Good News Agency – n° 10
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. Good News Agency is distributed through internet to editorial offices of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations with an e-mail address in Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, jNew Zealand, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and it is available in its web site:
It is a free of charge service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, a registered non-profit educational organization chartered in Italy in 1979. The Association operates for the development of consciousness and supports the activities of the Lucis Trust, the U. N. University for Peace, Radio For Peace International and other organizations promoting a culture of peace in the ‘global village’ perspective based on unity within diversity and on sharing. Via Antagora 10, 00124 Rome, Italy. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
ILO worst forms of child labour Convention comes into force
Convention provides new legal tool to combat most exploitative and dangerous forms of child labour
Geneva - The global campaign against the worst forms of child labour received a powerful new boost on Sunday, 19 November, the date when the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Convention No. 182 came into force as international law.
With more than 25 % of the ILO's 175 member States already formal signatories to the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, its coming into force means that they must take immediate and effective action to prohibit and eliminate these forms of child labour which include prostitution, pornography, forced recruitment for use in armed conflict and use of children in illicit or hazardous activities for all those under 18 years of age.
What is more, ILO member States which have not yet ratified Convention No. 182 must, without being bound by each and every one of its provisions, still gear their policies towards the effective abolition of child labour.
ILO Governing Body opens the way for unprecedented action against forced labour in Myanmar
Geneva - Measures to compel the Government of Myanmar (Burma) to meet its obligations to eliminate forced labour in the country will go forward, following deliberations by the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Governing Body at its 279th session which concluded 17 november.
The Governing Body effectively opened the way for the full implementation of a resolution of the International Labour Conference, adopted in June of this year, aimed at compelling the Government of Myanmar to comply with Convention No. 29 on forced labour. Burma ratified Convention No. 29 in 1955.
The unprecedented resolution under the never-before invoked article 33 of the ILO Constitution allows for a series of measures to take effect on 30 November and calls on Myanmar to "take concrete actions" to implement the recommendations of a 1998 Commission of Inquiry, which found that resort to forced labour in the country was "widespread and systematic".
In just over a year 2,000,000 signatures have been gathered from 132 countries: a petition for the moratorium of the death penalty which aims to reach 10 million signatures. All this while in Texas the executioner, with a lethal injection, executes a mentally disabled prisoner. As a protest, November 30th Netstrike sends an invitation to participate in a virtual march against Texan sites of the department of Justice and of the Federal State. A citizen's protest, a continuous connection which will pacifically block the site.
China: Signed Agreement on Human Rights
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, signed on November 21 in Bejing a cooperation agreement with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of China Wang Guangya. The document aims at supplying technical cooperation to China in the context of human rights, by guaranteeing, for example, the training of lawyers and of police forces, and the teaching of human rights in school. The agreement, that was signed after two years of negotiations, aims also to help China to adapt the current laws in order to facilitate the ratification of UN conventions on human rights that Bejing already signed. Human rights activists, however, underline that in the Asian Country severe abuses occur daily, such as the enforcement of the death penalty, trials in camera and arbitrary confinement.
Sri Lanka Army: training for officer instructors on Human Rights
An eight day training course jointly organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Sri Lanka Army to train Officer Instructors on Human Rights (HR) and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) was held at the Panagoda Army Cantonment. The focus of the training is to produce yet another batch of Officer Instructors, educated and informed on all aspects of HR and IHL, to ensure they are adhered to at every stage of the ongoing conflict and at other situations, by soldiers at all levels of the Sri Lanka Army, a release issued by the Army said on 23 November.
It is expected that they will in turn organise and conduct awareness and educational programs at training academies and establishment and other military bases around the country. By the gradual dissemination of such knowledge, it is hoped that the Army will be able to minimise violations of HR and IHL, it has been accused of so far, the release added…
SIERRA LEONE: UNHCR reintegrates returnees from Guinea
UNHCR has started reintegrating former refugees who fled fighting in Guinea between government and rebel forces, UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski said in Geneva on November 21. In Lungi, 19 km north of Freetown, the UN agency is helping almost 10,000 former refugees who either walked or were bussed from areas affected by fighting along Guinea's border with Sierra Leone. They are being placed within local communities because most of the returnees originate from rebel-held districts such as Port Loko and Kambia.
Other returnees are being hosted in eight villages in the Lokomassama chiefdom in Lungi Peninsula, where the UNHCR has opened an office.Community-based programmes are underway in health, water, sanitation, agriculture and education to help the returnees and host communities. The UNHCR said spontaneous returns by land and boat may have decreased significantly the number of Sierra Leonean refugees in Guinea. They totalled some 330,000 before a series of cross border attacks from Sierra Leone in September and after the Guinean government imposed restrictions on refugees.
U.S. Laws protecting dogs, cats enacted
Washington, November 20 - President Clinton recently signed two landmark laws protecting companion animals. One law bans import, export and sale of dog and cat fur products in the United States. The other allows the option of adoption for retired military working dogs.
"The Humane Society of the United States commends the U.S. Congress and President Clinton for enacting these landmark laws to protect companion animals," said Wayne Pacelle, a senior vice president at the HSUS.
Sao Tome and Principe's national assembly has approved a bill allowing the creation of private radio and television stations, RDP Africa reported on November 21.The leader of the largest opposition faction in parliament, Edgar Neves of the Accao Democratica Independente party, described the passage of the bill as a victory for democracy in Sao Tome and Principe, the Portuguese radio station reported. He said it crowned a long struggle by the opposition and society in general.
International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People held a solemn meeting on 22 November, in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The Committee, in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, presented a Palestinian Art Exhibit entitled "The Land". The exhibit will be displayed at the Public Lobby of the General Assembly Building until 12 December. The Committee also arranged the screening of two films entitled "Behind the Walls" and "Despite the Odds". Both films were shown on 22 November in the Trusteeship Council Chamber and they will be shown at the exhibit area throughout the duration of the exhibit.
It is very important today to promote a joint platform for the delegates of the silent majority of both Palestinians and Jews who staunchly believe in the possibility of a peace agreement between the two people. This is continuously being performed at IFLAC: PAVE PEACE, the International Forum for the Culture of Peace. After a significant meeting held in Haifa on Nov. 18 on "Building A Culture of Peace in Stormy Times," which was attended by seventy eight Jews and Arab/Palestinians, the exchange of opinions and ideas is leading to meaningful future initiatives. One of them is a "Peace Culture Symposium", on December 16 in Haifa, which will include a panel of prominent Israeli, Palestinian and Druze speakers. A further initiative is a planned weekend Conference in Zichron Yaakov on January 13 - 14, 2001.
IFLAC: PAVE PEACE http://tx.technion.ac.il/~ada/home.html
Jewish-Palestinian People Dialogue: “We surely are between two worlds -- one that is dying but not yet dead, and another which is being created by all of us but is not yet born.”
At the grassroot level this dialogue is increasing, as these other passages of a US community newsletter indicate: “Fortunately, before the Middle East violence of this dark Fall, 2000, in the preceding years the four San Francisco Bay Area dialogue groups and others had built sustained relationships…..New groups have begun in Silicon Valley, Toronto, New York City, and North Carolina. There may be more unknown to us….We have maintained, especially with aid of the great Internet, relationships with Palestinian and Jewish contacts. And support for other dialogue groups far away. Especially on the e-mail network of the Alliance of Middle East Scientists and Physicians, people express how much ongoing communication has sustained them….The newest San Francisco Dialogue Group experienced another successful "first" -- a "Teens-only Middle East Forum" sponsored by the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco…This can be a workable model for teens and adults in other communities, to begin expanding their views and considering what it might mean to be for both peoples, equally….Above all, through relationships, we have experienced a new openness in the Jewish community, as well as increased dialogue participation by the Palestinian community…”
Prof. Ada Aharoni, President IFLAC: email@example.com
Two new Goodwill Ambassadors named by UNESCO
Paris, November 20 (No.2000-122) - UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura has named Indian artist, writer and diplomat Madanjeet Singh and Lebanese Member of Parliament Bahia Hariri UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors during two separate ceremonies at Organization Headquarters on November 16 and 17 respectively.
IFAD to Support a USD 55 Million Rural Development Project for Rubber-Producting Regions of Mexico
Rome 15 November 2000 – A USD 55 million project, the "Rural Development Project for Rubber-Producing Regions of Mexico" in the United Mexican States, will receive a USD 25 million loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)…
The project area comprises 46 municipalities in the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Tabasco and Veracruz. It is located in the southeast region of Mexico, over the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, a particularly important ecological and geographical zone where the bio-diversity of the Northern and Southern Hemisphere converge and interact. In this area, plant, animal and insect diversity overlap, combining all the natural biological richness of the American continent.
Nigeria: Japan supports electrification drive
Japan gave Nigeria on November 21 US $11 million to bring electricity to two villages in the northern state of Nassarawa, AFP reported. The deal was signed in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. The government would provide matching funds to connect rural areas to the national electricity grid. Another three towns hope to benefit from similar aid between 2001 and 2003, AFP said.
At least 60 percent of Nigeria's estimated 120 million people live in homes not connected to the system, which is notoriously unreliable and urgently needs upgrading. AFP said the government had so far connected the administrative centres of 549 of Nigeria's 774 local governments to the grid.
Public-Private Partnership for Sustainable Development
The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the German Management Academy (DMAN) are jointly organizing the second session in the annual series entitled "Public-Private Partnership for Sustainable Development". This session will focus on "Public-Private partnership for Infrastructure Development". The workshop to be conducted in English will be held on Thursday, 7 and Friday, 8 December.
In the course of the Italian NGOs Assembly held in Rome 17th and 18th November, the "Association of Italian organisation of International Cooperation and Solidarity" was formally established and in the same site the statute was approved. The scope of the association is to represent Italian NGOs in order to affirm, support and spread the values and culture of international solidarity as well as the defence and promotion of the fundamental rights of individuals and nations. Among the main aims of the association are the commitment to contribute to the elaboration of national and European strategies and procedures for international cooperation; the promotion of aggregation between NGOs, the realisation of campaigns and lobbying actions for problems of particular relevance and interest.
In occasion of the "World Voluntary Service Day" announced by UN for 5th December, FOCSIV (the Federation of 52 Christian international NGOs ) is organising an international event to be held in Rome 5th December, the official opening of 2OO1, the International Year of Voluntary Work. The most important event of the day will be the assigning of the International Voluntary Worker's Oscar 2OOO, the recognition that the Federation assigns annually to a person who has demonstrated particular distinction in personal commitment to solidarity towards the developing countries of the world.
Virtual Volunteers: Growing number of people giving their time from comfort of home, office - November 23, 2000 (San Francisco Telegraph)
Jan Mucklestone Fischer is designing costumes for a non-profit dance theatre in her spare time. Philippa Hindle mentors a fourth-grade boy. Sheila Dennis uses her knowledge about glaucoma to counsel other people who have the disease. But none of these Bay Area residents has ever seen the people they are helping. Fischer's costumes will be worn by dancers on Maui. Hindle's 9-year- old friend lives in Austin, Texas. And Dennis offers advice in a glaucoma chat room used by people all over the world. They are virtual volunteers, a small but growing segment of the volunteer workforce. These people perform tasks ranging from counseling and Web designing to translating and researching at their own convenience from their homes and offices, using the Internet and telephones much as telecommuters do…
CESVI (Italian Humanitarian Organisation) and FAI (Italian Fund for the Environment) are the non-profit corporations which achieved through the balance sheet the best information and financial communication respectively in social and cultural sectors. The two prizes have been assigned by the jury of the Award for the Balance and the Financial Communication. On Monday December 4th, the President of FAI and the President of CESVI will receive the prize "born to encourage among companies a transparent financial communication". The Balance Award 2000 will be assigned to the two non-profit organisations for their detailed reports to donators: as far as CESVI is concerned, the 1999 balance sheet is the tenth to be certified by one of the major international societies for the certification of accounts: Price Waterhouse Coopers. The balance extract has been made public on website www.cesvi.org
.As to FAI, the balance sheet has been certified for the eighth consecutive year by Arthur Anderson Co. For information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Under a landmark court settlement, Dominion Virginia Power on 13-17 Nov. agreed to spend $1.2 billion to cut emissions at eight coal-fired power plants by 70 percent within 12 years. Currently the utility's plants emit more sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, the pollutants that cause acid rain and smog, than all 30 power plants in New York put together. Pollution from the Virginia plants tends to be blown into the Northeast, contributing to the deterioration of forests and air quality. The settlement, the largest ever under the Clean Air Act, comes as a result of a suit filed by New York and the U.S. EPA against a number of power producers in the Midwest and South. This deal may mark the beginning of a trend as New York and the EPA continue talks with other power companies.
The world's top banana producer, Chiquita, which grows about one-quarter of all bananas, announced its participation this week (13-17 Nov.) in the Better Banana Project, an environmental certification program requiring companies to rein in the use of toxic chemicals, reduce pollution, and conserve soil and water. Chiquita said that it has spent $20 million over the last eight years to comply with the project's guidelines, but that meeting them will actually help profits because reducing the use of chemicals will cut costs. The company said that all 127 of its farms in Latin America are now certified and its smaller operations in Africa and Asia will meet the program guidelines soon.
Religions foster attention to environment
Representatives of 11 major world religions pledged this week (13-17 Nov.) to work together to help combat climate change, deforestation, and other environmental ills. At a first-of-its-kind conference in Nepal organized by the World Wildlife Fund, leaders representing Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, and Muslims, among other religious groups, highlighted the environmental teachings of their faiths. One conference attendee, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians, has earned the nickname the Green Patriarch in part because he has declared that pollution is a sin.
Pope John Paul II didn't make it to the gathering in Nepal, but he did urge last week that rigorous controls be imposed on biotechnology to avert possible "disaster for the health of man and the future of the earth."
Protection of environment helps also economic development
U.S. States with strong records on protecting the environment also offer good job opportunities and climates for economic development, according to a new study by the Institute for Southern Studies.
States getting high marks for both economic and environmental health include Vermont, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Colorado, Maryland, Maine, and Wisconsin. Many states in the South were ranked low by both measures, including Louisiana, which is 48th in economic performance and 50th on the environment, and Alabama, Texas, and Tennessee. The study suggests that environmental regulation, rather than stifling economic growth, may actually promote it. Chris Kromm, director of the institute and co-author of the report, said that "states seeking quick-fix, unsustainable development end up sacrificing both workers and the environment."
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa
The fourth session of the Conference of the Parties will take place from 11 to 22 December in Bonn, Germany. The special segment on the implementation of the Convention will be held from 18 to 20 December. Statements at this segment will be open to Parties, observers, international intergovernmental organizations, multilateral agencies and institutions accredited to the Conference, United Nations programmes and specialized agencies with representation at the appropriate level. The provisional agenda and organization of work for the session is contained in document ICCD/COP(4)/1 and can be retrieved from the Optical Disk System or from the Convention Web site http://www.unccd.int
West Africa: Second round of polio immunisations
Health practitioners conducted a second round of synchronised polio immunisations in 19 West African countries from 18-27 November. The first round was held in October. The snychronisation strategy is expected to have a major impact on the reduction of polio cases in the region and halt wild poliovirus transmission within 24 months, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said. "This is crucial to keep the world on track to be certified polio free by 2005," WHO said. "Synchronisation of the immunisation campaign across national boundaries ensures that children moving with their families due to conflict or for employment opportunities will be immunised and protected." Vaccinations are to be given in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, the Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. The effort is being conducted by WHO, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the UN Children's Fund.
Benin: Doctors perform surgery offshore
Doctors aboard the US ship "Anastasis" will be carrying out facial operations over the next six months on about 1,000 people from Benin, Togo and Nigeria. The project is managed by the nongovernmental organisation Mercyships and the operations are free of charge, a Benin Health Ministry official told IRIN on November 21.The doctors aim to heal facial defects that in many communities can lead to isolation and ostracism. The patients are considered to have the most severe deformities among people assessed by doctors in the three countries. Mercyships, which travels around the world, visited the region last year.
Philanthropy at Record High, Yet Clinton Calls for More Giving
By Ryan J. Donmoyer
Washington, Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) -- President Bill Clinton used a new report showing record levels of U.S. philanthropy to say Americans should be even more generous, especially those who are benefiting from the strong economy.
``Last year, Americans gave a record $190 billion to charitable causes,'' Clinton said during his weekly radio address from Camp David, Maryland. ``Working with America's extensive network of non-profit and faith-based organizations, we're making a difference, but we still have more to do.''
Clinton released a report by the White House Council of Economic Advisors that says charitable giving has grown more than 40 percent since 1995 and now exceeds 2 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, the highest level in more than 30 years.
BENIN: Effort to spread information on health
The Association of Health Communicators in Africa (l'Association des communicateurs en sante de l'Afrique, ASCA) has set up a branch in Benin.
Its aim is to promote health development education among Beninese through mass communications, PANA reported on Saturday.
Reine Azifan, a journalist who specialises in covering health issues for the daily 'La Nation', was elected president of the association's Benin chapter. The ASCA was created in 1995.
West Africa: Sahelian countries adopt education strategy
Six Sahelian nations on November 20 in Bamako, Mali, pledged to draw on their own resources to improve education, and urged international donors to follow-up with assistance that would give them greater independence in implementing their programmes. Officials agreed to commit half of their education budgets to primary education, and to set aside 4 percent of gross domestic product and contribute 40 percent of debt relief savings to education. The presidents of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger attended the summit, while other officials represented Guinea and Senegal. Several local efforts are underway in the Sahel region, such as fostering the use of indigenous languages (coupled with the official language) in education in Mali, or using "satellite schools" in Burkina Faso to reach more children.
Primary education enrolment in the impoverished Sahelian countries falls below levels for most of sub-Saharan Africa. In 1997, only Senegal had an enrolment rate (59.5 percent) above the sub-Saharan African average of 56.2 percent, according to the UNDP Human Development Report 2000. The other five countries ranged from 24.4 percent in Niger to 47.9 percent in Chad.
by Robert Muller
It is not because something seems impossible to achieve, that it should non be tried;
It is not because something has little chance to succeed, that it should not be tried.
On the contrary.
This is why I claim that it is of the utmost importance to sit down and to devise a better way of governing this Earth and humanity than is the case under the current, questionable system. (Idea no. 780)
Next issue: December 15.