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Women in Saudi Arabia are to be given the right to vote and run in future municipal elections, King Abdullah has announced.

He said they would also have the right to be appointed to the consultative Shura Council.

The move was welcomed by activists who have called for greater rights for women in the kingdom, which enforces a strict version of Sunni Islamic law.

The changes will occur after municipal polls on Thursday, the king said.

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It’s a cold winter day and Ruth Kassinger is eating fresh kumquats that she’s just picked from a tree inside her suburban Washington home. The kumquat is among a variety of tropical plants in the sunroom Kassinger calls her conservatory.

A chance visit to the National Botanic Garden in Washington gave her the idea to build her more modest version. “I walked in and the glass doors opened and I stepped into a beautiful green lush, warm and humid jungle, and I walked around for a while, and was just stunned by how beautiful and full of life this place was.”

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This taken from her Newspaper’s website..

Founder of the world’s first positive newspaper passes away

It is with great regret that we announce that our founder, Shauna Crockett-Burrows, has passed away.

A month short of her 82nd birthday – and having been invited to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace at the end of May – Shauna died on 3 May in Shropshire, where she had been living during the past 17 years.

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A Kenyan man who uses a wheelchair went to great lengths to bring support for disabled people to East Africa.

Zackary Kimotho, a 43-year-old who suffered a spinal injury after falling victim to a car-jacking in 2004, recently returned home after he successfully raised almost $900,000 while pushing himself across Africa in his wheelchair, The Star reports.

His effort raised sufficient funds to build the first ever Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Unit in Nairobi.

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From eroding coastline to depleted fish stocks, the effects of climate change are being felt along West Africa’s coast and governments and environmental groups are coming together to talk about what can be done to mitigate its impact.

The ocean breaking on southern Senegal’s coastline does not look much different from any other beach. But a closer a look at the Palmarin peninsula, reveals a different story, uprooted palm trees mark eroded coastlines and vestiges of buildings mark where a village was washed away two decades ago.

An island visible from the tip of Palmarin used to be connected to the peninsula, but rising waters and a tidal wave in 1987 separated the two with the gap getting wider and deeper with each year, according to local residents.

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Wealthy Americans Bill Gates and Warren Buffett say they are encouraged to see that China”s super-rich have enthusiasm for philanthropy.

Philanthropy was at the top of the agenda for America”s richest man, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who met with about 50 of China”s wealthiest people at a highly publicized banquet in Beijing.

On Thursday, he compared the United States and China, and said wealthy donors in both countries have similar concerns, such as how to make an impact and how family members should be involved. But he says there are important differences.

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The US is to make millions of acres of public land eligible for wilderness protection, officials have said.

The order reverses former President George W Bush’s policy forbidding the government from doing so.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Thursday said the new policy would help to protect public land “for current and future generations to come”.

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The tiny Maguire daisy, which grows in the desert southwest of the United States, has been plucked from the edge of extinction after a 25-year conservation effort, US officials have announced.

The minuscule member of the sunflower family had dropped to just seven known plants when it was listed as endangered in 1985, but with numbers of the daisy now back up to 163,000 plants in 10 populations in Utah, it will be removed form the endangered species list, the Interior Department said Tuesday.

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Up to 3.6 million lives could be saved every year if midwifery services were upgraded in 58 developing countries by 2015, according to a major new report.

The findings have been released by the United Nations Population Fund, in partnership with the University of Southampton and 28 other organisations worldwide.

The State of the World’s Midwifery 2011 report reveals new data confirming there is a significant gap between the numbers of midwives practising and those needed to save lives.

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A University of Brighton scientist is helping fight a cholera epidemic among thousands of earthquake victims in Haiti.

Dr Huw Taylor saw the suffering first-hand during a recent visit to the Caribbean island, and is now working back at the university on a manual on the treatment of cholera wastewaters for future epidemics.

Medicins Sans Frontières (MSF), the French humanitarian organisation, invited Huw to Haiti to help control the spread of the deadly disease. The epidemic recently became so serious that MSF had to convert a partially-constructed maternity hospital in Port-au-Prince into an emergency cholera treatment centre.

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The UN General Assembly agreed to form a panel of international experts on biodiversity in a resolution approved on Monday.

The resolution is an important step towards the implementation of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), a UN diplomat told AFP.

The panel of experts is a key component of the UN’s push for reform of global biodiversity management.

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20 December 2010 – A project executed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in West Africa has succeeded in slashing the use of toxic pesticides, increasing yields and incomes, and diversifying farming systems.

Around 100,000 farmers in Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal are participating in the community-driven training programme, which promotes good agricultural practices through small groups called Farmer Field Schools.

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