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Good News Agency

In spite of everything, a culture of peace is emerging in all fields of human endeavour

monthly, year 16th, no. 237 –  10 July 2015


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

Migrants – “Sealing international borders is impossible, it only empowers smugglers”


International legislation


US: Adopt New Criminal Justice Bill

2 July, Washington D.C. - A major criminal justice reform bill introduced in the US Congress on June 25, 2015, could improve the fairness of federal prison sentencing and better protect the rights of prisoners, Human Rights Watch said today. The bill, the Safe, Accountable, Fair, Effective (SAFE) Justice Act, is sponsored by Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin and Bobby Scott of Virginia.



Chile: The Constitution for Everyone

30 June - The Constitution for Everyone is the name of an independent citizens’ initiative in Chile that was publicly launched today with the aim of educating and promoting broad dialogue about the Constitution. Through a digital platform (www.laconstituciondetodos.cl), participants will be able to find and learn about the current constitution, express their approval or rejection of the articles, make comments and propose and compare alternative wordings.




Human rights


Mali: Over 250,000 people receive aid in north

29 June - Enduring terrible hardship, often with no means of survival or even shelter: that is the reality for thousands who have fled widespread violence in northern Mali in recent months. Their plight has prompted the distribution of 1,400 tonnes of food, as well as seed and other essential supplies, in and around Mopti, Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), working together with the Mali Red Cross and community leaders.



Black women in the Americas launch Decade of Struggle

By José Adán Silva

29 June - They say they are tired of waiting for justice after centuries of neglect and contempt due to the color of their skin. Black women leaders from 22 countries of the Americas have decided to create a political platform that set a 10-year target for empowering women of African descent and overcoming discrimination. (...)

The three days of debates in the Nicaraguan capital gave rise to the Political Declaration of Managua, whose 17 demands and central themes are aimed at eradicating discrimination based on a combination of racial and gender reasons in the Americas. (...)



Recognizing World Refugee Day 2015: ADRA provides support for refugees of Burundi crisis

By Mary Stewart

Bujumbura, Burundi, June 18 – As World Refugee Day approaches, ADRA is responding to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Burundi amidst the upcoming presidential election and recent coup attempts.

(...) ADRA is working in partnership with UNHCR, the World Food Programme, and government agencies to distribute basic humanitarian supplies to the refugees. The agency is providing food, shelter, logistical and technical support, and public health campaigns to help prevent the spread of disease. ADRA is also distributing non-food items such as clothing, blankets, jerry cans, soap, sleeping mats, kitchen sets, and mosquito nets. In Rwanda, ADRA is supporting Burundian refugees with psychosocial and child protection services to children and some families that have been identified as vulnerable by UNHCR and Plan International. (...)

ADRA receives funding from UNHCR in the following countries: Ukraine, Yemen, Rwanda, Liberia, Sudan, South Sudan, Tunisia, Ghana, Cameroon and Thailand. (…)




Economy and development


UN agriculture agency partners with Italy's Autogrill to cut food waste and support small farmers

8 July – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization today announced a partnership with Autogrill –the multinational food and beverage provider best known for its full-service highway rest stops and airport eateries – to cut food waste and introduce products of small-scale farmers in developing countries.

The Italian-based chain, Autogrill, which operates mainly in Europe and North America, is the latest to sign on to the Save Food global initiative spearheaded by FAO to involve a wide range of actors along the food chain in common strategies to cut food loss and waste. In addition to tracking and reducing waste, the restaurant chain will also pay attention to the sourcing of its products, in the framework of their corporate social responsibility.

FAO, which has been working with farming cooperatives and producer organizations worldwide to improve small producers' livelihoods, will help Autogrill identify products and small-scale farmers interested in supplying the global retailer as a way to open new markets to southern producers.



FAO projects win prizes at EXPO 2015. Two initiatives in Niger and Senegal win awards for best practices in sustainable development

July 6, Rome – Two FAO projects have earned awards in an EXPO 2015 competition aimed at spotlighting best practices in sustainability in international food security work. The "Best Sustainable Development Practices" competition was organized by the Feeding Knowledge  platform, an EXPO 2015 initiative that is promoting greater cooperation in research and innovation related to food security.

First prize in the category "Quantitative and Qualitative Enhancement of Crop Products" was awarded today in a ceremony at Expo to the project "Intensification of agriculture by strengthening cooperative agro-input shops" (IARBIC), a collaboration between FAO, the Ministry of Agriculture of Niger, a dozen Producers Federations of Niger and a host of other development partners.

Second prize in the category "Sustainable development of small rural communities in marginal areas" went to another FAO project, "Eradication of the tsetse fly Glossina palpalis gambiensis from the Niayes in Senegal".



IFAD wins 'best sustainable development practice' award at EXPO Milano 2015

July 6, Milan– The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) won a ‘best sustainable development practise in food security’ award for its work promoting the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in Madagascar. This unique approach allows smallholder farmers to maximise rice yields while reducing the amount of seeds, water and land used.

Together with Cornell University and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, IFAD began applying the SRI method in the Upper Mandraré Basin Development Project in Madagascar in 1997. The success of the project, which ran in two phases until 2007, has lead to the adaptation of the SRI method in at least 50 countries around the world and by as many as five million smallholder farmers.

The SRI methodology helps to substantially increase rice production and reduces water consumption by an average of 40% and in some cases as much as 85%. It relies on a significant reduction in the use of seed and can cost little or nothing to adopt.



As global population rises, Mars, Incorporated Partners at Lindau Meeting to drive interdisciplinary approach to food security

Lindau, Germany, June 30 - A record number of 65 laureates and over 650 young scientists are meeting in Germany to bridge the scientific disciplines of physiology and medicine, physics and chemistry and mark the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.  More than six decades after the Green Revolution, malnutrition still affects vast parts of the world and, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, almost 800 million people worldwide are undernourished. With the global population predicted to rise to between 9 and 10 billion by 2050, we face an increasingly uncertain future that demands a coordinated response from all sectors and disciplines.

This is the ninth year of Mars, Incorporated’s partnership with the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. It also marks the fifth annual panel that Mars has hosted, with the aim to foster discussions across disciplines to capture a wide range of perspectives on some of the critical issues of our time.



IFAD reaffirms its commitment to promote pro-family-farming policies in Latin America

June 29, Montevideo – In launching the fifth phase of the FIDA-MERCOSUR programme in Montevideo today, the International Fund for Agricultural Development or IFAD (FIDA in Spanish) confirmed its commitment to promoting pro-family-farming policies in Latin American and the Caribbean. This new phase, which will run until 2018 and has a budget of US$ 2.7 million, will be directly managed by the think tank Latin American Centre for Human Economy (CLAEH).

In 2013, family farmers produced 56% of the world’s food and created employment for millions. In the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) area alone, seven million family farms provided employment for over 30 million people.

The policy dialogue process sparked by FIDA-MERCOSUR has had an impact on the four MERCOSUR state members who created the MERCOSUR Commission on Family Farming (REAF) in 2004 and the Fund for Family Farming (FAF) in 2008. Policies discussed at the REAF have since been implemented at a national level. This has included introducing pro-family-farming legislation as well as setting up national institutions to respond to the needs of smallholder farmers. FIDA-MERCOSUR’s new phase aims to deepen these and other pro-family-farming measures and to expand them to the rest of the continent.



CSE celebrates 6 years of Executive Sustainability Education in North America

Chicago, June 26 - CSE celebrates 6 years of Executive Sustainability Education in North America. In these 6 years more than 800 executives from leading organizations including NASA, Coca Cola, Walmart, Timberland, Cigna were certified as sustainability professionals.

Additionally, professionals from 3 continents, North America, Europe & Middle East, joined our latest global event in NYC in order to become certified & recognized as CSR Practitioners by CSE and the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA). The latest CSE's Advanced Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner Training, was held in New York, 18-19 June 2015 and Bahar Gidwani, Co-founder and CEO of CSRHub was a keynote speaker.

CSE, as a leading accredited provider of Sustainability (CSR) Training internationally, has expertise in international best practices for conducting carbon footprint.



Gardens of safety in Chad from Africa’s wars

Reporting by Roland Ndoyom, Caritas Chad

23 June – Chad is one of the poorest places to live in the world. It has the third highest child mortality rate of any country. Yet, it is also hosting half

 a million people fleeing violence in Sudan, Nigeria and the Central African Republic. (...) Over 100,000 people are living in makeshift camps, in villages or towns in Chad, where conditions are harsh. For the last two years, they’ve been completely dependent on humanitarian aid. They need food, water, health care and education.

Support for food aid is decreasing, so UNAD/Caritas Chad is giving families agricultural training, tools and seeds so that they can become self sufficient.

Caritas are targeting especially vulnerable groups like nursing mothers, young women and the elderly to reduce malnutrition. For the elderly, that means providing grazing animals like goats. For new mothers, its nutritional education. For young women, it is providing entrepreneurial skills such as sowing and soap making. (…) Caritas Chad will help 25,000 people directly in a €500,000 programme in the south.



WFP works with Education Ministry and Russian Federation to boost school meals in Kyrgyz schools

June 23, Bishkek – The UN World Food Programme and the Kyrgyz Ministry of Education and Science are expanding the Kyrgyz Republic’s school meals programme in the country’s poorest rural areas with financial and technical support from the Russian Federation.

The three-year project was launched in 2013 to boost the country’s national school feeding programme. By September 2015, more than 62,000 primary school students will receive a nutritious hot meal during the school day, almost six times the number of students in the project’s first year.

The Russian Federation contributes $US10 million to the country’s national school meals programme. The WFP pilot, “School Meals Optimisation”, was introduced to selected schools, in areas where people struggle to feed their families, nutritionally balanced meals.



IFAD financing to boost wool and mohair production and increase smallholder farmers’ incomes in the Kingdom of Lesotho

June 17, Rome – Today the Kingdom of Lesotho and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) signed an agreement for a US$5.8 million loan, a $5.8 million IFAD Debt Sustainability Framework grant and an additional $7 million grant from IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) to finance the Wool and Mohair Promotion Project (WAMPP). With the integration of the IFAD loan and grant, WAMPP will boost the resilience of poor smallholder wool and mohair producers to adverse effects of climate change in the Mountain and Foothill Regions of the country.

With a total cost of $38.9 million, the project includes cofinancing contributions of $4 million from the Government of Lesotho, $12 million from the OPEC Fund for International Development, and $1.5 million from the Lesotho National Wool and Mohair Growers Association. Project participants will contribute their labour by helping to build some of the infrastructure.


EU & WFP visit ground-breaking School Feeding Project to stop child labour in Egypt

June 17, Beni Suef -  The Ambassador of the European Union (EU) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Representative in Egypt made their first field visit yesterday to their joint project to help end child labour in the country through enhancing access to education, especially for girls. The EU has financed this project through a generous €60 million contribution. WFP’s EU-funded school feeding project encourages 100,000 children previously working, or at risk of entering the labour market, to attend community schools (informal schools established in remote areas) by providing them with a daily nutritious snack in class as well as take-home food rations for their families.

The project, ‘Enhancing Access of Children to Education and Fighting Child Labour,’ aims to provide families with incentives to send and keep their children, especially girls, in school -- as opposed to putting them to work to support their families. Looking towards sustainable solutions, the joint project will provide 50,000 mothers with training on income-generating activities to help them provide for their families rather than send their children out to work.





France ensures vital support for vulnerable returnees in Bangui, C.A.R.

July 3, Bangui - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today expressed gratitude to France for a contribution of €850,000 which is being used to help internally displaced people who have been living through months of conflict at the M’Poko airport in Bangui to return to home. The donation has enabled WFP to purchase 73 metric tons of rice, as well as launch a voucher programme for returnees. Voucher-based assistance responds to people’s dietary needs,  provides them with choice and brings the added benefit of revitalizing local communities and stimulating the local economy.

In 2015, WFP and its partners plan to assist 1.2 million people in the worst affected areas. However, with only a third of its funding needs met, WFP urgently requires US$80 million to continue providing vital assistance to hungry families through to the end of the year.



Yemen: vital food aid delivered across frontlines in Aden

July 2 – Sana'a/Geneva – The International Committee of the Red Cross has today started a distribution of food across the front lines in the southern city of Aden. The consignment of more than 160 tons will cover the emergency needs of 17,500 people. Around half of Aden's population are displaced from their homes, seeking shelter in any available space in the town.

The price of food has skyrocketed due to the fighting and hindrances put in place by the warring parties for goods to reach Aden. Most stores are closed or have only few goods to sell. Furthermore, people often cannot move to get what is available on the market due to intense fighting. Therefore, a majority of the city's over-a-million population relies on timely humanitarian aid.

Distributions have been completed in those parts of Aden, where the population has been living under particularly harsh conditions for months. They will continue in the coming days in neighborhoods under the control of the various parties, including in some where large numbers of displaced families have found refuge. The food was part of a seven-truck convoy that reached Aden on 30 June, also carrying hygiene kits for the population to help prevent the spreading of diseases.



Food packages for Syrian refugees provide relief during Ramadan

July 1 – More than 1.2 million refugees from Syria are observing the holy month of Ramadan in Lebanon, far away from their homes and communities. Among them are 44,000 Palestinians who fled Syria and had nowhere else to go except Lebanon’s impoverished Palestinian refugee camps and gatherings.

ANERA, with generous support from Zakat Foundation and hundreds of individual donors, was able to distribute more than 900 food packages to 900 families, with enough to feed them for the whole month. Each food package contained a variety of essentials like rice, lentils, beans, pasta, cheese, dates, sugar, tea, milk and the traditional Jallab juice.



Mali: Over 250,000 people receive aid in north

Geneva / Bamako, 29 June – Enduring terrible hardship, often with no means of survival or even shelter: that is the reality for thousands who have fled widespread violence in northern Mali in recent months. Their plight has prompted the distribution of 1,400 tonnes of food, as well as seed and other essential supplies, in and around Mopti, Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), working together with the Mali Red Cross and community leaders.

Rice, beans, oil and other food supplies have been distributed to some 63,000 people in recent weeks. Almost 18,000 people who have returned to their homes in the region have received mosquito nets, cooking utensils, hygiene items and other essentials.

The ICRC also provided rice, millet and sorghum seed to 100,000 subsistence farmers, while nearly 900,000 head of livestock have been vaccinated and treated for disease. The ICRC works in close collaboration with Mali Red Cross volunteers, community representatives and public utilities.



Kuwait gives US$121 million to help fund UNHCR's Syria crisis response

June 12 - Kuwait has given US$121 million to the UN refugee agency to assist its efforts in dealing with the dire humanitarian situation resulting from the long crisis in Syria. The High Commissioner said the funds would ease the suffering of the Syrian people and help meet the needs of the 3.9 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. The money will be used in many sectors.



World Food Programme welcomes further Kuwait support to help Syrians in crisis

June 12, Geneva -   The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a further generous contribution from the State of Kuwait in support of its emergency operations to assist the people of Syria, both inside the country as well as in neighbouring states hosting Syrian refugees.

With this latest contribution, Kuwait has donated a total of US$122 million to WFP’s Syria operations, and is the largest donor from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to Syria operations. Currently, Kuwait is WFP’s second biggest donor to the crisis in 2015, and the sixth largest donor to the crisis overall (2013 – 2015).




Peace and security


Peace Day Party

September 18, Times Square, New York - September 19, San Jose, California - September 20, Central Park, New York - September 21 around the World!

PeaceDayParty.org,  a nonprofit 501 C 3 invites you to help strengthen the message of the International Peace Day September 18,19,20th, 2015.  All the countries of the UN unanimously agreed to a Day of Peace. Here is our good news:  achieving world peace September 21.  Please participate!

Where? Times Square, Duffy Park New York, September 18th - 4th Annual Day of Awareness for Bullying/ Cyber Bullying & Peace Rally - September 19th (location to be defined)  www.amandanetwork.comb  - 14th Annual Vigil for International Peace and Ecology in Central Park, Band Shell/ 72nd Street Mall, New York, September 20 at 10am www.vigil4internationalpeace.org

What will we do? Create a human peace sign, throw a world party to feed everyone. Have sing along with peace and love songs, our focus is children. Hold the flags of all the countries in the UN. Hold Hugg-a-Planet representing all the people of the world and our animal and plant kingdoms. Video tape the event and distribute it to the world for free. We will roll into the program over 60 organizations, celebrities and believers that we can have world peace totally. 

International Peace Day and Peace Day Party stand for the rights of people to live in peace.  We celebrate people living in peace and hope all will join in to a non-violent way of life.

http://www.peacedayparty.org   GoodNewsPlanet.com


UN agency welcomes new proposals by Southeast Asian States on region's refugee and migrant issues

3 July  - The United Nations refugee agency today welcomed proposals by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to set up a task force and trust fund to respond to the irregular movement of refugees and migrants in the region. UNHCR reaffirmed that it stands ready to share its technical expertise in screening and seeking solutions for refugees, and to help mobilize support for ASEAN's commendable efforts to address this regional challenge.



MoU signed between ITF and SMAC

June 27 – On 24 June 2015, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Mine Action Centre of the Republic of Serbia (SMAC) and ITF Enhancing Human Security  was signed in Sjenica, Serbia by SMAC Director, Branislav Jovanović, and Ambassador Damjan Bergant, ITF Director.

SMAC will provide ITF with assets in the amount of EUR 100,000.00 for the implementation of land release and clearance of mine contaminated areas in the municipality of Bujanovac. The land release and clearance project implementation in the municipality of Bujanovac will be co-funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Office for Weapons Removal and Abatement in the amount of USD 300,000.00.






A helping hand: Red Crescent establishes heatstroke treatment centres in Karachi

3 July – At least 1360 patients have died due to heatstroke in different hospitals in Karachi. Following the rising number of deaths due to the heatwave, the Pakistan Red Crescent Society established Heatstroke Treatment Centres in the city, almost all of them operating inside Red Crescent’s existing Medical Units in Karachi. Open to all, the centres provide free-of-charge quality treatment to those who are suffering from heatstroke.

More than a hundred patients were treated in the Red Crescent Diagnostic Centre Clifton, Red Crescent Medical Centre Guru Mandir, Red Crescent Medical Centre Orangi and Red Crescent Medical Unit Liaqatabad. Patients who arrive at the medical centres will be exposed to cold air, sponged down and given an oral rehydration sachet (ORS) and IV drips. The Red Crescent’s own doctors are looking after the patients and in case a person needs further care, the Red Crescent will deploy its ambulances to bring patients to the nearest hospital.



WHO validates elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis in Cuba

30 June, Geneva ¦ Washington - Cuba today became the first country in the world to receive validation from WHO that it has eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

As treatment for prevention of mother-to-child-transmission is not 100% effective, elimination of transmission is defined as a reduction of transmission to such a low level that it no longer constitutes a public health problem.

An international expert mission convened by PAHO/WHO visited Cuba in March 2015 to validate the progress toward the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. During a five-day visit, members visited health centers, laboratories, and government offices throughout the island, interviewing health officials and other key actors. The mission included experts from Argentina, the Bahamas, Brazil, Colombia, Italy, Japan, Nicaragua, Suriname, the United States of America and Zambia.

The validation process paid particular attention to the upholding of human rights, in order to ensure that services were provided free of coercion and in accordance with human rights principles.



Information kiosks - a one stop shop for the prevention of Ebola and other outbreaks as Sierra Leone looks toward recovery

30June – With cases of Ebola still surfacing in Sierra Leone on a weekly basis, the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society has installed information kiosks  throughout the country to serve as a point of reference to communities. Each district has ten mobile kiosks strategically located at road sides, within slum areas, and at informal border crossings.  Manning the kiosks are volunteers from the community who are trusted and recognized by their neighbours.

Anima [a Red Cross volunteer in Kambia district] understands the importance of being able to engage her community in northern Sierra Leone. It borders Guinea and is struggling to rid itself of the Ebola virus.  A kiosk has been set up at the informal border crossing in Mapotolon community in the Samu chiefdom where many people arrive  on foot or by boat from Guinea to visit family or go to the markets in Sierra Leone. Mapotolon is one of 54 informal border crossings on the Kambia-Guinea border, of which 25 have been identified by the Red Cross as a priority area to increase its community engagement activities. (…) http://www.ifrc.org/en/news-and-media/news-stories/africa/sierra-leone/information-kiosks---a-one-stop-shop-for-the-prevention-of-ebola-and-other-outbreaks-as-sierra-leone-looks-toward-recovery-68972/


In Halhoul, donated antibiotics ease patients’ suffering

June 29 - ANERA delivered the medicine Augmentin to medical centers in the West Bank in May, thanks to a generous donation from long-time ANERA partner Direct Relief. The donation to this particular center in Halhoul includes 580 units in two forms: tablets and powder for dissolving in water.

Augmentin treats infections caused by bacteria, such as sinusitis, ear infections and bronchitis, which the center’s patients suffer often. The medication is very efficient for treating acute conditions.



Gaza water: new network for families in Al Mughraqa

June 26 – Finding clean water for bathing, drinking, cooking and hygiene in Gaza is a daily challenge.

Living without water has harshly affected Rawda’s life. The mother of three children describes the Gaza water crisis as catastrophic. “We used to get water once every 10 days. There was no consistent schedule and the erratic time just added another burden.”

With ANERA’s help and funding from Islamic Relief USA, Rawda’s neighborhood is now connected to a new water network. That means Rawda’s family and another 500 residents finally have access to a reliable source of water.

The water connection is one of 18 Urgent Water Systems Repair projects ANERA has completed with funding from Islamic Relief.



Ending an outbreak: the importance of strong surveillance

The polio outbreaks in Ethiopia and Kenya were declared over this June, emphasizing the importance of strong surveillance in knowing the virus has gone from a country.

June 26 – In June, an outbreak response assessment team in the Horn of Africa declared that transmission of poliovirus has been interrupted in Ethiopia and Kenya. The site of an outbreak of polio two years ago that led to the paralysis of 223 children across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, the Horn of Africa has seen an outbreak response that has increased population immunity, strengthened community engagement and extended surveillance systems. 

The assessment sought to determine whether or not polio transmission has been stopped, to outline the work still be done to achieve and maintain polio-free status, and to provide recommendations for strengthening acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance across the region.

In all three outbreak countries, efforts were taken to strengthen contact with at-risk populations, particularly pastoral and nomadic communities as a way to involve them in surveillance. By identifying water points and markets, engaging with nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene programmes, and veterinarian services, plans were strengthened to ensure children from these communities didn’t slip through the net.



Polio transmission stopped in Equatorial Guinea

With a polio-free future back in its grasp, Equatorial Guinea must now use gains against polio to build more sustainable protection for the future health of its children.

June 25 – Eight children were paralyzed by polio in Equatorial Guinea in an outbreak of the disease between January and May 2014. This June, the final independent assessment took place for the response to this outbreak.

The assessment concluded that the outbreak response had succeeded in interrupting the transmission of wild poliovirus. The commitment from the highest level of government has been essential for this success, including the personal involvement of the President and the cross ministerial response.

 The assessment gathered information from the Ministry of Health, partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative such as WHO and UNICEF, surveillance and immunization officers, health workers, traditional healers and other stakeholders, making field visits to directly observe health facilities, cold stores, communities and border vaccination points, enabling a full review of the outbreak response.



Early cancer detection is saving lives in Sri Lanka

22 June – More than 20,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed every year in Sri Lanka, and many of them prove fatal. The Rotary Club of Colombo, Sri Lanka, set out 10 years ago to save some of those lives by establishing the Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Centre.

In partnership with the National Cancer Control Programme and the Ministry of Health, the center in Colombo has screened more than 35,000 patients, mostly low-income, and detected more than 7,500 cases of abnormalities that required further investigation. The Rotary Club of Birmingham, Alabama, USA, donated a mammography and ultrasound scanner to the center’s breast cancer screening facility.



Yemen: ICRC opens surgical hospital amidst fighting in Aden

Sana'a, 19June – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has opened a surgical hospital in the Yemeni city of Aden, as the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. Aden has seen some of the bloodiest fighting during the recent conflict and health facilities have suffered through lack of medicines, water and electricity.

The 36-bed hospital in the Al-Mansoura district of Aden, which was provided by the Ministry of Public Health, is staffed by an ICRC specialist surgical team and local health workers. The hospital treats war wounded patients or those in need of post-operative care.



Project HOPE medical volunteers Join U.S. Navy for three-month humanitarian mission to Southeast Asia and the Pacific

Millwood, VA, USA, June 17 – Volunteer health professionals from Project HOPE, the international health education and humanitarian aid organization, have joined Pacific Partnership 2015, a humanitarian mission and training exercise led by the United States Navy to help underserved communities in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Vietnam. Traveling aboard the USNS Mercy, a U.S. Navy hospital ship, the volunteers will contribute to the mission from early June through late September.

In partnership with U.S. Navy health professionals and other partners participating in Pacific Partnership 2015, the Project HOPE medical volunteers will train and mentor local health care professionals, provide medical subject matter expertise and contribute to public health events at sites in the four countries.

The Project HOPE volunteers will provide a mix of educational exchanges and experiential side-by-side mentoring to local health care professionals in their individual areas of expertise at five locations. http://www.projecthope.org/news-blogs/press-releases/2015/project-hope-medical-1.html


Rotary releases US$40.3 million to end polio worldwide

June 16 - The continued fight to stamp out polio will receive an additional $40.3 million boost from Rotary in support of immunization activities and research to be carried out by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. The funds will be used by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF for polio immunization, surveillance and research activities in ten countries, as well as to provide technical assistance to additional countries in Africa.

The funding commitment comes at a critical time as Nigeria – the last polio-endemic country in Africa – approaches one-year since its last case of polio, which occurred in Kano State on 24 July, 2014.

The only two other polio-endemic countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan, continue to experience hurdles in polio eradication campaigns including inaccessibility to children and security. Last year, Pakistan saw an outbreak which resulted in more than 300 cases, the highest number in the country in more than a decade. As a result, Pakistan accounted for almost 90% of the world’s cases. However, there has been improvement in 2015. Cases are down nearly 70% over this same time in 2014.

Progress against polio, while significant, remains fragile. Rotary’s funds will support immunization efforts in: $9.9 million in Nigeria; $12.2 million in Pakistan and $2.3 million in Afghanistan.




Energy and safety



Solar Impulse is approaching Hawaii

July 3 - The solar airplane «Solar Impulse 2» of Swiss explorers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg attempting the first round the world solar flight has broken all distance and duration world records for solar aviation. Already on the 4th day of the in total about 120 hours and 8171 km long solar flight of the 8th leg from Japan to Hawaii, the pilot André Borschberg also has broken the record for the longest solo flight ever. By remaining airborne above the Pacific Ocean more than four consecutive days and nights, producing its own power exclusively with solar energy, «Solar Impulse 2» has proven that Bertrand Piccard's vision of reaching unlimited endurance without fuel was not a crazy dream.

 The main goal of this adventure is to collect millions of voices for the initiative «Future is Clean». This initiative is aiming to encourage the governments to replace old polluting devices and systems by new clean technology, in order to save energy and natural resources in a profitable way, creating jobs and economic growth while protecting the environment.




Environment and wildlife


China’s climate plan sends positive signal ahead of global deal

Gland, Switzerland, 30 June – China’s new climate plan confirms that the country will peak its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and sends a strong message to other countries to do more on climate ahead of this year’s negotiations for a new global climate deal.   China is now the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, but its cumulative, historical emissions still lag behind those of the EU and the US.  

Samantha Smith, leader of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative says China, as a developing country, has shouldered a significant contribution to reducing carbon pollution.   “This is the first major developing country emitter to set a total emissions peak target. In doing so, China has committed to both global climate security and to a transformational energy transition at home,” says Smith. “We emphasize the importance of the fact that China has made commitments beyond its responsibility as a developing country. But we hope that China will continue to find ways to reduce its emissions, which will in turn drive global markets for renewable energy and energy efficiency.”   China has also committed to increasing its national share of low carbon energy to 20 per cent by 2030.



Grenada rebuilds barrier reefs

Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 24 - The Eastern Caribbean nation of Grenada is following the example of its bigger neighbours Belize and Jamaica in taking action to restore coral reefs, which serve as frontline barriers against storm waves. Coral reefs also play an extremely important role in the Caribbean tourism economy, as well as in food production and food security, but they have been adversely affected by rising sea temperatures and pollution.

The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its fifth assessment report on climate change impacts and adaptation, said that damage to coral reefs has implications for several key regional services. It said coral reefs account for 10 to 12 percent of the fish caught in tropical countries, and 20 to 25 percent of the fish caught by developing nations.




Religion and spirituality


Ecuador - The Pope's visit "will mark a before and after with regards to the situation in the country"

July 7, Quito - "It is a very delicate moment for our country, but I have no doubt that the Pope's message will be orientated to give light to find a way out, to find peace and tranquility. This visit, perhaps, will mark a before and after with regards to the situation in the country". This is what a Catholic entrepreneur said, who today, July 7, will participate in the Meeting of Pope Francis with civil Society, in the Church of San Francisco in Quito.

Father Marco Antonio Acosta, secretary of the Commission for Culture of the Episcopal Conference of Ecuador, who is one of the organizers of the meeting, explained that "it will be a meeting with a 'smaller' (chiquito) Ecuador" to express the idea that the whole country will be represented in some way by the various delegates. In fact, all social sectors will be present: trade unions, journalists, professors, politicians and workers.

Although the list of about 500 guests has not been published, it is known that the meeting will begin with the words of Mgr. Luis Cabrera, President of the Commission for the Laity of the Episcopal Conference, then it will be the turn of an entrepreneur, a craftsman and an indigenous woman, representing the ethnic groups of Ecuador. Other indigenous representatives have expressed the will to tell the Holy Father to always defend the most abandoned ethnic groups and victims of business of large multinational companies that destroy nature and do not respect the rights of Andean people. (CE)



Global Meditation for Compassion- July 11

Deepak Chopra, Gabrielle Bernstein, Ismael Cala and Trevor Hall - July 11th 2015 starting at 12 noon (USA Eastern Time) - Participate in this global online event from anywhere in the world

How do we change the world? By taking a stand for compassion, one person at a time. Join Deepak Chopra, Gabrielle Bernstein, Ismael Cala, and more than 500,000 people from nearly every country in the world, as we come together online on Saturday, July 11th, with one common intention – to turn around the rising tide of disconnection in the world and, through renewed empathy and love, reconnect to what truly matters.

Last year’s Global Meditation event set the Guinness World Record for the largest online meditation gathering in history, when more than 140,000 people from nearly every country in the world came together with Deepak and meditated with one powerful shared intention – to cultivate peace.

"It is possible to create a better world, a more compassionate, more peaceful world, which is not only in everyone's interest, but everyone's responsibility to achieve." —His Holiness the Dalai Lama.




Culture and education


Russia’s TASS News Agency and FAO sign partnership agreement

June 24, Moscow - The Russian news agency TASS and FAO have agreed to work together to raise public awareness on issues related to food security, food safety and nutrition. The new partnership agreement aims to foster the production and dissemination of Russian-language news and information related hunger eradication, food security, nutrition, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, climate change and sustainable development. When reporting on these issues, TASS's journalists will tap into FAO's expertise and analysis and the Organization's latest food and agricultural statistics, trends and infographics.
TASS has been Russia's leading news agency since 1904. The TASS network consists of 70 regional centres and offices in Russia and 68 foreign bureaus in 63 countries.

Over the past several years FAO has signed partnership agreements with a number of news organizations around the globe in order to raise public awareness of hunger and agricultural development issues.



The Fuji Declaration in action

The Fuji Declaration is an international alliance of individuals and organizations who are united by a commitment to live and collaborate toward the advancement of a more harmonious and flourishing world.

The mission of the Fuji Declaration is to ignite the full potential of the human spirit in service to humanity and the web of life. By co-evolving with one another and with nature through a network of constructive and coherent relationships, we further the emergence of a more peaceful and sustainable world. 

Research on practical steps for achieving the goals stated in The Fuji Declaration was led by a team of researchers in the various spheres of economy, politics, business and media resulting in shedding light on critical needs and opportunities in today’s world. It is a world at the crossroads: at a point of chaos and bifurcation, of unprecedented danger but also of unmatched opportunity. To move forward at such a point calls for new thinking, since the thinking that has brought us to this bifurcation cannot take us beyond it. The new thinking we need is new from the ground up. It is a new paradigm for aspiration and action in every sphere of human life on the planet.



Constructive journalism taught in UK universities for the first time

Journalism students at UK universities are being taught techniques in constructive, solutions-focused journalism for the first time. Delivered by the Constructive Journalism Project (CJP), the series of one-off workshops aims to introduce students to the concept of constructive journalism and the research that informs it, as well as give practical tips on how students can use the approach to create more balanced reporting. “Fundamentally, constructive journalism is about uniting a constructive, compassionate mindset with rigorous journalism,” said Seán Dagan Wood, co-founder of the project and editor-in-chief of Positive News.

As well as practical tips, such as using more constructive language in articles and how to write pitches that highlight solutions as well as problems, the workshops also explore emerging research, most recently from the University of Southampton, which suggests that constructive stories can engage audiences more effectively and could be beneficial to reader wellbeing and social participation.



Democratic equality, economic inequality, and the Earth Charter

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new publication entitled “Democratic Equality, Economic Inequality, and the Earth Charter” written by Steven C. Rockefeller. Published by Earth Charter International and Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development at UPEACE under the UNESCO Chair on Education for Sustainable Development and the Earth Charter.

The publication was launched on 29 June on the occasion of the celebration of the 15th anniversary of the launch of the Earth Charter. The essay is organized around the following themes: The Modern Democratic Concept of Equality; Economic Inequality; The Earth Charter and the Principle of Equality; The Earth Charter and Economic Inequality; A World Founded on Visions of Equality and Sustainability.

Professor Rockefeller chaired the Earth Charter international drafting committee from 1997 to 2000. Since the launch of the Earth Charter, he has played a leading role in efforts to promote the Charter’s ethical vision for a just, sustainable, and peaceful world.

Professor Rockefeller and Earth Charter International are proud to publish this new essay as part of the 15th anniversary of the launch Earth Charter and hope this will stimulate further thought and dialogue on this most significant theme of our times. Download the essay here.




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Migrants - UN news release


Sealing international borders is impossible, it only empowers smugglers – New expert report warns

Geneva, 16 June – The ability of migrants to reach European soil despite a huge investment in securing international borders shows that sealing them is impossible, and only serves to empower people traffickers in the Mediterranean, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, said today. “The European Union and its member states must recognize that irregular migration is a result of policies prohibiting immigration,” Mr. Crépeau said during the presentation of his latest report* to the UN Human Rights Council. “Such policies only serve to open a new and lucrative market for smuggling rings, a market which could not exist without this prohibition.”

“If Europe insists on focusing most of its resources on securitisation, it will fail to defeat smuggling rings,” he warned. “Europe needs to destroy the smugglers’ business model, which was created when barriers and prohibitions to mobility were erected and which thrives by evading the restrictive migration policies of EU Member States.”

More than 200,000 migrants and asylum seekers arrived in Europe by sea in 2014, compared with 80,000 in 2013, according to current estimates. So far this year, Europe has already received over 100,000 migrants and asylum seekers who have arrived by boat, with some frontline states reporting daily arrivals. “Migrants will come, no matter what,” Mr. Crépeau warned. “The EU will only be able to regain control of its border if it banks on mobility. Banking on mobility means that the overall goal is to have most migrants using official channels to enter and stay in Europe.”

The expert called on the EU to establish a human rights-based, coherent and comprehensive migration policy which makes mobility its central asset. “It is the only way in which it can reclaim its border, effectively combat smuggling and empower migrants,” the Special Rapporteur said.

“The EU must develop more harm-reduction policies, taking as a central concern the human rights of migrants, and create innovative regulated mobility options that will incentivize most migrants and asylum seekers to avoid having recourse to smugglers,” he noted. “Instead of forcing people into mechanisms that don’t respond to their needs, we need to understand the logic of their decisions and create policies that optimally match migrants’ skills and labour market’s needs.

 “Only thus can the EU take away the mobility market from the hands of the smugglers. Open and regulated mobility at all skills levels is where the investment should be,” Mr. Crépeau stressed. 

The Special Rapporteur welcomed the new European Agenda on Migration, but noted that the figures for refugee resettlement are insufficient and the lack of open and regular channels for low skilled migrants coming to Europe is a huge oversight.

“The fact is that European member states rely on cheap migrant labour working in certain sectors within their economy,” he said. “States should recognize their real labour needs, including for low-wage work: to do otherwise would reduce them to being complicit with the exploitation of migrants,” he underscored.

The expert called on the EU to open up more regular migration channels and, at the same time, repress unscrupulous employers who exploit the fear of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants to be detected, detained and deported. “Effectively implementing the employer sanction directive should be a priority,” he stressed.

“Combining such policies would lead to smaller underground labour markets, less irregular border crossings, less smuggling of migrants, less loss of life at borders, less labour exploitation, and less migrants’ rights violations,” Mr. Crépeau stated.


*Full report (A/HRC/29/36):




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Next issue after the August pause: 11 September 2015.


Good News Agency is 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, 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,  to 3,000 NGOs, 1,500 high schools, colleges and universities, as well as over 27,000 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.


* 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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