October 25, 2014 -- Updated 4:10 pm GMT

Dutch Crown Prince Speaks At World Water Week

Posted in: Netherlands

Crown Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands was one of the 2,500 dignitaries at the annual World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, which began on Monday. At the first meeting, the Crown Prince gave a speech about the dangers of sanitation, health and other water related issues.aleqm5izodklvtsbqrzokpmqd7raheeayg 300x192 Dutch Crown Prince Speaks At World Water Week

“Sanitation is one of the biggest scandals of all times. It’s something that we have to put on our radar screen,” insisted Crown Prince Willem-Alexander.

He said some “7,500 people die every day due to this lack of sanitation,” pointing out that “the situation is the same as seven years ago.”

The Dutch Crown Prince even compared the listening dignitaries and renouned professors at the meeting to the athletes at the Olympics.

“I see similarities between these athletes and yourselves. You show the same commitment and willpower. And the Olympic Dream is also your dream: ‘to strive for a bright future of mankind’”, he said.

“Speaking of the Games, did you know that Beijing has invested more than eight billion US dollars in sewers and waste water treatment?”, the Crown Prince asked.

World Water Week is a discussion about ways to improve sanitation around the world, especially in poorer nations. The dignitaries at World Water Week include British professor John Anthony Allan, winner of the 2008 Stockholm Water Prize.

But the Dutch Crown Prince, who chairs the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, was one who had a lot to say about the issue.

Willem-Alexander talked about the massive improvements made in Asia and Latin America over sanitation, but said there was still ”a long way to go” and underlined the need to break taboos about sanitation.

Willem-Alexander noted improvements in Africa, although ‘the increase cannot keep pace with population growth. More people means more waste. It’s that simple,” he said in his opening remarks.

“I have spent this crucial year travelling all over the world”, the Prince said. “We are getting a lot of positive responses to our call for action. Governments and organisations are recognising sanitation issues and are showing their commitment to dealing with them by placing the subject high on the political agenda.”

He listed some of the remarkable results, and a less tangible and so perhaps more difficult, challenge: “The year has made great strides in breaking the sanitation taboo by bringing unmentionable subjects like toilets and feces out of the shadows and into the open. UNSGAB will continue to ‘call a spade a spade’ – or perhaps I should say ‘a toilet a toilet’”

Almost half of the world’s population lacks proper toilet facilities, a situation that can have dire consequences on public health and which poses a challenge to resolve since water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource.

Climate change, soaring population numbers and the rapid economic development of Asia and Africa have all put a strain on the world’s water supply.

Twenty percent of the planet’s population face water shortages, a figure that is expected to hit 30 percent by 2025, according to the United Nations which has declared 2008 the International Year of Sanitation.

Crown Princess Mary Arrives In Tasmania

Posted in: Denmark

She could have been any ordinary airplane passenger – if you think leaving four rows empty for yourself and your young children ordinary.

That is what it was like for Crown Princess Mary of Denmark in her 22 hour plane ride to her hometown of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. She is there for a family vacation with her relatives that should last 10 days. With her are her two children, 2 year old Prince Christian, and 15 month-old Isabella.

Also with Mary are 18 suitcases, 2 prams and a nanny. Husband Crown Prince Frederik is still at the Olympics, and will reunite with his family on August 26th.

Crown Princess Mary was originally with Frederik for the beginning of the Games, but then she went home a few days ago to collect her children and luggage for the trip back to Australia.

Fellow passengers had no idea they were sharing their flight with the princess.

“The first four rows were completely empty,” Queensland tourist Lloyd Fox said.

“We had no idea she was even on board until we landed in Hobart and noticed the cars, and she was allowed to get off before the rest of us.”

As Princess Mary emerged from the Jetstar flight carrying Christian, who was struggling to get out of his mother’s arms, Isabella was being carried by her nanny.

The family arrived at the West Hobart home of Mary’s older sister Jane Stephens’ just before noon, and family emerged later to collect 18 bags of luggage from Tasmanian police who had accompanied the family on their flight.

Christian, who turns three in October, came out on to the front veranda later to run around with his aunt Patricia Bailey.

This is the first trip to Australia for Christian’s little sister, Isabella.

Hawaiian Protestors Occupy Palace

About 20 protestors were arrested after they occupied the historic Iolani Palace, the home of Hawaii’s last monarch. The demonstrators were rallying against what they called U.S. occupation of their land.  palace sm Hawaiian Protestors Occupy Palace

The takeover began late on Friday and lasted for two hours before state police entered the palace grounds to bring it to an end. Officials said that 22 people had been arrested and 14 charged with trespassing. Others faced charges of burglary after forcing their way into the building, allegedly knocking aside and slightly hurting one employee along the way.

The employee who was hurt claims Honolulu police refused to intervene on grounds, saying the palace is out of their jurisdiction.

Gov. Linda Lingle said Saturday that there would be an investigation into the police response to the takeover.

Kippen de Alba Chu, executive director of the Friends of Iolani Palace, said he and other staff members were locked down in the palace and a nearby administration building during the takeover.

“They’ve got a king, and the king wants to sit on the throne,” de Alba Chu said.

The palace, built in 1882 when the archipelago was still a constitutional monarchy, is symbolic for a variety of political protest groups on the islands who insist that Hawaii should secede from the United States and become a kingdom again.

A group identifying its leader as King Akahi Nui claimed responsibility for the latest incursion. They distributed an “occupation public information bulletin” after the break -in.

It stated that “Majesty Akahi Nui, the King of Hawaii, has now reoccupied the throne of Hawaii. The Kingdom of Hawaii is now re-enacted”. King Nui says he was crowned in 1998.

Several Native Hawaiian organizations have rival claims to sovereignty over the islands.

Another group occupied the palace grounds in April and has been allowed to come back every week since then with a permit.

Hawaii was a constitutional monarchy until 1893, when an American group overthrew Queen Liliuokalani and made Hawaii a U.S. territory. The Queen was imprisoned in Iolani Palace after the takeover. The islands became a state in 1959.