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- Panama - Panama Gives New Efficient Bulbs

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5- Panama - Panama Gives New Efficient Bulbs
07 – 15 – 08

PANAMA City, Panama. - Panama invested $6.5 million to supply some 600,000 homes with three million energy saving bulbs in a program started in 2007 to cut energy consumption.

Details on the ways to carry out the distribution, to begin on early August, have not been released but Energy Secretary President Dani Kuzniecky gauged annual savings at $18 million.

The government allocated in June over $40 million to subsidize electricity expenses in the second half of the year to families exceeding 500 kW monthly.


6- St Lucia - Severe weather warning issued for St Lucia
07 – 17 - 08
CASTRIES, St Lucia: The Hewanora Meteorological Office, has stated that a strong tropical wave is currently approaching the Windward Islands and it is moving quickly. The wave was expected to start affecting St Lucia and the other Windward Islands from Wednesday afternoon into Thursday.
Heavy rains, thunderstorms and gusty winds are expected over the expected areas. The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) has urged residents to take all necessary precautions against flooding and land-slides particularly those residing in areas prone to those hazards.
Small craft operators especially local fishermen have been advised against venturing far from port Wednesday afternoon and night. Weather conditions are expected to improve during the day Thursday.
7- Trinidad & Tobago - Central, South Trinidad under water
07 -16 – 08

Parts of central and south Trinidad were left underwater yesterday as heavy downpours around midday yesterday resulted in street and flash flooding.

The waters rose higher than two feet in some areas.

In Chaguanas, Busy Corner, Mulchan Seuchan Road, the Chaguanas market, and parts of Crowne Trace were affected by street flooding, while other areas in neighbouring Enterprise and Longdenville experienced heavy flooding.

Speaking with Newsday, shop owner Claudina Edwards said she had never experienced such heavy flooding in the Longdenville area.

“I lived here at Penco Street for over 50 years and I have never seen water like this,” she said.

Usually, there is only occasional street flooding, she said, but yesterday flood waters rose to at least three feet, flooding out her parlour.

Some brave motorists ventured to drive through the flood waters while others decided to wait it out until it subsided.

In south Trinidad, flood waters destroyed livestock, crops and furniture as it swept into houses.

Yesterday’s floods were described as “one of the worst floods ever” residents of Tarouba, Penal, Debe and Barrackpore said.

Traffic piled up at the M2 Ring Road and drivers along the M2 Ring Road were forced to turn back as the water rose

In Tarouba, residents tried, unsuccessfully, to sweep the murky waters out of their homes.

At Debe, a farmer said his crops and livestock were destroyed. He said two dozen chickens drowned and his pimentoes, peppers and crop trees were destroyed.

Officials at the Meteorological Office in Piarco said street and flash flooding were common with thundershowers as experienced yesterday.

8- Trinidad and Tobago - Tobago prepares for hurricanes
07- 16 - 08
TOBAGO, T&T.- may not be prepared for this hurricane season because of manpower shortages at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Tobago.

The Tobago House of Assembly has pumped some $25 million towards disaster preparedness but according to NEMA’s public relations officer Alex Brown, the agency has been encountering staffing problems.

Some 40 people were trained within the past year, but more than half have left because of terms and conditions of the job. Brown could not say whether the shortage will negatively impact their response until there is an emergency. But, Brown is holding out some hope that volunteers, who have expressed interest in helping out in case of emergencies, and the different utilities - including TTEC and WASA - will be sufficient if a hurricane was to hit the island.

Also available to NEMA are the THA’s contractors attached to the Division of Public Utilities. Brown said these alliances have been successful in the past and the agency will continue to strengthen ties with these and others to ensure it is prepared for any natural disaster.

In the interim, the agency, Brown said, will continue with its educational programmes and working with communities to help them prepare for the hurricane season. Repairs will be done on hurricane shelters. In the event of an emergency, NEMA’s community emergency response teams (CERTs) will be deployed to offer quick response to high risk areas, which have been identified as Charlotteville to King’s Bay in the east and Moriah to L’Anse Fourmi in the north.
Tierramerica – July 14

1- Argentina - Detox Bacteria Discovered
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina.- Research conducted in Argentina has proved that some bacteria are capable of breaking down and detoxifying otherwise polluting liquid waste from tanneries and paper, textile and chemical industries.

The study, conducted by the pharmacy and biochemistry department at the University of Buenos Aires and the National Institute of Industrial Technology, found a new way to decontaminate effluent through bio-degradation.

The bacteria degrade very persistent compounds, but not the most resistant ones, according to Virginia Gemini, co-author of the study. They include chlorophenols and nitrophenols, characterized by their toxicity and high persistence, which can lead to environmental and health problems.

"We wanted to know if in addition to breaking down those compounds the bacteria could generate non-toxic metabolites, which is the most difficult, and we did it," she told Tierramérica. The degradation takes 48 hours

2- Brazil - Free Refrigerator Replacement
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil.- Brazilian electricity companies are donating more than 30,000 new refrigerators each year to poor families as part of the national plan to eliminate chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which damage the Earth's ozone layer.

This number will increase because the Energy Efficiency Law, modified in 2007, requires energy companies to set aside 0.5 percent of their net income for technological research and renewal of refrigerators, twice the requirement set in 2000, said Rafael Lourenço dos Santos, regulation specialist with the National Electrical Energy Agency.

Brazil banned CFCs in new products produced nationally in 1999, and in imports in 2007, but there are still 11 million old refrigerators that contain the ozone-depleting gases. Those refrigerators can only be recharged with CFCs recycled in regeneration plants, according to Tatiana Zanetti, of the Environment Ministry's ozone unit.
3- Mexico - Kids Sign Charter Against Global Warming
MEXICO CITY, Mexico. - In the schools of the state of Mexico, neighboring Mexico City, there is a charter circulating in which the students commit themselves to 24 actions aimed at halting global climate change.

Those who sign it pledge to avoid using plastic bags, to sort the recyclable materials from their garbage, to use low-energy light bulbs, to turn off appliances when not in use, to reduce paper use, and to purchase products in returnable containers, among other practices. The charter "creates a chain, and its goal is simple but powerful: to take on commitments with the environment," Moisés Bolaños, 16, a high school student in Mexico state, told Tierramérica.

The missive to join the fight against global warming has been circulating since late June and has already reached many different neighborhoods. It is being promoted by the non-governmental group Ambientalmex and the state of Mexico's Secretariat of Environment.
4- Honduras - Climate Threatens Food Production
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras.- Excessive rainfall in some areas and prolonged drought in other areas of Honduras threaten agricultural production and food supplies, warn farmers and the International Monetary Fund.

Rural leader Marvin Ponce told Tierramérica that Honduras lacks clear agricultural policies. The actions towards reactivating the farming sector are aimed only at the large farmers, "but the incentives don't reach the people on the land and it has become politicized," he said.

The IMF warned that Honduras could face a food crisis, but the government has played down those predictions and announced production of 22 million sacks of maize, two million of beans and a half-million of rice.

President Manuel Zelaya has urged the banks to open up soft credits in order to boost agricultural output.

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17 July 2008

UN seeks children’s depictions of impact of climate change
17 July - The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today launched its annual painting competition for children, calling for artwork from youth on the subject of climate change, ranging from its impact on the planet to steps everyone can take, such as using renewable energy and energy-saving light bulbs, using public transportation and planting trees.
The agency is urging youngsters around the globe between the ages of 5 to 13 to take part in the 18th International Children’s Painting Competition, which this year is focusing on the theme “Climate Change: Our Challenge.”
The contest – organized by UNEP, Japan’s Foundation for Global Peace and Environment, Bayer and Nikon Corporation – is gaining momentum every year, with a record 15,550 entries from 90 countries submitted last year.
One global winner will receive a $2,000 cash prize, while one winner each from the six regions – Africa, Asia and the Pacific, West Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America – will receive $1,000 each.
All winners will receive fully paid trips, along with a chaperone, to next year’s Tunza International Children’s Conference, where the 2009 global winner will be announced.

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17 July 2008
**United Nations Environment Programme
And the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched its eighteenth International Children’s Painting Competition.  And this year’s theme is climate change.  Children between the ages of five and 13 are eligible to compete for the top prize of $2,000 cash; six regional winners will receive $1,000 dollars each.  There’s more information on that.
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