New Sun Newsbriefs
Bob Geldof Honored as Man of Peace

ROME, Nov. 24, 2005 (UPI) - British musician/activist Bob Geldof received the Man of Peace Award at the opening of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.

The organizer of the Live Aid and Live 8 concerts for Africa received his award for his efforts to fight poverty from former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev at Rome's Capitoline Hill, the BBC reported.

"Africa must be allowed to trade itself out of poverty," Geldof said.

He said it is up to the European Union to pave the way to reforms the could ultimately wipe out hunger during the World Trade Organization talks Hong Kong next month.

"We live in a broken world which has never been healthier or wealthier, but some 500 kilometers south of here they die of want," he said.

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Connecting With Nature Good For Health

LONDON, Nov. 25, 2005 (UPI) - Ecotherapy -- connecting with nature -- can improve health and well being, say researchers in Britain.

People who take part in conservation projects report subjective health benefits, ascribed to being outdoors and to feeling part of a greater system connecting beyond the individual.

Such projects can help overcome social isolation, develop skills, and improve employment prospects, as well as provide the known benefits associated with exercise, according to authors of the article published in the British Medical Journal

Use of wildlife in some therapies is reported to improve quality of life -- smaller animals such as squirrels, owls, and raccoons have been used successfully in therapies for children with emotional and behavioral problems, the journal reports.

There should be more partnerships with healthcare providers and nature organizations to share and exchange expertise and develop policies that recognize the interdependence between healthy people and healthy ecosystems, the authors conclude.

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Norwegian Law May Open Door for Women

OSLO, Norway - Nov. 12, 2005 (UPI) - A proposed law in Norway would give companies there two years to add more female executives or face dissolution.

The law would require 40 percent of boardroom members to be female, an attempt to create more parity between the sexes in Norwegian business.

The BBC reports 20 percent of 590 publicly listed companies in Norway meet that quota right now.

Norwegian Family and Children Minister Karita Bekkemellem said the progress being made now is too slow and has urged the Cabinet of Prime Minister Jen Stoltenberg to approve the law.

If businesses don't meet the quota they would be broken up.

Sigrun Vaageng, the head of Norway's employers' association, said the law would force companies to leave the country.

A spokeswoman for Bekkemellem dismissed the claim, calling the lack of women in executive roles "a question of power."

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Wal-Mart Goes Solar to Save Energy

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (UPI) -- Wal-Mart has announced that energy efficiency and renewable energy such as roof solar panels are part of its corporate goals for its U.S. stores.

Wal-Mart's Chief Executive Officer Lee Scott over the next three years he wants to get 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources, cut energy use in stores by 30 percent and cut fuel consumption in its truck fleet by 25 percent, the Christian Science Monitor reported Friday.

A test store in Texas has been using solar panels and Wal-Mart's truck fleet is being outfitted with plastic skirts to cut wind resistance. Adding one mile per gallon to the fleet can save the mega-retailer $2 million a year, according to Scott.

"If Wal-Mart was a city, they'd be No. 5 in country, so the company's leadership is very important," says Amory Lovins, who heads the Rocky Mountain Institute, an energy think tank in Snowmass, Colo. "If they help introduce similar efficiencies and green practices throughout their supply chain, it could have a huge effect."

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Beatles "Pepperheads" Sold at Auction

(UPI) -- A set of wax Beatles heads from their "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album cover fetched 81,500 pounds ($144,521) at a London auction.

The so-called "pepperheads" were recently discovered in a back room at London's Madame Tussauds. Bidding was lively as they were sold Thursday by Cooper Owen auction house, the BBC reported.

Artist Peter Blake borrowed the wax heads from Madame Tussauds and used them as a backdrop with the actual Beatles posed in front for the iconic album cover.

"You wouldn't think that anyone would be willing to pay this much for some wax," Cooper Owen creative director Louise Cooper said. "But this isn't any old wax -- these heads truly represent a slice of music history."

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Baltimore Gives Hybrids Parking Break

(UPI) -- Starting October 31, drivers of hybrid cars will get hefty discounts in Baltimore, Maryland municipal parking garages.

The Baltimore Sun said drivers can save up to $85 on monthly parking in one of 12 garages.

A number of states and cities have introduced incentives to get residents to buy fuel-efficient hybrids -- including sales tax credits on the cars and allowing hybrids into high-occupancy-vehicle lanes.

Baltimore is one of the first to use cheap parking as an incentive. The city is also considering reducing the cost of metered parking for hybrids.

Baltimore's incentive applies only to drivers with monthly parking contracts and is capped, at least initially, at 200 vehicles. Peter Little said about 17 hybrid owners have contracts with city garages and he expects any revenues lost to the discounts to be recovered by additional income from new hybrids taking advantage of the discounts.

The program covers the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight and Civic Hybrid.

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Motherhood May Enhance the Brain

RICHMOND, Va., Nov. 2, 2005 (UPI) -- Motherhood may rewire women's brains to make them more perceptive, efficient, competitive and socially aware, a leading Virginia neuroscientist says.

Contrary to the idea that new mothers are dull-witted and frazzled, Craig Kinsley of the University of Richmond said pregnancy, labor and caring for small children "enable the brain to process information much differently than it did before."

Kinsley told the Boston Globe that his work on rats has found that, a few weeks after giving birth, mother rats' cognitive abilities expand while their hippocampus, or learning center, is remapped.

While the study has so far been limited to rats, Kelly Lambert of Randolph Macon College said the finding does have human implications.

"Rodents have all the same brain parts we have," Lambert said. "Human brains are thicker and more complex, but as a model it's a very reasonable place to start."

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Listening to a Cell

UCLA Scientist James Gimzewski discovered that a yeast cell produces about 1,000 vibrations a second. And these vibrations create a musical hum, which he said, "sound beautiful."

It made him realize that perhaps human cells create similar music.

Gimzewski says his technique of amplifying and measuring the sounds of cells could become a unique tool in the war against cancer: To figure out if a cell is malignant, doctors could simply listen to it. Cancer specialists are seriously interested. Keep listening, doctors!

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Easy Eating
Grey Papaya Hot Dogs in New York continues to sell briskly no matter what time of day or night, and many people in the city, without much cash, can survive another day because of this institution.

Even if you're not into hot dogs, you can always get a big healthy juice drink and feel quite satisfied, and not broke. Workers behind the counter wear a pin that says, "Polite New Yorker," and even during the most hectic of lunchtimes -- or in the middle of the night surrounded by hungry drunk people -- they are indeed polite and friendly.

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