"It is very unlikely there will be a heterosexual epidemic [of aids] in other countries", says World Health Organization
In the first official admission that the universal prevention strategy promoted by the major Aids organisations may have been misdirected, Kevin de Cock, the head of the WHO's department of HIV/Aids said there will be no generalised epidemic of Aids in the heterosexual population outside Africa. -- Independent UK

World Health Organization issues statement to clarify AIDS story in UK paper
"We wish to clarify misinterpretations concerning WHO and UNAIDS' positions on the status of the AIDS epidemic in recent media articles. The story in the Independent on Sunday titled: “Threat of world AIDS pandemic among heterosexuals is over. ...First and foremost, the global HIV epidemic is by no means over...Worldwide, HIV is still largely driven by heterosexual transmission."

Globally HIV peaked in the late 1990's says WHO report
"The percentage of the world’s adult population living with HIV—has been estimated to be level since 2001. Downward trends in HIV prevalence are occurring in a number of countries... Global HIV incidence likely peaked in the late 1990's ... This reduction in HIV incidence likely reflects natural trends in the epidemic as well as the result of prevention programmes resulting in behavioural change in different contexts." Source: 'AIDS epidemic update - December 2007' report by the UNAIDS/World Health Organization, pages 5 and 6.

HIV/AIDS rate is 17 times higher for black women than white women in Florida
Florida, which ranks No. 2 among states for AIDS cases, also has more black women with the disease. In Florida, 54 percent of people with AIDS are black, and nearly a third are women. Among Florida residents with HIV, 70 percent are men and 71 percent of them are gay.

G8 finance chiefs say urgent action needed to battle global warming
The finance ministers from the Group of Eight (G8) club of rich nations said they supported multilateral funds proposed by the United States, Japan and Britain aimed at helping emerging countries afford cleaner technology.

Global warming is an amazing fraud and scam says founder of the Weather Network
"There is no significant man made global warming. The climate of Earth is changing. It has always changed. But mankind’s activities have not overwhelmed or significantly modified the natural forces. Through all history, Earth has shifted between two basic climate regimes: ice ages and what paleoclimatologists call 'Interglacial periods'... during an interglacial period... glaciers melt and life flourishes" says John Coleman founder of the Weather Network.

"Trust is the chicken soup of social life." says political scientist Eric Uslaner, and reduces the worry of crime and corruption
Over the last two decades, social scientists have repeatedly suggested that good things tend to happen in societies where people tend to trust each other -- they have stronger democracies, richer economies, better health, and they suffer less often from any number of social ills. The 2007 Pew Global Attitudes survey finds in countries where people generally trust one another, there are fewer worries about crime or corrupt political leaders.

US to cut back participation at UN Human Rights Commission
A State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says U.S. representatives will be much more selective in dealing with the Geneva-based council. He said the United States will engage the U.N. body only when matters of American national interest are involved. The State Department noted the council was focused on criticizing Israel instead of dealing with other human rights issues.

International human rights organization rejects Pakistan's claim that the 'Cairo Declaration' complements the 'UN Declaration of Human Rights'
IHEU has responded to claims that the “Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam” is “not an alternative” to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but “complementary” to it. In a written statement to the UN Human Rights Council, IHEU opposed any resolution that seeks to limit the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration. "All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this [Cairo] Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari'ah" To read the full statement with analysis of the Cairo Declaration click here.

Canadian writer prefers to lose his case on freedom of speech and human rights to the Canadian Islamic Congress
Writer Mark Steyn said a negative ruling by the BC Human Rights Commission would allow the case to go forward in the legal system -- instead of being heard by what he has called a panel of "pretend judges." Maclean's magazine said the Islamic Congress wants Maclean's to publish their 5,000-word response and to allow the Islamic Congress the right to control the editing as well as the content of the magazine's cover.

Articles about Islam in Maclean's magazine violate Ontario Human Rights Code, says Commission Chief Barbara Hall
"While freedom of expression must be recognized as a cornerstone of a functioning democracy, the Commission has serious concerns about the content of a number of articles concerning Muslims that have been published by Maclean’s magazine... And, while we all recognize and promote the inherent value of freedom of expression, it should also be possible to challenge any institution that contributes to the dissemination of destructive, xenophobic opinions."

Canadian politician calls for review of Human Rights Commission to determine when freedom of speech becomes a crime where hate and contempt are incited
St. Catharines MP Rick Dykstra has asked for a review of the commission's "application and interpretation" of a controversial section of the Human Rights Act dealing with promoting hatred electronically. "We have the right in our magnificent country to be free of slander, discrimination and hate crimes," Martin wrote on his website. "However, we do not have the right to not be offended."

Fatalities caused by terrorists have dropped 40 per cent and support for al-Qaeda has collapsed throughout the Muslim world claims study by Simon Fraser University
The study notes that the decline in terrorism appears to be caused by many factors, among them successful counterterrorism operations in dozens of countries and infighting among terror groups.

Alberta tar sands could contain six times more oil than Saudi Arabia
Alberta tar sands may be the world’s largest oil reserve. Only the surface sands are accessible at the moment, but if the technology develops a little more, there’s potentially six times more oil there than the whole of Saudi Arabia - enough to last 200 years.

59 per cent of Americans support more oil drilling in the USA
A push by U.S. President George W. Bush and Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain to lift a ban on U.S. offshore oil drilling could find plenty of support from Americans weary of rising energy costs, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll.

Canada passes climate change bill with focus on carbon trading
Jack Layton's private member bill, the Climate Change Accountability Act (C-377) was passed by Canada's minority-conservative government. The Canadian House of Parliament is the first elected chamber in the world to adopt science-based targets to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 80 per cent (from 1990 levels) by 2050.

US climate change bill fails to pass in democrat-controlled Senate
Had the bill passed, The Climate Security Act would have cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 66% between 2012 and 2050, based on 2005 emission levels.

More news...

Some Useful Resources

Book Resources:

Freedom’s Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian Intervention
by Gary J. Bass

Bass, associate professor of international affairs at Princeton makes the case that humanitarian military intervention arose in Victorian times in parallel with democracy and the mass media. When Greeks rebelled against the Ottoman Empire, Turkish troops committed atrocities viewed by reporters and letter writers whose accounts produced a torrent of outrage. Reluctantly, British leaders began pressuring the sultan, but the failure of this effort led to Britain’s great naval victory at Navarino that assured Greek independence. Bass also covers the 1860s Syrian upheaval in which Maronite Christians and Druze slaughtered each other, the 1870s mass murders of Bulgarians by the Ottomans and the Armenian genocide during WWI. Publishers Weekly.

Women in Iraq: The Gender Impact of International Sanctions
by Yasmin Husein Al-Jawaheri

Scholar Al-Jawaheri examines how women bore the brunt of the impact of the 13 years of U.N.-backed sanctions on Iraq. Intended to force Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to comply with international law, the sanctions “failed miserably,” Al-Jawaheri writes. Indeed, “the cruel irony is that the dictator and his henchmen grew obscenely rich... while helpless civilians... were made to suffer hunger, disease, or even death.” Publishers Weekly.

Paradise Lost: Smyrna 1922
by Giles Milton

In his searingly vivid account of Smyrna's destruction by the Turks in 1922, acclaimed popular historian Milton renders an astute account of the clash of Greek and Turkish nationalisms and the unhelpful meddling of Western powers, particularly Britain, which supported a Greek incursion into Turkey. When the defending Turkish troops under Mustafa Kemal took Smyrna in September 1922, a horrific killing spree of Greeks and Armenians began, and hundreds of thousands of refugees were trapped on the quayside between the sea and a city willfully torched by the Turks as a score of foreign vessels looked on. Milton draws on eyewitness accounts to render these events in all their horror, and ends with an almost incredible rescue led by an unlikely hero. Milton powerfully renders this tragic tale of an army that came to “liberate” Smyrna and instead massacred its citizens and burned their prize to the ground in a vengeful frenzy. Publishers Weekly.

Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America
by Paul Tough

Tough profiles educational visionary Geoffrey Canada, whose Harlem Children's Zone—currently serving more than 7,000 children and encompassing 97 city blocks—represents an audacious effort to end poverty within underserved communities. Canada's radical experiment is predicated upon changing everything in these communities—creating an interlocking web of services targeted at the poorest and least likely to succeed children: establishing programs to prepare and support parents, a demanding k-8 charter school and a range of after-school programs for high school students. Publishers Weekly

Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition
by Robert Pogue Harrison

Robert Pogue Harrison examines the many ways gardens evoke the human condition. From the gardens of ancient philosophers to the gardens of homeless people in contemporary New York, he shows how the garden has served as a check against the destruction and losses of history. The ancients, explains Harrison, viewed gardens as both a model and a location for the laborious self-cultivation and self-improvement that are essential to serenity and enlightenment.

1001 Historical Sites You Must See Before You Die
edited by Richard Cavendish, preface by Koichiro Matsuura

Well-organized by region and graced with thorough historical descriptions of each locale, this volume’s impressive range incorporates everything from typical tourist destinations like Westminster Abbey, the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China, as well as unusual spots like the A-Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, Guinness Brewery in Dublin, and the Mercedes-Benz Factory in Stuttgart, Germany. Publishers Weekly.

The Eco Chick Guide to Life: How to Be Fabulously Green
by Starre Vartan

Vartan emphasizes that sustainable living needn’t involve making sacrifices; her host of recipes, trivia, instructions on cooking up homemade household cleaners and pet food (not to mention toothpaste!) and tips on ecological makeovers for the home, body and wardrobe make an environmentally friendly lifestyle seem desirable, accessible and full of creative potential. The author informs and entertains as she presents natural solutions to roaches (catnip!) as well as the unexpected health benefits of cast-iron cookware. Publishers Weekly.

Other Resources:

Toxic Alberta - the Canadian tar sands
The future of American oil is in Canada, and the future is grim. The oil is trapped in dirt, the Canadians like to call it "sand" but it's dirt and getting it out is expensive and messy. VBS travelled to the epicenter of the tar sands industry, Ft. McMurray, Alberta, to document the bloody mess from many angles.

Arthur Robinson is interviewed by Glenn Beck about his 'Oregon Petition' that was signed by 31,000 scientists who believe global warming is not caused by the human production of greenhouse gases.

Center for Disease Control
Statistics for HIV/AIDS in the USA

Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam -- Full Text
Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam,Aug. 5, 1990, U.N. GAOR,
World Conf. on Hum. Rts., 4th Sess., Agenda Item 5, U.N. Doc.
A/CONF.157/PC/62/Add.18 (1993) [English translation].

A comparison of the Cairo Declaration to the Universal Declaration  of Human Rights by the International Humanist and Ethical Union --the world union of Humanist organizations.

Eco-Chick - website
The blogteam at Eco-chick includes a model who has a degree in entomology, an alternative health freak who’s used herself as a guinea pig, a science nerd, a news junkie and a London-based expat; the site is run and hosted by an anarchist webmaster.  Today’s chicks want to know what’s going on, and want to laugh. Eco Chick agrees. While we have a woman’s perspective, all are welcome to contribute, comment and create.

Oregon Petition
The purpose of the Petition Project is to demonstrate that the claim of "settled science" and an overwhelming "consensus" in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climatological damage is wrong. No such consensus or settled science exists. As indicated by the petition text and signatory list, a very large number of American scientists reject this hypothesis. It is signed by 31,072 Americans with university degrees in science – including 9,021 PhDs.

Global warming dissenters - a short backgrounder on the scientists resisting global warming
Lawrence Solomon, executive director of Energy Probe and author of 'The Deniers' gives  a short history of the various scientific movements over the past few years that have stood against the current global warming movement based on the Kyoto Protocols.

The primary movements are the  "Statement by Atmospheric Scientists on Greenhouse Warming" signed by 47 scientists in February 1992; the 'Heidleberg Appeal' signed by 425 scientists at the UN"s Earth Summit in June 1992; the 'Leipzig Declaration on Global Climate Change' of 1997; the Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship in 2000, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine's Petition Project of 2001 and finally the Oregon Petition of 2008.

'Global Warming Is Not a Crisis' - Listen to the NPR debate online radio
In this debate, the proposition was: "Global Warming Is Not a Crisis." In a vote before the debate, about 30 percent of the audience agreed with the motion, while 57 percent were against and 13 percent undecided. The debate seemed to affect a number of people: Afterward, about 46 percent agreed with the motion, roughly 42 percent were opposed and about 12 percent were undecided.