Mumbai: Veteran director and actor Hrithik Roshan’s grandfather, J Om Prakash, passed away on Wednesday. He was 93. The news of his death was shared by actor Deepak Parashar, who said that Prakash breathed his last in the morning. “My dearest uncle Mr J Om Prakash passed away about an hour ago. So saddened as he joins his friend, my Mamaji Mr Mohan Kumar in heaven! “Their contributions to Indian cinema is a gift they left behind for us! Took this pic few months ago when went to see him! Om Shanti!” Parashar tweeted. A spokesperson for Hrithik said Prakash’s last rites were performed at a crematorium next to Pawan Hans, Vile Parle. Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan and Dharmendra, visited his residence. Veteran stars like Jeetendra and Prem Chopra were also present for the funeral, along with family members, including Rakesh, Hrithik, his former wife Sussanne Khan and their two sons.
New Delhi: Former Union minister Arun Jaitley, who has been admitted to the AIIMS here after he complained of breathlessness and restlessness, is stable and responding to treatment, the Vice President’s office said on Saturday after Venkaiah Naidu visited the hospital. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu visited the All India Institute of Medical Sciences to enquire about his former cabinet colleague’s health. “The doctors informed the Vice President that Shri Jaitley is responding to the treatment and his condition is stable. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The Vice President also met Shri Jaitley’s family members who were present,” the Vice President’s secretariat tweeted. Former finance minister Arun Jaitley was admitted to the AIIMS Intensive Care Unit on Friday morning after he complained of breathlessness and restlessness but doctors said he is “haemodynamically stable”. A hemodynamically stable patient has a stable heart pump and good blood circulation. A multidisciplinary team of doctors is supervising Jaitley’s treatment, the AIIMS said on Friday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, MoS for Health Ashwini Choubey, BJP working president J P Nadda and Loktantrik Janata Dal chief Sharad Yadav among others visited the hospital on Friday to enquire about Jaitley’s health.
NEW DELHI: The Delhi government has sought an action taken report from schools about initiatives taken by them for cleanliness of the river Yamuna.The heads of schools in the national capital were asked to conduct various activities during July and August to ensure students contribute with their efforts for cleanliness of the Yamuna. “The school principals were required to ensure the conduct of activities scheduled in the month of July-August for cleanliness of the Yamuna. Further, for the feedback of same, all the HoS are requested to furnish information regarding activities conducted in their respective schools regarding cleanliness of the river,” a senior Directorate of Education (DoE) official said. “The schools have been asked to ensure that the activities mentioned in the plan are conducted effectively as per the schedule with involvement of maximum number of students, teachers and community,” the official added.
Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s embattled leader insisted Tuesday she had no intention of stepping down, after an audio recording emerged of her saying she wanted to quit and apologise for causing the unrest that has rocked the southern Chinese city. Hong Kong has endured three months of violent pro-democracy protests, triggered by opposition to Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s bid to push through a law allowing extraditions to mainland China. The protests evolved into a wider democracy campaign involving violent clashes between protesters and police, in the biggest challenge to China’s rule of Hong Kong since its 1997 handover from the British. “I told myself repeatedly in the last three months that I and my team should stay on to help Hong Kong,” Lam said.
Tokyo: Japan has reassured foreign diplomats about the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant’s safety amid concerns about massive amounts of treated but radioactive water stored in tanks. The Fukushima plant, which suffered triple meltdowns in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, stores more than 1 million tons of treated but radioactive water in nearly 1,000 tanks. The plant’s operator said last month it will run out of storage space in 2022, prompting South Korea to raise safety questions amid tensions with Japan over trade and history. Diplomats from 22 countries, including South Korea, attended a briefing Wednesday where Japanese officials stressed the importance of combating rumors. Experts say the tanks pose flooding and radiation risks and hamper decontamination efforts. They recommend the water’s controlled release into the sea, but local residents oppose this.
Beijing: Chinese dairy company Mengniu announced Monday it had made a takeover offer for Australian infant formula producer Bellamy’s in a deal valued at around US 1 billion. Hong Kong-listed Mengniu has been eyeing global expansion in recent years, and said it was drawn by the Australian group’s local operations and supply chain, as well as its “leading organic brand position”. “Our sales growth ambitions for Bellamy’s in Australia, and the broader Asia Pacific region, will see investment in the local dairy industry to ensure the required capacity is in place to achieve these plans,” Mengniu CEO Lu Minfang said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange Monday. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal Under the proposed deal, Mengniu would pay AUS 12.65 ( 8.69) per share plus a shareholder dividend, marking a 59 percent premium on Bellamy’s Friday closing share price. Bellamy’s CEO Andrew Cohen said that Mengniu offered a “strong platform for distribution and success in China”, The board of directors at the Australian group have given their support to the takeover, which still needs to receive approval from the company’s shareholders and Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost According to a separate Mengniu statement on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, infant milk formula is one of the largest and fastest-growing segments among China’s dairy industry, driven by increasing disposable income and growing spending on children. Bellamy’s share price soared by more than 50 per cent on Monday when the proposed deal was announced. Earlier this year, the International Olympic Committee announced that Coca-Cola and Mengniu had signed a deal to become joint sponsors of the Olympic Games from 2021 to 2032.
MONTREAL – A Montreal-area river burst its banks early Wednesday, flooding several homes and streets northwest of the city in Pierrefonds and Ile-Bizard.It appears water from the Rivieres des Prairies rose quickly and residents had little time to react.Montreal police and firefighters were called on to help rescue some residents affected by the floods.There is also flooding reported in several areas of western Quebec and in communities both north and south of Montreal.Quebec’s Ministry of Transport reports several roads are closed due to flooding.It may be a while before the water levels subside, with Environment Canada calling for heavy rainfall on Friday and Saturday in several regions of Quebec.
OTTAWA – Parliament Hill seemed downright cosy this week as the surrounding areas shivered through days of wet basements and home-destroying floods.The Conservatives devoted much of their week to chipping away at their case that Justin Trudeau is too entitled, pointing out the $2,000 cost of cardboard replicas of the prime minister and attacking his Christmas helicopter ride to the Aga Khan’s private island.Their righteousness was kept somewhat in check by the reluctant resignation of a senator named by former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper. Don Meredith was facing expulsion because of his sexual history involving a teenaged girl.Beyond the scoffing about the rain, the life-size cutouts and the sex scandal, there were solid developments on drunk driving, trade with the United States and the fallout of flooding. Here are three ways politics touched us this week:DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCEThe legislative path towards legalizing marijuana has begun — with a move to crack down on drunk driving and a government on the defensive to explain why police should have more power in this area.When the Liberals put forward their legislative package to legalize pot last month, they proposed allowing police to ask drivers at random to submit to a breathalyzer test as part of their efforts to prevent impaired driving. Some experts say the government is headed for a constitutional confrontation in court if it goes ahead.Asking for breath samples, Jody Wilson-Raybould argued this week, is no different than asking drivers for their licence and registration. She says other countries that do it have shown a substantial reduction in alcohol-related accidents and deaths.NIXING NAFTA?The U.S. Senate has finally approved Robert Lighthizer as the U.S. trade representative, putting in place a major piece of the puzzle to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. He is seen as calm, rational and experienced — so the process should be more predictable, right?Not so fast: U.S. President Donald Trump now wants to start the clock ticking on the NAFTA talks, and the changes need to be “massive” — or else he’ll ditch the agreement altogether.The Trump administration has signalled it wants better terms for dairy, lumber, automobiles, pharmaceuticals and the dispute resolution system. The supply chains and competitive advantages of many a Canadian company, worker and farmer are at stake.But can Trump do “massive” and quick at the same time? That’s hard to do in trade negotiations — especially with a Mexican election now in the offing.FLOODINGWith thousands of homes in Gatineau, Ottawa and Montreal under water this week, and the view from Parliament Hill marred by angry brown water in the Ottawa River, there was no escaping the serious and mounting problem of costly natural disasters. And now, British Columbia is facing a similar calamity.Since 2011, the federal government has spent an average of $360 million a year dealing with the fallout of such disasters — three times the annual cost from previous decades.And it’s never enough. Fires and floods bring chaos and wreak havoc on personal finances, forcing provinces and individuals alike to turn to Ottawa for help.That pattern played itself out again this week, prompting pleas from Trudeau and his ministers to build more disaster-resistant structures in the future.But while this specific Ottawa River flood was impossible to predict in advance, the growing number of climate-related floods, fires and extreme weather events has been a subject of frequent discussion for years.That hasn’t stopped cities from shying away from, or even sitting on, the mapping of flood zones so that construction can be designed appropriately. Documents this week revealed that some municipal officials have avoided mapping the risk of flooding because they don’t want to face angry constituents who would see their property values decline.Chances are, that trade-off means little to those whose homes are in the swamp right now along the Ottawa River.
EDMONTON – Alberta’s political landscape faces a potentially seismic shift this weekend as two right-of-centre parties vote on whether to join forces to try to defeat Premier Rachel Notley’s NDP government.The Progressive Conservatives led by Jason Kenney and Brian Jean’s Opposition Wildrose will wrap up voting on a proposal to merge as the new United Conservative Party.A merger has been kicked around in various forms for a decade, but caught fire a year ago when Kenney launched his successful bid for the Tory leadership.“It is the culmination of a year of incredibly hard work, ” Kenney, a cabinet minister under former prime minister Stephen Harper, said Friday in an interview.“When we started this unity effort, a lot of people were understandably skeptical that the whole plan seemed perhaps unlikely and complicated.“But it’s come down to a very clear choice: do we unite free enterprisers into one big party that can ensure the defeat of the NDP? Or do we continue with pointless division that could lead to their re-election?”More than 50,000 Tories and about 40,000 in the Wildrose have signed up to vote.Wildrose members will vote online, by phone, or in person at an event in Red Deer on Saturday. PC members have been casting ballots electronically since Thursday.Results for both are to be announced in the late afternoon or early evening Saturday. The Tories require a simple majority to approve unification, while the Wildrose needs at least 75 per cent.Kenney and Jean, both former Conservative MPs, have been criss-crossing the province in recent weeks to explain details of the tentative unity agreement and to drum up support for a merger.Jean says he’s confident Wildrose members will meet the 75 per cent threshold.“I’m very optimistic,” he said Thursday at a unity rally outside an Edmonton school.“There are some people that are still not convinced, but I continue to go across (Alberta) and try to sell the message of unity, because I think it’s in the best interest of Albertans.“Once I have an opportunity to answer those tough questions, usually people come along and say, ‘Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.’”There have been pockets of resistance on both sides amid concerns the new party would move far to the right on social issues and open a spot for other parties to grab centrist voters.Former PC president Katherine O’Neill left the party after Kenney’s leadership win in March and now runs Alberta Together, a political action committee looking to attract progressive conservative voters, perhaps through the Alberta Party.If both sides approve the deal, it will spell the end of the Progressive Conservative brand that governed Alberta for almost 44 years. That run ended when Notley’s NDP won a majority in the 2015 election.A yes vote would launch a leadership race that already has three participants. Jean and Kenney have said they’ll run, and Calgary lawyer Doug Schweitzer is already campaigning. Wildrose finance critic Derek Fildebrandt has said he is also considering it.As per the unity agreement, joint committees would be struck to get the machinery of a new party in place with constituency associations and candidates. The goal is to be ready for the next election set for the spring of 2019.Uncertainty remains over what happens if one side fails to ratify.Kenney has talked about a possible Plan B including some form of co-operation, such as the two sides not running against each other in certain constituencies.Jean said he’s thought about a fallback plan, but he’ll deal with it when and if the time comes.“What I’m doing right now is focusing on unity and concentrating all my efforts there,” said Jean.“And I believe ultimately we’ll get a yes vote on Saturday.”
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – Court records say a British Columbia man has been handed a two-month conditional sentence plus one year probation for assault in connection with a video of a racist rant that went viral last year.Karry Corbett of Hope was charged with assault following the incident on Oct. 21, 2016, which Abbotsford police said at the time was filmed by a lawyer from a nearby office where a pickup truck was illegally parked in a reserved spot.Abbotsford lawyer Ravi Duhra confirmed he shot the video that was posted on YouTube showing a man yelling racist slurs.The man in the video yells at Duhra, “When did you come to Canada?” and “go back to India,” before beating his chest while yelling “white power” as he gets into the passenger’s side of the truck.Neither Corbett nor his lawyer could immediately be reached for comment, but provincial court records say Corbett pleaded guilty to the charge on Sept. 22.Duhra did not submit a victim impact statement in the case and declined to comment on the outcome.“I would really just like to put the whole incident behind me and move forward,” he said in an email.Judge Kenneth Skilnick also sentenced Corbett to a 10-year firearms prohibition.
INUVIK, N.W.T. – The sun is returning to the horizon in the Northwest Territories town of Inuvik, even as Atlantic Canadians dig out from a powerful winter storm and many other parts of the country shiver through extreme cold snaps.It’s been 30 days since the solar orb was last seen in Inuvik, 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, but that changes on Saturday when the sun returns, rising at 1:44 p.m.The event will be marked by a festival which Inuvik’s marketing co-ordinator Chris Sharpe says continues all weekend.Participants will have just 34 minutes to enjoy the light on Saturday because the sun sets again at 2:18 p.m.By Sunday, there will be 63 minutes of daylight in Inuvik, and the days will continue to lengthen from there until round-the-clock sun returns in late May.Sharpe says the sunrise festival had humble beginnings three decades ago, but has grown dramatically as visitors arrive to witness a sure sign that winter will eventually loosen its grip on the Northern Hemisphere.“It was just a community breakfast and fireworks and it has expanded over the years to this mega event that welcomes the world.”The festival includes dancing and music, food, a snow-carving contest, ice village, snow pitch and even snow yoga. (CKRW)
The Golden Globes red carpet has been dyed black by streams of actresses, actors and activists outfitted in a colour-co-ordinated statement against sexual harassment and gender inequality in Hollywood.Arrivals were streaming into an atypically tumultuous 75th Golden Globe Awards on Sunday night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Many female stars arrived with activist guests – Michelle Williams with “Me Too” founder Tarana Burke, Meryl Streep and domestic workers advocate Ai-jen Poo, Laura Dern and farmworker advocate Monica Ramirez – as part of the larger effort to keep the Globes spotlight trained on the sexual harassment and assault scandals that have roiled Hollywood and other industries.“We feel sort of emboldened in this particular moment to stand together in a thick black line,” Streep said.The Globes, which will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. EDT on NBC, had long been the stomping grounds of disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein, whose downfall precipitated allegations against James Toback, Kevin Spacey and many others. Weinstein presided over two decades of Globes winners and was well-known for his manipulation of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the 89-member group that puts on the Globes.Ashley Judd, the first big name to go on record with her Weinstein experience, and Salma Hayek, who last month penned an op-ed about her nightmare with Weinstein, attended together.Sunday night’s black-clad protest was promoted by the recently formed Time’s Up: an initiative of hundreds of women in the entertainment industry –including Streep, Williams, Dern and the night’s Cecil B. DeMille honoree, Oprah Winfrey – who have banded together to advocate for gender parity in executive ranks and legal defence aid for sexual harassment victims.“It’s not a fashion statement. It’s a solidarity statement,” said “The Crown” actress Claire Foy.Just about everyone, woman and man, celebrity and red-carpet reporters, was dressed in black Sunday, many of them wearing a Time’s Up pin. “This Is Us” star Chris Sullivan even sported black fingernails.“I can tell you it’s a very small gesture. Me wearing black isn’t going to change anything, but from small gestures come big ones,” said Alfred Molina.But the unified statement has more dramatic effects on the normal choreography of the usually superficial red carpet. While being interviewed live on E!, Debra Messing called out the network for allegedly not paying its female hosts the same as its male hosts.The exchange was just another illustration of how the “MeToo” reckoning that has plowed through Hollywood has upended awards season. Sunday’s Globes are considered wide open, with contenders including Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water,” Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” and Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”The ongoing scandals have derailed Oscar campaigns and prompted new ones. Among the nominees Sunday is Christopher Plummer, who was brought in at the last minute to erase Spacey from “All the Money in the World.”It should all make for an unusual atmosphere for the Globes, which have long fostered a reputation as the loosest, booziest evening of awards season. Even former host Ricky Gervais has acknowledged Sunday’s awards will have an awkward tone.“If I were hosting the Golden Globes this weekend, I wouldn’t be brave enough to do the joke I’ve just thought of,” Gervais said Wednesday.Hosting duties will fall instead to a Globes rookie: late-night host Seth Meyers. He will have his hands full trying to match last year’s broadcast, hosted by Jimmy Fallon. It was watched by 20 million viewers, an 8 per cent increase.“We don’t want this night to be a session where we’re just scolding everything that happened because it is really important for us to remember that great movies came out of this year,” Meyers told The Associated Press last week. “A lot of people, we’re realizing, worked really hard in environments that were not that conducive to working really hard. So the goal is to have people have a wonderful night and an enjoyable party in a year which everyone deserves it.”Last year’s broadcast also roped in one notable viewer: then President-elect Donald Trump. He was critical of Streep after the actress’s forceful political acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award, which this year goes to Winfrey.–––Associated Press writers Andrew Dalton and Lindsey Bahr contributed to his report from Beverly Hills
CALGARY – Family and friends of three people found dead in two Calgary homes say they have been torn apart by the deaths.Dustin Duthie, who is 25, faces three counts of second-degree murder.The dead have been identified as Taylor Toller, who was Duthie’s girlfriend, and his parents, Alan Pennylegion and Shawn Boshuck.Shane Graham, a family spokesman, says Duthie’s siblings and others continue to struggle with what has happened.He says they are all hopeful that justice will be served and asked for privacy as they process their grief.Police say they will not release the cause of death at this time.“The family has been torn apart,” Graham said at a police news conference Thursday. “It is nothing short of a tragedy that has many ripple effects and has affected many people in different areas.”Police were called to two homes on Tuesday, one in the southeast community of Applewood and another in the northwest community of Hidden Valley.Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta with the Homicide Unit said investigators believe Toller died on or about July 26.Court documents allege Boshuck and Pennylegion were killed the same day they were found.Police have said it appeared the deaths were connected, but no motive has been confirmed.Duthie was in custody at the Rockyview General Hospital, where he is also under suicide watch.None of the charges has been tested in court. Duthie is to have an initial psychiatric assessment before his next court appearance Aug. 8. (CTV Calgary, The Canadian Press)
RODDICKTON, N.L. — Fisheries officials have rescued at least eight seals from a small Newfoundland town that’s been overrun by dozens of the blubbery mammals for over a week.Roddickton Mayor Sheila Fitzgerald says there are still plenty of wayward seals roaming the town, but she’s happy the Fisheries Department is working hard to catch and return them to the ocean.Located on Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula, Roddickton is at the edge of an inlet that has trapped a group of around 40 harp seals in the area after it froze over, leaving them hungry and disoriented.Fitzgerald says Fisheries officers with the help of the town are catching the seals and driving them out to Englee, a community about 20 kilometres south, where they are being released back into the ocean.While they may be cute, the seals have been posing a nuisance and drawing safety concerns from the town, Fitzgerald says, as they’ve been blocking roads, driveways, and doors, and residents were unable to move them because it’s illegal to touch marine mammals.She says Fisheries officials remain in town this weekend to continue their work rescuing the seals.The Canadian Press
BLACK DIAMOND, Alta. – Emergency medical officials say two people are dead after a mid-air glider crash southwest of Calgary.Local EMS responded to reports of the crash near the Cu Nim Gliding Club, east of Black Diamond, Alberta, shortly before 4 p.m. on Friday.Two people who were in the Schlicher ASK21 glider were pronounced dead at the scene.RELATED: Four people dead in B.C. float plane crashThe RCMP says the glider and its tow plane, a Cessna 182, collided in the air not long after the glider was released.Transportation Safety Board investigators are expected to arrive at the site on Saturday morning. The TSB said in a statement that investigators will gather information and assess what happened.
One year after Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth launched Survival International’s campaign to save the Awá, Earth’s most threatened tribe, a large number of international celebrities have joined him and his wife Livia in backing the urgent campaign.Colin Firth Supports the Awá peopleCredit/Copyright: Survival InternationalLivia Firth stands up for the AwáCredit/Copyright: Survival InternationalHollywood star Gillian Anderson, British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, Californian rock band Allah-Las, actors Mark Rylance, Sophie Okonedo, Emilia Fox, Sinead Cusack and stars of the hit series Game of Thrones Oona Chaplin, Natalia Tena and Finn Jones are among the celebrities photographed with the awáIcon, which reads ‘Brazil: Save the Awá’.Hollywood star Gillian Anderson brandishes the awáIcon which sends the urgent message, ‘Brazil: Save the Awá’.Credit/Copyright: Survival InternationalGillian Anderson told Survival, ‘We must as human beings collectively wake up and help save the Awá: the Earth’s most threatened tribe. We cannot have another people become extinct due to the negligence and greed of others. We all have a duty.’Davina McCall shows her support for the AwáCredit/Copyright: Survival InternationalOther British celebrities backing the campaign to save the Awá include Olympic star and winner of Strictly Come Dancing Louis Smith, TV and radio presenters Davina McCall and Dave Berry, MTV presenter Lilah Parsons, human rights activist Peter Tatchell, artist Kurt Jackson and many others.The Awá in their forestCredit/Copyright: Survival InternationalThe Awá of northeastern Brazil live under the threat of extinction due to violent attacks and the theft of their land by loggers and ranchers. Brazil’s authorities have done nothing to evict the invaders from the Awá’s heartland, despite experts warning of a ‘genocide’ if no action is taken.Destruction in the Awá homelandCredit/Copyright: Survival InternationalPire’i Ma’a Awá, an Awá man told Survival International, ’We’ve been waiting too long. When the rains stop, the loggers will come back. The loggers will close in on us, here around our community. The police must be brought here!’Invasion of the forestCredit/Copyright: Survival InternationalThe celebrities joined a worldwide movement to save the Awá which has seen over 50,000 letters sent to Brazil’s Justice Minister and the awáIcon photographed at famous landmarks around the world – from Brazil’s Sugarloaf mountain, to the Eiffel tower in Paris.Ross Thomas supports the AwáCredit/Copyright: Survival InternationalSurvival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘As celebrities join the campaign to save the Awá, Brazil must not ignore the growing number of voices being raised in support of the world’s most threatened tribe. Its reputation hangs in the balance.’Sophie Okonedo shows her support for the Awá.Credit/Copyright: Survival InternationalSee more of Survival International’s picture gallery of celebrities supporting the Awá here.To watch videos and learn more about the incredible lives of the “Earth’s most threatened tribe”, before and after contact with the outside world, visit SurvivalInternational.org/awa.Source:Survival International
Music for Relief (MFR) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have launched a campaign to raise necessary funds to provide an entire village in the Himalayan country of Nepal access to clean, green biogas technology.Founded by two-‐time Grammy winning/multi-‐platinum rock band Linkin Park, MFR is a non-‐ profit organization dedicated to providing aid to survivors of natural disasters and the prevention of such disasters. MFR will reward supporters who raise funds for the campaign here with a chance to win tickets to see Linkin Park at a small, private performance in Las Vegas in January.A segment of Power the World (an initiative that brings together Linkin Park, MFR and the UN Secretary-‐General that seeks to bring sustainable energy solutions to one million people), the “clean cookstove” campaign follows the success of other campaigns including providing solar lights in Haiti, solar suitcases in Uganda, and the SOCCKET in South America.“We are thrilled that Linkin Park and Music For Relief are championing biogas in Nepal because this simple, effective technology delivers a rare triple win—transforming the lives of people, protecting wildlife and healing the planet,” said Shubash Lohani, Deputy Director of WWF’s Eastern Himalayas Program.“It’s exciting to find a solution that helps on multiple levels,” said Dave ‘Phoenix’ Farrell of Linkin Park. ” The clean, biogas cookstoves WWF is implementing will improve families’ health, keep women and children safer and protect the environment. We hope our supporters will join us in providing technology for those living in the Kumrose village in Nepal.”More than eight million people call the Terai Arc Landscape in Nepal home, and many cannot afford electricity, and must rely on large quantities of wood for cooking and other needs. On average, each person in the Terai region uses up to 2,000 pounds of wood per year, resulting in massive clear cutting of trees that yields serious consequences for both people and wildlife.Biogas offers a straightforward, cost-‐effective solution. Human and animal waste is processed to produce methane that burns with a bright blue flame. Constructing methane from waste protects forests and the valuable habitat for the species that live there. It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions – a win-‐win for Nepali communities.The campaign also invites supporters to learn about local farmer Buddhi Ram Mahato and his family through a series of online stories that will take viewers on an inspirational journey.“We hope people are inspired to join this campaign to uplift an entire village by providing cleaner air, better healthcare, increased incomes for locals, while at the same time regenerating forest habitat for tigers, rhinos, and the many other species that live there,” added Lohani.To start a fundraiser that will support the campaign, click here. Those who raise at least $565 (the cost of one biogas system including a cookstove, biogas digester and toilet) by November 22 will be entered to win tickets to see Linkin Park at a small, private show.Globally, 3 billion people rely on solid fuels to cook each day, which results in 4 million deaths annually from lung and heart diseases, cancers, burns, and more. MFR and WWF are partners of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a public-‐private partnership working to create a global market for clean cooking solutions. Each organization is committed to fulfilling the objectives of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which calls for universal energy access by 2030.
A number of stars attended the Third Annual Paul Rudd All-Star Bowling Benefit to support SAY (The Stuttering Association for the Young) on January 12.The event – held at Lucky Strike Lanes in New York City – attracted stars such as Mariska Hargitay, Gina Gershon, Lucy DeVito, Peter Hermann, Andy Karl and many more.The event raised money to help send kids to Camp SAY, where young people who stutter can learn effective communication skills and build self-confidence.“To see these kids get in front of an audience and speak, which is difficult for anyone, is incredibly moving,” said Paul Rudd. “What they do just speaks to the power of joining a group and gaining confidence.”Find out more about the event here.
Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has announced that, despite a setback last month, he will continue his attempt to become the first person to cross both polar ice caps and climb the 7 highest mountains on each continent, to raise money for the terminal illness charity Marie Curie.Sir Ranulph was forced to abandon his attempt to climb Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America in January, after suffering from severe back pain. The 72-year old was just hours from the top of the 6,962m (22,838 feet) peak when he was airlifted off, leaving the future of his whole challenge uncertain.Watch Sir Ranulph’s rescue and hear why he’s continuing the challengeFiennes will now continue his Global Reach Challenge and will tackle Mount Carstenz, the highest peak in Australasia, at the beginning of April.Sir Ranulph Fiennes said: “I was very disappointed to abandon my Aconcagua attempt, particularly so close to the summit. But experience has taught me that not every challenge will be a success; it took three attempts for me to successfully climb Mount Everest for example.“I have now had a good report from the doctor so I am going to try and do the last three mountains, starting with Carstenz in April. Unless something is seriously wrong with my health, I am determined to keep going. I am looking forward to it and I just hope that my back behaves itself.“I want to achieve this challenge before anyone else so that I am able to raise money for Marie Curie. That is very important. They do so much good for terminally ill people and their families.”The challenge brings together a lifetime of exploration for Fiennes, who has already crossed both polar ice caps in 1982, climbed Mount Everest in Asia (in 2009 on his third attempt), Mount Kilamanjaro in Africa (2004), Mount Elbrus (2016) and Mount Vinson (2016).To complete his Global Reach Challenge and claim a world first, Sir Ranulph still needs to successfully climb Aconcagua in South America, Carstenz in Indonesia and Denali in North America.Sir Ranulph has been raising money for Marie Curie for a number of years by taking on extreme challenges. This includes becoming the first person to cross both ice caps and summit Everest – known then as the ‘Explorers Grand Slam’. He was, at the time, the oldest Briton to climb Everest. In 2015 he also became the oldest Briton to complete the gruelling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara desert.The money Sir Ranulph raises helps Marie Curie provide vital care and support to people living with a terminal illness and their families. Sir Ranulph has raised over £18m in total for charity and aims to raise £20m for good causes in his lifetime.To support Sir Ranulph’s Global Reach Challenge in aid of Marie Curie go to www.justgiving.com/Ranulph.All donations towards Sir Ranulph’s Global Reach Challenge will go to Marie Curie. The costs of the challenge are being covered by the generous sponsorship of long-term benefactor Paul Sykes and corporate sponsor TMF Group.
The National AIDS Memorial marked World AIDS Day honoring leaders in the HIV/AIDS community who have made a significant difference in the fight against AIDS.The National AIDS Memorial dedicates a boulder in honor of President Bill Clinton during World AIDS Day observances in San Francisco. Credit/Copyright: Trish TunneyPresident Bill Clinton, who designated the memorial as the country’s sole federally-designated National AIDS Memorial in 1996, delivered keynote remarks and spoke to the hope the future holds, while always remembering the precious lives lost to the epidemic.As part of the ceremonies, the National AIDS Memorial dedicated a large boulder at the entrance of its Moonwalk staircase which leads to the historic grove in honor of the president, who has courageously brought the issue of HIV and AIDS to the forefront through his leadership and compassion. Inscribed on the boulder is a quote from the president which reads, “We must continue to work together as a nation to further our progress against this deadly epidemic, and while we do so, we must remember that every person who is living with HIV or AIDS is someone’s son or daughter, brother or sister, parent or grandparent. They deserve our respect and they need our love.”President Clinton was an early advocate and important voice at the height of the AIDS epidemic, establishing the Office of National AIDS Policy and securing significant funding for AIDS prevention, research and treatment programs. After leaving the White House, President Clinton founded the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI). Since its founding, CHAI has helped 11.6 million people in more than 70 countries receive greater access to HIV-AIDS medications. CHAI has also catalyzed the scale up of AIDS treatment to over 823,000 children, helping reduce the costs of pediatric ARV regimens by over 80 percent.“At a time when many national leaders paid little attention to the AIDS epidemic, President Bill Clinton helped create a national memorial to forever honor the lives lost to AIDS,” said John Cunningham, executive director of the National AIDS Memorial. “This sacred ground has become a place that honors all who have been touched by HIV/AIDS and forever keeps their spirit, their love and their stories with us so future generations never forget. This memorial provides us with hope and inspiration to continue working tirelessly until we find a cure.”World AIDS Day is a reminder that more than three decades into the epidemic, more than 70 million people around the world have been infected with the HIV virus, with 35 million people having died from HIV- and AIDS-related causes. While much progress has been made in preventing and treating HIV, today 36 million people are currently living with the virus. New advancements in diagnostics, treatments and medicine are helping nearly 20 million people live with the disease. In the United States alone, 1.1 million people are currently living with HIV with the number of new cases having dropped by nearly 20% since 2008.“Today, with advancements in diagnostic testing and highly effective treatments, people with HIV and AIDS can go on to live healthy and happy lives,” said Jay Wohlgemuth, MD, Senior Vice President, R&D, Medical and Chief Medical Officer, Quest Diagnostics. “Quest Diagnostics is honored to support the National AIDS Memorial and its mission to honor the lives lost to AIDS and help ensure their stories are forever known by future generations.”Quest Diagnostics is the presenting sponsor for the 2017 National AIDS Memorial World AIDS Day commemoration events. A leading provider of diagnostics information services dedicated to advancing disease management for the HIV community and raising the standards of care in HIV diagnostics, the company has been a long-time supporter of the National AIDS Memorial supporting its volunteer workday programs and mission to forever honor the lives lost to AIDS.This year’s World AIDS Day observance highlights the memorial’s mission of remembrance, healing and hope. Personal stories were shared, reflecting back at the height of the epidemic when so many lives were being shattered by AIDS. The day included honoring people who courageously fought for equality and justice in the AIDS movement, including survivors and advocates who cared for the dying and partners who lost their lovers; those spearheading advancements in testing, diagnostics and treatments; and the next generation of leaders who carry the torch forward in helping find a cure for the devastating disease.In addition to honoring President Clinton, awards were presented to other leaders in the HIV/AIDS community including: The Humanitarian Leadership Award to David McMurry, retired Global Public Health Manager at Chevron, for his work leading their world-wide AIDS programs and services for people in need; the Thom Weyand Unsung Hero Award to Ruth Coker Burks, also known as the “Cemetery Angel” for her work in the darkest days of the epidemic in Arkansas, where she cared for hundreds of young gay men abandoned by their families; and the “Lifetime of Commitment” Award to former California State Senator Mark Leno for his decades of unwavering philanthropy, activism and leadership in support of HIV/AIDS, LGBT communities and civil liberties.Underscoring the next generation of leaders in the AIDS movement, awardees of the 2017 Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship were also announced with several of them sharing their personal stories, demonstrating the hope for the future in the fight against AIDS.“Much has changed in our world since the height of the AIDS epidemic,” said Kelly Gluckman, one of the six scholarship recipients, who attends the University of California Los Angeles. “Today, there is greater hope and awareness among young people as we can live a healthy life with HIV, something our brothers and sisters before us did not have the chance to do. In their honor, our generation must work tirelessly to end the bigotry and stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS and commit ourselves to tell their stories, educate others about prevention, treatments and continue the work to finally find a cure.”The National AIDS Memorial is a dedicated space in the national landscape where millions of Americans touched directly or indirectly by AIDS can gather to heal, hope, and remember. The National AIDS Memorial, known as “the Grove”, was created more than twenty-five years ago in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic as a place where those impacted by AIDS could both grieve and begin the process of healing. In 1996, legislation sponsored by U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi was signed into law by President Clinton that elevated “the Grove” as this nation’s sole federally-designated National AIDS Memorial.Today, nearly 40,000 individuals from around the world have contributed 200,000 volunteer hours to support the National AIDS Memorial and its mission to provide, in perpetuity, a place of remembrance so that the lives of people who died from AIDS are not forgotten and the story is known by future generations.