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Old 07-08-2007, 01:33 PM   #1
craig johnston
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Smile The 'All about Good News' Thread

Ok, as a counterweight to the negative tone elsewhere in this
forum, I'd like to have a thread about good news stories, let's
face it, we need some.
Please no animal rescue stories, just stuff like this from the Guardian;

Ireland Gets Its First Black Mayor

Ireland elected its first black mayor Thursday, the latest sign of how rapid immigration is changing this once all-white nation.

Rotimi Adebari, a Nigerian who arrived in Ireland seven years ago as an asylum-seeker, was elected unopposed to lead the council of Portlaoise, a bustling commuter town west of Dublin.

Adebari, 43, who has been an independent politician on Portlaoise Town Council since 2004, was backed by both the right-wing Fine Gael party and left-wing Sinn Fein.

Adebari, who planned a post-election party Friday at the new parish hall in Portlaoise, called it ``a great honor to become the No. 1 citizen of the town.''

Little more than a decade ago, a black person in Ireland risked being gawked at, so rare was the sight of visitors from different racial backgrounds. But Ireland has absorbed more than 30,000 asylum seekers - particularly from Africa's most populous nation, Nigeria - since the mid-1990s, a wave attracted by Ireland's booming economy and its relatively lax immigration rules.

These days, West African entrepreneurs run stretches of shops in urban Dublin and other Irish towns and cities, and social activists like Adebari are encouraging the newcomers to integrate into their communities.

``I got involved in the community and I volunteered. It gave me the opportunity to meet people firsthand and they got to know me,'' Adebari said. ``We all have to make an effort to reach out to one another.''

Adebari traveled to Ireland with his wife and two boys in 2000 and claimed asylum on the basis of religious persecution, citing bloody clashes between Christians and Muslims in his homeland. His application was rejected because of insufficient evidence he had personally suffered persecution, but he gained residency because his third child, another boy, was born in Ireland.

Asylum-seekers flocked to Ireland in part to gain European Union citizenship on the basis of having a child born in the country. Ireland in 2004 stopped granting citizenship to foreign parents of an Irish-born child, a law that had been unique in Europe.

Adebari said he had trouble finding work at first - in part because of an Irish law that bars people from working while they are seeking asylum.

So he volunteered at a local tennis club, helped found a lobbying group for unemployed people in Portlaoise and ran for office, winning a council seat on his first try in 2004.

Since then he's finished a master's degree in intercultural studies at Dublin City University, founded a consultancy advising authorities and immigrant groups on how to work together, and hosts a weekly radio show on his local station, Midlands FM.

``I want to encourage immigrants to be a force in their communities, to engage with their communities,'' he said. ``People will get to know you. Their perception of you will change just like that. That's what happened to me.

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Old 07-08-2007, 03:40 PM   #2
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But..But..animal rescues are such good news!

I'll be a good girl, I promise.
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Old 07-09-2007, 07:36 AM   #3
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Extra-cool idea!

Quote:
Kidnapped UK girl freed in Nigeria
Jul 9 2007

Kidnapped three-year-old Margaret Hill has returned home, hungry and covered in mosquito bites, but unharmed, her father said.

The British youngster who lives in Nigeria with her parents Mike and Oluchi, was snatched as she was being driven to school on Thursday.

Speaking to the Associated Press by phone, Margaret said she was "fine" and happy to see her mother.

Margaret was reunited with her parents on Sunday night and Mr Hill said no ransom had been paid to secure his daughter's release.

more
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Old 07-10-2007, 06:28 PM   #4
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Golden Jubilee

Vancouver Ismailis Ready to Celebrate Aga Khan

full text

Quote:
The Aga Khan is considered by Ismailis to be a direct descendant of Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed.
As chairman of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, he oversees one of the world's largest aid and cultural organizations, spending more than $300 million US a year on schools, universities and hospitals in the Third World.
"Being the leader of the Ismaili community is not only a spiritual role, but it is also a material role," said Iqbal Ahmed, a spokesman for Vancouver's Ismaili Muslim community. "His responsibility is to not only interpret the faith for the Ismailis but also to look after the material aspects of life for the community, improving the quality of life - not only for the Ismailis but also for the societies in which the [Ismaili] community lives."
Last year in Vancouver, the Ismaili Walk for Kids raised $350,000 for the United Way. And the World Partnership Walk, a cross-county initiative led by the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, raised $1.5 million toward fighting global poverty.
"Basically he told us to be good Canadian citizens, participate in the fabric of society, give back to the community," Ahmed said.
a fairly detailed history of the Aga Khan

A typical speech upholding the values of education and meritocracy:

Quote:
As we do so, there are three challenges in particular that I would like to highlight to you today. They are: first, the future of democracy, especially in the developing world; secondly, the central role which civil society can play in that development; and thirdly, the crisis in relations between the West and the Islamic world. These are all areas which are going to affect the world in which you live in the decades ahead.

The history of democracy, especially in areas of Asia and Africa which I know well, has been a long series of jolts and jars. Today, any thoughtful observer of those regions would have to conclude that democracy has been losing popular confidence as an effective form of government.

In many of these countries, governments, constitutions, parliaments, and political parties are little more than a dysfunctional assemblage of notional democratic vehicles. Elections are held, constitutions are validated, and international monitors issue their reports, but observing these forms of government is not the same thing as governing effectively.

A recent survey by UNDP of 18 South American countries confirmed that the majority of people were less interested in their forms of government than in their quality of life. In simple terms, most people would rather have a beneficent paternalistic dictator, provided he improved the quality of life, than a less effective, though duly elected, democratic leadership.

The question that must be asked, I believe, is not whether democracy is a good thing in the abstract, but rather how to help democracy perform better in practice. Do we really know what is going wrong? And why? Do we know what corrective steps should be taken? And by whom?

These are massive questions, and I do not claim to know the answers. But I do believe that significantly more thought must be given to these issues, by the intelligentsia of our world, yourselves included.

As we think about these questions, there are some hopeful signs. Generally speaking, the most successful developing countries are those which have engaged actively with the global knowledge society, those which have accepted and defended the value of pluralism, and those which have created an enabling environment for human enterprise, rather than indulging in asphyxiating policies which discourage human endeavour.

But in too many places, democratic practice is deeply flawed. One problem is simple ignorance of the various forms of democracy. I attribute this in part to the absence of good education in comparative government. Holding a national referendum on a new constitution, is no guarantee that the provisions of the constitution have been understood, let alone validated, by popular consent.

In addition, the machinery of government - including the creation and funding of political parties, is often unguided and undisciplined, and widely open to manipulation and fraud. Nor is government performance monitored effectively - by internal processes or by the media.

Finally, the very concept of democracy must be adapted to a variety of national and cultural contexts. Effective democracy can not be imposed from the top or from the outside. Democracy’s value must be deeply felt in the daily lives of a country’s population, including the rural majority, if it is to be upheld and promoted.
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Old 07-11-2007, 12:50 PM   #5
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Afghanistan to gain debt relief

Afghanistan has made sufficient steps in improving its economy to qualify for debt relief, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have said.

Under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, Afghanistan will now have its net public and private debt payments cut by 51%.

The World Bank said that the move would free up extra funds for healthcare, education and other essential services.

Afghanistan's total overseas debt stood at $11.9bn (£5.9bn) last year.

"Afghanistan's authorities are building a credible track record for implementing economic governance reforms," said the World Bank's director for the country, Alastair McKechnie.

"Debt relief will support national reformers to sustain and deepen this record."

Afghanistan becomes the 31st country to quality for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. Most of the others are in sub-Saharan Africa.
source
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Old 07-11-2007, 04:35 PM   #6
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this is why i love americans. they just get up and do stuff.


but can someone explain 'the roof of the town's open-air swimming pool'?


From the BBC:

Quote:
US grassroots tackle climate change

The US government may have refused to throw its weight behind efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but Americans are increasingly acting on their own initiative.
In the latest in a series on changing US attitudes to global warming, the BBC's Sam Wilson profiles three grassroots ventures in the state of California.

SOLAR SEBASTOPOL

California's generous endowment of sunshine gives it a golden opportunity to exploit solar power, but the town of Sebastopol, north of San Francisco, has been particularly energised.

Its goal is to install one megawatt of solar power production across the town - equivalent to decking the roofs of 500 average-sized homes with solar panels.

It is over a third of the way there, with 380kW-worth of panels fitted so far on local government buildings, businesses and homes. One of the most eye-catching adorns the roof of the town's open-air swimming pool.

Sebastopol's Mayor Sam Pierce describes it as a "very aggressive effort, by both the city and the community", to tackle global warming.

His city council has also set itself a target of reducing its own emissions by 42% over a 10-year period - the most ambitious target in the US and far ahead of those demanded by the Kyoto Protocol.

Mr Pierce - whose Green Party has held a majority in Sebastopol for six years - says the pressure for action is definitely bottom-up.

"Our community is very tuned in, very well informed on climate change, and wants to take action," he says.

"So, as a result, the policy-makers are very aggressive, and find ways to satisfy that demand in the public."

The 42% target comes from closely audited assessments, says the city manager, David Brennan, and should therefore be achievable.

The city is improving energy efficiency in heating and lighting in council buildings, and has bought five hybrid vehicles when replacing its fleet, including three police cars.

The officials are disappointed that President George W Bush has refused to set nationwide emissions reduction goals, but hopes Sebastopol's efforts will be replicated at the local level elsewhere.

"If there's any silver lining to what I would call the debacle of the Bush regime, it's that it demonstrated to local jurisdictions that it's essential that they find local solutions," Mr Pierce says.

"The nationals aren't going to do it. But we as a community are going to demonstrate to the rest of the country what can be done."

"You do what you can, then find a megaphone."

BIOFUEL OASIS, BERKELEY

Biofuel Oasis is an all-female co-operative in Berkeley, San Francisco, which serves as a retail outlet for biodiesel.

The fuel is converted from waste cooking oil from local restaurants, and sold to customers willing to pay a little more than the regular diesel price.

The six partners in the enterprise take turns to open up in the evenings, where they do a brisk business, often to regular customers. Their occasional clients include country music star Willie Nelson, who fills up his tour bus when passing through.

It is a varied clientele, says one of the partners, Gretchen Zimmermann.

"I'd say they're more white-collar than blue-collar - anything from hippies to pretty normal looking people, but generally they're educated - either very concerned about politics or the environment, or both," she says.

Somewhat worn old Mercedes cars seem to be the most popular vehicles among the biodiesel set.

Diesel has never been very popular with American drivers, meaning most suitable cars are imported - mostly Mercedes and Volkswagens.

Many are strongly opposed to the war in Iraq and want to sever any link with a conflict they believe is motivated by desire for oil, and with a government they say is closely tied to the oil industry.

Ms Zimmermann says biodiesel is only likely to be taken up seriously when it is as cheap as regular fuel - "When people realise 'wow, I can run my truck on waste oil from Burger King'."

COOL SCHOOLS, SONOMA COUNTY

Sonoma County in northern California has taken it upon itself to reduce its carbon emissions 25% below its 1990 level by 2015 - one of the toughest targets in the US.

While the federal government has refused to impose nationwide targets, local communities are taking action themselves.

Sonoma's Climate Protection Campaign (CPC) is aware that to reach its objective, the county has to act on every level - not least in schools.

"It's young people that have to take on the burden of this issue," says Jessica Kellett, co-ordinator of the CPC's Cool Schools programme.

"We need to have young people to be leaders today - not just to be educated but to understand how to start engaging with elected officials, with their parents, because we need to be taking action now."

Analy High School challenged students to reduce their emissions, primarily by changing the way they got to school.

By promoting walking, biking and car-pooling, they reduced single-passenger car journeys by 21%.

"When you're at school you get your licence, so you want to hop in the car and drive everywhere," says 17-year-old Christine Byrne, who does her best to resist the temptation and cycle whenever possible.

"Through the educational programmes that we've begun, like Cool Schools, people are becoming more aware. It's slowly beginning to grab more people."

Nicole Caughell, 18, helped implement a similar programme at Windsor High School.

"It's pretty cool, it seems really revolutionary - we're the ones spearheading this issue, while still in high school," she says.

"There's a lot of people out there who are listening to us and trying to make a change because of what we're doing. We're really being the example."
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Old 07-11-2007, 07:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig johnston View Post
Rotimi Adebari
he'll do well, he was destined to rule. the "ade" prefix on his last name is "crown" in yoruban, which i would put money on as his background.
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Old 07-12-2007, 01:08 AM   #8
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Failed London Bombers Sentenced

No death penalty in Britain, of course, so they were jailed for a minimum of forty years each, the equivalent of life sentences: Four jailed for botched ‘al Qaeda’ London bomb plot.


Adel Yahya (L) and Manfo Kwaku Asiedu in undated photos. A jury failed to reach a verdict on Tuesday on two men accused of being part of an Islamist militant cell that tried to set off suicide bombs on London's transport system on

Quote:
LONDON (Reuters) - A British judge jailed four men for 40 years each on Wednesday for attempting to carry out suicide bombings on London’s transport system in a plot he said had clearly been masterminded by al Qaeda.

Judge Adrian Fulford told the four he had no doubt their botched attempt to bomb three underground trains and a bus on July 21, 2005, two weeks after 52 people were killed in similar attacks, had been directed by Osama bin Laden’s group. The second wave of attacks only failed because, although the detonators fired, the bombs did not explode.

“This was a viable, indeed a very nearly successful, attempt at mass murder,” Fulford told the court. “These were not truly isolated events but ... coordinated and connected in that I have no doubt they were part of an al Qaeda inspired and controlled sequence of attacks.”

The men, Muktah Said Ibrahim, Yassin Hassan Omar, Ramzi Mohammed and Hussein Osman, all Muslims of African origin, were found guilty on Monday of conspiracy to murder. Sentencing them, Fulford ruled they should stay in jail for a minimum of 40 years, the maximum sentence he said he could impose in light of other terrorism cases.

The men looked impassive as the sentences were handed down. As they left the courtroom, Osman clutched a Koran to his chest.
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Old 07-12-2007, 12:07 PM   #9
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bump
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Old 07-12-2007, 05:03 PM   #10
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Blue butterfly returns after 30 years

The Large Blue butterfly, which died out in the 1970s due to habitat loss and its own life-cycle, is set to reappear this summer.
The resurgence is down to work by conservationists across 11 sites in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. Tom Fielden reports.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/nol/new...tm?bw=nb&mp=wm
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Old 07-16-2007, 05:40 AM   #11
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Bald Eagle Taken Off Endangered Species List

It's official
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Old 07-16-2007, 05:00 PM   #12
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Usama Bin Laden is Deader than a Doornail

Pushing up poppy plants somewhere in the Mountains of Afghanistan , Usama Bin Ladin was not available for a comment , but his six year old video was redubbed as an added bonus to keep us thinking this corpse is still alive ....

Shades of Che Guevarra !

If You believe Usama is still alive than I believe I'll be trading licks with Jimi Hendrix live on stage this weekend !

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Old 07-17-2007, 01:56 AM   #13
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The Government Welcomes the Proposal

“The government” has welcomed President Bush’s Middle East proposal.

Which government? Hey, I don’t know; I guess it’s the British government, but Agence France Presse doesn’t really say.



The government on Monday welcomed a new proposal by US President George W. Bush, seen here making his remarks at the White House, aimed at reopening long dormant Middle East peace talks with a conference later this year.


Government welcomes new Bush peace proposal for Middle East.

Quote:
LONDON (AFP) - The government on Monday welcomed a new proposal by US President George W. Bush aimed at reopening long dormant Middle East peace talks with a conference later this year.

“I welcome the important comments and commitments made by President Bush this afternoon,” Foreign Secretary David Miliband said in a statement released by the Foreign Office.
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Old 07-17-2007, 05:25 AM   #14
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Wowi 4 President... er Cancellour

Klaus "Wowi" Wowereit has been inofficially nominated as (one of two) Cancellour candidate(s) running for the Socialdemocrats in 2009!!!



So cool, totally ♥ our Mayor: he's the bestest, coolest, gayest (in both meanings of the word) and cutest every (at no instance I thought polar bear baby Knut cuter btw). Well, and if he can run our crazy, poor city he should be able to run also the rest of the country which is quite normal in comparison...





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