In archeology news, an ancient Buddhist scripture is discovered in northern China. Archeologists found the scripture called the Lotus Sutra engraved on a cave wall in Xiangtangshan. It is believed to date back to the Northern Dynasties, which was from 386 to 581. This government protected area of Hebei Province is also the location of 16 caves and over 450 sculptures. Congratulations, dedicated archeologists, on bringing to light more of the rich history of Buddhism in your nation. May a deeper understanding of humanity’s spiritual past help guide us to a glorious future.
Nine years to save iconic species in Scotland
In ecology news, a wildlife charity launches a campaign to preserve rare species. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Scotland has initiated the “Stepping Up for Nature” drive. The nine-year project has the goal of safeguarding some endemic birds, mammals, and insects who are decreasing in numbers, as well as native wild flowers, forests, and peatlands. The initiative focuses on Scotland, the United Kingdom, and other parts of the world. It promotes the participation of individuals, businesses, and governments in stopping biodiversity loss by 2020. Bravo, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Scotland, for this important endeavor. Let’s all work together to ensure the precious variety of flora and fauna of the Earth are saved for present and future generations.
Tropical storm Emily disrupts Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic
FN… Tropical storm Emily disrupts Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. Having formed on August 1 in the Caribbean Sea, the storm by August 3 had wreaked havoc in the Venezuelan state of Aragua, with infrastructure that was overwhelmed by the torrential rains. More than 320 homes in three municipalities were flooded and over 1,000 displaced. Rains deluged Puerto Rico as the storm moved northward, making landfall in Dominican Republic on Thursday, August 4. Three people perished as nearly 7,000 were left homeless due to flooding after areas received up to 30 centimeters of rain. Across the nation, some 56 communities were isolated as roads and bridges collapsed. Tropical storm Emily weakened as it moved over the island's high mountains, thankfully sparing most of Haiti and her capital city Port-au-Prince, where some 600,000 people still reside in tents 18 months after the devastating earthquake there.
With all her love and prayers, Supreme Master Ching Hai asked that our Association members please check with local governments to find out if assistance is required and to also go if possible to comfort the most desperate. She added that funds are available for urgent needs.
We are thankful for the attentive concern of Supreme Master Ching Hai as we pray for the soon recuperation to regular daily life of the storm-affected. May such damaging events be minimized through our actions that create harmony and restore balance to the planet.
Flooding in Charlotte kills 1, forces evacuations
FN… Flash floods sweep North Carolina, USA. Floods triggered by sudden torrential rains and thunderstorms in the city of Charlotte on Friday, August 5, caused at least one fatality. Up to 150 millimeters of rain fell within just six hours in some areas, with several ceiling collapses reported, although there were no injuries. Officials and other emergency responders rescued dozens of stranded drivers, while firefighters and police evacuated two downtown neighborhoods as creeks overflowed their banks. Sections of several interstate highways were also temporarily shut down as a safety precaution.
Our appreciation, officials and personnel, for your swift response to the weather calamity. May such extreme conditions be alleviated as humanity’s gentler ways help stabilize the ecosphere.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano spews lava - video
FN… Lava flows from Hawaii, USA volcano as earthquake strikes Indonesia. On Saturday, August 6, scientists at the US Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory announced that volcanic activity had slowed following Wednesday's collapse of the crater floor and lava lake within the Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone of the Kīlauea volcano. The spilling of new lava, while not requiring any evacuations, had prompted the closure of part of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Also on Saturday in Indonesia, a magnitude-5.7 temblor struck also off the coast of southern Sumatra, 160 kilometers northwest of Bengkulu. Fortunately, neither of these events resulted in casualties or significant damage.
With gratefulness for Heaven’s protection of those in the affected regions, we pray that such potential calamities are eased through humanity's greater consideration for all beings as a vegan world.
66th Hiroshima Day commemorated
FN… Hiroshima Day commemorated. Thousands of people gathered at Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park on August 6 in tribute to those who lost their lives 66 years ago in the 1945 nuclear attack. Present at the event was US Charge d'Affaires James Zumwalt, who has also been invited to the August 9 Nagasaki memorial as the first US government representative to attend both ceremonies in a single year. As he conveyed his deep respect for the victims, who numbered more than 200,000 between both cities, Charge d'Affaires Zumwalt affirmed the wish of the United States to continue in partnership with Japan toward the shared goal of a nuclear weapon-free world. Presiding at the event, Honorable Mayor Kazumi Matsui of Hiroshima, himself the son of a survivor, promised to prioritize total nuclear disarmament as he stated in his 2011 Hiroshima Peace Declaration, "We hereby pledge to do everything in our power to abolish nuclear weapons and build lasting world peace." Also speaking was Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who reaffirmed promises to phase out the use of nuclear energy and to strictly follow the constitutional principles of not possessing, manufacturing or permitting nuclear weapons into the country.
We share and commend your noble vision, Prime Minister Kan and Honorable Mayor Kazumi. Our prayers for the end to all destructions of war as we strive to build on shared values of harmony and brotherly unity across the globe.
UN chief urges Syrian president to 'immediately' stop violence
FN... Citizens speak out. People gather in growing numbers across countries such as Afghanistan, Israel, Libya, Syria, United Kingdom and Yemen as they demand that their governments offer greater freedoms, fair treatment, and a voice for all citizens.
UNITED KINGDOM - Following the shooting death of Mr. Mark Duggan in North London by police Thursday, August 4, around 120 friends and family members organized a protest vigil on Saturday. However, the event turned violent after dark when 300 people rioted, injuring eight police officers. Local Parliament member David Lammy called for calm and for an investigation, while the Independent Police Complaints Commission pledged its assistance.
ISRAEL - Around 300,000 citizens from all sectors of society participated in record-setting protests on Saturday as they called for the government to act more in the interests of the people by providing housing, tax, healthcare, childcare and education reforms. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded Sunday by announcing some of the members of a committee being established to address citizens' concerns.
AFGHANISTAN - During an interview on Saturday, August 6 with China-based CCTV, defected Taliban commander Noor ul Aziz stated that besides himself, there were many other Taliban members interested in disarming. He explained that the Afghan Taliban had begun their insurgency only after other members had been persecuted, and that he decided to lay down his arms when government officials offered reconciliation, saying that brethren throughout the country should not be fighting each other.
SYRIA - Ahmed Khalef, a recently defected officer from an elite army unit whose whereabouts are being withheld for his safety, told UK-based international Arabic newspaper, Ashareq Al Awsat, that he and other army officers were given orders to kill residents of Daraa, including being told not to spare the lives of women and children. He also stated he fled for his life after his instruction for troops not to fire on civilians led to an order for him to be killed. Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Saturday that eight premature babies dependent upon incubators had died in a Hama hospital after the government shut off electricity to the city. In a telephone conversation with President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an end to violence, as did Pope Benedict XVI in a separate statement, with His Holiness also urging the government to listen to the legitimate aspirations of the people. Also on Saturday, the six-nation Arab Gulf Cooperation Council of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates spoke out for the first time to call for an immediate end to all violence as they expressed concern over the excessive use of force against civilians. Meanwhile on Sunday, activists reported to Al Jazeera news agency that security forces used tanks, machine guns and armored vehicles to launch new assaults, resulting in at least 50 deaths in the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor alone.
As we mourn the precious lives lost and the injury and distress of many others, we pray that the strife in all countries may cease, with citizens across the globe deciding to live in shared dignity and freedom in a peaceful world.
Bolivian villagers want compensation as glaciers melt
SAVE OUR PLANET… As Bolivian researchers study the changes created by global warming on the country’s important Illimani glacier, finding as of August 1, 2011 that it is retreating 10 to 12 meters yearly, they work to help nearby arid communities adapt through more sustainable water use plans for the coming years.
Delicious recipes (Oh, and they’re vegan)
The Czech Republic’s English-language paper Prague Post reports that, along with increased dining and shopping opportunities for the veg-minded, a vegan cookbook has just been published by author Martina Čermáková, highlighting the convenience and tastiness of plant-based meals.
IDB approves $11 million grant to Haiti for business development services
The Inter-American Development Bank donates US$11 million to support Haiti's micro, small and medium-size businesses by providing them with training services that facilitate their expansion, boosting both employment and productivity for the nation.
Robber returns stolen items with apology
A man in Massachusetts, USA, who had stolen a 61-year-old woman's wallet and GPS, came to her door and said he was sorry as he also returned the items plus an extra $10 cash and left a letter of apology for what he had done.
Climate Changes Bring Harsh Reality for Native Americans
SAVE OUR PLANET… A report published on August 3, 2011 by the National Wildlife Federation finds that climate change effects are more severely felt by indigenous people, whose resources are generally limited and lives are more closely dependent on the land and nature.
Hospital's Wireless Network Monitors Vital Signs
Washington University in St. Louis scientists of Missouri, USA develop a wireless sensor device now being tested that can remotely monitor vital signs and alert health care providers of any change, thus allowing even intensive care patients the freedom to be at home with family.
Eastern Caribbean countries to protect 100,000 hectares of fragile marine ecosystems
SAVE OUR PLANET… International charity Global Environment Facility donates nearly US$9 million on August 5, 2011 to help ensure long-term protection of more than 100,000 hectares of fragile marine habitat in the Eastern Caribbean nations of Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Sudan: Remains of Ancient Palace Discovered
In the ancient city of Meroë, Sudan, on the east bank of the Nile River, archaeologists discover the oldest building thus far, possibly a royal palace, with radiocarbon dating indicating that it could have been constructed nearly 3,000 years ago.
Smoking banned on Italian beach
Agence France-Presse reports that Mayor Pasqualino Codognotto of the municipality of San Michele at Tagliamento, Italy has ordered a test period smoking ban for part of the popular Bibione Beach toward a goal of cleanliness and to promote better health.