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Prince Charles encourages action on global warming at Paris conference
27 January 2015 - Prince Charles told a meeting of forestry and climate experts this year's environment agreement, due to be signed in Paris, should be seen as a Magna Carta for the earth. He said this year marked potentially the 'last chance' to save the world from the perils of global warming. His insistence that 2015 will be a make-or-break year for the climate, and environmental sustainability, were echoed by Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and now the UN's special envoy for climate change, charged with bringing nations together for a successful outcome at the Paris conference in December. (more)

Canada: Developers raise money to translate video game into Inuktitut
27 January 2015 - A video game inspired by Inuit legends is giving a boost to a Nunavut software company. The interactive story 'Beneath Floes' tells the legend of the qalupaliq, a sea monster based on Inuit lore. Beneath Floes is currently only available to play in English, but software company Pinnguaq, which is based in Pangnirtung, Nunavut, is working hard to get it translated into multiple aboriginal languages. Pinnguaq recently launched an online fundraiser using the site Kickstarter in order to get the money needed to create an Inuktitut version. Within the first twelve hours, they met that goal. (more)

Canada: UBC's hand-held medical lab inspired by Star Trek (with video)
27 January 2015 - Engineers at the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus have devised a hand-held medical lab capable of detecting viruses, measuring blood glucose levels, and finding food-borne pathogens or even weapons of mass destruction. The lab is small enough to fit in your hand but powerful enough to look at microscopic drops of fluid and detect the presence of harmful agents. (more)

Canada: Vancouver's bird values helped ornithological congress bid take flight
27 January 2015 - The bidding war for the International Ornithological Congress is almost as fierce as the push for the Olympics, and in the birding world, the event is a more important one. Vancouver last week won the prestigious conference, which will bring more than 2,000 bird scientists to the city in 2018, in part because the team that went to Japan to vie for the event could boast about the city's new bird strategy. Vancouver's natural beauty and its spectacular waterfront conference centre were big factors in the winning bid. (more)

India: Maharashtra Chief Minister Fadnavis asks police personnel to practice yoga asanas
27 January 2015 - Acknowledging the stress and pressure faced by policemen during duty hours, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday asked the officials to make yoga a part of their lives as it brings positive energy to the body and mind. 'I think yoga is essential for every individual. I am confident that after the workshop, the participants will feel nice and find a change in themselves,' Fadnavis said after inaugurating a one-day yoga workshop for Mumbai Police at Prena Hall in south Mumbai. (more)

India: Reverie to soon launch its Swalekh multilingual keyboard
27 January 2015 - India is the land of diverse culture and language. Reverie Language Technologies will launch Swalekh, a multilingual keyboard, on 26 January on the Google Play Store. The keyboard will support 11 Indian languages, and will be compatible with all Android-based devices. Reverie is looking to address the local language user experience problem from all angles, empowering local language users. (more)

Modi, Barack share hugs and laughter as between 'two old friends'
27 January 2015 - Several hours before United States President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the plan to set up a hotline between the two of them, it was clear that their conversations had already been warm and crackling with chemistry. As Air Force One touched down in Delhi on Sunday, PM Modi appeared on the tarmac. In a break from protocol -- a break that former PM Manmohan Singh had made for former US President Bush in 2006 and President Obama in 2010 as well -- PM Modi personally greeted Mr Obama as he alighted from the plane. The two leaders then chatted, as old friends would: even though they first met only four months ago; this is their fourth meeting since then. (more)

US consumer confidence jumps to 7 ½-year high in January
27 January 2015 - US consumers welcomed the new year with a surge in confidence. The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index climbed this month to 102.9, highest level since August 2007 -- four months before the start of the Great Recession. (more)

US new home sales jump 11.6 per cent in December
27 January 2015 - Sales of new US homes accelerated strongly in December, a sign that home-buying may improve this year after a lackluster 2014. The growth in December pointed to rising sales in 2015, buoyed by the combination of strong hiring in recent months and drastically lower mortgage rates. Home values are also rising at a slower pace, improving affordability for would-be buyers. (more)

Vancouver selected to host premier global event for bird scientists in 2018
27 January 2015 - Vancouver, Canada has been selected to host the 27th International Ornithological Congress, 19-28 August 2018, after submitting a winning bid to the organizing society. It is considered the most prestigious event for bird scientists around the world, according to a press release. The Congress will bring together over 2,000 bird scientists from 100 countries and will include public events and exhibitions in celebration of all-things-birds. (more)

Africa's quiet solar revolution
26 January 2015 - The continent skipped land lines for mobile phones. Now a new generation of start-ups is trying to bring sun power to rural Africa -- and leapfrog the fossil fuel era. Until recently, the lack of electricity in many poor areas of rural Africa was seen as something of an inevitable fact of life. Now, however, a new solar energy movement is bringing kilowatts to previously unlit areas of Africa -- and changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. The idea behind the latest effort isn't to tap the power of the sun to electrify every appliance in a household. Instead, it is to install a small solar panel not much bigger than an iPad to power a few lights, a cellphone charger, and other basic necessities that can still significantly alter people's lives. (more)

President Obama chief guest at India Republic Day Parade (Reuters video)
26 January 2015 - President Barack Obama is the first US President to attend India's Republic Day Parade as chief guest. Republic Day honours the date on which the Constitution of India came into force on 26 January 1950. Rough cut (no reporter narration). (more)

President Obama chief guest at India's Republic Day Parade (CNN video)
26 January 2015 - President Obama received an unprecedented honor during his high-profile visit to India. CNN's Sumnima Udas reports. (more)

Obama and Modi: Best moments (with CNN video)
26 January 2015 - US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are pals, if you haven't heard. The pair have 'chemistry', according to the White House and Indian officials. They've shared impromptu strolls on the National Mall and, on Sunday, a long meander through a New Delhi rose garden. Indian weavers are hurriedly piecing together saris as gifts for the First Lady. And local television networks are running entire pieces speculating the two leaders might take a selfie. Here's a highlight reel of social media's favorite Obama and Modi broments so far: (more)

Survey: US firms optimistic on hiring, wages in 1Q
26 January 2015 - ising sales helped boost hiring at US businesses in the last three months of 2014, and companies are optimistic that continued improvement in business conditions will bring increased employment and wages in the current quarter, a new survey shows. And many businesses expect the steep drop in oil prices in recent months to have a positive impact on them this year, according to the survey released Monday by the National Association for Business Economics. (more)

President Obama arrives in India ahead of Republic Day (Reuters video)
25 January 2015 - US President Barack Obama arrives in India ahead of National Day celebrations. (more)

President Obama arrives in India (Reuters video)
25 January 2015 - US President Barack Obama arrives in New Delhi. Rough cut video (no reporter narration) (more)

Obama, Modi declare era of 'new trust' in US-India relations
25 January 2015 - President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday declared an era of 'new trust' in the often fraught relationship between their nations as the US leader opened a three-day visit to New Delhi. From the start, the day was more about putting their personal bond on display. Obama later told reporters that Modi's 'strong personal commitment to the US-India relationship gives us an opportunity to further energize these efforts.' Modi was as effusive. He called Obama by his first name and said 'the chemistry that has brought Barack and me closer has also brought Washington and Delhi closer.' (more)

Easy Taxi calms Nigeria's kidnapping fears
25 January 2015 - In Nigeria, one of the world's worst countries for kidnapping, getting in the wrong cab could end up costing you or your family a lot more than the agreed taxi fare. Many people have a 'taxi guy' whom they trust to avoid this risk. But what if he's on the other side of a notoriously traffic-throttled city like Lagos just when you need him? It was a clear gap in the market for Easy Taxi. (more)

Lauded as hero in Paris attack, Malian man made French citizen
25 January 2015 - The Malian grocery worker hailed as a hero for saving hostages' lives when an Islamist militant attacked a kosher supermarket in Paris this month was made a French citizen on Tuesday. Lassana Bathily, 24, was joined by French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and Prime Minister Manuel Valls in a packed naturalization ceremony. 'I am so happy to get dual nationality,' said a smiling Bathily, who also received a medal for his actions. (more)

President Obama's India itinerary after arrival in New Delhi
25 January 2015 - President Barack Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama arrived in New Delhi on Sunday morning ahead of schedule to start a three-day visit to the country to showcase what his administration sees as a deepening relationship between the United States and India. Mr. Obama was invited to India as chief guest for the country's Republic Day celebrations on Monday. Before that his schedule will be taken up with talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a state dinner at the Presidential Palace, among other things. Here is Sunday's schedule in full: (more)

Retail sales in Canada unexpectedly rise in November helped by Black Friday
25 January 2015 - Retail sales unexpectedly rose 0.4 per cent in November to a record high C$43.03 billion ($34.70 billion), pushed up in part by promotions such as Black Friday. Market operators had expected a 0.2 per cent decline from October. Canadian stores have recently started following the example of the United States, where retailers cut prices on Black Friday, the day after US Thanksgiving. (more)

Solar to grab bigger slice of Kenya's clean energy pie: TRFN
25 January 2015 - Kenya is moving to boost its solar energy capacity, with a new plant now under construction aiming to start producing electricity for the national grid by January 2016. This heralds a shift in the balance of the country's efforts to embrace renewable energy, which have so far focused on hydropower, geothermal, and a small amount of wind. (more)

US President Obama arrives in India; set for talks with PM Narendra Modi
25 January 2015 - US President Barack Obama has arrived in India on a three-day visit. In a departure from protocol, Prime Minister Narendra Modi received President Obama, who was accompanied by his wife Michelle and a high-level delegation, at the Palam airport. Modi and Obama hugged each other, reflecting their personal chemistry. Obama will be the first US President to grace the Republic Day parade as the Chief Guest on Monday. (more)

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