Monday, 28 January 2008

Rwanda: Ties With France On the Mend

Filed under: News Watch Blog,Rwanda — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 15:59 PDT

KIGALI – President Paul Kagame has said that a mechanism is in the offing to work out the restoration of diplomatic ties between Rwanda and France.

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How much would it cost to end Amazon deforestation?

Filed under: Environment,News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 15:49 PDT

With Brazil last week announcing a significant jump in Amazon deforestation during the second half of 2007, the question emerges, how much would it cost to end the destruction of Earth’s largest rainforest?

According to estimates by the Woods Hole Research Institute (WHRC), published reducing deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon to nearly zero within a decade would cost $100 million to $600 million per year under a program involving carbon credits for forest conservation (REDD). These figures are lower than the opportunity cost of foregone profits from deforestation-dependent agriculture and ranching and Brazil would see many benefits including:

increased income and improvements in livelihoods of indigenous and traditional forest people, greater security for the rainfall system of the Brazilian grain belt and hydroelectric network, and $10 to 80 million per year of diminished fire-related damages to health, agriculture, and forestry.

In short, avoided deforestation could offer the most cost-effective way to end deforestation while at the same time helping fight global warming.

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Holocaust Remembrance Day is a time to teach tolerance – Ban Ki-moon

Filed under: News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 03:57 PDT

As the global community today marked the third International Day in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the occasion should serve to honour the victims and educate future generations.

In a message on the Day, the Secretary-General said it is not enough to remember, honour and grieve for the dead. “As we do, we must also educate, nurture and care for the living.”

He called for a special focus on the younger generation. “We must foster in our children a sense of responsibility, so that they can build societies that protect and promote the rights of all citizens,” he said.

Children must gain a respect for diversity before intolerance has a chance to take root, “and a sense of vigilance in case it threatens to do so,” he said. “We must give them the courage and tools they need to make the right choices, and to act in the face of evil.”

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Abbas and Olmert discuss the situation in Gaza

Filed under: News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 03:55 PDT

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, discussed on Sunday the situation in Gaza, amidst growing concerns over a likely humanitarian crisis, as Israeli closure continues.

Media reports said that the two leaders’ meeting, which comes in a series of talks following this month’s visit of U.S President Gorge W. Bush to the region, focused on the humanitarian side.

Senior Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Eriqat, said that Olmert pledged to avert a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, by easing current restrictions, which involve food, medicine and fuel supplies cuts.

The meeting comes on the heels of last week’s immense pressure, Israel faced right after its decision on Friday to seal of all Gaza’s travel and commercial crossings, including cutting off fuel supplies to the Gaza’s 1.5-million residents.

Last week, the United States blocked a United Nations Security Council’s resolution that condemns Israel’s actions on Gaza as ‘ a collective punishment’.

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ACTED Afghanistan: Children safe from landmines

Filed under: Disarmament,News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 03:48 PDT

After more than two decades of war, Afghanistan is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world and children are the first victims of these lethal weapons. Because of the indiscriminate nature of these weapons more than 50% of the mine affected victims are children caught unwarily playing outside in mine fields. Today, landmines still kill or severely injure around 60 children per month in this country and the need to reinforce the capacity of communities to ensure children’s safety is urgent.

In this context, UNICEF launched the “Safe Play Area” Initiative in order to support both the government of Afghanistan and the mine-affected communities in the improvement of children’s safety. This initiative was designed to provide children with mine-free playgrounds offering a true alternative to non de-mined areas. ACTED Afghanistan is one of the implementation partners of UNICEF in designing and setting up these Safe Play Areas in coordination with the local communities and authorities.

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