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Canada: Inuit filmmakers are documenting their traditional way of life in the small Canadian hamlet of Arviat
23 August 2014 - 'Just think what the next generation will be able to do...' Those words of wisdom were shared by the late Inuit elder Mark Kalluak, who marvelled at the possibilities provided by digital technologies in the hands of young people in the community of Arviat, which sits on the western shore of Hudson Bay in the Nunavut Territory in Canada. Much of Kalluak's life was devoted to passing along traditional Inuit knowledge to the next generations through the creation of educational curricula. (more)

France: Urban areas are hives for wild bees
23 August 2014 - A study has found a 'considerable richness' of wild bee species in most types of urban habitats. French researchers recorded almost a third of the nation's 900 species of wild bees living in towns and cities. Writing in Plos One, they added that 60 species were also found in very urbanised areas in the city of Lyon. (more)

Organic farming taking off in Poland ... slowly
23 August 2014 - Today, around 3.5 per cent of Poland's agricultural land is taken up by organic farms. Their number has been growing steadily over recent years, in spite of obstacles. Cooperatives and vegetable box schemes exist in most big Polish cities and are even developing at the level of neighbourhoods. A newly discovered passion for urban gardening in the country has led museums in Warsaw and other cities to open up their green areas to local inhabitants who want to grow vegetables. (more)

US: Through 'lost lots,' an effort to make Los Angeles more of a park place
23 August 2014 - Israel Cruz drives his cluttered Mazda through the palm-lined avenues of Panorama City, California, scanning for 'lost lots', small slices of city land that are all but forgotten in the neighbourhood's suburban sprawl. His hope is that a database of lots he is compiling for the Los Angeles Neighbourhood Land Trust will become a tool for a movement gaining traction in Los Angeles. Over the last few years, Los Angeles and other many other cities have been moving to convert vacant lots, underused city streets, utility corridors, traffic medians, and alleys into small parks, plazas, bikeways, and pedestrian corridors in a city woefully short of them. (more)

India: Subcontinent photos from 1850-1910
23 August 2014 - A new exhibition in India's capital showcases some of the earliest photographs from South Asia, taken between 1850 and 1910 when the region was under British rule. Around 250 images from India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Nepal are on display at the 'Drawn from Light: Early Photography and the Indian Sub-continent' exhibition in New Delhi. (more)

Japan: Tokyo governor takes on big tobacco to push smoke-free games
23 August 2014 - The last time it hosted the Olympics, in 1964, Tokyo earned $1 million from an official Olympics-branded cigarette. Half a century later, Governor Yoichi Masuzoe is looking to restrict smoking before the 2020 Summer Games. 'I want to do this,' Masuzoe said on a Fuji TV show this week when asked about the possibility of introducing stricter curbs. 'If I get cooperation from the Tokyo Assembly, we can pass an ordinance.' (more)

Scotland: Tidal energy project to be constructed in the Pentland Firth
23 August 2014 - The construction of a major tidal energy project in the Pentland Firth is set to begin later this year. Atlantis Resource's MeyGen scheme planned for the firth's Inner Sound has secured £50m in funding. The Crown Estate, which manages the UK seabed, has also invested £10m in the project, which would generate enough energy for 175,000 homes. (more)

US: Happy Fix launching Kickstarter campaign to develop positive lifestyle programmes
23 August 2014 - North Carolina's happiest startup, Happy Fix, is launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund development of positive lifestyle programs to spread the message that Happy Feels Good. Happy Fix began making positive lifestyle apparel and accessories to celebrate what's great in life in early 2014, featuring the company's smiling HPY logo design as a constant reminder for people that happiness is a choice that's always within reach. (more)

Australian, 70, sets record for oldest swimmer of English Channel
23 August 2014 - Bondi man Cyril Baldock has set the record for the oldest person to swim the English Channel. The 70-year-old Bondi Surf Life Saving Club member completed the swim between England and France in 12 hours and 45 minutes on Wednesday. It was his second Channel swim, after first completing the test -- considered the 'Everest of swimming' -- in 1985, when he became the fifth Australian to do so. (more)

Brazil's first indigenous woman lawyer beats prejudice to battle for land rights
23 August 2014 - Raised in isolated villages in the Brazilian Amazon, Joenia Batista de Carvalho grew up loving nature and taking pride in her tribe's customs, way of life and Indian identity. In spite of obstacles, she became Brazil's first female indigenous lawyer. 'When I started, the first challenge was with my own people. Women studying was not a common practice, and the indigenous leaders asked me whether I could do a man's job,' she said. 'I needed to work harder than others and prove I was capable.' Since then, Carvalho has dedicated herself to fighting for indigenous land rights and against deforestation. (more)

Canada: Aboriginal centre opens at Prince Albert women's prison
23 August 2014 - Aboriginal women at the Pine Grove Correction Centre in Prince Albert have a new place to practice their cultural beliefs. The First Nations and Metis Cultural Centre at Saskatchewan's only prison for women officially opened on Thursday. There was a cultural centre at Pine Grove before, but it was much smaller and did not provide as many services. Now a larger building has been renovated to accommodate traditional ceremonies, like smudging. The facility will also have a sweat lodge and parenting resources. (more)

US: 'Critical habitat' for endangered frog upheld
23 August 2014 - A federal judge ruled Friday that US Fish and Wildlife officials were within the law when they declared thousands of acres in Louisiana and Mississippi as 'critical habitat' for the endangered dusky gopher frog. The case involved 1,544 acres in St. Tammany Parish and 5,000 acres in Mississippi named as critical habitat for the animal. (more)

Canada: British Columbia cities steer towards Vancouver's car-share model
23 August 2014 - Building inspectors, planners, info-tech specialists, and other city employees are getting the keys to shared cars, as municipalities push to reduce the cost of their expensive vehicle fleets and make city operations a little greener. After five successful years of using the services of the car co-op Modo, City of Vancouver managers say they've been able to reduce their fleet by more than 100 vehicles - about 6 per cent -- and cover the expense of 10,000 employee trips a year for a much lower cost. (more)

Hints of elusive early stars found
23 August 2014 - Astronomers may have discovered the signature of one of the Universe's earliest stars. Theoretical models predict that some of the very first stars were hundreds of times larger than the Sun. But no clear evidence of this had been found so far. Scientists writing in the journal Science have discovered the traces of an early massive stellar object in the exceptional chemical composition of a star in our galaxy. 'This is quite a unique star, with a very peculiar chemical pattern that has never been found previously,' said lead author Dr Wako Aoki, from the National Observatory of Japan. (more)

US: Dinosaur footprints set for public display in Utah
23 August 2014 - A dry wash full of 112-million-year-old dinosaur tracks that include an ankylosaurus, dromaeosaurus and a menacing ancestor of the Tyrannosaurus rex, is set to open to the public this fall near Moab. There are more than 200 tracks in an area smaller than a football field from 10 different ancient animals that lived during the early Cretaceous period, said Utah Bureau of Land Management paleontologist ReBecca Hunt-Foster. (more)

Canada: Nunavut's Ukkusiksalik National Park receives legal protection
23 August 2014 - The federal government has added a northern paradise to its list of legally protected national parks. Ukkusiksalik National Park on Wager Bay, 140 kilometres from Repulse Bay, Nunavut, is home to a variety of wildlife, including caribou, wolves, polar bears, and golden eagles. It's named after the soapstone found in the area and has more than 500 archaeological sites. (more)

China: GMO rice, corn biosafety research certificates taken off the table by China Ministry of Agriculture
22 August 2014 - China agriculture officials increasingly concerned about genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, have declined to renew biosafety certificates for GMO rice and a variety of GMO corn grown for research purposes. Officials didn't explain reasons for their decision. Permits to grow a transgenic corn type and two GMO varieties of rice expired on 17 August. The decision by the Ministry of Agriculture to allow these GMO permits to lapse calls into question the future of some GMO crops and research in China. (more)

China tightens checks on US sorghum imports - traders
22 August 2014 - Chinese authorities are stepping up checks on US cargoes of sorghum, traders said, looking for impurities such as pesticide residues and heavy metals. The move comes after China has already rejected more than 1 million tonnes of US corn due to the presence of genetically modified strain that has not been approved by Beijing. China has stopped issuing import permits and demands certification that imported distillers' grains (DDGs), a by-product of corn-based ethanol, do not contain the MIR 162 GMO strain. China's quarantine authority has also asked ports to step up screening of alfalfa imports this month after cargoes of hay from three US suppliers were found to contain unapproved GMO varieties, according to a notice on a government website. (more)

India flags rosier economy, vows to tighten up on banks
22 August 2014 - Indian government officials painted an upbeat picture for the economy on Thursday as it struggles to emerge from the longest spell of sub-par growth in decades and promised to tighten up risk management at the country's dominant state banks. (more)

Swedish town celebrates link to the Bronx
22 August 2014 - Nearly four centuries after Jonas Bronck set foot in America, his birthplace in southern Sweden is finally recognizing its historical link to the New York borough that bears his name. On Saturday the small town of Savsjo, deep inside the pine forest of Smaland province, is celebrating the 375th anniversary of the sea captain's 1639 arrival in what is now the Bronx, where he was the first European settler. Several descendants of his family in the US will join representatives from the Bronx and local officials in a ceremony unveiling a monument to Bronck. (more)

Canada: TSX hits record high after Fed comment
22 August 2014 - Canada's main stock index touched a record high on Wednesday after commentary from the US Federal Reserve suggested that the US central bank's monetary policy will remain market-friendly for now. The Toronto equity market has gained in each of the last five sessions and is up more than 14 per cent this year. It is one of the strongest performers among its global peers. (more)

India: Nifty touches record high; software stocks gain
22 August 2014 - The Nifty rose on Friday to a record high for the fourth time this week as software stocks gained after upbeat US and German data raised optimism about the sector's business outlook, while higher global shares also helped. US data, including a jump in existing home sales and a drop in initial jobless claims helped push the S&P 500 to a record high on Thursday. European shares also gained in the previous session after better-than-expected German private sector growth figures. (more)

US: S&P 500 sets record close on signs of healthier economy
22 August 2014 - US stocks ended higher on Thursday, with the S&P 500 at a record after a flurry of positive economic data, as investors hoped for signs from an annual meeting of central bankers that interest-rate hikes are not imminent. US economic data gave stocks a boost. Existing home sales jumped to a 10-month high and initial jobless claims dropped sharply, painting a picture of an economy that is slowly improving. (more)

Global stocks extend rally, S&P at new high as data signals growth
22 August 2014 - Global equity markets moved higher on Thursday, with the S&P 500 closing at an all-time high, as US and German data drove confidence on economic growth and helped extend a stock rally. Data on German private-sector growth reassured investors about the outlook for Europe's biggest economy following a soft patch, while US data showed economic strength early in the third quarter. (more)

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