Is Beijing’s Air Quality Ready for the 2008 Olympics?
October 24, 2007 08:19 AM - Alana Herro, Worldwatch Institute
The upcoming Summer Olympic Games have galvanized the host city of Beijing into a frenzy of efforts to beautify its image. With the clock ticking down to August 8, 2008, Beijing has expedited the revitalization of buildings along the city’s major roads, painting worn gray exteriors with more vibrant colors. Flat rooftops have been converted to more-attractive sloped ones, and shoddy and chaotic one-story houses are now hidden behind newly erected ancient-style walls decorated with beautiful imagery.
Global Water Initiative Created in Response to World Water Crisis
October 24, 2007 08:12 AM - ICUN
A new partnership has been launched to address the declining state of the world’s fresh water supply and the lack of access to clean water services by the world’s poorest people. The Global Water Initiative (GWI) brings together a group of seven leading international NGOs, including Action Against Hunger (ACF) – USA, CARE, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), The World Conservation Union (IUCN), International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Oxfam America and SOS Sahel – UK.
Gore says 2007 pivotal year in climate change fight
October 23, 2007 07:28 PM - Erik Kirschbaum, Reuters
BERLIN (Reuters) - Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore said on Tuesday he was optimistic future generations would look back at 2007 as the pivotal year when the world finally found the courage to fight together against climate change.
In one of his first public speeches since winning a share of the award on October 12, Gore also said world leaders should meet in January under the auspices of the United Nations to act on the results of U.N. climate change talks in Bali in December.
Women peace laureates appeal for Myanmar action
October 23, 2007 06:53 PM - Jeremy Lovell, Reuters
LONDON (Reuters) - Six female Nobel Peace laureates called on the world to keep up pressure on Myanmar's military junta to restore liberty and democracy in the country.
The seventh living female Peace Prize winner -- Aung San Suu Kyi -- is in detention in Myanmar, where she has spent nearly 12 of the last 18 years in prison or under house arrest.
The call comes weeks after the junta's bloody suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations led by Buddhist monks.
"Since Burmese monks courageously took to the streets in September to call for democracy, the Burmese regime has enforced a vicious crackdown on peaceful demonstrators and democratic opposition leaders," the six wrote in a letter in Wednesday's edition of the Guardian newspaper, using the country's former name.
California fire evacuees top 500,000
October 23, 2007 06:45 PM - Dana Ford, Reuters
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - At least 16 wind-driven wildfires burned from the Mexican border to areas north of Los Angeles on Tuesday, forcing more than half a million people from their homes and claiming a second life on the third day of fire calamity.
San Diego County faced the most dire situation as flames raced unchecked, with 500,000 people now ordered to evacuate their homes, county supervisor Ron Roberts said. At least 1,250 homes were destroyed.
Another person died on Tuesday from burns in a fire north of Los Angeles, after the first death reported on Sunday some 150 miles away near San Diego.
Food safety rules tightened after E. coli recall
October 23, 2007 06:20 PM - Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. food safety inspectors said Tuesday they will expand tests and recall infected meat more rapidly to combat E. coli contamination of meat products after the largest American manufacturer of hamburger patties went out of business this month.
The U.S. Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service said in a briefing the number of E. coli recalls climbed to 15 so far in 2007 compared to the five cases reported in all of 2005.
"We want the American consumer to know that FSIS has taken a number of aggressive actions ... associated with this pathogen and we are further expanding these efforts," said Under Secretary for Food Safety Richard Raymond.
California fire damage seen at hundreds of millions
October 23, 2007 06:17 PM - Adam Tanner and Jim Christie, Reuters
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The fires raging in Southern California have likely caused hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage to homes and businesses, the state's insurance commissioner said on Tuesday.
"This is just a terrible disaster; it's going to be one of the worst ever," California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner told Reuters.
He said the total destruction would easily be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, exceeding damages from a fire in Northern California at Lake Tahoe this summer.
Tim Robbins wages crusade against noise in new film
October 23, 2007 05:33 PM - Silvia Aloisi, Reuters
ROME (Reuters) - Have you ever dreamt of smashing up that car in your neighborhood whose burglar alarm has the bad habit of going off in the middle of the night?
U.S. director Henry Bean used to do that just that, breaking into other people's cars to disable their alarms, so he could get a good night's sleep. He ended up in court and in jail, until he decided to stop and make a film about it.
"Noise", Bean's provocative second film, casts Tim Robbins as David, an upper-class family man driven insane by New York's loud sounds -- grinding garbage trucks, horns honking, back-up beepers and worst of all, car alarms squealing at all hours.
Target Recalls Game Pieces: Cars
October 23, 2007 11:43 AM - Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - About 110,000 magnetic game pieces that accompanied "Cars" themed backpacks sold at Target Corp retail stores have been recalled because the toys can be swallowed by young children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Tuesday.
The gray and red backpacks were sold with four magnetic game pieces that can fall out of their plastic enclosure, the safety agency said. The game pieces were made in China.
The agency said there have been three reports of a magnet that became loose but no injuries have been reported. Small children can swallow a magnet, and if more than one magnet is swallowed they can attract each other and cause intestinal perforation or blockage.
Malibu money is no match for Mother Nature
October 22, 2007 05:30 PM - Dana Ford, Reuters
Malibu, California (Reuters) - Some of Malibu's wealthy denizens may reign over Hollywood, but Mother Nature has once again shown who's really in charge of their picturesque seaside retreat.
Since wind-driven wildfires erupted in Malibu's canyons before dawn on Sunday, hopscotching flames and embers have wrecked havoc on this affluent enclave in the hills and beaches west of Los Angeles for the second time this year.
"It's been very touch and go for the last 24 hours. It was literally right up to the doorsteps yesterday afternoon," Malibu resident Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive of Dreamworks Animation, told Reuters on Monday.