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Paris charity gets share of $1 mln for training refugees as museum guides
10 December 2019 - Guinean refugee Ibrahima Conde arrived in Paris knowing little about French culture. Two years later, he knows enough to work as a museum guide, a job he was trained for by the charity Sama for All. ... On Tuesday [10 December] it was awarded 1 million dollars as part of the BridgeBuilder Challenge run by the GRH Foundation, a U.S. philanthropic organization that helps forcibly displaced people around the world. (more)

Refugee girls in Chad embrace school as path to university opens up
10 December 2019 - A rare scheme that helps refugees attend Chadian universities is getting more people in school -- especially girls and young women who have started to envisage a different future. The [Touloum refugee] camp's school system was transformed five years ago, when Chad turned its refugee schools -- mostly makeshift classes held in tents -- into accredited public institutions, meaning they benefit from state resources. (more)

France to ban dozens of glyphosate weedkillers amid health risk debate
9 December 2019 - France's health and environment agency said on Monday [9 December] it was banning dozens of glyphosate-based weedkillers, most of the volume of such products sold in France, ruling there was insufficient data to exclude health risks. (more)

Orca grandmothers babysit young whales, study finds
9 December 2019 - Research on 378 killer whales finds those with grandmothers live longer and the older females help them when food is scarce. Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Daniel Franks and colleagues examined more than 40 years of census data on two killer whale groups off the coasts of the US state of Washington as well as Canada's British Columbia. (more)

Thailand: Fruit of the organic bloom
8 December 2019 - After disastrous experiences with chemicals, upcountry farmers [in Thailand] are turning their lives around by going toxin-free. (more)

India: Organic farming gains ground in Vellore district
8 December 2019 - Organic farming is steadily gaining traction among farmers in Vellore. In the last few years, many farmers in the district have started to move away from inorganic farming to adopt organic means of raising crops. Started in the year 2016, 'Thondai Mandalam Uzhavar Urpathiyalar Niruvanam', a consortium of 350 organic farmers, has demonstrated techniques to earn higher yields from farmlands. (more)

Global electric bus market is projected to surpass $350 billion by 2024
7 December 2019 - Global electric bus market is projected to surpass $350 billion by 2024 on account of strict emission norms and emphasis by the governments of various countries on clean energy public transportation. According to WHO, air pollution is the leading cause of death in countries with poor quality of air. Electric buses have lower ownership cost and longer lifespan when compared with their diesel counterparts, which is anticipated to positively influence the growth of the electric bus market during the forecast period. (more)

The universe remembers gravitational waves - and we can find them
7 December 2019 - Gravitational waves slosh throughout the universe as ripples in space-time produced by some of the most cataclysmic events possible. With facilities like the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo, we can now detect the strongest of those ripples as they wash over the Earth. But gravitational waves leave behind a memory -- a permanent bend in space-time -- as they pass through, and we are now on the verge of being able to detect that too, allowing us to push our understanding of gravity to the limits. (more)

US: Los Angeles electric vehicle plan aims to cut air pollution
7 December 2019 - A Los Angeles transportation electrification coalition unveiled a plan committed to developing policies and pilots in 2020 to achieve bold new targets for electric vehicles, charging infrastructure, mode shift and zero-emissions trucks. Achieving the roadmap's targets and call to action will result in cleaner air and dramatically reduce the region's transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions, going 25 percent beyond existing commitments tied to California state law and the Paris Climate Accord. (more)

China urges regions to tackle pollution in major rivers
3 December 2019 - Some 75.4 percent of China's water was judged to be in the top three grades in the first 10 months of this year, up 2.3 percentage points from a year earlier, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said late on Wednesday [4 December]. It [China] is in the middle of a wide-reaching program to clean up the Yangtze, its biggest river, and put an end to major development along its banks. (more)

Growth in global carbon emissions slowed in 2019: report
3 December 2019 - A surprise drop in coal use in the United States and Europe has helped to slow the growth of global carbon dioxide emissions this year, with softening demand in China and India also contributing, according to a study published on Wednesday [4 December]. (more)

Repsol to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 at $5.3 billion cost
2 December 2019 - Spain's Repsol pledged on Monday [2 December] to reduce net carbon emissions from its operations and most of its products to zero by 2050 and absorb a 4.8 billion euro ($5.3 billion) hit to the value of its oil and gas assets in the process. Describing the move as an industry first, Repsol said it wanted to lead a wider transition to renewable energy, in line with the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement to avert catastrophic climate change. (more)

'A rich exchange': The refugees teaching languages in Brazil
1 December 2019 - Refugee-led language school Abraco Cultural [in Sao Paulo, Brazil] looks like any other language school, complete with scrawled whiteboards and beige school chairs. But it exclusively employs teachers from war-torn and crisis-stricken lands, including Haiti, Congo, Venezuela, and Syria. The school's main goal is to generate income for refugees. In five years, the school has paid over 2m reais in salaries to 55 refugees and vulnerable immigrants. (more)

Bangladesh plans to ban e-cigarettes amid growing health concerns
1 December 2019 - Bangladesh plans to prohibit the sale and use of electronic cigarettes and vaporizers, a health official said on Sunday [1 December], as countries around the world move to ban devices that have been linked to health risks and teen addiction. (more)

Dutch company to light a million Nigerian homes with solar power
30 November 2019 - Lumos Global BV, a Dutch company specializing in off-grid solar power, plans to light up over a million Nigerian households by 2025 as it expands in Africa's most populous country of more than 200 million where only 60 percent have access to electricity. (more)

Schools teach refugee, migrant kids skills to succeed in US
29 November 2019 - Children from around the world are learning the English skills and American classroom customs they need to succeed at so-called newcomer schools. Valencia Newcomer School in Phoenix is among a handful of such public schools in the United States dedicated exclusively to helping some of the thousands of children who arrive in the country annually. (more)

Herbs and hotels: The small businesses helping revive rural Portugal
28 November 2019 - Portugal's rural areas have been losing population for several decades now a growing number of small businesses are propping up the rural interior, drawn by the availability of land. After Bruno Vargas and his wife had their first baby, they wanted a quieter life. So, they left their home in Angola and returned to his native region in Portugal's rural interior to set up an organic herbs company. (more)

Thousands sign up for new online Gaelic course on Duolingo
28 November 2019 - More than 20,000 people have signed up to learn Scottish Gaelic on a free online learning app which launches the new course on St Andrew's Day. The Duolingo course has been created on a 'record-breaking timescale' with the help of bilingual volunteers. Its official release on Saturday [30 November] is eight months ahead of schedule and the course has already attracted more than 7,000 learners using its Beta version. (more)

'Extraordinary' black hole weighs in at 70 solar masses
28 November 2019 - A 70-solar-mass black hole has been discovered orbiting a star in the Milky Way. The object is the heaviest stellar-mass black hole detected so far in our galaxy. Its very existence is puzzling astronomers because black holes of this size are not expected in the Milky Way. ... an international team of astronomers has used the LAMOST telescope in China to detect a stellar-mass black hole by its effect on a companion star in a binary system. The binary system about 15,000 light-years away in the Milky Way and has been dubbed LB-1. (more)

Huge black hole 'that should not exist in our galaxy' discovered by scientists
27 November 2019 - A large black hole that 'should not exist' in the Milky Way has been discovered. The black hole, named LB-1, was detected after researchers found a star with an orbit that could only be explained if it had a 'dark companion.' This companion, they found, was a black hole with a mass 70 times that of the sun -- far bigger than current models of stellar evolution allow for. (more)

Migrants safeguard Italy's culinary heritage
27 November 2019 - Amid rising racism ... many Italian farmers desperate for labour have welcomed migrants. After carefully checking bunches of succulent, dark-skinned grapes native to Italy's Piedmont wine region, Alhagie Jallow -- who arrived from Gambia five years ago -- nodded in approval. Jallow, 32, had never set eyes on a vineyard until 2015 when he started working for Maramao, a 25-hectare organic farm which grows grapes ... Now he teaches other migrants about organic farming, including how to grow and harvest ancient grains like spelt and ottofile -- which is used to make polenta, a staple of northern Italy -- at Maramao. (more)

Scientists spot huge stellar black hole, many times bigger than ever thought possible
27 November 2019 - Astronomers have spotted a huge stellar black hole in our galaxy, many times bigger than ever thought possible. Scientists thought that such black holes could only reach about 20 times the mass of the Sun. But the newly discovered object is 70 times great, astronomers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences say. (more)

'Lobsters and octopuses are back': the Kenyan women leading a reef revival
26 November 2019 - Three years ago, the coral reef along the Kenyan coastline was almost totally destroyed in some areas. A fightback was needed and so the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute began working with local communities to rehabilitate degraded coral reefs along the country's coastline. Among the areas targeted was Wasini Island, a tiny strip of land off Kenya's south-east coast. The results have been startling. Women on the island have led an initiative to restore degraded coral that has shown how coral restoration techniques can revive marine ecosystems. (more)

British do-good fund aims to provide homes for vulnerable women
25 November 2019 - The Women In Safe Homes (WISH) will buy and refurbish properties and rent them out to vulnerable women and their children who often struggle to find accommodation. A new investment fund has been set up to help vulnerable women ... find safe and secure homes in Britain. (more)

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