The Good News Roundup
Blood on the ice
Blood Diamond opened December 8 in the U.S. and made its London premier the Saturday before Christmas, hitting jewelers right when it counts. The industry’s response, an ‘informational’ campaign touting the very Kimberley Process questioned in the film’s detailed exposition, has made few inroads in the entertainment pages where the story landed headlines. Saying that “whatever ring he proposes with would have to be a ‘conflict-free stone’,” DiCaprio hasn’t answered calls to Boycott DeBeers from Botswana, but the Kalahari San people battling diamond interests have won a major land ruling from the courts that reverses their eviction from ancestral lands since 2002. This week in Sierra Leone, the UN extends its successful peacebuilding mission a year, while elections are planned for July 2007. The government surprised the people of Freetown with a beautiful Christmas gift today – lights. “One man told our reporter, Olu Faulkner: “This is the best Christmas gift I have ever had. The mere pride of seeing lights in my capital once again is joy that I cannot describe”. .. Coming at the heels of earthshaking news that the country’s foreign debts have been erased, the government is riding a crest of unprecedented praises presently.”
UK to protect all girls
Flying in the face of parent groups concerned about underage sex, the British Department of Health has decided to vaccinate schoolgirls at age 12-13 against human papilloma virus (HPV). This extremely common virus (occuring in up to 75% of sexually active women at some point in their lives) is linked to nearly all cervical cancers. The jab costs £450 at private clinics, but a discount would be made for mass injections.
Clean water comes to Ethiopian schools
The EU has partnered with UNICEF to help Ethiopia provide safe drinking water to schools and communities, building scores of wells and other water supplies with a US $29 million project serving more than 160,000 children. “Around 80 percent of the disease burdens in the country are communicable diseases mainly caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation facilities,” The Reporter notes. The new wells will serve the homes of over 1.4 million people altogether.
Chad rebel signs peace deal
One of Chad’s rebel groups, led by Nour Abdelkerim, signed a peace agreement with the government at a meeting in Tripoli on Christmas eve. The rest of the rebel alliance dismissed the deal and refused to meet in Libya or discuss peace. Gaddafi has been pressuring Chad and Sudan to work together for peace, as the civil war threatens to destabilize the region. President Idriss Deby accuses Sudan of backing and arming rebels and jahnjaweed raiders, a charge Khartoum denies.
Sudan relents on Darfur
Finally threatened with sanctions, Sudan can no longer afford to block a stronger peacekeeping force for Darfur. The UK would support a UN-backed no-fly zone over the Darfur region to prevent further attacks on civilians.
Posted by gavin_rose
Savanna Reid is an environmental student writing in Las Vegas, originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma.