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Conservation giant backs Papua New Guinea's 'visionary' sustainable development strategy
1 August 2014 - The world's largest conservation organization has described Papua New Guinea's strategy for sustainable development as 'visionary'. PNG's National Strategy for Responsible Development, launched in April by Planning Minister Charles Abel, aims to re-orient the country's entire economic and development efforts, including mining and logging, around an overriding goal of sustainable development. (more)

China's factories spring to life as global trade reawakens
1 August 2014 - Activity in China's vast factory sector expanded at the fastest pace in 27 months in July, while industry surveys across Asia showed a pick up in export orders that hinted at a long-awaited revival in global trade. China's official manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to 51.7 in July -- the strongest since April 2012 and up from 51 in June, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday. China was not alone in scenting better times ahead. India, Taiwan, and South Korea all had increased output. (more)

India: Factories post fastest growth for 17 months
1 August 2014 - Indian factory activity expanded at its fastest pace in 17 months in July as firms responded to burgeoning new orders by increasing output even as input prices jumped sharply, a business survey showed on Friday. 'A flood of new orders from both domestic and external sources has led to a surge in activity,' said Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economic research at HSBC. (more)

Canada manufacturing growth picks up to eight-month high in July
1 August 2014 - The pace of growth in the Canadian manufacturing sector picked up to its best level in eight months in July as gauges of new orders and employment improved, data showed on Friday. 'Canada's manufacturers kicked off the second half of 2014 on stronger footing, clearly benefiting from improving global economic activity -- it's encouraging to see the momentum,' said Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist at RBC. (more)

US: July factory activity expands at fastest pace in 39 months -- ISM
1 August 2014 - The US manufacturing sector expanded last month at the fastest pace in more than three years boosted by a jump in its new orders and employment readings, an industry report released on Friday showed. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity rose to 57.1 in July, the highest since April 2011, from 55.3 in June. The reading topped expectations of 56, according to a Reuters poll of economists. (more)

Grass-fed milk is taking off with health-conscious shoppers
1 August 2014 - Organic Valley whole milk from grass-fed cows is now the company's best-selling item at Whole Foods stores nationally, says George Siemon, chief executive of the La Farge, Wisconson, organic dairy cooperative. Branded Grassmilk, it has cream on top and is lightly pasteurized with heat, on-trend attributes for shoppers looking for food in its nearly-natural state. Some research shows that milk from cows that graze on pasture contains more healthy omega-3s than milk from cows fed mostly feed. (more)

Finns have been eager milk drinkers since 2500 BC
1 August 2014 - Experts have concluded that Finns have been drinking milk for longer than expected. Finland is one of the world's largest consumers of milk per capita, and it seems that the tradition has been going on for over 4000 years. The research conducted by the Universities of Helsinki and Bristol examined the way modern Finns are able to digest milk, as well as archaeological findings. (more)

Kyrgyzstan revives pre-Soviet traditions for climate adaptation
1 August 2014 - In early April, the villagers of Samarkandek, Kyrgyzstan, react with a curious enthusiasm to the sight of apricots coming into bloom. As soon as the flowers emerge, old and young gather for the Festival of Blooming Apricots to recite poetry, sing, and dance in celebration of the oncoming harvest. (more)

US: At long last, Wirth Lake gets clean bill of health
1 August 2014 - A dozen years ago, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency added Wirth Lake to a list of thousands of problem lakes, rivers and streams across the state after finding high levels of nutrients in its waters. Now, after a collaborative effort by state and local agencies, the lake, which is in Golden Valley but part of the Minneapolis park system, is cleaner, clearer, and finally off the list. (more)

Australia: Artists document Tasmanian wilderness
1 August 2014 - When conservationist and philanthropist Rob Purves decided to preserve a lost Tasmanian wilderness, he also wanted to share it. He arranged for 11 artists to camp out at Skullbone Plains in the Central Highlands over four days in February last year -- and be inspired by the experience. The project was initiated by the Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC), a not-for-profit organization protecting private land for conservation in Tasmania. (more)

Canada: How Toronto's waterfront redevelopment is going right
1 August 2014 - Waterfront Toronto is responsible for revitalizing about 2,000 acres of waterfront land, an area roughly equal to the entire downtown core, while reporting to three levels of government. Seen as a whole, this is the biggest project of its kind in the world. So far, the agency has spent nearly $1.5-billion on infrastructure, cleaning polluted soil, and creating new parks and places of extremely high design quality. It has brought in profitable and attractive private development with a serious green-building agenda. (more)

Japan's Panasonic says to invest in $5 billion Tesla battery plant
1 August 2014 - Panasonic Corp confirmed on Thursday it would invest in US electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc's planned $5 billion lithium-ion battery plant in the United States, but said it had yet to decide on the size and timing of its investment. Chief Financial Officer Hideaki Kawai said Panasonic, which already supplies batteries for Tesla's electric cars, would invest gradually in the factory, and keep an eye on car demand. (more)

US: Iowa's largest solar farm unveiled in Johnson County
1 August 2014 - Farmers Electric Cooperative, a rural energy company serving 650 members, has constructed Iowa's largest solar farm -- an expanse of 2,900 panels spanning 4½ acres along a gravel road in southwest Johnson County. The Frytown-based cooperative's solar farm, which cost $2.2 million to build, will generate more than 1 million kilowatt hours each year. That's enough energy to power about 120 homes, and eliminate more than 2 million pounds of carbon pollution each year, project leaders say. (more)

US: Tesla expects to boost 2015 output to more than 60,000
1 August 2014 - Tesla Motors Inc, the California-based maker of luxury electric cars, said it expects to build more than 60,000 cars in 2015, after spending heavily this year to update and expand its Fremont assembly plant. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk also said the company will fund 40 percent to 50 percent of the estimated $4 billion (£2.37 billion) to $5 billion cost of building a new 'gigafactory' to produce cheaper and more efficient battery packs for its future electric cars, including the $35,000 Model 3 range that is due in 2017. (more)

A more vigorous US economy appears to be emerging
31 July 2014 - The US economy has rebounded with vigour from a grim start to 2014 and should show renewed strength into next year. That was the general view of analysts Wednesday after the government estimated that the economy grew at a fast 4 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter. Consumers, businesses and governments joined to fuel the second-quarter expansion. The government also said growth was more robust last year than it had previously estimated. (more)

Australia's 'vast' solar resources closer to being tapped in a big way
31 July 2014 - Australia's largest solar plant moves one step closer to completion with the first of 1.35 million solar photovoltaic (PV) modules being installed at AGL's Nyngan Solar plant in central New South Wales. The $290 million plant will have a capacity of 102 megawatts, or enough to power about 33,000 homes. (more)

Canada: Toward a greener chemistry
31 July 2014 - As a young graduate of the University of British Columbia's doctoral programme in chemistry, Philip Jessop's first job was at Research Development Corporation in Japan. But when his boss, Ryoji Noyori, suggested he work on supercritical carbon dioxide, he says, 'I had to go the library and look up what it was.' Dr Noyori went on to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry a few years later, in 2001. And Dr Jessop, now a professor at Queen's University in Kingston, went on to discover many useful applications, for both the economy and the environment, of this unusual substance. (more)

Electric carmaker Tesla seen reporting record deliveries on China expansion
31 July 2014 - Tesla Motors Inc will probably report record electric Model S deliveries in the second quarter after it accelerated output and began shipping its flagship sedan to China and the UK. 'Initial deliveries into China appear to have been successful,' said Andrea James, a Minneapolis-based analyst for Dougherty and Company who rates Tesla a buy. (more)

India: Government puts genetically-modified crop trials on hold
31 July 2014 - The Centre has put on hold field trials of genetically-modified (GM) crops following pressure from the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM) and the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), affiliates of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). A delegation of the two organizations met Environment and Forest Minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday to convey their protest against the green signal given by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) on July 18 for field trials of 15 GM crops, including rice, mustard, cotton, chickpea, and brinjal. Javadekar assured them that 'the decision about field trials of GM crops had been put on hold,' a statement issued by SJM co-convenor Ashwani Mahanjan said. (more)

Mobile phone alerts help Uganda nab forest criminals
31 July 2014 - A forest monitoring system that uses text messaging on mobile phones has helped the Ugandan government to intercept six cartels involved in forest crimes, within just four months of its launch. The community-based forest monitoring tool allows anyone who witnesses a suspected illegal activity in a Ugandan forest to send an SMS message describing what they have seen and where to a common code: 6006. (more)

On first official visit, Ban hails Costa Rica as 'model' for development, peace
31 July 2014 - On his first official visit, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon lauded Costa Rica as a 'model country' in sustainable development and protecting human rights. Speaking to reporters ahead of his address to Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Mr Ban said that Costa Rica led by example on many international issues including environmental sustainability, and highlighted its clean air and preserved forests. The Central American nation is also a trail blazer in peace and security due to its disarmament policy, he said. (more)

Organic farming on rise in Europe, say EU officials
31 July 2014 - The organic farming sector has grown rapidly over the past ten years, with both the number of organic farm holdings and area grew by more than half between 2003 and 2010, according to EU statistics. (more)

Queensland, Australia: Old fashioned teaching scores points
31 July 2014 - An old fashioned teaching approach has been credited with raising literacy levels and pride in Queensland's Cape York schools. The Federal Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, has been so impressed with the results in far north Queensland that $22 million of Federal Government money has been made available so that other remote schools can try to replicate the results. (more)

Rain harvesting saves Kenyan community 100 km water trek
31 July 2014 - Starting in 2009, the stresses caused by the chronic water shortage pushed local people from Mutomo, located at the tip of Kitui County, to borrow an innovative approach from neighbouring districts: using outcrops of rock to create a water harvesting and supply system. It is a technique that is now widely used in Kenya's dryland areas. According to local water engineer Urbanus Muli, the capacity of rocks to supply water in Mutomo is significant. One hectare (2.47 acres) of rock surface can provide 1,000 cubic metres (1 million litres) of water from every 100 mm of rain. (more)

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