Probe sought into Hero Chowk flyover collapse

first_imgGurugram: The Centre for Disaster Management Gurugram has demanded a comprehensive investigation over portions of new flyovers of Gurugram caving in. On May 8, the portion of Hero flyover in Gurgram had collapsed. In less than a year for the second time, the portion of Hero Chowk flyover which has been made operational just one- and a half years ago caved in. Earlier in June 2018, the part of recently built flyover at the Delhi-Jaipur highway came out all of a sudden six months before it was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Haryana. Last year, a portion of Rampura flyover also collapsed. Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehiclesThere are claims that how in order to hasten the process of opening the flyover, most of the basic processes of construction were flawed. Facing flak over the entire incident the public officials have as of now refused to comment on the matter. The massive crack has just been one of the incidents of the new flyovers that have come up at the National Highway-8. Recently there were cracks that were witnessed on two occasions at the Hero Chowk flyover. Taking cognisance of the danger that these cracks pose to the commuters the NHAI officials have closed the stretch and begun the maintenance work. Slated to be completed within 30 months, Hero Chowk was completed in the record time of 15 months.last_img read more

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Moroccan Jews Defend Sahara More Than Benkiranes Government Chabat

Rabat- In a new interview with a TV channel, the head of a major Moroccan opposition party said that Moroccan Jews defend the so-called Western Sahara conflict more than the government. The President of the Istiqlal party, Hamid Chabat, never misses any opportunity to level harsh criticism against his political archrival, Abdelilah Benkirane, the head of the Moroccan government.In an interview with Al Arabiya TV, the controversial politician suggested that efforts made by the Benkirane government do little to serve Morocco’s interests with respect to the question of the so-called Western Sahara dispute. Responding to a question about the reasons for the distinctions bestowed upon him by a Jewish organization, Chabat expressed his pride in receiving that distinction, arguing that the Moroccan Jewish diaspora does more to promote Morocco’s position on this conflict than the Moroccan government.The head of the Istiqlal party also said that Benkirane is serving a “foreign agenda,” adding that he “does business with Islam.”Chabat called upon Benkirane to clarify his position with regards to the co-called Islamic State, the Nusrah Front, and Mossad.This is not the first time that Chabat has levelled criticism against Prime Minister Benkirane. During a parliamentary session last July, Chabat urged his rival to reveal the “true nature” of his alleged ties with ISIS, Al Nusrah Front and Mossad. Chabat’s question elicited at the time a round of laughter at the Parliament.In several earlier statements, Chabat has claimed that Benkirane does not have the interests of Morocco or the Moroccan people at heart, stressing that the Prime Minister is more loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood. read more

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New York Representatives of Three Monotheistic Religions Receive Royal Distinctions

New York – Morocco’s model of openness and tolerance was on display on Thursday evening at MoMA Museum of Art in New York with the presence of over 250 people, mainly members of the Moroccan Jewish community established in the Tristate area.On this occasion, the representatives of the there monotheistic religions (Islam, Judaism, Christianity) receive Royal distinctions.Rabin Arthur Schneier, president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, His Eminence Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan Archbishop of New York, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Imam Mohamed Hamagid, president of the Islamic Society of North America, received the Alawite wissam of commander rank during a ceremony marking the completion of revamping of Jewish cemeteries in Morocco. Rabin Schneier, Archbishop Dolan, Archbishop Demetrios and Imam Hamagid received the royal wissams by endowments and Islamic affairs minister Ahmed Toufiq, Morocco’s ambassador in Washington Rachad Bouhlal and the King’s roving ambassador Serge Berdugo respectively.This ceremony, organized by the Moroccan Jewish Community Council in collaboration with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, was attended mainly by Morocco’s permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Omar Hilale, and Morocco’s Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Rachad Bouhlal.A book entitled “Revamping Jewish Cemeteries of Morocco – Houses of Life,” related to this operation, which involved 167 sites in the 14 Moroccan regions and spanned four years, was presented on this occasion. read more

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Moroccan Woman Tells Her Romance With Cristiano Ronaldo

Rabat – Moroccan model Amal Saber has said that Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed “special nights” with her while he was still dating Russian supermodel Irina Shayk.The 26-year-old Amal Saber, who immigrated to Spain as a child, made the statement in an interview with the Spanish magazine Interviu.Amal said she met with Cristiano for the first time in late 2014 at an upscale Madrid club-restaurant. “I was looking for the restroom, when a man stood up and showed me politely where I can find it… It was Ronaldo,” adding that he later invited her and a relative to join his table.Amal told the Spanish publication that Ronaldo “invited her to his apartment later that night, where he shared with her melon champagne till dawn next to a photo of Irina Shayk.”“I was a little drunk but I remember the house was dark, black and grey. We went into his bedroom and he had a bed with a large TV and a photo of Irina Shayk beside it,” she said.“We drank melon champagne from some lovely bottles he said were left over from his birthday,” Amal said, adding that they stayed together until 5 a.m.The Moroccan model went on to add that the footballer invited her to his apartment several times after their first encounter. “The first night was very special and there were more. But neither of us will forget that first one, because we were very affectionate,” she concluded.Amal further claimed that Ronaldo blocked her on WhatsApp after breaking up with Shayk in January 2015.Amal Saber, currently lives in Majorca. She was born in 1990, in Nadour, Northeastern Morocco and immigrated to Spain at the age of eight. read more

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French Senator Accused of Polisario Support Beaten Out by Moroccan En

Rabat – French senator of Algerian descent Leila Aichi, whose alleged support for Polisario Front had been the source of controversy, has lost to French-Moroccan candidate M’jid El Guerrab in their race to win the parliamentary seat of the 9th constituency.The second round of French parliamentary elections was held on Sunday. Aichi and El Geurrab had been facing off for the 9th consistency, which represents French citizens living in North and West Africa.El Guerrab, who replaced Aichi as the candidate of La République en Marche, the political party founded by French president Emmanuel Macron, announced his win on Twitter. “I say thank you to all those who have trusted me. Starting from tomorrow, my work will begin.” Later he published a video in which he promises to work for the good of the French community in the region.“I will be an MP who unites all the French community of this constituency,” he said. “I will be at your service to solve the problems you face.”With a margin of 2,000 votes, the young Moroccan newcomer secured a seat at the French National Assembly.During the first round of elections on June 11, Aichi was ahead with 20.29 percent of the votes, while El Guerrab had 18.93 percent.Aichi was the first choice for En Marche. However, the controversy over her alleged support for Polisario led the movement’s branches in Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal to suspend their endorsement.As a result, En Marche pulled its nomination of Aichi and choose El Guerrab as her replacement.The French-Algerian senator responded to accusations by denying that she supports Polisario, stating that her position vis-à-vis the issue of Western Sahara is the same as the French government’s.Aichi, a member of major En Marche ally the Mouvement démocrate (MoDem) party, visited Morocco last week. During a meeting with Moroccan MP Abdelatif Ouahbi, she described Morocco as “a friend of France,” and stated that “nobody can undermine the historical, political and economic ties between the two countries.”Addressing the controversy surrounding her, Aichi said she had been a victim of smear campaign. read more

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US Resumes Admission of Refugees But Continues to Disproportionately Affect Muslims

Rabat – The Trump administration announced Monday that it was resuming admissions of refugees from 11 unnamed countries — deemed to have a “high-security risk,” — but with added security screening. However, advocates for migrants and refugees fear that this policy will have little effect. Hans Van de Weerd, a senior official of the International Rescue Committee, said, “This administration disproportionately targets Muslims,” adding that “today’s announcement does not change this for the better.”Also Read: U.S Supreme Court Partially Reinstates Trump Travel Ban Citing “law enforcement sensitivities,” Trump’s administration refused to identify the 11 countries it considers as “high-risk,” although advocates for refugees’ rights believe that they are Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. According to senior administration officials, applicants from these 11 countries will then face new vetting measures to assist the “fight against terrorism.”“It’s critically important that we know who is entering the United States,” said US Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. “The measures include additional screening for certain nationals, and a periodic review and update of the refugee high-risk country list and selection criteria.”“These additional security measures will make it harder for bad actors to exploit our refugee program, and they will ensure we take a more risk-based approach to protecting the homeland,” Nielsen added.Read also: Business Concerns Behind “Muslim Electronic BanThis follows the United States’ Supreme Court ruling last December which authorized the full implementation of President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban. The ban, already on its the third version, affected travelers from eight countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Chad, Yemen, North Korea, and Venezuela.The list of “high-risk” countries was last updated under Obama’s administration in 2015. it is compiled from a number of sources, including countries that are the subject of Travel Warnings by the US Department of State and other US Government sources. read more

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New York Gov Cuomo to urge Trump to rethink tax changes

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is travelling to Washington, D.C., to urge President Donald Trump to rethink a provision in the 2017 tax overhaul that Cuomo says is prompting a sharp decline in state revenues.The Democrat will meet with the Republican president Tuesday to discuss the tax law’s $10,000 cap on the federal deduction for state and local taxes.Cuomo says the cap is prompting wealthy residents to flee New York and contributing to a recent drop of more than $2 billion in tax receipts.Trump has praised the tax changes but said recently he has heard it’s causing problems for some New Yorkers.Speaking on public radio before his one-day trip, Cuomo says he’s more hopeful the cap could be repealed now that Democrats control the U.S. House.The Associated Press read more

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Unicorns are real Tech baffles Indonesian candidate

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia’s presidential candidates have debated some of the most pressing issues facing the world’s third-largest democracy: dilapidated infrastructure, struggling farmers, forest fires — and unicorns.When President Joko Widodo, who is seeking a second term, asked former general Prabowo Subianto about his policies for supporting Indonesia’s unicorns a look of bafflement passed across the former military man’s face.Wondering aloud, he replied: “What are unicorns? You mean those online things?” Widodo sagely nodded in the affirmative.Subianto was probably not alone in his ignorance but social media in Indonesia gleefully seized on Sunday’s exchange as proof of his lack of qualification to be president.In the tech world, a unicorn is a start-up company valued at $1 billion and Indonesia has several of them.The Associated Press read more

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Inuit hope fresh deals with mining companies boost employment at new projects

NUNAVUT – Inuit leaders are hoping a new cycle of mine expansion in Nunavut brings with it a motherlode of jobs and economic spinoffs.“Inuit are very eager and wanting to participate in the economy,” said P.J. Akeeagok of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.His group recently signed an agreement with a mining company that has a billion-dollar expansion proposal before northern regulators. Baffinland’s Mary River mine on the northern end of Baffin Island is considered one of the richest iron deposits in the world.That’s not the only mining news out of Nunavut.Quebec-based Agnico-Eagle has begun to pour gold at its new mine near Rankin Inlet and is developing another nearby deposit. The two projects represent $1.6 billion in investment since 2017. Agnico-Eagle, which already has about 800 employees and 300 contractors at its Meadowbank mine, expects to hire more for the new ones.“We’re going to get close to 700 people by the end of the year,” said Dominique Girard, the company’s vice-president for Nunavut.Both companies have already made promises about job levels for Inuit. Like other northern employers — including the government of Nunavut — they’ve had trouble living up to them.Agnico-Eagle, with a goal of 50 per cent Inuit employment, has achieved about 37 per cent. Although Baffinland has the same target, only about one-quarter of its 1,200 employees and contractors are Inuit. The level has been as low as 14 per cent.The consequences of those gaps are real.A study commissioned for the environmental group Oceans North concluded that the gap between Baffinland’s targets and its actual employment would amount to about $1 billion in lost wages for Inuit over the life of the mine. That would be especially so if the proposed expansion resulted in increased production before more Inuit could be trained.“What is the case for massive expansion of the mine before the labour market can keep up with it?” asked Chris Debicki of Oceans North. “The rapid scaling up of this mine, as proposed, will not maximize Indigenous benefits.”But Akeeagok and Gabriel Karlik of the Kivalliq Inuit Association — which has just signed a new benefits agreements with Agnico-Eagle — say strengthened promises of education and training will get local people into the workforce.“(The Kivalliq Inuit Association) is working with stakeholders, including Agnico-Eagle, to ensure that Inuit are in a position to take advantage of available opportunities in training and upskill development,” Karlik said in an email.Baffinland has expanded a five-day program about work issues that includes managing finances and the strains that fly-in, fly-out work can put on families. Recruits sit in a classroom and shadow current employees.“That helps long term with retention,” said Baffinland vice-president Grant Goddard.The company sends potential recruits to an Ontario college for trades apprenticeships and heavy equipment operators. The program had 54 graduates last year. It’s developing an Inuit-focused section to its leadership training.Baffinland has also committed $10 million to building a training centre in Pond Inlet.Agnico-Eagle has developed a work and training approach that moves Inuit along a career path of operating ever-more-complex machinery.“All of our entry level positions are 100 per cent Inuit,” Girard said. “But when we get into semi-skilled or skilled, this is where we’re having more difficulty.”The company has hired an adult educator for each of its sites to run after-work classes in literacy and numeracy.“We’d like to develop more leaders,” said Girard. “We’d like to have our mine managed by Inuit.”Both companies pay royalties of about $5 million a year to their respective Inuit associations.Akeeagok said the increased emphasis on training should help ensure that Inuit get the benefit of resources on land that they control.“Absolutely we want to participate in these industries,” he said. “There’s some real exciting benefits that are out there.”— Follow Bob Weber @row1960 on TwitterBob Weber, The Canadian Press read more

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Saudi Arabia UAE Reiterate Support for Moroccos Territorial Integrity

Rabat – A list of 23 states have expressed support for Morocco’s territorial integrity and the Autonomy Plan submitted by the North African country to the UN in 2007 as a possible political solution to end the Western Sahara conflict.Permanent Ambassador and representative of Morocco to the UN in Geneva Omar Zinber said on Tuesday, September 10,  that a group of 23 countries believe that the autonomy initiative “has been recognized by the Security Council as a serious and credible basis for definitely resolving the regional conflict.”The countries expressed their support for Morocco’s cause at the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The countries believe that solving the conflict “will contribute to the realization of the legitimate aspirations of the African and Arab peoples in terms of integration and development, an objective to which Morocco is strongly committed.”Zniber, according to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), said that the countries signed a declaration, in which they emphasize that Morocco has engaged in a constructive, and profound interaction with the UN human rights system, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).Read Also: Western Sahara and Alhurra TV’s Affront to the Moroccan PeopleThe group of countries also indicated that 12 special missions visited the Moroccan provinces of Laayoune and Dakha in Western Sahara.  The missions had free and unrestricted access to all places in the region.“It is also in this context that Morocco has hosted a technical mission of the OHCHR, at the invitation of the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco, aimed at strengthening the capacity of action of international institutions,” said the Group.Saudi Arabia and the UAE were among the countries to express their support for Morocco’s autonomy initiatives, despite rumors of tension between Morocco and the two Gulf countries. The reports of friction between Morocco and its Gulf allies   escalated after Saudi Television outlet Al-Arabiya aired a documentary that challenged Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara. Morocco’s government denied any conflict with its allies, emphasizing that it has strong and historical ties with both countries.Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita said in March that from “the point of view of Morocco, relations with Gulf countries,” especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, “have always been deep historical relations.”In addition to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan also reiterated their support for the Autonomy Plan.The list of Morocco’s supporters also includes: Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Djibouti, Senegal, Central African Republic, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Sao Tome and Principe, Paraguay, Guatemala, Saint Lucia, and El Salvador. read more

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SecretaryGeneral urges completion of global decolonization process

“Achieving self-government for the peoples of the world has been one of the cardinal goals of the United Nations since its inception,” Mr. Ban told the Special Committee on Decolonization, which is meeting in St. George, Grenada, at a regional seminar that coincides with the Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories. In the statement, delivered by Freda Mackay of the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), Mr. Ban recalled that “under the Organization’s auspices, nearly 750 million people have benefited from the exercise of the right to self-determination, and decolonization can truly be considered a United Nations success story.”The regional seminars are important part of completing this decolonization process, Mr. Ban noted, because they provide a forum for the two million people living in the remaining territories to air their views about the unique problems they face, and for direct communication between the Special Committee, the representatives of the territories and the administering countries.As a result of that kind of dialogue, he said, the Pacific island of Tokelau will soon hold a second referendum on the option of self-government in free association with New Zealand, and other territories, some in the Caribbean, have also made considerable progress in their constitutional, political, economic and social development, moving a long way towards self-government. At the time of the UN’s creation in 1945, there were 72 non-self-governing territories. The Special Committee was established by the General Assembly in 1961, to further the application of the 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. In 1963, the Assembly approved a list of 64 territories to which the Declaration applied. Now, just 16 such territories remain, with France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States as administering powers.The 16 remaining territories are Western Sahara, American Samoa, Guam, New Caledonia, Pitcairn, Tokelau, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Gibraltar, Montserrat, Saint Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands and the United States Virgin Islands. 22 May 2007Strategies should be found for determining the future of each of the world’s 16 remaining territories that are not yet self-governing, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a United Nations seminar on decolonization in the Caribbean today. read more

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Myanmar UN envoy holds talks with Indian officials

12 July 2007Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Adviser on Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, today wrapped up his meetings in New Delhi with Indian officials, part of his current round of consultations in major Asian capitals, a spokesperson for the world body said. Mr. Gambari had a “candid discussion” with the Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters in New York. The two found agreement on the need to “recognize positive steps made by Myanmar, while at the same time encouraging it to make further progress towards democratization and human rights,” she added. Speaking to reporters in the Indian capital, Mr. Gambari reiterated that he intends to visit Myanmar soon, although specific dates have not yet been determined.New Delhi is the second stop on Mr. Gambari’s current trip to discuss Myanmar with some of the key countries in the region. He met with Chinese Government counterparts in Beijing on Monday and will be meeting senior Japanese officials on Friday in Tokyo before returning to New York.Since being appointed Special Adviser in May, Mr. Gambari has consulted broadly on the situation in Myanmar, including a visit to Washington two weeks ago. read more

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TimorLeste UN police assist in crackdown on drugs human trafficking

3 January 2008United Nations police are not only helping to restore security in Timor-Leste, where 37 people were killed and 155,000 others, 15 per cent of the population, displaced nearly two years ago, they are also cracking down on illegal immigration, the sale of drugs and possible human trafficking. Last night the drug police component of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), together with local police, raided two bars in Dili, the capital. At the Mona Lisa Bar, they found evidence of drug usage and identified eight females suspected of involvement in prostitution. All eight were arrested for identification purposes, in connection with investigations into illegal immigration and possible human trafficking. At the Moon Bar, 13 women and seven men, all foreign nationals, were arrested for identification purposes related to investigations into the trafficking of women. The managers of both bars were among the arrested. “A crucial part of UNMIT’s mandate is to ensure public security and support the Government in the consolidation of stability and the enhancement of a culture of democratic governance,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Atul Khare said in a statement today, congratulating UN and national police. “Accordingly, we will not allow such activities to flourish.” Many of the arrested women are thought to have entered the country illegally and police recovered evidence of forged or altered identification documents. Police teams are working in close collaboration with the Immigration Service to process the detainees through the criminal justice system. The UN enhanced its peacekeeping and policing roles in the small South-East Asian country that it helped to shepherd to independence from Indonesia in 2002 after violence attributed to differences between eastern and western regions broke out in April and May 2006. read more

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Urbanization brings both growth and poverty to AsiaPacific region – UN

19 March 2008The pace of urbanization in Asia and the Pacific – unparalleled by any other area in the world – has resulted in growth but has also driven up poverty within cities, the United Nations commission covering the region said today. The urban population of the Asia-Pacific region has been growing at the fastest rate in the world over the past 15 years, according to the “Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific” released today by the UN Economic and Social Commission for the area, known as ESCAP.“This growth is having a knock-on effect,” said Pietro Gennari, chief of ESCAP’s Statistics Division. “We’re seeing more and more people living in slums and also a negative effect on people’s ability to access clean water and sanitation in urban areas.”Two out of every five people in urban areas reside in slums, and countries such as China, Indonesia and the Philippines have all noted a drop in the proportion of the urban population with access to clean water.The region’s rapid economic growth is putting a considerable burden on the environment, partly as a result of the increase in energy consumption. Asia-Pacific’s carbon dioxide emissions surged from 1.9 tons per capita in 1990 to3.2 tons per capita in 2004.Mr. Gennari observed that if emissions are calculated per unit of gross domestic product, then the Asia-Pacific region has one of the highest carbon dioxide intensities in the world.The dramatic increase in the number of cars used in the area, while contributing to economic growth, has the downside of boosting pollution levels. The Yearbook also notes that although the region boasts some of the highest rates of railway density in the developing world, less than half of the Asia-Pacific countries have a sizeable rail system. read more

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Ban voices support for continuing efforts to ease ColombiaEcuador tensions

4 June 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced his strong support of continuing regional efforts to help restore normal bilateral relations between the Andean neighbours Colombia and Ecuador. The Organization of American States (OAS) discussed how to restore relations at the group’s latest summit, held earlier this week in Medellín, Colombia, according to a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.“The Secretary-General is pleased that a report presented by OAS Secretary-General José Miguel Insulza to the foreign ministers of the Americas gathered in Medellín noted progress in efforts to restore normal bilateral relations between the two countries, and that the foreign ministers requested that Mr. Insulza continue to exercise his good offices in this regard,” the statement noted.Tensions between the two countries surged in March after Colombian military forces launched a cross-border raid into Ecuador that led to the killing of a senior member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a rebel group. read more

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Donors urged to contribute to UNbacked genocide court in Cambodia

25 May 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appealed to donors to provide urgent funding to the United Nations-backed court tasked with bringing justice to the people of Cambodia for the heinous crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), composed of both national and international judges and staff, were set up in 2003 under an agreement between the UN and the Royal Government. The court is facing a shortfall of more than $21 million for 2010, including $14.6 million for the international component and at least $6.5 million for the national component. Neither of these figures includes future commitments for staff salaries and entitlements.For 2011, the total budget of $46.8 million is unfunded, except for $1.1 million pledged by the Cambodian Government for the national component.“Both components urgently need further funds,” Mr. Ban said in his remarks to the pledging conference held at UN Headquarters for the court, which is entirely dependent on voluntary contributions.He emphasized that the court was established to bring justice to the people of Cambodia, and to prevent impunity for the most heinous of crimes. “They are vital part of efforts to secure Cambodia’s long-term well-being, and a crucial element in the world’s quest to strengthen international criminal justice,” he stated.At least 1.7 million people are believed to have died during the period of Democratic Kampuchea, which lasted from April 1975 to January 1979. The ECCC is tasked with trying senior Khmer Rouge figures and others responsible for the worst atrocities committed during that period. Mr. Ban noted that since it began its work in 2006, the court has made “impressive progress.” Hearings in “case one,” against Kaing Guek Eav, alias “Duch,” the secretary of the notorious S-21 security centre, concluded last November and the trial chamber will issue its verdict in July. “The hearings in this case demonstrated that the Extraordinary Chambers can conduct complex international criminal trials to international standards,” said the Secretary-General.“Most importantly, they also demonstrated the deep interest of the people of Cambodia in the proceedings,” he stated, noting that more than 31,000 people visited the chambers to witness the hearings, most of them Cambodians who journeyed in from outside the capital. In “case two,” the co-investigating judges may issue a closing order, or indictment, against four leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime – Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith and Khieu Samphan – later this year. As in the ongoing trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor in the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), one person charged in case two, Khieu Samphan, is a former head of State, showing that no one is above the law. “This is a fundamental principle in the world’s fight against impunity, and it is encouraging indeed to see it in action today in Cambodia,” remarked Mr. Ban.The Secretary-General expressed his gratitude to Member States for their generous contributions to date, and appealed to them to maintain and increase their support, even in the midst of the current economic environment. “Without such support, the chambers cannot function,” he stressed. “It is as simple and stark as that.”UN Legal Counsel Patricia O’Brien and Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Sok An, made a similar appeal to the international community for urgent funding for the court in a joint statement issued after their meeting in the capital, Phnom Penh, last month. read more

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Japanese Prime Minister issues call for reform of Security Council

“Ensuring a functional UN that is capable of effectively addressing diverse global issues is of the utmost importance,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan told the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate, which entered its second day today.Member States, he said, must take proactive steps to promote the world body’s reform, while the UN, for its part, must ensure its own transparency and accountability.Mr. Kan pointed to the creation of UN Women – or the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women – as a “test case for the promotion of effective and efficient activities” of the world body.Created by the Assembly on 2 July, UN Women, headed by former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, will oversee all of the world body’s programmes aimed at promoting women’s rights and their full participation in global affairs.UN Women is the merger of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW).The Japanese Prime Minister today underscored the key role played by the Security Council in helping the UN resolve global challenges, calling its reform “indispensable.”His country, he said, as the only country that has ever been devastated by atomic bombings and does not possess nuclear weapons, is “well-suited to play a role in the Security Council in the 21st century.”Mr. Kan underscored “Japan’s determined aspiration to take on further responsibilities for international peace and security as a permanent member” of the Council.In his address, he also urged stepped-up will and action in the arena of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, pointing to recent strides, including Ban Ki-moon’s visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, making him the first Secretary-General to take part in the event.“Japan bears a responsibility to all humankind to hand down to future generations an awareness of the catastrophic nature of nuclear weapons,” the Prime Minister said, adding that the country will coordinate with other countries to promote education on disarmament and non-proliferation.On the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), he said that the country’s nuclear and missile development programmes are a threat to the entire world, calling on it to take measures in line with relevant Council resolutions and the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks, involving China, DPRK, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States.Under that September 2005 agreement, the DPRK committed itself to abandon nuclear weapons and rejoin the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).Japan continues to endeavour to normalize relations with the DPRK, and towards that end, “it is absolutely indispensable to resolve the abduction issue,” Mr. Kan stressed, referring to the abduction of Japanese citizens in the late 1970s and early 1980s.“If the DPRK takes constructive and sincere steps such as implementing its agreement with Japan, Japan is ready to respond in kind,” he said.During the Japanese leader’s meeting with Mr. Ban today, the two men agreed on the need to continue efforts to revive the Six-Party Talks, as well as the close cooperation of the concerned parties.The Secretary-General expressed his appreciation for Japan’s continued support in areas including climate change, Afghanistan, Haiti and Sri Lanka.They also discussed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), biodiversity, UN reform and Japan’s support for UN peacekeeping operations. 24 September 2010Underscoring the centrality of the United Nations in promoting peace and prosperity, Japan’s leader stressed today that the Security Council must be reformed to reflect the international community’s current realities. read more

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Egypt Ban calls on leaders to take bold steps to address protesters

“I have been repeatedly saying that the leaders of any country, including Egypt, should first of all listen attentively, most sincerely, to the voices of people,” he told a news conference yesterday in Addis Ababa, where he is attending a summit meeting of the African Union (AU). “And they have a broad responsibility, first of all, to provide decent jobs and good opportunities to maintain a decent living.“This is what I have been urging them. At the same time, it is important that the Governments ensure that a proper channel of communication is ensured – their freedom of speech, expression, and their freedom of association should also be ensured,” he added, underlining that this expression should be done peacefully in a way that does not lead to social and political instability.Asked directly what concrete steps he thinks President Hosni Mubarak should take to show that he is listening to the voices of the people of Egypt and if he thinks the appointment of a new Government is sufficient, Mr. Ban replied: “I would leave it to the Egyptian leaders. Reflecting all these concerns and wishes, they should take some bold measures to address their concerns.”As the demonstrations calling for Mr. Mubarak’s resignation accelerated last week, Mr. Ban urged all Egyptians to ensure that political protests do not lead to further violence, and he called on the Government to see this “as an opportunity to engage in addressing the legitimate concerns of the people.”  On Friday he told a news conference in Davos, Switzerland, where he attended the World Economic Forum, that a fundamental principle of democracy is to protect and ensure the freedom of speech of the people, and he stressed that the situation in Egypt and the wider region must not lead to further violence. Also last week, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged the Egyptian Government to exercise restraint and initiate investigations into reports of the use of excessive force, particularly the killing of at least five and possibly more civilians. “It has been brought to my attention that since the street protests erupted, police have confronted protestors with rubber-coated bullets, tear gas, water cannons and batons, and arrested more than 1,000 people, including political opponents,” she said. “While maintaining rule and order are important, the responsibility of the Government to protect the rights to life, liberty and security is paramount.” She called on the Government to guarantee the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression, including by restoring free use of mobile phones and social networks, which were reportedly cut to impede demonstrators from mobilizing.“People must be entitled to express their grievances against violations of their civil and political rights as well as their frustrations at lack of realization of their economic rights, the right to work and the right to an adequate standard of living,” Ms. Pillay said. “And governments in the region and around the world must take heed. Suppressing citizens’ voices, silencing dissent and stifling criticism will not make the problems go away. Recent events in the region highlight the fact that tackling serious problems by resorting primarily to high-handed security measures only causes them to fester and eventually erupt on a large scale.”The protests in Egypt are taking place just weeks after anti-government demonstrations led to the ouster of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia earlier this month. 31 January 2011Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling on Egypt’s leaders to take some “bold measures” to address the concerns of the scores of thousands of people who have been demonstrating for change, stressing at the same time that the protests must be peaceful. read more

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Closing Bell TSX ends higher amid positive US jobs data rising commodities

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed higher for a sixth session Thursday, boosted by another string of advances from beaten down commodity prices and strong earnings reports from the retail, resource and tech sectors.Here are the closing numbersTSX — 12,329.51 +59.08 0.48%S&P 500 — 1,585.16 +6.37 0.40%Dow — 14,700.80 +24.50 0.17%Nasdaq — 3,289.99 +20.34 0.62%The S&P/TSX composite index advanced 59.08 points to 12,329.51 following a 179-point surge Wednesday as traders bargain hunted after the TSX tumbled more than two% last week on worries about slowing economic conditions.“When you look at where we are, some of these commodities have all of a sudden come back to life,” said Fred Ketchen, manager of equity trading at Scotia Capital.“If you can get a few days under your belt and there is some consistency to it, it reinforces the confidence that people have that maybe there is a recovery in that (commodity) sector.”Strengthening prices for oil and metals and positive economic news from Canada’s biggest trading partner pushed the Canadian dollar ahead 0.46 of a cent to 97.96 cents US.U.S. markets also advanced as traders balanced earnings disappointments from energy giant ExxonMobil and conglomerate 3M with a strong reading on jobless insurance claims.The Dow Jones industrial average was ahead 24.5 points at 14,700.8 as unemployment insurance claims for last week were down 16,000 to 339,000 — the lowest in six weeks. Analysts had forecast expectations of 350,000.The Nasdaq climbed 20.34 points to 3,289.99 and the S&P 500 index rose 6.37 points to 1,585.16.The base metals sector led TSX advances, up just over three% as May copper gained eight cents to US$3.24 a pound following a six-cent run-up Wednesday after Goldman Sachs said it expected copper prices to rebound in the next three months.The rising copper price is also being driven by hopes that the European Central Bank will cut interest rates to stimulate the economy next Thursday. First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM) climbed 65 cents to C$18.The gold sector was up about 0.7% while gold futures jumped for a second day, with the June bullion contract rising $38.30 to US$1,462 an ounce.The trend is partly due to bargain hunters looking for a deal after bullion plunged last week to US$1,361 an ounce, its lowest level in more than two years. It is now halfway back to levels it was before the price of gold began dropping in the second week of April.“(Gold) is in the recovery ward — now I don’t know how long that’s going to last,” said Ketchen.Alamos Gold (TSX:AGI) improved by 96 cents C$13.89.The energy sector was also positive, up 0.69% as positive jobless news helped send the June crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange up $2.21 to US$93.64 a barrel. Prices advanced more than $2 on Wednesday in the wake of data showing a much weaker than forecast rise in U.S. inventories last week.Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX:IMO) said its first-quarter net income was down 21% from a year ago, mainly because of a wider discount on the price of bitumen produced at its Cold Lake oilsands operation. The company’s profit fell by $217 million to $798 million, or 94 cents per share, down from $1.19 or about $1 billion a year earlier. Its shares were up 42 cents to $40.51.ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), which owns a majority stake in Imperial Oil, reported net income of US$9.5 billion in the quarter, or $2.12 per share, on revenue of $108.8 billion. Analysts expected Exxon to earn $2.05 per share, on average. Exxon shares were down $1.36 to $88.07.The tech sector grew by 2.68% as Open Text (TSX:OTC) charged ahead $7.17 or 12.42% to $64.91 as it announced plans Wednesday to start paying a quarterly dividend of 30 cents a share starting in June.At the same time, the company reported lower net profit of US$25.8 million in its third quarter compared with US$34.7 million in the same period last year.The consumer staples group was also positive. Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. (TSX:SC) earned $119.5 million or 59 cents per share on sales of $2.49 billion in its latest quarter compared with a profit of $118.8 million or 56 cents per share on sales of $2.39 billion a year ago. Same-store sales were up 2.5% for the quarter. Its shares gained 15 cents to $44.85.Elsewhere on the earnings front, Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (TSX:POT) is reporting an improved first-quarter profit, with $556 million or 63 cents per share of net income that beat analyst estimates. However the company’s guidance for the second quarter is estimated at 70 to 85 cents per share, which was below the consensus estimate of 89 cents per share. Its 2013 guidance remains unchanged at between $275 and $3.25 per share. Potash shares were up $1.08 at $41.72.In the U.S., net income for 3M (NYSE:MMM) was just slightly higher than a year ago at $1.13 billion, or $1.61 per share. Revenue rose two% to $7.63 billion. Revenue and profits were both short of analyst expectations. 3M, the maker of Scotch tape and construction and safety materials, is a good window into the broader economy. Its shares fell $3 to US$104.87.Traders, meanwhile, looked ahead to the major report of the week on Friday with the release of U.S. economic growth data for the first quarter. Economists expect U.S. gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of three% in the January-to-March period.The TSX Venture Exchange rose 12.97 points to 964.67.Here’s the news investors were watching today:BlackBerry shares fall on report Z10 production being scaled backThe biggest losers in gold price plunge? Central banksBritain dodges triple-dip recession, while Spain unemployment goes off the chartPotash Corp scraps takeover bid for Israel Chemicals; tops profit expectationsON DECK FRIDAY ECONOMIC NEWSCANADAOttawa’s fiscal monitor (Feb) UNITED STATES8:30 a.m.Real GDP (Q1): Economists expect a 3% rise annualized 9:55 a.m.University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (April): Economists expect a reading of 73.5, up from last month CORPORATE NEWSCANADAFirst Service Q1 earnings: Analysts expect 1¢ a share Annual general meeting Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd TransCanada Corp UNITED STATESChevron Q1 earnings: Analysts expect US$3.07 a share Tyco International Q2 earnings: Analysts expect 39¢ a share Weyerhaeuser Co Q1 earnings: Analysts expect 21¢ a share read more

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Bank of Montreal to grow US mergers and acquisition team with deal

TORONTO — Bank of Montreal says it expects to grow its U.S. mergers and acquisitions business through the purchase of a Minneapolis-based advisory firm, which will become part of BMO Capital Markets.The bank says it has a definitive agreement to acquire Green Holcomb Fisher, a boutique M&A advisory firm.BMO says the financial terms aren’t being made public. The deal requires regulatory approvals and is expected to close by the bank’s fiscal fourth quarter ending Oct. 31.Brookfield Asset Management raises $4 billion war chest for latest private-equity spinoffCanada’s banks still looking good as earnings season winds downCIBC, Scotia deepen relationship with Montreal fintech player Thinking CapitalBank of Montreal says Green Holcomb Fisher will complement its existing U.S. mergers and acquisitions practice and double the number of M&A transactions it handles in the United States.Besides its head office in Minneapolis, Green Holcomb Fisher has offices in Seattle and Atlanta. read more

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