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Good News Agency

Monthly – year 14th, number 224 – 9 May 2014


A culture of peace is emerging in all fields of human endeavour


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 1,500 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 It is a supporter of the Global Movement for the Culture of Peace. In the final report of the Decade for a Culture of Peace project (2001-2010) provided to the UN Secretary-General for presentation to the UN General Assembly, Good News Agency is included among the three NGOs that have been playing an active role in the field of Information through Internet.* 




International legislationHuman rightsEconomy and developmentSolidarity

Peace and securityHealthEnergy and SafetyEnvironment and wildlife

Religion and spiritualityCulture and education


International legislation


US: Florida offers jailed youth a chance

May 2 - The Florida legislature has approved a bill allowing for judicial review of very long sentences for youth offenders, recognizing the injustice of such sentences for children, Human Rights Watch said today. House Bill 7035 on Juvenile Sentencing passed on May 2, 2014, by a vote of 115 to 0. The measure now goes to Governor Rick Scott for his signature. The proposed law creates a review structure for children under age 18 sentenced to long or life sentences for serious crimes. Florida has abolished parole, so a life sentence had offered no opportunity for release other than the rarely used executive powers of pardon or commutation.



Brazil assumes leadership in future of Internet governance

By Marcia Pinheiro  for IPS News

São Paulo , April 25 (IPS) – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff signed into law an Internet bill of rights just before her opening speech at an international conference on Internet reform in the southern city of São Paulo Wednesday.

The new law, known as the “Marco Civil”, was the focus of the first panel at the three-day NETMundialconference, and the speakers and the public interrupted their debates to applaud and cheer Brazil’s unique legislation, which could become a global model.

According to Justice Minister José Eduardo Cardozo, the legislation is not only innovative “in terms of its content, but of its method as well,” because it was drawn up with the active participation of society and digital activists. “There were more than 2,000 contributions, and a large part of them were accepted,” the official said. He described the legislation as “a bill of rights and a new set of relations that debunk various preconceptions.”



Mine Ban Treaty intersessional standing committees meeting 2014

The meeting of Intersessional Standing Committees (ISC) of the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) took place on 9 to 11 April at the WMO building in Geneva, Switzerland. The Second Preparatory Meeting for the Third Review Conference took place on 10 April 2014, at the WMO building in Geneva, Switzerland.

The ISC meetings provide an opportunity for states to report on the recent progress they have made to implement the MBT and the Cartagena Action Plan (CAP). The meetings also provide a platform for informal discussion on challenges, plans and requirements for assistance and cooperation to achieve the objectives of the treaty. The ISC meetings are open to States Parties, states not party, relevant international organizations and non-governmental organizations.

All information related to the ISC meeting is available at the Implementation Support Unit website: http://www.apminebanconvention.org/intersessional-work-programme/april-2014/

This intersessional meeting falls just a few months in advance of the Third Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty that will take place 23-27 June 2014 in Maputo, Mozambique and which represents a major milestone in the life of the Treaty.




Human rights


UN goes ‘Bollywood’ in latest push to promote LGBT rights.

30 April - The United Nations human rights office launched in Mumbai today the latest phase of its global fight against homophobia: a Bollywood-style video called The Welcome, accompanied by an appeal from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to end the prejudice that forces millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to live in fear or hide in shame. In the past few months, India had witnessed an unprecedented level of public debate relating to the rights of LGBT people



U.S. will finance a project to combat child labor in Honduras

by W. Alejandro Sanchez

April 24 - The U.S. government has begun a competitive solicitation for a project on reducing child labor and improving labor rights and working conditions in Honduras , “particularly in the agricultural areas of southern Honduras and in the San Pedro Sula area.” This is an extremely relevant project of $7 millions by the U.S. Department of Labor as child labor, and labor conditions in general, are particularly dire in Honduras.

According to the Department of Labor (DoL), the project’s goal is to reduce child labor in part by “promoting education opportunities for children and improved livelihoods for their households.”

In addition, the project also aims to address exploitative working conditions and support freedom collective bargaining in the country. It is unclear whether applicants must plan to address both issues, or if they can solely focus on one.

The deadline to submit an application is this upcoming July 2nd, which should give interested parties, whether Honduran or international organizations, enough time to come up with viable projects that can improve labor conditions in this Central American country. (...)

(Source: COHA, May 3 - www.coha.org)




Economy and development


Lead project in Mozambique launched

New project creates opportunities for horticulture farmers in 3 districts of Maputo Province

April 15 –The LEAD project is a new agricultural initiative that will benefit farmers from three districts in MaputoProvince. The LEAD project (Livelihoods Empowerment and Development) is funded by Billiton Sustainable Communities (BSC), which is a registered charity established by BHP Billiton, the major shareholder of Mozal.

The project, which began in August 2013, will work with more than 30 producer organizations to strength their capacity to provide services to their more than 4,500 members. The project will use a value chain approach, focusing on market-driven opportunities around which communities can mobilize to create sustainable growth in the horticulture market.

BSC has provided funding for this project to ACDI/VOCA, an international NGO, with more than 50 years of experience promoting economic opportunities worldwide. Currently, ACDI/VOCA has operations in more than 30 countries, including several countries in Africa.



Uganda: WFP contracts private company to market quality grain at its Gulu warehouse

April 10, Kampala - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has leased its 5,000 metric ton capacity warehouse in Gulu town to a private company Afgri-Gulu Ltd, for a groundbreaking venture that will conduct normal grain trade and at the same time operate the warehouse receipt system. The development will empower more than 9,000 smallholder farmer groups.

Afgri-Gulu Ltd, a subsidiary of the listed South African company Afgri, will allow farmer groups and traders to decide how they want to trade in their produce - either through normal trading business and therefore get paid immediately, or via the warehouse receipt system.  

The farmer groups will also benefit from training from the company on good agricultural practices and how to reduce post-harvest losses.

WFP has also signed a joint action agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives to support the development of market systems for agriculture commodities.



New horizons for eco-labels and sustainability

The premier Latin American edition was hosted in São Paulo on 27-28 March 2014. The next European edition will take place in Amsterdam on 5-6th June, whilst the 4th North American edition will be hosted in San Francisco in January 2015.

The inaugural Latin American edition of the Sustainable Foods Summit drew to a successful close in São Paulo. About 140 senior executives from the food industry discussed sustainability issues over the 2-day summit. There were calls to develop local markets for sustainable foods in the region, as well as prevent the proliferation in sustainability schemes. View the summit pics here

The summit covered a diverse range of sustainability subjects, such as green commodities certification, biodiversity impacts, sustainable coffee & seafood, social media, green consumer behaviour, food safety in supply chains, sustainability in foodservice, bioplastics in packaging, and ecodesign approach. The summit proceedings are available for a small professional fee. Click here for further details.

The Sustainable Foods Summit is a series of international summits that focuses on the leading issues the food industry faces concerning sustainability and eco-labels, such as Organic, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Certified, etc.






Ethiopia: Red Cross provides South Sudanese refugees with urgent life-saving support

29 April – The Ethiopian Red Cross Society, the ICRC, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the Swiss Red Cross are working together to provide the refugees with better access to medical care and clean water, while also promoting good hygiene practices.

After assessing conditions in the refugee camps in early March, Red Cross Movement partners sent two fully equipped ambulances to the camps along with two other vehicles. “Red Cross ambulance crews are giving 24-hour service to refugees who need medical attention, while the two additional vehicles are used to transport patients whose condition is not critical,” explained Ato Umed Uquay of the Ethiopian Red Cross Gambella branch.

In addition, equipment, medicines, hygiene items and other medical supplies have been donated to Gambella hospital and to Nyinenyang and Itang health centres.



About 25,000 children affected in flooded northern Afghanistan; Save the Children responds with life-saving supplies

Westport, Conn., USA, April 28 - About 25,000 children have been affected and are in need of urgent assistance in the aftermath of flash floods triggered by heavy rain and melting snow in the mountainous area of northern Afghanistan, Save the Children says. Aid agencies spent the weekend working against the clock to save thousands of children and families who are without homes, food and drinking water. Save the Children was on the ground from the very first morning, activating relief supplies in warehouses and distributing blankets, water and fresh bread to the worst affected in Faryab, Sar I Pul, and Jawzjan provinces.

In the coming weeks, we will aim set up temporary learning spaces while schools are being rehabilitated, as well as safe areas for children to play, learn and talk through their experiences. Our focus is ensuring that all children feel safe and protected, and that they regain a sense of normalcy.



Niger: Helping migrants in need

28 April – Each year, thousands of migrants pass through Niger. Many of them travelling this route are in dire need of assistance. In Agadez, a centre run by the Red Cross Society of Niger and supported by the ICRC provides aid to the most vulnerable among them. These migrants come from sub-Saharan Africa. They may be fleeing conflict or poverty in their countries or simply looking for a better life. Some make it to Libya or Algeria and either stay there or head for Europe; others are stopped on the way or sent home.

In the Agadez centre, which was set up by the Red Cross Society of Niger in 2011 and receives financial support from the ICRC, migrants are offered shelter and three hot meals a day. They are also given other basic essentials, such as hygiene products. This humanitarian work is organized in conjunction with the Niger authorities.

“With our partners at the Niger Red Cross, we’re working to meet the most basic needs of the migrants we receive,” said Maxime Dohogne, an ICRC delegate in Niger.

In 2013, more than 19,000 meals were handed out to some 7,000 individuals, while medical staff from the French Red Cross treated over 2,000 sick or injured migrants. So far this year, more than 1,100 migrants have received aid.



Philippines rises up after Typhoon Haiyan

16 April – Caritas is shifting its focus in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines from emergency relief to longer-term recovery.

Haiyan (local name ‘Yolanda’) tore across the Philippines on Friday 8 November, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. It is believed to be the strongest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall. The storm’s impact has been enormous, with over 16 million people affected and over 4 million forced from their homes. Over 1.1 million homes were damaged, about half of them completely destroyed. The Catholic Church in the Philippines was one of the first responders, mobilising resources as soon as the typhoon hit. Caritas Internationalis reached 275,000 people through local churches in nine dioceses with a €5.6 million emergency aid programme.

With relief activities beginning to wind down, the focus is now shifting on providing longer-term recovery support to build back their lives better and reduce reliance on emergency aid.

Caritas Internationalis is launching a €9.7 million one-year recovery programme for 100,000 people in the worst hit areas. All Caritas programmes are developed with the participation of the communities they aim to help. The programme includes building permanent homes for 3700 families. The buildings will be better able to withstand future typhoons as the Philippines experiences an average 22 typhoons annually. Caritas Philippines will also provide clean water for 24,000 people. And give 10,000 families a brighter future by supporting them to earn a living.



CARE International ready to support newly arrived Syrian refugees in Azraq camp, Jordan

16 April, Amman, Jordan - CARE is ready to provide much needed support to newly arrived refugees when they reach Azraq camp, Jordan’s sixth  Syrian refugee camp. Azraq camp’s official opening day is on the 30th of April.

There are nearly 600,000 registered Syrian refugees in Jordan, while the Government of Jordan estimates that there are one million Syrians in the country. With the Za’atari refugee camp, which currently accommodates around 100,000 refugees, running out space and the urban areas already under strain as refugees and host communities battle with increased accommodation and living costs, and access to outstretched public services, the new camp will provide vital life-saving assistance and protection to an initial 51,000 refugees. The site could be expanded to support 130,000 refugees in total if needed.

CARE’s trained ‘roving’ staffers will identify the most vulnerable cases (with special focus on female-headed households, the elderly, the disabled, single men and at-risk youth), and provide case management and follow-up to ensure that they can access essential services and receive the support that they need. CARE will also prioritise discussions on gender-related protection issues in its activities.



Final part of 21,800-ton US wheat donation offloaded in Yemen’s Hudaydah port

April 11, Sana’a - The US bulk carrier, MV Captain Steven L. Bennett, has discharged its cargo of 7,300 metric tons of wheat in the Yemeni port of Hudaydah, the final part of a 21,800-metric ton donation of wheat to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) from the United States Government’s Food for Peace office. The wheat will be distributed by WFP, as part of food rations to some of the 2.8 million severely food insecure Yemenis it is assisting under its emergency safety net in 2014.

The United States is a key donor to WFP activities in Yemen. Last year, it provided WFP with more than US$68.5 million worth of food, enough to feed more than three million hungry Yemenis for six months.

In July, WFP Yemen is launching a new Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO), which aims to provide assistance to some six million people, covering a range of interventions including food and cash distributions, food or cash for work and assets, treatment and prevention of acute and chronic malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, and meals and take-home rations for children regularly attending school.



France contributes €500,000 to WFP’s food assistance for Syrian refugees in Jordan

April 9, Amman - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has received a fresh contribution of €500,000 from the Government of France towards its emergency food assistance programmes supporting thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled to Jordan.

WFP is assisting more than half a million Syrian refugees in camps and communities in Jordan, mainly through monthly food vouchers valued at 24 Jordanian Dinars (€24) per person. With food vouchers, refugee families are able to purchase the food items of their choice at local shops across the country, including dairy, meat and produce, which are not usually included in WFP food rations. WFP is working to ensure that its food assistance for Syrian refugees in Jordan provides families with the food and nutrition they need while also giving back to the host country.

As the conflict in Syria enters its fourth year, on average some 150 families are fleeing to Jordan each day. WFP still needs to raise €175 million to meet the food needs of an expected 710,000 refugees who will need food assistance in Jordan in 2014. This would not be possible without the commitment and support of all donors.

To date, France has contributed a total of €5 million to WFP’s programme assisting Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, including €1.5 million for Jordan. 



Sports field in Lebanon refugee camp is renovated

March 27 – With funding from Reach Out to Asia (ROTA), ANERA completely renovated the soccer field, from the playing field and spectator stands to the recreation and meeting rooms in the basement. And additional space was created as a playground for the younger kids too. “The changes are amazing!” exclaimed Abu Atef, father of four and soccer enthusiast.

Soccer is a very popular sport in Lebanon’s Palestinian camps. Beddawi camp, with 16,500 residents, has no fewer than nine soccer clubs, reaching out to more than 1,000 players. But, most of the teams had no place to play.

The soccer field has not really been operating fully since it was built in 2007. There was hardly any time for teams to train on the field,usually only after they finished work or school and before the sun went down. “There are nine teams in Beddawi and only seven days in the week so some teams just did not get to play,” explains Abu Atef. ANERA installed a professional lighting system on the field to extend hours for training after dark, and ease the tensions between clubs over their time on the field.




Peace and security


Peace Corps & Rotary announce collaboration to promote global development and volunteer service

Initial pilot in the Philippines, Thailand and Togo

Washington, D.C., USA, 5 May – Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet and Rotary International General Secretary John Hewko today signed a letter of collaboration strengthening the organizations’ cooperation in the United States and abroad to promote global development and volunteer service.

At Rotary International World Headquarters in Evanston, Ill., the two organizations committed to explore initial collaboration in the Philippines, Thailand and Togo. Across these three countries, Peace Corps and Rotary volunteers will be encouraged to share resources and expertise, and Peace Corps volunteers and Rotary clubs in the U.S. can connect to boost the impact of development projects. Through the Peace Corps Partnership Program, Rotary clubs can provide small grants to support volunteers and their communities.

Peace Corps and Rotary programs overlap in more than 60 countries, and many returned Peace Corps volunteers join Rotary clubs. The organizations have previously partnered on projects in literacy, water sanitation, and health, and Rotary funds have helped to purchase everything from construction materials to library books.



WFP donates logistics equipment to bolster government disaster preparedness

May 5, Manila -  To complement the national government’s efforts in disaster preparedness and response, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today formally handed over logistics equipment to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) at a ceremony in Manila.

The equipment, worth over US$260,000, includes 8 mobile storage units, 1 prefabricated office and over 1,500 pallets for DSWD, and 40 satellite phones for OCD.  These items were initially provided during the emergency response to the Zamboanga Crisis and Typhoon Yolanda.  

In the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, WFP, as co-lead of the Logistics Cluster, was able to transport more than 26,000 metric tons of relief items for the humanitarian community, including international agencies and non-governmental organizations, as well as the government.

WFP is now moving from relief to recovery and livelihood programmes in the Yolanda- devastated areas, with more than three million beneficiaries assisted through food assistance and cash transfers.



UN, Olympic Committee sign formal agreement on role of sport in development, peace.

28 April -  With Norwegian professional biathlete Ole Einar Bjørndalen and Boston Marathon male winner Meb Keflezighi watching on, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach today signed an agreement between their respective organizations, marking an “historic step” in their cooperation to promote the role of sport in development and peace. Sport can also motivate children to enrol and do well in school, empower girls and women by providing opportunities for leadership and accomplishments, and help reach many groups and communities with important messages on HIV/AIDS and other diseases, drug abuse and environmental protection.



‘We link the people with the power’

DCA partners met Danish MPs to show how civil society organizations can implement real change in areas affected by conflict and poverty

25 April – Yesterday, DanChurchAid’s Partner Group met with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Danish Parliament. As elected representatives of all DanChurchAid’s partners they brought specific examples from some of the world’s hotspots of how these civil society organizations facilitate real change for the poor.

Ohnmar Khaing from Myanmar explained how Myanmar partners have influenced legislation by gaining access to dialogue with parliamentarians and ministers. For instance the Farmers’ Protection Law, which is” important in Myanmar to protect small farmers and not just the big ones in order to be able to produce,” Ohnmar Khaing, Chair of the Food and Security Working Group in Myanmar, said and added:“Our civil society organizations are important as interlocutors between the grass roots level and the decision makers.”

The fighting between different parts of the government that broke out in South Sudan before Christmas and developed into a civil war, has resulted in massive displacement of one million civilians into Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and the bush. Peter Lujana from CCDS is a DanChurchAid partner right in the center of the humanitarian response; “DanChurchAid’s partners break up and go with the displaced. Thanks to the help given, education goes on and seeds and tools are distributed so people can farm,” he said.



11,000 Colombians run a race in four cities in Colombia to support anti-mine initiatives for the International Mine Awareness Day

16 April - An estimated of 11,000 Colombians participated in the "Lend Your Leg 11k" race in Cali and Medellín, on April the 6th, and in Bogotá en Ibagué, on Sunday 13th April 2014, to call for an end to the use of anti-personnel mines in the country. The Colombian government and the FARC are currently involved in peace talks in Havana, Cuba, and UNMAS is actively engaged in the UN Inter-agency preparations for a post-conflict scenario. Race was also an opportunity to create links between land-mine victims and the broader group of people with disabilities.



The 100-day countdown of the International Day of Peace - June 13

The 100-Day Countdown to the UN International Day of Peace starts on June 13th. This is a wonderful opportunity to let people know what you’re planning for September 21st – and to invite them to get on board with the Day and the 2014 theme, Education for Peace. In the US, we will air a Global Telesummit on the Shift Network,  June 13th at 9 am Pacific/12 noon Eastern.

We wilol be in tuning with the UN Education for Peace message by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, for the 100-day countdown for the International Day of Peace.“It is not enough to teach children how to read, write and count. Education has to cultivate mutual respect for others and the world in which we live, and help people forge more just, inclusive and peaceful societies”.

Let’s create “real”, practical acts of peace and drop the guns and hug our neighbors. We must make this happen especially for our future generations, a global true message everywhere there is violence. Please sign up PeaceDayParty.org/join-us-for-peace  and you, your country, your organization will be mentioned on our site.

On September 21, we will celebrate Peace Day with a World TV/Radio/Digital broadcast,live in New York. Participants need to email paul.sladkus@goodnewsbroadcast.com with names.  Original broadcast will be given free to the world. We will strengthen the Education for Peace Message through Children and Grandchildren, throughout the world, www.peacedayparty.org






Nothing But Nets supporters raise funds to send over 25,000 bed nets for World Malaria Day

To mark World Malaria Day on April 25, supporters of the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign raised enough money to send more than 25,000 insecticide-treated bed nets to families in Africa to protect them from malaria.

Nothing But Nets works with UN agencies and other implementing partners to purchase the nets and distribute them to families. Nothing But Nets identifies areas of greatest need across sub-Saharan Africa and works to fill gaps in funding.  Our priorities are constantly changing to address countries and populations most in need.  The campaign targets populations that are particularly vulnerable to malaria, such as refugees, internally displaced people (IDPs), and other often overlooked demographics. Our implementing partners, including the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), as well as others, work closely with local Ministries of Health to determine which countries will receive bed nets. Countries are chosen based on the prevalence and spread of disease, the number of years since the last campaign, and the willingness and preparedness of local governments and Ministries of Health. This process is necessary to ensure that each campaign is efficient, effective, and sustainable.



Rotary, UNESCO-IHE announce new graduating class aims to improve water and sanitation

Delft, The Netherlands, 24 April - The first class of five Rotary sponsored scholars has graduated with Master of Science degrees in water education from the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education. The graduates now will apply their education to water and sanitation projects in their home countries of Argentina, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Ghana.

Established in 2011, the partnership between Rotary and UNESCO-IHE -- the world’s largest graduate water education facility -- addresses the global water and sanitation crisis by increasing the ranks of trained professionals critically needed to devise, plan and implement solutions in countries where communities lack access to clean water and safe sanitation. Rotary provides scholarship grants that enable local Rotary clubs and districts to select and sponsor eligible students to the program. Rotary members mentor the students throughout the program, building positive relationships that continue after graduation.



Niger: seasonal malaria chemoprevention - “It’s not a miracle cure, but it is an effective preventative strategy”

25 April – “All the children used to get sick every year,” says a mother from the Magaria healthcare area in southern Niger’s Zinder region. “We were always traveling, taking them to the hospital. Many of them died.” But last year, for three months starting in July, her children received monthly doses of sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine (SP) and amodiaquine (AQ), when they were still healthy. And they stayed that way. “This year, thanks to the treatment, our children have not gotten sick.”

The treatment was part of MSF’s seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) campaign, a new preventive measure against malaria that has been recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the Sahel sub-region, where prevalence of the illness is high.

This preventive treatment is used only in regions where malaria is seasonal. Although the illness is endemic in Niger, the country faces a significant annual upsurge during the rainy season, which extends from July to October and, not surprisingly, corresponds with the period of high transmission.

SMC was implemented in Niger for the first time in 2013. It is now part of efforts under the National Program to control the disease, which can be particularly deadly for children under 5.



Moving doctor’s office rescues women from breast cancer

by Arnold R. Grahl , Rotary News

April 11 - In Tamil Nadu, India, two doctors, both members of the Rotary Club of Srirangam, discovered an alarming trend in the remote city outskirts of Trichy, women dying of breast cancer.

Drs. K. Govindaraj and K.N. Srinivasan knew that much of the death and suffering could be avoided, and both were motivated by their personal experiences with the disease. (...) During a trip to South Korea, Govindaraj saw a large van outfitted with X-ray equipment parked outside a mall, and thought a moving doctor’s office and lab -- or “mammobus” -- could overcome the challenges they faced.

Through a Rotary global grant, the men were able to buy and outfit their own bus. Since April 2012 the Shantha Foundation’s mammobus, supported by local Rotarians and the Rotary Club of Rockville, Maryland, USA, has administered 2,500 free breast cancer screenings. Early stage cancer has been detected and treated in six women, and thousands have been taught how to conduct regular self-exams, an important means of early detection.

The bus stops anywhere a large group of women congregate, with priority given to rural areas. The Srirangam club also helps line up visits and widely promotes the bus through various media. (...)




Energy and safety



2014 USA: SunShot Grand Challenge Summit - May 19-22,  Anaheim, California

Building on the success of the first Grand Challenge Summit in 2012, this premier gathering will bring together more than 800 members of the solar community to review the progress made toward the SunShot goal and discuss the challenges ahead to make solar energy more affordable and widespread across America. Join SunShot-funded project teams, industry leaders, innovative researchers and scientists, and policymakers to celebrate the accomplishments across more than 300 SunShot-funded projects and discuss the path forward for the U.S. solar energy industry.

The SunShot Summit is a prime platform for solar leaders to think big about the challenges and opportunities ahead for the industry, and to gather inspiration for developing innovative solutions to these challenges.



Internet well on way to 3 billion users, UN Telecom Agency reports

New York, May 5 - Releasing new statistics today, the United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU) announced that by end 2014, there will be nearly three billion Internet users – two-thirds of them from the developing world – with mobile-broadband penetration approaching 32 per cent.

Brahima Sanou, the Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, touted this newest record as a watershed moment in the world’s growing affinity for ICT. “Behind these numbers and statistics are real human stories. The stories of people whose lives have improved thanks to ICTs,” said Mr. Sanou, adding “our mission is to bring ICTs into the hands of ordinary people, wherever they live. By measuring the information society, we can track progress, or identify gaps, towards achieving socio-economic development for all.

Internet users, according to the ITU report, are expected to hit 3 billion by the end of 2014, which accounts for about 40 per cent of the world’s population. Among those users, over three quarters are from developed countries while two-thirds come from the developing world. Moreover, people from developing countries make up for more than 90 per cent of those who are not yet using the Internet. <"http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/press_releases/2014/23.aspx#.U2gOyvldXIM">



BetterWorld Wireless launches groundbreaking mobile service powered by Sprint that combines smart plans and social impact

Phone for Phone™ offers cost savings and an opportunity to help others move out of poverty. Special nonprofit offers available via TechSoup Global.

San Francisco, Apr. 29 /CSRwire/ - BetterWorld Wireless (www.BetterWorldWireless.com) today launched its innovative Phone for Phone™ mobile service, which provides digital access to people in need by donating a mobile device for every qualified new U.S. mobile customer.

Mobile devices allow people around the world to access information and opportunities that can empower them to create pathways out of poverty. BetterWorld Wireless, in collaboration with Sprint, is the first to apply the thriving buy-one-give-one business model popularized by brands like TOMS Shoes and Warby Parker to the U.S. mobile market. BetterWorld Wireless is a full-service national voice and data mobile provider, focused on meeting the needs of nonprofits and of socially conscious consumers who want to use their purchasing power for good.

For every new customer who joins BetterWorld Wireless, after three billing cycles, the company donates a free mobile device via its giving partners, which are nonprofits and programs that demonstrate exponential social impact through the use of mobile technology.



NREL unlocking secrets of new solar material

Bill Scanlon, NREL

29 April – A new solar material that has the same crystal structure as a mineral first found in the Ural Mountains in 1839 is shooting up the efficiency charts faster than almost anything researchers have seen before—and it is generating optimism that a less expensive way of using sunlight to generate electricity may be in our planet’s future.  Researchers at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are analyzing the new material, perovskite, using the lab’s unique testing capabilities and broad spectrum of expertise to uncover the secrets and potential of the semiconducting cube-like mineral.

NREL has already produced three scientific papers on perovskite, reporting on the science behind the very large length of the electron pairs (or charge diffusion length) in mesostructured perovskite solar cells. (...) NREL Senior Scientist Daniel Friedman notes that the light-absorbing perovskite cells have “a diffusion length 10 times longer than their absorption length,” not only an unusual phenomenon, but a very useful one, too.

The new cells are made from a relative of the perovskite mineral found in the Ural Mountains. Small but vital changes to the material allow it to absorb sunlight very efficiently. The material is also easy to fabricate using liquids that could be printed on substrates like ink in a printing press, or made from simple evaporation. These properties suggest an easy, affordable route to solar cells. (...)



Montage Builders Northern Forest, Ryerson University selected winners of first Student Design Competition for zero energy ready homes

April 29 - To help cut energy waste and improve U.S. energy productivity, the Energy Department announced today the winners of the first Challenge Home Student Design Competition. The winning teams produced market-ready, state of the art design solutions for high-performance homes that are energy efficient, comfortable and durable. The designs are for zero energy ready homes, meaning their high performance features sharply reduce energy use and all or most of the remaining energy use can be offset with renewable energy.

The collegiate teams submitted cost-effective designs for homes at least 40-50 percent more efficient than standard new homes. They were judged by national experts including leading high-performance builders, building science professionals and researchers.

The main criteria for selection were design/construction strategies, clear project plans, required analyses, overall competency applying best practice solutions and principles of building science from the Department’s Building America program. Building America is the research and development arm of DOE’s Residential Buildings Program, focused on developing cost-effective, market-ready zero energy ready solutions, guidance and tools for new construction and existing homes.



US Energy Department releases new guidance for strengthening cybersecurity of the grid’s supply chain

Washington, April 28 - As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to a strong and secure power grid, the Energy Department today released new guidance to help U.S. industry strengthen energy delivery system cybersecurity. Developed through a public-private working group including federal agencies and private industry leaders, the Department’s Cybersecurity Procurement Language for Energy Delivery Systems guidance provides strategies and suggested language to help the U.S. energy sector and technology suppliers build in cybersecurity protections during product design and manufacturing. This energy delivery systems guidance builds on the Cybersecurity Procurement Language for Control Systems guidance developed in collaboration between industry, the Energy Department, its Idaho National Laboratory, and the Department of Homeland Security in 2009.



Sustainable Energy for All Forum: 4-6 June at UN Headquarters

The first annual Sustainable Energy for All Forum will take place at UN Headquarters in New York from 4-6 June 2014. The Forum’s concept note explains that this event will: mark the first yearly milestone along the way to reach the three SE4All targets; officially launch the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All 2014-2024, as declared by the UN General Assembly; kick-start a global campaign with focus on energy and women’s health; > build momentum towards the UN Climate Summit in September; contribute to the ongoing discussions on energy and the Sustainable Development Goals for the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

At the SE4ALL Forum, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim - co-chairs of the SE4ALL Advisory Board - will be joined by Heads of State and government; ministers of foreign affairs, energy and other relevant portfolios; heads of the UN system and other international organizations; CEOs of private sector partners; and leaders from civil society.




Environment and wildlife


Endangered leopard images are proof of conservation progress in Caucasus

2 May - New images of the endangered Caucasian leopard emerged this week proving ten years of conservation efforts are working. Camera trap images taken over the last eight months in Southern Armenia and the Nakhchyvan Autonomy region of Azerbaijan show that at least one male and two females have been living in the area for the last year with hopes the females will deliver cubs. Images of more Caucasian leopards from Azerbaijan this month have given conservationists indications that up to seven individuals are living in the Southern Caucuses region. According to the camera trapped photos and field monitoring data the number of prey species for the leopard has also significantly increased. 

WWF together with the IUCN/SCC Cat Specialist Group developed a Regional Strategy on Leopard Conservation with involvement from various organizations of the Caucasus Ecoregion. The strategy was adopted by the governments of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia as part of National Action Plans. It included elements such as increased monitoring of the species, combating poaching and increasing the number of protected areas.



The Nature Conservancy and JPMorgan Chase collaborate to create a landmark conservation finance initiative

Arlington, Va.,USA, April 29 - The Nature Conservancy and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) announced today the establishment of NatureVest, a new initiative of The Conservancy. The program will seek to transform the way we protect natural capital – the soil, clean air and water, and other valuable resources that nature provides. NatureVest will capitalize on the growing impact investment sector to create a platform to advance investment in conservation. 

With the global population estimated to peak at 9 billion by 2050, there is a growing need to maximize the pace, scale and effectiveness of efforts to protect natural ecosystems – along with the cities and communities that rely on them.   At the same time, there is clearly insufficient investment in conservation.  According to the Global Canopy Programme, the current financial need to support global conservation efforts is approximately $290 billion per year. However, only about $51 billion is devoted to these activities annually, primarily from public and philanthropic sources. NatureVest will work to close this funding gap by creating new opportunities for the private sector to invest capital in conservation projects. (…)



Tsetse fly genome breakthrough brings hope for African farmers

24 April, Rome/Vienna - Scientists have cracked the genetic code of the bloodsucking tsetse fly, prompting hope that the breakthrough will help future efforts to control one of the most devastating livestock diseases in sub-Saharan Africa spread by the insect. The tsetse genome was sequenced and annotated during a 10-year international collaborative effort that involved the Insect Pest Control Laboratory run jointly by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. The achievement allows scientists to better study the fly’s genes and their functions, knowledge that should open the door for researching ways to control the insect.



‘Remarkable social progress’ when forests are FSC certified - new study confirms

7 April – Forests FSC certified for their sustainable management provide more benefits to communities than uncertified forests, according to a new study of CongoBasin logging concessions by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Conducted in 2013-2014 across three Congo Basin countries—Cameroon, Gabon and Republic of Congo—the WWF-supported study matched nine certified and nine noncertified concessions, or forest management units (FMUs) to compare how well they delivered social benefits to workers and communities.

The study looked at measures such as employee living and working conditions, equitable distribution of resources, social infrastructure such as schools and community buildings, and impacts on customary rights such as agriculture and hunting.

The study is the first of its kind to look specifically at social impacts of FSC certification in the CongoBasin, and highlights how communities benefit when logging companies pursue the level of responsible forest management required by and audited under FSC certification requirements.




Religion and spirituality


Pakistan - Muslim leaders remember and appreciate John Paul II

Lahore, 7 May (Agenzia Fides) - Important Muslim leaders of Pakistan have visited an exhibition in Lahore to commemorate John Paul II, appreciating his figure. After seeing the photos of St. John Paul II, Syed Abdul Khabeer Azad, imam of the Royal Mosque in Lahore, the largest in Pakistan, said: "Saint John Paul II worked for the welfare of the entire humanity without any discrimination. His name will live in world history as a man who was committed to peace-building and the promotion of interfaith dialogue".

In addition to a large gathering of faithful and Christian leaders, the exhibition, organized by the Council for Interreligious Dialogue, launched by the Capuchin friar Fr. Francis Nadeem, went to Hindu and Muslim leaders, civil society personalities, scholars, political authorities. The exhibition, titled "John Paul II and Pakistan" commemorated the historic visit of Pope John Paul II in Pakistan, on February 16, 1981, and contained over 100 photos and images.

Another Muslim leader intervened, Pir Shafaat Rasool, Chairman of the Council for Interreligious Dialogue, said. "People remember those who work for the welfare and progress of humanity and not for war and destruction. Pope John Paul II lives in our hearts because he continued to fight for the betterment of the peoples of the world. We congratulate the entire Christian community for the proclamation of His holiness". (PA)




Culture and education


UNESCO conference urges inclusion of free expression in post-2015 development goals

New York, May  7 - A world conference convened by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has adopted a Declaration highlighting the contribution of free expression to contemporary democracy, sustainable and human rights-centred development and economic growth. Adopted yesterday at conclusion of the international conference convened at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters to mark World Press Freedom Day, the Declaration calls for freedom of expression, press freedom, independent media and access to information to be fully integrated into the sustainable development agenda that will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) next year.

The Declaration adopted by the conference makes a link between the free expression issues and good governance, which is a foundation for development. Its call will feed into the major effort under way throughout the UN System to achieve a new development agenda to succeed the landmark MDGs. Those targets, agreed by world leaders at a UN summit in 2000, aim to slash extreme hunger and poverty, cut maternal and infant mortality, combat disease and provide access to universal education and health care, all by the end of 2015.

More than 300 participants from almost 90 countries took part in the deliberations, including several Permanent Delegations to UNESCO.  A total of 75 speakers addressed the theme “Media Freedom for a Better Future: Shaping the Post-2015 Development Agenda”.



The Global Elementary Model United Nations (GEMUN) Coordinating Staff is preparing for its 25th annual conference on May 16 - Theme: Post-2015 Development Agenda

The Global Elementary Model United Nations (GEMUN) provides a unique and creative educational opportunity for all participants. This nine month long working experience provides a student/delegate with an unparalleled opportunity to not only study the United Nations, but experience it through role-playing. Student/delegates, in small groups called delegations, represent assigned countries and garner a genuine appreciation of other cultures. Following the study and research of global topics, students write and submit resolutions which incorporate critical thinking, writing and interpersonal skills. The practice of diplomacy, public speaking, and caucussing culminate for the year in an exciting two-day session in May at BrookhavenCollege in Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.

During the twenty-five years, more than 7,000 children from 4th grade to 8th grade have been Delegates and learned how the United Nations works to help solve world problems. Each of these children is learning about the U.N. Committees and their work. Approximately 500 individuals are involved in the yearly Conference including all involved in the preparation. Staff now has to limit participation to those who register “early" because space is limited. 

We send the passed Resolutions to the United Nations in New York after GEMUN, hoping to reach the actual Delegates for the various countries. The GEMUN Delegate Handbook for 2014 is online at : http://www.gemun.org/gemun/handbook.html


US American College of Education partners with G.O.A.L. Academy

Indianapolis, IN, May 5 - AmericanCollege of Education announces its partnership with G.O.A.L. Academy, Colorado’s premier blended learning high school. Information sessions for the academy’s teachers are being held this week. The partnership enables all G.O.A.L. staff members to pursue a Master of Education in Educational Leadership or a Doctor of Education in Leadership with an emphasis in Educational and Community Organizations. In turn, G.O.A.L.Academy is investing in its teachers through their participation in the college’s programs. The academy also will pay part of the tuition for each teacher.

One of the founding principles at AmericanCollege of Education is to improve the quality of education throughout the world. The college offers Master of Education degree programs for teachers and other educators in addition to certificates, paths to licensure and doctoral level programs. The college is known for high academic standards, innovative programs and quality student support.



US and WFP announce US$26 million contribution to keep 130,000 children in school over next three years in Bangladesh

May 1, Dhaka/Gaibandha - The US Ambassador to Bangladesh, Dan Mozena, today announced that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide US$26 million through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to benefit 130,000 school children in the poorest areas of Bangladesh.  The contribution is part of the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program.

Throughout Bangladesh, WFP supports 1 million children in primary and pre-primary schools, while the Government of Bangladesh reaches 1.8 million. The students receive vitamin- and mineral-enriched biscuits every day at school. All the biscuits are produced in Bangladesh.

Distributions of nutritious food at school encourage children to come to class as well as maintaining their parents’ support, which in turn improves enrolment and attendance rates. Such food also alleviates short-term hunger, helping children to concentrate better on their lessons, while providing them with crucial vitamins and minerals that they might otherwise lack in their diet.



FAO and National Geographic announce collaboration exploring future of food

April 30, Rome– The National Geographic Society and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are teaming up to raise awareness on food and agriculture issues as National Geographic, a U.S.-based nonprofit institution, begins an eight-month, in-depth report on food issues starting with a May cover story in National Geographic magazine.

From May through December, FAO experts will provide perspective and data for National Geographic’s food coverage, which includes in-depth articles in the magazine each month and additional features on the NatGeoFood.com website. Both organizations will share content and participate in related events to help educate and promote awareness about hunger and nutrition.
National Geographic magazine, the Society’s official journal, is read by more than 60 million people each month in 40 languages, while the Society’s digital media receives more than 27 million visitors a month. The two organizations plan to collaborate on a number of initiatives throughout the year, including the Committee on World Food Security (13-18 October), World Food Day (16 October), the Second International Conference on Nutrition (19-21 November) and the International Year of Family Farming that runs throughout 2014.

The Future of Food series is the latest in a number of large-scale National Geographic investigations that have included energy, climate, water and population.



FAO strikes media deal with International Federation of Agricultural Journalists

Agreement aims to broaden awareness of food, agriculture and hunger issues

April 29, Rome - FAO and the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) are joining forces to promote wider global sharing of agricultural information and better highlight FAO’s activities in specialized agricultural media worldwide.

An agreement signed today by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and IFAJ President Markus Rediger outlines various joint activities to be undertaken by the Organization and the 3,000+ journalists represented by the 32 national associations that form the IFAJ.
The partnership aims at enhancing knowledge exchange and content publishing related to global hunger and food security, nutrition, sustainable development and the responsible management of fishery and forestry resources, among other issues.

IFAJ is a not-for-profit independent professional association headquartered in Arnhem (Netherlands). Its affiliates include national associations of agricultural journalists and communicators in 32 countries.



Walmart Family’s giving helps drive charter school movement

28 April – The foundation led by the clan behind retail giant Walmart has become a driving force in the growth of charter schools nationwide and gained significant influence in education policy, according to The New York Times.

The Walton Family Foundation has spent more than $1-billion on education since 2000, making it one of the leading private financial backers of reform efforts. Marc Sternberg, the group’s director of K-12 school reform, said it has given grants to one in four charter start-ups nationwide.

The foundation has played a major role in the expansion of publicly financed, privately operated charters in several cities, particularly Washington, D.C., and its grants influence debate on divisive issues such as private-school vouchers and teacher evaluation, the Times writes. It is also a major supporter of education charity Teach for America, a steady supplier of instructors at charter schools.



UNESCO: the Programme on Culture of Peace and Non-Violence

In its essence, the culture of peace and non-violence is a commitment to peace-building, mediation, conflict prevention and resolution, peace education, education for non-violence, tolerance, acceptance, mutual respect, intercultural and interfaith dialogue and reconciliation. It is a conceptual as well as a normative framework envisaged to inspire thoughts and actions of everyone. Therefore, it requires cognitive as well as the emotional abilities to grapple with our own situation in a rapidly changing world as well as with the emerging world society.

With a view to foster conditions where such every day peace is a tangible reality for all, UNESCO has established a new Programme to enhance a culture of peace and non-violence at global, regional, national and local levels, which will aim at the following results:                               

Fundamental principles of peace universally shared to be appropriated by different cultures, thanks to a genuine dialogue and mainstreamed into public policies;

Tension between universality and particularism, cultural identities and citizenship in a globalized world analyzed and better understood;

Everyday Peace to be conceived as an everyday living experience, not only in periods of conflict, but also in ordinary times.




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Next issue: 6 June 2014.


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), Chiara Bartoletti, Elisa Minelli, Isabella Strippoli. Webmaster, media/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,  to 3,000 NGOs, 1,500 high schools, colleges and universities, as well as over 24,000 Rotarians in the world.


It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, a registered, not-for-profit 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(WANGO) and of the Union of International Associations (UIA).


* http://decade-culture-of-peace.org/2010_civil_society_report.pdf - In section A - International Organizations, page 12, the Report says: ”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.”

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