagés, coordinator of the Ibero-American Masculinity Network. “But they became more visible in 1912, when women came together in feminist organisations.”

“When we appropriate that philosophy, we can fight for equality and against gender-based violence,” the activist said this month during a series of concerts that are being held in eight provinces as part of a prevention campaign. Between January and March of this year, González Pagés and singer Rochy Ameneiro led a tour through 11 Cuban provinces in an effort to fight violence in music. Many Cuban feminists applauded the creation in July of a national network for connecting the efforts of people and institutions for gender equality. The idea came up during a talk sponsored by the Mirta Aguirre Department of Gender and Communication at the José Martí International Institute of Journalism.



Ban welcomes General Assembly Committee’s record vote on Death Penalty moratorium

New York, November 21 - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomes a record vote by a General Assembly committee in favour of the call for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, according to his spokesperson.

“Monday’s vote offers the opportunity to again encourage Member States who still practice the death penalty or retain it in law to follow suit,” the spokesperson added in a news <"http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=6448">statement, noting that 150 States have either abolished or do not practice the death penalty. He continued, “The Secretary-General therefore calls on Member States to join the worldwide trend and support next month’s General Assembly resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.”

The new resolution, inter alia, calls on all States to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty. The vote took place on Monday in the Assembly’s Third Committee, which adopted the resolution by 110 votes in favour, with 39 against and 36 abstentions. For more details go to UN News Centre at:




Economy and development


IFAD to support loan and grant to enhance sustainable agricultural growth in Nepal

December 2, Kathmandu - The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will extend a loan and grant of US$39 million to the Government of Nepal to finance the “Improved Seeds for Farmers Programme” with the goal of promoting inclusive, competitive and sustainable agricultural growth.

The programme is a joint venture between the government of Nepal and IFAD to strengthen improved seed and smallholder livestock production and distribution by creating partnerships between small farmer organizations and the private sector. Through these partnerships, private seed companies will contract farmers group to produce “truthfully labelled” or quality-assured seeds for cereals and vegetables. The aim is to increase the incomes of about 150,000 poor rural households in six districts: Rolpa, Rukum, Salyan, Pyuthan, Gulmi and Arghakhanci. The other component of the programme will support smallholder livestock commercialization in goat breeding and dairy production.



Bai Tushum and partners is the first Central Asian Microfinance Institution to obtain a full banking license

November 28 – On November 14, 2012, Bai Tushum and Partners became the first microfinance institution in Central Asia to be awarded a full banking license from the National Bank of the KyrgyzRepublic. As the first transformed microfinance bank in the region, Bai Tushum Bank will implement international banking best practices, promoting transparency in the financial sector and enhancing trust in the banking system. The Bank will continue to carry out its social mission, supporting entrepreneurs and farmers in rural areas, as well as job creation.



British government and IFAD sign commitment for innovative climate adaptation programming

November 20, Rome - The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the United Kingdom signed a £147,500,000 letter of commitment today, which earmarks funds for rural communities in developing countries to prepare for climate change.

Poor rural communities in developing countries are on the sharp end of climate change. Its impacts — including higher temperatures, unpredictable weather, rising sea levels, and more frequent and severe storms — create new risks for agricultural production, food security, and ecosystems. Beyond this, climate change undermines the livelihoods of millions of rural women and men in developing countries who depend on natural resources.

Launched earlier this year, IFAD's ASAP aims to help 8 million rural people prepare for climate change impacts. ASAP provides a new source of cofinancing to integrate climate change adaptation across IFAD’s approximately US$1billion per year of new investments. ASAP financing goes beyond just increasing yields. It builds on IFAD’s strong track record working with rural communities on a whole host of support programs and projects such as drought and flood risk management, water efficiency and agroforestry to name a few. To date about $320 million has been pledged and committed to ASAP from the governments of the UK, Canada, Belgium, among others. The programme will cofinance about one-third of IFAD’s new projects, making ASAP an ambitious programme of institutional change.



Whole Foods Foundation's micro-loans help 1.3 million people

By Kim Hughes

Posted on November 12 – Mission statements seldom come simpler than the one guiding the Whole Planet Foundation, which aims to alleviate poverty through microcredit — small loans extended to poor people — in communities worldwide that supply Whole Foods Market stores with products.

The private, nonprofit organization established in 2005 by philanthropic organic mega-retailer Whole Foods Market provides grants to microfinance institutions in Latin America, Africa and Asia which in turn “develop and offer microenterprise loan programs, training and other financial services to the self-employed poor.” (...) But these loans, which require no collateral, credit history or binding contracts, routinely mean the difference between self-sustainability and hopelessness, allowing borrowers to establish businesses they couldn’t otherwise get off the ground.

To date, the Foundation has witnessed a payback rate of 97 percent on the staggering $32,095,574 (U.S.) committed to some 224,772 microcredit clients in 54 countries globally.

Indeed, entire families and communities are buoyed each time an enterprising but capital-poor woman is able to bring goods or services to market; the Foundation estimates a total of 1,342,275 souls have been supported through the above-mentioned 224,772 microcredit clients. (…)



Empowering rural women farmers through e-learning in  India

On average, over 40 percent of women are illiterate in Ghaziabad and Agra districts. Therefore addressing illiteracy is an important element of the Sunhara Walmart project, an agricultural development and empowerment initiative that works with 2,500 women farmers in Ghaziabad and Agra on overall socioeconomic empowerment. The project is implemented by Agribusiness Systems International (ASI) with funding from the Walmart Foundation.

Using broadband networks, the e-learning center pilot activity will start with two centers located in close proximity to the Mahila Kisan Vikas Sansthan Federation (a group of women farmers), existing retail outlets and the local Mandi (marketplace). Based on the success of the model and a process of capturing best practices, the activity will be scaled up to eight villages.

After conducting a needs assessment in the project area, the Intel team designed the e-learning centers to counter constraints that women face, such as illiteracy, transportation difficulties and low market prices.

On November 6, 2012, an inauguration event was hosted to celebrate the launch of the first center.






International Volunteer Day - 5 December

Theme for 2012: Celebrate volunteering!

International Volunteer Day (IVD) offers an opportunity for volunteer organizations and individual volunteers to make visible their contributions - at local, national and international levels - to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Apart from mobilising thousands of volunteers every year, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme works closely with partners and governments to establish national volunteer programmes to create structures that foster and sustain local volunteerism in countries. Every day thousands of people are volunteering, online or on-site, contributing to peace and development and working to achieve the MDGs.

On International Volunteer Day (IVD) on 5 December 2012, we celebrate our commitment and hope for a better world. The main focus of IVD 2012 is awareness of and recognition for volunteers and volunteer organizations. The purpose is to recognise this commitment, to inform people about the impact of volunteering on peace and sustainable development, and to applaud volunteers for their dedication and impact.



WFP welcomes arrival of $15 million shipment of US wheat for Yemen's hungry poor

December 3, Sana’a - The United Nations World Food Program today welcomed the docking at Hodeidah Port of the bulk carrier Liberty Glory, which has started to unload 17,000 metric tons of wheat, worth US$15 million,  donated by the United States Government’s Food For Peace office to support WFP activities in Yemen, in particular the agency’s delivery of emergency food rations to severely food insecure households.

A WFP Comprehensive Food Security Survey (CFSS), released in May, found that more than 10 million Yemenis – 44.5 percent of the population – are food insecure. Out of those, more than 5 million Yemenis were found to be severely food insecure – a level of need that means they require food assistance because they are unable to find enough food to feed themselves on a daily basis. WFP has scaled up its operations in Yemen to reach 5.5 million people this year.

The US Government and its agencies have contributed US$ 52 million to support WFP activities in the country during 2012.



‘Secret Santa’ hands out $100 bills in Sandy-hit areas

November 30 – An anonymous Kansas City, Mo., businessman who has pledged to give away $100,000 this holiday seasons was in New York and New Jersey Thursday pressing $100 bills on people in neighborhoods hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, says the Associated Press. The self-styled “Secret Santa”—with an escort of uniformed police officers and current and former FBI agents wearing red caps marked “elf”—gave thousands of dollars to strangers as he visited disaster sites and relief centers from Elizabeth, N.J., to Staten Island.

The philanthropist would not divulge his name but said he is following in the footsteps of a Kansas City friend, Larry Stewart, who died in 2007 after giving away more than $1-million to strangers in food pantries, homeless shelters, and thrift stores. The current Secret Santa said he has given away hundreds in cities across the country.



Save the Children receives $250,000 from Disney to help children and families recover from superstorm Sandy

Westport, Conn., USA, Nov. 27 - Save the Children announced today that it has received a $250,000 donation from Disney in support of its recovery efforts for children and families in New York and New Jersey affected by Superstorm Sandy. Working in cooperation with FEMA, The American Red Cross and other local and state agencies, Save the Children focuses its disaster response activities to ensure that the needs of children are not forgotten during times of crisis.

Immediately following the storm that devastated the East Coast and forced thousands form their homes, Save the Children was there with kits to establish Child Friendly Spaces at shelters in New York and New Jersey. These safe play areas allow children to socialize and begin to recover from emotional distress in the storm's aftermath. Additionally, the organization distributed in-kind contributions of cribs, baby care supplies, hygiene kits and nutritious snacks.

In the weeks and months ahead, Save the Children will be helping to restore access to local child care services or initiate temporary education programs in affected communities.



Guinea: ICRC donates equipment to improve water supply

Conakry (ICRC)November 23 – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has donated 12 pumps and three kilometres of electric cable to improve the water supply in Guinea. The equipment is being handed over to the national water board, which will use it to supply drinking water to 200,000 people in Guinea's main towns and cities. The water board will install the 12 pumps and lay the three kilometres of electric cable. This equipment will supply more than 7 million litres of water per day to 200,000 people, i.e. 37 litres per person per day.

This equipment, worth 1.5 billion Guinean francs (140,000 Swiss francs, or 120,000 euro), will enable the water board to boost supply to four major prefectures of Guinea: Siguiri, Dubréka, Kissidougou and Pita. The supply to people living in these parts of the country is under pressure from infrastructure that has fallen into disrepair, unfavourable geological conditions and a population explosion in some cities.



Counterpart distributes emergency food relief in flooded eastern Niger

Arlington, VA, USA, Nov. 20 -  Counterpart International distributed 1.2 metric tons of emergency food rations in Niger in response to a government request to aid nearly 62,000 victims of severe flooding. With the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the global nonprofit delivered vegetable oil, bulgur, and corn-soy blend to 23,419 people, with special focus on pregnant and lactating women. The food reached people in three eastern provinces who had lost their homes or livestock during August rains that left houses collapsed and rice fields underwater.

Counterpart worked with the affected communities after the disaster to identify the most vulnerable households that needed help getting food, and carried out the distribution from October 1 to 24.



Dutch road funding helps communities and economy in South Sudan

November 16, Juba – In a significant move aimed at helping South Sudan strengthen its infrastructure and improve people’s livelihoods, the Government of the Netherlands will contribute more than US$21 million (€15 million) to the UN World Food Programme’s operation to rehabilitate hundreds of kilometres of roads.

The Dutch funding will help rehabilitate 140 kilometres of feeder roads in Eastern and Western Equatoria states, where many residents are subsistence farmers. More broadly, WFP’s road construction project aims to stimulate South Sudan’s enormous agricultural potential and help it diversify its largely oil-based economy.

Between 2004 and 2011, WFP constructed and repaired more than 2,600 kilometres of roads that now link key cities and serve as corridors to the north as well as to Uganda and Kenya.  Now, WFP is working with the South Sudanese government and nongovernmental partners to build feeder roads connecting rural communities to towns and markets.



A nonprofit offers homeless clients free haircuts—and pride

By Michelle Gienow

November 11 – When Robert Cradle graduated from barber school, he knew he wanted to start his own shop in his native Baltimore, but he never imagined he’d end up running multiple establishments—especially ones where the haircuts are free. But 10 years after he opened Rob’s Barbershop in Odenton, Md., USA to serve Army soldiers stationed at nearby FortMeade, Mr. Cradle says, he started to think about making a change. Then the director of a homeless shelter that had recently opened just a few blocks away came in for a haircut.

“He mentioned that many of the residents couldn’t afford haircuts or even regular grooming, and the light bulb went off,” says Mr. Cradle, who then put up a donation box marked “Haircuts for the Homeless.” He used whatever money customers dropped into the slot to pay his barbers to go to the shelter and give haircuts, or on slow days he would invite the residents to come into his shop. By 2002, Mr. Cradle was grooming about 150 customers free each year and sending his barbers to several area homeless shelters. Realizing that he wanted to do even more, he sold his shop and used the proceeds to start Rob’s Barbershop Community Foundation.

The charity’s mission is not simply free haircuts. Mr. Cradle, now managing director of the foundation, works to build permanent salon facilities in homeless shelters and other organizations that serve the needy. So far, he has raised the money and managed the construction of four shops. (...) The charity’s budget for 2012 is $130,000. (...)

Mr. Cradle says that as a barber, he deals in self-esteem for all clients, and even more so for his homeless ones: “At a time when they are struggling to find their place in the world, helping people to look good on the outside can help them even more on the inside, to feel some confidence.”



ADRA's continuing commitment to Sandy relief and rebuilding

November 9 – At the onset of the hurricane, ADRA went into action in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Haiti where homes have been damaged or destroyed, thousands of families displaced, and at least 71 people have lost their lives. ADRA has worked tirelessly around-the-clock in each affected country. Efforts include the distribution of blankets, water, food vouchers, hygiene kits, housing kits, kitchen kits, and food kits. ADRA Netherlands, ADRA UK, ADRA Norway, and ADRA Spain have all joined ADRA International by committing funds for further relief and rebuilding work in the region.

In the United States, where Adventist Community Service (ACS) is responsible for disaster response, ADRA immediately committed to a partnership with ACS through an initial allocation of $50,000. As news and reports of the extent of damages came to light, ADRA assessed the situation and set to deploy staff volunteers to work alongside ACS in the affected areas and allocated another $100,000 to benefit the hurricane victims. In addition, hurricane-specific funds being donated to ADRA International have, to date, reached over $55,000.




Peace and security


Lebanon: what the ICRC is doing to help Syrian wounded and refugees

29 November- Tens of thousands of Syrians have taken refuge in neighbouring Lebanon after fleeing the fighting. Some are injured and in need of medical attention. Others are simply exhausted and vulnerable. Most refugees could bring virtually nothing with them as they crossed the border. (…) The Lebanese government and its partners, including the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), are providing aid to the Syrian refugees, estimated at some 120,000. (…) In addition to helping the Lebanese Red Cross emergency medical services assist Syrian casualties, the ICRC has distributed food and other aid to recently arrived refugees from Syria, including hundreds of Palestinian families who fled their camps in the country.



Landmine use by governments at low point, Canadian funding declines significantly; assistance to landmine survivors still a challenge

Ottawa, 29 November - Only one government - Syria - has used antipersonnel landmines in 2012, matching the lowest point since the signing of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, according to Landmine Monitor 2012. Four governments used antipersonnel mines in 2011 (Israel, Libya, Myanmar, and Syria). The number of governments rejecting antipersonnel mines continues to grow, with three new countries - Finland, South Sudan, and Somalia – joining the Mine Ban Treaty since July 2011. The succession of South Sudan and accession of Somalia means that all sub-Saharan African countries have joined the Mine Ban Treaty. Globally, 160 countries are party to the treaty, more than 80 percent of all countries. In some of the countries most affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) such as Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Colombia, the report notes real progress in reducing human suffering and the number of casualties.



Forum on conflict and fragility opens in Liberia

Monrovia, 28 November - The global burden of disasters and armed violence which affect over 200 million people and result in over 500,000 deaths each year will be the focus of a forum on conflict and fragility which opens in Liberia tomorrow.

With a special focus on Africa, the forum is co-hosted by the governments of Liberia and Finland, and involves participants from a vast array of public and private organizations, including government, civil society, media, trade unions, youth representatives and traditional leaders.

Conflict, violence and disasters are widely recognized as significant obstacles to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in many developing countries.

This week's gathering is the latest in a series of three United Nations-led thematic consultations calling for input from a wide cross-section of society on how issues concerning disasters, conflict and citizen security can be integrated into a new universal development framework.



Tunisia: police officers trained for peacekeeping in Côte d’Ivoire

Tunis, November) 19 – Eleven Tunisian police officers scheduled to take up peacekeeping duties in Côte d'Ivoire on 18 November have completed a pre-deployment training seminar facilitated by the regional delegation of the ICRC in Tunis. The officers, whose country is a regular contributor to peacekeeping operations, will serve as police advisers to the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire. By helping to train members of peacekeeping operations, the ICRC seeks to promote compliance with humanitarian principles and international norms.

The seminar covered various issues relevant to peacekeeping activities, such as the basic principles governing recourse to force and the international norms applicable to arrest and detention. Particular attention was paid to respect for human rights law by police forces.

Several ICRC staff members shared the lessons learnt by the organization in Côte d’Ivoire, where it has been working for the past 23 years. The seminar was the first of its kind offered as part of pre-deployment activities. Similar seminars will be held in connection with peacekeeping missions in Sudan (Darfur) and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.



Norwegian People’s Aid: Latin-American demining mission nearing completion

Dogs and deminers have completed more than half the task on the border between Peru and Chile

16 November - To date the Norwegian People’s Aid team has found 110 anti-personnel mines and two anti-tank mines in the vicinity of the Quebrada de Escritos ravine, where landmines were washed out on the shore following heavy floods earlier this year.

Weekly detonations of findings are conducted every Saturday at the end of the working week. 24 days after starting the clearance operation in the northern and southern parts of the designated area, 10,948 m2 have been cleared using Mine Detection Dogs, and an additional 32,540 m2 have been cleared by manual demining teams. By this date 28,320 m2 of the designated area was mechanically prepared by machine Bozena 5. Operation on the central part of the task, which due to its high float measuring up to one meter is expected to be the most laborious and critical part of the operation, began this week. The operation is estimated to conclude on December 17.



Libya: educating children about the explosive remnants of war

Ten-year-old Muhammad’s story shows how lethal munitions can find their way into homes...

November 13 – Muhammad lives in Rujban, in the WesternMountains, a region that was the scene of heavy fighting during the revolution last year. In this area, like many other parts of Libya, the war's explosive legacy continues to be felt. MAG cleared 15,000 items of unexploded ordnance in the country in September alone, and 235,000 people have benefited from our 'Risk Education' safety sessions over the past 18 months.

A MAG Community Liaison team visited Muhammad's school in June, to give Risk Education to pupils and teachers. The session Muhammad attended may well have saved one or more lives, including his own. During the war, Muhammad's younger brother, Ziad, had been given some rocket fuses by a stranger. Unaware of the danger, he brought them home to play with, but when the boys' uncle saw them he took the items away, burying them next to the house to keep them away from children. Having listened to the safety messages, Muhammad went home and insisted that his uncle report the buried fuses to MAG.

Treating the matter as a top priority due to their location in a residential area, a technical team removed the dangerous items, and transported them to a demolition site to be destroyed.






Revised ICN Code of Ethics for Nurses

Geneva, Switzerland, 3 December – The International Council of Nurses’ newly revised Code of Ethics for Nurses highlights the importance of work environment and evidence-based practice. A guide for action based on social values and needs, the Code has served as the standard for nurses worldwide since it was first adopted in 1953.

The ICN Code of Ethics is regularly reviewed and revised in response to the realities of nursing and health care in a changing society. It makes it clear that inherent in nursing is respect for human rights, including the right to life, to dignity and to be treated with respect.  Used as a guide by nurses in everyday choices, it supports their refusal to participate in activities that conflict with caring and healing.

In a handy pocket size, the 2012 Code of Ethics for Nurses, is available on the ICN website for downloading. ICN requests all nurses to help with its dissemination to schools of nursing, practising nurses, other health professions, the general public, consumer and policy-making groups, human rights organisations and employers of nurses.



Mattel announces creation of the Joseph A. Cristina HIV/AIDS Children’s Fund and inaugural round of grants in honour of World AIDS Day

Fund to be exclusively endowed by Mattel Children’s Foundation

El Segundo, Calif., USA, November 30 - In honour of World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, 2013, Mattel Inc. (Nasdaq: MAT) and the Mattel Children’s Foundation today announced the creation of the Joseph A. Cristina HIV/AIDS Children’s Fund, with the purpose of making a difference in the lives of children affected by HIV/AIDS in the U.S. by helping to meet their diverse needs, educating and advocating on their behalf, and bringing joy and fun into their lives. The fund, which will be exclusively endowed by the Mattel Children’s Foundation and managed by the California Community Foundation, will grant funds to non-profit organizations which support the needs of children affected by HIV/AIDS in the U.S.



Is the end of AIDS in sight?

November 21 (UN Wire)Fewer people are contracting HIV in poor and middle-income countries, and more people already afflicted are being kept alive by antiretroviral drugs, according to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS. In a report released Tuesday, the agency charts progress over the past decade in 25 countries. Last year, 1.7 million deaths were attributed to AIDS, down from 2.3 million in 2005. "We are moving from despair to hope," said Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS chief.   For more details go to UN News Centre at:



Polio this week - as of 20 November 2012

The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) has published the report of its end-October meeting. Entitled ‘Polio’s Last Stand’, the report highlights that polio is ‘more tightly confined than ever’ and that the global eradication effort is ‘enjoying an unprecedented level of priority and commitment’. While the report notes that the programme ‘will now clearly not achieve its goal of stopping all transmission by end-2012’, the IMB points out that despite this, prospects for success ‘are more positive than ever’. The report is available here.

The Kano State Government, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Dangote Foundation – funded by Nigerian business magnate Alhaji Aliko Dangote – launched this week a collaboration to improve routine immunization and primary health care in Kano, with a goal of reaching 80% coverage with basic vaccines by 2015. Kano has one of the lowest routine immunization coverage rates in Nigeria, with less than 40% of children vaccinated.



Somalia: MSF responds to acute malnutrition on outskirts of Mogadishu

November 19 – MSF nutritional assessment in camps reveals alarming malnutrition rates among children. In response to the critical situation, a team from MSF launched an emergency three-day intervention to provide urgent nutritional treatment and on-site medical care to children under the age of five.

MSF medical staff visited 34 camps hosting more than 15,000 displaced people living with limited access to healthcare. Over three days, 1,500 children were screened for acute malnutrition and 396 were admitted to MSF’s nutritional programme, 70 of them with severe acute malnutrition.

The MSF team also provided emergency medical care to 162 children, referring 25 of them to the MSF paediatric hospital in the Hamar Weyne district of Mogadishu. Most were suffering from respiratory tract infections, skin diseases and diarrhoea. In addition, some 380 children were immunised against measles, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio.

In Somalia the population are profoundly affected by decades of violence that have wrecked the health system. While food security seems to have improved since 2011, assessment by MSF shows that malnutrition rates are still alarming in many parts of the country, including the outskirts of Mogadishu.




Energy and safety


USA - Energy Department announces winner of the 2012 Better Buildings Federal Award Competition

December 6 - The Energy Department today announced that the Department of the Interior's Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility (BGNDRF) in Alamogordo, New Mexico, is the winner of the 2012 Better Buildings Federal Award. The Better Buildings Federal Award competition challenges agencies to achieve the greatest reduction in annual energy intensity, or energy consumed per gross square foot. This year's winner reduced its energy use by an incredible 53.6% since September 2011, representing a 232 Btu per gross square foot reduction in energy intensity.

Today, the Energy Department also announced the 12 finalists that will be competing in the 2013 Better Buildings Federal Award competition. From now until August 30, 2013, the selected finalists will participate in a head-to-head competition to achieve the greatest reduction in energy intensity.



Leading tech company tackles its own e-waste

Akamai Technologies awarded “e-Stewards Enterprise” designation

Seattle, Washington. December 6 - Akamai Technologies, Inc., has enrolled in the e-Stewards® Enterprise program, and by doing so has committed to help solve one of our age’s thornier problems: how to ensure the proper management and recycling of electronic waste (e-waste).

e-Stewards Enterprises agree to make best efforts to use Certified e-Stewards Recyclers, a group of recycling leaders organized by the toxic-trade watchdog organization, Basel Action Network (BAN). e-Stewards Recyclers are audited and certified to ensure that they do not send hazardous e-waste to developing countries, nor dump it in local landfills. Further, they prevent the release of all private data, among other requirements.

Akamai joins other technology leaders including Samsung, LG and NVIDIA, as well as governments such as San Francisco, San Jose and the County of Santa Clara (Silicon Valley) in supporting the most rigorous, “gold standard” for socially and environmentally sound electronics recycling: The e-Stewards Standard.



Declining air pollution levels continue to improve life expectancy in U.S.

December 2 (ScienceDaily) - A new study led by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) has found an association between reductions in fine particulate matter and improved life expectancy in 545 counties in the U.S. from 2000 to 2007. It is the largest study to date to find beneficial effects to public health of continuing to reduce air pollution levels in the U.S.

The study appears in the December 3, 2012 online edition of the journal Epidemiology.

"Despite the fact that the U.S. population as a whole is exposed to much lower levels of air pollution than 30 years ago -- because of great strides made to reduce people's exposure -- it appears that further reductions in air pollution levels would continue to benefit public health," said lead author Andrew Correia, a PhD candidate in the Department of Biostatistics at HSPH.

The study looked at the effects on health of fine particulate matter, small particles of 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter -- referred to as PM2.5. Numerous studies have shown associations between acute and chronic exposure to fine particle air pollution and cardiopulmonary disease and mortality. Studies have also shown that reductions in air pollution are associated with reductions in adverse health effects and improved life expectancy. Air pollution has been declining steadily in the U.S. since 1980, but the rate has slowed in the years since 2000. The HSPH researchers wanted to know whether the relatively smaller decreases in PM2.5 levels since 2000 are still improving life expectancy.   (www.EthicalMarkets.com)



Rotary and UNESCO-IHE join forces to educate water professionals

New partnership will bolster rans of experts needed to stem the water and sanitation crisis killing millions in the developing world

Evanston , Ill., USA, November 28 -  Rotary and the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education are teaming up to tackle the world’s water and sanitation crisis by increasing the ranks of trained professionals critically needed to devise, plan, and implement solutions in developing countries that bear the brunt of the problem.

Through this new strategic partnership, The Rotary Foundation will provide grants to Rotary clubs and districts to select and sponsor eight students each year for scholarships to any of three 18-month Master of Science degree programs at UNESCO-IHE, a United Nations institute in Delft, The Netherlands, that is the world’s largest postgraduate water education facility. The school’s scholarship-eligible programs are Municipal Water and Infrastructure; Water Management; and Water Science and Engineering.




Environment and wildlife


Cameroon sends army to defend borders from Sudanese poachers

Posted on 16 November – Cameroon announced Friday it has mobilized its special forces units to prevent Sudanese poachers from entering its territory to hunt elephants for their ivory, in an operation it called “a first of its kind”. WWF congratulates the Cameroonian government for taking concrete steps to address poaching and illegal wildlife trade, a lucrative criminal activity that undermines the sovereignty, security and economic prospects of the Central African region.

According to information obtained by WWF, this is the same group of poachers that in early 2012 travelled more than 1,000 km on horseback from northern Sudan across the Central African Republic and Chad to kill over 300 elephants in the Bouba N’Djida National Park in northern Cameroon.




Religion and spirituality


Invitation to Focus: Peace 2012 - Begins December 7th with May Peace Prevail on Earth!

Focus: Peace, a free series of daily inspiring teleseminar-style calls starting Friday, Dec. 7th and continuing through Friday, December 21st. Rev. Deborah, who is also an Interfaith Minister, is delighted to kick off this profound series of peace calls  tomorrow. She says, "This meditation initiative is a beautiful way to unite in spirit during this time of holy days, taking us through Hanukkah to the end of the Mayan calendar, winter solstice, and finally to Christmas and on into a New Year - and a new era. There has never been a more important time for a call for peace from the heart of humanity: May Peace Prevail on Earth!" The World Peace Prayer Society invites you to sign up for Focus: Peace at http://focus-peace.peacelights.org


At Intercultural Centre, Ban highlights need for religious and political leaders to use their influence responsibly

New York, November 26 - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today highlighted the need for religious and political leaders to use their influence responsibly, while pointing out how recent events in places such as the Middle East and Mali drive home the need to “promote long-term mutual understanding.” The world body’s chief was speaking at the inauguration ceremony for the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, in the Austrian capital of Vienna. In his remarks, Mr. Ban mentioned his recent visit to the Middle East, in relation to the outbreak of violence between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza, as well as the situation in Mali.

 “These are just some of the reminders of how important it is to promote long-term mutual understanding that transcends religious, national, cultural and ethnic boundaries and identities,” Mr Ban said. “That is why I believe so deeply in this Centre’s vision to advance respect for human dignity and human rights, foster mutual respect and generate cooperation for justice, reconciliation and peace,” he added. The UN chief noted that these values are “central” to all societies, with religious leaders wielding “immense” influence.



World Congress of Religions 2012 - Washington DC, November 30-December 2

November 14 - The Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions is co-sponsoring the World Congress of Religions 2012, an international, interfaith conference.The conference will feature keynote addresses by Reverend Martin Luther King III, former US Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice, and Congresswoman-Elect Tulsi Gabbard.

The WCR will join together engaged leaders, scholars, activists and members from diverse religious and spiritual communities, local and global inter-religious movements, government, business, education, and NGOs. The WCR will use the interfaith search for shared values and mutual respect in addressing the critical issues of poverty, the empowerment of women, human rights and world peace. The event is inspired and informed by the message of the religious and social visionary, Swami Vivekananda, on the 150th anniversary of his birth.

This conference is organized by the Institute of World Religions-Washington Kali Temple and the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions. Co-sponsors include The Hindu American Foundation, The Vedanta Center of Greater Washington DC, The Council of Interfaith Communities of the US.



Interreligious understanding - What a handful of citizens can do - a 48-minute film

20 Years of Palestinian-Jewish living room dialogue  (1992-2012)

This 2012 48-minute, grassroots film archives the 20-year history of the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue on the San Francisco Peninsula of northern California, USA. It documents rich historic roots in the 1980s, step-by-step beginnings from 1992, dramatic progress, and global influence into the 21st Century by a local handful of creative, visionary Muslim, Christian, and Jewish women, men, and youth.

More information and free-of-cost DVDs and relationship-building guidelines are on the Web at http://traubman.igc.org/dg-prog.htm. Or simply Google "Jewish Palestining Living Room Dialogue".



Culture and education


The Right Livelihood Award for outstanding vision and work on behalf of our planet and its people - Award ceremony, 7 December, Swedish Parliament, Stockholm

Hayrettin Karaca, "grandfather" of the Turkish environmental movement, Sima Samar, Afghan doctor and human rights advocate, Gene Sharp from the U.S., the so-called "Machiavelli" of nonviolent resistance, and Anne-Marie O'Reilly and Henry McLaughlin, representatives of the British Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) will come to Stockholm to accept their Right Livelihood Awards in the Swedish Parliament on December 7th.

The Right Livelihood Award honours and supports those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today. In many countries, the Award is often referred to as the 'Alternative Nobel Prize'.



EDC distributes nearly 20,000 new books to Liberian schools

Waltham, MA, USA, November 30 - Schools across Liberia are receiving nearly 20,000 new books and other materials thanks to a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The Advancing Youth Project, implemented by EDC, is distributing the books through a series of book fairs throughout the country.

Book fairs held last month in Kakata, Ganta, Totota, and Zorzor made it possible for facilitators to review and choose books and materials to be used in classes for out-of-school Liberian youth and young adults who have marginal to no literacy and numeracy skills. The books available to the schools range from fiction to mathematics, life science to vocabulary building. All of the books were donated by U.S. publishing companies through the Brothers’ Brother Foundation.

More than 7,000 Liberians aged 13–35 have taken part in classes through the Advancing Youth Project this year. The project provides access to quality alternative basic education services, social and leadership development, and livelihoods for out-of-school Liberian youth who have no or marginal literacy and numeracy skills. The project’s goal is to train more than 10,000 Liberians by 2016.EDC, Educationn Development Center, Inc. (EDC), is a $200M international, nonprofit organization managing 250 projects around



Ripples of peace

November 16 - The National Peace Academy is creating ripples of peace! The success stories of NPA's alumni demonstrate that we have established a vital foundation from which emerging leaders are educated in the necessary skills to help promote and cultivate a flourishing culture of peace within themselves, their neighborhood, workplace, and the world.

Our alumni demonstrate this everyday. Andy Reyes, Jeffrey Weisberg, and Daryn Cambridge are a few NPA alumni who sought guidance from NPA to help them better understand how they can incorporate peacebuilding into their endeavors to improve their community. Each has become successful in their pursuit to promote peace, acknowledging NPA as the spark that gave them knowledge and confidence to pursue and attain their goals.

The American Red Cross highlighted Andy Reyes for his incorporation of peace studies in his ESL classes.

Daryn Cambridge is developing a peace education certificate program in American University.

 Jeffrey Weisberg, has successfully created, alongside his wife Heart Phoenix, the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding.

NPA's alumni have all been left with a hunger for peace, and many of them have taken it upon themselves to further promote peace through their own community initiatives.



Mercy’s Village provides an education to orphans of war, AIDS in Uganda

By Brad Webber 

The Rotarian, November 2012 - (...) Jeami Duncan, now 31 and a member of the Rotary Club of El Segundo, California, USA, spent five years planning and fundraising. Today, 136 children – most of them orphaned by war or AIDS – are receiving an education through Mercy’s Village International primary school.

The school, which opened in 2011, has students ages five to nine in the first, second, and third grades and aims to add a grade each year, through grade seven. An individual recently donated $10,000 to construct a kitchen, and the school is raising money for a building to use as a dining hall and as a space for after-school and adult literacy programs. Eventually, Duncan says, “we would love to have a computer lab and electricity.”

The idea for a school came from the villagers themselves. In 2007, Duncan returned to Uganda and consulted with elders in Gulu about the best way to help. “They humbled me,” she says. “They told me that a lot of aid organizations or Westerners come in and do what they want to do.” The villagers advised her to focus on education. Though primary education is officially free in Uganda, fees for uniforms and supplies are overwhelming for many families.

Joe Harding, a member of the El Segundo club, plans to visit the school with several other Rotarians. When he first met Duncan, he was impressed. “Having been to Uganda in 1998, I knew firsthand all the things she was talking about,” Harding says. “I was inspired by her. I felt she had to become a Rotarian. She doesn’t just talk about it. You can see the long-range plan and the energy she puts into it. Mercy’s Village is a part of her, and she has a way of making it a part of you.”




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United Nations

The Secretary-General


Message on the International Day of Solidarity

with the Palestinian people

29 November 2012


            It has been 65 years since the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 181, proposing the partition of the mandate territory into two States. Achieving the two-State solution, to which both Israel and the Palestinians have committed, is long overdue. During my recent trip to the Middle East following the dangerous escalation of violence in Gaza and Israel, I saw yet again the disastrous consequences -- in particular for the civilian populations -- of the absence of a permanent resolution of the conflict. With the Middle East continuing to change rapidly and profoundly, it is more urgent than ever for the international community and the parties to intensify efforts towards peace.


            The outlines of an agreement have long been clear, laid out in UN Security Council resolutions, the Madrid principles -- including land for peace -- the Road Map, the 2002 Arab Peace initiative and existing agreements between the parties. What is needed now is political will and courage, as well as a sense of historic responsibility and vision for younger generations.


            Final status issues can only be solved through direct negotiations. However, much work lies ahead to create the conditions that will allow the resumption of credible and meaningful negotiations and preserve the viability of the two-state solution.


            It is crucial to sustain the ceasefire concluded last week that ended more than one week of devastating violence in Gaza and southern Israel. There must be no rocket fire from Gaza, which I have condemned repeatedly. The issues that have been pending since the adoption of Security Council resolution 1860 in January 2009 must be resolved decisively: ending the closure, preventing the illicit trafficking of arms and achieving intra-Palestinian reconciliation. Palestinian unity that supports a negotiated two-State solution is essential for the creation of a PalestinianState in Gaza and the West Bank. It remains essential that the Palestinians overcome their divisions, based on the commitments of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the positions of the Quartet and the Arab Peace Initiative.


            It is equally important to preserve the commendable achievements of the Palestinian Authority’s state-building efforts in the West Bank and the territorial contiguity it needs. Continued settlement activity in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is contrary to international law and the Roadmap, and must cease. Unilateral actions on the ground will not be accepted by the international community. Allowing proper development and planning in Area C is also necessary, instead of demolitions and land confiscation. Israel continues to build the wall on West Bank land, contrary to the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice. I am also concerned about rising settler violence resulting in Palestinian injuries and property damage.


            Amid these many challenges to the realization of their legitimate aspirations for statehood, the Palestinians have decided to seek NonMemberObserverState status in the General Assembly. This is a matter for Member States to decide. It is important for all concerned to approach this responsibly and constructively.


            The goal remains realizing the just and lasting peace for which generations of Palestinians and Israelis have been longing -- a peace that will end the occupation that started in 1967, end the conflict and ensure that an independent, viable and sovereign State of Palestine lives side by side with a secure State of Israel. I call on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to show vision and determination. I also urge the international community to help them forge a credible political path that will meet the legitimate aspirations of both sides.


            I pledge to do everything in my power support this goal. On this International Day, I count on all involved to work together to translate solidarity into positive action for peace.




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Next issue: 11 January 2012.



Good News Agencyis published monthly (except August) in English, Italian and Portuguese. Past issues are available at www.goodnewsagency.org . Rome Law-court registration no. 265 dated 20 June 2000.Managing Editor: Sergio Tripi (sergio.tripi@goodnewsagency.org). Editorial research by Fabio Gatti (fabio.gatti@goodnewsagency.org), Elisa Minelli, Isabella Strippoli. Webmaster and media and NGO coverage: Simone Frassanito (simone.frassanito@goodnewsagency.org


Good News Agency is distributed free of charge through Internet to 10,000 media and editorial journalists of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations in 54 countries: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bermuda, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Caribbean Islands, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Holland, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Oceania, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, USA. It is also distributed free of charge to 3,000 NGOs, 1,600 high schools, colleges and universities, as well as 23,000 Rotarians in the world.


It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, a registered educational charity chartered in Italy in 1979 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. It is based in Via Antagora 10, 00124 Rome, Italy.

The Association is a member of the World Association of Non Governmental Organizations.


*In the final report of the Decade for a Culture of Peace project (2001-2010) presented to the UN General Assembly (http://decade-culture-of-peace.org/2010_civil_society_report.pdf), Good News Agency is included among the three NGOs that have been playing a major role in the field of Information.  In section A - International Organizations, the Report says:

"Participatory Communication and Free Flow of Information and Knowledge has been advanced largely through use of the Internet by civil society corresponding to para 6 in the 1999 Programme of Action calling for the promotion of a culture of peace through sharing of information among actors in the global movement for a culture of peace (p.7). Diffusion and exchange of culture of peace information via the Internet has become the major instrument for several international organizations, notably the Culture of Peace News Network, the Good News Agency and the Education for Peace Globalnet (p.12). 

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