27 August 2008Thousands of refugees in Asia will continue to be inspired by the heroism of athletes at the Beijing Olympics, even though the curtain has fallen on the Games, thanks to a United Nations-backed campaign in which competitors donated their surplus sportswear. Some 30,000 pieces of sportswear – mainly from the National Olympic Committees of Australia, Japan, New Zealand and China – were donated during the Games, bringing the total collected so far in the “Giving is Winning” programme, run jointly by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), to 82,000.“For the refugees, these are not only useful items of clothing, but a symbol that people in the world beyond the refugee camps – especially famous athletes from the Olympics – care about them,” said Veerapong Vongvarotai, UNHCR regional representative in China.Every athlete’s room in the Olympic Village contained biodegradable plastic bags to allow them to make contributions, which poured in from competitors from teams both large and small, including Andorra, Armenia, Bermuda, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mauritius and Turkmenistan.The clothing received prior to the start of the Games was distributed to refugees in Rwanda, Tanzania, Chad, Moldova, Georgia and Panama, while the latest donations are headed for Asia.The “Giving is Winning” campaign, which will run until the end of the year, originally started during the 2004 Athens Olympics, during which 30,000 articles of clothing were collected to inspire young refugees in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Eritrea, Kosovo and Tanzania.
Sri Lanka is to work with former peace negotiator Erik Solheim once again, this time however on environmental issues.Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had talks with Solheim in Switzerland on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum. “Green economy. Sustainable tourism. Wildlife. Water. Agreed cooperation between Sri Lanka and UN Environment w Ranil,” Solheim tweeted. As a negotiator of the peace process in Sri Lanka between 1998 to 2005, Solheim attempted to reach a compromise between the Government and the LTTE.Wickremesinghe was Prime Minister when Solheim was involved as a Norwegian peace negotiator but Solheim was later accused of being biased towards the LTTE.Norway eventually withdrew from the peace process as the former Government decided to defeat the LTTE militarily. (Colombo Gazette) Solheim is the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme and he has agreed to work with Sri Lanka through his new role. The Prime Minister’s office, meanwhile, said that Wickremesinghe sought Solheim’s assistance on environmental issues.It was decided at the talks to appoint a committee to study the proposals on collaboration between Sri Lanka and the United Nations Environment Programme.
A 17-year-old boy died in an explosion after flash paper from his family’s online magic business ignited when he used hairspray on a 3D printer for a school art project.Sixth Form pupil Tom Taylor used three canisters of hairspray to stick the piece of work to the hot plate of the printer after watching the technique online, an inquest heard.An electric spark from either a nearby socket or the hot plate caused the hairspray gases, which had built up over several hours, to combust and ignite highly flammable flash papers that his family stored underneath the desk.Tom tried to walk out of the back office, which his family called the “smoke room”, but he inhaled fumes and collapsed, a coroner was told. He died from smoke inhalation. This is an extremely unsafe practice which I advise against wholeheartedlyfire investigator Ian Woods Fire investigator Ian Thomas (left) and DS Adam Petty outside the inquestCredit:Jordan Challis/Media Lincs Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Fire investigator Ian Woods told the inquest flash papers were highly flammable and UK guidance was that they should be destroyed after two years, stored away from living areas and kept in a robust container.The officer said there was no evidence of the family having a stock control system and flash paper debris in an “Asian text” was found in the aftermath.”We believe Tom used hairspray on a 3D printer after watching a video online,” the officer said. “This is an extremely unsafe practice which I advise against wholeheartedly.”The inquest heard flash papers can ignite at temperatures of just 170C and the blaze in which Tom died would have reached a heat four or five times higher.A decision was made not to prosecute the family over health and safety breaches as it was deemed not to be in the public interest given Tom’s death, the hearing was told.Stuart Fisher, the senior coroner for Lincolnshire, recorded a verdict of accidental death and asked for lessons to be learned from Tom’s “tragic death”.Mr Fisher said: “It appears Tom’s use of hairspray on a 3D printer in a small office resulted in a significant build up of propane.”Unfortunately either an electric spark or the hot plate of the 3D printer ignited the propane and caused a flash of super heated gases.”The initial ignition then ignited flash paper which was stored in very close proximity to the 3D printer. The result was a devastating fire in which Tom tragically lost his life.” Tom Taylor was described as an ‘amazing, kind, generous, humorous young man’Credit:Jordan Challis/Media Lincs In a statement released after Tom’s death, his mother, step-father and twin brother said they were overwhelmed by the community’s support.”Tom was just such an amazing, kind, generous, humorous young man,” the family said. “He was such fun and was happiest when he was making others happy, and he always succeeded in doing that. He was constantly upbeat, cheerful and happy.”Following Tom’s death, his head teacher at The Priory Witham Academy, in Lincoln, paid tribute to the “kind-hearted” and “popular” sixth form student.Head teacher Andrew Madge said: “We are deeply saddened to learn that Tom has lost his life in this tragedy. Tom was such a kind-hearted person and a very well-known member of his year group and the school as a whole.”He excelled in all that he did and had a particular love of music, being a member of the school band. He had settled exceptionally well into Year 12 at LSST and was thoroughly enjoying his Sixth Form studies.”Tom had an extremely wide friendship group and was very popular with staff as well as his fellow students.” The 3D printer had been bought on eBay for £300 several months earlier and was described as “low end”.An inquest heard Tom’s mother, Helen Taylor, heard the “loud bang”, but his step-father Max Clark was unable to enter the room after being confronted by a wall of flames. Attempts to smash a window also failed.Tom’s body was recovered from the converted Co-op store, where his family lived and also ran an online magic business called “MagicNevin”.Ten fire engines battled the inferno, which broke out in Lincoln at around 4.25pm on December 21.Witnesses described it as a “great big ball of flame”, which could be seen from miles around.Tom lived at the property with his twin brother Jack, mother Helen, 46, and 49-year-old step-father Max Clark.An inquest at Lincoln Cathedral Centre was told Tom’s family had chosen not to attend the hearing as the evidence would be too “upsetting”.The inquest was told flash papers commonly used by magicians had been incorrectly stored underneath the desk where Tom was working on a “nuts and bolt” art project.