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Paul McCartney Narrates PETA Slaughterhouse Video

LONDON, Dec. 7 (UPI) — British rock ‘n’ roll icon Paul McCartney has narrated a 13-minute video about slaughterhouses for the group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The 67-year-old former Beatle and longtime vegetarian narrated “Glass Walls” in an effort to raise awareness about how animals and workers are treated in slaughterhouses, The Daily Telegraph reported.

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian,” the newspaper quoted McCartney as saying.

In the video, McCartney reportedly also explains how cows, pigs and chickens “endure almost unimaginable suffering.” While he talks, images of the animals being killed are shown, the Telegraph said.

“Eating meat is bad for our health. It’s bad for the environment and it directly supports appalling cruelty to animals. The decision is yours. Please make the compassionate choice,” McCartney said in the clip, which can be viewed at www.meat.org

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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Scientists Begin Tracking Arctic Wolf Pack Leader

RESTON, Va., Dec. 1 (UPI) — U.S. and Canadian scientists say they have put a satellite collar on Brutus, a wolf pack leader, to follow him and his pack during the long arctic winter.

U.S. Geological Survey wolf researcher David Mech and Canadian biologist Dean Cluff put the satellite collar on Brutus in July on Ellesmere Island, which is located about 600 miles from the North Pole. The goal is to determine what the wolves do during winter in one of the harshest areas of the world.

“We first encountered 9-year-old Brutus back in 2003,” said Mech, who has been studying the Ellesmere Island wolves for the past 24 years, following them during summer, which is mostly confined to the month of July. Snow begins falling in August making it nearly impossible for people to travel to the island or withstand the low temperatures any other time of the year.

This year, Mech said he and Cluff made a huge technological jump from notebook and pens to satellite collars because the scientists wanted to find out what Brutus and his pack of at least 12 adults and 6-12 pups do when it is dark 24 hours a day and temperatures can fall to minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Updates of the wolf’s movement and other data from the satellite collar are available at http://internationalwolfcenter.blogspot.com/.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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Waterless Toothbrush Impresses Environmentalists

NEW YORK, Dec. 1 (UPI) — A tooth brush that uses no water for rinsing will be unveiled by a New York City councilman at a dental convention, officials said.

Councilman Joel Rivera, chairman of New York City’s Health Committee, said in 2006 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated the average citizen wasted 2 gallons of water daily as part of brushing teeth and oral hygiene.

The annual Greater New York Dental Meeting and Convention of some 57,000 healthcare professionals is being held at the Jacob Javitz Center. Rivera and environmentalist are scheduled to hold a news conference Wednesday.

More than 100,000 of the new tooth brushes will be handed out to local school children in New York City and Long Island in the upcoming months to conserve more than 2 million gallons of water from local residents a day, Rivera said.

The Aqua Free Tooth brush — www.aquafreetoothbrush.com — is being produced by United Treatment Centers Inc., a Big Apple company with offices in Manhattan, Queens and Long Island and is the brain child of local entrepreneurs and health professionals, Todd Spinelli and Frank Ottaviani.

More than 2 billion people in the world don’t have access to sanitary water and the Aqua Free Tooth Brush could provide a healthy alternative as well as contribute to the well being of others in which water conservation is mandatory, Spinelli and Ottaviani said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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Michael Vick Tells Virginia Children About Dogfighting

NEWPORT NEWS, Va., Nov. 30 (UPI) — Michael Vick told children at his old school in Virginia about dogfighting Monday, and a Humane Society official said the NFL player “can reach these kids.”

Vick, who served time in prison for his role in a dogfighting operation, addressed about 400 seventh- and eighth-graders at Huntington Middle School in Newport News, which he once attended, WVEC-TV reported.

“Before, I knew dogfighting was bad and didn’t like it at all, and now I know it’s even worse,” one youth said afterward.

The pro quarterback’s appearance, which was not open to the public, was part of a Humane Society program called “End Dogfighting.”

“Michael Vick can reach these kids,” Dale Bartlett of the Humane Society said. “They look up to him. They still respect him. They scream wildly like he’s a rock star when he’s talking to them. We think anyone who wants to help people stay on the right track and do the right thing can become a hero regardless of what they’ve done in the past.”

Vick, who played for the Atlanta Falcons before he went to prison and is now with the Philadelphia Eagles, has also spoken to children in Atlanta, Philadelphia and other cities.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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Amnesty International Reminds World Leaders on Importance of Climate Talks

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Nov. 30 (UPI) — World leaders meeting in Denmark next week must ensure any climate change pact doesn’t put the world’s poor at further disadvantage, Amnesty International said.

After a conference discussing the impact of climate change on human rights in the run-up to the U.N.-sponsored summit in Copenhagen, Mary Robinson, a former president of Ireland, and Irene Khan, Amnesty International secretary-general, jointly warned Monday if world governments fail to act, “basic human rights for the world’s poorest and most marginalized communities will hang in the balance.”

Governments not complying with their human rights obligations when responding to climate change could reinforce links between denial of human rights and vulnerability to climate change, Robinson and Khan said.

“The cruel fact about global climate change is that while the problem has largely been caused by emissions from the richest countries, the poorest will pay the price,” the two said in their joint statement. “The rights to food, water, shelter and heath all risk being undermined by climate change.”

They called for an urgent, people-centered approach to countering climate change and ensuring the future for generations to come.

Khan and Robinson also urged governments to conduct adequate and meaningful consultation with affected people by involving them in decision-making on the adaptation and mitigation strategies that would affect their lives.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Global Warming & Climate Change, People1 Comment

Canada Plans for Modest Cuts for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, Nov. 30 (UPI) — Canada said it plans to stick to “modest” targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the climate-change talks in Copenhagen.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper rejected U.N. calls for his government to aim for deeper and faster cuts in emissions, The (Toronto) Globe and Mail reported. Harper said Canada’s target — a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020 — closely resembles that of the United States.

Harper’s comments came as leaders of British Commonwealth nations representing nearly 2 billion people agreed in Trinidad Sunday to strike a deal in Copenhagen on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Canada Friday to aim for greater reductions and said “many countries, developed and developing countries, have come out with ambitious targets.”

But Harper said he would not seek greater reductions.

“It’s important that whatever targets we set be realistic, achievable and are actually achieved,” Harper told reporters. “We have been through the exercise in the past decade or so of setting targets that are idealistic or blue sky — or set targets that look great on paper but didn’t actually require any effort.

“More modest, achievable targets in the short term will get the planet on the right track.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Global Warming & Climate Change, People0 Comments

British Commonwealth Leaders Tackle Climate Change

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, Nov. 27 (UPI) — Climate change is a key agenda item for British Commonwealth leaders meeting in Trinidad in the last major session before the climate summit in Denmark.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Port of Spain also will consider Rwanda’s bid to join and discuss the 2011 Commonwealth summit site in light of Britain’s vowing to block Sri Lanka’s bid, the BBC reported Friday.

Also attending the summit were UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Danish Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called the meeting “an important springboard toward Copenhagen,” site of the U.N.-sponsored climate change summit.

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Patrick Manning, host of the three-day meeting, said he hoped the summit would build momentum for an agreement on carbon emissions at Copenhagen.

“We hope to arrive at a political statement that can add value to the process that will culminate in Copenhagen next month,” he said.

Commonwealth leaders were expected to approve Rwanda’s bid to join, despite opponents’ concerns approval could be seen as rewarding a nation they say is guilty of abuses dating back to the 1994 genocide, the BBC said.

British officials indicated they will try to block Sri Lanka’s bid to host the next Commonwealth summit because of the country’s handling of the recent war.

A government source told the BBC Brown had “real concerns about Sri Lanka’s bid.”

“We simply cannot be in a position where Sri Lanka — whose actions earlier this year had a huge impact on civilians, leading to thousands of displaced people without proper humanitarian access — is seen to be rewarded for its actions,” the official said.

The United Nations estimates the conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels left at least 7,000 civilians dead and another 150,000 people displaced.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Global Warming & Climate Change, People0 Comments

Interactive Tsunami Educational Tools Developed Online

WOODS HOLE, Mass., Nov. 24 (UPI) — The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution says it has created a new educational Web site to help people prepare for and survive a tsunami.

Called an “an interactive guide that could save your life,” the site features the latest tsunami-related science research and compelling tsunami survivor videos and interviews.

“Tsunamis can neither be prevented nor precisely predicted yet,” said site initiator Jian Lin, a Woods Hole geologist actively involved in tsunami research and a member of a U.S. national committee on tsunami warning and preparedness. “But people educated about tsunami warning signs can save their own lives and the lives of others.”

Tsunami is the Japanese word for “harbor wave,” and is the term used when giant undersea earthquakes, landslides or volcanic eruptions generate a sudden motion of ocean water that results in a series of large waves. In the open ocean, such waves can travel as fast as 500 miles per hour — the same speed as a jet. A tsunami can quickly engulf vulnerable coastal regions resulting in widespread destruction and death.

The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami took 240,000 lives.

Available at http://www.whoi.edu/home/interactive/tsunami/, the Web site instructs people how to prepare for a tsunami, how to respond should they see one approach and what to do in the aftermath.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Earthquakes, People0 Comments

Orphaned Baby Congo Gorillas to Get New Home in Sanctuary

BRAZZAVILLE, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nov. 21 (UPI) — Two orphaned baby mountain gorillas will get a new sanctuary in the Congo, described by wildlife experts as a “paradise,” authorities said.

Ndeze and Ndakasi were orphaned two years ago when their mothers were killed in Virunga National Park, possibly by people illegally harvesting trees for charcoal, CNN reported Friday.

The orphans will be moved to the Senkwekwe Center, 2 1/2-acre plot of forest 3 miles from the mountain gorilla habitat in Virunga. Of the world’s 700 surviving mountain gorillas, 200 live in Virunga Park, the U.S. news network said.

Authorities began construction of the center in 2007, but work was interrupted by civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, they said.

The center, with holding areas, visiting and education centers and veterinary facilities, is scheduled for completion in March.

“This (will be) paradise for them,” Samantha Newport, Virunga’s communications director, said. “They will be able to play around, climb trees and eat forest food.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Animals, Education, People0 Comments

Northwest England Sees Record Flooding

LONDON, Nov. 20 (UPI) — Record rain and flooding in northwest England killed a police officer Friday when a bridge collapsed beneath him as he directed drivers away from it.

Bill Barker’s body was found hours later about 10 miles from the Northside Bridge in Workington, The Independent reported. Barker, who had been with the Cumbria police for 25 years, would have celebrated his 45th birthday Saturday.

Meteorologists said the Lake District, an area of mountains, hills and fast-flowing rivers, got just over a foot of rain between Thursday morning and Friday morning. The area was hit by devastating floods in 2005, but officials said Friday’s flooding was even worse.

Cockermouth, an old market town on the northwest edge of the Lake District where two rivers come together, was hit especially hard.

“It’s going to take the town years to recover from this,” Pete Marston, a resident of Cockermouth, said.

The rainfall, 12.3 inches, was the largest amount ever recorded in Britain, breaking a 1955 record of 11 inches in Devon. Environment Secretary Hilary Benn called the storm a “one-in-1,000″ event and warning flood controls designed to cope with hundred-year storms would give way.

Four bridges collapsed and a number of main roads became impassable because of flooding. About 200 people had to be evacuated, including 50 taken out by helicopter.

Flooding was also reported in northwest Wales and southwest Scotland.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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