Around the World

Matt Damon Wades Into World Water Struggle

As a child, before he was a movie star, before he won an Academy award, and before he was one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood, Matt Damon was deeply affected by the extreme poverty he witnessed with his mother on trips to Guatemala.

Now with the power of name recognition, he has started a non-profit called Water.org, a microfinance initiative that he started with co-founder Gary White. The organization helps provide drinking water and basic sanitation to communities in Africa, South Asia and Central America.

Worldwide there are nearly a billion people who don't have access to water and about 2.5 billion without basic sanitation. Half of the worlds hospital beds are filled with people suffering from water related disease, which kills over 3-million people every year.

Damon was inspired to start Water.org on a mile long walk with a young girl in Zambia while she collected water for her family. It's a walk many young girls take every day; about 200 million hours a day are spent by young girls and women around the world collecting in water for their families.

The girl told him that she dreams of moving to the big city when she grows up to become a nurse, a dream Damon could relate to. "I remembered that feeling of Ben Affleck and I saying we're going to go to the big city, we're going to New York, and we're going to be actors. And we were that age, and I remembered how wonderful that was."

Loading...
  • US urges Israel to reverse Palestinian land-grab plan
    US urges Israel to reverse Palestinian land-grab plan

    Israel faced increasing pressure Monday, including from the United States, after saying it plans to expropriate 400 hectares (988 acres) of Palestinian land in the Bethlehem area in the south of the occupied West Bank. Ally Washington, the United Nations and Egypt all called for an urgent rethink after Sunday's announcement, which angered the Palestinians and alarmed Israeli peace campaigners, and comes days after a long-term ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians took hold. "This announcement, like every other settlement announcement Israel makes, planning step they approve, and construction tender they issue, is counterproductive to Israel's stated goal of a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians," a US State Department official said.

  • U.N. to send team to investigate Islamic State crimes in Iraq
    U.N. to send team to investigate Islamic State crimes in Iraq

    By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations agreed on Monday to send investigators to Iraq to examine crimes being committed by Islamic State militants on "an unimaginable scale", with a view to holding perpetrators to account. "We are facing a terrorist monster," Iraq's human rights minister, Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani, told the U.N. Human Rights Council which adopted a resolution tabled by Iraq and France at an emergency sitting of the 47-member state forum in Geneva. The Council aims to send 11 investigators, with a total budget of $1.18 million, to report back by March 2015.

  • Florida power utilities fear return of ‘Green Governor' Crist
    Florida power utilities fear return of ‘Green Governor' Crist

    By David Adams MIAMI (Reuters) - When Charlie Crist last governed Florida, his green energy and climate policies made him few friends among the state's powerful electricity corporations. Now, as the Republican-turned Democrat bids to return to the governor's mansion, it may be payback time. Florida's three largest utilities have poured money into the re-election campaign of Republican incumbent Governor Rick Scott in an expensive and closely watched political battle for the nation's largest swing state. ...

  • Judge temporarily blocks law that could close all Louisiana abortion clinics
    Judge temporarily blocks law that could close all Louisiana abortion clinics

    The measure, signed into law by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in June and due to take effect Sept. 1, would require doctors who perform abortions to have patient admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their practice. "Plaintiffs will be allowed to operate lawfully while continuing their efforts to obtain privileges," Federal Judge John deGravelles wrote in the decision. Abortion rights activists applauded the decision, the latest in a string of rulings against similar measures, saying it would give doctors more time to seek hospital privileges. "Today’s ruling ensures Louisiana women are safe from an underhanded law that seeks to strip them of their health and rights," said Nancy Northup, president and chief executive of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which sued to block the law on behalf of three of the state's five clinics.

  • Fidel Castro compares NATO to Nazis, lashes out at US
    Fidel Castro compares NATO to Nazis, lashes out at US

    Cuban ex-president Fidel Castro lashed out at the United States and Europe on Monday, accusing them of war-mongering and comparing the NATO military alliance's representatives to the Nazi SS. In a tortuous column published in Cuban state media, the father of the island's communist revolution also attacked US Senator John McCain over United States policy in the Middle East, calling him "Israel's most unconditional ally."

  • Putin urges Europeans to have 'common sense' over sanctions threat
    Putin urges Europeans to have 'common sense' over sanctions threat

    Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the EU on Monday to show "common sense" and not to engage in mutually destructive sanctions, in his first reaction to the threat of additional punitive measures over Ukraine. The remarks came a day after European Union leaders gave Russia a week to reverse course in Ukraine or face a new round of sanctions. Fears are growing that the confrontation could engulf the whole continent after Russia allegedly sent troops to back a new offensive by pro-Kremlin rebels in southeastern Ukraine. Russian officials have said previously that they were preparing countermeasures in case of new Western sanctions, after having last month banned most EU and US food imports.

  • Tests promise 'blockbuster' new heart failure drug
    Tests promise 'blockbuster' new heart failure drug

    An experimental drug from Swiss pharma giant Novartis reduced deaths from chronic heart failure by 20 percent compared with an existing treatment, according to the results of a vast new study. Cardiovascular failure, in which the heart does not pump blood effectively, kills at least 26 million people a year worldwide. Novartis unveiled the highly anticipated results on Saturday at a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in Barcelona, Spain and simultaneously in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study -- conducted with more than 8,400 patients in 47 countries over 27 months -- compared the safety and effectiveness of the drug on patients with heart failure to the current gold standard, Enalapril.

  • ISIS Turning Old Enemies into Awkward Allies
    ISIS Turning Old Enemies into Awkward Allies

    US Attacks Joined With Militia Advised by Iran

Loading...