News Bites

  • Up in the Air! In October, the U.S. Army conducted test flights over Washington, D.C., of a 178-foot A-170 Lightship dirigible built by the American Blimp Corporation to test "Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment" sensor equipment. The blimp, similar to the one at right, carried electro-optical/ infrared cameras and could transmit detailed pictures to controllers on the ground, as well as intercept "communications intelligence." "When you combine some of the unique characteristics of an airship with the new surveillance technology, it's got a pretty incredible potential," James Thiele, American Blimp Corporation president, told Knight Ridder.
    • Oiko! Oiko! International Christian microlender Oikocredit USA surpassed its 2004 goal to raise $2 million for microcredit loans. "We surpassed our $1 million goal in 2003 and were able to provide loans to 480 cooperatives and microcredit banks in 67 countries," Oikocredit's Terry Provance told Sojourners. The United Nations has declared 2005 as the "International Year of Microcredit."
    • Open Secrets. "[TV] shows with content about contraception and pregnancy can help to educate teens about the risks and consequences of sex-and can also foster beneficial dialogue between teens and parents," according to a RAND study about the influence of TV sex on teen sexual activity.
    • Seed Money. The Taiwanese Garden of Hope Foundation, which serves at-risk girls and women, won the Asia-Pacific nongovernmental organization award in September. The foundation will share its $10,000 cash prize with five other women's organizations. "As Christians," said director Hui-Jung Chi, "we strongly believe that good works have a multiplier effect."

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