Legislature’s China caucus to push trade

(March 09, 2005) Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia business and political leaders will have the opportunity to show their support for, or at least their curiosity about, the People’s Republic of China on Thursday with the introduction of the Joint House and Senate Caucus on China.

State Sen. Sam Zamarripa (D-Atlanta), the caucus’ main sponsor, will hold a kickoff reception in Room 450 at the Capitol from 8 to 9 a.m., where he’ll introduce Hu Yeshun, China ‘s consul general in Houston. Zamarripa expects many House and Senate members to join the caucus, which will serve as an informal conduit between Atlanta and Beijing.

Future goals: creation of a standing legislative committee on China, financing for China programs within the University System of Georgia and the opening of a Chinese Consulate in Atlanta.

“China matters in the future,” said Zamarripa, who created the Georgia China Future Study Committee two years ago. “We will be a forum for building relationships with Chinese business and political leaders.”

Habitat surpasses tsunami aid goal

Habitat for Humanity International has exceeded its $25 million tsunami relief goal. The Americus-based Christian home building organization says it has received $29 million but will continue accepting donations. Habitat planned to build houses for 25,000 victims of the Dec. 26 tsunamis that devastated countries in the Indian Ocean basin but now says its fund-raising success will let it shelter 35,000 people in India , Sri Lanka , Thailand and Indonesia.

Food shortage forecast in Sudan

CARE, the Atlanta-based aid agency, predicts a severe food shortage in Sudan that could begin as early as next month and plague the region until the November harvest. CARE says that as many as 1 million people could go hungry unless donors begin sending aid immediately.

CARE officials said the food shortage was sparked by insufficient and erratic rains that caused crops to fail. The agency said pledges for donations are needed now so that food can be distributed as soon as possible. The World Food Program estimates that it takes a minimum of four months for a pledge to materialize into food distribution.

” Sudan is at a critical juncture, facing challenges and opportunities,” said Leo Roozendaal, country director for CARE in Sudan . “Donors can assist long-term recovery by coordinating their assistance and by balancing emergency relief with development services. This means providing food aid while supporting farmers and ensuring access to water, enabling people to produce sufficient food supplies. Pledges are far short of what is needed.”

CARE has worked in Sudan since 1979, providing emergency and development services throughout the country.

Refugee business seminars offered

The nonprofit Partnership for Community Action Inc. is gearing up for its next Business Training Seminar Series for refugees in DeKalb County . The six-part series begins March 30. There will be an orientation session at 6 p.m. March 16 at the organization’s DeKalb office, at 3592 Covington Highway . Participants who are not refugees will be required to pay a fee. For details, call 404-929-2418.

Compiled by Dan Chapman ( dchapman@ajc.com), Moni Basu ( mbasu@ajc.com), Mark Bixler (mbixler@ajc.com) and Shelia M. Poole ( spoole@ajc.com)