A Decree Prohibiting Gender Mix in Beauty Salons in Fez Officially A Decree Prohibiting Gender Mix in Beauty Salons in Fez Officially

Casablanca – Morocco’s Interior Ministry issued a decree on Sunday overruling a previous one from the Mayor of Fez, Idriss Azami, which prohibited gender mix in beauty salons. The decision to overrule the mayor’s edict came in a decree issued on February 12. It followed a memo issued by Said Zniber, the Ouali of the city of Fez, to Idriss Azami on February 2, confirming that the state would oppose his decree.In Zniber’s memo, the Ministry of Interior “would oppose the collective decision, taken by the council of Fez, for standing against the provisions of the Constitutive Law of the Constituencies No. 113.14, in particular Article 100 thereof, which refers to the practice of President of the Council of the powers of the administrative police in the fields of protection of health, hygiene, and public tranquility, and traffic safety, by taking regulatory decisions, without discrimination between the genders.” read more

  • 0 Responses to “A Decree Prohibiting Gender Mix in Beauty Salons in Fez Officially

Moroccans of the World Award Celebrates Successes of Moroccan Diaspora Moroccans of the World Award Celebrates Successes of Moroccan Diaspora

Rabat – First Annual Moroccans of the World Awards kicked off on April 29 in Marrakech, showcasing the successful experiences of Moroccan immigrants who have managed to excel in their fields of expertise.Initiated by BM Magazine, the event aimed to shed light on Moroccans dispersed around the world and their achievements in several fields, namely sports, art and culture, scientific research, social and political life, and entrepreneurship, by granting award to five out of 15 selected Moroccan immigrantsThe event was presided by journalist and writer Maâti Kabbal, the cultural activities coordinator at the Institute of the Arab World (IMA). The jury included the former captain of the French rugby team, Abdellatif Benazzi, journalist and correspondent of the channel Al-Jazeera in Washington, Mohamed Alami, academic Mohamed Charef and the editor of BM Magazine, Amine Saad.The first award in the category “Art and culture” was won by French-Moroccan film director Kamal Hachkar. His first documentary, “Tinghir-Jerusalem: The Echoes of the Mellah”, has seen great success worldwide, dealing with the coexistence of Muslim and Jewish families in the Berber town of Tinghir, his natal town, during the French protectorate in Morocco.The controversy created by the documentary, which according to critics sought to normalize the relations between Israel and Morocco, has brought the issue of Morocco’s multiculturalism into public attention. The film received several awards, including Moroccan National Film Festival.The Trophy of the category “Company of the World” went to the Franco-Moroccan, Abdeslam Koulouh, engineer in arts and crafts.The entrepreneur created companies that operate in the fields of energy, maintenance, consulting and industry both in France and in Africa.The “Scientific Research Award” was given to Jamal Tazi, a researcher, professor of universities in Montpellier, and member of the University Institute of France from 2011 to 2015.He was chosen for his engagement in scientific research. The scientist has just developed a new drug to fight HIV and he is currently studying a mechanism in the control of gene expression.Rizlan Zouak, the first Moroccan judoka to represent the Kingdom at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, was given the “Sports Award”.The athlete who grew up in a family of wrestlers, is leading figure for female athletes in Morocco.“The Politics and Associative Life Award” the Trophy returned to Zakia Khattabi, a Belgian politician and president of the Belgian Green Party since 2014.The event also paid tribute to the Moroccan inventor Rachid Yazami, winner of the Draper Prize, the equivalent of Noble prize in the field of engineering.Yizmi expressed his pride of Moroccans living abroad , who have achieved success in overcoming the problems of integrating into their host countries.He explained that “Morocco is proud to have a community that participates in the development of the world.”He said that “everything can be achieved if we are armed with the will and the spirit of seriousness and action,” calling on young Moroccans to partake the world of research and innovation.Attended by several Moroccan figures living in and out of the country, the ceremony also included musical performances by Moroccan musicians and singers living abroad. read more

  • 0 Responses to “Moroccans of the World Award Celebrates Successes of Moroccan Diaspora

Moroccos National Economic Growth Reached 38 in Q1FY17 Moroccos National Economic Growth Reached 38 in Q1FY17

Rabat – Far from being exceptional, the growth of the national economy was fairly sustained in the first quarter of 2017. According to the High Commission for Planning (HCP), the recovery of the National Accounts showed an improvement in growth of 3.8 percent, compared to 1.6 percent over the same period in 2016.This growth is due in particular to the significant rebound in agricultural activity, which reached 14.2 percent by the end of March 2017 compared to the  10.9 percent decrease a year ago. After an acute decline of 9.1 percent in the first quarter of 2016, seasonally adjusted primary sector value added in volume increased by 12.1 percent over the same period in 2017, noted the HCP in its latest briefing note on the national economic situation in Q1FY17.At current prices, GDP grew by 4.1 percent. As a result, the increase in the general price level was 0.3 percent instead of 0.1 percent as seen the previous year. Nonetheless, the value added of non-agricultural activities marked a modest increase of 2.4 percent, the same rate as in the first quarter of 2016.The value added of the service sector grew by 3 percent in the first quarter of the current year, instead of 2.4 percent in the same quarter of 2016, noted the HCP. Almost all components of the sector were able to generate positive growth, with the most remarkable increase being observed in hotels and restaurants at 7.7 percent. By contrast, the value added of the secondary sector experienced a slowdown in its growth rate this year, falling from 2 percent in Q1FY16 to 1.7 percent.The HCP explain this slight decrease by the poor growth of the value added in the sector activities, and by a drop in electricity and water activities, as well as construction and public works. Exports of goods and services also fell, to 4.6 percent in the first quarter of 2017 from 6.3 percent in the previous year. Imports did grow, but this was at a considerably slower rate of 7 percent compared to 12.5 percent in 2016.As a consequence of  these results, the HCP explained that external trade in goods and services was continuing to make a negative contribution to growth at -1.4 points, but this is  less acute when compared to Q1FY16, when it settled at -3 points.Given that the increase in national final consumption by value was 4.2 percent, national savings amounted to 26.7 percent of GDP instead of 27.3 percent in the first quarter of 2016.In addition, and given the sharp increase in gross investment to 32.1 percent of GDP instead of 29.6 percent, the financing requirement of the national economy increased to 5.4 percent of GDP in the first quarter of 2017 instead of 2.3 percent a year ago. read more

  • 0 Responses to “Moroccos National Economic Growth Reached 38 in Q1FY17

In Ouarzazate Tourism is Strong Pillar for Economic Growth In Ouarzazate Tourism is Strong Pillar for Economic Growth

Rabat – As an essential source of job opportunities and inclusive development, tourism is a key economic activity in Morocco, Zoubir Bouhoute, Director of Local Tourism Office (CRT) in Ouarzazate told Morocco World News, on the sidelines of the International Symposium on Tourism held on Wednesday in Rabat.MWN chatted with Bouhoute about Morocco’s tourism strategy, the challenges facing the sector, the tourism potential in Ouarzazate, and the city’s readiness to host games of the 2026 World Cup.Speaking about the event, Bouhoute said that the symposium was organized to underscore the importance of the sector, emphasizing that tourism serves as a pillar of the national economy. Tourism, a Pillar of Morocco’s Economic Growth“The tourism sector plays an important role in promoting tourist-hub areas in Morocco, spreading the culture, values, and history of each region,” said the chief of Ouarzazate’s CRT.He emphasized that international tourists can also promote Morocco’s tourism sector, adding that those visitors are “ambassadors” who can positively encourage their friends and family to visit Morocco if provincial tourist offices “served them well.”According to Bouhoute, the sector served as a backup plan to fix trade imbalances that the country has been facing over the years. Tourism in Morocco provides MAD 70 billion annually, an income that contributes to creating a balance and avoiding trade deficit.He added that the country would be able to avoid all economic obstacles if it could further develop this sector, stressing the necessity of innovative digital governing solutions.Bouhoute noted that the tourism world has been witnessing an increasing shift towards digitalization: “Travelers now rely on the internet to book their flights and hotels. They are no longer relying on traditional procedures, like travel agencies.”Regarding challenges facing the sector, the tourism expert emphasizing that the country still has work to do in order to overcome these challenges. He said that the sector is connected to infrastructure, transport, and other economic activities. Therefore, the government needs to enhance efforts to provide the sector with the assets it needs to achieve more development.He added that government support is essential, adding that the cabinet needs to cooperate in the promotion process.“Despite the proximity between Morocco and Europe, there is a lack of air transport, linking between Morocco’s regions and European countries.” Bouhoute added that airline companies should also contribute to the promotion of tourism in Morocco by incentivizing travel offers.Looking forward, he believes Morocco’s provincial offices for tourism will need to devise creative and innovative strategies to attract more tourists, including further digitalization and advertising.Ouarzazate is Ready to Host 2026 World Cup GamesBouhoute noted that the country has all the necessary assets to host the massive tournament.  The tourism director the 2026 tournament would help in the development Ouarzazate, greatly increasing the number of tourists to the region.In reality, all regions of the country would benefit from important infrastructure projects, and the construction of these projects would create job opportunities throughout the country. Morocco must now up its efforts to increase its chances to host the tournament, according to Bouhoute.Speaking about the readiness of Ouarzazate, the CRT director said that the proposal to organize some of the  2026 World Cup games in Ouarzazate would have a positive impact.Though Bouhoute mentioned that the city could accommodate 3000 people in various hotels, he believes the city must expand its investments to properly mobilize for such a huge number of tourists. But these investments, too, would create more employment opportunities.Business Challenges in OuarzazateDespite its excellent diversity, the city has experienced difficulties attracting investors. In response the Ouarzazate tourism director said that his office is visualizing a digitalization strategy that would contribute to the development of the region.This could serve as an incentive to business travelers and investors. Hospitality, good governance and tourism management are also essential to the success of tourism sector, he added.Ouarzazate’s Faithful TouristsThe CPT director also shared some of Ouarzazate’s tourism statistics with MWN. Moroccan nationals are taking the lead in Ouarzazate’s tourism, followed by French tourists.In January, Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) reported that the French tourism indicated the highest growth, representing 11.95 percent of total arrivals in Ouarzazate.French visitors from January to November 2017 reached 29,195 tourists, up from 22,220 in 2016.Bouhoute added that the Spanish visitors follow the French, though the city of Ouarzazate has seen an increase in Chinese tourists in recent years, according to the CPT’s director, who added that the Chinese market recorded “spectacular performances in 2017, following the removal of visa requirements for Chinese tourists. read more

  • 0 Responses to “In Ouarzazate Tourism is Strong Pillar for Economic Growth

CAE Inc reports thirdquarter profit and revenue down from year ago CAE Inc reports thirdquarter profit and revenue down from year ago

Companies in this story: (TSX:CAE)The Canadian Press MONTREAL — CAE Inc. says its third-quarter profit fell compared with a year ago as revenue also edged lower.The flight simulator manufacturer and training company says it earned a profit of $77.6 million attributable to shareholders or 29 cents per share for the quarter.Analysts on average had expected a profit of 32 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.The result was down from $143.8 million attributable to shareholders or 53 cents per share a year earlier when the company benefited from US tax reform and a gain on the valuation of its investment in the Asian Aviation Centre of Excellence.Excluding the impact of the U.S. tax reform and the valuation gain, CAE would have earned $102.7 million or 38 cents per share a year ago.Revenue totalled $816.3 million, down from $828.2 million. read more

  • 0 Responses to “CAE Inc reports thirdquarter profit and revenue down from year ago

Spain Proposes Speedboat Ban to Curb Immigration Drug Trafficking Spain Proposes Speedboat Ban to Curb Immigration Drug Trafficking

Rabat- The Spanish government has proposed banning the speedboats that trafficking networks use to transport migrants and drugs from North Africa to Spain.The government proposed the ban of “go fast” and inflatable boats at a meeting on Friday in the Spanish Council of Ministers.The Spanish police have identified the go fast boat as one used by traffickers of cannabis or hash and by migrants across the Strait of Gibraltar to Spain from North African countries including Morocco. The decree will soon pass through the Spanish Parliament for its approval, reported Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).Morocco and the EU are cooperating to curb the flow of irregular migrants to Europe.Mustapha El Khalfi, Morocco’s government spokesperson, said that in 2017 Moroccan authorities stopped more than 65,000 irregular migrants from crossing to Europe.More than 1,500 migrants have died in the Mediterranean in 2018 while trying to reach Europe, according to UNHCR.On the drugs side, cannabis resin is one of the most exported drugs from Morocco and has continuously been the subject of seizures in recent years. The demand for the drug in Europe is high due to its powerful and high-yield hybrid varieties.Morocco is the largest supplier of cannabis resin to Europe, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). In 2014, 302 tons and 85 percent of all cannabis resin seizures in Spain were linked to Morocco.According to the UNODC World Drug Report of 2017, Morocco has the third highest cannabis resin seizures of countries worldwide. The country comes behind Spain and Pakistan.Meanwhile, earlier in October, Spain dismantled a drug trafficking network trying to smuggle cannabis and advanced weapons into Morocco via speedboats.Spanish authorities stopped the boats carrying black market arms worth about MAD 8.23 million, ten minutes after their departure, reported Moroccan newspaper, Al Massae.Members of the dismantled network in Cadiz, a city in southwest Spain, confessed that in addition to smuggling machine guns and pistols, they had planned to traffick cannabis to Morocco. read more

  • 0 Responses to “Spain Proposes Speedboat Ban to Curb Immigration Drug Trafficking

Morocco to Push Exports at Paris Rencontre Africa 2018 Morocco to Push Exports at Paris Rencontre Africa 2018

Rabat – Morocco will have a chance to push its exports at “Rencontres Africa” in Paris, convening decision-makers from Africa and Europe.The third Rencontres Africa (Africa Meetings) will be held September 24-25.The business delegation, led by the Moroccan Association of Exporters (ASMEX), will also include representatives of the Moroccan Investment and Export Development Agency (AMDIE), the French Chamber of Commerce, and  Moroccan industries, as well as some 20 exporters in order to explore opportunities for growth of Morocco’s exports. Several sectors, including agriculture, fisheries, health, and construction will be represented at the event, which allows exporters to meet 800 African decision-makers as well as 1,500 French and European leaders.Morocco’s foreign trade actors will actively participate to promote the continuity of South-South and South-North orientations initiated by the kingdom.“Rencontres Africa is one of the strategic meetings for the association, which has been working since 1982 to promote the national export offer,” said ASMEX President Hassan Sentissi El Idrissi.This year’s program includes conferences and B2B meetings with intra-participant meetings. The meetings are arranged directly via a matching platform. The event will also include pavilions from the nine African countries represented, including Morocco. read more

  • 0 Responses to “Morocco to Push Exports at Paris Rencontre Africa 2018

Ontarios finance minister criticizes federal spending and carbon pricing plan Ontarios finance minister criticizes federal spending and carbon pricing plan

TORONTO — Ontario’s finance minister slammed the 2019 federal budget Tuesday, saying it shows the Liberal government is willing to run “endless” deficits as it heads to polls this fall.Vic Fedeli ramped up his rhetoric about the federal spending package unveiled in Ottawa, calling it a disappointing document that does not address the needs of the province.His comments are just the latest in a string of clashes between the provincial Progressive Conservatives and federal Liberals before the fall vote.“This certainly was an election budget … with endless deficits,” he said. “We’re not really sure any of what they’ve promised will ever be realized. Of course, that is very, very disappointing.”Fedeli said the budget doesn’t adequately address a wide array of issues important to the province, including U.S. steel and aluminium tariffs, provincial transfer payments and the national cannabis supply shortage.“Our government outlined the top priorities of Ontario families and businesses in a letter to federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau a few weeks ago and we have seen insufficient action,” he said.Fedeli also took aim at the federal government’s carbon pricing plan, saying it will undermine the Canada Training Benefit announced in the budget to help workers upgrade their skills.“The very workers that will be training in those programs will have fewer jobs to find in Ontario because of the carbon tax,” he said.Fedeli is set to table his first budget on April 11 and has indicated the document will outline a path to balance Ontario’s books.The Tories have said Ontario inherited a deficit from the previous Liberal government that now sits at $13.5 billion.“We look at the devastation that was caused by the provincial Liberals and we’re seeing a mirror image with the federal Liberals,” Fedeli said. “I know when (federal Conservative Leader) Andrew Scheer wins the fall election, they will inherit the same difficult issues we have inherited here in Ontario.”The federal government didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.NDP finance critic Sandy Shaw said while she also has concerns about the federal budget, Fedeli’s attacks on the federal Liberals are not helpful.“Rather than offer his own solutions, he spent time really positioning against the federal government,” she said. “This on-going bickering between the province and the feds is not serving the people of Ontario.”Liberal finance critic Mitzie Hunter said the federal budget — and its spending commitments on health care and job training — strike a distinct contrast with the provincial government, which he said has spent months making cuts.“Ford might think he can be Ontario’s bully for the next three years, but at least there’s a federal government Ottawa that has your back,” she said.Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press read more

  • 0 Responses to “Ontarios finance minister criticizes federal spending and carbon pricing plan

Tech firm VMware faces DACA discrimination lawsuit Tech firm VMware faces DACA discrimination lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO — A participant in the federal program shielding young immigrants from deportation is suing a Silicon Valley company, saying she was denied a job she was qualified for despite being authorized to work in the U.S.The Mexican American Legal Defence and Education Fund sued VMware in federal court in California on Tuesday, saying the software company violated the Civil Rights Act when it denied Sandy Vasquez a job.VMware, according to the lawsuit, refuses to hire people authorized to work in the U.S. unless they are citizens, permanent residents or have a “transferrable visa” such as a visa given to highly skilled workers. Vasquez and others enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program do not fall into these categories.Palo Alto, California-based VMware had no immediate comment.The Associated Press read more

  • 0 Responses to “Tech firm VMware faces DACA discrimination lawsuit

Something for the Sweet Tooth Moroccan Meskouta Something for the Sweet Tooth Moroccan Meskouta

By Layla DahamouRabat – Internationally, Moroccan cuisine is known for tagines and couscous, as well as a variety of other savory treats, however, Moroccans have a notoriously sweet tooth. To accompany our delicious, refreshing mint tea we prepare a variety of sweet snacks, including Meskouta, or yogurt cake.While we do prepare elaborate and elegant cakes and desserts for special events, Meskouta is a staple in the Moroccan home. Every family prepares it in a slightly different way – some preferring to replace the yogurt with milk or even orange juice – today, I’ll let you into my family secret.  It’s a simple recipe, and all you’ll need for measurements is a cup of yogurt. My personal favorite, this is an easy cake to make and once you know the basics you can start adding your own touches. Let’s start with the ingredients: 4 eggs.1 cup of yogurt, vanilla, or banana flavor. (110 grams).1 ½ cup of sugar1 cup of oil3 cups flour16 grams baking powder (2 packets) 8 grams vanilla sugar (1 packet) or half teaspoon vanilla extractNow you’ve got all of your ingredients ready:Preheat the oven, grease, and flour a tube pan or a round cake tin.In a large bowl beat the eggs with an electric mixer, add sugar, oil, vanilla, and yogurt and beat well until thick.Add flour and baking powder and beat with hand beater until the batter is smooth and thick. (you may add more flour).Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake the cake on very medium heat for 45 minutes or less. (don’t open the oven before half an hour).When the cake is ready, let it cool before removing it to a plate. You can put some jam on the surface of the cake and sprinkle almond flakes or, as my family does, some ground coconut as a garnish.When the cake is cool, make a pot of thirst-quenching tea, sit back, and enjoy. read more

  • 0 Responses to “Something for the Sweet Tooth Moroccan Meskouta

Trump delays imposing auto tariffs on auto imports and parts Trump delays imposing auto tariffs on auto imports and parts

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is delaying any decision to impose auto tariffs on car and auto part imports, deciding against ratcheting up trade disputes or impacting talks with European nations and Japan.Trump announced his decision to delay for up to six months in a proclamation issued by the White House on Friday.He was required to make a decision on Commerce Department recommendations aimed to protect the U.S. auto industry, based on national security concerns.Trump directed his trade team to pursue negotiations and address the impact that imports are having on the U.S. auto industry and its ability to invest in new research and development that he says is critical to the nation’s security.Trump says he’ll decide whether to take further action in 180 days.The Associated Press read more

  • 0 Responses to “Trump delays imposing auto tariffs on auto imports and parts

UNbacked civil society forum urges action on Middle East peace UNbacked civil society forum urges action on Middle East peace

Sounding a strong collective call to action, a broad cross-section of civil society gathered in Pretoria for a United Nations-backed Public Forum in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace stressed the urgent need to press for the immediate resumption of the political dialogue between the two sides, and for renewed efforts to keep talks focused on ending the occupation and alleviating the suffering of the Palestinian people.The day-long Forum, convened by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, featured academics, activists, writers, former-government negotiators and civil society experts on the situation in the Middle East. Opening the Forum, which was held at the University of Pretoria, Committee Chairman Paul Badji said that a resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would be impossible without informing and mobilizing public opinion, and civil society organizations, including the media, were at the forefront of that effort.Their non-violent actions, bringing together Palestinian, Israeli and international activists, “is the best example of fighting for peace by peaceful means,” he said, urging civil society actors to intensify efforts, in their respective fields, to alleviate hardships of Palestinians, mobilize national and global public opinion and engage their respective national decision-makers to support efforts aimed at a peaceful solution of the conflict. The Forum followed the UN African Meeting on the Question of Palestine, which had devoted a large portion of its work to finding new and creative ways to mobilize civil society – in Africa and beyond – to generate greater awareness of the Palestinian struggle.That meeting “wholeheartedly welcomed” the increased international efforts to achieve a viable peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, seeing in those efforts the world community’s renewed determination to bring a close to the decades-old conflict.Participants were encouraged by recent positive political developments on the ground, chiefly the formation of the new Palestinian National Unity Government, the regular meetings that had begun to take place between President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the revival of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative and the League of Arab States’ decision to establish working groups tasked with engaging international partners in that regard and efforts by the diplomatic Quartet to broaden the scope of its work by engaging regional actors.At the same time, the participants, who included UN and other diplomats, world renowned experts on the situation in the Middle East, parliamentarians and members of the academic community and civil society, expressed “great concern” at the deepening economic and humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Those hardships, in their view, were a direct consequence of the continuing occupation, further compounded by the withholding of direct donor assistance to the Palestinian Authority. 11 May 2007Sounding a strong collective call to action, a broad cross-section of civil society gathered in Pretoria for a United Nations-backed Public Forum in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace stressed the urgent need to press for the immediate resumption of the political dialogue between the two sides, and for renewed efforts to keep talks focused on ending the occupation and alleviating the suffering of the Palestinian people. read more

  • 0 Responses to “UNbacked civil society forum urges action on Middle East peace

UN fund provides 60 million for humanitarian efforts in DR Congo UN fund provides 60 million for humanitarian efforts in DR Congo

The financial aid will be used to support the humanitarian work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and UN agencies in the country. Some $55 million will go toward interventions across DRC, while $5 million will be held in reserve to provide a rapid response in case of humanitarian emergencies. The Pooled Fund is aimed at improving health and education, food security, water and sanitation, nutrition and protection for the vast African nation’s population. Last month, the UN mission in DRC (MONUC) reported that a large proportion of the country, which is as big as Western Europe, remains at peace, but that enormous challenges remain, such as human rights violations, high infant and maternal mortality, and what was described as an “epidemic” of sexual violence. So far $205 million from the Pooled Fund has supported more than 400 projects in the country, reaching 20 million of the most vulnerable people. This year’s donors to the Pooled Fund are the United Kingdom, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden. 7 May 2008The “Pooled Fund” which was established by the international community in 2006 and is coordinated by the United Nations has allocated $60 million to 163 humanitarian projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). read more

  • 0 Responses to “UN fund provides 60 million for humanitarian efforts in DR Congo

Assisted by UN agency displaced Kenyans assess conditions for returning home Assisted by UN agency displaced Kenyans assess conditions for returning home

6 May 2008Some of the Kenyans displaced in the post-electoral violence that erupted in the East African country several months ago today embarked on a visit, with the help of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to assess the situation in their home villages and the possibilities for return. The “go-and-see” visit for representatives of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nakuru, organized by UNHCR, comes a day after the Government launched a resettlement programme – known as “Operation Rudi Nyumbani” (Operation Return Home) – for those displaced in the violence, sparked by contested presidential elections in late December. The crisis resulted in the displacement of an estimated 350,000 people – 90 per cent of them in the Rift Valley – and the deaths of some 1,200 people. During their daylong visit to their villages in Uasin Gishu and Koibatek districts in the Rift Valley, the IDPs will assess the security situation, infrastructure and livelihood possibilities. “They are expected on return to share their impressions about the visit with other IDPs,” UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told journalists in Geneva today. “It’s all part of our efforts to provide the IDPs with objective information about conditions in their villages so they can make an informed decision about return.” The IDPs will meet local authorities and representatives of other communities in the area as part of the reconciliation process, as well as inspect their homes. Ms. Pagonis noted that in many cases, houses have been burned to the ground while others have been vandalised, and roofing material have been stolen. In many locations in the Rift Valley, people have started to move back closer to their villages. Many displaced farmers have shown an interest in returning, especially with the onset of the planting season, but only if their safety can be ensured. UNHCR plans to organize more “go-and-see” visits to help IDPs decide about their return. Meanwhile, in Uganda, UNHCR has begun the transfer of some 1,800 Kenyan refugees from a transit site near the Kenya-Uganda border to Kiryandongo – a long-established Ugandan refugee settlement. The first set of 460 refugees arrived in Kiryandongo last evening. On Friday the agency is planning to repatriate another 200 Kenyan refugees who wish to return to their homes, mainly in the districts neighbouring Uganda. read more

  • 0 Responses to “Assisted by UN agency displaced Kenyans assess conditions for returning home

Blue helmets should be deployed in Somalia General Assembly told Blue helmets should be deployed in Somalia General Assembly told

Addressing the high-level segment of the General Assembly, Ali Ahmad Jama Jengeli said the deployment of a force of UN blue helmets would also help “create a secure environment for institution-building and socio-economic development.”The UN-backed African Union Mission to Somalia, known as AMISOM, is currently trying to stabilize Somalia, which has been wracked by protracted war and humanitarian suffering since its last functioning national government was toppled in 1991.But a peace accord between the TFG and the rebel Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS), signed last month in neighbouring Djibouti, calls on the UN to replace AMISOM with its own peacekeeping force, and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has begun contingency planning for such an operation.“We are now in the process of implementation [of the Djibouti Agreement] – hopefully without undue delays,” Mr. Jengeli told the Assembly. “But we are also mindful, after 18 years of conflict, that delays occur… [because] of the tactics of those who have developed vested interests in anarchy and chaos.“It is also important that the leadership, both on the Government side and on the opposition, show resolve and leadership in order for this process to succeed, and succeed it must.”He also called on the international community to take “resolute action” against piracy in the waters off Somalia, which has become a massive problem in recent years. Many ships trying to deliver humanitarian relief supplies have been hijacked or robbed before they can reach their destinations.“These criminal acts of piracy are unacceptable and should be put to an end,” he said, adding that the French Government deserves credit for its support of Somalia on this issue.Mr. Jengeli’s address to the General Debate took place amid mounting concern from UN aid agencies after at least 15,000 residents of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, fled their homes this week because of deadly fighting in the city between the rebels, Government forces and the allied Ethiopian military force. 26 September 2008Somalia urgently needs a fully-fledged United Nations peacekeeping force to restore peace and stability in the war-torn country, the Foreign Minister of its Transitional Federal Government (TFG) told the General Assembly tonight. read more

  • 0 Responses to “Blue helmets should be deployed in Somalia General Assembly told

Delays in Côte dIvoires polls could threaten peace warns top UN envoy Delays in Côte dIvoires polls could threaten peace warns top UN envoy

27 October 2008Increasing delays in the dual identification and electoral processes is imperilling the hard-won peace in Côte d’Ivoire, which is rebuilding after a brutal 14-year civil war, the top United Nations envoy to the West African nation cautioned today. Nearly six weeks have passed since the launch of the identification and voter registration drive, which was slated to wrap up at the end of this month, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Y. J. Choi told the Security Council in an open meeting.“Unfortunately, the pace of progress has been painfully slow,” he said. The pace will soon be accelerated, but “the magnitude of delay has taken almost everybody by surprise.”The elections process has become inseparable from the identification efforts, which are being held up due to both “bureaucratic red tape” and logistical complexity, with many players involved, Mr. Choi pointed out.“These two crucial and historic events are concomitantly unfolding in the country; 11 million people are expected to be identified with a very sophisticated identification mechanism and 9 million are expected to register as voters.”Although the delays are “preoccupying,” the Representative stressed the importance of not losing sight of the crucial progress that has been made thus far to consolidate stability.“Peace has been sufficiently restored so as to allow people to travel freely across the country,” he said, while all sides continue to be committed to the twin identification and electoral processes.Funding for them has already been secured, with the Government footing most of the $200 million bill, the envoy told the Council.During a recent visit to the country in what he described as a “heart-warming experience,” he said he stopped at several identification sites and met with people who had been lining up for hours to take part.The delays will “remain manageable as long as the momentum is kept alive,” since they are not due, for the first time, to political reasons, Mr. Choi noted.“The window of opportunity remains open. The question of ‘Ivorité’ has been at the heart of the troubled Ivorian politics for the last two decades will be resolved once and for all,” he said, adding that the country’s electoral process is now “irreversible.”The Representative called for the international community to boost its assistance to the country, and said that the UN peacekeeping operation in the country (known as UNOCI), which he heads, will continue to monitor civil disorder in the run-up to the completion of the identification process and the election results are announced.Today’s open meeting was followed by consultations on Côte d’Ivoire and on the work of the sanctions committee dealing with the country.Last week, a group of UN experts wrote in a report that weak political stability and security situation are at risk in Côte d’Ivoire.The publication by the Côte d’Ivoire Group of Experts warned the Council that security threats persist in the West African country because programmes to disarm combatants and dismantle militia remain largely incomplete.The Ouagadougou Agreement – signed in neighbouring Burkina Faso 18 months ago between the Government, which controlled the south, and the rebel Forces Nouvelles, which held the north – called for a number of measures to resolve the crisis that first divided the country in 2002. read more

  • 0 Responses to “Delays in Côte dIvoires polls could threaten peace warns top UN envoy

Climate change tops the agenda of Bans visit to United Kingdom and Climate change tops the agenda of Bans visit to United Kingdom and

27 October 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will travel next week to the United Kingdom and Greece to spotlight the issue of climate change, just weeks before countries will gather in Copenhagen to try to reach agreement on a wide-ranging pact to cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of global warming. Mr. Ban will deliver a keynote address next Tuesday at Windsor Castle, just outside London, to a gathering of religious leaders on the role that faiths can play in tackling the problems caused by climate change.The gathering, hosted by Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, will hear from the religious leaders on their long-term plans to deal with climate change, according to information released by the United Nations today.Mr. Ban has called climate change “the defining issue of our era” and stressed the need for a successful outcome at the summit to be held in December in the Danish capital.While in London Mr. Ban will also meet UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and attend an event at the headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to honour people who have taken part in efforts to suppress piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.The Secretary-General will then travel to Greece to help open the third Global Forum on Migration and Development, which is taking place in the capital, Athens.He will also address a special session of the Greek Parliament and meet with senior Government officials, including Prime Minister George Papandreou and President Karolos Papoulias. read more

  • 0 Responses to “Climate change tops the agenda of Bans visit to United Kingdom and

UN study emphasises economic growth as a poverty reduction strategy UN study emphasises economic growth as a poverty reduction strategy

Current poverty reduction approaches that separate poverty from the broader process of economic growth and development are unlikely to succeed and could leave about 1 billion people destitute by 2015, according to a new United Nations report released today.The report by the UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) explores the causes, dynamics and persistence of poverty, as well as what works and what does not in international policy and practice.The study, released as governments and international institutions focus on cutting poverty in half to meet the target in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, reveals the multiple and complex processes involved in sustainable poverty reduction and lays out a range of policies and institutional measures that countries can adopt to succeed.The eight MDGs provide concrete benchmarks for tackling extreme poverty. They include goals and targets on income poverty, hunger, maternal and child mortality, disease, inadequate shelter, gender inequality and environmental degradation.The UNRISD report argues that while simple prescriptions may attract government support and funding from donors, they are unlikely to create conditions in which poor people can lift themselves out of poverty.According to the report, evidence has shown that poverty is reduced when economic and social policies, institutions and political arrangements are mutually supportive. The pursuit of policies in one social development domain while neglecting others is likely to undermine efforts to combat poverty and inequality.Yusuf Bangura, UNRISD Research Coordinator and lead author of the report, attributed failure to the tendency to neglect the root causes of poverty.“Current approaches to poverty tend to focus on things poor people lack rather than why they lack them. But when a large proportion of a country’s population is poor, it doesn’t make sense to detach poverty from the dynamics of economic growth and development,” Mr. Bangura said.“For example, in many countries income and wealth inequality have increased and inequalities based on gender and ethnicity persist. High levels of inequality are often found in the poorest countries, which means that poverty and inequality must be considered as part of the same problem.“But apart from a commitment to eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education, current approaches to poverty reduction virtually ignore inequality. They shy away from confronting inequality head on — through redistributive policies, for example,” he added.The report draws lessons from countries that have successfully and sustainably improved the well-being of the majority of their populations. In those cases, economic, social and political transformations — not poverty reduction per se — were central public policy objectives.According to the report, the following elements are crucial to sustainable and inclusive development: Economic transformation, involving not only growth but also changes in the structure of the agricultural, industrial and service sectors that generate and sustain jobs that are adequately remunerated and accessible to all, regardless of income or class status, gender, ethnicity or location. Social transformation, accomplished through comprehensive social protection and services that are grounded in universal rights and supportive of social cohesion and democratic politics. Political transformation, including the protection of civic rights, activism and political arrangements that ensure states are responsive to citizens’ needs and that the poor have influence in how policies are made.The report argues that reducing poverty takes more than having employment-centred growth strategies, or pursuing universal social policies, or getting the politics correct. To deliver maximum impact all three must work together, the report stresses.In calls upon governments and international institutions to recognize how institutions and policies are linked across economic, social and political spheres, and act on the knowledge when designing and implementing poverty reduction strategies.The report is the result of global research involving 130 scholars and drawing on in-depth case studies, country overviews, thematic background papers, UNRISD work on social policy, as wells as gender, governance and corporate social responsibility. 3 September 2010Current poverty reduction approaches that separate poverty from the broader process of economic growth and development are unlikely to succeed and could leave about 1 billion people destitute by 2015, according to a new United Nations report released today. read more

  • 0 Responses to “UN study emphasises economic growth as a poverty reduction strategy

Progress on DR Congos path to stability but shortfalls hamper efforts – Progress on DR Congos path to stability but shortfalls hamper efforts –

From combating rape used as a weapon of war by both rebels and national army soldiers, to the reintegration of former rebels and speedy responses to violence, much greater efforts are needed, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for the DRC, Roger Meece, told the Security Council, while citing improved cooperation with the DRC government. He highlighted shortfalls in financing and equipment, ranging from an insufficient number of military helicopters to ensure security to a lack of funding for judicial reform and the holding of elections. “I encourage all donors and partners to increase their own activities in these areas,” he said in later comments to reporters.“The protection of civilians clearly remains our major priority and focus, driven by operations of predatory foreign and domestic armed groups in the eastern portion of the country,” the Special Representative said in his briefing to the Council. Citing last month’s rape of up to 80 people by the rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), he added, “These groups continue to act as predatory forces, often incorporating the use of rape and other violence as a weapon against civilians.” Mr. Meece also noted “too many reported case of abuses” by the national army and police, including 35 people raped over the New Year’s holiday, but praised the rapid intervention of government authorities and the arrest of seven soldiers and four officers. “Such action is a welcome step toward ending the impunity felt by too many for too long,” he said.There are, however, still significant weaknesses in the military and civilian justice systems, and the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) – the peacekeeping mission which Mr. Meece heads – has worked to bolster military prosecution capabilities with support from Canada and the UN Peacebuilding Fund, “but much greater efforts are needed,” Mr. Meece stressed. The Fund, which was set up in 2006 and relies upon voluntary contributions, supports efforts to augment peace and stability in countries emerging from conflict.Since 1999 and under various names, the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC – with currently more than 19,000 uniformed personnel on the ground – has overseen the vast country’s emergence from years of civil war and factional chaos, culminating most notably in 2006 with the first democratic elections in over four decades. But fighting has continued in the east where the bulk of UN forces are deployed.Reintegration programmes for former armed rebels pose a problem, since those integrated without sufficient training tend to be associated with reported abuses, Mr. Meece noted. Last September, MONUSCO started a long-term training programme for those integrated into the police, with financial support from Japan, but again “much more is needed,” he added.The FDLR remains the major rebel force in eastern DRC, but Mr. Meece reported some hopeful signs in countering it, including the “demoralizing” impact of European action against its political leadership which has resulted in internal strains and operational problems.“It is certainly premature to assert that the FDLR is collapsing but the group’s capacity is diminishing and is under strain,” he said. “In fact, for the first time in my experience in the region, I believe the outline can be seen of an eventual resolution of this long-standing threat to the population. We are not at the point of success, but there is clear progress.”Citing the developing collaboration between MONUSCO and government forces, which has reduced the operational capacity of the armed groups, Mr. Meece noted that, while not free of problems, “this more active military posture is a necessary component to achieve conditions of long-term security,” but he warned that a shortage of military helicopters significantly constrained operations.“We are still facing serious shortfalls that are projected to increase absent new timely contributions,” he said, stressing that India’s extension of the use of its existing combat helicopters until July only provided “breathing room.” Among measures taken to increase the protection of civilians, he cited the establishment of community alert networks, the use of cell phones with pre-set contact numbers and high frequency radios. In a press statement following Mr. Meece’s briefing, the Council “voiced deep concern about MONUSCO’s chronic shortage of military helicopters and urged member states to urgently contribute military helicopters to fill this critical capability gap.” The statement strongly condemned the rapes, welcomed the government’s swift response and called for the speedy prosecution of the perpetrators.The Council also expressed concern at the limited progress made in security and judicial sector reform, “in particular the training and reform of the national army and police, which remains a crucial element for stabilization and peace consolidation.”Turning to this year’s national elections – “a critical component of Congo’s long-term stabilization” – Mr. Meece cited the mission’s logistical support and concerns over funding.“I must note my concern, however about MONUSCO budget levels, as it is not yet clear we will have the needed funds in the 2011/2012 budget cycle to ensure the necessary logistical support we are uniquely positioned to provide,” he warned. “If we face MONUSCO budget shortfalls, we will be obliged to utilize funds from other parts of the mission’s budget, potentially with quite significant negative impact on other operations.”But despite the challenges ahead, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative concluded his remarks to the Council on a hopeful note. “I remain optimistic that with sustained engagement and support we are on a path toward achieving the kind of security and stable conditions which the people of the Congo and region richly deserve,” he said. 7 February 2011United Nations peacekeepers are making “important headway” on the difficult road towards bringing stability to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but shortfalls in funds and military equipment are constraining their efforts, a top official said today. read more

  • 0 Responses to “Progress on DR Congos path to stability but shortfalls hamper efforts –

Apples Canada map riddled with errors Ottawa and Toronto mixed up Quebec Apples Canada map riddled with errors Ottawa and Toronto mixed up Quebec

TORONTO — Apple seems to be a little confused when it comes to Canadian geography.Consumers who hit Apple.ca to pre-order one of the company’s new iPhones and clicked on a link about delivery timelines saw an error-riddled map of Canada.Apple appeared to have mixed up the nation’s capital and Ontario’s capital, and placed Ottawa roughly where Toronto should be on the map.Edmonton is also seen to be northwest of Calgary, instead of northeast.Quebec City is mistakenly labelled as Quebec.And St. John’s, N.L. is missing its apostrophe.A comment from Apple was not immediately available.Apple’s map of Canada. Think they need to look at an actual map. http://t.co/8fi9JwN2UN— Marc S (@asmiroth) September 12, 2014Uh oh! #Apple might know phones, but it doesn’t know #Canada. Look at Ottawa and Toronto! http://t.co/ydTkMI68JX http://t.co/Sy6Ha02YRB— Lost Waldo (@LostWaldoTravel) September 12, 2014This isn’t the first time consumers have taken issue with Apple and its geography. When the company introduced Apple Maps in September 2012 with the launch of iOS 6 and iPhone 5 to replace Google Inc.’s mapping data, users complained of misplaced towns and landmarks, and unreliable route directions.In September 2013,  a glitch in the Apple Maps app on newer iPhones and iPads guided people up to a runway at a major Alaska airport instead of sending them on the proper route to the terminal. While the map stopped at the tarmac, wayward drivers continued across an active runway in two separate incidents.With files from Financial Post staff, The Associated Press read more

  • 0 Responses to “Apples Canada map riddled with errors Ottawa and Toronto mixed up Quebec