Tag Archives: NGO

EPEAT green IT registry expanding to mobile phones

The Green Electronics Council plans to expand its EPEAT environmental rating system later this year to include smartphones, the council said Tuesday.

The move could push phone makers to change the way they manufacture, package or distribute their devices because some companies and governments require preference be given to EPEAT-compliant devices when products are purchased.

EPEAT is a rating system intended to help identify greener electronics equipment. The standard for mobile devices is expected to be ready by the end of this year and will be based on Underwriters Laboratories’ UL110 standard covering the environmental and human health aspects of a mobile phone’s lifecycle. The UL110 standard is currently a draft, and the Green Electronics Council said it’s collaborating with the organization to ensure it is suitable for adoption as the basis of the EPEAT standard.

“We want to ensure it’s balanced, open and includes participation from the NGO community,” said Sarah O’Brien, director of stakeholder engagement at the Green Electronics Council.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

Israel set to approve another 1,000 W.Bank homes: NGO

Israeli authorities are expected on Wednesday to give the green light for the construction of 1,071 new homes in six West Bank settlements, watchdog Peace Now said in a statement on Tuesday.

The news came as US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Jordan at the start of a sixth round of intense diplomacy to revive stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, with Israel’s settlement building a key sticky point.

It also came as the European Union was due to publish on Friday guidelines barring member states from funding projects in Jewish settlements.

Peace Now said that a government committee was expected to grant initial approval for plans to build 339 homes at Galgal and Almog settlements in the Jordan valley, Kfar Adumim northeast of Jerusalem and at Kochav Yaacov and Shilo near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Another 732 units were to be given a more advanced level of approval, one stage before the start of construction, at the West Bank’s biggest settlement, Modiin Ilit, a community of 58,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews west of Ramallah, it said.

“These approvals are part of an unprecedented wave of advancing settlement plans,” Peace Now said. “This is yet another message by Israel to the US and the Palestinians that this government is not ready for peace.”

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Nine Syrians 'executed' at checkpoint: NGO

At least nine Syrians, including a child, were executed by regime forces at a checkpoint in Damascus province, a watchdog said on Tuesday.

“Nine citizens, including a child, were shot dead by regime forces near the town of Qara, in the Qalamun area of Damascus province, yesterday (Monday) evening,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The nine were “executed” at a military checkpoint in the area, the group said, citing local activists.

Video footage shot by activists and distributed by the Observatory showed bodies lain out on the white floor of a room, some of them partially covered with a piece of white plastic sheeting.

Several appeared to have been shot in the head, and others in the chest.

In Homs province in the centre, members of a pro-regime militia killed seven members of a reconciliation committee in the village of Hajar Abyad, the Observatory said.

It distributed a video showing black body bags tagged with pieces of paper bearing each man’s name.

More than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria since an uprising erupted against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011, according to the Observatory’s figures.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Shelling, air raids kill 29 in Syria's northwest: NGO

Shelling and air raids by Syrian government forces against a string of villages in the northwestern province of Idlib killed at least 29 people late on Sunday, a watchdog said.

The military carried out five separate strikes, including a rocket attack on the village of Maghara that killed 13 people, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday.

The attacks all came shortly before iftar, the meal at which Muslims break their daytime Ramadan fast, according to the Britain-based group, which relies on a network of activists, lawyers and doctors on the ground across Syria.

The attack in Maghara was the deadliest, but the Observatory also reported six killed in the village of Al-Bara, four in Basamis, three in Kfar Nabl in an air strike and three in Iblin.

The dead included at least eight women and six children, the Observatory said.

Video footage posted online by activists showed harrowing scenes of death and destruction, including fires started by what they said was the rocket strike on Maghara.

The screams of survivors were heard as the camera panned over the rubble.

“God is great. Where are our Muslim brothers? Where are our Arab brothers?” the activist says as he films residents trying to dig out people trapped beneath the wreckage of their homes.

“This is the iftar of the Muslims in Jabal Zawiya,” he said, referring to the hill district where the village lies.

“A massacre in the village of Maghara.”

A second video showed smoke billowing over the village and residents lifting a dust-covered older man, his stomach torn open, onto a flat-bed truck.

Another man lay dead on the ground, his body and clothes covered in grey dust flecked with blood, his mouth open, his arm curled upwards and his hand lying on his chest.

Residents scooped water into bowls and buckets to try to put out the fires.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

The Power of Rapid Results

By Ron Ashkenas, Contributor

 Last year, my fellow HBR blogger Daniel Markovitz suggested that stretch goals can be demotivating, and should be replaced by confidence-building “quick wins.” Frankly, this is like saying that the taste of food is more important than its nutrient value. It’s a false dichotomy. Healthy organizations need both stretch and success to stay alive and vibrant, just like a well-balanced diet includes food that is both tasty and healthy.

The key to integrating the two is to carve quick wins out of long-term goals — so that each small success is a building block towards achieving a broader challenge. It’s important however that these small successes themselves be microcosms of the larger goal, and not simply serve as check-marks for harvesting low hanging fruit. Rather, these small stretches (we call them Rapid Results) need to force people out of their comfort zones to try new approaches, ideas, and ways of working in 100 days or less.

Over the past several decades, my colleagues and I have seen the power of short-term stretch goals in almost every imaginable situation. For example:

In order to achieve seemingly impossible growth targets, an adhesives materials company challenged dozens of divisional teams to each implement one “growth idea” that would generate new revenue in 100 days. One team, for instance, revised a commercial taping product for home use and partnered with Home Depot to sell it. Over the next two years, hundreds of such teams around the world helped the company increase revenues while creating further opportunities for growth. These “small stretches” also energized participants and helped them develop capabilities as growth leaders. As one manager said, “I learned more in 100 days than I had in the previous several years.”
To achieve stretch sales goals, the commercial head of a health care company challenged her global team to boost revenues from older brands without losing focus on their primary products. To make this happen, a cross-functional team from each market selected ten promising brands and focused on getting initial, measurable results on one of them in 100days.Over the next year, these teams built on the initial results so that the collective gain was over half a billion dollars.
Short-term stretch goals also work with community development and not-for-profit initiatives. As part of an effort to increase education in Southern Sudan, a team of villagers with help from an NGO took on the challenge of increasing school attendance by 30% in 100 days.The villagers were so motivated to achieve this goal, that they eventually made their own bricks to construct a new building. A few years later a child from that village was the first from his region to attend a university. Recently, an effort in the U.S. to provide housing for 100,000 homeless veterans is utilizing the same approach by carving out short-term stretch goals in a number of cities around the country.

Regardless of context, there are two keys to the effective use of short-term stretch goals.

The first is to make sure that the immediate goals are part of a larger, more ambitious effort so that whatever is achieved and learned is a building block, not an end-in-itself. In other words, extremely ambitious stretch goals need to be deconstructed into lots of short-term stretch goals, sometimes with multiple cycles.
Second, intentionally design the short-term stretch goals in ways that force innovation, collaboration, and learning — so it’s not just a matter of working harder for a short period of time. In this way, each short-term success builds capability and knowledge for the next and the next.
Let’s not dismiss stretch goals as demotivating or dangerous. If you tackle them by carving out short-term challenges, and learn as you go, they can be a powerful way to accelerate progress.

What’s your experience with short-term stretch goals?

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

US report decries world crackdown on civil society

The Obama administration warned Friday that nations such as Iran, Russia and Venezuela are turning up pressure on human rights other activists, decrying what it described as a global crackdown on the “lifeblood of democratic societies.”

In its annual human rights report, the State Department criticized a host of new restrictions on advocacy groups including laws banning free speech, assembly and religion. Even worse, it noted that human rights, political and labor leaders in more countries were facing harassment, arrest and even assassination.

“Civil society is the lifeblood of democratic societies,” the report said. “Countries succeed or fail based on the choices of their people and leaders — whether they sit in a government ministry, a corporate boardroom, an independent union or a cramped NGO office. When individuals have the ability to come together, air their views and put forward their own proposals, they challenge and support their governments in reaching higher standards of progress and prosperity.”

At a briefing, Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters he considered canceling the release of the report because of the intensity of the manhunt for the suspect in the Boston marathon bombing but said he decided to release it because “people have the right to run in marathons.”

The report singled out for criticism a series of new Russian laws that target groups receiving international funding and restrict “unauthorized protests” and Internet freedom.

Bangladesh was cited for suppressing labor rights while Egypt was criticized for continuing to put pressure on domestic and foreign non-governmental organizations after raiding the offices of pro-democracy groups in 2011. China imposed new registration requirements to prevent groups from emerging that might challenge government authority.

Other trends cited in the report included:

— Uneven progress in the Middle East as protests turned to politics, with increased violence against women and religious minorities. The worst cases were civil war-wracked Syria, where 70,000 people have been killed over the past two years, and Iran, which executed 523 people last year and whose government attacks journalists, students, lawyers, artists, women and ethnic activists.

— An emergent democratic transition in Myanmar, also known as Burma, even if many legacies of the military’s authoritarianism remain. These include its repressive laws, pervasive security apparatus, corrupt judicial system and limits on freedom of religion. Inter-ethnic violence persists.

From: http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/national/~3/64j0Ir4AuiQ/

Russia lashes out at US over NGO funding

Russia‘s foreign ministry is criticizing Washington for channeling funds to non-governmental organizations in ways that get around Russian restrictions.

The complaint Saturday by ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich follows U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland‘s characterization of recent searches of Russian NGOs as a “witch hunt.”

Since President Vladimir Putin’s return to the Kremlin last year, Russia has put strong pressure on NGOs. In December, as part of retaliatory moves against a U.S. law, Russia banned organizations engaged in vaguely defined political activity from receiving funding from U.S. citizens. Earlier, Russia said any purportedly political NGO receiving foreign funding must register as a foreign agent.

Nuland on Thursday said Washington was continuing to fund Russian organizations through unspecified “platforms outside Russia.”

Lukashevich called that “barefaced interference in our internal affairs.”

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Russia: Searches to check for illegal NGO activity

Russian prosecutors are defending their wave of raids on non-governmental organizations, saying they are trying to weed out underground groups and combat money laundering.

The spokeswoman for the prosecutor general’s office, Maria Gridneva, spoke Thursday as international criticism over the searches mounted. France and Germany have summoned Russia‘s ambassadors to explain the searches. The U.S., Britain and the EU have also expressed concerns.

Gridneva said the searches mostly aim to stop groups violating Russia‘s vaguely worded “extremism” statute.

Prosecutors and other officials have raided as many as 2,000 NGOs in the past month under wildly varying and legally dubious pretenses, according to Pavel Chikov, a member of the presidential human rights council.

Although political NGOs face the worst pressure, the searches have also affected French-language courses in Siberia and birdwatchers.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Endangered lemurs' complete genomes sequenced, analyzed for conservation efforts

For the first time, the complete genomes of three separate populations of aye-ayes—a type of lemur—have been sequenced and analyzed in an effort to help guide conservation efforts. The results of the genome-sequence analyses will be published in an early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online during the week of 25 March 2013. The team of scientists is led by George H. Perry, an assistant professor of anthropology and biology at Penn State University; Webb Miller, a professor of biology and of computer science and engineering at Penn State; and Edward Louis, Director of Conservation Genetics at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and Director of the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership, NGO. …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Phys.org

The Continental: A Huge Price Drop on the Z, Fisker’s Plans, and an Eternal Favorite

By Jens Meiners

The Continental

Each week, our German correspondent slices and dices the latest rumblings, news, and quick-hit driving impressions from the other side of the pond. His byline may say Jens Meiners, but we simply call him . . . the Continental.

The Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT 86 twins—the latter sold as the Scion FR-S in the U.S.—are shaking up the automotive world. The Toyota is selling from €30,450 in Europe, the Subaru begins at €29,500. Now Nissan is reacting by lowering the price of the slightly facelifted 370Z from €38,750 to €32,900. It might not sound like a big deal, but the Z suddenly is well within reach of those customers looking at the new Subaru/Toyota, and now costs less than the last-gen 350Z did at launch. That older Z retailed for €33,850 when it was introduced in Germany in 2003. Some might call the price cut a move of desperation, but Ponz Pandikuthira, Nissan Europe’s general manager for the 370Z, chooses to portray it as an act of altruism: “While other carmakers would likely have used the opportunity to raise prices, Nissan is preserving the character of the 370Z as an affordable sports car and making it available to an even larger circle of customers,” he volunteers.

Volkswagen Cross Caddy

VW’s Crossover Commercial Vehicle

Volkswagen is expanding its lineup of crossovers with a high-riding derivative of the Caddy light commercial vehicle. Called the Cross Caddy, the new crossover comes with a choice of nine engines and available all-wheel drive, which requires either the 110- or 140-hp diesel engine. The Caddy is a nice enough commercial vehicle and a favorite among cost-conscious families. It’s also preferred by traffic police, who use its tinted tailgate windows to hide their radar equipment; this also means it is unloved by professional speeders.

It’s Not the Cars?

Europeans are subjected to constant lectures about the merits of public transportation and how using it is supposedly in the interest of saving the environment. Now the “Deutsche Umwelthilfe,” a questionable, aggressively anti-automobile NGO, is unexpectedly sharing some less-than-rosy truths about public transportation. According to a recent study, 60 percent of communal buses do not have an effective particulate filter and only 14 percent are equipped with a NOX catalyser. The bus operators, often public corporations, cite high costs as reason for the tardiness in upgrading their fleet. Oh, really? Car owners certainly feel their pain.

Fisker Atlantic

What Fisker’s New owners Might Get

I recently spent some time with Fisker co-founder Berthold Koehler and the now departed founder Henrik Fisker. They revealed a few new details regarding the Atlantic mid-size sedan and announced at least two further models down the road. The Atlantic is supposed to command roughly half of the flagship Karma‘s price, amounting to around $50,000–$60,000. Like its big brother, the Atlantic is intended to be an electric car with a range-extending …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Herbalife Family Foundation Names Korean Herbalife Distributors as Humanitarians of the Year

By Business Wirevia The Motley Fool

Filed under:

Herbalife Family Foundation Names Korean Herbalife Distributors as Humanitarians of the Year

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)– The Herbalife Family Foundation (HFF) awarded its 2013 HFF Humanitarian Award to Tae Ho Kim and Hyun Mo Koo for more than a decade of philanthropic work in Korea, and their generous contributions to HFF and its worldwide Casa Herbalife program.

The annual HFF Humanitarian Award is presented to Herbalife Independent Distributors from around the world who exemplify the foundation’s mission and, through their outstanding involvement and dedication, have made a significant contribution to changing lives in their communities and a long-term commitment to giving back.

As well as their commitment to the HFF Casa Herbalife program, the Kims have established a private charity organization, the “Dream Foundation,” and in 2012 they also began the Tae Ho Kim Medical Fund for the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.

As recipients of the 2013 HFF Humanitarian Award, HFF will donate $10,000 to a charity of their choice.

About Herbalife Family Foundation

Herbalife Family Foundation (HFF) is a 501C(3), non-profit corporation dedicated to improving children’s lives by helping organizations provide healthy nutrition to children at risk. HFF supports more than 90 Casa Herbalife programs around the world and serves the nutritional needs of thousands of children around the world through annual grants to NGO‘s and charities that cater to vulnerable children. Additionally, HFF often supports relief efforts in response to natural disasters.

About Herbalife Ltd.

Herbalife Ltd. (NYS: HLF) is a global nutrition company that sells weight-management, nutrition and personal care products intended to support a healthy lifestyle. Herbalife products are sold in more than 80 countries to and through a network of independent distributors. The company supports the Herbalife Family Foundation and its Casa Herbalife program to help bring good nutrition to children. Herbalife’s website contains information about Herbalife, including financial and other information for investors at http://ir.Herbalife.com. The company encourages investors to visit its website from time to time, as information is updated and new information is posted.

Herbalife Ltd.
Media Contact:<br …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

New style of papacy: Pope Francis pays hotel bill

On his first day as shepherd of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, Pope Francis picked up his luggage at a Vatican hotel, personally thanked each member of the staff and even paid his own bill. Then, at his first Mass, he delivered a short, unscripted homily — in Italian, not the Latin of his predecessor — holding the cardinals who elected him responsible for keeping the church strong.

Pope for barely 12 hours, Francis brushed off years of tradition and formality Thursday with a remarkable break in style that sent a clear message that his papacy is poised to reject many of the trappings enjoyed by now-retired Benedict XVI.

That was hardly out of character for Francis. For years, as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Argentine pastor took the bus to work, kissed the feet of AIDS patients and prayed with former prostitutes, eschewing the luxurious residence that would have been his due as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

But now he is pope — the first from the New World and the first Jesuit — and his style both personal and liturgical is in a global spotlight.

On his first day, he couldn’t have signaled a greater contrast to Benedict, the German academic who was meek and generous in person but formal and traditional in public.

The differences played out Thursday in the Sistine Chapel as the 76-year-old Francis celebrated his first public Mass as pope.

Whereas Benedict read a three-page discourse in Latin, Francis had a far simpler message. Speaking off-the-cuff for 10 minutes in easy Italian, he said all Catholics must “build” the church and “walk” with the faith.

He urged priests to build their churches on solid foundations, warning: “What happens when children build sand castles on the beach? It all comes down.”

“If we don’t proclaim Jesus, we become a pitiful NGO, not the bride of the Lord,” he said.

“When we walk without the cross, and when we preach about Christ without the cross, we are not disciples of the Lord. We are mundane. We are bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but we are not disciples of the Lord.”

The new style was evident even in Francis’ wardrobe. Rather …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

INSERTING and REPLACING University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Releases News of Succes

By Business Wirevia The Motley Fool

Filed under:

INSERTING and REPLACING University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Releases News of Successful NanoLogix Test

UTHealth researchers say more rapid test for Group B strep successful

HUBBARD, Ohio–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Insert inside the quotation marks in the first graph, first sentence of release: Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology

Please also embed with the URL:  http://www.hindawi.com/journals/idog/2013/367935/

The corrected release reads:

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS HEALTH SCIENCE CENTER AT HOUSTON RELEASES NEWS OF SUCCESSFUL NANOLOGIX TEST

UTHealth researchers say more rapid test for Group B strep successful

NanoLogix Inc. (OTC: NNLX), an innovator in the accelerated detection, identification and antibiotic sensitivity determination of live bacteria, announces that final results of a 14 month study done by researchers at UTHSC-Houston have been published in a recent online edition of “Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology.” The results were also presented at the 33rd annual Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine meeting last month in San Francisco. Researchers tested 356 pregnant patients for Group B Strep using NanoLogix BNF tests during the study, with NanoLogix test results obtained in 6.5 hours as opposed to 48 hours with standard tests.

Jonathan Faro, MD, PhD, the chief researcher on the study and assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, part of UTHealth, stated: “We’re very happy at UT to have the recent clinical study on GBS showing positive results with the 6.5 hour test. Even more exciting, however, is that we are now seeing results as fast as 30 minutes. This more rapid test is based on a modification of the 6.5 hour test, and has the potential to allow for antibiotic susceptibility testing in an amount of time that would have previously been considered simply impossible. The studies with GBS have been applied to other bacteria, and we are very pleased to see similar results with gonorrhea, which has been implicated last year as a multi-drug resistant pathogen. We are in the final stages of formalizing the 30 minute test for GBS, and will continue to work on additional applications for this assay.”

The news from UTHealth Houston can be found here: http://www.uthouston.edu/media/story.htm?id=e3142cc6-bc5b-415d-8f17-8243da5eb58d

NanoLogix exhibited at the ASM BioDefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting in Washington DC 25-27 February 2013. There was strong interest in the Company’s technologies at the exhibition. Interested parties included Federal agencies, universities, large and small laboratories, NGO‘s, and corporations, with resulting sales begun this week.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Benevola,trailblazing in the voluntourism landscape

By Mee-Hyoe Koo, Contributor Launched in 2012 by Benjamin Aymé, benevola is an intermediary organization connecting volunteers to NGOs, social enterprises and SMEs. benevola works closely with CSR teams in companies, NGOs and social enterprises to match them with appropriate volunteers seeking to contribute and make a difference. Voluntourism is a rising trend in the world. According to Mintel, a market research firm, there are about half a million people traveling overseas in some form of volunteering activity from the UK alone and over two million across Europe. In the US, over four million people volunteer every year. Mintel, in its research report dated 2008, attributes this growth to the increasing appetite for new experiences with a philanthropic bent as well as increasing prevalence of career gaps at all life stages, from pre-university to retirement. To accommodate to this need, there is a diversified array of products and experiences available, including shorter length activities, highly popular social and environmental projects and even packages targeted at families. Capitalizing on this trend, Benjamin Aymé founded benevola to connect the interested volunteers to organizations that could benefit from the services contributed. Some of benevola’s projects include education projects that can provide ways out of poverty, bigotry and xenophobia. One of the projects that is currently on Aymé’s top interest radar is benevola’s work with a NGO called Conservation Interaction in Dar Es Salaam. …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

The Charity Reportedly Connected To Bin Laden Slaying Is Denying Everything. Should It?

By Abram Brown, Forbes Staff The doctor who helped the CIA identify Osama Bin Laden’s Pakistani hideout was reportedly recruited by the spy service through a large NGO called Save the Children Federation. The organization vehemently denies any connection to slaying, and a complex situation has quickly unfolded about Save the Children, a $595 million non-profit that ranked No. 25 on our latest list of the Top 100 U.S. charities. …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Bulgaria asks 3 Hamas lawmakers to leave

Bulgaria has asked three lawmakers from the ruling Palestinian Hamas party to leave the country, after they arrived at the invitation of an NGO.

Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said on Friday that the lawmakers had entered the country with regular visas “issued, however, on different motives from what they have demonstrated here.” He said they had left the country.

In an earlier statement, Bulgaria‘s Foreign Ministry said this was an “unannounced visit of a group related to Hamas,” and added that they “will not be received by any Bulgarian institutions.”

The director of the Center for Middle East Studies, Mohd Abuasi, said he had invited the three Palestinians to show that Bulgaria “is not a completely pro-Israeli country.”

…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News