(HN, 4/11/12) - High-level officials tasked by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon with promoting good nutrition have agreed to focus on ensuring programs supporting nutritional sustainability produces tangible results, & that resources for country-led actions are coordinated, aligned, transparent & accountable. The group was appointed by Mr. Ban to serve as “strategic guides” for the SUN Movement, a global initiative that aims to improve maternal & child nutrition focusing on the critical 1,000-day window between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday, when proper nutrition can mean the difference between health & sickness, life & death. Among the group’s members are the leaders of Mozambique, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Namibia, Nepal & Nigeria. The 1st meeting of the Lead Group for the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement was chaired by Anthony Lake, the Executive Director of UNICEF & brought together 27 leaders of countries, organizations & sectors working to improve nutrition. (Read more at UN News Centre)
(HN, 5/1/12) - In Asia, `May Day' moved beyond its roots as an international workers' holiday to a day of international protest Tuesday, with workers turning out in droves at rallies in the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Macau & Taiwan demanding hikes in pay they say has not kept up with rising consumer prices, while also calling for lower school fees & better conditions for foreign workers.
Marches in Europe over government-imposed austerity measures took place, some of the largest in Spain where 1 in 4 people is out of work. In France, Italy & Germany the latest focus of a debt nightmare that has already forced 3 Eurozone countries Greece, Ireland & Portugal to seek financial bailouts.
The group has called instead for a "Marshall Plan" stimulus program to revive EU depressed economies. Sadly in southern Pakistan an unemployed father of 6, Abdul Razzaq Ansari, 45, set himself on fire in an apparent attempt to kill himself because he was mired in poverty, said police officer Nek Mohammed. (He suffered burns on 40% of his body but survived.)
In Russia, approximately 100,000 people - including President Medvedev & president-elect Putin - took part in the main march in Moscow. In the US, demonstrations, strikes & acts of civil disobedience are taking place as some of the country's most visible Occupy rallies since the fall. (HUMNEWS)
(HN, 5/13/12) - Today, the Newseum in Washington, DC rededicated its Journalists Memorial (pictured), which honors reporters who died or were killed in the pursuit of news. The names of 70 journalists who died in 2011 & 2 who died in previous years, have been added to the memorial at the ceremony; last year was the deadliest year on record for journalists. Alejandro Junco, the president & CEO of Grupo Reforma, which publishes 3 Mexican newspapers, was the keynote speaker at the event. With the addition of this year’s names, the memorial will honor a total of 2,156 reporters, photographers, broadcasters & news executives from around the world, dating back to 1837. (By Merrill Knox for Mediabistro)
(HN, 5/16/12) - China & the Philippines have announced temporary bans on fishing in areas of the South China Sea they both claim as sovereign territory; tho every year China imposes a ban for several weeks in a northern part of the South China Sea for replenishment anyway. The move could help cool tempers after ships from the 2 sides faced off in April over Chinese fishing in the disputed Scarborough Shoal, known as Huangyan Island by China, but the Philippines & Vietnam complain it is just another way for China to assert its claims on maritime territories that they also dispute. The South China Sea is thought to contain enormous reserves of oil & natural gas - about 80% of the same amount of Saudi Arabia - much of it in disputed areas. China claims most of the South China Sea, putting it in conflict with competing claims by Brunei, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam. China's halt to fishing will go through August 1 while the Philippines did not indicate a time period for its ban. (Read more at VOA)
(HN, 3/3/12) - Scientists are calling it `The Sixth Mass Extinction'; species are dying off faster than at any time since the dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago. It is estimated that around 30,000 species become extinct each year. Palaeontologists characterize mass extinctions as times when the Earth loses more than three-quarters of its species in a geologically short interval, as has happened only five times in the past 540 million years or so. Biologists now suggest that a sixth mass extinction may be under way, given the known species losses over the past few centuries & millennia. Here, a review how differences between fossil & modern data & the addition of recently available information influence our understanding of the current extinction crisis. Results confirm that current extinction rates are higher than would be expected from the fossil record, highlighting the need for effective conservation measures. (Read More at Nature)