Stormy Sandy pounds Northeast Region

Image                                                                           Waves at Ocean Grove , NJ by Bart Brooks


Ushering in Fall Weather 2012

Fall Leaves in Somers, NY

The leaves travel slowly, driven by the soft power of the autumn wind.  It’s my favorite time of the year because I can take advantage of some of the wonderful places to visit with my two grand children and their parents. Living in Northern Westchester allows me to unwind after a hectic week of commute to my workplace in New York City. One week from today,  I’ll be visiting Muscoot Farm in Somers, New York – a spectacular opportunity to see farm animals lazing around.  See link

Pakistan: Youth for Change

Some 10,000 youth — men and women — are part of a growing movement for change in Pakistan.

Led by Chairman, Abrar ul-Haq, the group is known as the Youth Parliament of Pakistan or YPP. Abrar told UN TV multimedia producer, Mary Ferreira, “I have a vision to empower the youth of Pakistan with an ability to understand the importance of their role in society.”

Students at Punjab University

YPP is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious programme fostering and translating talent and excellence of adolescents and youths of Pakistan into tangible action and community service. Now young people affiliated with this non-governmental organization or NGO are raising their voices and demanding change from provincial parliamentarians. Their hope is that local leaders will support their views and take their proposals to the federal level in Islamabad.

Two main proposals put forward by YPP members deal with constitutional change and new educational curricula. Some of YPP’s activities included a week long series of televised debates for broadcast later this month.

Cafetaria at Punjab Unviversity

Qatar: Invention of the Robotic Camel Jockey

Doha, Qatar – Camel racing has been a popular sport for centuries in the Gulf region.  In most countries children were used as camel jockeys.  But governments along with the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, knew that it was dangerous work for children.

In 2005, children from several South East Asian countries were repatriated after a ban was implemented, prohibiting them from working as jockeys.  Camel owners had to find a replacement to keep the sport alive.  They turned to inventor, Rashid Ali, who came up with the idea of using robots.

First Robotic Prototype Jockey

After several prototypes were developed, a robot weighing no more than three kilos equipped with a thin whip is getting the job done.

Final Prototype

We were fortunate to cover several races in Doha – a spectacular moment as camels with colorful robots on their backs jostled for first place.  Watch this short clip for more on camel racing in Qatar.


UN Concert on Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting

Some 140 million women and girls have undergone Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting FGM/C around the world. This custom is practiced predominantly in Africa, and some countries in Asia and the Middle East.

A concert was held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 28 February featuring UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angelique Kidjo, an advocate for the elimination of the custom altogether.


UN Multimedia Photo

Discussions continue in the struggle to ban the practice.  President Bill Clinton tweeted recently about an upcoming trip to Ghana by Hillary and Chelsea in support of ending this horrific tradition completely.