Sri Lankan army to protect civilians

From Good News Stories….

The Sri Lankan Government has announced an end to combat operations against the Tamil Tiger rebels and instructed the army to stop using heavy weapons and aerial bombardment that could harm civilians caught in the conflict zone.

A statement issued by the office of the Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, last night said security forces would now “confine their attempts to rescuing civilians who are held hostage and give foremost priority to saving civilians”.

There was no explanation for the about-face but Mr Rajapaksa’s Government has been under huge pressure from overseas to halt fighting to protect civilians caught up in the conflict.

Olympic 2012 preparations going well

From Channel News Asia

The International Olympic Committee’s chief inspector said Thursday preparations for the 2012 London Olympics were “on the right track” after his team spent three days visiting the construction sites.

“We can confirm that London 2012 is on the right track,” Denis Oswald, the chair of the IOC’s coordination commission, told journalists.

“We had an opportunity to see the (Olympic) Park and for many of us it was the first time since May last year and we were deeply impressed by the progress made.

“The stadium is impressive, also the Olympic Village,” he added.

Earth Day celebrated by one billion

From CNN…

earthMore than one billion people celebrated  Earth Day Wednesday.

Since its creation by United States senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970, Earth Day’s reach has spread around the world and is now marked in about 175 countries.

Earth Day Network, the organizers of Earth Day, are launching the “Green Generation” campaign.

The campaign will last two years and Earth Day’s organizers hope it will raise awareness on how to reverse dangerous environmental trends.

Palestinian graffiti spreads message of peace

(From CNN)

Emblazoned on a long, tall, concrete barrier in the midst of a rocky Middle Eastern landsc

ape is this spray-painted message: “Mirror, mirror on the wall. When will this senseless object fall?”

It’s one of more than 900 graffiti messages that have been spray-painted by Palestinians on the controversial wall that separates Israel and the West Bank.

The painters take orders through a Web site that lets customers get a message on the wall. For the equivalent of $40, a Palestinian will spray paint the message and send three digital photos of it.

Anything goes — marriage proposals, jokes, notes to friends — as long as it isn’t extremist, hate-filled, or pornographic, said Faris Arouri, one of the founders of the site.

“Trying to imagine a clear view between Palestine and Israel,” one reads.

“If all humans are equal, why do they have to live separated?” says another.

And another simply shouts: “Get along with each other!”

Indonesian orangutan population discovered

From the UK Guardian

Conservationists have discovered a new population of orang-utans in a remote area of Indonesia, giving a rare boost to one of the world’s most endangered great apes.

A team surveying mountainous forests in eastern Borneo counted 219 orang-utan nests, indicating a “substantial” number of the animals, said Erik Meijaard, of the US-based charity The Nature Conservancy.

“We can’t say for sure how many,” he said, but even the most cautious estimate would indicate “several hundred at least, maybe 1,000 or 2,000 even”.