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  • Angelina Jolie, UNHCR Special Envoy, travelled to Malta and met three people who risked everything to reach safety. More people than ever before are risking their lives in search of safety – more than 207,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean since the start of January – almost three times the previous known high of about 70,000 in 2011, when the Libyan civil war was in full swing.

    Malta: Refugees Dying at Europe0s Doorstep

    Click here to view the video in your browser.


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  • With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogotá, Animal Defenders International campaigns to protect animals in entertainment; replacement of animals in experiments; worldwide traffic in endangered species; vegetarianism; factory farming; pollution and conservation. ADI also rescues animals in distress worldwide. ADI-gathered evidence has led to campaigns and legislative action all over the world to protect them.

    ADI's Mission: To educate, create awareness, and promote the interest of humanity in the cause of justice, and the suppression of all forms of cruelty to animals wherever possible to alleviate suffering, and to conserve and protect animals and the environment.

    Celebrity supporters

    Animal Defenders International has 27 known supporters, including Paul McCartney, Ricky Gervais, and Joanna Lumley

    Areas of work

    Read more about Animal Defenders International0s work and celebrity supporters.
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  • With help from PETA, the Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) and donations from around the world -- including a £5,000 gift from The Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon -- Benjy, an Irish bull previously slated for slaughter because of his sexual orientation, arrived at Hillside Animal Sanctuary today, where he will breathe fresh air, graze freely and never again face the threat of the butcher's block.

    Benjy The Bull
    Benjy The Bull
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    "I believe in compassion and empathy for all living beings -- regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation or species. That's why when PETA told me about ‘Benjy, the gay bull', I felt compelled to help", says Simon. "All animals have a dire destiny in the meat and dairy industries, but for Benjy to have been killed because of his sexual orientation would have been a double tragedy."

    "My health won't allow me to travel to the UK to see Benjy in his new home, but it thrills me to know that his fate is a sanctuary rather than a sandwich, and I know the folks at PETA and ARAN will keep me updated on his progress", he says.

    Simon also hopes Benjy's story will inspire others to help animals. "While it will be a happy holiday season for Benjy, it won't be for the millions of other animals on farms living in their own filth, denied everything that is natural and important to them", he says. "I'd encourage anyone moved by Benjy's plight to help other animals like him by choosing to leave all animals off their plates and opt for a vegan Christmas dinner."

    Since Simon was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2012, he has used his resources to help many animals in need, including helping to retire a lame horse used for racing and securing the transfer of a chimpanzee who had spent more than 18 years in solitary confinement at a zoo. Just last week in collaboration with PETA US -- whose motto reads, in part, that "animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way" -- Simon helped rescue two black bears from a roadside zoo in Tennessee.

    For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13036-gay-bull-saved-by-sam-simon-arrives-at-sanctuary

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  • Multi-platinum Streamsound recording artist Kristian Bush (Sugarland) and Goodwill Industries of Houston connected donors and Goodwill job connection program participants with a benefit concert and donation event held in Houston, TX last week (12/11).

    Through a national partnership between Bush and Goodwill Industries International, fans were encouraged to provide an item or financial donation for free entry into Bush's live concert, meet some of Goodwill's job connection center program participants in person, and see how their donations directly impact lives and help create jobs.

    The event brought to life the meaning of Bush's Top 30-and-climbing single "Trailer Hitch," which reminds us that we collect so many things that we don't need and we can't take it with us when we go… so why not "give it away"?

    Goodwill Industries of Houston President and CEO Steve Lufburrow attended the event, hosted by KKBQ "The New 93Q", to talk about the initiative and help kick off the live concert with Bush.

    "Thank you to everyone who came out to last night's event. It was an honor to help Houstonians make the connection between the everyday items they donate to Goodwill and the members of their community who have received jobs or are going through training for future careers because of those donations. Goodwill's message is ‘Donate Stuff. Create Jobs.' And last night, we got to see the magic of that message in person," said Bush.

    "We are honored that the Houston community was chosen as the kick-off for Kristian's partnership with our Goodwill agencies across North America," said Steve Lufburrow, president and CEO of Goodwill Houston. "Kristian's concert last evening drew hundreds of Houston area residents who brought used clothing, household goods and monetary donations. The revenue from the sale of these donations empowers community residents to meet their goals and fulfill their futures through job training programs and support services. We are grateful for Kristian's support of Goodwill, and encourage others to donate what they no longer need."

    Earlier this week, Bush performed an exclusive concert preview for Houston media in a news conference at Goodwill Houston headquarters. He visited with staff, toured the job connection center and talked about the importance of the partnership and the #GiveItAway campaign.

    "Trailer Hitch" is the lead single from his forthcoming debut solo album, SOUTHERN GRAVITY (Streamsound Records), executive produced by Byron Gallimore.

    Fans are encouraged to continue donating to Goodwill year round. For more information on the #GiveItAway campaign, click here.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13037-kristian-bush-and-goodwill-industries-of-houston-host-concert-and-donation-event

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  • Artworks from some of the world's most influential contemporary artists went under the hammer last week (11th December) at UNICEF UK's first ever contemporary art auction SyriART, raising vital funds to help protect Syrian children from danger.

    The event, which took place at Phillips Auction House (London), raised over £750,000 made possible by a number of generous bids during the live auction and through an online sale on Paddle8.com. The final total could increase significantly as the UK Government will match all UK public donations and successful bids to SyriART pound for pound.

    Internationally renowned auctioneer, Simon de Pury, conducted the live auction which included lots from Hugh Scott-Douglas, Dan Rees, Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor, Grayson Perry, Martin Creed, Olafur Eliasson, Urs Fischer and Juergen Teller. The highest price of the evening was realised when Antony Gormley's SUBMIT IV sold for £300,000. Dan Rees' Wales-Syria Solidarity in Pebble Dash went for more than double its estimate at £32,000.

    Amongst the guests at the star-studded evening were participating artists Dan Rees, Joseph Kosuth, Maggi Hambling, Gavin Turk and Toby Zeigler and high profile personalities from the worlds of art and entertainment including Unicef UK Ambassador Emma Bunton, Peter Capaldi, Kirstie Allsopp and Louis Walsh. The auction was co-hosted by Unicef UK Ambassador and writer Andrew O'Hagan and musician and journalist Alex James. Singer-songwriter Florrie provided the evening's entertainment with a unique cover performance of George Ezra's Budapest.

    All funds raised from the sales will help Unicef, the world's leading children's organisation, provide children in Syria and refugee children in five neighbouring countries – Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt – with vital aid and support, as part of the largest humanitarian operation in history. Over seven million Syrian children are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

    The UK Government will match all UK public donations and successful bids to SyriART pound for pound.

    Unicef UK's Executive Director, David Bull, said: "Millions of Syrian children are in danger and Unicef is working tirelessly to keep them safe. Art can be incredibly powerful in Unicef's work with Syrian refugee children, helping them come to terms with their experiences and express themselves. And now through SyriART, artists from around the world are helping too by raising vital funds for the children of Syria. We are hugely grateful for the generosity and support of all the artists, to everyone who bought the artwork and to the UK Government for matching all UK public donations and successful bids pound for pound. The money raised is vital to enable Unicef to continue our life-saving work for Syrian children in danger."

    You can help keep Syria's children safe too. To find out more about Unicef's work to protect children in danger or to donate, please visit unicef.org.uk/Syria.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13038-stars-attend-syriart-auction-for-unicef

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  • The Duchess of Cornwall served up sausages and mash at a tea party for children with terminal illnesses last week.

    The Duchess of Cornwall meets some of the patients of Helen & Douglas House
    The Duchess of Cornwall meets some of the patients of Helen & Douglas House
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    Her Royal Highness refused to stand on ceremony as she rolled up her sleeves and handed round plates to youngsters from the Helen & Douglas House children's hospice who were visiting her official London home, Clarence House.

    Each year The Duchess invites 12 young people and their families from the home, of which she has been patron since 2007, to come in and help her decorate the Royal Christmas tree.

    Helen & Douglas House is a hospice in Oxford that cares for terminally ill children, young adults and their families.

    It provides medical, emotional and practical support, helping families deal with the implications of living with a child who will die prematurely, so that they can make the most of their time together.

    Opened in 1982, it was the world's first children's hospice and cares for children from birth to 16.

    Sporting a fuchsia dress and matching patterned scarf, The Duchess chatted to each of the children and their families about their often heartbreaking stories.

    Among them were Andrew and Kay Lyon from Oxford and their daughter Sienna, three, who suffers from a rare genetic condition that affects her brain.

    The couple told The Duchess of the unparalleled support the charity had given them, even looking after Sienna, who suffers from regular seizures and is unable to walk or talk, in order to take their two eldest children on holiday.

    "Helen House has been remarkable and the care they give Sienna just unparalleled," Mrs Lyon said.

    "It is something we never expected, and has opened up a whole new life for us. We don't know how long we will have Sienna with us, so this is about helping us to create some very happy and special memories.

    "Today has been huge part of that."

    The Duchess then opened the doors to her drawing room, behind which her assistant equerry from the Welsh Guards, Captain Fred Lloyd George, was waiting. Resplendent in his uniform, he saluted the children.

    Her Royal Highness then helped them to choose several decorations each and carefully placed them on the twinkling tree.

    Afterwards it was time for tea and sausages and mash, as well as chocolate Christmas trees and decorated biscuits.

    The Duchess told the gathering: "It's lovely to see you all and I hope you have enjoyed yourselves. This is one of my favourite things to do each year and seeing your faces as the door opens is magical.

    "Helen & Douglas House is a wonderful, uplifting place. Everyone should visit it."

    Her Royal Highness also comforted Marie McVicar from Wiltshire, who lost her son Ollie Samways, seven, as a result of complication from pre-existing brain damage on November 1. Ollie's sister Shayla, four, put his decoration on the tree instead.

    Marie, who is pregnant with a baby boy due in February, said: "Ollie sadly died at the hospice from a chest infection last month and I would do anything to support them. They have become my family.

    "Ollie was a very special little boy and met The Duchess when she visited the hospice earlier this year. She remembered him immediately and was a huge comfort."

    Clare Edwards, chief operating officer at Helen & Douglas House, described the event as "magical".

    "It's such a unique day, so special," she said. "It makes the children feel so worthy and special and important.

    "It's a real privilege to have The Duchess as our Patron. She takes such an interest in the work we do and her patronage helps to shine a light on children's palliative care."

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13039-terminally-ill-kids-help-duchess-of-cornwall-decorate-royal-christmas-tree

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  • Samuel L. Jackson has posted a video on his Facebook page calling celebrities and his fans to sing against the violence of "racist police."

    The actor is challenging people to sing to raise awareness of police brutality and gain support for greater police accountability.

    The song and video are a reaction to the death of Eric Garner, who was killed by police in July, and was released on the day America took to the streets to protest.

    "I can hear my neighbor cryin' ‘I can't breathe'
    Now I'm in the struggle and I can't leave.
    Callin' out the violence of the racist police.
    We ain't gonna stop, till people are free.
    We ain't gonna stop, till people are free."

    To watch the video, click here.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13040-samuel-l-jackson-sings-against-police-brutality

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  • The Prince of Wales challenged global business leaders to "help save the world" at a sustainability summit last week.

    The Prince of Wales at the Accounting for Sustainability Annual Forum
    The Prince of Wales at the Accounting for Sustainability Annual Forum
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    Speaking at the Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) Summit, His Royal Highness said there would be dire consequences if the current state of affairs continued.

    "Frankly, the older I get the more and more anxious I become – no matter which way you look at it, the sums just do not add up," he said.

    The Prince assured the audience that he had done his part for sustainability by walking to the summit before setting out the steps the finance and accounting community need to take over the coming decade.

    While he began by stressing the fact that he was not an accountant, The Prince said: "I presume you are not just here out of curiosity as to what I might say next, so I hope I can call on your help to take forward the good work that has been done so far and find ways to make sustainability part of the DNA of every finance leader and accountant on the planet."

    Around 250 senior figures from major corporations and future finance leaders, including British supermarkets Sainsbury's and Marks and Spencer, attended the event at the Institute Of Directors in Pall Mall, London.

    The Prince told the room: "Go out and seek to convince your peers. In this regard, the team of accountants at A4S has highlighted some rather interesting numbers to me.

    "I understand – and I assume a team of accountants must be right – that if every one of you here in the room today manages to convince just five others to start accounting for sustainability, and then each one of them engages another five each year, in five years' time we could reach all of the three million accountants in the world!

    "However, I hate to tell you that for obvious reasons five years is too long – so each of you needs to rush out and convince 10. And then accountants really will be helping to save the world."

    The Prince hosted his A4S summit to celebrate its 10th anniversary and the progress it has made since its inception.

    John Rogers, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Sainsbury's, said he hoped the summit would create genuine results. He said: "We've got some very real, practical tools we would like take forward."

    A spokeswoman for the Project said that, historically, accountants have "very much been focused on the financial".

    She said: "Increasingly they are looking more and more about how the environmental and social issues can be applied… to really understand how they can look at the link between those different issues and understand what they can do differently".

    Jessica Fries, Executive Chairman of A4S, said at the summit: "Over the 10 years since our launch we have worked to dispel the idea that there has to be a choice between making money on one hand and ‘doing the right thing' on the other.

    "Making business decisions which are designed to build resilient business models will inevitably lead to a more sustainable economy. However time is not on our side. We have achieved a lot in 10 years but there is still a great deal of work to do."

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13041-prince-charles-talks-at-sustainability-summit

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  • Next year's eagerly awaited "Backstage at the Geffen" will honor Mellody Hobson and George Lucas with the Distinction in Service Award and Sir Elton John and David Furnish with the Distinction in Theater Award at the 13th annual fundraiser on March 22, 2015.

    The irreverent evening of laughter, music and stories featuring personal "backstage" memories and songs by a cavalcade of stars precedes the award ceremony in the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse and will be produced by Vice Chair of the Board, Gil Cates, Jr. David Geffen is Honorary Chair. The event also launches the 20th anniversary of the founding of the not-for-profit theater.

    Funds raised are earmarked for a host of Geffen Playhouse endeavors including new play development, playwright commissions, second productions and artistic risks, as well as the theater's award-winning education and outreach programs which help bring the excitement of live theater to more than 15,000 disadvantaged youth, seniors, veterans and community members annually.

    "Backstage at the Geffen" title sponsor City National Bank returns for its sixth year.

    The Geffen Playhouse has been a hub of the Los Angeles theater scene since opening its doors in 1995. Noted for its intimacy and celebrated for its world-renowned mix of classic and contemporary plays, provocative new works and second productions, the Geffen Playhouse continues to present a body of work that has garnered national recognition. Named in honor of entertainment mogul and philanthropist David Geffen, who made the initial donation to the theater, the company was founded by Gilbert Cates, and is currently helmed by Artistic Director Randall Arney, Managing Director Ken Novice, Chief Development Officer Regina Miller and Board Chairs Martha Henderson and Pamela Robinson. Proudly associated with UCLA, the Geffen Playhouse welcomes an audience of more than 130,000 each year, and maintains an extensive education and outreach program, designed to engage young people and the community at large in the arts. For more information, please visit www.geffenplayhouse.com.

    Host Committee memberships begin at $2,500 per person. For more information, please visit www.geffenplayhouse.com/backstage or call (310) 208-6500 ext. 112.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13042-george-lucas-and-elton-john-to-be-honored-at-backstage-at-the-geffen

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  • Just in time for the holiday season, the latest episode of American Humane Association0s weekly radio show brings some welcome cheer with a pair of comedy legends live from the red carpet at the 21st annual Lady in Red Gala in Palm Beach, Florida.

    This special edition of "Be Humane with Dr. Robin Ganzert," broadcast on the Pet Life Radio Network, the world's number-one pet radio network, features interviews with movie star and "Saturday Night Live" alum Martin Short and the beloved husband-and-wife comedy act of Marty Allen and Karon Kate Blackwell.

    This year's Lady in Red Gala took place on Saturday, December 6 at the Mar-a-Lago Club under the aegis of the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation with proceeds from the event going to American Humane Association, the first national humane organization and the only charity in America working for the protection of both children and animals.

    "Martin, Marty and Karon are three of the greatest comic geniuses in history, which made it one of our best shows ever," said program host Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane Association's president and CEO. "But they are also all serious animal lovers with stories to touch your heart and make us all realize why we do what we do. My deepest thanks go to Lois Pope and all of the members of the LIFE Foundation board of directors for bringing in this top-level talent, organizing such a fabulous evening, and supporting American Humane Association. You are all humane heroes and your generosity will go a long way to making a happier holiday season for America's kids and animals."

    Also appearing on this week's episode are Donna Lawrence, whose pit bull mix Susie was named the American Hero Dog at the 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards, which are also sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation; the Grommet family, who will be having a happy holiday season thanks to American Humane Association reuniting Military Working Dog Matty with Army Specialist Brent Grommet; and more.

    Each weekly episode of "Be Humane with Dr. Robin Ganzert" is produced by American Humane Association's Scott Sowers and is distributed via Pet Life Radio's diverse platform as well as by email and social media to American Humane Association's constituents. Since the show's debut earlier this year, many famed animal lovers have taken part in the show, including actor and rapper Ice-T and his wife Coco, the E! Network's Ross Mathews, reality television superstar Lisa Vanderpump, "America's Veterinarian" Dr. Marty Becker, famed dog trainer Victoria Stilwell, country music star Naomi Judd, philanthropist and entertainer Paris Hilton, "The Bachelor's" Prince Lorenzo Borghese, supermodel Joanna Krupa, style icon John Paul DeJoria, and many more.

    Pet Life Radio is available free on-demand from the PetLifeRadio.com website and more than 30 podcast distributors. The Pet Life Radio live radio stream is broadcast 24/7 worldwide on the PetLifeRadio.com home page as well as to smart phones, mobile devices and cars through mobile apps including iHeartRadio, iTunes Radio, TuneIn Radio, Stitcher Radio, Nokia Radio, and ooTunes Radio.

    Created by award-winning producer, Mark Winter, Pet Life Radio features more than 60 weekly pet-related talk shows hosted by the most well-known pet experts, authors, and radio and TV personalities in the world of animals and pets and boast more than 7 million listeners monthly.

    To listen to the special episode of "Be Humane with Dr. Robin Ganzert" with special guests Martin Short, Marty Allen and Karon Kate Blackwell, as well as all other episodes, click here.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13043-martin-short-features-on-american-humane-associations-weekly-radio-show

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  • The Anaheim-based NAMM Show gathers music education leaders, college music faculty and music-career seeking students though events hosted by the NAMM Foundation.

    Renowned musician, DJ and composer Moby, and award-winning inspirational speaker Richard Gerver will headline five days of networking, volunteer work, educational sessions and research briefings. Music students and educators can register for the 2015 NAMM Show at NAMMFoundation.org.

    "Music education -- both formal and informal -- is a pathway of learning that fuels each generation of music makers," said NAMM Foundation Executive Director Mary Luehrsen. "NAMM Foundation is honored to welcome the music students and educators to soak up the innovation and inspiration that abounds at the NAMM Show."

    To kick of The NAMM Show, the NAMM Foundation is offering all NAMM Show attendees an opportunity to participate in efforts to bring music back to the Anaheim Public School District. Start the show off early and right by investing in a musical day of service at Anaheim's Marshall Elementary School from 8 a.m. to noon. Instruments and facilitators provided by Kala Brand Music Co., Remo, GAMA and more.

    Platinum recording artist Moby opens Generation Next on Thursday. Generation Next produced in collaboration with the College Music Society, is a NAMM Show exclusive educational opportunity for college music students preparing for careers in the music products industry and music faculty. Moby's keynote, made possible in collaboration with the Los Angeles College of Music, starts at 9:30 a.m. in the Anaheim Hilton's NAMM Foundation Lounge.

    Music Education Days offers music educators and administrators valuable exposure to the latest in music product innovations and ideas; these days also celebrate music teachers and the great work they do every day in their classrooms. Educators are welcome to start Saturday off with Apple co-founder Steve "Woz" Wozniak speaking live via simulcast about innovation in music. Sunday at 9:30 a.m. best-selling author and critically lauded educator and speaker Richard Gerver delivers the Foundation's Music Education Days keynote address. Gerver will share his experiences facing change in education policy and funding and how music and the arts continue to inspire.

    Funding scientific research, a major NAMM Foundation initiative, will be featured at the show. The President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH) unveils new NAMM Foundation-funded research on the impact Turnaround Arts programs have had in underperforming schools. Turnaround Artists Chad Smith and Trombone Shorty join PCAH Executive Director Rachel Goslins, on Thursday from 2-3 p.m. in the Foundation Lounge, to share their experiences with Turnaround Arts. On Saturday at 2 p.m., NAMM Foundation-funded Northwestern University researcher Nina Kraus and the National Association for Music Education will be featured on a SupportMusic webcast.

    Celebrate music education at the Imagine Party on Friday night with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Funk Legend, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic brought to you by the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus and NAMM Foundation. Those with a NAMM Show badge should report to the NAMM GoPro Grand Plaza Stage to get funked up starting at 6 p.m.

    Check out the complete lineup of NAMM Foundation events and register for Generation Next and Music Education Days. Most music education-related events will be held in the NAMM Foundation Lounge, which is located in the California Ballroom at the Anaheim Hilton.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13044-music-education-in-the-spotlight-at-2015-namm-show

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  • Mediaplanet announces distribution of its first cross-platform edition of Neurological Conditions, educating Canadians on the socio-economic impact of various brain diseases and disorders, and the research being done towards innovative treatments to improve quality of life for those affected.

    Jason Silva and Neurological Conditions
    Jason Silva and Neurological Conditions

    The print component of Neurological Conditions is distributed within the National Post, a circulation of approximately 160, 000 copies and an estimated readership of 420,000. The digital component is distributed nationally through a vast social media strategy and across a network of top news sites and partner outlets.

    In an exclusive interview, Mediaplanet had the chance to talk to Jason Silva, the host of National Geographic's award winning series, Brain Games. He shared his thoughts on human creativity, futurism, and how we can extend the boundaries of our minds. He notes, "Knowledge is addicting. Humans get a hit of dopamine in the brain whenever we're exposed to novel stimuli… We have an insatiable urge to understand, to question, to deconstruct what is fascinating."

    Another editorial featuring Carrie Maclean, mother of two, shares how she took charge of her multiple sclerosis, did her research, and played an active role in her treatment. "This is not a death sentence. This disease is manageable. You can live a long life." She adds that, "The research is changing so fast. You need to be your own best advocate."

    Special thanks to Genzyme Canada, Cynapsus Therapeutics, Biogen Idec, Kalgene Pharmaceuticals, Weston Brain Institute, Epilepsy Canada, the University Health Network, Brain Canada, Ontario Science Centre and Neurological Health Charities Canada for their support and contributions in the making of this campaign.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13045-brain-games-jason-silva-helps-educate-canadians-about-brain-diseases-and-disorders


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  • Richard Branson and Virgin Unite have launched a new study aimed at reversing Type 2 Diabetes.

    "The Caribbean, where I've been living for nearly four decades now, has become a major battleground in the fight against Type 2 Diabetes," blogged Branson. "It is an incredible serious issue here, with around one in five adults suffering from Type 2 Diabetes, which occurs when the body can't produce enough insulin or when the insulin produced does not work properly. It affects the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys -- I've seen somebody lose a leg from it, and older people lose their lives.

    "Already, the impacts on fragile health infrastructures are being felt. That's why Virgin Unite, our foundation, is launching the Barbados Diabetes Reversal Study (BDRS), in partnership with the Diabetes Association of Barbados and the Barbados Diabetes Foundation.

    "The aim of the BDRS is to determine the acceptability and effectiveness of an eight week very low calorie diet to reverse Type 2 Diabetes in Barbados. Our hope is that the study's success could show a pathway out of the diabetes crisis in this region, identifying a range of simple options for people to change their diets and stay healthy. This will be specific to the region, finding out what works in the Caribbean, compared to what works in the UK or elsewhere. This research builds on the wonderful work of Professor Roy Taylor at Newcastle University in the UK. In 2011 he found that Type 2 Diabetes can be reversed by adopting a short very low calorie diet, followed by weight maintenance. Participants were able to get rid of excess fat in the liver and pancreas and restore blood sugar to normal levels.

    "Now UWI researchers are hoping to see similar results in Barbadians, with Professor Taylor providing scientific leadership for the study.

    "If effective in larger studies, this research could change the way Type 2 Diabetes is treated in the future. There have been plenty of sceptics who don't believe reversing Type 2 Diabetes is possible, but the facts suggest this is the beginning of something very exciting. This has the potential to be life-altering and even life-saving for many people. We're really looking forward to seeing results later in 2015."

    If you live in Barbados, have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in the last six years, and are interested in participating in the study, please email: reversediabetes246@gmail.com.

    For other enquiries about the study, please contact Professor Nigel Unwin of the Chronic Disease Research Centre at the University of the West Indies in Barbados at nigel.unwin@cavehill.uwi.edu.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13046-richard-branson-launches-study-to-reverse-type-2-diabetes

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  • Written by Elizabeth Willoughby

    When the mayor of New York City announced his plan to ban horse carriages, actor Liam Neeson spoke out in strong opposition to it.

    "I've been walking on the streets of Central Park for two hours every day, five days a week for 20 years. I know some of the drivers. I've seen the joy that the tourists get from these carriage rides. These horses are well cared for," Neeson said. "I'm here in support of the teamsters. I'm here in support of my brothers and sisters in the horse carriage industry. And a beautiful industry it is. It's a connection with the past. It's a connection with our history."

    Speaking to CBC radio, carriage horse driver Christina Hansen would be sorry to see the industry banned after over 150 years in the city. She says that those who oppose horse carriages on moral grounds are extremists who believe that owning, riding or driving a horse constitutes abuse, cruelty and torture. However, she says, simply riding a horse is not what the average person thinks of as an act of torture.

    Hansen claims that in the past 30 years there have been only a few accidents in NYC resulting in minor injuries and only three horse fatalities due to collision with vehicles, demonstrating that it's a safer form of transportation than taxis, private cars, bicycles and buses. Working on one of the busiest streets in the world for all to see, she says there is nothing to hide; the animals are cared for on duty and off: They're well housed with 24-hour stablemen, are fed ample, healthy food and are receiving the exact kind of exercise they were physiologically designed for -- walking many miles a day.

    "This is an industry that's been here since before Abraham Lincoln's first inauguration," says Neeson. "The mayor wants to replace [carriage horses] with electric cars. That's exactly what New York needs, more cars."

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13047-liam-neeson-opposes-ban-on-nyc-carriage-horses

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  • Written by Elizabeth Willoughby

    The USA's annual Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded by a sitting president to those he deems have offered exceptional contributions to society. These meritorious actions can fall into three categories, including cultural endeavors.

    In November, President Barack Obama named 19 recipients of this year's award. "From activists who fought for change," he said, "to artists who explored the furthest reaches of our imagination."

    Of Journalist Tom Brokaw, The White House press release said, "For decades, Mr. Brokaw has reached millions of Americans in living rooms across the country to provide depth and analysis to historic moments as they unfold, from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the terrorist attacks of 9-11."

    Among his many awards for his lifetime achievements, he can now add the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    Actor Meryl Streep received the award for her contribution to theatre.

    "Ms. Streep has captured our imaginations with her unparalleled ability to portray a wide range of roles, portraying characters who embody the full range of the human experience," the press release stated. But at the ceremony, Obama said, "I've said it publicly, I love Meryl Streep. I love her. Her husband knows I love her. Michelle knows I love her. There's nothing either of them can do about it. But, she's done it all for her craft."

    Another actor, Marlo Thomas, also received the award, but for her social activism. "Whether championing equality for girls and women," said the statement, "giving voice to the less fortunate, breaking barriers by portraying one of television's first single working women on ‘That Girl', or teaching children to be ‘Free to Be You and Me', Thomas inspires us all to dream bigger and reach higher."

    It also commended Thomas' work as the National Outreach Director with the pediatric facility, St. Jude Children0s Research Hospital, which her father founded in 1962.

    Stevie Wonder, whom the statement called one of the world's most gifted singer-songwriters, also received the award this year for his contribution to the entertainment industry. "Mr. Wonder has created a sound entirely his own," it said, "mixing rhythm and blues with genres ranging from rock and roll to reggae, and demonstrating his mastery of a range of instruments, styles and themes." At the ceremony, Obama said, "For more than 50 years, Stevie has channeled his inner visions into messages of hope and healing and becoming one of the most influential musicians in American history."

    The Medal of Freedom award was introduced in 1945 for outstanding civilian wartime service. This was replaced in 1963 by the Presidential Medal of Freedom to include peacetime service as well.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13048-celebrities-honored-with-highest-civilian-award

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  • Best Buddies International, a nonprofit dedicated to creating opportunities for friendship, employment and leadership training for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), is excited to support Hollywood actress and Best Buddies Celebrity Ambassador Vivica A. Fox as one of the newest cast members on the upcoming season of Donald Trump0s Celebrity Apprentice.

    Vivica A. Fox has been an advocate for people with IDD for more than 15 years as a Celebrity Ambassador for Best Buddies International. Her compassion and dedication to the organization's cause is evident from the number the events she has attended in support of the organization including a special gathering with Best Buddies New York participants to celebrate the organization's 25th Anniversary and the Best Buddies Miami Gala. In 2005, Fox and Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, a Best Buddies Global Ambassador, hosted CASINO night at Lewis' Los Angeles home to raise funds for Best Buddies. Fox has been a true friend to Best Buddies and has dedicated herself to the organization's mission of friendship and inclusion for those with special needs.

    "Best Buddies has been fortunate to work with Vivica for more than 15 years and we could not be more proud and honored that she has selected Best Buddies as her charity of choice on Celebrity Apprentice," said Anthony K. Shriver, Founder and Chairman of Best Buddies International. "She is up against some fierce competition, but I am confident that her hard work and passion for Best Buddies as a whole will prove that she is a force to be reckoned with."

    The new season of Celebrity Apprentice will begin with a two-night premier on January 4-5, 2015. It is the 14th season of The Apprentice and seventh of Celebrity Apprentice, which has raised over $14 million for charity. The hit television show brings together 16 varied celebrity contestants this year to compete in multiple business-driven tasks around New York City. Contestants will partake in challenging assignments that test their ability to work with one another while raising money and awareness for their respective causes.

    Other contestants on the show will include Reality star and author Brandy Glanville, Actor Gilbert Gottfried, NFL great Terrell Owens and many more.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13049-vivica-a-fox-joins-celebrity-apprentice

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  • More than 1,600 children die each day from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation and hygiene practices. Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, will partner with international humanitarian organization World Vision to protect children around the globe from illness caused by dirty water and poor sanitation.

    Raya, one of the newest members of the Sesame family, along with her friend Elmo, will teach children and families about positive health behaviors related to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Originally developed with generous funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Raya is an adorable girl Muppet who remembers everything she reads and pays close attention to hygiene.

    As the largest nongovernmental organization providing improved sanitation, hygiene and clean water access in the developing world, World Vision and Sesame Workshop will leverage the breadth and long-term commitment each nonprofit has established throughout decades of work in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

    Child focused sanitation and health educational materials featuring Raya and Elmo are being designed to reach children and families through media, schools and community engagement programs. Communities that receive these critical messages about hygiene and sanitation are expected to see measurable effects on health and well-being.

    The partnership between Sesame Workshop and World Vision will begin by focusing on rural communities in Southeast Asia and Southern Africa where World Vision has a long-term humanitarian presence and manages hundreds of community and schools development programs.

    Sesame Workshop and World Vision believe that this partnership has the potential to save lives in the developing world by tackling the top causes of childhood deaths -- including pneumonia and diarrhea caused by lack of hygiene, sanitation and clean water.

    For over 45 years, Sesame Workshop has been helping children and families grow smarter and stronger about their health and the well-being of the communities they live in," says Stephen Sobhani, Vice President, International, Sesame Workshop. "Our work with World Vision surrounding sanitation and hygiene will reach some of the most remote regions of the world — regions where these resources can be lifesaving."

    "Partnering with Sesame Workshop will help reach children in fun and educational ways so they can grow to be more effective positive change agents in communities" said Greg Allgood, Vice President of World Vision. "While World Vision already reaches one new person with clean water every 30 seconds and reached 1.6 million people with improved sanitation in 2014, we expect to reach even more in 2015 with messaging from Raya and Elmo."

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13050-sesame-workshop-and-world-vision-partner-to-tackle-critical-global-health-priority

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  • Scholastic, the global children's publishing, education and media company, today announced that a donation of 100,000 new children's books from The Scholastic Possible Fund will be donated to children in need this holiday season through three non-profit organizations that work to improve global literacy: Toys for Tots (49,200 books), Save the Children (31,700 books) and Room to Read (19,100 books).

    The donation was made together with Usher and his New Look Charity, a 501c3 organization that develops youth from underserved communities into global leaders.

    Usher recently joined with Scholastic to launch the new "Open a World of Possible" initiative, designed to elevate the importance and joy of reading for all children. Research and resources are available at: www.scholastic.com/worldofpossible.

    "We know from research that when children discover a book they love, they are motivated to read more, understand more, and learn more. When that happens, everything is possible," said Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO, Scholastic. "We applaud all the work that Toys for Tots, Save the Children and Room to Read do to ‘Open a World of Possible' for children in the U.S. and around the world by giving them wonderful new books and stories to experience, enjoy, and own."

    On November 6th 2014, eight-time Grammy Award-winning artist Usher hosted a live classroom webcast, viewed by close to 3 million students and their teachers, where he talked about the ways children can get involved in spreading the joy of reading. For their first call to action, students were asked to learn about three leading non-profit organizations and vote for the organization(s) they'd like to receive a donation of books. Each organization is receiving a portion of the donation from The Scholastic Possible Fund based on the students' votes.

    The Scholastic Possible Fund was established as part of the Company's Open a World of Possible reading initiative to provide donations of new, quality books to children in underserved communities and in communities recovering from crises or natural disasters with the goal of improving global literacy. Books from The Scholastic Possible Fund are distributed through non-profit partner organizations that work to help children and families understand the importance of books and reading from birth through adulthood as a pathway to understanding oneself and becoming a lifelong learner.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13051-usher-and-scholastic-donate-100000-new-childrens-books-to-charity

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  • Philanthropist, multi Emmy award-winning TV legend and Animal Defenders International (ADI) supporter Bob Barker welcomed the "best birthday present" on his 91st birthday on Friday, as Mexico passed a historic wild animal circus ban, heralded as the beginning of the end for wild animals in circuses by ADI.

    The following day, The Netherlands announced that it too is to prohibit wild animals in circuses. 30 countries have now passed laws to nationally restrict the use of animals in traveling circuses.

    The legendary US game show host, Bob Barker said "This really is the best birthday present I can remember. I am delighted and honoured to play a part in the revolution sweeping the world to stop circus suffering with ADI. Circus animals suffer terribly and, thankfully, wild circus animals in Mexico and The Netherlands will soon be free of their cages and chains. My birthday wish is to give all animals a brighter future and I hope the US will pass a ban on wild animal circuses before my next birthday."

    Jan Creamer, President of ADI, said "Bob Barker's overwhelming generosity has allowed ADI to clear two whole countries of suffering circus animals and helped ADI save animals across the globe. The bans in Mexico and The Netherlands are the latest landmarks in ending the abuse of animals in the name of entertainment. The use of animals in traveling circuses is cruel and out-dated, and that is now recognised in legislation in 30 countries. Animal Defenders International hopes that this will be a wakeup call to the US Government; it is time for the United States to catch up and do the same."

    Bob's generous donations have already allowed ADI to undertake two epic rescue missions in South America to help enforce animal circus bans. The latest is currently taking place in Peru and Colombia, where ADI has 30 lions, 11 monkeys and many other animals in its care as it empties wild animals from traveling circuses as part of its record-breaking mission, Operation Spirit of Freedom.

    A substantial donation of $500,000 to ADI's Operation Spirit of Freedom from the former Price is Right host has helped fund the construction of quarantine facilities and veterinary care and, when the animals are ready to travel, will also help pay for their flight to freedom. ADI is raising more funds to relocate all of the animals and build facilities for the monkeys in the Amazon sanctuaries.

    In 2011, Barker donated nearly $2 million to fund ADI's rescue of two groups of circus lions and other animals in Bolivia and construction of facilities at two sanctuaries in the US. The mission, known as Operation Lion Ark, is documented in the multi award-winning action-adventure movie LION ARK, in which Bob appears to welcome the lions as they touch down in the US.

    As abuse has been exposed in circuses, legislation has begun to sweep the world. A two-year undercover investigation by ADI in South American circuses has been key in securing bans in nine Latin American countries.

    A total of 30 countries worldwide have banned the use of all or wild animals in circuses, with similar prohibitions under discussion in several more. In the US, ADI is working to end the use of wild animals in traveling circuses through the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (TEAPA) which was launched in Congress with Bob Barker's support.

    ADI welcomes donations to help care for the animals and fund their flights to the US, free from suffering.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13052-wild-animal-circus-ban-is-best-birthday-present-ever-for-bob-barker

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  • Amnesty International recently released a new video from award winning artist John Legend as part of its Write for Rights campaign.

    Video: John Legend: "I Write Because..."

    The campaign is the world's largest letter-writing event in which Amnesty International asks the public to write -- or email, text, tweet or fax -- in support of specific cases that are emblematic of its broader work on human rights both within the U.S. and around the world.

    "I'm proud to lend my voice to Amnesty International's Write for Rights campaign because I believe human rights are everyone's concern -- no matter where you live," said Legend. "We cannot underestimate the power of the written word when it comes to affecting change in our world. It is my greatest hope that others, all over the globe, will participate in Write for Rights and join me in writing a letter to change a life."

    The letters and messages generated by the campaign have had an enormous impact. Last year alone, over 2 million actions were taken on behalf of 10 individuals and cases through Amnesty International USA. Through letter writing, Amnesty International activists have helped free tens of thousands of prisoners of conscience, people imprisoned solely for the peaceful expression of their beliefs or identity.

    This year's Write for Rights cases include prisoners of conscience, torture survivors, human rights defenders and communities facing human rights abuses. Notable cases include US Army Private Chelsea Manning, Chicago parents who lost their daughter to gun violence, women and girls impacted by El Salvador's abortion ban, and survivors of one of the world's worst industrial disasters. Write for Rights participants can write directly to these individuals to offer encouragement and support.

    "Defeating grave human rights problems can seem overwhelming, but the power of the written word should not be taken lightly," said Steven W. Hawkins, Amnesty International USA's executive director. "Over the course of its 53-year history Amnesty International has come to the aid of enough people to fill Madison Square Garden… twice. So we ask you, human rights supporters around the world, to stand with us and help bring human rights home by participating in Write for Rights."

    Learn more about Amnesty International's Write for Rights campaign and the cases here.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13053-john-legend-takes-part-in-amnesty-international-write-for-rights-campaign

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  • philosophy, the women's wellbeing beauty brand, is collaborating with Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Natasha Bedingfield on an exclusive, original song to spread hope to women everywhere.

    The song, "hope," penned by Natasha and a new writing and production team made up of Matt Robinson, David Saw and Ryan Freeman, was written to draw attention to the mental health needs of women and further the message of the hope and grace initiative — an unending commitment by philosophy to support community-based mental health organizations. Releasing simultaneously with the product launch of renewed hope in a jar, "hope" will be available for download on iTunes on January 13th with 20% of the net proceeds from iTunes sales benefitting the hope and grace initiative until 2016.

    By encouraging and promoting the idea of hope when faced with any adversity, this original song clearly captures the spirit of philosophy. For over 18 years, philosophy has been devoted to bringing women products that inspire them to live better lives. Most recently, in July 2014, philosophy launched the hope and grace initiative, the cornerstone of the brand's philanthropic mission wherein 1% of philosophy product sales across all retailers support community-based organizations working to empower women through the promotion of mental health and wellbeing, and the prevention and treatment of related issues.

    "At philosophy, we believe that it is important to nurture the skin as well as the soul, and music offers a powerful way to lift spirits and spread a message," says Jill Scalamandre, Senior Vice President, philosophy and Chief Marketing Officer, skin care for Coty. "The philosophy of renewed hope in a jar is ‘live with optimism, renew with hope,' a sentiment that not only ties perfectly to this beautiful song, but also to the hope and grace initiative's mission of helping lift the stigma that surrounds mental health."

    "philosophy understands the power of words, and as a songwriter this resonates deeply with me," says Natasha. "I was thrilled to collaborate with philosophy on the song and to help raise awareness about mental health, particularly among women. This song is about how powerful hope is and that we all need to be reminded sometimes of how even the darkest nights become bright mornings, and hope can carry us through any hardship."

    To celebrate the release of "hope," which is named for its reimagined iconic product, renewed hope in a jar, philosophy will host a special event where Natasha will perform "hope" live for the first time. The performance will be simulcast via Livestream as part of a larger digital media campaign that will further promote the renewed hope in a jar product and the hope and grace initiative.

    Changing the landscape of philanthropic efforts in the beauty industry, the hope and grace initiative established the hope and grace fund as a project of the New Venture Fund, a 501c3 public charity dedicated to supporting innovative and effective public interest projects. With guidance from an advisory board made up of committed and notable leaders in the mental health arena, philosophy will annually award multiple grants with an average amount of $25,000 through the hope and grace fund to support hundreds of qualified organizations around the world.

    In its first year, the fund plans to target organizations that work with women in the United States who are currently underserved by mental health services by providing grants to community-based mental health organizations. These unsung heroes of the mental health field include those organizations that are working to overcome the barriers and stigma associated with seeking treatment for mental health issues, providing access to mental health treatment, and fostering support networks for women with mental illness.

    Join the movement at hopeandgracefund.com.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13054-natasha-bedingfield-to-release-song-in-support-of-mental-health-and-wellbeing

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  • The Traditional Yoga Association, founders of the MUKTI project, is offering two tickets to Sting and Paul Simon0s On Stage Together concert at the O2 in London on April 16, 2015!

    The winner of this lottery will also have an opportunity to meet Sting before the concert and will receive return rail travel within the UK, dinner for two and one night at a London hotel on the night of April 16. Please note, the lottery is open only to UK residents aged 18 years and over.

    Trudie Styler, patron of MUKTI, has generously offered the organisation this incredible opportunity, which will help raise money and awareness for MUKTI – a project that supports a home for HIV positive children, an orphanage for street kids and refuge in India for battered women and their children.

    In 1998 the Traditional Yoga Association established the MUKTI Project in order to support the education of impoverished and endangered children in India. Since then MUKTI have extended their fund-raising to support projects in India for battered women and older women. Most recently they have begun donating to projects supporting homeless people in the UK. In the past 16 years they have raised nearly half a million pounds for the support of bonded labourers, street children, HIV Positive children, abused women and abandoned older women in India.

    Tickets for the lottery draw are now on sale and can be purchased online here.

    The winner will be announced at a lottery event draw on March 31, 2015.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13055-win-chance-to-meet-sting-and-support-traditional-yoga-associations-mukti-project

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  • Radiating competitive zeal and professional confidence, pro skateboarder Ryan Sheckler bares striking tattoos and a rock-solid physique over a half pipe in a new ad for peta2, PETA's youth division.

    Ryan Sheckler0s New PETA Ad
    Ryan Sheckler0s New PETA Ad

    The ad encourages, "Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin, and Let Animals Keep Theirs."

    "I'll never put on a mink coat. It's just not right," Sheckler says in an exclusive video interview with peta2. "Be aware of what you're actually doing and what materials you are using. You're taking a life from an innocent animal."

    Every year, millions of animals — including foxes, rabbits, raccoons, minks, and even dogs and cats — are beaten, gassed, electrocuted, or even skinned alive for their fur. Sheckler and peta2, whose motto reads, in part, that "animals are not ours to wear," want everyone to know that for every coat, collar, or cuff made of fur, animals suffered immensely — and that stylish, fur-free options are widely available from top designers and retailers such as Ralph Lauren, Forever 21, Stella McCartney, J. Crew, H&M, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and Gap Inc.

    Sheckler joins a growing list of celebrities — including Carey Hart, Kid Ink, Megan Massacre, and Steve-O — who have teamed up to help peta2 stop animal abuse.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13057-ryan-sheckler-bares-his-tattoos-for-peta

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  • Jack Johnson recently signed the One Ocean, One Island Earth Pledge in support of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

    Founded on a legacy of Pacific Ocean exploration, the Polynesian Voyaging Society seeks to perpetuate the art and science of traditional Polynesian voyaging through experiential educational programs. Covering 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports, and 26 countries, the current Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage will highlight diverse cultural and natural treasures and the importance of working together to protect them.

    Jack along with Nainoa Thompson visited Mālama Honua Charter School this month to share the message of caring for our oceans and Island Earth.

    You can join the movement, at www.hokulea.com.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13056-jack-johnson-supports-malama-honua-worldwide-voyage

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  • The Duchess of Cambridge spent a fun evening with a group of Beaver Scouts – and learnt to eat a chocolate bar while wearing a boxing glove.

    The Duchess of Cambridge dons a blindfold during a session to teach children what it is like to live with a disability
    The Duchess of Cambridge dons a blindfold during a session to teach children what it is like to live with a disability
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Her Royal Highness, who is an occasional volunteer with the Scout Association, was reduced to giggles as she joined the youngsters who were having a practical lesson in living with a disability.

    

And she even donned a blindfold and tried to decorate a cupcake with icing while being helped by one of the scouts.

    The Duchess had travelled to the Old Ford Primary School in London's East End to act as an assistant at the weekly evening meeting of the 23rd Popular Beaver Scout Colony. Her Royal Highness had come to help 20 six to eight-year-old beavers earn their disability awareness badges and clearly enjoyed the experience of trying to eat a chocolate bar while wearing a boxing glove on her right hand.

    

She laughed as she first tried to pick up the sweet treat before cutting it up with a fork and when she succeeded put the morsel in her mouth.

    

Her Royal Highness helped Fynley Gooch, seven, as he tried to decorate a cupcake while blind folded. She guided his hand as he squeezed a tube of icing on to the cake and then he did the same for her when she used her scarf to cover her eyes.

    

The Duchess later joined a table where some children were learning the sign language for the Beaver pledge "I promise to do my best, to be kind and helpful and to love my world".

    She copied a little boy next to her and clasped her hands to her chest as he worked his way through the words.

    Double world Paratriathlon champion Steve Judge, whose legs were badly crushed in 2002, spoke to the children about living with a disability.

    Her Royal Highness's visit was in support of the Scout Association's new landmark campaign, Better Prepared.

    Better Prepared will see The Scout Association working with local communities to open new Scout groups in 200 areas around the country where Scouting can have the biggest impact. The aim is to ensure that even more children have the chance to experience fun and adventure through Scouting, while developing skills that will help change their lives.

    Before leaving The Duchess of Cambridge presented disability badges to the children.

    Beaver Scout leader Carlos Lopez-Plandolit said of The Duchess's visit: "It was really good, it was amazing, she's naturally gifted with children – I think she had a great time.

    "I think the kids were really spontaneous, as kids are, and they helped her be part of the evening."

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13058-duchess-of-cambridge-helps-young-scouts-learn-what-it-is-like-to-live-with-disability

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  • Prince Harry has produced an amazing new photo blog from his recent visit to Lesotho, where he saw first-hand the impact of Sentebale, his charity helping vulnerable children.

    Prince Harry swings a child in the air in Lesotho
    Prince Harry swings a child in the air in Lesotho
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    Lesotho has the world's third highest HIV infection rate and one in three children are orphans. Life expectancy is only 48 years.

    Sentebale was founded by Prince Harry and his great friend Prince Seeiso, in memory of their mothers, the late Diana, Princess of Wales and Queen Mamohato. ‘Sentebale' is Sesotho – the language of Lesotho – for ‘forget-me-not'.

    The Prince has released a small selection of his own images from the visit and has provided personal captions to a wider selection of photos. Click here to visit the Sentebale website to see the photo blog.

    A major focus of Prince Harry's trip to Lesotho (between 5th -- 10th December), was to view the construction and development of Sentebale's new Mamohato Children's Centre. The new facility will increase four-fold the number of vulnerable children Sentebale can support through healthcare and education. Using the existing Camp Mamohato initiative, the Centre will provide emotional and psychological support to children living with HIV. During the visit Prince Harry attended a number of workshops and activities that help children with HIV develop greater confidence and self-reliance and address the stigma surrounding them.

    Writing in a caption to a photograph taken at the Camp Mamohato Centre, Prince Harry said: "These are children who have never had the chance to talk about their illness, and who had no idea that they were one of so many in their age group. It was really emotional watching them interact with each other. Some really outgoing chatty kids, others slightly overwhelmed, but all with huge smiles. This confirmed to me again that what we're doing is going to change thousands of children's lives, and hopefully save a generation."

    About taking his own photographs, Prince Harry said: "I have always enjoyed photography and the challenges that come with trying to capture the perfect shot, although privately I don't take many photos.

    "The best photos I have are in my head – I have some very special memories, mostly from Africa. But on this visit, I had the time and opportunity to be on the other side of the camera and take some photos in the stunning country of Lesotho for my charity Sentebale."

    In the blog, Prince Harry talks about the collaboration with his father's charity, The Prince's Foundation for Building Community (PFBC). Founded by The Prince of Wales, PFBC worked with a local architect to help design the Mahamoto Children's Centre to be both sustainable and beautiful, inspired by the mountain environment of Lesotho.

    The centre's layout reflects that of a village, and facilities will include accommodation cabins, activity rooms, various camp facilities and sporting pitches. Find out more about the centre and its design.

    During the visit to Lesotho, Prince Harry also travelled to the highlands of Mokhotlong to see the herd boys (young shepherds), who are benefitting from Sentebale's night school programme, offering basic education and life skills.

    Alongside Prince Seeiso of Lesotho (Sentebale's co-founder), Prince Harry then took the opportunity to visit some of Sentebale's community partners who support and educate orphans and children living with multiple disabilities, including the Thuso Centre, Pehlisanong Home, Touching Tiny Lives and Mant'sase orphanage.

    Cathy Ferrier, CEO of Sentebale said, "This visit was a great opportunity for Prince Harry to revisit Sentebale's work in country, meet the children and see the positive impact of our programmes. He also had a chance to put his personal input to the next phase of the building of the Mamohato Children's Centre. All the team at Sentebale are excited to see the plans for the new children's centre coming to life and are looking forward to the opening in 2015. We can't wait!"

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13059-prince-harry-creates-amazing-photo-blog-of-visit-to-lesotho

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  • Canadian superstar Michael Bublé has plenty to celebrate this Christmas, with the completion of a second series of sold out dates of his To Be Loved Tour in the UK. Michael is celebrating this recent success with an amazing donation of £125,000 -- £1 for every ticket sold – to Nordoff Robbins!

    Michael was incredibly generous to Nordoff Robbins when he won the International Award at the O2 Silver Clef Awards in 2012. The event was the first time he had the opportunity to hear about their music therapy work.

    As well as raising awareness about Nordoff Robbins, his donation will enable Nordoff Robbins to provide music therapy to thousands of vulnerable and isolated people across the UK for whom music therapy is essential to their daily lives.

    "Thank you so much to Michael, from the bottom of our hearts," blogged staff at Nordoff Robbins. "What a lovely surprise to receive this donation just before Christmas, which will allow us to help even more people throughout 2015 and beyond."

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13060-michael-buble-donates-125000-to-nordoff-robbins

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    Copyright © 2014 Look To The Stars. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this via email or in your news reader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright, and we would be grateful if you would contact us.

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