Cong demands probe into suspicious black box in Modis helicopter

first_imgNew Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday demanded an investigation into the transportation of a “suspicious black box” in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s helicopter during poll campaign in Karnataka’s Chitradurga. A Congress delegation met the Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and submitted five memorandums on various issues including hate speeches by BJP president Amit Shah and its Himachal Pradesh chief Satpal Singh Satti during campaigning for Lok Sabha elections. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The Congress delegation was led by party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi and also included AICC secretary Pranav Jha. “We have raised five main issues before the Election Commission and it has assured us of action. The EC has said that it has already initiated action on some issues raised by us and will take further action on the other issues,” Singhvi told reporters after the meeting. He said a level-playing field must be maintained during elections. “It is strange that the prime minister, holding such a high post, carries a black box in his own helicopter…,” Singhvi said. “There should be a thorough investigation into this. We have not got any satisfactory reply on this issue. It is strange that the ruling party is doing such an illegal thing while hiding behind the prime minister,” he added. The Congress also sought action against Modi and Shah for allegedly making hate and divisive speeches in Nanded and Latur respectively on April 12. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K”Now that the EC has initiated action and a precedent has been set, then why has action not been initiated against the Prime Minister and Amit Shah as the speeches made by them are in violation of the model code?” he asked. The Congress also demanded strict action against Satti for allegedly using expletives and making “obscene remarks” against party president Rahul Gandhi. Speaking about Satti, Singhvi said, “What is worrisome is that instead of apologising, this person has said that he will not apologise and claims his statement is right as Rahul Gandhi opposes the prime minister.”last_img read more

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Dangerous to let viable cos close down says IBBI chief

first_imgNew Delhi: Committees of Creditors (CoCs) should provide all relevant information and share their vision for companies under the insolvency process, a senior official said Saturday as he asserted that it will be dangerous to let viable firms to close down. Amid rising number of stressed assets being referred for resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), IBBI chief M S Sahoo said the law also gives opportunities to rectify the mistakes during the insolvency process. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: IcraThe objective of the law is to rescue viable companies and close down unviable ones, he said. “If due to incompetence (of market participants) the reverse happens, then it is dangerous,” Sahoo said here. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) Chairperson also noted that CoCs must provide all relevant information to resolution applicants so that they find interest in the companies. “Commercial decisions are not black and white. There is no mathematical formula to say that a company is unviable and another is viable. It depends on so much considerations and it depends on who is looking at it,” he noted. Also Read – Ashok Leyland stock tanks over 5 pc as co plans to suspend production for up to 15 daysSpeaking at an event, National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) Chairperson Justice S J Mukhopadhaya said that financial creditors should not play foul while going through the viability and commercial aspects of a resolution plan. Citing examples, he indicated that operational creditors should also be getting money and not just the financial creditors in a resolution process. Responding to a query on whether operational creditors are not getting their dues, Sahoo cited data till December 2018 to say that both operational and financial creditors “on average, got about 48 per cent each of their claims”. About haircuts taken by creditors, he wondered what can be done if the resolution process started very late. “Today about 370-380 companies have been ordered into liquidation. Most of them, 80 per cent, were in BIFR (Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction) or defunct companies. So when there is nothing to really recover, when the liquidation value almost zero, you will have to take haircut,” he noted. According to him, it also needs to be seen how much one gets in comparison to his claim and in comparison to the liquidation value. “Up to March data, creditors have got about 195 per cent of the liquidation value. That means companies have been rescued and thereafter creditors have got 195 per cent of the liquidation value. Anything above liquidation value is bonus and that has come because of the IBC,” he said. National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) President and Chief Justice (Rtd) M M Kumar said that 32 more members would be joining the tribunal, which would help in stabilising the system. At present, it has 25 members. Despite the adjudicating authority functioning with a very poor infrastructure, the average timeline for resolution of cases is around 300 days, Kumar said. Under the IBC, the timeline for resolution of a case is a maximum of 270 days. Kumar also said the institution of resolution professionals needs to be strengthened and such professionals must be more equipped and full of knowledge. They were speaking on the sidelines of a conference organised by industry body Assocham. The IBC provides for market-driven and time-bound resolution of stressed assets.last_img read more

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We were prepared no major damage due to Fani Mamata

first_imgKolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who stayed back at Kharagpur and monitored the situation said on Saturday morning that preventive measures taken by the state administration have ensured that there was not much damage due to cyclone Fani. There was no report of any casualty or major injury across the state.”We took all possible precautionary measures as soon as there was forecast of the cyclonic storm. I was worried for the last one week. We have been constantly monitoring the situation,” Banerjee said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange frameworkAssuring all possible assistance to those who have lost their houses due to the cyclone, she added that 42,000 people have been evacuated by the administration. “They will return to their homes in one or two days,” she added. Banerjee said that over 800 houses have been partially affected with a number of electric poles being uprooted, trees have fallen and roads have been affected. “12 kachcha houses collapsed. All restoration work will be taken care of. We have already removed the trees and roads have been cleared in most of the areas,” she assured. Also Read – Trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for work on cells, oxygenThe Chief Minister further maintained that restoration work is complete in Digha, Mandarmani, Diamond Harbour and going on in full swing in other areas. “Electricity has been restored in most places. In the next two days, situation will be normal,” she asserted. A senior official of the Regional Meteorological Centre, Alipore, said that Fani that was in Ranaghat in Nadia district at around 9 am in the morning that moved further north-northeastwards and entered Bangladesh around noon as a deep depression developed with wind speed of 50-60 kmph, gusting to 70 kmph. Deputy Director General of Alipore weather office Sanjib Bandyopadhyay admitted that though the department had predicted the right path for cyclone Fani during its entry in Bengal, it was not fully correct while predicting its wind speed.last_img read more

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Demonetisation devastated Delhi people Mahabal Mishra

first_imgNEW DELHI: With election round the corner, the Congress candidates in Delhi started a full-fledged campaign in the city. On Sunday, Chandni Chowk candidate of Congress JP Agarwal said that people of Delhi should get the benefit of NYAY. On the other hand Mahabal Mishra, the candidate from West Delhi, said that demonetisation devastated the people of Delhi. “The people of Delhi have been miserably disturbed by the exploitation by BJP and AAP government in the past years,” said Agarwal.Mahabal Mishra said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoiled the country’s economic condition by imposing demonetization in the country and this was the biggest scam in the country due to which the employment became the major crisis in front of the youth of the country.last_img

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Indias first voter Shyam Saran Negi casts his vote

first_imgShimla: Notwithstanding his failing vision and aching knees, India’s “first” voter Shyam Saran Negi Sunday reached his polling booth in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district to exercise his franchise.The 102-year-old was given a warm welcome by election staff at the Kalpa booth in Mandi Lok Sabha constituency, which went to polls in the last and seventh phase of the general elections. “A resident of Himachal Pradesh’s tribal district Kinnaur, Shyam Sharan Negi is India’s first voter and very important for the state election department,” Kinnaur District Election Officer Gopal Chand said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange frameworkNegi, a retired school teacher was born on July 1, 1917, as per his official records. The centenarian still vividly remembers how he became India’s first voter. “India’s first election was held in February 1952, but the voting for remote, tribal areas in Himachal Pradesh was held five months in advance on October 23, 1951, owing to fears of inclement weather rendering the exercise impossible here during winter,” Negi said. “I was a school teacher then and had been put on election duty. Due to it, I reached my polling booth at Kalpa primary school in Kinnaur at 7 am to cast my vote. I was the first one to reach there and cast my vote,” he said. Also Read – Afghan Taliban frees 3 Indian hostages in exchange for 11 top militant leaders: Reports”Later, I was told I was the first to cast my vote anywhere in the area,” he said with a glint in his eyes and added that he proceeded to join his election duty after voting. Negi, who also made a special appearance in Hindi film “Sanam Re”, said he never missed casting his vote ever since then whether it be a panchayat election or the Lok Sabha polls. He on Saturday had appealed to people to elect “honest” candidates for all the four Lok Sabha seats in the state. “Elect honest and active candidates for your parliamentary seats instead of voting for particular parties,” Negi appealed. “It’s my last wish to vote again. But I have got immobile legs and aching knees now, besides failing vision and hearing,” he had said. The Shimla (SC), Hamirpur, Kangra and Mandi seats went to polls on Sunday along with 55 other Lok Sabha constituencies in the country.( With PTI inputs)last_img read more

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Moroccos Ban on Publications Reprinting French Cartoons Consistent With Press Law

Rabat – Government Spokesman Mustapha El Khalfi said, Thursday, that the decision to ban the distribution of some foreign newspapers and magazines that had reprinted material offending to Islam’s prophet Muhammad is “consistent with the press and publishing law.”Speaking at a press briefing following the weekly cabinet meeting, the minister said the decision of his department is consistent with Article 29 of the press and publishing law, as these cartoons constitute an “offense, provocation and defamation of Islam and its symbols.”Article 29 of Morocco’s press and publishing law gives the country’s Communications Minister the right to ban the publications that offend the Islamic religion, monarchy, territorial integrity, the respect due to the King and public order. El Khalfi did not specify the number and names of the newspapers affected by this decision. read more

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Saudi Arabia Egypt to Build Bridge over Red Sea

Cairo – Saudi Arabia and Egypt have agreed to build a bridge over the Red Sea connecting the two countries, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has announced.“I agreed with my brother his excellency President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to build a bridge connecting the two countries”, King Salman said at a press conference following a meeting with the Egyptian President.“This historic step to connect the two continents, Africa and Asia, is a qualitative transformation that will increase trade between the two continents to unprecedented levels,” the monarch added. Sisi, who earlier presented the king with the ceremonial Nile Collar, Egypt’s highest honour, suggested they name the crossing King Salman bin Abdel Aziz Bridge.Following the announcement, representatives of both countries signed 17 investment deals and memorandums of understanding.With MAP read more

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UN FAO Morocco Threatened by Locusts

Rabat – Regions below the Atlas Mountains in Morocco could be at risk for new desert locust infestations from the “hundreds of small hopper bands” that have formed in the Western Sahara, in southern Morocco, according to a statement by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations released on Tuesday.The statement said groups of adult desert locust groups and a “few” small swarms could form and move to breeding areas south of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and Algeria in April for the springtime. Two aircraft are currently on standby in the Western Sahara in case of further outbreaks.“Strict vigilance is required in all areas,” the statement read, specifically urging authorities to closely monitor developments in the Draa Valley, formed by a river that flows into Algeria. Earlier this year, “hopper groups” formed in the northern areas of Mauritania that border Morocco, an FAO statement said last week, adding that ground control operations are active in the two neighboring countries and 5,000 hectares of Moroccan land received corrective and preventative treatment in March.The FAO said “[small] hopper bands” and “swarms” of desert locusts recently formed in southern Yemen after the area received heavy rains last November from two back-to-back cyclones from the Arabian Sea. The U.N. Agency also said the civil unrest in the country is limiting the scope and effectiveness of the protocols in place to prevent and fight against locusts.The most detrimental effect of locusts on human society remains their ability to devour entire fields of crops within days, the organization said.“A very small swarm eats the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 people and the devastating impact locusts can have on crops poses a major threat to food security, especially in already vulnerable areas,” the FAO said.The last major locust infestation in Morocco occurred in 2004 – a year during which the Western Sahara received 100 millimeters of rain when the region usually receives less than 1 mm. One swarm in between Tarfaya and Tan-Tan in Morocco held a total of 69 billion locusts and was 250 kilometers long. The FAO estimated that locusts ate approximately USD 2.5 billion worth of crops in Africa that year. read more

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Foreign Tourists Attacked in Afghanistans Herat Province

Rabat – Eight Brits, three Americans and one German amongst the group that have been ambushed by the Taliban says Governor of Herat.Taliban gunmen have targeted and ambushed a group of western tourists who were enjoying a sightseeing adventure tour of Afghanistan, leaving at least six individuals injured, Afghan officials claim.The foreigners alongside and Afghan army escort were travelling through the Chesht-e-Sharif district, western Herat when militants opened fire on the group. They were originally planning on heading for Herat’s cultural centre, near the Iranian border. The tourists were said to have included eight Britons, three Americans and one German, a spokesman for Herat’s governor claimed.Inside sources have claimed that Haji Abdurrahman, Taliban’s shadow governor in Chesht-e-Sharif, was behind the attack which ended at around 1.30pm local time.Sources within Kabul have stated that the group had gone to Afghanistan through Hinterland Travel group, a small British tour company based in West Yorkshire.“The country is desperately poor. Frankly it needs any help that we or anyone can provide … The main roads had become diabolical but are now being totally reconstructed. The Afghan people are friendly and cheerfully welcoming, although wary until we can prove that we are travellers and not something else. Ancient and recent history are scattered everywhere, from Buddhist remains to burnt-out tanks” says Hinterland Travel website in regards to Afghanistan. read more

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The King Will Not Allow People to Tarnish a Citizens Reputation

Rabat – In a statement from the Ain El Borja prison in Casablanca, detained Moroccan journalist Taoufik Bouahcrine, has denounced the sexual assault charges he is currently facing.In the statement, which was printed on his news website Alyaoum24, Bouachrine calls his arrest the result of “a conspiracy that I will reveal before the justice [system].”Bouachrine, who was quoted by one of his lawyers added that, he is “certain” that “King Mohammed VI will not allow, in any way, [anyone] to tarnish the reputation of a citizen and a journalist, and to harm his rights and threaten his life and the life of his family by defaming him in the media.” The journalist, who is also the director of Moroccan newspaper Akhbar Al Yaoum, added that the Moroccan judicial police “ did not operate in accordance with the law and legality throughout their inspection.”Bouachrine added that the recordings and video evidence of the sexual misconduct charges were placed in his office in order to direct heavy charges to destroy him and to his pen.”“I will reveal all the details of this plots and its motives before the court,” concluded Bouahcrine.Bouachrine was arrested on February 24, at the headquarters of Akhbar Al Yaoum.He is facing several charges, including human trafficking, the exploitation of people in need, and the abuse of power for sexual purposes. Bouachrine is also suspected of other crimes, including violent rape and attempted rape. The communiqué added that there nearly 50 tapes of the sexual assault incidents recorded on a hard disk and a digital video recorder.The public prosecutor of Casablanca’s Court of Appeal has reportedly received eight new complaints from eight alleged victims, reporting their own claims of sexually assault against the detained journalist.Bouachrine will be presented before the court on March 8. read more

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Casablancas Bar Association Denounces Rabid Behavior of Bouachrines Lawyers

Rabat – President of Casablanca’s Bar Association Hassan Birouaine has denounced the “rabid” behavior of Taoufik Bouachrine’s defense team.In a statement published on May 25, Birouaine said that “the lawyers of the Casablanca Bar condemned the unprecedented behavior and “rabid reactions” of some lawyers in the Bouachrine case.The statement came a few days after a hearing held on May 21 that was marked by loud altercations between the lawyers and complainants. Moroccan journalist Bouachrine, who was arrested on February 28, is facing heavy charges for alleged sexual harassment, gender-based violence and rape. Authorities said that they have 50 videos backing the charges against the journalist.The videos were allowed to be featured during the hearings. Mohamed Ziane, a member of the defense team, expressed anger over the videos, claiming that the person in the footage “is not Bouachrine.” Ziane used explicit language in front of the press, shouting that the videos are “porn footage.”In response, Birouaine accused some lawyers in the Bouachrine case of “denigrating the uniform of lawyers.”“Anyone following the trial of Mr. Taoufik Bouachrine’s trial will find that some lawyers, on both sides, have moved away from common sense and have lost the serenity and foresight that a lawyer is bound to observe.”The president of the Casablanca Bar Association called on the lawyers to respect their colleagues, client, judicial institutions, and the public “that expressed their deep dissatisfaction with what they hear, read and see of the use of obscene words and gestures that undermine morality.” read more

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Johnny Depp to Shoot Waiting for the Barbarians in Morocco

Rabat – US megastar Johnny Depp will land in Morocco by the end of October to shoot “Waiting for the Barbarians.” Colombian film director Ciro Guerra will lead his staff to Ouarzazate, “Morocco’s Hollywood,” and Marrakech to shoot his movie, starring Depp and Robert Pattinson, Mark Rylance, and Joe Alwyn.Depp has expressed his excitement to shoot his new masterpiece in Morocco. He told Playlist magazine he was “super excited, we’re going to shoot that in Morocco towards the end of October.” The movie is an adaptation of South African-born writer J.M. Coetzee’s novel.The story tells of the relationship between a member of the military and a civil official in a colonial empire.Marrakech recently hosted Australian actor Chris Hemsworth for his “Men in Black” movie, alongside American actress Tessa Thompson.Ouarzazate has been the scene for several movies and series, including “The Mummy,” “Gladiator,” and “Lawrence of Arabia.” The award-winning hit series “Game of Thrones” also includes scenes shot in the desert surrounding Ouarzazate.In July, the Hollywood Reporter named Ouarzazate and Marrakech as some of the best destinations in Morocco.Quoted by the Hollywood Reporter, Morocco-based producer James H E Cutting was quoted as saying Ouarzazate’s “only luxury hotel is le Berbere Palace.”“When we were filming Babel, Brad Pitt stayed in one of the private villas normally used for dignitaries and royalty, and used the rear service entrance so as not to be seen by paparazzi,” said the producer. read more

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China suspends imports from Canadian pork company over food safety issues

MONTREAL — China is targeting another Canadian pork producer by temporarily halting imports allegedly over food safety issues at a time when diplomatic tensions are intensifying between the two countries.The decision follows the reported discovery of ractopamine, a food additive banned in China, in a shipment of frozen pork tongues shipped to the city of Nanjing from Quebec-based Frigo Royal, according to the Xinhua News Agency.“We have been briefed by China,” Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in Ottawa on Tuesday. “We have no scientific confirmation that (this substance) has been found.”A company representative who did not want to be identified told The Canadian Press that there was “an investigation” but declined to provide more details.Based in Saint-Hyacinthe, the company offers warehousing, distribution and exportation of food products. It became part of Expedi-Go Transit in February 2018 and is on the Agriculture Department’s list of export licence holders.Used as an additive to pork, ractopamine is banned in China, Russia and the European Union, but is accepted in Canada and the United States.Bibeau explained that when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issues an export certificate, it “confirms that the product complies with the rules” of the country where it is exported. She added that Ottawa had “homework” to do.“I do not want to speculate on the consequences that this may have on our relationship, but this is definitely not good news,” she told reporters.According to Quebec Pork Producers, 70 per cent of provincial production is exported, with $283 million worth of product shipped to China last year.Association spokesman Merlin Trottier-Picard said he’s not aware of anyone in Quebec or Canada using ractopamine for breeding.“This is a concern of the industry in Canada to ensure that we can meet the needs of the requirements of all our export markets,” he said. “In China, they want to make sure they have ractopamine-free pork. We want to respond to this concern.”The move will likely fuel speculation that China is again retaliating against Canada for arresting Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in December at the request of the U.S.In early May, China also temporarily suspended export permits for Quebec producers Olymel and Drummond Export, apparently due to a labelling problem. In the case of Olymel, this decision affects its Alberta plant in Red Deer.“Our licence is still suspended,” said Bruno Mussely, director of international development at Drummond Export. “We presented an action plan to the CFIA and it was given to the Chinese authorities. It’s not in the hands of the Canadian government, but the Chinese.”China also decided in March to suspend export permits for Canadian canola producers by claiming that their product was contaminated.Canada exports about 40 per cent of its canola products to China, valued at $2.7 billion in 2018, according to the Canola Council of Canada.Julien Arsenault, The Canadian Press read more

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Marking Hiroshima anniversary Ban Kimoon calls for elimination of nuclear weapons

6 August 2007On the 62nd anniversary of the world’s first-ever atomic bomb attack, which devastated the Japanese city of Hiroshima, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the occasion serves as a “powerful reminder” of the efforts necessary to halt nuclear proliferation. “Today, our challenge – as it was for the founders of the United Nations – is to make the world safer for succeeding generations,” Mr. Ban said in a message, delivered by Sergio de Queiroz Duarte, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, to the Peace Memorial Ceremony in Japan. “This requires us to continue to work towards a world free of nuclear dangers, and ultimately, of nuclear weapons.”Mr. Ban stressed the pressing nature of nuclear proliferation, and noted that the nuclear threat has been compounded by terrorists’ attempts to acquire weapons and materials.He paid special tribute to the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who, along with their predecessors, have promoted the “Mayors for Peace” initiative – which now has support from over 1,600 mayors in 120 countries – for the last quarter century.“It has not only helped inform millions of people around the world of the catastrophic effects of the nuclear attacks of 1945,” the Secretary-General said of the programme, which “has also drawn attention to the dangers that cities would face with any future use of such weapons.”He paid tribute to the memory of Sadako Sasaki, who was two years old when Hiroshima was attacked by the bomb and died a decade later from the “atom bomb disease.” Before her death, she folded one thousand origami peace cranes and her words – “This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world.” – is inscribed under her statue in the Hiroshima Peace Park.“We must do all we can to turn back the tide of nuclear proliferation, and ensure that Sadako’s experience is never repeated,” Mr. Ban said. read more

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Former Rwandan official pleads not guilty before UN genocide tribunal

Dominique Ntawukuriryayo is facing charges at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) – which is based in Arusha, Tanzania – of genocide, complicity in genocide, and direct and public incitement to commit genocide for acts committed during the period from 6 April to 17 July 1994.The indictment against the former deputy prefect in Butare prefecture alleges that Mr. Ntawukuriryayo had de facto control over local and regional leaders, administrative personnel, communal police and Interahamwe and other militias in Butare during the genocide. In addition, he allegedly incited the public to participate in genocide by promising money, land and houses to those who killed the most number of Tutsis. Mr. Ntawukuriryayo was arrested in France in 2007 and transferred to the ICTR on 5 June of this year. 10 June 2008A former Rwandan official who is alleged to have planned the killing of up to 25,000 Tutsis during the country’s 1994 genocide today pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him at the United Nations war crimes tribunal set up to deal with the mass killings. read more

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Dozens of Rwandan Hutu rebels turn in arms in DR Congo –

Yesterday in the town of Kasiki, 200 kilometres north of North Kivu province’s capital Goma, 67 members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) turned in weapons in the presence of Congolese authorities.Also present yesterday were representatives of the task force monitoring the Joint Nairobi Communiqué, the November 2007 agreement under which the DRC and Rwanda have agreed to work together against threats to peace and stability in the region.The combatants arrived with 100 of their dependants and turned in some 45 weapons, most of which were AK-47 rifles.The UN mission, known as MONUC, welcomed this initiative, noting that this many FDLR combatants have not voluntarily disarmed at the same time since 2006.The number of fighters participating in the Disarmament, Demobilisation, Repatriation, Resettlement and Reintegration (DDRRR) process has increased by 30 per cent since the signing of the Nairobi Communiqué.However, MONUC notes with regret that many combatants continue to be held back from taking part in the DDRRR process by their leaders. 1 August 2008The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reported that dozens of combatants with a Rwandan Hutu rebel group have turned in their arms in the east of the vast Central African nation. read more

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UN peacekeeping chiefs in West Africa kick off twoday summit

During the two days of discussion, the Special Representatives – from UN Missions in Liberia (UNMIL) and Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), the UN Office in West Africa (UNOWA) and the UN Office for the Consolidation and Peace in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS) – will examine the latest developments in the sub-region since their June meeting in Dakar. The agenda will also include a briefing on the recommendations made at last week’s meeting of Force Commanders on UN peacekeeping missions in West Africa, held in Monrovia, and a presentation from the President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mohamed Ibn Chambas of Ghana. 25 August 2008The heads of United Nations peacekeeping missions in West Africa today start a two-day meeting in Guinea-Bissau aimed at reviewing regional and national challenges to the success of their mandates. read more

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Education vital for achieving all other development goals Ban tells Doha forum

“It is, in short, the lifeblood for a nation’s future economic growth and prosperity,” Mr. Ban told a high-level event focusing on financing to achieve “education for all” – the pledge made by world leaders in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, in 1999.Mr. Ban said that education at every age plays an empowering and essential role in reducing poverty and building better livelihoods. It promotes innovation, communication and mutual understanding. In addition to being one of the eight anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), education can also be a catalyst for progress towards other goals, such as public health and gender equality. “The Millennium Development Goals cannot be achieved without education,” he stressed.The Secretary-General said a major concern right now is the impact of the current financial crisis on the development gains in education made since 2000, particularly for the most vulnerable. He noted that 75 million children around the world have no access to education, and millions more in poor communities are receiving only a very basic education.And in areas of conflict, a child continuously prevented from attending school is too often the rule, not the exception, he added. At the UN High-Level Event on the MDGs held in New York in September, world leaders and partners made significant financial pledges to improve health, education and access to clean water and sanitation. “Coming in the midst of financial turmoil, this was an encouraging display,” said Mr. Ban.“We must maintain this momentum,” he stated. “By ensuring that all children get the education they deserve, we can put both individuals and countries on a sure footing toward a more stable and fulfilling future.”Ensuring sufficient financing to meet key development goals amid mounting concern about the impact of the current global economic slowdown on poor nations is the focus of the four-day conference that began in the Qatari capital yesterday. 30 November 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged participants at a global finance meeting in Doha to ensure that all children receive the education they need, without which countries will not be able to achieve their development targets. read more

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UNESCO chief highlights importance of cultural diversity on World Day

21 May 2009Cultural diversity offers a wealth of opportunities for mutual exchanges and borrowings, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said today, calling for nations to boost efforts to foster dialogue among cultures. Cultural diversity offers a wealth of opportunities for mutual exchanges and borrowings, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said today, calling for nations to boost efforts to foster dialogue among cultures.In a statement marking the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura underscored his agency’s belief that cultures are interdependent, not monolithic, and that diversity is a source of strength and unity.“Yet we see daily evidence of the destabilizing forces of ignorance and mistrust and of the magnitude of the task ahead of us,” he said. “The management of cultural diversity is undoubtedly one of the central challenges facing many societies today as they work to build inclusive and pluralistic knowledge societies.”Two renowned calligraphers from different traditions – China and Iran – intertwined their writing to celebrate the Day at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Master Fan Zeng and Hassan Makaremi provided a poetic illustration on learning how to learn about others and live together.The agency’s International Festival of Cultural Diversity, running from 11-22 May, has been commemorated worldwide, seeking to raise awareness of the messages of diversity, freedom and human dignity. read more

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