Teen activist Greta Thunberg, who has inspired millions across the world to stage protests urging leaders to tackle global warming, has declined an environmental prize, saying "the climate movement does not need any more prizes."
Two fellow climate activists spoke on Thunberg's behalf Tuesday evening at an award ceremony in Stockholm for the regional inter-parliamentary Nordic Council's prizes by reading a statement saying it was "an honor." Thunberg, who is 16, is currently in California.
But Sofia and Isabella Axelsson quoted Thunberg as saying, "what we need is for our rulers and politicians to listen to the research."
Thunberg, who had been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, had declined another award in November 2018 because many of the finalists had to fly to Stockholm for the ceremony.
Dhaka, Oct 25 (UNB) - Indian yoga therapist Shweta Varpe is scheduled to come to Bangladesh on Oct 30 as the brand ambassador of DORP, a renowned national NGO.
During her four-day visit, she will take part in different activities and programmes, said AHM Foysoul, media manager of Development Organisation of the Rural Poor (DORP).
Shweta won ‘Miss Elite Asia’ 2018 award and Miss India Goodwill International 2018 award, and ‘Mrs United Nations Beauty’ prize.
She will visit maternity allowance based ‘SAPNA Package’ programme implemented by DORP and Ministry of Women and Children Affairs in Gazipur on October 31.
She will attend another programme on ‘SAPNA Package’ at BRAC Centre Inn of Mohakhali in the city as guest of honour on November 2.
Three out of 10 mothers will be selected and awarded through a competition considering the families’ economic conditions, culture, mother and child health, education, housing, employment and beauty in the programme.
Shweta Verpe will demonstrate yoga at the programme.
Jury Board selected the mothers from 12 Upazilas of SAPNA Package and selected ‘SAPNA Ma Sera 10’ through transparent procedures and competition.
Shijiazhuang, Oct 25 (Xinhua/UNB) -- A survey group has found a large cluster of wild Paederia scandens (Chinese fevervine) in north China's Hebei Province during a field investigation for the fourth national survey on Chinese materia medica resources.
The wild fevervine community, concentrating with a belt shape in Guxin Township of Shexian County, spans 1 km with a maximum width of 4 meters, according to Fu Zhengliang, the group leader.
Paederia scandens is a traditional Chinese medicine that helps remove pathogenic wind-damp, blood stasis and swelling, and can also be used in treating diarrhea and sunstroke.
The discovery of the herb, which mainly grows in bushes of gully regions in southern China, is of great significance for the study of local ecological environment, Fu said.
Brussels, Oct 25 (AP/UNB) — The European Union awarded its top human rights prize to economist Ilham Tohti for his work defending China's Uighur minority and urged Beijing to release him from jail.
A moderate though outspoken Uighur critic of Beijing's policies in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, Tohti was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2014.
Despite being known as a moderate who argued against Uighur separatism, he was convicted of fanning ethnic hatred, advocating violence and instigating terror through his classroom teaching and a website on Uyghur issues.
In awarding the Sakharov Prize to him Thursday, the European Parliament described Tohti as a "voice of moderation and reconciliation" who campaigned for the implementation of regional autonomy laws in China.
The legislature's president, David Sassoli, praised Tohti for dedicating his life to advocating the rights of China's Uighur minority.
More than one million Uighurs — also spelled Uyghurs — have been detained in camps since 2017 and criticism has grown over China's internment of them and other Muslims.
The Chinese foreign ministry said in a faxed statement that Tohti is a criminal sentenced under Chinese law and that it hopes all sides will respect China's legal sovereignty and not help a terrorist appear influential.
China's government insists the detention sites are "vocational" centers aimed at training and skills development. In a report earlier this year to counter criticism of internment camps and other oppressive security in the traditionally Islamic region, China said it had arrested nearly 13,000 people it described as "terrorists" and had broken up hundreds of "terrorist gangs" in Xinjiang since 2014.
"By awarding this prize, we strongly urge the Chinese government to release Tohti and we call for the respect of minority rights in China," Sassoli said.
Dacian Ciolos, the president of Renew Europe, a pro-business group of parties in the European Parliament which supported Tohti's bid for the award, said he "fully embodies the spirit of the Sakharov prize, as he is a fearless voice fighting for human rights and fundamental freedoms."
The EU award, named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, was created in 1988 to honor individuals or groups who defend human rights and fundamental freedoms. Last year's winner was Oleg Sentsov, the Ukrainian filmmaker who was recently released from a Russian prison camp after being accused of plotting acts of terrorism.
Others on the shortlist for the award this year were Marielle Franco, a Brazilian city councilwoman who campaigned for Afro-Brazilian and LGBT rights before she was gunned down last year, native Brazilian leader Chief Raoni, environmentalist Claudelice Silva dos Santos and five Kenyan students known as The Restorers who developed an app to support girls subjected to genital mutilation.
The prize will be presented in a ceremony in Strasbourg on Dec. 18.
Uluru, Oct 25 (AP/UNB) — The sandstone monolith called Uluru that dominates Australia's arid center has long been celebrated as a prized peak to be conquered and a sacred site to be revered.
But the pendulum is scheduled to take a major swing away from the throngs of international selfie-seekers toward the rock's cultural significance to its traditional owners when climbing is banned from late Friday afternoon (6:30 GMT).
The end of visitors enjoying the panoramic views of the incongruously flat Outback surrounds from the rock's 348-meter (1,140-foot) summit also marks indigenous Australians finding a new voice in national decision-making.
The ban was a unanimous decision made two years ago by 12 members of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board of Management. But it's an outcome that has divided both indigenous Australians as well as the wider world.
The polarity of opinions has been highlighted in recent months as thousands of visitors have converged on one of Australia's most famous landmarks in unprecedented numbers to beat the ban and make a final trek to the top. Tourists have been illegally camping on roadsides for miles because the local camping ground and accommodation were booked.
Like many Australians who know the landmark simply as "the Rock," Jeff Lis regards the climb as a birthright. The 52-year-old and his lifelong friend Stefan Gangur, 51, drove from Melbourne on the southeast coast to Australia's so-called Red Center.
"I've got some pretty strong views on it personally. I was born in Australia, it is part of my culture and ancestry as much as anyone else's," Lis, who is not an indigenous Australian, said at Uluru.
Sammy Wilson, who chaired the board that banned the climb, described the pending prohibition as a cause for celebration. Wilson is member of the Anangu tribe who are Uluru's traditional owners.
"If I travel to another country and there is a sacred site, an area of restricted access, I don't enter or climb it, I respect it," Wilson said. "It is the same here for Anangu. We welcome tourists here. We are not stopping tourism, just this activity."
There has long been tension within the indigenous population around the money that climbers bring and the rock's significance as a sacred site.
"I am happy and sad, two ways," said Kevin Cooley, a resident of the Mutitjulu indigenous community in the rock's shadow who collects the Uluru tourists' garbage. He fears that tourist numbers and the local economy will decline.
The biggest drop in foreign visitors could be the Japanese who have proven to be the most committed climbers. Signs around the rock have long discouraged climbing, describing Uluru as a "place of great knowledge" and noting that Anangu traditional law prohibits climbing.
The proportion of visitors who climb has been steadily declining, with more than four in five visitors respecting the Anangu's wishes in recent years.
The Anangu refer to tourists as munga, their word for ants. The analogy was clearest in recent weeks with queues forming long before the climb opens at 7 a.m. each day at a chain handhold at the base of the rock's steep western face. From there, an eclectic mix of climbers begin their ascents in narrow columns.
Prominent indigenous academic Marcia Langton reacted to the stream of climbers converging on Uluru with a tweet: "A curse will fall on all of them."
"They will remember how they defiled this sacred place until they die & history will record their contempt for Aboriginal culture," Langton added.
Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt said he was disappointed by the final rush to climb the rock which is renowned for its changing colors with the seasons and the time of day.
"It would be equivalent to having a rush of people climbing over the Australian War Memorial, if I can be so brazen in that regard, because sacred objects, community by community, are absolutely important in the story of that nation of people," Wyatt, who is indigenous, told Australian Broadcasting Corp.
Reaching the rock doesn't guarantee the summit is attainable. Climbing is often cancelled at short notice because of high winds or heat. The start of the climb was delayed for three hours Friday morning because of wind. Some of the climbers had been waiting at the base since 4 a.m.
At least 37 climbers have died, mostly from medical events, since 1948 when the first road was built in the hope of attracting tourists. Every death causes the Anangu anguish.
Denying climbers access to the World Heritage-listed landform is part of an evolution of the Australian narrative since British colonization that has traditionally edited out the original inhabitants.
While the rock had been known as Uluru for thousands of years, explorer William Gosse was credited with discovering it in 1873 and named it Ayers Rock after the then-premier of the British colony of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers.
In 1993, it became the first official dual-named feature in the Northern Territory when it was renamed "Ayers Rock / Uluru." The order of the names was reversed a decade later at the request of regional tourism operators.
But the tourist accommodation nearest Uluru retains the name Ayers Rock Resort, in deference to the monetary value of the international brand recognition that has built up around it.
The date of the closure is also significant in the history of restored indigenous influence in the region. Saturday — the day from when climbing becomes punishable by a 6,300 Australian dollar ($4,300) fine — marks 34 years since the federal government gave the Anangu the land title to the national park in which Uluru stands.
The traditional owners immediately returned the park to the government under a 99-year lease on condition that the park is jointly run by a board with a majority of Anangu members.
Grant Hunt, chief executive of Ayres Rock Resort operator Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, dismissed predictions of a significant decline in tourism. He said bookings in November after the climb's closure were at a record high, with around 95% occupancy booked for the first three weeks.
"The traveling public have become much more culturally mature than they were 20 years ago," Hunt said. "Most people expect this and in fact want it to happen."
"There's a minority who still don't, of course, and you always get that with any decision, but certainly our research and feedback says about 80% of people are supportive of the climb closing," he added.