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French PM says no repealing bee-harming pesticide ban
26 June 2017 - France's government will not repeal a planned ban of bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides, the prime minister's office said on Monday after the country's farm minister said it should not be applied. (more)

Starry starry night: India gets its first astronomy resort
25 June 2017 - Conceptualized and founded by an avid astronomer and wildlife enthusiast Sachin Bahmba, the main attraction at Astroport Sariska is the evening and night sky observation. Tucked away near the Aravalli Range in Alwar District of Rajasthan, overlooking the historical Tehla Fort, Astroport Sariska -- a mere five-hour drive from Delhi -- is a place for astronomy enthusiasts and lovers of nature without the hardships of camping involved. The place claims to offer some of the best views of the galaxy. According to their Facebook page, it is also the first space and astronomy themed resort and activity centre in South Asia. (more)

Want to be more creative? Schedule a break
24 June 2017 - A recent Columbia University study makes the case that you'll be more creative at work -- and perhaps more refreshed in your soul -- if you schedule your breaks, rather than stopping whenever you feel like it. (more)

US: Construction starts on Missouri's largest solar farm
24 June 2017 - Construction has begun on what will be the largest solar farm in Missouri. The 72-acre project, with more than 33,000 solar panels, will be built in Nixa. The Springfield News-Leader reports the city of Nixa will buy all the power generated by the farm, which is expected to provide about 9 percent of the city's yearly power demand. Nixa officials say the project will save the city an estimated $2.5 million over the project's 25-year contract. (more)

America's hungriest renewable energy users: big companies
23 June 2017 - Major U.S. corporations such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and General Motors Co have become some of America's biggest buyers of renewable energy, driving growth in an industry seen as key to helping the United States cut carbon emissions. The big reason: lower energy bills. (more)

Danone looks to ride healthy food revolution wave
23 June 2017 - Emmanuel Faber, CEO of Danone, wants the world's biggest yogurt maker to play a central role in the revolution sweeping the global food industry as it tries to respond to a consumer shift towards healthy eating. As more consumers . . . opt for healthier diets and a more socially responsible way of life, Danone, along with rivals such as Nestle, have been seeking to adapt. ... 'A revolution is cooking, what are we going to do about it?' Faber speaking [Thursday in Berlin at the annual meeting of the Consumer Goods Forum, a gathering of the world's biggest retailers and packaged food companies] warned that consumers will turn their backs on big food companies if they do not do more to address issues like obesity, inequality, and climate change. 'The global industrial food system is reaching its limits,' Faber told Reuters in a phone interview before his speech in Berlin. He said evidence of this included obesity and malnutrition, wasting water and food, soil depletion, and climate change. (more)

International Yoga Day celebrated across the globe ‎
21 June 2017 - Hundreds of thousands of men, women and young people of almost every age took to the mat across the globe on Wednesday for a yoga session to mark the 3rd International Yoga Day. Rains failed to dampen the spirits of about 50,000 who joined an outdoor yoga [asana] session, June 21, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a park in Lucknow, capital of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. 'Yoga has connected the world with India,' Modi told a cheering crowd. 'Yoga is about health assurance. It is not even expensive to practice,' said Modi who was instrumental in getting the United Nations declare the International Yoga Day in December 2014. (more)

More playtime with dad linked to lower obesity risk for young kids
21 June 2017 - Fathers who get more involved in raising their children may be helping to lower their kids' risk of obesity, a U.S. study suggests. By age 4, kids were 30 percent less likely to be obese if their fathers increased the amount of time they spent taking children outside for walks and play, compared to those whose dads remained more hands-off or even reduced their involvement between their kids' second and fourth birthdays. (more)

India: Navy officers perform asanas onboard warships on International Yoga Day
21 June 2017 - On the third International Yoga Day, Navy officers and personnel onboard INS Jalashwa and INS Kirch in the Bay of Bengal performed yoga asanas this morning. Yoga festivities were conducted on INS Vikramaditya and even on the deck of aircraft carrier INS Viraat in Mumbai's Naval Dock Yard. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took part in International Yoga Day celebrations at Uttar Pradesh's Ramabai Ambedkar Ground with over 60,000 participants. 'Yoga is binding the world together. Practising it will eventually lead to better health for people,' he said. (more)

Pictures of Indian Armed Force officials doing yoga asanas on INS Viraat will inspire you to take up yoga today!
21 June 2017 - Over the past couple of days, many across the country -- and the world -- have been celebrating the third International Day of Yoga (which falls on June 21), which included stretching into various yoga asana poses at unusual and scenic locations. Now, those in the Indian Armed Forces were found taking part in World Yoga Day celebrations by practising the ancient system of exercise on the the Naval aircraft carrier INS Viraat, anchored in Mumbai. Photos taken by Indian Express photographer Pradip Das show Indian Armed Forces personnel take part in a yoga asana session early in the morning on June 21 . . . (more)

Heart healthy lifestyle tied to lower drug costs
21 June 2017 - People with heart disease spend a lot less on medications when they take steps to lower their risk of complications by doing things like getting enough exercise, avoiding cigarettes, and keeping their blood pressure in check, a U.S. study suggests. (more)

Mother's heart health tied to breastfeeding
21 June 2017 - A woman's risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke later in life may be influenced by how long she breastfed her children, according to a new study from China. Women who reported having breastfed for any amount of time were about 9 percent less likely than mothers who never breastfed to have signs of coronary heart disease, like a heart attack, in middle age and later and about 8 percent less likely to have a stroke. (more)

UK Queen's Speech: Petrol stations to go electric
21 June 2017 - Petrol stations and motorway services will be required to install electric charge points, under plans outlined in the Queen's Speech. The measure forms part of a government push to increase the number of electric vehicles on UK roads. (more)

On World Refugee Day, UN urges support, solidarity for record number of displaced people
20 June 2017 - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres today called on the international community to provide support and solidarity for the record number of refugees. 'We reflect on the courage of those who fled and the compassion of those who welcome them,' the Secretary-General said in his video message for World Refugee Day, marked annually on 20 June. Despite the hardships of fleeing with nothing, 'they never lose their dreams for their children or their desire to better our world,' he said. (more)

Yoga asanas as good for low back pain as physical therapy
19 June 2017 - Chronic lower back pain is equally likely to improve with yoga [asana] classes as with physical therapy, according to a new study. Twelve weeks of yoga [asanas] lessened pain and improved function in people with low back pain as much as physical therapy sessions over the same period. Physical therapy is the most common non-drug treatment for low back pain prescribed by doctors, according to lead author Dr. Robert Saper, of Boston Medical Center and colleagues. Yoga is also backed by some guidelines and studies as a treatment option, but until now no research has compared the two. (more)

Central African Republic, armed groups sign deal in Rome
19 June 2017 - Representatives of most of the armed groups in Central African Republic on Monday [19 June] signed an agreement to honor an immediate cease-fire, after more than three years of sectarian conflict that have left thousands dead. The announcement in Rome followed negotiations between Central African Republic's nascent government and 13 of the 14 armed groups currently active in the country . . . (more)

New South Korean President vows to end use of nuclear power
19 June 2017 - South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, has vowed to phase out the country's dependence on nuclear power . . . Moon, who won last month's presidential election by a landslide . . . said he would increase the role of renewable energy and lead South Korea towards a 'nuclear-free era'. (more)

India: Catching the sun at Bhadla solar park
18 June 2017 - Bhadla, an arid sprawl in Rajasthan spread over 45 sq km, is where over a million glistening silicon panels fuel India's ambitious plan to generate 1,00,000 MW of solar energy by 2022. The Indian Express [newspaper] visits the plant that is on its way to becoming the country's biggest solar park. (more)

China, ADB launch green financing platform to fight pollution
16 June 2017 - China and the Asia Development Bank (ADB) have launched a green financing platform to support efforts by small- and medium-sized enterprises to cut pollution in the smog-hit Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, ADB said on Friday [16 June]. China selected five regions this week to take part in pilot government green financing schemes, the cabinet said on Wednesday. (more)

US: How Father's Day started 107 years ago
16 June 2017 - Sunday is the 107th Father's Day celebrated in the U.S. since Sonora Smart Dodd created the holiday in 1910. It's a tradition Dodd decided to start as she sat in a Spokane, Washington, church on Mother's Day 1909, listening to a sermon about -- what else? -- Mother's Day. 'And it bugged her,' Dodd's ... great-granddaughter recalled with a laugh ... 'She thought, 'Well, why isn't there a Father's Day?' Dodd spent the next 62 years lobbying everyone from Presidents to retailers for support. Finally, in 1972, President Richard Nixon declared the third Sunday of June a federal holiday honoring dads. Dodd, who died at age 96 in 1978, had lived to see her dream come true. (more)

Tilos, Greece: the first island in the Mediterranean to run entirely on wind and solar power
15 June 2017 - Tiny Tilos, in the Dodecanese, is a pioneering nature reserve. Now, Greece's 'green island' is set to be powered by renewable energy. Tilos owes its extraordinary biodiversity to a network of underground springs that feed five wetlands -- but also to the late mayor, Tassos Aliferis, a committed environmentalist who earned Tilos its reputation as 'Greece's green island'. The current mayor, Maria Kamma, continues to champion sustainable development, and human rights. She has extended an open invitation to refugee families to settle on Tilos, working with the NGO SolidarityNow and the UNHCR to establish sheltered accommodation, language classes,and mentoring schemes to help asylum-seekers set up organic farming businesses in partnership with locals. (more)

Refugee Food Festival expands to 13 European cities in six countries
15 June 2017 - After last year's successes in Paris and Strasbourg, the 2017 Refugee Food Festival is going international, with events in 13 European cities in six countries between 15 and 30 June. The 2017 festival will take place . . . as part of the events marking World Refugee Day on June 20. In June last year, more than 1,000 people enjoyed food prepared by refugee chefs from India, Iran, Ivory Coast, Russia, Sri Lanka, and Syria in 11 Paris restaurants, which opened their kitchens and changed their menus for the occasion. (more)

Solar power will push out coal faster than you think
15 June 2017 - Solar power, once so costly it only made economic sense in spaceships, is becoming cheap enough that it will push coal and even natural-gas plants out of business faster than previously forecast. That's the conclusion of a Bloomberg New Energy Finance outlook for how fuel and electricity markets will evolve by 2040. The research group estimated solar already rivals the cost of new coal power plants in Germany and the U.S. and by 2021 will do so in quick-growing markets such as China and India. (more)

U.S. youth tobacco use in 2016 fell by largest amount in 6 years
15 June 2017 - Youth tobacco use in the United States fell to historic lows in 2016, leading public health experts to speculate that a smoke-free generation may be within reach. The number of high school students who smoked cigarettes in the 30 days prior to being surveyed fell to 8 percent from 9.3 percent in 2015, the data shows. In 2011 the number was 15.8 percent. The decline in e-cigarette use was even greater . . . (more)

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