Inquest into deadly BC sawmill explosion underway

first_imgAPTN National NewsIt’s been nearly three and a half years since the deadly sawmill explosion in Burns Lake, B.C. that killed two people and injured 20 others.A coroner’s inquest is currently underway that may provide answers as to what happened that night.APTN’s Tina House has the story.last_img

Friends react to death of Jamie Prefontaine aka Brooklyn of Winnipegs Most

first_imgAPTN National NewsThere is a sad loss in Canada’s hip hop community.Jamie Prefontaine who went by the stage name “Brooklyn” with the group Winnipeg’s Most died Wednesday at the age of 30.Friends and family say he took his own life.Winnipeg’s Most gained huge popularity in 2010 and won a number of awards over the years.APTN’s Shaneen Robinson reports.srobinson@aptn.calast_img

Atikamekw Nation takes control of child welfare and makes history

first_imgTom Fennario APTN NewsAtikamekw First Nation will take control over youth protection services after signing an agreement this week with Quebec.“It’s a big accomplishment,” said Grand Chief Constant Awashish. “It’s one step further to self-determination; that’s the way I see it.”The province’s minister of youth protection called the agreement historic.“It’s important to underline that this (is) the very first Indigenous nation to have undertaken negotiations in this sense in Quebec,” said Lucie Charlebois.In order to achieve this, the Atikamekw have been running youth protection programs in collaboration with Quebec since 2000.Now that they have total control, Awashish wants to make sure troubled youth are placed with Atikamekw foster families.tfennario@aptn.calast_img read more

Fire destroys transitional housing building in Yellowknife

first_imgCharlotte Morritt-JacobsAPTN NewsAn early morning fire forced residents in an apartment complex in Yellowknife to flee for their lives.The complex was operated as transitional housing for people in the city.cmorrittjacobs@aptn.ca@aptncharlottelast_img

BC premier says Site C could end up in Supreme Court over

first_imgVICTORIA – Premier John Horgan says British Columbia’s $8.8 billion Site C dam project could face ongoing legal battles over Indigenous rights and may eventually end up in the Supreme Court of Canada.Horgan made the comments Tuesday on the eve of the release of an independent review his government ordered on the economic viability of the hydroelectric dam project in northeast B.C.He said he believes Aboriginal people will continue to fight Site C in the courts.“I believe that the Indigenous people in the region who are concerned about this will continue to push their case to appeal and we’ll see where we go, and if we end up in the Supreme Court at the end of the day,” Horgan said outside the legislature.He said he’s aware that every Aboriginal court challenge of Site C so far has ended in defeat or been abandoned, but those issues were fought on environmental grounds, not land, hunting and fishing rights that are enshrined in the Constitution.In August 2015, the Federal Court dismissed an application by the Prophet River First Nation and West Moberly First Nations challenging the environmental approval of Site C by the federal government. An appeal was filed and was dismissed in January.In September 2015, the B.C. Supreme Court dismissed a petition by the same two First Nations challenging the environmental approval of Site C by the B.C. government. An appeal was filed and was dismissed in February.Crown-owned B.C. Hydro says it has been consulting with Indigenous communities and people about the project since 2007.Horgan said he expects future Indigenous legal challenges to focus on land rights.He cited the concerns raised in a report by a joint review panel in May 2014 about Site C’s potential impacts on Indigenous rights as a possible avenue for legal pursuits.The report found B.C. will eventually need the power generated by Site C, but the project would impact land and resources traditionally used by First Nations. It said the effect on treaty rights would also have to be weighed by the government.Harry Swain, chairman of the review, has since said the panel was not permitted to look at other energy solutions.“The rights and title question that Harry Swain touched upon, the constitutional barriers that he touched upon, I don’t believe the courts have addressed because that hasn’t been how the questions have been put,” said Horgan.The review by the B.C. Utilities Commission due Wednesday will serve as an independent assessment for the project, which is under construction on the Peace River.Horgan said cabinet will make a decision by the end of this year on whether to allow the project to carry on, put it on hold or stop construction.Scott Fraser, B.C.’s Indigenous relations and reconciliation minister, will meet with Aboriginal communities in the northeastern part of the province shortly after the review is released, Horgan said.Site C, which would flood agricultural land with the creation of an 83-kilometre-long reservoir, would produce 1,100 megawatts of capacity every year, enough to power about 450,000 homes.last_img read more

Christmas debt hangover cure starts with retracing holiday transactions

first_imgCALGARY – Like the morning after too many eggnogs the night before, many Canadian families are waking up this week to the pounding headache of a Christmas debt hangover.But credit counsellors say there’s a cure for those who have the courage to face their painful situation.Mike, a 38-year-old from Vancouver, remembers his desperation when he finally realized he needed help about five years ago.“I had no other choice. I had like $1 left on my credit card,” he said.“I had the ability to make money but no matter how much I made, I was paying it out in debt payments every month. Something had to change.”Mike, who asked his last name be withheld, owned a failing metal fabrication business in Vancouver.The trouble was he didn’t realize how badly it was failing — there wasn’t enough money coming in to cover the payments on his $20,000 business loan, resulting in him running up about $15,000 in debt on his credit cards.He described his financial plan at the time as “delusional.”For instance, although he knew he had to pay taxes, he didn’t because he couldn’t afford it. Similarly, when he calculated his income, he would look only at the revenue side and not at his crippling expenses.Today, he credits two forces for helping him get out of the quagmire — his now-wife, who let him move in with her to control living costs, and the Credit Counselling Society, which helped him consolidate his debt and pay it down with affordable $400 monthly payments.Scott Hannah, founder and president of the society, says most of its clients just need a little advice, but the society will also negotiate with creditors and collect payments on their behalf from the client in about one in five cases.“Christmas itself is a very stressful time,” he said. “When you add on financial difficulties, it just magnifies the amount of stress.”The society is one of several not-for-profit members of Credit Counselling Canada, organizations financed mainly by lending institutions that offer free debt-counselling services. It has offices in the western provinces, the North and in Ontario.Another is Money Mentors, which has offices throughout Alberta.“All too often, we see people who come in here and they’re still paying off their Christmas debt from last year,” said Money Mentors counsellor Brian Betz.“It goes on the credit card, they’re making minimum payments. They’re still paying it off and they don’t realize that.”The two agreed that the first step to getting out of debt is to get an accurate picture of where the money is going. Online bank and credit card statements can help clients identify non-essential expenses that can be reduced.Hannah said it’s important that credit cards are put on ice — “You can’t get out of debt if you keep using debt.”Setting a realistic budget is the next step. Many make the mistake of trying to pay down the debt so quickly there’s no money for essentials and the plan fails.A good budget should include a savings plan, so that unexpected expenses are easier to deal with. Families should also budget a strictly limited amount of “fun money,” Hannah said.Betz said figuring out how much Christmas cost this year will make next year’s holiday more enjoyable.“If I’m going to spend $1,200 on Christmas, that’s $100 a month I have to put aside,” he said.Dealing with the debt could involve getting a low interest consolidation loan from a bank. Or you could accelerate payments on high interest rate debt such as credit cards and pay the minimum on less expensive debt.The counsellors said too many Canadians wait too long to get help with their credit problems.The Bank of Canada calculates consumers owe about $1.71 for every dollar of household disposable income.Hannah said he thinks consumer debt will continue to grow in 2018, especially in Alberta and Saskatchewan, where the oil price slump of the past three years continues to put pressure on consumers with too much debt.Debt-free and with a full-time government job, Mike still dreams of being his own boss but is framing those dreams in much more realistic terms these days.“Definitely, now I can afford to buy more Christmas presents for the nieces and nephews,” he said. “I was never the uncle who brings presents before.”Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter.last_img read more

Alberta regulator seeks order against short seller in Badger Daylighting trades

first_imgCALGARY – The Alberta Securities Commission is seeking an order prohibiting prominent American short-seller Marc Culver Cohodes from trading in securities of Calgary-based Badger Daylighting Ltd.The provincial regulator says it is also seeking to have the California investor prohibited from making public declarations regarding Badger that he knows or should reasonably know are misleading or untrue.In an application to be heard by the commission next week, ASC staff say Cohodes “misrepresented” on social media in June a picture of a Badger truck as support for his allegation of illegal dumping of toxic substances.It says, in allegations that have not been proven, that Cohodes has made numerous public claims of a similar nature over a period of more than a year, coinciding with the acquisition of his short position.In its notice of application, the ASC accuses Cohodes of trying to artificially manipulate the price of Badger securities, thus becoming a “threat” to the integrity of the capital market in Alberta.In May, Badger said in a news release that the ASC had conducted an investigation into allegations made against it by short sellers and concluded no enforcement action would be taken.In January, Home Capital Group of Toronto said it would defend itself against claims in a $4-million lawsuit filed by Cohodes alleging the company’s misrepresentations in its financial reporting cost him millions.Companies in this article: (TSX:BAD, TSX:HCG)last_img read more

CN Rail lining up pilot plant partners to make oilsands bitumen pucks

first_imgCompanies in this article: (TSX:CNR)The Canadian Press CALGARY — Canadian National Railway Co. says it is planning to build a pilot plant worth up to $50 million next year to create pucks made of oilsands bitumen to transport by rail and ships to customers around the world.CN has been working for years on a technology that mixes and coats the heavy, sticky oil with polymer plastic, creating a pellet-shaped product called CanaPux that can be shipped in an open rail car and will float if spilled into water.James Cairns, vice-president of petroleum and chemicals at CN, says the railway is in discussions with the federal and Alberta governments, along with potential oilsands industry partners and the Heart Lake First Nation of northern Alberta, to fund the 10,000-barrel-per-day pilot plant.He says he hopes pilot project costs will be split into thirds between CN, government and industry.If the pilot succeeds, CN would build a commercial-sized plant with capacity to convert up to 50,000 barrels per day of heavy crude.Cairns says the company has signed a memorandum of understanding with an unnamed Asian customer who is interested in importing the pucks to his country and separating the oil and polymer for processing and sale.“It’s not going to replace pipelines, not even close,” Cairns said, noting the current mismatch between pipeline capacity and western Canadian oil production that has been blamed for punishing price discounts.“This is just another idea, another way of getting Canadian product to market, that we can build upon.”last_img read more

BC Hydro to negotiate power purchase agreements with Saulteau and West Moberly

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — BC Hydro says that it plans to pursue electricity purchase agreement negotiations with two First Nations in the Peace Region.The West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations are partners with Natural Forces in the Sukunka Wind and Zonnebeke Wind projects near Chetwynd. Each of the wind projects is comprised of four wind turbines that are located east of Highway 29 near the former Natural Springs Golf Resort roughly 15 kilometres south of Chetwynd.BC Hydro said that it plans to pursue power purchase agreement negotiations with three other First Nations power projects in B.C. The five projects were selected because they are part of Impact Benefit Agreements with BC Hydro and have significant First Nations involvement. The Standing Offer program is a non-competitive, streamlined process with set pricing for small, clean energy generation projects. Hydro says that the Micro Standing Offer program requires the project have significant First Nations ownership and active participation. “Moving forward with the development of these energy projects is a step in the right direction in creating opportunities for First Nations in the province, while also contributing to B.C.’s clean energy future,” said Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Michelle Mungall.“Through the Standing Offer and Micro Standing Offer programs, we’ve seen the development of small-scale renewable energy projects, including solar, wind, and biomass throughout the province. These projects contributed over 300 gigawatt hours of clean energy to BC Hydro’s system in 2016,”said BC Hydro CEO Chris O’Riley. “The five latest projects demonstrate our commitment to creating opportunities for Indigenous groups in B.C.”last_img read more

Stage North Theatre Society wins awards at Mainstage 2018

first_imgVERNON, B.C. – The Stage North Theatre Society travelled to Vernon on June 27th to participate in Mainstage 2018.Mainstage went on from June 27th to July 7th and saw Stage North perform two plays. The first play they performed was Blackbird while the second was Mary’s Wedding.The play Blackbird was a heavy drama about two people who had a very unconventional affair when they were young, while Mary’s Wedding followed a girl in the 1920’s on the day before her wedding while the love of her life was in World war One. Blackbird was named the winner of the Burnaby award, which is given to the runner-up play at the competition. The play also won the Best Set Design and Property Awards.Mary’s Wedding was chosen as the workshop play, which meant it was worked on by professional directors and performed for a viewing audience. The play was given the Workshop Award for their efforts.last_img read more

UPDATE Reactivation of another old landslide causes evacuation order along Old Fort

first_imgUPDATE: Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure spokesperson Danielle Pope said that an old landslide in the area to the west of Sunday’s landslide has reactivated and is now moving. That slide is located immediately below the Viewpoint at the south end of 100th St.Pope said that visible cracks have been observed and at least one property has reported some driveway and wall cracking – that property is now under an evacuation order. The estimated size of the landslide is 5 million cubic metres and growing. By comparison, B.C.’s largest landslide occurred in 2010, when over 45 million cubic metres of Mount Meager slid into the Pemberton Valley.Damage to Old Fort Road caused by the re-activated landslide located below the Viewpoint. Photo by Rodney Hafner/YRB North PeaceFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District has upgraded an evacuation alert for one of the affected properties along Old Fort Road to an evacuation order. The order was issued to the residents of 7605 Old Fort Road shortly before 2:30 p.m. Thursday. A map of the area covered by the Evacuation Order. Photo by PRRD A map of the area covered by the Evacuation Order. Photo by PRRD A map of the area covered by the Evacuation Alert. Photo by PRRD A map of the area covered by the Evacuation Alert. Photo by PRRD A map of the area covered by the Evacuation Alert. Photo by PRRD A map of the area covered by the Evacuation Alert. Photo by PRRD On Wednesday afternoon, the property now on evacuation order and two others immediately adjacent were issued an evacuation alert after stress cracks were observed to the west of the main body of the landslide, which started on Sunday morning.The PRRD said that it issued the evacuation order due to the immediate danger posed to life safety by the landslide.It’s not known if and/or when the hillside to the main landslide will also begin to slide.Officials with the Ministry of Transportation said Thursday morning that an update from geologists was expected late Thursday morning, but so far no update has been forthcoming.last_img read more

The North Matters to present Vivian Krause on June 14 in Taylor

first_imgAccording to FSJ for LNG founder, Alan Yu, Krause has become widely known and highly valued for her research in Anti-Resource groups.“Her carefully documented research on the funding network of foundations, and their influence on Canadian anti-resource groups has become widely known and highly valued by interested citizens of every stripe from coast to coast to coast.”Vivian Krause will be presenting in Taylor on Friday, June 14, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Taylor Community Hall.For more information, you can visit The North Matters’ Facebook page. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Independent Investigative Researcher Vivian Krause will be coming to the North Peace to discuss the issues that Canada’s Resource Industry is currently facing.Presented by The North Matters, Krause will be particularly looking at the impact that the high level of activism has on oil and gas resource communities.During her talk, Krause will be shining a spotlight on the finances and structures behind many activist groups, especially those that are influenced by foreign funding.last_img read more

Johnny Reid bringing Christmas show to Dawson Creek

first_imgDAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Johnny Reid will bring his My Kind of Christmas Tour to Dawson Creek and the Encana Events Centre on December 10, 2019.Today, award-winning Canadian artist Johnny Reid shares details of his new Christmas EP, My Kind Of Christmas, to be released on October 25 just in time for the holiday season. In celebration of the announcement, Johnny releases the title track of the EP, available now.  Listen to “My Kind Of Christmas” here. This new EP also marks the first vinyl release and for this occasion, it will be presented in single jacket with sleeve, pressed on limited marble vinyl and available November 15.Widely known for his energetic stage performances, Johnny will embark on a national cross-Canada My Kind Of Christmas Tour that will cover 23 dates and will run from November 16 – December 14 with a stop in Dawson Creek on December 10. Tickets for the tour will go on sale to the general public on Friday, September 27 at 10am at www.livenation.com. Fans can also visit Johnny Reid’s website for exclusive presale details. American Express® Card Members can purchase tickets before the general public beginning on Tuesday, September 24 at 10am local time through Thursday, September 26 at 10pm.Listen to 100.1 Moose FM for your chance to win tickets all next week.Already a chart-topping, multi-platinum selling artist in Canada, Johnny’s songwriting resonates with audiences across the globe and that will continue with this new Christmas EP, a perfect mix of originally penned ‘soon to be holiday favourites’ including “My Kind Of Christmas” with a Johnny Reid take on some hidden holiday gems including “Merry Christmas Everyone”, a classic brought back to life in the 80’s UK pop phenom ‘Shakin’ Stevens. See the full tracklisting below. Since arriving on the music scene over 10 years ago, critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, Johnny Reid has captured the hearts of fans and audiences around the world. Born and raised in Lanark, Scotland, the blue collared soul singer is widely known for his lyrical honesty and musical ability, as demonstrated by album sales totalling over 1 million units, countless awards and multiple SOLD OUT national arena tours.My Kind Of Christmas Track listing:  Sounds Like ChristmasMy Kind Of ChristmasFa La La La LaAll I want For ChristmasMerry Christmas Everyonelast_img read more

Special Police Observer expresses satisfaction over preparedness in poll bound Bengal

first_imgKolkata: Special Police Observer for Bengal Vivek Dubey on Monday expressed his satisfaction over the preparatory work done by the district and police administration in connection with the ensuing Lok Sabha polls.Dubey, who reached the city on Sunday evening, held a video conference with the District Magistrates and Police Superintendents of five districts in the state, which are going to polls in the first two phases. “I took stock of the ongoing work regarding the elections and also asked them about any requirement. They are doing well,” he told reporters after the conference. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaDubey, who held a series of meetings during the day, had a short interaction with the media in the afternoon, where he reiterated that the Election Commission will take all possible measures to ensure free and fair elections in the state. “It is not correct that all booths in the state are sensitive, as claimed by some political parties. They can claim so but they have to furnish evidence,” Dubey said. Sources in the commission said that Dubey, who gave a patient hearing to the political parties, asked them to provide evidence against their claims so that the commission can take action against them. Dubey’s advice came in the wake of some political parties alleging partiality of the state administration and police. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayWhen asked whether there will be Central Forces in all the booths, the IPS officer from Andhra Pradesh said: “We are yet to decide on the deployment pattern. We will see the existing state forces and then examine the availability of Central Forces and strategise the force management.” Dubey began his day by holding a meeting with all political parties in the state. He followed it up with an extensive discussion with the senior BSF and CRPF officials at the Port guest house, strategising the possible deployment of forces in the first two phases of election. He then accompanied Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ariz Aftab to Nabanna. Subsequently, Dubey held a meeting with state Chief Secretary Malay De in presence of state Home Secretary Atri Bhattacharya. He then held a detailed meeting with DG Virendra on the pending arrests warrant. The Police Observer ended his day with the video conference. He will again meet the state officials on Tuesday before flying to Jalpaiguri. Meanwhile, a Trinamool Congress delegation led by MLA Tapas Roy made a number of complaints against BJP for making provocative statements and trying to instill a sense of fear among the voters. “They are making statements in a manner that is giving the impression that the commission and the Central Forces are functioning under their instructions. I have brought this to the notice of the Police Observer,” Roy said. Mukul Roy, who led the BJP delegation to the CEO’s office, claimed that the CEO was acting in a partial manner. It has been learnt that the CEO was not present when Roy interacted with the Observer, though he was present during the meeting with the political parties. When asked to comment on Roy’s claim, Additional CEO Sanjoy Basu said: “I shall not say anything on this because it goes against the protocol and decorum.”last_img read more

Rafale deal BJP accuses Rahul Gandhi of contempt of court

first_imgNew Delhi: Accusing Congress president Rahul Gandhi of gross contempt of court, the BJP on Wednesday said he attributed to the Supreme Court what it had never said in its order on the Rafale deal. Addressing a press conference, senior party leader and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “The Congress president probably doesn’t read even half a paragraph of the court’s order, but here, by saying that the court has has said ‘chowkidaar chor hai’, it is verging on contempt of court.” Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The president of a party which has been in power for so many years has shown his frustration by attributing words to the apex which were not uttered, she said. The minister added that the court order was limited to whether it should consider the documents the government said were illegally obtained by petitioners. Taking a potshot at Gandhi, she said he is out on bail and was accompanied at his nomination filing in Amethi by “the family” — as described Christen Michel, an alleged middlemen in VVIP chopper deal. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Gandhi has crossed the line of decency in his comments on the court, she said, adding that he is repeatedly misleading people on the Rafale fighter jet deal. Buoyed by the Supreme Court order allowing petitioners seeking a review of the Rafale judgment to rely on leaked documents, Gandhi claimed the apex court has made it “clear” that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “committed a theft”. Gandhi then challenged Modi to a debate on the Rafale military aircraft deal, which the Congress claims involved corruption, a charge repeatedly rejected by the government. Asked whether the court order is a setback for the government, Sitharaman said, “Not at all.” She said things would now become crystal clear.last_img read more

People are ready to oust Modi Abhishek

first_imgArra (Bankura): Taking a dig at the Prime Minister on Monday, Trinamool Youth Congress president Abhishek Banerjee said the people have caught the double standards of Narendra Modi and are ready to oust him.”People have caught the double standards of Modi and have decided to oust him. On May 23, the lead of Trinamool candidates will go up and Modi will go to tender his resignation to the President,” said Banerjee. He was addressing a mammoth rally here on Monday afternoon. Banerjee said Modi is talking about Hinduism, but in reality he has done nothing. “Five years ago in 2014 he had talked about the construction of Ram Mandir and is talking about it again to gain mileage for the polls,” he said. The Trinamool Youth Congress president said Mamata Banerjee has improved the places of worship for all religions. “The vast areas surrounding Tarakeshwar temple have been upgraded and beautified. In Dakshineshwar, a skywalk has been constructed to facilitate the pilgrims. In the temple town of Tarapith, massive development has been carried out. Even the burial grounds and crematoriums have been restored and developed,” he said. Banerjee alleged that “the corrupt people are thronging around Modi.” “Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya want Modi’s return. Modi addresses meetings with the prime accused of Saradha chit fund scam sitting next to him. All the corrupt people have taken shelter in BJP,” he said, adding: “Pakistan Prime Minister and ISI want Modi to come back. But the people in this country want to oust him. The farmers, workers, small traders and common people will vote him out.” He said that in the past seven years, massive development has taken place in Bankura. Steps have been taken to address the water crisis in some pockets. People from all walks of life have received benefits under the various schemes taken up by the state government. He urged people to cast their votes in favour of party nominee Subrata Mukherjee. “Go to the polling stations early in the morning and give your opinion in our favour,” he said.last_img read more

Social media has little effect on life satisfaction of teens

first_imgSocial media has little effect on the life satisfaction of teenagers, according to a large-scale study conducted in the UK. Researchers from the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) at University of Oxford used an eight-year survey of UK households to study how long teenagers spent using social media on a normal school day and their corresponding life satisfaction ratings. This is the first large-scale and in-depth study testing not only whether adolescents who report more social media use have lower life satisfaction but also whether the reverse is true. The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), used improved data and statistical approaches and found most links between life satisfaction and social media use were trivial. However, there were some bidirectional effects: Lower life satisfaction led to increased social media use and vice versa, researchers said. These bidirectional effects were more consistent for females than for males, but again, these were modest trends, they said. The researchers stress that this represents an important step in understanding the effects of social media. “Given the rapid pace of technological advancement in recent years, the question of how our increasing use of technology to interact with each other affects our wellbeing has become increasingly important,” said Professor Andrew Przybylski, Director of Research at the OII. “With most of the current debate based on lacklustre evidence, this study represents an important step towards mapping the effects of technology on adolescent well-being,” Przybylski said. Previous literature was based almost entirely on correlations with no means to dissociate whether social media use leads to changes in life satisfaction or vice versa. “More than half of the statistical models we tested were not significant, and those that were significant suggested the effects were not as simple as often stated in the media,” said Tobias Dienlin from the University of Hohenheim in Germany. “Most statistically significant models examined teenage girls. However, because these effects were tiny, they weren’t significantly larger in girls compared to boys,” he said.last_img read more

Bangladesh opposition head under virtual house arrest

first_imgDhaka- Bangladesh’s opposition accused authorities of placing their leader under virtual house arrest Thursday as tens of thousands of troops were deployed across the country ahead of elections next month.Amid growing violence in the build-up to the January 5 general election, the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) said police were barring anyone from visiting their leader Khaleda Zia at her home in Dhaka.The move comes after Zia, a two-time former premier and arch rival of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, called for supporters to stage a mass march on the capital this Sunday aimed at scuppering the polls. The BNP is one of 21 opposition parties which are boycotting the elections over Hasina’s refusal to stand aside and allow a neutral caretaker government to organise the contest.The country’s largest Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, has also been banned from taking part.“Since yesterday she has been under virtual house arrest,” BNP vice-president Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury told AFP.“Police are not allowing anyone, including party leaders and activists, to meet her. It is part of a government move to foil the December 29 march for democracy.”Deputy commissioner of Dhaka police Lutful Kabir confirmed that extra officers had been deployed outside Zia’s home in the upmarket Gulshan neighbourhood but said the move was designed to “enhance her security”.Police confirmed two senior BNP members, including a current lawmaker, were detained outside Zia’s home on Wednesday night but denied the arrests were made because they wanted to meet her.With Hasina and her Awami League party determined the election goes ahead, troops are being sent to nearly every corner of the country at the end of what has been an unprecedented year for political violence.A total of 269 people have been killed since January, either in protests at the elections or by Islamists who have seen several of their leaders sentenced to death from crimes dating back to the 1971 independence war.The authorities are expecting Sunday’s rally to further inflame tensions with Zia having made clear its purpose is to force a last-minute cancellation of the polls.“This march is to say ‘no’ to these farcical elections and to say ‘yes’ to democracy,” she said in a speech on Tuesday.Troop deploymentsThe troop deployments are expected to infuriate the BNP which has accused the government of trying to set the army up against normal civilians.Election Commission spokesman S.M. Asaduzzaman said that troops would be deployed in at least 59 of the country’s 64 districts.“They’ll be used as a striking force if there is any violence and they will patrol important areas, streets and highways,” he told AFP.While a small number of soldiers had begun taking up positions earlier this week, military spokesman Muhammad Reza-ul Karim said the mass deployment began Thursday and will continue until January 9.“The troops have been deployed at the request of the Election Commission… in an effort to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections,” Karim said in a statement.The soldiers would initially be deployed to the main towns and cities in the districts before then moving into more rural areas.He did not say how many troops were being deployed but local media put the number at around 50,000.The boycotts have highlighted the growing political polarisation in the country of 153 million.While Bangladesh has had a deeply troubled history since independence, with nearly two dozen coups, this year has been the bloodiest since it broke free from its former rulers in Islamabad 42 years ago.A constable was burned to death in a petrol bomb attack on a police vehicle Tuesday night while two more people succumbed to their burn injuries Wednesday.Much of the violence has been blamed on supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami, one of whose leaders was hanged earlier this month for war crimes.Three rounds of UN-brokered talks between the government and opposition have failed to resolve the dispute between the Awami League and the BNP whose leaders despise each other.The United States, European Union and the Commonwealth countries have announced they will not send observers to the election, seriously denting its credibility.Strikes and blockades have crippled the economy, affecting millions of poor farmers and the urban middle class in what is the world’s eighth most populous country and one of the poorest in Asia.The strikes have done further damage to an economy already reeling from the impact on the crucial garment sector from a factory collapse in April which sparked widespread industrial unrest.last_img read more

Government to put an end to Evangelization of Moroccans

first_imgCasablanca- Being a melting-point in North Africa, Morocco receives countless exchange-students and alumni from all over the world throughout the year. However, they are not all goodwill ambassadors looking forward to learning about new cultures and traditions as they might claim.According to today’s issue of Akhbar Alyawm newspaper, the Moroccan government will set strict regulations for American Institutions intending to serve in the domain of education and development. Such set of regulations aims at preventing the evangelization of Moroccans.According to the same source, the Moroccan Government Council approved a “draft agreement Project between Morocco and U.S.A.” on Thursday. The project puts strict regulations for American Schools and Institutions in Morocco to prevent the widespread of evangelization. According to Article 220 in the Moroccan penal code, evangelization is a crime and anyone who engages in it may face prison time.In conformity with the article 220 of the Moroccan Penal Code, a proselytizer may face “six months to three years prison and a fine of 100 to 500 Dirhams” for using the “means of seduction in order to convert ” a Muslim “to another religion, either by exploiting his/her weakness or his/her needs, or using for these purposes education, health, asylums and orphanage institutions.”The  draft agreement requires any American institution of education either in preparatory or secondary education to provide a curriculum similar to the one used in U.S.A. and to be part of an N.G.O.Furthermore, the draft agreement requires Moroccan students and students with double citizenship to be taught Arabic, Moroccan Culture and The History and Geography of Morocco by Moroccan teachers who were and will be trained by Moroccan supervisors from the Ministry of Education. In addition, the curriculum must be approved by the Moroccan authorities.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributedlast_img read more

Spain satisfied over Moroccos ratification of fisheries agreement with EU

first_imgMadrid – The Spanish government expressed “satisfaction” over Morocco’s ratification of the fisheries agreement with the European Union, stressing that this is “a sustainable agreement from the economic, social and environmental angles that will benefit both sides.”The agreement, which “fulfills better technical conditions than the previous protocol” will allow around 90 Spanish ships, mostly traditional ones” and around 715 crew members, says a release of the Spanish ministry of agriculture, food and environment.The source went on that this “totally sustainable” agreement will benefit the coastal population and contains provisions that guarantee human rights. The four-year agreement signed last July allows fishing vessels from 11 EU countries to fish in Moroccan waters in return for an annual compensation of 30 million Euros, including 14 million earmarked to support the Moroccan fisheries sector.last_img read more

Ronaldo voted best player in Europe

Rabat- Real Madrid ace Cristiano Ronaldo has been named UEFA’s best player in Europe.The 29-year-old, who finished last season as both Champions League winner and top scorer with a staggering 17 goals in 11 European games including a goal in the final game against Atlético Madrid, has been voted Europe’s best ahead of Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer and Arjen Robben.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.

Release Royal Air Maroc Does Not Make Compromises in Passenger Safety

Rabat – Royal Air Maroc (RAM) denied, in a statement on Monday, the conclusions of a French television report that alleged the carrier hired unvetted foreigners to copilot flights through pay-to-fly training programs – an action that European officials said could jeopardize passenger safety due to the copilots’ lack of experience.The airline said in a statement it “does not make any compromises” in regards to passenger safety and did not work with the Lithuanian office investigated in the report in order to offer paid training programs for entry-level pilots.Moroccan and foreign hires for pilot positions go through additional training and a flight simulation test overseen by a flight manager with over 10,000 logged flight hours before they are allowed to fly, according to the statement. “The training of foreign pilots by Royal Air Morocco is not commercial,” the airline added.The office probed by Channel 3 runs in association with AviationCV – a jobs search engine for the airline industry that manages over 100,000 profiles of pilots, engineers, and other related professionals, according to the company’s official website.The channel followed entry-level pilot, Julien Fournier, via hidden camera as he visited the Baltic Aviation Academy (BAA), a private flight school that operates in coordination with AviationCV. There he asked a training manager for information on available “pay-to-fly” programs that would allow him to log flight hours – necessary to land a job as a pilot for a commercial airline –  by paying thousands of Euros to a carrier that would allow him to fly as a copilot without salary.The manager who spoke to Fournier said one of the training programs available would allow him to log 500 flight hours as a copilot with RAM for a total of 62,500 euros. BAA already had three trainees working on RAM flights to and from Europe, she claimed, adding that the Moroccan carrier “does not conduct an entry evaluation for pilots paying for the program.”“You pay and you start right away,” she told Fournier, who was taking notes in the scene.RAM said it started hiring foreign pilots in 2002 for their flight experience and holds them to the same professional standards that are the policy of major European airlines. read more

Bomb Attacks Kill at least 22 in Afghanistan

Kabul – More than 20 people were killed in bomb attacks in Afghanistan on Monday, including at least 14 when a suicide bomber struck a minibus carrying Nepali security contractors in the capital Kabul, officials said.A bomb planted in a motorbike killed at least eight civilians and wounded another 18 in a crowded market in the northern province of Badakhshan, said provincial government spokesman Naveed Frotan. The attacks are the latest in a surge of violence that highlights the challenges faced by the government in Kabul and its Western backers as Washington considers whether to delay plans to cut the number of its troops in Afghanistan.Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said on Twitter that 14 people had been killed and eight wounded in the attack in Kabul. Police were working to identify the victims, he said. The casualties appeared to include Afghan civilians and Nepali security contractors, Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said.The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Kabul attack in a statement from the Islamist group’s main spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, on Twitter. However it denied responsibility for the attack in Badakhshan.“By organizing this attack, we wanted to show Americans and NATO military officials that we can conduct attacks wherever, and whenever, we want,” the Taliban spokesman said.Another explosion in Kabul later on Monday morning wounded a provincial council member and at least three of his bodyguards, Kabul police spokesman Basir Mujahid said.With MAP read more

Fez Man Disperses More Than 200000 DH on the Street

Casablanca — A Fez resident dispersed more than 200,000 DH on the street last Wednesday, according to Moroccan daily news Assabah.The man had reportedly thrown money out on a public road in Fez, to the delight of pedestrians who quickly ran to pick up the cash.The 50-year-old man had allegedly had a nervous breakdown during the incident which prompted him to want to distribute the money on the street, yelling throughout the process and catching people’s attentions.He had carried the money out in cash in a large blue bag, carrying about 220,000 dirhams made up of 100 and 200 dirham bills. Passersby reportedly collected approximately 100,000 dirhams. Thankfully, police forces were able recuperate roughly 120,000 dirhams.The man’s family, which was discontent after hearing of the incident, ignores how he was able to cash out so much money, reports Assabah. He had accumulated a lot of savings from working so many years. Assabah reports that the man had been afflicted with a psychiatric condition as of a few months ago. read more

Former FrancoMoroccan Journalist Zineb El Rhazoui Denounces AntiSemitism

Rabat – Former Franco-Moroccan journalist at the satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo,” Zineb El Rhazoui, has opened up about anti-Semitism in the world, especially in Morocco, where she was born.Zineb El Rhazoui, who is now living under police protection following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015, has spoken up in the French publication L’Observateur regarding the recent manifesto signed by 250 French personalities against the “new anti-Semitism.”In the newspaper column, the 36-year-old activist supports the signatories, who have been accused by some groups of stigmatizing Muslims and increasing religious sectarianism. El Rhazoui spent most of her childhood in Morocco where she recalls hearing the word “Yhoudi” (Jewish) as an insult for the first time 30 years ago.“It was in a large family reunion and someone had used the phrase ‘Yhoudi ould lyhoud’ (Jewish son of a Jew) to tell him he was a naughty kid,” she said.Though the former journalist explained that she would hear different variations of this “insult” throughout her life in Morocco, she still identifies her homeland as “the least anti-Semitic in the Arab world.”She then recounts how the director of her primary school severely punished her and her classmates, after they threw trash in the yard of the neighbor’s house and insulted to the residents, a Jewish family.“For the first time, we realized that our anti-Semitism was wrong. Ironically, it was our professor, a brilliant Palestinian intellectual refugee in Morocco–the founder of our school–who taught us.”“The New Anti-Semitism” is a book to be published Wednesday in France where fifteen French intellectuals take the pen to denounce the “poison of anti-Semitic crimes committed in France by Islamists,” according to French media Le Parisien.More than 250 signatories responded to a call by a collective, including El Rhazoui, the former director of “Charlie Hebdo” Philippe Val, the former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, three former French prime ministers, religious representatives, intellectuals, and several artists. read more

Ramadan to Begin Officially in Morocco Thursday

Rabat – The first day of Ramadan 2018 will begin officially on Thursday, May 17, Morocco’s Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs said.In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, the ministry said that it had observed, on the evening of today, the lunar crescent of the holy of Ramadan.According to the ministry, “the observation of the lunar crescent has been confirmed and the first day of the first day of the blessed month of Ramadan 1439 of hegira will be Thursday, May 17th, 2018.” Most Arab countries, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, will fast tomorrow as predicted by Moroccan astronomers.In an interview with Morocco World News earlier this month, astronomer, researcher, graduate of Madrasa Al-Atiqa in Souss, Abdelaziz Kharbouch Al-Ifrani predicted that the first day of Ramadan would fall on Thursday, May 17, marking unified fasting throughout all Muslim countries, including North Africa and Saudi Arabia.Read Also: Ramadan 2018: Longest and Shortest Fasting Hours Worldwide read more

Saudi Television Airs PolisarioFriendly Documentary Crosses Red Line in Relationship with

Rabat – A documentary on Western Sahara, aired on Saudi-owned Television Al-Arabiya, has put forth pro-Polisario claims, putting Saudi Arabia’s Moroccan ally in an uncomfortable position regarding its Western Sahara claims.While refraining from overtly espousing a number of pro-Polisario concepts like “occupation” or “colonization,” the historical time frame presented in the show unequivocally buttressed the claim that Morocco “invaded” and “occupied” Western Sahara when Spain left the territories.Al-Arabiya added insults to injury, however. In addition to its pro-separatist historical timeline, the documentary’s narrative suggested that the international community recognizes the Polisario Front, the separatist group claiming independence for the self-styled Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), as “the legitimate representative of the Sahrawis.” Morocco and Saudi Arabia are historically strategic allies, with especially strong bonds between the two royal families. But the recent months have seen a pattern of gradual decline of warmth in relations that the two kingdoms used to enjoy.Is it all about Morocco’s position in the Gulf crisis?For all the pedigree of the increasingly complicated diplomatic ties between Rabat and Riyadh, Morocco’s position of “constructive neutrality” in the ongoing spat between the Saudi-led group—Egypt, Bahrain, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia—and Qatar may be the main reason for the sustained tension, observers have suggested.The suggestion was reinforced in a recent wide-ranging interview that Morocco’s foreign affairs minister Nasser Bourita gave to Qatar-owned Al Jazeera.Speaking to Al Jazeera journalist Jalal Chahda on the Bila Houdoud (Without Borders) program, Bourita gave a wide-ranging view of Morocco’s diplomacy, touching on the kingdom’s neutrality in the Gulf crisis.“If the parties so wish, the Kingdom of Morocco is ready to offer its services to foster a frank and comprehensive dialogue,” Morocco said in the wake of the crisis in July 2017. Bourita reiterated Morocco’s belief in “Muslim solidarity,” calling the now defunct Gulf Cooperation Council “the only point of light in the Arab world.”As Al-Arabiya, which considers itself to be a counterbalance to Al Jazeera, aired its Western Sahara missile barely a week after Bourita’s interview, it is safe to assume that Morocco’s refusal to pick sides in the Gulf crisis, or more precisely Morocco’s refusal to side with the Saudi-led blockade against Qatar, has still not been swallowed in Riyadh.Déjà vu?In the weeks before June 13, 2018, Saudi Arabia actively lobbied in favor of the US-led North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup. The June vote followed a number of anti-Moroccan sentiments from Turki Al-Sheikh, the chairman of the Saudi General Sports Authority.The episode ignited strong feelings in Morocco, with many Moroccans calling on the government to revise its diplomatic stance vis-a-vis Riyadh. Other events pointed to the “historical lie” that pan-Arabism has always been.But while the gradual rift received considerable news coverage, both countries have been careful enough not to openly attack each other on highly important issues. Morocco has been especially diplomatic even when declining to cater to Saudi demands that did not dovetail with its interests.“If relationships are measured by different schedules, this trivializes the relationship,” Bourita said in his Al-Jazeera interview. Bourita was explaining why Morocco, which was initially part of Crown Prince MBS’s infamous world tour, finally removed itself from the Saudi prince’s itinerary.Need for a responseHowever, in response to Al-Arabiya’s documentary, many have suggested that Morocco’s diplomatic attitude towards Riyadh’s undiplomatic moves will have to change sooner rather than later. The documentary, one report contended, is a “violation of the historical friendship” between Saudi Arabia and Morocco.The point is that while Moroccans have come to expect mild anti-Moroccan sentiments from some quarters in Riyadh, an overt attack on Morocco’s territorial integrity cannot be put in the same basket as other occasional mood swings or miscommunication from the likes of Al-Sheikh.In his Al-Jazeera interview, Bourita said that Morocco’s sovereignty over its southern territories is non-negotiable. Bourita’s firmness on that occasion was reminiscent of his statements when Morocco severed ties with Iran, which it accused of “militarily and logistically” helping Polisario through its Hezbollah proxy.Most recently, on January 29, Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the UN Omar Hilale said that Morocco is unfailingly adamant when it comes to its territorial integrity.“That’s the top. That’s the bottom. That’s everything, and within the sovereignty of Morocco…. Outside autonomy, nothing,” the Moroccan diplomat said of the ongoing UN-led talks on Western Sahara.He pointed out that the 2007 Autonomy Plan, which grants local Sahrawis the “largest operative power” under Moroccan sovereignty, is the furthest Morocco could concede. And, like Bourita, Hilale went on to argue Morocco’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are sacred and non-negotiable.But now that a Saudi-owned channel has crossed what Rabat considers a red line, how will Rabat respond?As narratives hostile to Moroccan interests continue to flourish in Saudi public discourse, it remains to be seen whether this time Rabat will at least formally notify Riyadh that there are some things that Morocco does not tolerate. read more

North American stocks down after Trump plan to impose tariffs on Mexico

The Canadian Press Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) TORONTO — North American stock markets fell in late-morning trading in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on all Mexican imports to pressure the country to do more to stop migrants from entering the U.S.The S&P/TSX composite index was down 54.87 points at 16,034.37.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 211.80 points at 24,958.08. The S&P 500 index was down 22.08 points at 2766.78, while the Nasdaq composite was down 62.71 points at 7,505.01.The Canadian dollar traded for 73.94 cents US compared with an average of 74.07 cents US on Thursday.The July crude contract was down US$1.57 at US$55.02 per barrel and the July natural gas contract was down 6.3 cents at US$2.48 per mmBTU.The August gold contract was up US$14.60 at US$1,307.00 an ounce and the July copper contract was down 0.95 of a cent at US$2.64 a pound. read more

UN nuclear watchdog chief welcomes Irans agreement to address outstanding issues

12 September 2007The head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today welcomed Iran’s agreement on a timeline to address all outstanding issues relating to its nuclear programme. IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters in Vienna, where the agency’s 35-member Board of Governors is meeting this week, that the August agreement, the first such work plan Iran has consented to, is “an important step in the right direction.”Repeating his call for a “double time-out” in both of all enrichment-related activities and of sanctions, he said that “the earlier we move from confrontation and distrust, to dialogue and confidence-building, the better for Iran and for the international community.”In his most recent report regarding Iran, Mr. ElBaradei said that while the IAEA is able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in the country, the agency still cannot verify certain portions pertaining to the scope and nature of the Iranian nuclear programme.Regarding the work plan, the report noted that “if Iran finally addresses the long outstanding verification issues, the Agency should be in a position to reconstruct the history of Iran’s nuclear programme.” It also called on the country to fully comply with the IAEA as well as provide access to all necessary documents and individuals.“Contrary to the decisions of the Security Council, Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities, having continued with the operation of PFEP [Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant], and with the construction and operation of FEP [Fuel Enrichment Plant],” Mr. ElBaradei noted. “Iran is also continuing with its construction of the IR-40 reactor and operation of the Heavy Water Production Plant.”Iran’s nuclear programme has been a matter of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that it had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).Last December, the Security Council adopted a resolution banning trade with Iran in all items, materials, equipment, goods and technology which could contribute to the country’s enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy water-related activities, or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems. It tightened the measures in March, banning arms sales and expanding the freeze on assets. read more

UN to draw up comprehensive plan to address world food crisis

30 April 2008The United Nations is aiming to have a comprehensive plan to tackle the global food crisis in place by the beginning of June, “around which the institutions and leaders around the world can coalesce,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes said today. Mr. Holmes is one of two coordinators, along with UN System Influenza Coordinator David Nabarro, of a new high-powered task force that was announced yesterday by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to organize responses to the global rise in food prices. Speaking at a news conference today in Geneva, Mr. Holmes said that although the breadth and complexity of the issue needed to be recognized, there was no need to panic. “I think it is clear we can fix these problems. The solutions can be found; the solutions are there. They are very difficult, some of them, in the short term, but they can be done.” On the role of biofuel production in the current crisis, Mr. Holmes said: “It is something that needs a new look in present circumstances without wanting to fall in any sense into knee-jerk reactions of saying all biofuels are bad or good. We need to look at it in a careful, sophisticated and differentiated way, between different regions of the world and between different products.” The Under-Secretary-General also said the crisis was not affecting every country in the same way. “For many countries and population groups it is inconvenient, a problem for their daily budget and their purses, but it is not a matter of life and death. In some places and for some groups, particularly those living on less than a dollar a day, that quickly could become a matter of life and death, or certainly of increased suffering and malnutrition.”The UN’s action plan is to be in place in time for a meeting of UN agencies in Rome at the beginning of June. The task force is chaired by Mr. Ban and consists of the heads of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Food Programme (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and other organizations which will be invited to join. read more

Ban welcomes 12 billion from World Bank to fight food crisis

30 May 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed $1.2 billion in funding from the World Bank to help tackle the global food crisis that has emerged in recent months. “The Secretary-General welcomes the announcement by the World Bank of a $1.2 billion rapid financing facility as an important step in providing quick support to those most affected by the current food security crisis,” a spokesperson for Mr. Ban said in a statement.According to the UN, some 860 million people are suffering from hunger and malnourishment, a situation that has been worsened by recent severe price rises for food staples such as rice and wheat.UN agencies also forecasted in a report issued earlier this week that food prices are likely to remain high over the next decade.Mr. Ban said today that there is a need to provide a closely coordinated and coherent response to the global food crisis in the short, medium and long term.In Rome, starting on Tuesday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will chair a three-day summit on the crisis, bringing together the heads of key UN agencies, as well as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, along with many Heads of State and Government. read more

Former Italian prime minister to head African UnionUN peacekeeping panel

12 September 2008Former Italian prime minister Romano Prodi will head a new joint panel set up to support African Union (AU) peacekeeping missions established under a United Nations mandate, the world body announced today. The AU-UN panel, called for in an April resolution of the Security Council, will also comprise James Dobbins of the United States, Jean-Pierre Halbwachs of Mauritius, Monica Juma of Kenya, Toshi Niwa of Japan and Behrooz Sadry of Iran.“The panel will consider lessons from past and current African Union peacekeeping efforts and explore possible options to enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of resources for African Union peacekeeping operations mandated by the Security Council,” according to a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.Its members will meet with the Secretary-General on 15 September and begin their deliberation. The panel’s report is slated to be submitted to the Council by the end of this year. read more

Guyanas barber shops beauty salons offer UNbacked HIV prevention advice

The UN Population Fund (http://www.unfpa.org/public/News/pid/2128>UNFPA) project seeks to provide some 2,000 young people access to information, skills, services and supplies they can use to protect their health. It involves training staff of shops in Georgetown to answer simple HIV-related questions, pass out informational material, dispense both male and female condoms to clients – and even provide on-site counselling and testing. Currently, over 7,000 male and 400 female condoms are distributed monthly by requests in the shops and salons.With a population of just over 751,000, Guyana has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the region. According to the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the prevalence rate is about 1.6 per cent for pregnant women and 26.6 per cent among sex workers, and AIDS is currently the leading cause of death among the 20-49 age group.UNFPA chose the participating shops and salons based on their location in malls, parks, popular attractions, or low-income communities, and owners received added marketing exposure for their small businesses and are provided with incentives, such as access to promotional materials.“Shops were informed how their companies would be promoted through the project, and the economic value of participating,” said UNFPA Guyana Liaison Officer, Patrice La Fleur “They would most importantly provide safe places to discuss sexuality and the prevention of HIV.”Once the shops were chosen, two employees from each shop were sent for training on basic HIV and AIDS education and prevention means. They were also taught to properly monitor the project and introduced to safe practices within the context of their own work, such as ensuring the sterility of hair cutting machines, razors, needles for stitching and weaving, manicure and pedicure implements, and tattooing and body piercing equipment.In addition to training participants about sexual and reproductive health and gender issues, the project also focuses on building life skills such as communication, healthy relationships, and leadership. “Participants expressed personal gains in their quality of relationships with friends, family, and clients,” said UNFPA Programme Officer Babsie Giddings, who monitors the project. 20 March 2009Barber shops and beauty salons in Guyana’s capital are taking part in a United Nations project to spread crucial information about HIV prevention in the small nation, which has one of the highest prevalence rates in its region. read more

Scientists and intellectuals key to new green economy Ban says

“Universities such as yours are founts of ideas and innovation,” Mr. Ban said to the University Presidents’ Forum on Climate Change and Sustainable Development in Asia and Africa, held at Korea University. “Tell your university students, your colleagues, your political leaders: we must seize this once-in-a-generation chance? We need to put the best minds – our best young minds, particularly – to work in generating climate solutions.” Mr. Ban called for a “robust intellectual debate” on how to limit global temperature increase and on how to transform the world’s economy toward low-emissions growth. He added that world leaders must “go to Copenhagen in December and make it real.” “They must seal a deal in the name of humankind,” Mr. Ban said. The Secretary-General also stressed the importance of addressing climate change during talks today with the mayor in his hometown, Chungju. Yesterday, in Seoul, the Secretary-General met the Republic of Korea’s Unification Minister for talks on inter-Korean relations, and on the UN’s humanitarian work in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). 17 August 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told an academic forum in Seoul today that scientific and intellectual leadership is the key to creating the new green economy of the 21st century. read more

Arab leaders urge Israel to do more to resolve Middle East conflict

26 September 2009The foreign ministers of three Arab countries today accused Israel of failing to show the necessary political will to resolve its long-running conflict with the Palestinians and expressed frustration at the continued failure to reach a solution. Egypt’s Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the events of the past year had confirmed suspicions that Israel was not genuinely determined to “achieve a just peace” with the Palestinians, despite numerous meetings, visits and contacts from the international community to broker a deal.“Throughout this year, Israel has shown a lack of the necessary political will to engage in serious and credible negotiations that aim at reaching a final settlement to the conflict, a settlement which includes all its aspects, issues and tracks, and leads to the establishment of an independent Palestinian State on the entire Palestinian national land, occupied since 1967, and with East Jerusalem as its capital,” he said.Mr. Aboul Gheit, who was speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), called for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to resume as soon as possible, and urged the international community to put forward a formula for a final settlement.He also stressed that Israel must completely freeze settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, “not only because it is contrary to international law and should be halted, but also in order to build a climate of trust between the two parties, hence allowing negotiations on the final status to bear fruit.”Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates said the situation in the Middle East had deteriorated because of “the continued hostile attitude of the Israeli Government,” expressed notably in “the suffocating blockade imposed on the Palestinian and Arab territories, particularly in Gaza.”The Foreign Minister said the Palestinian people will not enjoy independence, freedom and economic prosperity until “Israeli occupation is completely ended, the separation wall is dismantled, the settlements are removed from the occupied territories, the inalienable legitimate rights of the Palestinian people are restored and the Palestinian Authority is enabled to possess all the attributes and components of an independent State.”But he expressed support for the positions voiced by United States President Barack Obama during his speech to the General Assembly on Wednesday, saying it contained “solid foundations” for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.Nasser Judeh of Jordan said that as far back as 2002, the Arab world had adopted a proposal – known as the Arab Peace Initiative – that called for a two-State solution to the Middle East conflict.Yet Israel had not accepted this choice of a “just and comprehensive” solution, and a good-faith response from the Government was now necessary.Prince Saud al Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, said “the easiest, best and most effective way” to settle the conflict is to draft a comprehensive, wide-ranging deal, rather than agree to any partial solution, which he added would “lead only to further perils and crises.”The Foreign Minister laid the blame for the failure to reach a solution on what he called “a wall of rejection, obstruction, bad faith and procrastination on the part of Israel, which is continuing to take unilateral measures that are incompatible with international law and Security Council measures.” read more

UN reports thousands more displaced by fighting in Somali capital

3 September 2010Continuing fighting in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, has caused the displacement of at least 22,000 more civilians and forced relief agencies to curtail their operations in the war-scarred city during the past 12 days, the United Nations reported today. Nearly 14,000 of those displaced are believed to have left the city, while another 7,200 joined 366,000 other internally displaced persons in the Afgooye corridor, a 30-kilometre stretch of road west of Mogadishu that has been described as one of the world’s most densely populated settlements of homeless people.An estimated 8,700 people moved to other relatively safer areas of Mogadishu, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said, quoting figures provided by the UN refugee agency UNHCR.Clashes pit forces of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG), who are backed by African Union troops, against Islamist insurgents seeking to topple the internationally-supported administration. According to OCHA, this week’s fighting was one of the heaviest that Mogadishu has experienced this year. read more

Human rights the focus during talks between Ban and Colombian leader

23 September 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and recently elected Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón held talks today at United Nations Headquarters in New York on human rights, regional relations and drug trafficking. Mr. Ban applauded Mr. Santos, who became President only last month, on elements of his Government’s agenda, including human rights initiatives and his willingness to support the return of illegally seized land to the rightful owners.Mr. Ban also welcomed positive developments in Colombia’s relations with its neighbours, according to information released by a spokesperson for the Secretary-General.The two officials also discussed drug trafficking, biodiversity, climate change and economic development.The UN chief also met today with Laura Chinchilla Miranda, the first female President of Costa Rica. They discussed human rights, development, climate change, drug trafficking, citizen security and the operations of the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).Hungarian President Pál Schmitt also held a tête-à-tête with Mr. Ban today on the sidelines of the General Assembly’s annual General Debate, with their discussions taking up the themes of youth education and the importance of sports for peace.The two men also discussed relations between the UN and the European Union (EU) in light of Hungary’s presidency of the regional bloc in the first half of 2011. read more

Rising opium prices threaten campaign against Afghan drug production – UN

20 January 2011Rising opium prices may encourage farmers in Afghanistan to plant more of the narcotic crop, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a survey released today, warning that the higher prices could reverse recent gains in the fight against drug production in the Asian country. Rising opium prices may encourage farmers in Afghanistan to plant more of the narcotic crop, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a survey released today, warning that the higher prices could reverse recent gains in the fight against drug production in the Asian country.The 2010 Afghanistan Opium Survey says that the soaring prices are the result of market speculation that there will be shortages because of the opium blight that reduced production by half last year, and ongoing military operations which have created uncertainty among opium farmers regarding future cultivation.“There is cause for concern. The market responded to the steep drop in opium production with an equally dramatic jump in the market price to more than double 2009 levels,” said Yury Fedotov, the Executive Director of UNODC.“We cannot continue business as usual,” he said, noting that the prices were rising again after a steady decline from 2005 to 2009. “If this cash bonanza lasts, it could effectively reverse the hard-won gains of recent years.”The cause of the decline in production was a naturally occurring plant disease that ravaged the crop in Afghanistan’s major opium poppy-growing provinces of Helmand and Kandahar.Poppy-growing households have seen a cash windfall. In 2010, the average farm-gate price of dry opium at harvest time was $169 per kilogram – a 164 per cent increase over 2009, when the price was $64 per kilo.Despite the drop in production, the gross income per hectare of opium cultivated increased by 36 per cent to $4,900. The average annual income of opium-growing households in 2009 was 17 per cent higher than for households that had stopped opium cultivation.However, the dramatic opium price increases at the local level did not translate into similar price increases in neighbouring countries, according to the UNODC report. Afghan traffickers are heavily involved in shipping opiates – morphine and heroin – abroad, notably to Iran and Pakistan, and to a lesser extent, Central Asia.As a result of falling production and stable cross-border prices, funding from the opium economy to Afghan criminal groups halved in 2010. The total value of exported opium and heroin was $1.4 billion, compared with $2.9 billion in 2009 – a 50 per cent drop. The gross export value in 2010 amounted to 11 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), compared to 26 per cent in 2009.On the positive side, rural development has encouraged the cultivation of licit crops, and this year, a distinct correlation was seen between the provision of agricultural assistance and a drop in opium cultivation.Giving farmers access to markets also helped them shift away from opium poppy cultivation. In villages located close to agricultural markets, farmers planted less poppy crop than in those that had no access to markets.“We encourage donors and the Afghan community to continue to invest in alternative livelihood programmes and increase market access for farmers. But security, stability and an environment free of corruption remain the key elements to making such initiatives effective and sustainable,” said Mr. Fedotov. read more

Paris forum adopts draft UN action plan to improve safety of journalists

18 September 2011Participants at a United Nations forum that met in Paris have drafted an action plan to improve the safety of journalists and ensure that crimes committed against them do not go unpunished. More than 500 media professionals have been killed in the course of their duties over the past decade, according to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which hosted last week’s forum.It points out that many more have been assaulted, abducted, sexually violated, intimidated, harassed, arrested or illegally detained. In addition, the vast majority of these crimes did not concern international war correspondents but journalists working in their home countries, often in times of peace, and covering local stories. The instigators for the most part, remain unpunished.The draft plan adopted by the forum, which brought together representatives of UN agencies, programmes and funds, envisions the establishment of a coordinated inter-agency mechanism to handle issues connected to the safety of journalists and impunity. Safety and impunity are also to be incorporated into UN contributions to national strategies, notably development assistance programmes and the possible inclusion of media stakeholders in some of the preparatory processes of the UN’s development projects.The draft also foresees the extension of work already conducted by UNESCO to prevent crimes against media workers, including assisting countries to develop legislation and mechanisms favourable to freedom of expression and information.Awareness-raising campaigns will also be conducted with Member States, civil society, non – governmental organizations and concerned bodies about issues of freedom of expression, journalists’ safety and the danger of impunity to democracy, UNESCO stated.The draft plan will be presented to UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) at its next session in March 2012 and will then be submitted to the bodies in charge of UN-wide coordination. read more

Libya Security Council extends mandate of UN support mission

The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) was established by the Council in September for an initiative period of three months. In today’s unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member body extended the mandate until 16 March 2012.The mission’s initial mandate was to support the National Transitional Council (NTC) in its reconstruction efforts after the end of the conflict, including restoring the rule of law, drafting a new constitution, promoting reconciliation and preparing for elections.The Council decided in today’s resolution that “the mandate of UNSMIL shall in addition include, in coordination and consultation with the transitional Government of Libya, assisting and supporting Libyan national efforts to address the threats of proliferation of all arms and related materiel of all types, in particular man-portable surface-to-air missiles.”The Council had in another resolution on 31 October called on interim authorities to take action to prevent the proliferation of arms, missiles and related materiel, saying they posed a security threat to the country and the regionThe NTC declared the full liberation of Libya on 23 October, eight months after the start of the popular uprising against the regime of long-time ruler Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi, who was eventually captured and killed. It has since formed an interim Government headed by Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib.Earlier this week, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNSMIL, Ian Martin, told the Council that the interim Government faces a number of challenges, the most immediate of which is consolidating security. 2 December 2011The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations mission in Libya until the middle of March next year, and expanded its tasks to include assisting the North African country’s transitional Government in its efforts to address the threat of arms proliferation. read more

UNP insists that it is for a united Sri Lanka

The United National Party (UNP) today insisted that it stands for a united Sri Lanka and urged the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) not to spread hatred among the communities in the country.Media Minister and former UNP Parliamentarian Gayantha Karunathilake said that the UPFA has no topic to discuss ahead of the August 17 Parliament election and so they are attempting to create communal disharmony. Karunathilake said that the UNP clearly stands for a united Sri Lanka and so no one needs to have doubts over that. (Colombo Gazette) “Do not attempt to set fire to this country by using the election stage to incite racial hatred,” Karunathilake said at a press conference today. The UPFA has been questioning the stand of the UNP on the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) election manifesto saying the TNA manifesto looks to divide the country. read more

Teen arrested for hacking into Presidents website

On Monday, the president’s official site was up and running again. “We traced the hack to his home in Kadugannawa,” a police official said referring to a town about 100 kilometres east of the capital Colombo. “The website was crippled over the weekend after the attack.” The police today arrested a 17-year-old teenager for hacking into President Maithripala Sirisena’s official website and posting a message calling for the postponement of A-level examinations, the AFP news agency reported.The unnamed boy was taken into custody under the Computer Crimes Act and on conviction faces a fine of 300,000 rupees ($2,721) and up to three years in jail. The attacker had removed the home page of the website and replaced it with a demand that the President postpone the ongoing GCE Advanced Level examinations or step down.Sri Lankan websites had been hacked in the past, but this was the first time that a teenager had been arrested under the Computer Crimes Act of 2007. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Sri Lanka deplores sixth nuclear test conducted by North Korea

While welcoming the latest Resolution adopted by the UN Security Council on 11 September 2017, the Government of Sri Lanka reiterates its commitment to abiding by its obligations with respect to the implementation of UN Security Council decisions. (Colombo Gazette) Sri Lanka joins the international community in urging the DPRK to refrain from further action of this nature, to comply with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, and to resume dialogue, facilitating the peaceful resolution of issues, which would be in the interest of peace, and the wellbeing and prosperity of the people of DPRK, and the region. Sri Lanka deplored the sixth nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on 3 September 2017.The Foreign Ministry said that the act, which is in repeated violation of UN Security Council Resolutions, threatens peace and stability in the region and beyond. read more

Iraj Weeraratnes controversial new song under fire

The Sunday Leader contacted Iraj Weeraratne for a comment but the comment was not received by the time this newspaper went to press.Iraj has in recent times released music videos which have mostly drawn controversy and at the same time resulted in bringing his videos several hits.The music producer has however been accused of making videos with content termed as ‘sexual’ and not suitable for local television. (Colombo Gazette) Meanwhile actress and model Piumi Hansamali, who appears in the video as the young girl, said that the video is being unfairly attacked. She told The Sunday Leader the music video and the song is a nice love story and she saw nothing wrong in appearing on it.Piumi Hansamali also said that she has immense respect for Victor Ratnayake and even listens to his music.“This music video is not an attempt to sling mud at anyone,” she asserted. The actress also notes that she does not appear nude on the video and so there is nothing to be ashamed of since she feels she has done no wrong. Iraj’s new video seemed to give a different interpretation of Ratnayake’s personal life and it was not well received by senior local artistes or his family.Ratnayake’s son Jayantha Ratnayake told The Sunday Leader that the music video has been given publicity by ‘foolish’ electronic media and print media.He said he has no intention of making a comment on the video as he feels Iraj Weeraratne is not an artiste. In the music video, the family of the older man express outrage at their father deciding to marry a The concern is that the video looks at the personal life of Victor Ratnayake. The artiste had recently married a young girl and the story went viral on social media.The marriage between Victor Ratnayake and his young wife was not welcome by his family but Ratnayake defended his new found love. The video shows some sensual scenes between the man and girl as well as incidents seemingly related to a real life story.   The video has recorded over 1.8 million hits on YouTube but has also been the subject of an attack on social media. Iraj Weeraratne’s new song “Danuna” has drawn flak after it seemed to reflect the recent developments in the life of veteran artiste Victor Ratnayake.The music video shows an older man played by actor Wilson Karu falling in love with a young girl played by Piumi Hansamali after his wife passes away. read more

National Peoples Party files petition against CMC polls

The LG polls is scheduled to take place on February 10. (Colombo Gazette) The National People’s Party filed a petition before the Supreme Court today against holding Local Government (LG) elections for the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC).The National People’s Party sought a stay order pending a court decision on the rejection of its nominations list for the CMC.

Electricity supply to be disrupted in parts of Colombo tomorrow

The affected areas will be Colombo 03 including Galle road, Edward road, Glen Aber Place, 8th Lane, School Lane, Alfred House Gardens and Lower Bagatalle road, Colombo 04 including Galle road, Indra Road, Daisy Villa road, De Vos Avenue, Vajira road, R.A. de Mel Road, Milagiriya Avenue, Bambalapitiya Terrace, Retreat road, Shruberry Gardens, Upatissa road, Lauries road, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Station road, Arthur’s Place, Majestic avenue, Trelawney Place and Jawatta road, Colombo 05, including Thimbirigasyaya road, Aintree Street, Kirula road, Chithra Lane, Siripa road and Keppetipola road, Colombo 07 including Torrinton Avenue, Mitland Place, Wijerama Mawatha, Vidya Mawatha, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Nidahas Mawatha, Stanley Wijesundara Mawatha and Malalasekara Mawatha and Colombo 08 including Elvitigala Mawatha, Kithulwatta road, Narahenpita road, Model Farm road, Mangala Path, Gajaba road, Baseline road, D.S. Senanayake road and Dudley Senanayake road. The Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy said that following the upgrade there will be more disruptions to the power supply from July 25 to July 31 in the same areas. (Colombo Gazette) The electricity supply will be disrupted in parts of Colombo tomorrow (Friday) due the upgrading of 132KW cable network system in Colombo.The Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy said that the electricity supply will be disrupted from time to time between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m in parts of Colombo tomorrow. read more

Health Minister orders probe into Galaha Hospital incident

It was reported that the 3 ½ year old child had died following a delay to administer treatment at the hospital. (Colombo Gazette) The Police had to be deployed after a tense situation arose outside the Hospital.The situation arose following the death of an infant who had been admitted to the hospital for treatment. Health Minister, Dr Rajitha Senaratne has ordered a comprehensive investigation into the death of a child at the Galaha Hospital.The Police had to fire tear gas yesterday to disperse an angry mob outside the Galaha Hospital. read more

Words of Wisdom from 3 Women in Communications

WomensLuncheonPanel_774.png In an ideal world, we would not be here, in 2019, still talking about the lack of gender diversity in technology and the challenges that women enterprise IT professionals regularly face working in a male-dominated field. But gender disparity is still very much an IT reality. See All in Women in Communications » 1. Take a Chance on YourselfJeanne Spinosa, telecommunications manager at Brown University, shared that a defining moment for her was in the beginning of her career, almost 40 years ago. “The cliff notes version is I was a grad school dropout. I had no income, and no future in sight,” Jeanne said. Then at a softball game, she ran into an old college friend working at Rolm and teaching people how to use their computerized telephones. “And I said, what the heck does that mean? And she told me, and I thought, well that’s kind of cool.” Gauri Bhalerao, senior manager of collaboration, networking strategy and engineering at Yum! Brands, pointed out the difference between mentoring and sponsoring. Sponsorship, she said, goes beyond the type of advising that comes with mentorship to propelling a person forward — as a sponsor you’d say, “OK, this is a person that will be great for this job, and I’m ready to vouch that [she or he] will be great,” Gauri said. In her experience, every time Gauri has received a promotion was due to sponsorship. But on a positive note, we’ve seen a tremendous amount of attention brought to the issue over the last couple of years. The need for gender equality is much discussed these days, which means there are more opportunities to enact change and drive progress. Shining a Light on Women in Communications Michelle Burbick March 11, 2019 Three Enterprise Connect keynoters speak out on their experiences being women executives in a male-dominated field. Continue on next page; click belowTags:News & ViewsEnterprise ConnectwomenJeanne SpinosaErin LearyGauri Bhaleraoenterprise ITWomen in CommunicationsCareersEnterprise Insider12nextlast Articles You Might Like 3. Be the “Woman in the Restroom”It’s great to have women supporting other women, but as an attendee pointed out in a question to the panel, women aren’t always supportive of other women, and too often we hear stories about women working against one another. Panelists attributed competitiveness as the likely culprit — as Erin said, “It exists. It’s a fact.” With that, she added, “we shouldn’t either shy away from it or overreact to it. It’s just part of getting through a corporate experience.” “I didn’t know anything. I figured I could learn it, and I wasn’t afraid to say I don’t know. … Never be afraid to say I don’t know and take a chance on yourself, Jeanne said. And don’t stop there! “Take a chance on someone else as well.” (For Jeanne’s full story, read the No Jitter post, “From Brown Back to Brown: A Telecom Career Unfolds.”) Two years later, Jeanne was hired on the spot for that same job when her friend took a promotion. “She said, you’re smart, you’ll learn this, you’re hired.” And that’s how she began her career in communications. She shared an experience where she was asked to move out of software development and lead infrastructure at Yum! Brands. “I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me? I had never done this before,’” Gauri said. Her sponsored assured her that she had the technical prowess for the role, and that she’d be great at it because she brought something unique to the table. “So sponsorship is the key for me more than mentorship, because that’s what really takes you to the next level,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to ask for sponsors.” 2. Ask for, and Give, AssistanceWhen it comes to taking a chance on others, being a mentor to younger women is important to all three panelists. Erin Leary, end user services agile transformation leader at Boeing, said mentoring is the best part of her day. “I love being able to talk to people about what makes them excited about work, how they see their future going, and how to empower them to take the right steps,” she said. These conversations, especially with younger women, often come down to discussing roadblocks and how to get around them, Erin said. Log in or register to post comments As part of this effort, we asked three women in enterprise IT to share their experiences and career advice with attendees at our first-annual Women in Communications luncheon. I took away countless pieces of advice from the panel, and here I’ll share the top six that resonated with me (click here to listen in on the full panel discussion, and watch this video to learn more about our women’s initiatives at EC19). Women in the workforce need to raise each other up. You might say that’s her personal mission, in fact. “Supporting women is a huge part of what I want to be able to leave as a legacy, and to look back and say, in that zone, I did more good than harm.” In providing advice on how to combat or mitigate stereotypes of women in the workforce, Erin used the “women in the bathroom” meme – “It’s like, women in the bathroom will help you with anything, right?” So, she continued, “You need to be the women in the restroom, not the ones out on the dance floor.” Gauri agreed, saying, “A lot of times, I think women are harder on women — and that shouldn’t be the case.” Women in Tech: Seeing Is Believing Michelle Burbick March 01, 2019 New initiatives at Enterprise Connect put a spotlight on women working in communications and collaboration technology. At the recent Enterprise Connect Orlando 2019 event, we made this one of our missions, taking on initiatives to help engage people in this discussion and promote the advancement of women in IT and throughout the industry. read more