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Saturday, May 31, 2003

The Bretton Woods Project has produced it's May/June update on World Bank/IMF issues + news, and as usual it is chock-a-block with interesting news + perspectives...

I found an article on demands for increased transparency within the World Bank and WTO, an IMF paper on the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) called NEPAD: Opportunities and Challenges + a link to George Monbiot's assessment of Clare Short's time as the UK international development minister of particular interest...

Burma's Nobel prize-winning opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been arrested again...

This sad turn of events comes almost exactly one year after ASSK had been released from a 19-month-long house arrest, and appears to be the result of the ruling military regime becoming increasingly nervous of the widespread support she enjoys.

Here are two interesting articles on some of the impacts that the actions (and inaction) of rich countries on poor countries...

The first highlights the threat that European fishing boats pose to African fish stocks, with competition for natural resources pushing up prices, extraction rates and the pressures on alternative sources of protein, such as bushmeat.

The second highlights the rich world's failure to deliver on long-standing promises in terms of implementing fairer trade by reducing subsidies to farmers in the US, EU and Japan and opening up access to life-saving drugs at affordable prices.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

In it's annual report, Amnesty International has said that the "war on terror" has made the world a more dangerous place by creating divisions which make conflict more likely and "by curtailing human rights, undermining the rule of international law + shielding governments from scrutiny".

Iraq had also diverted attention from problems in areas like Cote d'Ivoire, Columbia, Burundi, Chechnya + Nepal... whilst "Governments have spent billions to strengthen national security and the 'war on terror' for millions of people, the real sources of insecurity are corruption, repression, discrimination, extreme poverty + preventable diseases."

Researchers in Switzerland have found that bird species which migrate short distances may be benefitting from climate change prolonging the feeding + breeding conditions that suit them.

Conversely, bird species which migrate long distances may be becoming increasingly threatened by climate change.

This is because climate change appears to be altering the weather conditions wide-ranging birds encounter before, during + after their migration. With some species no longer being as well adapted to, or synchronised with, the conditions they encounter during their travels as they once were and thus breeding less successfully...

Earth-Info.Net has just discovered the People and the Planet website and recommends that you take a look at it... the site offers a wide range of news and links and covers a diverse collection of topics extremely well, including: population pressures, food + agriculture, coasts + oceans, ecotourism + water.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

WWF Learning has produced a fascinating article on the problem of pathogen pollution - where diseases pass from wildlife to humans or vice versa.

This problem threatens the survival of several endangered species, including the great apes and Asian lions, and also increases the risk of large-scale epidemics among human populations, who are increasingly eating or encountering wild animals.

There is even a possibility that the recent SARS outbreak was the result of a civet cat disease being transferred to vulnerable human populations which have never encountered this disease before - and consequently have no innate or acquired immunity to it - with both economically and socially dire consequences.

In this age of mass, inter-continental transport and trade there are therefore serious threats of new diseases emerging and continuing to cause global epidemics.

Sunday, May 25, 2003

Transparency International is holding an International Anti-Corruption Conference in Seoul, South Korea and will use the event to recognise, with Integrity Awards, the extraordinary efforts of 5 individuals who have tackled corruption in Nigeria, Somoa, India, Mozambique + Algeria.

Two of these awards will be given postumously.

See here for the conference programme.

An African Live Aid concert, designed to raise awareness of the current famine in Africa + the threat posed by the global AIDS pandemic, is being staged today in Ethiopia's capital city Addis Ababa.

See here to find out how it went!

Speaking ahead of a UNICEF-sponsored trip to Ethiopia Bob Geldof called on the foreign ministers due to attend the G8 summit in Evian-les-Bains, France (between June 1st + 3rd) to use the meeting to focus on trade, aid + debt issues which could ease the crisis in Africa.

See Oxfam's Make Trade Fair, Save the Children Fund's Hitting the 0.7% Target + The New Economic Foundation's The United States as a Heavily Indebted Poor Country websites for more detailed briefings on these and related topics.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

The IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group has drawn up a list of the 100 Worst Invasive Species which highlights the unintended consequences of humans deliberately + accidentally moving organisms from where they evolved to new places where they can be highly disruptive + difficult to control.

In addition to the (often overlooked, but frequently ecologically devastating) domestic cat you might have heard of crazy ants, cane toads + brown tree snakes...

On reading up on the brown tree snake (BEWARE! Extreme snake close-up!) I was amazed to learn that in Guam these snakes have caused numerous island-wide powercuts - in addition to munching their way through native animals galore!

Reuter's Alertnet has produced a powerful photo album showing scenes from the conflict in the Congo...

Hearty thanks to blogging supremo Rebecca Blood for sending her readers Earth-Info.Net's way while she has been talking about the future of blogging ("Waging Peace: Using Our Powers for Good") at the BlogTalk conference in Vienna...

Thank you Rebecca! Your support is greatly appreciated.

Friday, May 23, 2003

In a speech given on International Biodiversity Day entitled "Our Choice: How Many Species Will Survive The 21st Century?" Dr Peter Raven the Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden said:

"We are using the Earth's productive systems at an unsustainable rate"

"We are likely never to have seen or to be aware of the existence of most of the species we are driving to extinction" and that

we need "a stable population, a globally sustainable consumption level, and acceptance of social justice as the norm for development".

At the same meeting Dr. David Macdonald the Director of Oxford University's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) said:

"There may be as few as 20,000 lions left across Africa."

"The lions we're looking at in Hwange are killed by farmers, and by trophy hunters, and it's mainly males who die."

"Lions live in extremely complex societies. If you kill one male, the lion who replaces him will usually kill his cubs.

"And we found males serving three, four or five prides of females, not just one. So the take is completely unsustainable because the consequences of one kill just cascade.

"We've managed to get the hunting quota halved, and local youths are getting the conservation message across in the villages."

A UK charity called AfriKids has come to Earth-Info.Net's attention...

It works to tackle the poverty and limited access to water, sanitation, electricity, basic health care and primary education experienced by children (and adults), living in the Upper Eastern Region of Ghana.

The charity says it is committed to working with the indigenous communities in order to understand their needs, establish trust, then help to fund and implement the improvements which local people see as being the most important.

Find out more about Afrikids via this link.

At a "Breakast for Africa" Bob Geldof and Bono have urged Tony Blair to launch a war against poverty and to persuade the G8 nations to fund more action against AIDS.

It's not looking good in Aceh...

With allegations emerging of summary executions being undertaken by the Indonesian military.

The military said on Friday that it had killed 38 rebels since Monday.

The rebels said 12 of their fighters had been killed, along with 53 civilians.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

A website called Arkive, originally envisioned by a producer at the BBC Natural Hisory Unit 20 years ago, has been set up to act as a centralised database for film of endangered + extinct wildlife in an effort to raise awareness of the threats numerous species + ecosystems currently face.

The scheme which is endorsed by Sir David Attenborough includes some species which have not been seen for 20 years and others which are even more likely to have gone extinct such as the Tasmanian Wolf (Thylacine)...

The Tasmanian Wolf is now only known from skins, pickled specimens and old black and white footage - which interestingly shows that the Thylacine had a really weird way of opening it's jaws!

I had great fun playing with the globally endangered arkive and am sure you will enjoy this site too...

Well done to the Wildscreen Trust for setting this project up and to all of those who have donated footage or photos!

As part of their Wild Britain week the BBC has produced a series of useful field guides aimed at helping people to read the field signs left by local wildlife.

Following years of conflict in Liberia the UK development charity ActionAid is calling upon the international community to sustain a peace process which is currently underway and to commit all the resources needed to make it a success...

Such efforts could stabilise Liberia, make the existing peace in Sierra Leone more secure, and promote lasting peace throughout the region.

Marcel Verhaag has been in touch to let me know about the work his charity Colour 4 Kids does to improve the lives of disadvantaged children around the world.

The artists within C4K work to improve the quality of life of the children by repairing + decorating buildings used as orphanages or temporary shelters for helpless kids and babies...

Here are some photos of their work in Vietnam.

Why not visit their homepage if you would like to support this work?

Lord (Robert) May (President of the Royal Society), Prof Peter Crane (Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) + Professor Georgina Mace, (Director of science at the Zoological Society of London) have issued an unambiguous warning that the world faces a 6th mass extinction and that humanity must act now in order to generate, synthesise + present the data which will be needed if we are to balance the "fundamental tension between intergenerational equity and the humanitarian imperative of equality here and now."

The BBC's Kate McGeown has written a good introduction as to why the Indonesian province of Aceh is spirally towards a war...

In brief, the Acehnese want independence (or genuine autonomy) while the Indonesians are only offering autonomy (on their terms) + 70% of the area's natural gas revenues in return for disarmament, and so far neither side has shown much willingness to live up to the conditions of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement reached last December...

Unfortunately, the stationing of 30,000+ Indonesian troops in Aceh, arrests of 5 independence leaders + associated threats mean that a peaceful resolution now looks increasingly unlikely and it appears as though the civilians population have every right to fear what the future may hold...

Unlike East Timor the Aceh province was not illegally seized following independence from the Dutch in 1945 (although there has been an independence campaign for 26 years) and the international community has consequently been extremely reluctant to challenge the behaviour of Indonesian government... in part due to concern over what the break-up of Indonesia, including independence for West Papua and Aceh, might mean for neighbouring countries but perhaps also due to the West being prepared to accept the suppression of various Islamic areas within Indonesia (whether or not they are an external threat) following the Bali bombing...

Over 10,000 people, including many civilians, have been killed in decades of conflict and according to Human Rights Watch the human rights record of the Indonesian military is far from unblemished in Aceh.

Previous statements from Amnesty International suggest that the behaviour of the military hasn't been any better in East Timor or West Papua and that there are therefore very good reasons to be concerned about what might be about to happen in Aceh...

See this press release from TAPOL (The Indonesia Human Rights Campaign) and the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) for details of a protest outside the UK Foreign Office in Whitehall from 12:00 to 2:00 pm on Friday 23 May and for the addresses of who to write to in the British Government re: the UK's arms exports, the Indonesian Government and/or Indonesia's Embassy in London about the war in Aceh and Exxon Mobil (who have operations in the vicinity of the conflict) re: the protection and monitoring of human rights during this conflict - which has already led to the destruction of 150 schools...

Further briefing material is available here.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Each year, more children die from measles than any other childhood vaccine-preventable disease.

In fact in 2000, approximately 777,000 children, most of them under five, died from measles.

A large proportion of these children died because they lived in areas where the vaccine was not administered due to logistical challenges, inadequate health care system, missed opportunities + lack of awareness .

In an effort to turn around this dreadful (and unnecessary) situation UNICEF, The American Red Cross, The UN Foundation, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies + the World Health Organisation have set up The Measles Initiative and made shared long-term commitments to control measles deaths in Africa by vaccinating 200 million children through both mass and follow-up campaigns in up to 36 Sub-Saharan African countries.

By the year 2005,it is estimated that this initiative will have prevented 1.2 million deaths, bringing measles deaths in Africa to near zero.

Mary Robinson the former President of Ireland (1990 -1997) and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has now become the Director of The Ethical Globalization Initiative.

This initiative aims "to develop multi-disciplinary thought + action aimed at integrating human rights standards into specific recommendations for governance and policy-making at the global level and through dialogue and specific activities at the local and national level" and "to support civil society, local and national governments, and sub-regional and regional networks committed to developing human rights capacities through the broad framework of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

Last October Jeffrey Sachs, the Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York wrote a very interesting article for The Economist.

In it he suggested that the US should spend more money on strengthening the bits of the UN that are world-class at tackling humanity's biggest problems - such as AIDS (UNAIDS), education (UNICEF), the environment (UNEP) + health (WHO) - rather than relying on spending vast amounts of time and money on problems such as "terrorism" or Weapons of Mass Destruction in order to make the world a safer place.

Jeffrey also points out that solutions should be applied at the appropriate scale, make use of the best available science, be responsive to specific local knowledge + conditions and applied selectively so that the biggest problems are hit the hardest.

(via Ruminations)

My thanks to Alice Doyle for bringing the Environmental Data Interactive Exchange to my attention.

This interactive site is likely to be of particular use to water, waste + environmental professionals as it offers a variety of water and waste related news, jobs, reports + links.

According to a BBC report, British Bumblebees are in decline due to a mixture of land-clearance, pesticide use + an abundance of sterile garden plants which lack pollen...

The UK's 15 million gardeners are therefore being urged by the National Trust and English Nature to do their bit to help bumblebee numbers recover by planting bee-friendly plants...

The loss of bees is not only sad but it also makes it harder for wild flowers to reproduce and for commercial orchards to get a good crop.

In fact, in some places the decline of native bees is so bad that farmers are having to raise their own bees, with the help of specialist firms such as the Oxford Bee Company!

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Today is World Fair Trade Day.

Special events encouraging fairer trade are taking place all over the world and are backed by a wide range of organisations including, amongst others, the International Federation for Alternative Trade, Ten Thousand Villages + Traidcraft.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

The UNEP administers an award called the Global 500 (sponsored by Alcoa) which highlights individuals + organisations who have made a difference + helped the environment.

There are lots of well known and less known recipients worthy of recognition and I recommend finding out more about a few of them using this search function.

UK laureates include Norman Myers, James Lovelock, Jonathan Porritt, George Monbiot, Margaret Thatcher + David Attenborough.

With the help of the Environmental Investigation Agency the BBC's environment correspondent Roger Harrabin has produced a report outlining how the Malaysians are failing to prevent the blatant smuggling of illegal hardwood timber from Indonesia - despite assurances made last year that this trade would be stopped.

In a year's time these hardwoods could end up in the homes of unwitting UK consumers, where they are used to make garden furniture + trendy floors...

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

According to a global analysis of large predatory fish published in Nature the last 50 years have seen a 90% decline in the abundance of fish such as tuna, marlin + sharks (as well as substantial reductions in adult sizes) due to over-intensive "industrial" fishing.

In order to save them from extinction the authors recommend 50% reductions in fishing effort for the worst hit species and the creation of largescale networks of protected areas made entirely off-limits to fishing.

I have just added the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) to the NGO links.

This independent organisation produces rigorous reports + briefing papers covering a very wide range of sustainable development issues + policy options, and is very highly regarded around the world.

Their site is well worth a visit! Thanks to Julie Smith for recommending them.

Internet magazine WIRED has produced an impressively comprehensive + accessible summary of what needs to be done in order for America to reduce it's dependence on oil entitled "How Hydrogen Can Save America"

Aside from recommending an effort on the scale of the US Space programme the article states that the following co-ordinated steps will be necessary...

1. Solve the hydrogen fuel-tank problem.
2. Encourage mass production of fuel cell vehicles.
3. Convert the nation's fueling infrastructure to hydrogen.
4. Ramp up hydrogen production.
5. Mount a publicity campaign to sell the hydrogen economy.

Every year UNICEF produces a report called the State of the World's Children.

Each year a different theme is developed and number of key statistics relating to the health, education + life expectancy of children in many of the world's countries are summarised.

The 2003 report is subtitled "Why Children Must Be Heard" and recommends that young people should be given a constructive role in securing their own development and in establishing a more cohesive, peaceful world.

The 2002 report is also very good and offers a neat summary for those who want to dip a toe into this massive subject...

Monday, May 12, 2003

I've just received the following wishlist from a friend of mine, Jacci Garside, who runs a charity for disabled orphans in Vietnam and thought I would post it in case anyone out there is able to help her and the children...

$1 would pay for a 'T' shirt for one of the children.
$5 would pay one of the nine carers or one nurse our bonus to their low wages for one month, thus improving their motivation and satisfaction/commitment to their work, mainly with the disabled children.
$10 would pay for a minibus taxi to take the disabled children on a beach trip or would pay for the interpretations by Mr. Tai Co, of one months' reports on the progress or problems of the disabled children, from their teacher and physiotherapist. Mr Co translates and sends these reports to us, and conveys our replies to the staff.
$50 would pay the wage for our special needs teacher, Tuyet, or physiotherapy assistant, Le, for one month. Both of these staff do work which is having incredible results.
$100 would pay for vital teaching supplies, medicines or play equipment for the children (eg: books, pens, educational toys, antibiotics, first aid, bicycles, playground apparatus...)

So many things are needed! We keep careful attention to what we buy, and how it is supervised.

$140 would pay the wage of our best find, Dr. Thanh, the dedicated and so effective physiotherapist, for one month.
$200 would fund a Christmas or other festival party, with food and karaoke disco, encouraging all the children of all abilities at the orphanage to enjoy mixing together. And have some fun!
$300 would fund a daytrip out, with lunch, eg: to Danang Water Park, for all the able children at the orphanage, who also need treats and support.
$400 would fund the wages for one full year for a supervisor of a Toy Library, to encourage the children to learn responsibility for toys and material things, and also to keep new toys, books etc. secure.
$500 would pay for two carers to be sent on training courses to improve their knowledge and skills for caring for disabled children. These have proved very effective in the past or would fund the repair/renewal of the many broken lockers at the orphanage, to provide each child with a personal, secure space in which to keep their things.
$600 would cover Tuyet's wages for one full year. She is teaching the disabled children to talk, write, do sums, play together, and also important life skills such as washing for meals, and cultural manners such as bowing to elders, which the children love to practice! She is a great asset who brightens the childrens' lives.
$1000 would pay for a tumble drier, to help dry the many childrens' clothes during the monsoon seasons or would help provide quality physiotherapy equipment such as infra-red apparatus, to assist Thanh in his work, and the disabled children in their persistent brave endeavours to learn to walk.
$1,680 would cover the wages of our physiotherapist, Dr. Thanh for one full year, which would support the children's lives in so many crucial ways. The children can now do things, through his teaching, exercises, dedication and discipline, which two years ago were hopeful dreams. Children who had never stood up alone can now walk, and others can run!

We are now hoping that children who were confined to beds will soon be able to sit up and use muscles that were becoming locked through neglect. It is happening! And the children never cease to amaze us with the pace of their changing lives.

Earth-Info.Net notes the occasionally mundane, but often amazing things money is needed for and wishes Jacci the best of luck with her fund-raising.

Please visit the Kianh Foundation website if you would like to sponsor any of these things...

Sunday, May 11, 2003

"What's the point?"

"I can't be bothered!"

"Where's the money going?"

"Can my money make a difference?"

... a selection of the common refrains used by Christian Aid's new Beating Apathy and Doubt fund-raising campaign, which attempts to show how donating money can make a difference by helping others to help themselves.

For the past few years Earth-Info.Net has noticed a tendency to blame others, especially "big business" and "big government", for all the ills of the world and it is interesting to see that the spotlight of social responsibility is now also being turned on "consumers".

... or put another way the disaffected-yet-affluent who seem to have given up hope of there being a better way of running the world or of getting their wishes acted upon...

On many, many fronts change is certainly needed + possible but one guaranteed way of maintaining the status quo is to expect someone else to do everything for us.

Admittedly, the the power of the individual consumer is often relatively small. However, collectively it is immense. In fact it is so great that it can both make or break businesses + governments!

Earth-Info.Net therefore feels that campaigns such as Christian Aid's, which encourage individuals to take positive action, have the potential to break the culture of blame we are currently wallowing in - by highlighting the importance of individuals taking their personal purchasing + voting choices / responsibilities seriously...

There would also appear to be considerable scope for other organisations to flag up some of the positive options that exist out there?

Expect to see many more examples of NGO endorsements, consumer boycotts + ethical branding over the coming years! As well as increased efforts to hold unelected humanitarian organisations accountable for their actions.

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Earth-Info.Net has just come across the Send A Cow website and feels that this small but practical + highly focused charity deserves support.

The charity was set up in 1988 when UK farmers sent greatly needed cows to Uganda at the end of a long and brutal civil war...

Now all cows are locally sourced and it is possible for you to help communities very directly by sponsoring the purchase of a cow, goats, pigs, poultry, bees or fruit-tree saplings.

Depending on how much someone wishes to donate it is also possible to contribute a smaller amount towards a share in one of these sources of food, independence + income or even to provide a whole farm yard!

As part of the deal recipient farmers have to give the first female offspring of their gift to another impoverished family and preference is generally given to helping women (who are often amongst the poorest in society), the disabled or those suffering from AIDS or orphaned by it.

For those of you in the US, Send A Cow's partner organisation in the US is called Heifer International.

As a means of enabling individuals + families to help themselves and one another Earth-Info.Net struggles to think of a better cause to support...

South Africa has become the fourth country to ratify the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels.

Albatross + Petrels catch fish in the open ocean and every year die in their 100,000s after swallowing hooked bait used to catch tuna and Patagonian toothfish by longline fishing boats.

The preventative measures required to reduce this tragic and unnecessary by-catch are however both simple and effective. They include attaching weights to lines (so that bait cannot float on the surface), setting lines at night and attaching bird scaring streamers behind boats.

Earth-Info.Net has followed this story for quite a while and looks forward to the UK government also ratifying this agreement next month...

Visit Birdlife International's Save the Albatross site to find out more.

In India the River Narmada has come to symbolise the struggle for a just, equitable and genuinely democratic society. The story is complicated but in brief, the Government's plan is to build 30 large, 135 medium + 3000 small dams to harness the waters of the Narmada and its tributaries.

The proponents of the dam claim that this plan would provide large amounts of water + electricity which are desperately required for the purposes of development.

Opponents of the dam question the basic assumptions of the Narmada Valley Development Plan and believe that its planning is unjust + inequitous and the cost-benefit analysis is grossly inflated in favour of building the dams.

Author Arundhati Roy has written a most eloquent essay entitled "The Greater Common Good" which sums up many of the problems well-intentioned "top-down" development plans can cause for the local communities that are displaced, or otherwise adversely affected, (with little or no legal protection or compensation) by national development plans...

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

The www.environmentjob.co.uk website offers an impressive range of environmental jobs + volunteer opportunities in the UK.

Sectors covered include Conservation, Environmental Campaigning, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, Recycling, Ecology, Environmental Education, Organics + Sustainable Development.

Follow this link to listen to a BBC World Service interview with Sir David Attenborough where he talks about some of the 500 nature documentaries he has made and commentated on...

Highlights include tales of an intimate moment with a gorilla, tracking the largest mammal in the world + Sir David explaining why he always wears the same blue shirt!

It's a great interview!

If you click here Aquaplastics will donate 10 cents to Water Aid, a charity dedicated to the provision of safe domestic water, sanitation + hygiene education to the world's poorest people.

This campaign runs from March 22 to June 22, so we are about half way through...

The amount of sponsorship available is 150,000 Euro which equals 1,5000,000 clicks.

So far only 136,000 clicks have been recorded and at this rate Aquaplastics will only have to donate about 30,000 Euro although they are prepared to donate much more...

Thanks to Keith for getting in touch re: this story.

Friday, May 02, 2003

I highly recommend a BBC World Service programme which highlights some of the impacts of poor access to water in Bangladesh + Calcutta...

In rural Bangladesh well-water is sometimes contaminated with arsenic, while in Calcutta many children have to miss school in order to queue for water every day.

A second programme looks at how the Masaai share their water supply with cattle + what happens when a familiy's water supply dries up in the summer...

United States lawmakers have voted to triple the amount spent fighting Aids in Africa and the Caribbean to $15bn.

Due to the national security threat Aids poses to many poor countries this bill (unlike earlier ones) does not prevent the giving of American tax dollars to Aids programmes run by international family planning organisations that promote abortion... although as a compromise a third of the funds will be spent encouraging abstinence from sex.

Assistance will be focused on helping Botswana, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda + Zambia in Africa and Guyana + Haiti in the Caribbean.

The funds will also help fight tuberculosis + malaria - diseases which frequently kill people with immune systems weakened by AIDS.

So far Aids has killed approximately 25 million people (8,500 a day in 2002) and by 2010 the death toll is likely to reach 80 million.

To find out more visit the UNAIDS website.

The head of UNICEF, Carol Bellamy has commended the White House for investing in young people by supporting the prevention, care + treatment bill.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Dr. Pavel Stopka, a colleague from my WildCRU days, has found that mice move objects around in ways which help them to orientate, especially when landmarks are otherwise lacking.

This use of objects means that mice do not have to use strong scents (which predators might detect) and may also enable them to return to foraging sites more quickly if they are disturbed.

I have just received the following in an email from Amnesty International...

'Amnesty International would like to clarify some confusion that has arisen around the case of Amina Lawal.

A number of emails are circulating with inaccurate information about the date that her death sentence is due to be carried out. The Spanish website of Amnesty International is often wrongly cited as the source of this information.

3rd June is the date set for a hearing of Amina Lawal's case before the Sharia Court of Appeal of Katsina State, Nigeria and not a date of execution.'