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Joy, disbelief as Korean families separated by war meet after 65 years
20 August 2018 - About 90 families from North and South Korea wept and embraced on Monday (20 August) as the neighbours held their first reunion events in three years for relatives wrenched apart by the Korean War for more than six decades. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed to the reunion events at a summit in April. (more)

US: Gerber bringing organic cotton to the masses
20 August 2018 - Gerber Childrenswear wants to make sure more babies are cradled in the cleanest cotton and is launching Gerber Essentials, a line of baby gear sold in Walmart and Target. While plenty of brands make organic clothing for babies, and Gerber itself has long sold organic cotton clothing in other channels, this may be organic baby clothes' most mainstream moment yet. (more)

Fix a phone or 50 pushups: how to beat knife crime in Britain
20 August 2018 - Sitting in his cell, mulling a childhood shaped by fear, theft, and drugs, gang member Jake knew things had to change. Enter 'Cracked It' - an innovative business that teaches young offenders how to fix cracked smartphones, boosting former inmates' self esteem and confidence in the process. Josh Babarinde, a 25-year-old former youth worker, started the business three years ago. Nearly two thirds of his 140 graduates are working or studying and 80 percent did not reoffend within six months of graduating, bucking the national trend of 42 percent. (more)

US: Archaeologists explore a rural field in Kansas, and a lost city emerges
19 August 2018 - Of all the places to discover a lost city, this pleasing little community [Arkansas City, Kansas] seems an unlikely candidate. There are no vine-covered temples or impenetrable jungles here -- just an old-fashioned downtown, a drug store that serves up root beer floats, and rambling houses along shady brick lanes. Locals have long scoured fields and river banks for arrowheads and bits of pottery, amassing huge collections. Then there were those murky tales of a sprawling city on the Great Plains and a chief who drank from a goblet of gold. (more)

US: Organic food is becoming more mainstream (video)
19 August 2018 - Growth in demand for organic food in more traditional channels has only helped the sales of small grocers that focus on organic products. (more)

As tourists flock to Indian Himalayas, women lead plastics clean-up, campaign to end chemical fertilizers
18 August 2018 - Leh is the largest town in the remote region of Ladakh, where locals have long wrested a living from herding goats and tending barley and wheat fields, ringed by 6,000-metre (19,685-foot) snow-capped peaks. 'We used to drink directly from the streams -- until our land became a tourist hub,' said Tsering Chondol, 60. The steady environmental deterioration over the years spurred more than 4,000 volunteers in the Women's Alliance of Ladakh, which Chondol heads, to take measures to tackle plastic waste. The women's group is also now campaigning to end the use of chemical fertilizers. (more)

US: Pennsylvania has the second highest organic food sales in country, according to government report
18 August 2018 - Pennsylvania has the second-highest sales of organic products, only surpassed by California, according to a report published last year by the United States Department of Agriculture. The report goes on to show that, statewide consumption of organic foods in Pennsylvania has increased by about ten times over the past decade, and has doubled from 2015 to 2016 alone. (more)

Endangered Green, Loggerhead turtles make comeback in Cyprus
17 August 2018 - After being hunted to near extinction in the first half of the last century, the Mediterranean's endangered Loggerhead and Green turtles are making a comeback thanks to pioneering conservation efforts, Cypriot marine biologists say. For these ancient reptiles, a stretch of beach on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus has been their home for thousands of years. (more)

Lebanon's mountains offer cool refuge from Mideast heat
17 August 2018 - Whether during war or peace, Lebanon's high mountain ranges have long been a favorite refuge for Lebanese living in cities, towns, and villages along the Mediterranean coastline. (more)

Despite summer heat, Brussels' flower carpet emblazons city center
16 August 2018 - Belgian flower growers bested the summer's blistering heat to lay out 500,000 blossoms on the central square of Brussels, in this year's edition of the world famous flower carpet. ... organizers once again arranged an 1,800 square-meter flower carpet on the city's landmark Renaissance town square, which this year drew inspiration from the Mexican region of Guanajuato. (more)

US: Tribally owned solar power plant beats skeptics, odds on Navajo Nation
15 August 2018 - Deenise Becenti remembers watching this summer as a woman in the Navajo Nation who had been waiting more than 20 years to get electricity in her home flipped the switch to turn on the lights for the first time. 'The day' was made possible by the Kayenta Solar Project, the first large-scale solar farm on the Navajo Nation and the largest tribally owned renewable power plant in the country. The 27.3-megawatt plant, which went on line last summer, now generates enough power for 18,000 homes on Navajo lands. But many thought the day might never come. (more)

Canada to phase out crop chemicals linked to bee deaths
15 August 2018 - The Canadian government said on Wednesday (15 August) it would move to restrict use of two types of crop chemicals that have been linked to deaths of aquatic insects and bees, in a victory for environmentalists and the latest setback for companies that sell the pesticides. Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) said it would phase out, over three to five years, the outdoor use of thiamethoxam, made by Syngenta AG, and clothianidin, produced by Bayer AG. (more)

Refugees integrate well in Australia, survey finds
14 August 2018 - A new study from Australian researchers shows that refugees and new immigrants integrate well in Australia -- especially in regional areas. The research found that refugees were welcomed by their new communities, found it 'easy' to get along, and felt a strong sense of belonging to their new homes. (more)

'Back-and-forth' conversations with young kids may aid brain development
13 August 2018 - For decades, doctors have told parents to talk to kids as often as possible to help build speech and language skills. Now, a new study suggests that how parents talk to children may matter just as much as how much time they spend talking. 'We found that the most relevant component of children's language exposure is not the sheer number of words they hear, but the amount of back-and-forth adult-child conversation they experience,' said lead study author Rachel Romeo of Boston Children's Hospital and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (more)

Clinton, Bloomberg, Expedia announce solar projects on St. Thomas, St. John
11 August 2018 - In his second visit to the territory following the 2017 hurricanes, former President Bill Clinton toured St. Thomas and St. John Friday (10 August) to announce the Clinton Global Initiative-led solarization of two St. John schools and the Family Resource Center on St. Thomas. ... The solarization project [is being] done in collaboration with the Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Expedia Group ... (more)

Monsanto ordered to pay $289 million in world's first Roundup cancer trial
10 August 2018 - A California jury on Friday (10 August) found Monsanto liable in a lawsuit filed by a man who alleged the company's glyphosate-based weed-killers, including Roundup, caused his cancer and ordered the company to pay $289 million in damages. (more)

Refugees sow crops with Kenyan hosts - and reap integration
10 August 2018 - Kenyan villager Ekeno Pedo never considered that golden fields of sorghum -- or indeed any crop -- might one day flourish on the outskirts of his village in drought-stricken Turkana county. A 14-year project aims to provide refugees with sustainable livelihoods through agriculture, while helping them integrate with the local Kenyan community. The fields that have sprung up in this vast and arid scrubland in Kenya's northwest are in part due to the hard work of refugees, who have come here from neighbouring South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Uganda in recent decades. Residents and refugees alike say it has worked well. (more)

African refugee grows homeland's bitter eggplants in Vermont
9 August 2018 - After surviving refugee camps in Africa, Janine Ndagijimana settled in Vermont and began to dream of farming. When she considered what to plant, she thought back to her time in Tanzania and settled on the African eggplant, also called bitter ball or garden egg. It wasn't found in Vermont, and she remembered how it garnered a good price at the refugee market. These days, Ndagijimana's farming of the oblong white fruit and other varieties has turned her into a refugee success story in Vermont, one of the least culturally or racially diverse states . . . She's part of a growing number of farmers from other parts of the world who have used social media, the internet, and niche markets often in big cities to successfully sell crops native to their home countries. (more)

Caribbean states kick off green defense against disasters
9 August 2018 - British billionaire Richard Branson and two dozen Caribbean nations and territories announced in Jamaica on Thursday (9 August) the creation of a multi-million dollar program to turn the hurricane-prone region into a green tech hub resilient to disasters. (more)

Palestinians turn to the sun to reduce their power shortfall
9 August 2018 - From orderly rows of solar panels in a field in the West Bank to the chaotic rooftops of Gaza, Palestinians are hoping that harnessing the energy of the sun can reduce their dependence on Israel for electricity. ... The number of panels in the enclave has increased four-fold in four years and they are now dotted on most rooftops and balcony on homes, schools, hospitals, shops, banks, and mosques in a place where the sun shines 320 days a year. (more)

U.S. appeals court orders EPA to ban pesticide said to harm
9 August 2018 - A divided federal appeals court on Thursday (9 August) ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ban a widely-used pesticide that critics say can endanger children and farmers. Writing for the Seattle-based appeals court, Judge Jed Rakoff directed the EPA to ban chlorpyrifos within 60 days, saying the agency failed to counteract 'scientific evidence that its residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children.' (more)

How India gave us the zero
8 August 2018 - The invention of zero was a hugely significant mathematical development, one that is fundamental to calculus, which made physics, engineering, and much of modern technology possible. ... The nation has long had a fascination with sophisticated mathematics. Early Indian mathematicians were obsessed with giant numbers, counting well into the trillions when the Ancient Greeks stopped at about 10,000. They even had different types of infinity. (more)

US: Vermont city employs goats to get rid of poison ivy
8 August 2018 - Vermont's capital city (Montpelier) is trying a natural way to get rid of poison ivy -- grazing goats. The goats graze on the poison ivy, causing stress to the plants so that they retreat, said the goat's owner Mary Beth Herbert. It's expected to take several years of cyclical grazing to eradicate the poison ivy, she said. The poison ivy doesn't harm the goats named Ruth, Bader, and Ginsburg. (more)

New Zealand: Government pumps another $3.9 million into electric vehicle projects
7 August 2018 - The government [of New Zealand] is pumping another $3.9 million of co-funding into 19 projects that range from improving the range of electric camper vans to building a series of charging stations as part of its goal to get 64,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2021. (more)

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