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Thursday, January 17, 2019

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Along with spending billions of dollars on better health care for the world's poor, Microsoft founder Bill Gates is increasingly turning his attention to Africa's struggling small farmers.  "We've been called 'the McDonald's of farming'," Rachel Zedeck says with a laugh. The former development worker is the founder of a start-up called Backpack Farm, which aims to help farmers in East Africa grow more crops, more food and ultimately earn money.

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"The reality is that Africa is the breadbasket of the world, and in eastern and sub-Saharan Africa, the way to impact the vast majority of human beings is through farming," she says. It is a simple idea. The company sells smallholder farmers a backpack stuffed full of seeds, irrigation, "green" chemicals and tools along with training manuals and advise on how to farm efficiently. It can cost up to $2,000, but at that price also includes a drip irrigation kit and water tank. Backpack Farm says that while the cost might seem high, it's one seventh of what those materials would cost commercially. And it claims that the pack, used properly, can double or triple crop yields.

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On April 22, more than one billion people around the globe participated in Earth Day 2012 and help Mobilize the Earth™. People of all nationalities and backgrounds are voicing their appreciation for the planet and demand its protection.

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Together we will stand united for a sustainable future and call upon individuals, organizations, and governments to do their part.  People who atrtended a local Earth Day event and joined one of the Earth Day campaigns assisted in collecting  "A Billion Acts of Green®" and elevated the importance of environmental issues around the world.

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Clinton Global Initiative

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The mission of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) is to inspire, connect, and empower a community of global leaders to forge solutions to the world's most pressing challenges.  The 2001 CGI Annual meeting just took place in New York City where many key global leaders gathered to make major commitments to improve the lives of 300 million people around the world.  When fully funded and implemented, these commitments would be valued in excess of $63 billion.

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Elizabeth Taylor may be gone, but her jewelry is still turning heads. The actress's personal collection of jewels went up for auction Tuesday night -- and fetched a record $115 million.    A pearl, diamond and ruby necklace known as La Peregrina, a gift to Taylor from Richard Burton in 1969, sold for a record $11.8 million.

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Christie's, which conducted the auction, had estimated the necklace would sell for $2 million or $3 million. Burton paid $37,000 for it. A 33.19-carat diamond ring, which was projected to go for $2.5 million to $3.5 million, sold for $8.8 million. Eighty pieces from Taylor's jewelry collection were auctioned Tuesday in New York, with the remaining 189 items to go Wednesday. Christie's has already blown past the $30 million it predicted as the total sale price. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

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Bartali has earned respect for his work in helping Jews who were being persecuted by the Nazis during the time of the Italian Social Republic. His humanitarian story emerged in December 2010, ten years after his death, when it was revealed he had hidden a Jewish family in his cellar and according to one of the survivors, by doing so saved their lives.  It is estimated that he helped saved more than 800 Jews during World War II. 

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Gino Bartali (July 18, 1914 - May 5, 2000)

Bartali was the most renowned Italian cyclist before the Second World War, having won the Giro d'Italia twice (in 1936 and 1937) and the Tour de France in 1938 and 1948.