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Spain's hotel sector expects record summer
24 July 2017 - Spanish hoteliers are expecting a record number of foreign visitors this summer, hotel confederation Cehat said on Wednesday [28 June], in a boost for the economy. Spain registered a record 75.5 million foreign visitors in 2016 . . . Tourism accounts for around 11 percent of Spain's economic output and is a major contributor to employment levels. 'Expectations are up across all areas, in prices, nightly stays, and profits,' general secretary of Cehat Ramon Estalella said . . . (more)

US: Construction begins on Connecticut town's solar farm
24 July 2017 - With the development of a new solar farm, the town (of Bethel, Connecticut) hopes to save both money and the environment. Construction began this week on the 2,900-panel solar farm expected to generate nearly 1 million kilowatts of energy a year for the town. 'This is an example of think globally, act locally,' First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker said. 'The town of Bethel is doing its part to reduce carbon emissions [and] that reduces global warming.' Across the state, 2,400 residents in 73 communities have installed solar through Solarize Connecticut. (more)

US: Florida Organic Growers celebrates 30 years of healthful food
24 July 2017 - Dealing with social justice issues associated with organic farming has been at the core of Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers of Gainesville's work since the group's creation. Known as FOG, the nonprofit this month will celebrate 30 years of fighting for organic farmers, farm workers' rights, and for people on the lower rung of the economic ladder to have access to healthy food. Marty Mesh, executive director of the Gainesville-based organization, said it was established to support and promote sustainable organic agriculture through educating consumers, farmers, businesses, policy makers, and the general public about issues associated with organic farming. FOG also offers a program that makes fresh, local produce more affordable and accessible to low-income families. (more)

China is adding solar power at a record pace
23 July 2017 - China, the world's biggest investor in clean energy, is on pace to install record amounts of new solar this year after adding 24 gigawatts of capacity in the first half amid a push by policy makers to locate electricity production near the point where it's used. Distributed solar-power projects -- the kind of solar found on industrial buildings, malls, and schools -- accounted for almost a third of the new installations in the period ... (more)

Indian Railways has just given its new train a futuristic makeover
23 July 2017 - Asia's largest rail network is taking a big step towards being sustainable. The Indian Railways has launched its first ever train equipped with rooftop solar panels in a first step towards what could be a massive renewable energy coup. While India has been uncharacteristically bullish about renewable energy, especially solar, in the last few years, the new train could herald the beginning of a new era in sustainable energy and public transport. (more)

Indian Railways launches first solar-powered train
22 July 2017 - Indian Railways on July 14 launched first solar-powered DEMU (diesel electrical multiple unit) train from the Safdarjung railway station in Delhi. The train will run from Sarai Rohilla in Delhi to Farukh Nagar in Haryana. A total of 16 solar panels, each producing 300 Wp, are fitted in six coaches. The railways are planning to introduce nearly 50 more such coaches in the coming days. Solar power would be introduced first in urban trains and later in long-distance trains as well. (more)

Indian Railways creates history: Launches first solar powered train in India
22 July 2017 - Indian Railways introduced its first solar powered train this month which promises to save almost 21,000 litres of diesel every year. This newly launched, first solar-powered train in India is government's initiative to start an eco-friendly transportation system plying to the of widest networks of trains. The solar panels have been installed on the top of the trains to get charged by the sunlight during the day time. The new solar powered train has become operational from Delhi, which is the medium of transport of over 23 million passengers every day. (more)

German factory growth reaches 74-month high in June: PMI
22 July 2017 - German manufacturing growth reached its highest level in more than six years in June, driven by a sharp increase in orders, a survey showed on Monday [3 July], suggesting factories will contribute to an expansion in the second quarter. Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for manufacturing, which accounts for about a fifth of the economy, rose to 59.6 from 59.5 in May to reach its highest level in 74 months. (more)

Hints that lifestyle changes might guard against dementia
20 July 2017 - Seek a good education. Control blood pressure and diabetes. Get off the couch. There are some hints, but no proof yet, that these and other lifestyle changes just might help stave off dementia. A report in the British journal Lancet Thursday [20 July] raised the prospect that a third of dementia cases around the world could be delayed or even prevented by avoiding key risks starting in childhood that can make the brain more vulnerable to memory loss in old age. (more)

Living healthily, learning more could cut dementia cases by a third
20 July 2017 - Learning new things, eating and drinking well, not smoking and limiting hearing loss and loneliness could prevent a third of dementia cases, health experts said on Thursday, 20 July. In a wide-ranging analysis of the risk factors behind dementia, the researchers highlighted nine as particularly important. (more)

Researchers in Cambodia find nest of rare riverine bird
20 July 2017 - Wildlife researchers in Cambodia have found a breeding location for the masked finfoot bird, one of the world's most endangered, raising hopes of its continuing survival, the researchers announced Thursday, 20 July. The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society said its scientists, along with conservationists from Cambodia's Environment Ministry and residents along the Memay River in the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary, discovered the only confirmed breeding location in Cambodia for the very rare species. (more)

US: Miami suburb will require solar panels for all new homes
19 July 2017 - Rooftop solar panel installations will be required for all new residential construction, along with some home renovations, in a Miami suburb. The South Miami ordinance that takes effect September 18 was modeled after similar ordinances recently passed by San Francisco and three other California cities. (more)

Peru government expects economy to expand 2.8 percent this year
18 July 2017 - Peruvian Prime Minister and Finance Minister Fernando Zavala said on Tuesday [18 July] that the economy will likely grow 2.8 percent this year before expanding by between 3.8 percent and 4 percent in following years. Zavala told a press conference that the centrist government of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski expects the nation's economy to eventually reach a 5 percent annual rate of growth. (more)

Samsung to recover rare metals, components in Galaxy Note 7s
18 July 2017 - Samsung Electronics plans to recover gold and other metals and components from recalled Galaxy Note 7 smartphones to reduce waste. The South Korean company said Tuesday that it expects to retrieve 157 tons of gold, silver, cobalt, copper, and other metals from millions of smartphones that were recalled and discontinued last year after their batteries were found to be prone to catching fire. In another effort to reduce waste, Samsung has begun selling 400,000 units of Galaxy Note FE phones in South Korea made from unused parts of recalled Note 7 smartphones. (more)

US: South Portland's major solar array project begins
18 July 2017 - Construction has started on what is expected to be Maine's largest municipally owned solar array. The Portland Press Herald reports installation began at South Portland's capped landfill Tuesday, 18 July. The one-megawatt solar array will be composed of 2,944 solar panels. Officials expect the array to generate 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of energy per year. (more)

Tourists flock to Cambodia's new world heritage site
17 July 2017 - Tourists flocked to Cambodia's newest world heritage site on the weekend, the 16th and 17th century forest temple of Sambor Prei Kuk after it was recently added to the U.N. cultural organization's heritage list. Cambodia attracts tourists from around the world who often make a beeline for the Angkor Wat temple complex, another world heritage site. On July 8 UNESCO added Sambor Prei Kuk or 'temple in the richness of the forest' in the Khmer language to its heritage list. Located 206 km (128 miles) north of the capital Phnom Penh, it is home to numerous temples, 10 of which are octagonal. (more)

River roll call as 'swan upping' gets under way on Britain's Thames
17 July 2017 - Six old-fashioned skiffs interrupted the sleepy pace of life on a stretch of the river Thames on Monday as teams embarked on the annual 'upping' -- a combined census and health visit for swans. The upping sees three teams, one representing Queen Elizabeth and one each representing the old trade associations of the Vintners and Dyers livery companies, patrol the river for five days, and capture, tag, and then release any families of swans with young. (more)

Royal tradition: Counting the swans on the River Thames
17 July 2017 - The annual count of swans belonging to Queen Elizabeth II has begun on the River Thames. The five-day event known as Swan Upping dates back to the 12th century . . . Now it is more about conservation. Data from the census is collected to assess the growth of the swan population. Swan Uppers -- a team of dedicated boaters -- are tasked with finding swans on a specific stretch of the River Thames. When a group of cygnets [young swans] is spotted, they cry 'All Up,' then mark the young birds and check them for disease or injury. (more)

70-year-old YouTube hit redefining beauty in South Korea
14 July 2017 - One of South Korea's most popular YouTube stars is a 70-year-old grandmother whose cool, undaunted style and hilarity are a breath of fresh air in a social media universe that exalts youth and perfect looks. Park Makrye's videos are all about showing off her wrinkles and her elderly life in the raw. Young South Koreans find her so funny and adorable that big companies like Samsung Electronics and Lotte are banking on her popularity. (more)

Peru: Old-school camera captures Andean festival (+ AP video)
13 July 2017 - One by one, Associated Press photographer Rodrigo Abd positioned the traditional dancers, musicians, and vendors in front of an old-fashioned box camera in Peru's Sinakara Valley as a colorful Andean festival exploded all around them. The men, women, and children were among the tens of thousands of pilgrims representing some eight nations who came to this sacred place in Quispicanchis province in Peru's Cuzco region for the annual Snow Star Festival ... (more)

US: New partnership makes it easier to prove Pilgrim ancestry
13 July 2017 - The number of people trying to determine whether they are descended from a Mayflower passenger is surging as the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims' arrival in the New World approaches in 2020. Now, a partnership announced Thursday [13 July] between the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the General Society of Mayflower Descendants is making it easier to figure out. The Boston-based genealogical society is digitizing and indexing authenticated Mayflower Pilgrim genealogies and 50 years' worth of the 'Mayflower Quarterly' magazine, and making them available at its research site, Thanks to several television shows, genealogical research is now America's second-most popular hobby after gardening, said Lea Filson, governor general of the Plymouth-based General Society of Mayflower Descendants. (more)

Study: Ravens can see ahead
13 July 2017 - ...Scientists are reporting that real-life ravens think about the future. In a series of tests, ravens showed signs of a general planning ability that previously had been documented only in people and great apes. Even monkeys have failed to show it. Ravens showed they could plan by setting aside a tool that they suspected would get them a tasty treat later. And they prepared for future bartering, too. Swedish researchers Can Kabadayi and Mathias Osvath of Lund University ... reported the results in a paper released Thursday by the journal Science. (more)

US: Lotus flowers blooming just in time for Los Angeles festival
13 July 2017 - Pink and white lotus blossoms are blooming just in time for a Los Angeles festival named after the aquatic flowers. The Lotus Festival -- the 37th annual at the city's Echo Park Lake -- kicks off Friday and runs through the weekend. The celebration traditionally honors Asian cultures. Food, art and music from Bangladesh will be featured this year. (more)

US: Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit looks at Japan's fine craft of bamboo basketry
12 July 2017 - Bamboo is getting attention these days as a versatile and sustainable material for housewares, so the timing is good for a Metropolitan Museum of Art [in New York City] exhibit that explores Japan's ancient craft of basketry. 'Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection' is devoted to masterworks, including a half dozen works by two artists designated as Living National Treasures in Japan. To highlight the works' virtuosity and context, they have been displayed alongside paintings, ceramics, bronzes, kimonos, and other pieces from different genres. (more)

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