News Bites

Olive Branch. In April, 120 former Israel Defense Force soldiers and Palestinian militants publicly launched “Combatants for Peace,” a partnership of former enemies who will pressure both governments to stop violence, promote peace, and establish a viable Palestinian state.

Groundbreaking. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines released a statement on mining issues and concerns in January that challenged President Macapagal-Arroyo’s “mining revitalization program.” This program would allow transnational companies to open new mines in economically depressed areas, sensitive bioregions, and indigenous homelands.

Salaam, Shalom. The Second World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace was held in Seville, Spain, in March, gathering more than 150 influential Jewish and Muslim leaders to work on a common agenda to “preserve the value of life.”

Mini-Size It. Ravalli County, Montana, passed an ordinance in April limiting stores to no more than 60,000 square feet, effectively protecting main street businesses and blocking Wal-Mart’s plans to build a supercenter.

Money Matters. Some of the world’s largest international investment funds, valued at more than $4 trillion, endorsed a set of six voluntary “principles for responsible investment” introduced by the United Nations in April. The signatories will incorporate environmental, social, and corporate governance issues into their investment analysis.

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