Good news for a close relative

bonoboGood news for one of the lesser known great ape species! A partnership between local villages and conservation groups, headed up by the Bonobo Conservation Initiative, has led to the creation of a new 1,847 square mile (4,875 square kilometre) reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The reserve will save some of the region’s last pristine forests: ensuring the survival of the embattled bonobo—the least-known of the world’s four great ape species—and protecting a wide variety of biodiversity from the Congo peacock to the dwarf crocodile.

However, the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve is worth attention for another reason: every step of its creation—from biological surveys to reserve management—has been run by the local Congolese NGO and villages of Kokolopori.

War in Sri Lanka is over

sri_lankaThe government of Sri Lanka today declared an end to the 25 year old Sri Lankan civil war after the army took control of the entire island and killed the leader of the Tamil Tigers, Velupillai Prabhakaran.

According to the Sri Lankan army the chief of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE),  was shot dead while trying to flee the war zone in an ambulance after the final battle in an offensive that has killed thousands of Tamil civilians since January.

Special forces troops also killed the rebels’ intelligence chief Pottu Amman, and Soosai, the head of the group’s “Sea Tiger” naval wing, said the state broadcaster, Rupavahini TV, according to Reuters.

European Union nations this morning called for an independent war crimes investigation into the killing of civilians in the country.

British soldier completes marathon on crutches

majorphilpackerA British soldier, who lost his legs in a rocket attack in Iraq last year, completed the London marathon after walking on crutches for two weeks. Major Phil Packer was greeted by hundreds of well-wishers as he touched the finishing line on Saturday.

“There are others who are coming back injured (from Iraq and Afghanistan) and my thoughts are really with their families at the moment,” Major Packer said.

The 36-year-old former soldier was told that he would never be able to walk again after he was injured in an attack in the southern Iraqi city of Basara in February 2008.

He completed 2 miles a day over two weeks.

Solar Lanterns to light up developing World

solar_radio_e4b508About 2 billion people in developing countries worldwide lack electricity, which in turn impacts the health, ecology and safety of rural households. Many are forced to rely on inefficient and environmentally damaging kerosene lamps.

Developing nations alone burn 470 million barrels of oil and release about 400 billion pounds of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as a result of using kerosene. Other sources of light fuel include cow dung, precious forest firewood or crop residue.

But in a massive new study carried out in Gujarat, one of Western India’s poorest states, hit hard by drought in recent years, researchers have proposed that solar photovoltaic lanterns could represent a solution for rural communities with insufficient lighting.

This is particularly true in India, where the average number of sunny days ranges from 250 to 300 per year, generating a solar energy equivalent greater than the country’s total energy consumption. With India’s large and growing population, solar lanterns, using the country’s abundant sunlight, could be the cleanest and most practical energy alternative available.

Prostrate cancer risk cut by masturbation

prostate awareness

Researchers from Australia have suggested men could reduce their risk of developing cancer of the prostrate through regular masturbation. Cancer causing chemicals could build up in the prostate if men do not ejaculate regularly.

Australian researchers questioned over a thousand men who had developed prostate cancer and 1,250 who had not about their sexual habits.

They found those who had ejaculated the most between the ages of 20 and 50 were the least likely to develop the cancer.

The protective effect was greatest while the men were in their 20s.