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Cargo-shipping regulators have struck a historic deal to clean up the industry
21 April 2018 - Cargo-shipping regulators have struck a historic deal to set their dirty fuel-burning industry on a low-carbon course. On Friday, the International Maritime Organization agreed for the first time to limit greenhouse gas emissions from global shipping. The nonbinding deal marks a critical shift for the sector -- which, until last week, was the only major industry without a comprehensive climate plan. (more)

International Mother Earth Day - 22 April
20 April 2018 - Mother Earth is a common expression for the planet earth in a number of countries and regions, which reflects the interdependence that exists among human beings, other living species, and the planet we all inhabit. The Earth and its ecosystems are our home. In order to achieve a just balance among the economic, social, and environmental needs of present and future generations, it is necessary to promote harmony with nature and the Earth. International Mother Earth Day is celebrated to remind each of us that the Earth and its ecosystems provide us with life and sustenance. (more)

Get ready for Earth Day 2018: A people-powered movement
20 April 2018 - Forty-eight years ago this month, some 20 million people gathered in cities and towns across the U.S., holding teach-ins, handing out daisies, burying caskets full of trash, parading nets of dead fish, and more. It was at that time an unprecedented stand for the Earth. The actions of that single day helped usher in a new era of cultural awareness about the environment, heightening the national focus on a unifying domestic issue after years of divisive and often toxic debate over the Viet Nam War. Policymakers took their cues. (more)

Taiwan to ban single-use plastic drinking straws, plastic bags, disposable utensils entirely by 2030
20 April 2018 - Taiwan is set to ban single-use plastic drinking straws in several phases, starting with the food and beverage industry next year. The Environmental Protection Administration announced the plan in late February. Minister Lee Ying-yuan said a blanket ban is set to be introduced in 2030 on all plastic bags, disposable utensils, and disposable beverage cups. (more)

US: This healthy convenience mart aims to take on 7-Eleven
19 April 2018 - The Goods Mart is a healthy convenience store committed to smarter eating: Every single item is free of artificial colors, sweeteners, and flavors, and without growth hormones or disruptors. Situated in Los Angeles' trendy Silver Lake neighborhood, The Goods Mart attempts to be the easy, less time-invasive alternative to grocery store shopping-albeit with a wellness twist. The newly opened store, which plans to go nationwide in the next year, targets locals looking for organic home essentials. (more)

UK drives into e-vehicle fast lane with 11 per cent sales rise
19 April 2018 - Sales of electric cars in the UK have risen 11 per cent on last year, putting the country in the premier league of those ditching petrol and diesel engines, though it is still miles behind Norway and China. Globally, new registrations of e-cars are expected to increase moderately by 2020, and will range between 2.5 per cent and 6 per cent of market share, according to Centre of Automotive Management. (more)

US: Pittsburgh powers up small electric vehicle fleet with solar charging stations
19 April 2018 - Pittsburgh is driving on sunshine and has the song lyrics to prove it. Mayor Bill Peduto on Wednesday dedicated the arrival of five solar-powered charging machines for the city's small but growing electric vehicle fleet with a performance by Lawrenceville-based musician Kevin 'Slim' Forsythe and the band Turbosonics. One of the charging stations powered the band's amplifiers. (more)

Electric cars about to become 'the new normal' in Ireland
18 April 2018 - The use of the electric vehicle (EV) on Irish roads is about to become 'the new normal for people in their everyday lives' and 'no longer just a progressive, environmental fad'. That was the prediction of Jim Gannon, chief executive of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), following the announcement of a public engagement campaign on EVs funded by the Government. There were 3,800 electric vehicles (EVs) on Irish roads by the end of 2017 but registrations of new and imported EVs are currently up by 40 per cent compared to same period last year. (more)

Major UK companies aim to create 300 jobs for survivors of modern slavery
17 April 2018 - Several major British businesses will offer jobs to up to 300 survivors of modern slavery to help people who have been rescued from or escaped exploitation rebuild their lives, Britain's Co-op supermarket said on Tuesday (17 April). (more)

Archaeologists find silver treasure on German Baltic island
16 April 2018 - Hundreds of 1,000-year-old silver coins, rings, pearls, and bracelets linked to the era of Danish King Harald Gormsson have been found on the eastern German island of Ruegen in the Baltic Sea. A single silver coin was first found in January by two amateur archaeologists, one of them a 13-year-old boy, in a field near the village of Schaprode. The state archaeology office then became involved and the entire treasure was uncovered by experts over the weekend, the Mecklenburg-West Pomerania state archaeology office said Monday (16 April). (more)

France: March marks record recovery for EV sales
16 April 2018 - After a slight decline in plug-in sales in previous months, France has fully recovered at the start of spring with sales across all segments on the up. To be precise, EV sales in particular have reached a high that was hitherto unseen. A total of 4,214 electric cars were registered this March in France, more than in any other month and an increase of 41.6 percent compared to March 2017. (more)

India: Government offices in Vizianagaram meet energy needs through solar power
15 April 2018 - The government offices in Vizianagaram district, including the Collectorate, the Zilla Parishad, and the municipal offices are making extensive use of solar energy to meet their power needs. The Collector's office emerged as the first in the State to use solar power to meet its power requirements. ... 'We have been asking hotels, commercial complexes, and other organizations to opt for solar power since it would be a clean and renewable resource. Maintenance is also cost-effective,' Collector Vivek Yadav told The Hindu. (more)

UK: Electric car 'filling' stations plan for Sunderland and Newcastle
15 April 2018 - 'Filling' stations for electric cars are set to be built in the north-east of England. The Newcastle and Sunderland stations will be close to major routes and able to charge six electric vehicles at a time. They will charge 'significantly faster than plugging in at home', Sunderland City Council said. Fastned UK, which will build them, said drivers would be able to add '180 miles of driving range in just 20 minutes'. (more)

India: Two years after it was launched, the world's first solar cooperative has transformed Gujarat's Dhundi village
14 April 2018 - The unrelenting heat of the summer afternoon sends us scurrying for cover under a large tree as we reach Dhundi village in Gujarat's Kheda district. We are making our way to Udaysinh Chawda's home. ... Exactly two years after the launch of the world's first solar irrigation cooperative here, the Dhundi Saur Urja Utpadak Sahakari Mandali or DSUUSM, nine famers, including Chawda, have become successful solar entrepreneurs: they harvest solar energy as they would a remunerative crop. They irrigate their fields using solar pumps, and they earn by selling surplus power to the Madhya Gujarat Vij Company Ltd., and by selling water to other farmers in the area. (more)

India's Prime Minister Modi to unveil new Ayurveda network during UK visit
13 April 2018 - Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join Prince Charles at the inauguration of a new Ayurveda centre of excellence during his visit to the UK next week. Modi will visit the United Kingdom from April 17-20 for a bilateral visit as well as to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). A plaque for the new centre will be unveiled in London to mark the launch of a new network to coordinate evidence-based research on yoga and Ayurveda, according to sources close to the India-UK bilateral visit. (more)

Thailand ready for more spending as New Year's festival regains its splash
13 April 2018 - More tourism, more spending, and more water splashing festivities are expected as the traditional Thai New Year holiday begins Friday (14 April), with the country's celebrated Songkran festival returning to normal after a yearlong mourning for the late King that ended in October (2017). With April being the hottest time of the year in Thailand, people splashing water on each other is regarded as a New Year's blessing. Traditionally, young people pour water onto the palms of their elders to show respect. (more)

Thailand: Visitors flock to North for its unique Songkran celebrations
13 April 2018 - Thais and foreigners are flocking in large numbers to many northern provinces, including Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Nan, to celebrate the Thai New Year holiday. These provinces are known for their beautiful culture in celebrating the Songkran Festival that officially starts on Friday (14 April). (more)

As migration rises, finance can pave the way to benefits for all
12 April 2018 - In the capital of Uganda, where refugees have the legal right to work, one in five refugees runs a business employing other people -- and 40 percent of those staff are Ugandans, according to a leading microcredit financier. Giving refugees and other migrants the legal right to earn a living can not only help them launch new lives and cut the costs of caring for them, but it can also benefit those among whom they live, said Premal Shah, president of Kiva, a U.S.-based nonprofit that connects small lenders and those in need of cash. (more)

Hope trundles into remote hamlets on India's hospital train
12 April 2018 - Lifeline Express, a seven-coach train converted into a rolling hospital . . . has crisscrossed India for 27 years to treat people . . . living in areas with scarce healthcare. Lifeline Express has treated about 1.2 million people since its launch in 1991 by the non-profit Impact India Foundation, said chief operating officer and doctor Rajnish Gourh. (more)

Colombia takes 'unprecedented' step to stop farms gobbling forests
11 April 2018 - Indigenous communities that depend on Colombia's Amazon rainforest for their survival will have more say over their ancestral lands, as Colombia adds 8 million hectares to its protected areas in an effort to stem forest loss. The new measures announced by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Tuesday (10 April) aim to create a buffer zone for the country's southern Amazon region. (more)

Interview: U.S. entrepreneur wins award for making government 'less insulting'
11 April 2018 - Jennifer Pahlka believes that coding can help deliver a better U.S. government that works to help reformed felons earn an honest living and public servants frustrated by poor technology. Pahlka was in Oxford (UK) -- where Ebay billionaire Jeff Skoll established a centre for social entrepreneurship in 2003 -- to collect an award, one of six Skoll winners this year. After seeing the challenges working in child welfare, she founded San Francisco-based non profit Code for America in 2009 to create user-friendly websites that make it easier to navigate systems to access state benefits or services. (more)

UK: Royal Horticultural Society unveils plans for 154-acre garden in Salford
11 April 2018 - The Royal Horticultural Society has unveiled plans for its first new garden in 17 years -- a 62-hectare (154-acre) site in the heart of Salford, Greater Manchester. RHS Garden Bridgewater, which is being developed in the derelict gardens of the demolished stately home Worsley New Hall, has been described as the biggest gardening project in Europe. The RHS hopes it will attract 1 million visitors a year once completed. (more)

UK supermarket Iceland pledges no palm oil in its own-brand products
10 April 2018 - British supermarket chain Iceland said on Monday (9 April) it would remove palm oil from its own-brand food by the end of 2018 as part of efforts to stem deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia and help species under threat of extinction. In January, privately-owned Iceland pledged to eliminate plastic packaging from its own-brand products by the end of 2023 -- a first by a major British grocer. (more)

New brain memory cells develop well into old age
9 April 2018 - Well into our 70s, we continue to develop new cells in an area of the brain responsible for new memories and exploration of new environments, scientists report. 'These new brain cells sustain our abilities to make new memories, learn, and cope with the environment, and they are important for emotional responses,' Dr. Maura Boldrini from Columbia University in New York City told Reuters Health by email. 'These neurons might be important in humans for our abilities to transmit complex information to future generations and to sustain our emotionally guided behavior, as well as for integrating complex memories and information.' (more)

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