Humanist Electronic Press Agency

The reproduction of the news is permitted and encouraged

Publishes only news about social, scientific and cultural achievements and progress of humanity.

N. 27 - October 1999

(translation of spanish issue n. 38)

download .rtf file



Belgium: Cold Vaccine for Life
Israel: Ecological Filters in Fields
Argentina: Great Nutritional Properties Found in Weeds
Spain: Vindicate Happiness
Dakar-Cartagena: Cultural Exchange
Kosovo: The Role of Culture in the Kosovo Conflict
Colombia: New Hands for Peace
Mexico: Mexican Female Police Force Serves as Weapon Against Corruption
Switzerland: Humanitarian Initiative


Where: Belgium
Cold Vaccine for Life
Diario El Mundo, September 30, 1999
A team from Belgium's Gante University has discovered a vaccine that can protect for life against the cold virus.
The cold virus is characterized by being mutant; therefore, currently, vaccines on the market have to be modified each year in order to adapt them to the new virus mutations.
Currently, it has only been tried on mice; however, from now on, efforts will concentrate on applying it to humans.


Where: Israel
Ecological Filters in Fields
Agencies, September 29, 1999
An innovative system is currently being employed in the fields in Israel.
These are filters that do not contaminate the environment and which confuse the natural lines of communication between plants and insects by manipulating the optic faculties of the latter.
According to Daniel Askenazy, author of the report on the subject, for over ten years, Israeli farmers have employed special polyethylene covers in rose nurseries with the purpose of blocking ultraviolet rays (UV) and preventing the petals from wilting due to the strong sunlight. This way, by accident, the botanical virologists discovered that the covers could provide an efficient method with which to combat plagues such as the white moth, aphids and the larvae varieties that carry botanical viruses.
The key to this technique is the manner in which the insects' eyes function. His eyes are made up of photoreceptors, which receive stimuli from various wave longitudes, not only from visible light, but also from ultraviolet light that humans cannot see. The insects are being attacked from their weakest point: the lack of ultraviolet light.


Where: Argentina
Great Nutritional Properties Found in Weeds
EFE, September 29, 1999
Weeds contain an unsuspected nutritional wealth. Based on their discoveries, a group of Argentine biologists have labeled weeds as "good" plants, in contrast to their evil reputation.
The team from the Ecotono laboratory, which depends on the National Board of Scientific and Technical Investigations (CONICET) and is located in Bariloche, Argentina, has been studying weeds for 10 years and is still amazed both by the virtues discovered and by the disdain with which weeds are treated.
According to the director of the laboratory, Eduardo Rapoport, 72, from the three hundred varieties of weeds found in the Patagonian northeast by the Ecotono biologists, 90 are edible. "They are very good", commented Rapoport, who, along with the rest of the team has tried all the varieties in salads or cooked. In the beginning they were apprehensive and even "fearful" but now have even put together a group of recipes.
Many of the weeds and troublesome vegetables, such as the wild thistle, which the Ecotono laboratory found edible were considered edible centuries ago, and some are even considered delicacies in countries such as Spain.
Aside from having, in many cases, more nutritional value than lettuce, such weeds as thistle, yarrow, borage, red clover and other weeds offer the advantage of not needing to be cultivated. That is the reason for the old refrain that says, "You can't get rid of bad weed".


Where: Spain
Vindicate Happiness
Diario El Mundo, September 30, 1999
The "porter", a Spanish postwar movie with a regional flavor, vindicates happiness as an attitude toward life. "If it were up to me", explains its director, Suarez, "to send a message, it would be that no matter what the circumstances one is in, even the most painful, one should opt for life because life goes on and because, if happiness is possible, then it is a duty.


Where: Dakar-Cartagena
Cultural Exchange
La 2, Television Channel, September 30, 1999
Artists from various fields are speaking out about emphasizing the positive side of a continent such as Africa, which, although it is experiencing internal conflicts, has an enormous positive side to it, as well as many cultural contributions to make.
Cartagena, in Spain, serves as the base for African artists to exhibit their culture and folklore.


Where: Kosovo
The Role of Culture in the Kosovo Conflict
Diario el Mundo, October 1, 1999
According to the newspaper originating this report, Sabit Gashi has joined Kosovo's Provisional Government with "the responsibility to rebuild our cultural identity". After such a bloody war, this man faces a huge responsibility. Although he is aware of all the difficulties before him, he emphasizes the positive aspect of the matter and summarizes his intentions and possibilities with the following words:
"The problem the communities face is political. It is not easy to sit at a table with a member of the former regime knowing full well that he has taken all basic rights away from you. However, cultural personalities, artists and men of letters can establish common meetings that can give way to a common coexistence."


Where: Colombia
New Hands for Peace
El Espectador, Colombia
Under the leadership of the ONG Free Youth Corporation, a total of 45 youths from Bucaramanga graduated yesterday in a single act as "Youthful Mediators for Peace". The enthusiastic youths will promote conflict resolution through mediation and conciliation in the Santander capital.


Where: Mexico
Mexican Female Police Force Serves as Weapon Against Corruption
CNN, August 1999
Police chiefs in Mexico's capital have long felt the need to eradicate the old corruption in the charging of traffic fines. Beginning this week, 60 policewomen, who are part of the so-called Swan Group, will be the only ones allowed to issue fines to the three million drivers in Mexico City.


Where: Switzerland
Humanitarian Initiative
Agencies, August 1999
Thirty-two non-governmental, Swiss organizations have called on the country's government and political forces to promptly finalize an original initiative for Solidarity. The purpose is to sell 500 tons of the gold reserves in the National Bank to finance the creation of the "Swiss Solidarity Foundation".


Distributed on the inernet via e-mail and on the web at:

Subscribe m-list at: