De Niro brings star quality to fight against climate change

American actor Robert De Niro, speaks during the World Government Summit in Dubai, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018. (AP/Kamran Jebreili)
Updated 11 February 2018

De Niro brings star quality to fight against climate change

DUBAI: The government of the UAE has teamed up with Hollywood star Robert De Niro to raise awareness about the dangers of global climate change.

The Climate Project is a two-year initiative to share knowledge on coping with climate change, and to promote what was called “finance-able” climate resilience projects in developing countries.

De Niro, a long-standing campaigner against the effects of climate change in the Caribbean and especially the hurricane-ravaged island of Barbuda, said the ability to attract investment depended on the quality of projects a country proposed.

“If a country is strong, people will want to invest. In Barbuda, we’re there to help, to bring back what they had before, and investment is part of that, it’s really that simple. Community agriculture and sustainable development are key,” he said.

In a veiled criticism of the climate change-denying policies of the Trump administration, he added: “The situation in my country is not helpful, but we will fix that. When a country’s leaders fail to take a position, ordinary people have to write to their representatives and be on top of them to bring about change.”

The Climate Project will be run by the UAE ministries of foreign affairs and international co-operation, and climate change and environment. Thani Al-Zeyoudi, the climate change minister, said it would deliver climate initiatives and products to 10 million people by 2020.

“Through an innovative approach which brings together communications and media experts with scientists, thought leaders and government representatives, the project will produce products aimed at both the general public and decision makers. It is aimed at developing climate resilience standards,” he said.

The project will focus on three main areas: Gender and youth, because women and children often bear the brunt of climate change challenges; extreme weather events such as hurricanes and earthquakes; and sustainable solutions that offer long-term remedies to, and defenses against, climate issues.

What happened to the Apollo goodwill moon rocks?

Updated 16 June 2019

What happened to the Apollo goodwill moon rocks?

  • Some of the gifts have either gone missing, were stolen or destroyed over the decades

HOUSTON, Texas: US President Richard Nixon gave moon rocks collected by Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 astronauts to 135 countries around the world and the 50 US states as a token of American goodwill.
While some hold pride of place in museums and scientific institutions, many others are unaccounted for — they have either gone missing, were stolen or even destroyed over the decades.
The list below recounts the stories of some of the missing moon rocks and others that were lost and later found.
It is compiled from research done by Joseph Gutheinz Jr, a retired NASA special agent known as the “Moon Rock Hunter,” his students, and collectSPACE, a website which specializes in space history.

• Both the Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 moon rocks presented to perpetually war-wracked Afghanistan have vanished.

• One of the moon rocks destined for Cyprus was never delivered due to the July 1974 Turkish invasion of the island and the assassination of the US ambassador the following month.
It was given to NASA years later by the son of a US diplomat but has not been handed over to Cyprus.

Joseph Gutheinz, an attorney known as the "Moon Rock Hunter," displays meteorite fragments in his office on May 22, 2019 in Friendswood, Texas. (AFP / Loren Elliot)

• Honduras’s Apollo 17 moon rock was recovered by Gutheinz and Bob Cregger, a US Postal Service agent, in a 1998 undercover sting operation baptized “Operation Lunar Eclipse.”
It had been sold to a Florida businessman, Alan Rosen, for $50,000 by a Honduran army colonel. Rosen tried to sell the rock to Gutheinz for $5 million. It was seized and eventually returned to Honduras.

• Ireland’s Apollo 11 moon rock was on display in Dublin’s Dunsink Observatory, which was destroyed in a 1977 fire. Debris from the observatory — including the moon rock — ended up in the Finglas landfill.

• The Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 moon rocks given to then Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi have vanished.

• Malta’s Apollo 17 moon rock was stolen from a museum in May 2004. It has not been found.

• Nicaragua’s Apollo 17 moon rock was allegedly sold to someone in the Middle East for $5-10 million. Its Apollo 11 moon rock ended up with a Las Vegas casino owner, who displayed it for a time in his Moon Rock Cafe. Bob Stupak’s estate turned it over to NASA when he died. It has since been returned to Nicaragua.

• Romania’s Apollo 11 moon rock is on display in a museum in Bucharest. Romania’s Apollo 17 moon rock is believed to have been sold by the estate of former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who was executed along with his wife, Elena, on Christmas Day 1989.

Spain’s Apollo 17 moon rock is on display in Madrid’s Naval Museum after being donated by the family of Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, who was assassinated by the Basque separatist group ETA in 1973.
Spain’s Apollo 11 moon rock is missing and is believed to be in the hands of the family of former dictator Francisco Franco.