Happy Friday, dear friends! For those celebrating Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve, which is mostly an American holiday, have fun and enjoy the trick or treating! As the girls are both grown and out of the house, I forgot to buy candy for the costumed visitors, and so I will have to rush out after this to stock up! Everyone else, simply enjoy the blessing of a good Friday, with a beautiful weekend only hours away!
Today we are doing the rounds internationally, showing some key changes that look very positive. We first begin with a huge shift in West Africa that does not involve the Ebola situation directly, and we jet around from there, so fasten your safety belts, and let’s get on with it.
Protestors dissolve government in Burkina Faso.
The West African nation of Burkina Faso was originally the French colony of Upper Volta, and it sits to the east of the countries most affected by the Ebola situation. Their President, Blaise Compaore, who came to power in a 1987 coup but was democratically elected in 1991, had recently tried to rewrite the country’s constitution so that he could seek another term. Citizens protested the legislation, wishing for a change in power, and a more open discussion about the future of the nation. The military has now seized power and instituted a curfew for all citizens.
Here is another article on the situation in Burkina Faso, elucidating to the idea that the citizens, who work mostly in agricultural pursuits, in a country that is ranked 181 of 187 in the UN’s Human Development Index, may be having an awakening about where they want their country to go as a developing nation.
Sweden recognizes Palestine in an effort to forge lasting peace in the Middle East.
Sweden becomes the 135th nation to recognize the state of Palestine. Prime Minister, Stefan Loefven says the Palestinian people have a legitimate claim related to their national sovereignty. Sweden has also said they will increase aid to the Palestinian state in order to help them recover from the recent Gaza conflict that left the area devastated. Sweden hopes to make the playing field of negotiation more level when the Israelis and the Palestinians come together at the negotiating table in the near future.
Beautiful gift for education given to Palestine by young Nobel Laureate.
Palestinian education also got a boost this week as Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani education campaigner shot by the Taliban who recently received the Nobel Peace Prize, will donate $50,000 of her prize money to help rebuild 65 Gaza schools. Yousafzai, who won the World Children’s Prize for the rights of the child in Marienfred, Sweden, said the money would be channeled through the United Nations relief agency UNRWA. She said the needs were great, as a majority of those living in Gaza are under the age of 18. She also shocked the world recently by telling US President Obama to stop sending weapons to Syria and start sending teachers. This young woman is a shining light for the entire world, and millions of children around the globe voted for her to receive the prize. The article also mentions some amazing runners up, who have made a huge difference in the world of children internationally. Congratulations to them all!
Sex Ed used to be about saying no. Not so anymore, in Denmark.
The birth rate in Denmark is the lowest it’s been in over 3 decades; and the trend of lowering birth rates extends across Europe as more young people forgo having children until they receive advanced educational degrees and career success. In Denmark, 1 in 10 children are conceived only after medical assistance, and the government does not wish for this to become an infertility epidemic. The largest sex education group in Denmark, Sex and Society, will now change their curriculum to inform youth that there is a biological time limit to fertility, and will explain, “this is the way to have children.” As we are repeatedly told of global population expansion, this issue surprised me; and I think Denmark is taking a very pragmatic approach to the issue by making it ok to speak about having healthy children at an earlier age.
Italy leads the way for biofuel in gasoline.
Italy became the first country in the European Union to require that gasoline and diesel fuel be mixed with second-generation biofuel by 2018. First-generation biofuel is made from edible plants and has been blamed for a spike in food prices. Second generation biofuel is created from non-edible plants such as switchgrass and agricultural plant waste. It is hoped that this move by a large member nation, will spark other countries to adopt a similar approach toward sustainability in the near future.
Some good news for Canadian families.
Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper announced tax cuts and increased benefits to Canadian families. The plan involves a controversial measure called income splittin, where a higher-paid spouse can transfer funds to their lower-paid spouse to even out the tax debt. The cut could show a $1,140 tax relief per family, and benefit 1.6 Million Canadian families. Opponents say the tax cut does nothing for single-parent families, but this opens discussion further to assist all families in the country.
The Sun shines in Nicaragua, and they ask Canada to help them harvest the rays!
In the past when the cost of gasoline and oil went down, countries lost interest in alternative energy sources. But with the sustainability revolution in full swing, this is not the case currently. Nicaragua is now getting into the game, building a new solar farm; and they just ordered 31-megawatts of solar panels from Canadian Solar, Inc., which is the largest manufacturer of solar panels in North America. The Planta Solar Zona Franca Astro Nicaragua will be the largest private solar farm in the country, and will supply 30% of the energy for a 26-company industrial park. That the farm is being used to supply energy to industry, shows just how important sustainability image is to businesses these days, and I hope more companies follow suit.
Orange Sky brings washing machines to the homeless in Brisbane.
Lucas Patchett and Nic Marchesi, co-founders of Orange Sky mobile laundry service offer free washing and drying for area homeless people. They financed their own van, which fits 2 large washers and dryers, which were donated by sponsors. They shadow food distribution vans, and offer the service directly to those in need. They also provide information related to social services, and simply wish to give people back their dignity and let them know others care about their situation. I commend these two wonderful beings, in service to a world that works for everyone!
That’s the news for today! Have terrific day, or a spooky one if you are celebrating Halloween, and I hope to see you back here tomorrow for more news!
Be Well. Be Joy. Be Love!