Saturday, June 23, 2007

See them while you can, before environmental toxins do their work on destorying any of the great wonders,folks-gregor

Climate fears for heritage sites

Mount Everest (Image: AP)

Mount Everest's glaciers are at risk, campaigners fear

Campaigners say the UN must take urgent action to protect six World Heritage sites, including Mount Everest, from the impact of climate change.

Groups, including Greenpeace and the Climate Justice Programme, have been petitioning the global body to list the locations as "in danger".

Nations that have signed the UN World Heritage Convention have a legal duty to cut emissions, the campaigners say.

The convention's committee is currently meeting in New Zealand.

The global agreement was set up to ensure the long-term protection of important cultural and natural sites.

Listed locations deemed to be at risk can be added to a "in danger" list, allowing them to be granted extra funding and protection.

To date, 184 nations are signatories of the convention, which was formed in 1972.

'Substantial cuts'

The petitioners hope the 21-nation governing committee will use the gathering in Christchurch to acknowledge the threat climate change poses to the sites.

"The committee will discuss a draft policy document on climate change," explained Peter Roderick, co-ordinator of the Climate Justice Programme.

"We are asking the Committee to recognise the need for substantial emission cuts."

The sites the groups want added to the "in danger" list are:

* Great Barrier Reef, Australia
* Belize Barrier Reef, Belize
* Huascaran National Park, Peru
* Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, US/Canada border
* Blue Mountains, Australia
* Sagarmatha National Park (which includes Mount Everest),Nepal

The petitions, which began in 2004, have attracted a number of high-profile signatories, including Everest climber Sir Edmund Hillary and BBC film-maker/naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

At last year's meeting, the World Heritage Committee rejected a motion calling for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite the set back, the campaigners want the governing committee to reconsider its position.

"We can save our world heritage for future generations, but only if we take urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution," said Phil Freeman of Climate Action Network Australia.

The World Heritage Committee's annual meeting runs until 2 July.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Now this is a true story but not one to go nuts over:)

Coconut banned at Mumbai temple

Hindus have been banned from taking certain offerings into one of the most popular temples in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) for security reasons.

The head of the Siddhivinayak temple told the BBC that the decision had been made after a police request.

Devotees are no longer allowed to take coconuts and flowers into the temple but may take sweets instead.

Police refused to say why tighter security was needed at the temple or whether there was a specific threat.

Thousands visit the Siddhivinayak temple, which is dedicated to the God Ganesha, every day.

Temple chief executive Hanumant Jagtap said at least 4,000 coconuts are offered daily to the deity, as well as innumerable flowers.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Delhi prisoners escape the heat
By Jyotsna Singh
BBC News, Delhi

Tihar jail
Tihar jail has recently been heavily over-crowded
More than 600 prisoners being held for minor offences have been freed from India's biggest prison, Tihar jail, in Delhi, officials said.

The prisoners were released after the Delhi High court asked for steps to be taken to decongest the crowded jail.

At least six prisoners have died in as many days as they struggled to cope with excessive heat and the lack of basic amenities at the prison.

The court said fans and coolers should have been fixed before the summer.

'Heat stroke'

"We have released 627 inmates, including four women, following the High court order," Tihar jail spokesman, Sunil Gupta, told the BBC News website.

Mr Gupta said the prisoners were released late on Monday after they furnished a personal bond of 2,000 Rupees (around $50 dollars) each.

"It is a good idea to release people who were being held for minor offences. it is a great relief, now we can focus more on other inmates," Mr Gupta said.

Tihar Jail, located in west Delhi, has capacity to accommodate 6,250 inmates. But is has had more than double that in recent days.

The Delhi High Court issued its order on the basis of a report filed by a three-member committee that investigated the deaths of prisoners in the searing summer heat.

Six prisoners and a jail warden have died over a period of seven days beginning June 6.

An investigation into the deaths revealed that the seven people had died of "natural causes, including heat stroke".

The investigation committee in its report to the court also highlighted overcrowding and a lack of proper amenities, including a scarcity of drinking water in the jail.

Human rights groups regularly lament the lack of medical and other basic facilities in India's prisons.

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