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US: Tribes hope for renewal in solar eclipse; Navajos will not watch
19 August 2017 - While much of America gawks at the solar eclipse, Bobbieann Baldwin will be inside with her children, shades drawn. In Navajo culture, the passing of the moon over the sun is an intimate moment in which the sun is reborn and tribal members take time out for themselves. No talking. No eating or drinking.... Many American Indian tribes revere the sun and moon as cultural deities, great sources of power and giver of life. U.S. Bureau of Indian Education spokeswoman Nedra Darling said the agency's schools, most of which are on the Navajo Nation, were given the option of closing Monday. Navajo Nation employees have Monday off, and other schools on and off the reservation that extends into Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah earlier decided to close in respect of the culture that teaches that looking at the sun during an eclipse can be harmful not only to one's eyesight but for overall well-being. (more)

Loans for solar systems make power affordable in rural Kenya
18 August 2017 - Until recently, Kenneth Njoroge's home northwest of Kenya's capital, Nairobi, was poorly lit at night. Most people in Ndabibi are not connected to mains electricity, and rely on kerosene or small solar lamps to light their homes. A loan from a micro-finance institution has made it possible for him to invest in a solar power system for his home. (more)

US: Once homeless, Iraq War veteran moves into unique new home (+ AP video)
18 August 2017 - A homeless Iraq war veteran in California has a unique place to finally call home. Vernon Poling moved into an apartment made of shipping containers. The complex built for homeless veterans is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. 'There's been a couple nights that I've been surprised I've slept so long,' Poling said. 'It's a load off.' (more)

17 lesser-known island gems offer hidden treasures
17 August 2017 - Let's be honest: Islands are rarely a hard sell, but some of these pretty places ... get a little more love than others. From the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean, and a spot in the literal middle of nowhere, here are 17 less-boasted paradises worth adding to any travel list: (more)

Organic food consumption in the Czech Republic increases
17 August 2017 - One-tenth of people in the Czech Republic often buy organic food and 43 percent do so from time to time ... People buy foodstuffs produced by farmers mostly because they do not contain chemicals, four-fifths of the poll's respondents say. According to the data of the Agriculture Ministry, the organic food consumption in the Czech Republic increased by 11.4 percent year-on-year in 2015. People spent 2.25 billion crowns on it, which was 213 crowns per capita on average. This was the highest sum since 2008. (more)

US: Plan continues to rebuild trumpeter swan numbers in Montana
17 August 2017 - More trumpeter swans will be shipped to the Madison Valley throughout the next five years, as state wildlife officials continue to establish nesting pairs on a private ranch south of Ennis, Montana. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported (http://bit.ly/2x4Qxw7 ) Wednesday that market hunters decimated the trumpeter swan population in the region by the early 20th century, but conservation efforts have brought the birds back. (more)

US: Trumpeter swan reintroduction to continue in Madison Valley, Montana
17 August 2017 - More trumpeter swans will be shipped to the Madison Valley over the next five years as state wildlife officials continue trying to establish nesting pairs on a private ranch south of Ennis. Jeff Laszlo, the owner of the ranch, said there is plenty of habitat for the swans. Trumpeter swans are the largest waterfowl in North America. Each bird can grow to 5 feet in length and can have a wingspan near 7 feet long. Unlike other swan species, they have a black bill with no markings and aren't as loud as other species. (more)

Breaking the code: how women in Nigeria are changing the face of tech
16 August 2017 - The Nigerian tech scene is booming. Last year, Lagos-based startup Andela received $24 million in funding from Mark Zuckerberg. In 2015, financial technology startup Paystack -- one of the first Nigerian tech companies to be accepted into renowned California-based startup accelerator Y Combinator -- secured approximately $1.3 million in seed investment from international investors. Within this growth, women are emerging as influential forces, and changing the face of technology in Africa, especially in the fields of agricultural and financial tech. (more)

Scotland's largest solar farm gets green light
16 August 2017 - The green light has been given for what will be Scotland's largest solar farm. Moray Council has granted Elgin Energy planning permission for a 20MW project near Urquhart, which could see about 80,000 solar panels installed. The farm will be constructed on the 47-hectare Speyslaw site -- the equivalent of about 40 football pitches. The largest Scottish solar farm is currently a 13MW project at Errol Estate in Perthshire, which went live in May last year. All cabling at the site -- spread over three fields at the Innes Estate -- will be underground, allowing sheep to graze around the panels. (more)

The Associated Press' guide to the best free online workouts
16 August 2017 - It's easy to get discouraged by the boutique fitness craze with $25 per class fees and the weekly chore of sitting by your computer to reserve a spot in that popular spin class that always sells out. It's often tempting to just skip it, so we rounded up our favorite free online workouts that you can do in your living room, at the office, in a park, or on vacation. (more)

Korean leaders, US open door to diplomacy in nuclear crisis
15 August 2017 - . . . both Koreas and the United States signaled their willingness to avert a deepening crisis, with each suggesting a path toward negotiations. South Korean President Moon Jae-in, meanwhile, a liberal who favors engagement with the North, urged North Korea to stop provocations and to commit to talks over its nuclear weapons program. (more)

North Korea holds off on Guam missile plan as China urges 'brakes' on rhetoric
15 August 2017 - North Korea's leader has delayed a decision on firing missiles towards Guam while he waits to see what the United States does next, the North's state media said on Tuesday, as South Korea's President said Seoul would seek to prevent war by all means. (more)

Project aims to attract tourists to remote Albanian villages
14 August 2017 - An ambitious project is aiming to open up remote villages in the highlands of southern Albania to the outside world and to tourists wanting to discover the spectacular natural beauty and rural way of life of the more isolated parts of the Balkan country. (more)

US: Santa Fe Indian Market fuses tradition with contemporary art
14 August 2017 - For nearly a century, American Indian jewelers, potters, and other artists have been gathering in the heart of northern New Mexico to show off their creations at one of the nation's most prestigious art markets. The annual Santa Fe Indian Market begins Saturday [19 August] as organizers push ahead with raising the bar for showcasing what they say are the best examples of art that has evolved from centuries-old traditions. Events related to Native film, literature, and fashion are scheduled throughout the week leading up to the market. [The Associated Press tells readers] some more things to know. (more)

Canada: Farmer about to flip the switch on largest solar-energy system in the province
12 August 2017 - A southern Manitoba dairy farmer is about to lay claim to having the largest solar-energy system in the province, but his reign as solar champ will be short-lived. As early as next month, Hans Gorter's new 175-kilowatt, solar photovoltaic (PV) system near Otterburne will be surpassed by a 200-kilowatt system being installed at the Tallpine Lodges in West Hawk Lake. (more)

Undaunted by tensions, Chinese tourists flock into North Korea
10 August 2017 - Undeterred by escalating tensions between Pyongyang and Washington rattling nerves globally, a steady stream of tourists from China each morning passes through the immigration checkpoint at the border trading hub of Dandong. Greeting them on the North Korean side are dozens of tour buses, collecting them for itineraries ranging from a day in neighboring Sinijiu to a week visiting North Korea's main cities, including the capital Pyongyang. (more)

In a remote Irish town, a goat reigns supreme
10 August 2017 - For a few days this week a goat will be king of a small town in Ireland's rural south west. Billed as one of Ireland's oldest festivals, the Puck Fair sees locals in the town of Killorglin pluck a wild mountain goat from its habitat and crown him 'King Puck' for the duration of the event. Organizers say historical references to the festival date back to the early 17th century. (more)

Afghan boy known as 'Little Picasso' shows works in Serbia
9 August 2017 - A 10-year-old migrant from Afghanistan, who has been nicknamed 'Little Picasso,' is using his first ever exhibition to help another boy in need. Farhad Nouri's drawings and photographs were put on display Wednesday (9 August) in what was also his charity event to raise money for a Serbian boy recovering from surgery. 'Thank you all for coming here!' Nouri told dozens of visitors as he opened the exhibition organized with the help of aid groups and supported by Serbia's government. (more)

Gardening apps are getting better all the time
8 August 2017 - Gardening apps are getting better all the time, supplanting manuals and textbooks as the way people dig for information. Many university Extension services are developing the digital aids to extend outreach to clients. 'Extension apps provide reliable, research-based information,' said Christopher Enroth, an Extension educator with the University of Illinois, who evaluates gardening apps for their relevancy, customization, and ease of use. The word 'app' is short for application -- software designed for use on smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices. (more)

UK: Outsmarting sunshine in Europe's cloudiest corner
8 August 2017 - Within the last year, the sun has taken on new-found importance across the cloudy island nation with photovoltaic cells providing as much as a quarter of the U.K.'s daily power supply on some days, from almost no capacity in 2011. Of all of Britain's power generation capacity, 13 percent is solar. That volume is forecast to more than double by 2040, and make up 22 percent of the country's power mix, BNEF (Bloomberg New Energy Finance) said. (more)

US: Salt Lake elementary school employs goats for gardening work
7 August 2017 - A Salt Lake City elementary school has found a cheap, chemical-free way to clear weeds from a treacherous hillside: A team of hungry goats. For the third year in a row, a herd of goats is being used to landscape the tricky terrain at Washington Elementary School. The district loves to use the goats because it avoids using chemicals around children, and it saves money, said Ricardo Zubiate, assistant director of facility services for the Salt Lake City School District. (more)

US: Saratoga's solar panels to be fully operational next week
7 August 2017 - The Spa Solar Park, the 2.5 megawatt solar array, will be fully operational by Monday, August 14. Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan said the solar panels will provide the city with electricity credits from National Grid and match 40 percent of the city's energy use. 'This is a win-win all around and we are very excited to see the project go live and start providing renewable solar energy,' Madigan said in a statement. (more)

India: Solar units on rooftops brighten 12k properties in Pune
6 August 2017 - There has been a steady rise in the installation of solar units by households, residential societies and commercial establishments across the city [of Pune]. Over 12,000 properties have opted for solar units. An addition of 2,000 properties was registered in the 2016-17. Most establishments are tapping solar energy for household purposes like water heaters, lamps, and air-conditioning units. Besides saving on power bills, these properties are also availing discounts in property tax for installation of solar equipment. (more)

India: Poet Laureate Kuvempu's Kuppalli house comes alive at Lalbagh Flower Show
6 August 2017 - Marking 50 years of the first Jnanpith Award (1967) to Rashtrakavi Kuvempu, this year's Annual Flower Show at Lalbagh has a major attraction -- a replica of Kavimane, the Poet Laureate's house in Kuppalli, Shivamogga. Governor Vajubhai R. Vala inaugurated the show yesterday. (more)

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