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B.C. hikes welfare, disability rates, hires for ICBC, Hydro, BC Housing VICTORIA – British Columbia Premier John Horgan is making good on his campaign pledge to hike income assistance and disability rates by $100 a month.The policy takes effect Sept. 20 and will be the first time the welfare rate has increased in a decade.“Raising the rates is only the beginning,” Horgan said in a statement Thursday. “Our government is committed to bring forward a comprehensive poverty-reduction plan to lift children and families out of poverty.”The rate hike means a single person on income assistance will be eligible for up to $710 per month, while someone on disability support can receive up to $1,133.The increase will catapult B.C. from last to third place in the country when it comes to assistance rates, Horgan added.Stephen Portman of the Together Against Poverty Society said he welcomed news of the rate hike as “a breath of fresh air.”“While much more is needed to stem entrenched poverty and inequity at a systemic level, this change is an important signal that poverty reduction is a priority,” he said in a statement.Portman called for further changes, such as improved medical and dental benefits, to help ease the burden on some of B.C.’s most vulnerable.The previous Liberal government froze income assistance for 10 years, but made a U-turn in last month’s throne speech by promising a $100 jump in monthly rates, adopting a key promise from the NDP’s election platform.The revamped throne speech failed to garner enough support to keep the Liberals in power.The NDP were sworn into government this week holding a minority of seats in the legislature but supported by the Green party’s three elected members, who hold the balance of power in the wake of the May 9 election. It’s the first time the NDP have been in power in B.C. since 2001.Horgan also moved quickly to put a New Democratic Party stamp on the province’s Crown corporations and government organizations by announcing four high-profile appointments.Joy MacPhail, who is the former NDP finance minister, deputy premier and health minister, is the new chair of the Insurance Corp. of B.C., while one of its director’s seats will be filled by Cathy McLay, chief financial officer and executive vice-president of TransLink.Kenneth Peterson, former chief executive officer of BC Hydro subsidiary Powerex Corp., is the new chairman of BC Hydro, replacing Brad Bennett, who was a key player in former premier Christy Clark’s re-election campaign.Cassie Doyle, a deputy minister with both the federal and provincial governments, is the new chair of the BC Housing Management Commission, which develops, manages and administers subsidized housing in the province.Horgan said the appointees were chosen for their proven ability to deliver effective leadership that would benefit the public.“Each of them will face significant challenges because of the choices made by the previous government,” Horgan said in a statement.The Liberals were not immediately available to comment.Former NDP premier Mike Harcourt approved of Horgan’s choices, describing Ken Peterson as “hugely experienced” and Joy MacPhail as a tough-minded and effective minister.Horgan worked under Harcourt in the early 1990s, the first time the B.C. New Democrats formed government after 16 years as Opposition. Harcourt described Horgan as one of his “key troubleshooters,” and said the key to staying focused and not disappointing supporters is to set priorities.“There are unlimited demands for limited funds,” he said.“You budget. You say you’ve got so much money and you set priorities you say we’ll not get everything done at once but over one or two terms.”— By Geordon Omand in Vancouver by The Canadian Press Posted Jul 20, 2017 2:52 pm MDT Last Updated Jul 20, 2017 at 5:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

2 10 19

“Today marks a major step in the United Nations Secretariat’s renewal,” Mr. Ban told reporters at a media encounter held in his renovated office on the 38th floor of the building, a key part of the world body’s headquarters complex located in New York City. “Now we have modern and eco-friendly systems,” he continued, adding that with the renovation, the UN could “better serve the world’s people.” The UN chief had been working out of a temporary office space located elsewhere at the world body’s headquarters complex, which is spread out over 6.9 hectares, and includes six buildings totalling about 241,547 square metres.The original UN structures were built between 1950 and 1952, and had aged considerably and lacked the standards that are expected in a modern and safe building. The refurbishment – which still continues for some structures and ends in 2014 – aims to replace deteriorated systems, meet current building codes and standards for safety, security and accessibility for persons with disabilities, and to improve its environmental performance. With an overall 50 per cent reduction in energy and water consumption and 40 per cent decrease in carbon production, the entire renovation project – known formally as the Capital Master Plan and budgeted at close to $2 billion – is expected to render the UN Secretariat one of the greenest and cleanest buildings in the world. Moreover, the landmark 39-storey building towering over the East River and First Avenue in Manhattan will possess the 21st century trappings of eco-friendly energy conservation. Other touches include the Secretariat’s glass façade – made dull by weather conditions over the years – which has been replaced with a new glass curtain with the same bluish-green tint as in its first incarnation in 1952.Addressing the various inconveniences caused by the renovation project, the Secretary-General thanked the world body’s staff for their flexibility and patience over the past years and encouraged them to employ the facilities of the high-tech building in their work. “As we re-occupy the Secretariat renovated with state-of-the-art technology, I am sure that we will meet the expectation of working even harder,” Mr. Ban said while promising continuing improvements regarding the UN’s environmental impact. “And I sincerely hope that all our staff members will fully utilize this beautifully renovated Secretariat building,” the UN chief added. Mr. Ban also thanked UN Member States and, in particular, the Secretariat’s host country, the United States, and host city, New York, for their support for the renovation project. “We will never take this gift for granted,” he said. “We will do our best to meet the expectations of the international community by improving our performance.” read more

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“I share the sadness of his bereaved family, the Government and people of Bangladesh,” the Secretary-General said in his remarks in New York.Mr. Rahman died on 20 March in Singapore from reported respiratory problems. The 193-member General Assembly paid tribute to the late president before starting its deliberations today. “Despite such sad news, the people of Bangladesh have many reasons to feel positive about their future, and the late president can rest proud in the knowledge that his country has advanced dramatically since independence 42 years ago,” Mr. Ban continued. He called Mr. Rahman “one of the country’s leading political figures” whose reward in the final years was the presidency, “an acknowledgement of a lifetime of dedication.” Mr. Rahman had taken office in 2009 while already in his 80s.Noting the positive changes in Bangladesh in the past decade, Mr. Ban praised the progress made in achieving the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly in education, maternal mortality and access to fresh water and sanitation.“Bangladesh is on track to graduate from the ranks of the least developed countries,” Mr. Ban said, noting that challenges remain, including population grown, raising food prices and unemployment.The head of the UN also praised the country’s efforts to empower women, particularly the roles played by Bangladeshi women police officers serving in UN peacekeeping missions.“They are showing women and men in the countries where they serve that there is nothing that a woman cannot do,” Mr. Ban said. He added that the country’s top political role is currently filled by a woman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.In his speech, Mr. Ban also noted the impact of the tornado that struck Brahmanbaria district on 22 March.“My heart also goes out to the families who lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods,” he said, adding that it is one more reminder of the growing vulnerability of the people of Bangladesh to climate change. read more

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Special Representative of the Secretary-General Said Djinnit made the statement following a ministerial meeting on security in Nigeria convened yesterday by United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, William Hague. “Nigeria has been playing a pivotal role in promoting regional peace and security,” Mr. Djinnit noted, “and the UN is committed to its stability and the consolidation of its democratic achievements.”He also welcomed the support provided by partner countries, including on strengthening regional response against the activities of Boko Haram in the entire Lake Chad area, which also includes Chad, the Central African Republic, Nigeria, Sudan, Algeria, and Libya.According to the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA), Mr. Djinnit extended the UN’s support to efforts of the National Emergency Management Agency and the National Human Rights Commission.He also highlighted a UN Integrated Support Package (ISP) to complement the Government’s efforts towards securing the safe release of the more than 200 girls seized from their school on 14 April, and to addressing related challenges.The Package includes immediate support to the affected families, the population and the girls after their release, in particular with psycho-social counselling and helping them reintegrate with their families and communities.The package also includes projects related to education, water supply and livelihoods. read more

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In a statement today, Jamal Benomar, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Yemen, stressed that he is doing his utmost to help address the situation. He said the challenges can be overcome if all the parties “maintain a spirit of national partnership” and make their efforts to advance the political transition in the country through constructive cooperation.After the extensive consultations with different political leaders in Yemen, Mr. Benomar reiterated his call on the parties “to exercise wisdom” in order to reach consensus on a peaceful solution to the crisis. He also noted the importance to abide by the Transition Agreement, the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference and relevant Security Council resolutions.According to the statement, in the past few hours, the Special Adviser met with President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and other political leaders, including representatives of the Houthis, and the Islah, Nasserite and the Socialist parties.Mr. Benomar also confirmed that the country will continue receiving all the necessary support from the UN and the international community to maintain lasting peace and stability.Yemen has recently emerged from a complex UN-backed transition, but recent months have been marked by violence and unrest in some parts of the country. In mid-July, amid what it characterized as a “serious deterioration in the security situation” due to ongoing violence in the north-west, the UN Security Council demanded that Al Houthi militants, all armed groups and parties involved in the violence disarm, withdraw and relinquish control of [the city of] Amran. read more

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In a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York, Mr. Ban welcomed the countries’ compliance, saying “both submissions represent an important contribution to building momentum and strengthening prospects for reaching a new and meaningful climate change agreement at COP-21 (the UN Climate Change Conference) in Paris at the end of the year.” The statement noted, “The INDCs submitted today and since March offer a floor, and not a ceiling for ambition, and are critical for building momentum and trust on the road to COP-21 in Paris.”The Secretary-General thanked the President of China, Xi Jinping, and the President of the Republic of Korea, Park Geun-hye, for their leadership and strong commitment in addressing climate change.Mr. Ban also encouraged other countries to accelerate the preparation and submission of their INDCS. “A key step to reaching a universal and meaningful climate agreement in Paris is the timely submission of INDCs by all countries well in advance of Paris,” the statement concluded. read more

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In At Tur, near Al Maqassad hospital in East Jerusalem, one of several roadblocks, placed by Israeli forces in October 2015 in Palestinian neighbourhoods, as the wave of violence across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel continued. Photo: OCHA Some sought to shoot the messenger — twisting my words into a misguided justification for violence. The stabbings, vehicle rammings and other attacks by Palestinians targeting Israeli civilians are reprehensible. So, too, are the incitement of violence and the glorification of killers.Nothing excuses terrorism. I condemn it categorically.It is inconceivable, though, that security measures alone will stop the violence. As I warned the Security Council last week, Palestinian frustration and grievances are growing under the weight of nearly a half-century of occupation. Ignoring this won’t make it disappear. No one can deny that the everyday reality of occupation provokes anger and despair, which are major drivers of violence and extremism and undermine any hope of a negotiated two-state solution.Israeli settlements keep expanding. The government has approved plans for over 150 new homes in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Last month, 370 acres in the West Bank were declared “state land,” a status that typically leads to exclusive Israeli settler use. At the same time, thousands of Palestinian homes in the West Bank risk demolition because of obstacles that may be legal on paper but are discriminatory in practice. Palestinians — especially young people — are losing hope over what seems a harsh, humiliating and endless occupation. Israelis are also reeling from near-daily attacks and losing sight of the possibility of a comprehensive peace with the Palestinians. Along with the United States, the European Union and the Russian Federation, the United Nations is calling for substantial changes in policy to strengthen the economic, institutional and security pillars of the Palestinian Authority. We are engaging with Arab countries in the region to harness the support that both sides need to bring peace and security to Israelis and Palestinians alike.We continue to work with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to rebuild Gaza and prevent another devastating conflict, and to press Palestinians for genuine national reconciliation. Of course, a lasting agreement between Israel and Palestine will require difficult compromises by leaders and peoples on both sides. Israeli authorities need to unequivocally support the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian institutions. This requires significant shifts in policies toward the West Bank and Gaza, while safeguarding Israel’s legitimate security concerns.Such steps can start with housing, water, energy, communications, agriculture and access to natural resources. Specifically, they should include immediate approval of master plans proposed by Palestinian communities in the Israeli-controlled Area C of the West Bank, which will enable investment and development.For their part, Palestinians must make political compromises to bring Gaza and the West Bank under a single, democratic governing authority according to principles laid down by their national umbrella organization, the Palestine Liberation Organization. This also means consistently and firmly denouncing terrorism and taking preventive action to end attacks on Israelis, including an immediate stop to Gaza tunnel construction.I will always stand up to those who challenge Israel’s right to exist, just as I will always defend the right of Palestinians to have a state of their own. That is why I am so concerned that we are reaching a point of no return for the two-state solution. And I am disturbed by statements from senior members of Israel’s government that the aim should be abandoned altogether.The stalemate carries grave risks for both sides: a continuation of the deadly wave of terrorism and killings; the collapse of the Palestinian Authority; greater isolation of and international pressure on Israel; and a corrosion of the moral foundation of Israeli and Palestinian societies, ever more inured to the pain of the other.Criticism of the United Nations — or attacks against me — comes with the territory. But when heartfelt concerns about shortsighted or morally damaging policies emanate from so many sources, including Israel’s closest friends, it cannot be sustainable to keep lashing out at every well-intentioned critic.Everyone is free to pick and choose what they like or dislike from speeches. But the time has come for Israelis, Palestinians and the international community to read the writing on the wall: The status quo is untenable. Keeping another people under indefinite occupation undermines the security and the future of both Israelis and Palestinians.This opinion piece by UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon appeared in The New York Times on 31 January 2016. @media only screen and (min-width: 760px), screen9 {#PhotoHolder3 #PhotoCrop { max-height: 770px; /* sets max-height value for all standards-compliant browsers */ width: 134%; margin-left:-161px; margin-top: -310px;}#story-headline{ font-size: 5.0em; line-height: 1.2em; color:#fff; position: relative; top: 170px; xtext-align:center; text-shadow: 1px 1px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.8); width:50%;}}#sidebar {display:none;} div#story-content .span8 {width:100% !important} #fullstory p { font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.8em;}strong { font-size: 1.2em; line-height: 1.7em; xfont-family:Georgia, “Times New Roman”, Times, serif;} read more

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“We want equal pay now,” yelled Academy Award-winning American actress Patricia Arquette and two-time Olympic gold medalist and soccer superstar Abby Wambach, leading a call in the UN General Assembly Hall yesterday evening at the launch of the Equal Pay Platform of Champions. The launch of the Platform – which is part of a broader UN International Labour Organization (ILO) and UN Women Global Equal Pay Coalition – coincided with the opening day of the 61st Commission on the Status of Women, known as the largest inter-governmental forum on women’s rights and gender equality. The theme this year is on women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work. “The gender pay gap reflects the unjustifiably diminished position of many women in society and helps to keep them there,” said UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. Pointing to the big names participating in the Platform – which in addition to Ms. Arquette and Ms. Wambach include leaders from the trade unions, civil society, government, private sector, film makers – Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said she hopes their advocacy will make women’s “flagrant inequality a think of the past.” The goal of the Platform is to call for increased support by proactively reaching out to decision and policy makers, according to a press release from the event. Speaking at the launch, Ms. Arquette said that “women sometimes become invisible if they’re not seen beyond the value of the men they are with.”VIDEO: “When men advocate for women, change comes ten times faster” says Oscar-winning actress Patricia Arquette to UN News According to global figures, women make only 77 cents for every dollar that men earn for the same position. Over time, the income inequality results in more women retiring into poverty. “The quest for women’s economic empowerment will be lost or won in the world of work,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. He noted the importance of whether and how women enter the work place and in what types of jobs. One of the main reasons for the gender gap is that women tend to be concentrated in different jobs than men – for example in teaching or health care – which tend to be underpaid. There are also differences for men and women who are in the same line of work. Also speaking at the event, Ms. Wambach said that she was “angry because I have to worry about paying my bills, even though I won more World Cups than Cristiano,” referring to the Portuguese soccer player. Ahead of the launch, UN Women kicked off its #StopTheRobbery campaign to mobilize ordinary people and raise awareness about the gender pay gap.Audio: Award-winning American actress, Patricia Arquette, and soccer superstar, Amy Wambach, have joined the UN and a diverse group of gender equality advocates to launch an ‘Equal Pay Platform of Champions. read more

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Source: Journey to Extremism in Africa: Drivers, Incentives and the Tipping Point for Recruitment report.Government action the ‘tipping point’In one of the study’s most striking findings, 71 per cent of recruits interviewed said that it was some form of government action that was the ‘tipping point’ that triggered their final decision to join an extremist group.Seventy-one per cent those interviewed said that it was some form of government action that triggered their final decision to join an extremist group The actions cited most often were killing or arrest of a family member or friend. Against this backdrop, the study urges governments to reassess militarized responses to extremism in the light of respect for the rule of law and human rights commitments. It also highlights the importance of focusing on development in addressing security challenges. “Delivering services, strengthening institutions, creating pathways to economic empowerment – these are development issues,” Mr. Dieye added. Another key recommendation calls for local-level interventions, such as supporting community-led initiatives building social cohesion, as well as amplifying the voices of local religious leaders who advocate tolerance. However, it cautions that these initiatives must be spearheaded by trusted local actors. Key findingsBased on responses to questions including on family circumstances, childhood and education, religious ideologies, economic factors, state and citizenship, the study also finds that:Majority of recruits come from borderlands or peripheral areas that have suffered longstanding marginalization and report having had less parental involvement growing up.Most recruits expressed frustration at their economic conditions – with employment the most acute need at the time of joining – as well as a deep sense of grievance towards government: 83 per cent believe that government looks after only the interests of a few, and over three-fourths said they have no trust in politicians or in the state security apparatus.Recruitment in Africa occurs mostly at the local, person-to-person level, rather than online, as is the case in other regions – a factor that may alter the forms and patterns of recruitment as connectivity improves. Some 80 per cent of recruits interviewed joined within a year of introduction to the violent extremist group – and nearly half of these joined within just one month.In terms of exiting a violent extremist group, most interviewees who surrendered or sought amnesty did so after losing confidence in the ideology, leadership or actions of their group.The report is based on a two-year, in-depth study, including interviews with some 495 voluntary recruits who joined Africa’s most prominent extremist groups, including Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab. According to UNDP estimates, some 33,300 people in Africa have lost their lives to violent extremist attacks between 2011 and early 2016. Violence perpetrated by the Boko Haram terrorist group alone has resulted in the deaths of at least 17,000 people and displaced millions in the Lake Chad region. “This study sounds the alarm that as a region, Africa’s vulnerability to violent extremism is deepening,” Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, UNDP Africa Director, said today at the launch of the report in New York. “Borderlands and peripheral areas remain isolated and under-served. Institutional capacity in critical areas is struggling to keep pace with demand. More than half the population lives below the poverty line, including many chronically underemployed youth.”Exploring the factors that shape the dynamics of the recruitment process, prompting some individuals to gravitate toward extremism, where the vast majority of others do not, the study Journey to Extremism in Africa: Drivers, Incentives and the Tipping Point for Recruitment, also finds that many who joined faced marginalization and neglect over the course of their lives, starting in childhood. With few economic prospects or outlets for meaningful civic participation that can bring about change, and little trust in the state to either provide services or respect human rights, the study suggests that such an individual could – upon witnessing or experiencing perceived abuse of power by the state – be tipped over the edge into extremism. read more

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For her part, Maxine Pamela Ometa McClean, Barbados’ Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, cautioned the Assembly about the ramifications of unchecked climate change, echoing past remarks on the existential threat faced by vulnerable small island developing States. She noted that for years many leaders from small islands have warned of the inherent danger to lives, livelihoods and the very existence of sovereign nations without the sufficient action taken to reduce global emissions and provide support for resilience building in vulnerable countries. “This clarion call from the Caribbean was ignored.” “Today,” she added “we bear witness to the results of this act of reckless indifference.” The Foreign Minister reported, not on a potential threat, but rather on the destructive impact of climate change on the globe, speaking specifically of the utter devastation of several small islands developing States in the Caribbean overwhelmed by an unprecedented wave of hurricanes. “For Barbados and other [small island developing States], whether in the Caribbean, the Pacific, Asia or Africa, climate change is a matter of life or death,” Ms. McClean underscored, saying that the issue is for sterile debates and endless meetings but about loss of life and livelihood. Full statement available here Also addressing the Assembly, Wilfred Elrington, Belize’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, pointed to security and climate change as equally fundamental threats to his country’s survival. “We have been at the forefront of the global fight to protect and preserve our shared natural environment against environmental degradation and climate change and to ensure sustainable use especially of our ocean which sustains life on earth” he said. He noted that the region is pioneering innovative approaches to build resilience and facilitate its transition to low and no carbon economies. Mr. Elrington stated that Belize has embraced the 2030 Agenda – launching its own strategy that integrates the SDGs and is complimentary to the Paris Agreement. Mentioning that Belize has met several goals on road safety, marine protection and sustainable fisheries, he said “already we are seeing the dividends of that early investment in policy and action.” Calling his country’s early accomplishments “mere benchmarks,” he explained that Belize knows that it must go “above and beyond” for its sustainable development. For that reason, it is setting even more ambitious targets. “At the Oceans Conference,” he said, “we announced our commitment to further strengthen the legislative and regulatory framework on fisheries; to increase marine reserves from three per cent to 10 per cent of our territorial waters; and to implement legislation to curb the use of plastics/microplastics.” “Belize is committed to zero emissions growth in its forestry sector and aims to achieve 85 per cent renewables in electricity production by 2027,” he added. Full statement available here “Today, it is a barefaced insult to the intelligence and experience of the peoples of Island States and coastal areas to call climate change a hoax,” the Deputy Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines told the Assembly as he took the podium. “Almost every year is hotter than the preceding one. Almost every hurricane season more intense. Almost every storm, drought and flood more destructive than the previous one,” said Louis Straker, pointing to the death and destruction wrought by the current hurricane season. “They are the manifestations of climate change; the symptoms of the prescient predictions made by the overwhelming majority of scientists,” he stressed, reaffirming that small island developing States are the most vulnerable to climate change, while contributing the least to the emissions that cause it. Turning to the Paris Agreement, the Deputy Prime Minister underscored that it views any attempt to disavow the agreement designed to arrest climate change and assist the most affected as an act of hostility, saying “we draw a direct, causal connection between any such abdication and the future death and destruction that island states face as the result of increasingly frequent and intense weather events.” Mr. Straker said his country puts the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the centre of its national development strategies. “In areas of climate change, pollution and biodiversity, we have banned Styrofoam products, banned the hunting of turtles, tightened restrictions on internationally permitted indigenous whaling activity, and implemented new coastal protection regulations,” he relayed, adding that by investing in geothermal and solar energy, it hopes to generate 80 per cent of its energy needs from renewable sources within the next three years. Full statement available here Allen Michael Chastanet told the Assembly that the UN’s promise to small island developing States is being tested today more than ever. “The world is experiencing extraordinary change at a breath-taking pace – change that is reshaping the way we live […] and the very nature of peace and security.” he said. Calling the intensification of extreme weather events the “new normal,” he recounted small islands’ repeated warnings that an inadequate response to climate change would condemn future generations to certain doom. “I daresay, we do not have the luxury to be silent on this front anymore – we must act,” he stressed. “Never forget that we are all in a symbiotic relationship, we should all be our brothers’ keeper,” said Mr. Chastanet, offering condolences to Mexico, which faces a mounting death toll from recent earthquakes. Noting that the world is increasingly integrated, and economies, natural environment and people are all connected, he said: “a disruptive event in one country begets similar or worse events in neighbouring countries, and spreads, impacting us all and testing our social, political and economic systems.” He maintained that the international community “must change with the times,” calling “unconscionable” the need to depend on commercial rates to rebuild broken economies. “The model has to change to allow the opportunity to build back stronger and more resilient, the infrastructure that can secure our futures and that of our people,” exhorted the President. He asked the Assembly to remember that we share a common future – “a future that will only be secure if we meet threats, challenges and opportunities together, with greater cooperation and understanding.” Full statement available here Wilfred Elrington, Attorney General and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Belize, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-second session. UN Photo/Cia Pak Maxine Pamela Ometa McClean, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Barbados, addresses the general debate of the seventy-second of the General Assembly. UN Photo/Cia Pak Louis Straker, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Regional Integration of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-second session. UN Photo/Cia Pak read more

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Amina Mohammed said recent joint efforts by the four of the region’s affected countries – Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria – have resulted in “considerable progress” in the fight against the extremists, including the liberation of hostages as well as territorial gains.However, she reported that the group has stepped up the use of women and girls as suicide bombings, while children were deployed in 135 such attacks in 2017: a five-fold increase over the previous year. “It is now key to stabilize the areas that have been reclaimed, and that we seize the opportunity to really promote sustainable development,” said the UN deputy chief, speaking via videoconference from Liberia where she is participating in celebrations to mark the end of the UN peacekeeping mission in that country, known as UNMIL.Ms. Mohamed was joined by Mohammed Bila, a representative of the Lake Chad Basin Commission based in the Chadian capital, N’Djamena, and Senior Conflict Advisor at Adelphi, Chitra Nagarajan, in painting a picture of the factors behind people’s suffering in the Lake Chad Basin and driving some to terrorism one year after the Council adopted its first resolution on the activities of Boko Haram in the strife-torn region.  Boko Haram, an Islamist militant organization based in north-east Nigeria, has carried out raids, suicide bombings and kidnappings across the Lake Chad region over the past decade.Their operations have led to displacement, insecurity, destruction of infrastructure and what Ms. Mohammed described as a “complex and dire” humanitarian situation, with nearly 11 million people requiring assistance.The group gained international notoriety in 2014 after abducting more than 270 girls from a Government school in Chibok, Nigeria. It is believed to be behind the kidnapping last month of 110 schoolgirls from the Nigerian town of Dapchi, most of whom were safely returned this week.Overall, Boko Haram has abducted more than 4,000 women and girls, according to the UN deputy chief, who added that those who return to their communities are often stigmatized. As the violation of human rights continues to fuel insecurity in the Lake Chad Basin region, Ms. Mohammed said investing in community justice mechanisms will be essential for reconciliation, as well as for ensuring accountability and promoting peace.She stressed the need to incorporate human rights and gender dimensions into activities aimed at countering terrorism or preventing violent extremism.For example, she said the increase in Boko Haram’s use of women and girls as suicide bombers could be due to a lack of women security officers who can search other women at checkpoints.And she called for more international action to support children affected by the upheaval in the region.Chitra Nagarajan, a Senior Conflict Advisor with the think tank Adelphi, who is based in north-east Nigeria, also used her briefing to touch on the gender-related aspects of the crisis and also its impact on persons with disabilities.In addition to the threats outlined by Ms. Mohammed, she spoke of how women and girls are pushed into early marriage with combatants, for example, or they fall victim to sexual abuse and exploitation, including at the hands of people who are supposed to protect them.“Men and older boys are often the first to flee insecure areas,” she said, speaking via videoconference from the city of Maiduguri.It is now key to stabilize the areas that have been reclaimed [from Boko Haram], and that we seize the opportunity to really promote sustainable development — UN deputy chief Amina Mohammed“They are deliberately targeted, killed and forcibly recruited by armed groups. They’re viewed suspicion, arrested, and detained by security agencies, and they are involved in fighting, leaving women of all ages, as well as girls, younger boys and older men struggling to cope.”The Security Council meeting took place as the United Nations marked World Water Day, which focusses attention on the importance of managing freshwater resources.Mohammed Bila, a Remote Sensing Expert with the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), a decades-old initiative to regulate and control the use of water and other natural resources in the region, spoke of how climate change has had an impact on water governance.He said the shrinking of Lake Chad has affected communities which depended on its shoreline to grow crops, leading to increased competition for water, accusations of river diversion, loss of livelihoods and social tensions.He told the Council that the environmental monitoring network there is “inadequate, sparse, poorly funded and operated,” with only one water level measurement station for the entire lake.“The environmental challenges facing the Lake Chad basin are interconnected to the challenges of climate change faced by the region of the Sahel of Africa,” he said.“The Sahel is increasingly facing extreme variability of climate resulting in frequent droughts, short-duration high-intensity rainfall, desertification, water scarcity, land degradation, and ultimately food insecurity. Consequently, addressing the climatic root causes of local challenges through risk assessment and management will require a similar solution at the Sahel regional level.” read more

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Several people were killed in the “complex” attack in Sévaré, including troops belonging to the G5 Sahel joint force – a military task force composed of armed forces of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. Members of the Malian armed forces were also killed.In a statement issued by his spokesperson on Friday, Mr. Guterres underscored the “important role” the G5 Sahel joint force is playing in countering violent extremism and terrorism in the Sahel region and called on the international community to step up its support to the joint force.  He also said that the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) continues to provide logistical support to the joint force in line with the relevant Security Council resolution.In the statement, the UN chief also offered his condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injuredIn a separate statement, the Security Council also condemned the attack and underscored the need to bring the perpetrators and sponsors of such “reprehensible acts” of terrorism to justice.The members of the Council also welcomed the “continued determination” of the G5 Sahel States to unite their efforts to address the impact of terrorism and transnational organized crime in the Sahel region, including through the development of the joint force.They also expressed that they would “continue to monitor closely the situation” as well as the support to the joint force, in parallel to progress made in its operationalization. read more

2 10 19

Briefing the Security Council on Tuesday, UN Special Coordinator Nikolay Mladenov, underscored that there can be “no justification” for brutal acts, such as the “heart-breaking” death of an Israeli baby last week, reportedly killed following a drive-by attack; or the killing of a Palestinian woman in October, who was reportedly stoned to death, while driving.“They feed mistrust and hatred,” he added, calling on all stakeholders to “join the UN in condemning them unequivocally.”Mr. Mladenov also cautioned against continuing instances of inflammatory rhetoric and provocation, noting that such “highly dangerous” incitements threatened to push an “already volatile situation past the boiling point.”“Such rhetoric, particularly if it denies the right of existence of one of the sides, or their right to statehood, or glorifies terror, is dangerous and plays into the hands of extremists beyond Israel and Palestine,” he warned.On the humanitarian side, efforts to provide essential support to vulnerable Palestinians are severely hampered by rising needs, severe funding cuts, restrictions in operating space and attempts to “delegitimize” reputable relief organizations, informed Mr. Mladenov, urging the international community to support the Humanitarian Response Plan for the region into 2019.Situation in GazaTurning to Gaza – where the situation deteriorated significantly this year – the senior UN official reiterated that the only way to ensure long-term peace in the enclave was through the reunification of Hamas-controlled Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, under a single, legitimate and democratic Authority, as well as through the end of Israeli occupation. It is “critical”, he added, that the Egyptian-led intra-Palestinian reconciliation process continue, even though there has been no progress of late.“The UN stands firmly in support of Egypt’s efforts in this regard and urges the parties to make serious efforts to ensure the return of the legitimate Palestinian Government to Gaza”, Mr. Mladenov said, underscoring that “Gaza is, and must remain, an integral part of a future Palestinian state as part of a two-State solution.”Strengthen international consensusConcluding his briefing, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process voiced concern over an “absence of collective efforts” to achieve an end to the occupation and the realization, of a negotiated two-State resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in line with relevant United Nations resolutions and previous agreements.“I believe that I speak on behalf of all of us today when I say that we all share a concern that at the end of 2018 we are nowhere closer to reviving efforts for a negotiated solution,” he said.“It is only by realizing the vision of two States living side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition, with Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Palestine, and all final status issues resolved permanently through negotiations, that the legitimate aspirations of both peoples will be achieved.” read more

2 10 19

To mark the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has stressed that “human trafficking is a heinous crime that affects every region of the world” – especially women and children.According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), some 72 per cent of detected victims are women and girls, and the percentage of child victims has more than doubled from 2004 to 2016.“Most detected victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation; victims are also trafficked for forced labour, recruitment as child soldiers and other forms of exploitation and abuse”, Mr. Guterres said in his message on the Day, marked annually on 30 July.Here’s our story.UNICEF budget must triple to fight DRC Ebola outbreak Updating the press on the deadly Ebola outbreak in the north-east region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jerome Pfaffmann, a Health Specialist for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that the agency would have to triple its budget to respond to the crisis.The spokesperson underlined the complexity of the outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, which are facing a public health emergency and a humanitarian crisis at the same time – including conflict and a major measles outbreak.UNICEF has already vaccinated more than 40,000 children against measles and plans to put in place a programme to address acute humanitarian and social needs.Execution of Bahrainis condemned by UN human rights office, amid allegations of unfair trial New UN report shows record numbers of children killed, maimed in conflict A new UN report has found that 2018 was the worst year on record for children caught up in armed conflict; the year saw the highest number killed or hurt since the United Nations began monitoring the violation.In the 20 conflict situations monitored in the 2018 edition of the Annual Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict, released Tuesday, more than 12,000 children were killed or maimed over that year.A “disheartened” Secretary-General António Guterres said that he was “particularly appalled” by the unprecedented numbers of grave violations committed against children.Children continued to be used in combat, particularly in Somalia, Nigeria and Syria: some 7,000 have been drawn into frontline fighting roles around the world during 2018. They also continued to be abducted, to be used in hostilities or for sexual violence: more than half of the 2,500 reported cases were in Somalia. Read about it here.Conflict, climate change among factors that increase ‘desperation that enables human trafficking to flourish’, says UN chief The execution of two Bahraini citizens on Friday has been strongly condemned by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a statement released on Tuesday.The executions took place despite concerns of Michelle Bachelet, the UN rights chief, that the men’s confessions were obtained under torture, and that they were denied due process and guarantees of a fair trial.The two men were tried in a mass hearing with 58 other defendants and convicted on charges of terrorism.A UN spokesperson said the High Commissioner is “very concerned” about the fate of other detainees at risk of imminent execution on death row in Bahrain and has called on the Bahraini Government to halt all pending executions.Spread some kindness, on International Day of Friendship The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is encouraging us all to brighten someone’s day, and spread a bit of kindness, on the UN’s International Day of Friendship.The call is part of UNICEF’s campaign to end violence in and around schools where, worldwide, around half of all students aged between 13 and 15, have reported experiencing some form of violence.The campaign includes a short video featuring K-pop superstars BTS singing their hit single “Answer: Love Myself”, showing young people confronting school violence. Listen to or download our audio News in Brief for 30 July on SoundCloud: read more

2 10 19

The new report, Essential Nutrition Actions: mainstreaming nutrition throughout the life course, stresses the role of primary health care as the foundation of universal health coverage.In order to achieve coverage for all, “nutrition should be positioned as one of the cornerstones of essential health packages”, Dr. Naoko Yamamoto, Assistant Director-General at WHO said, echoing the report’s key message.“We also need better food environments which allow all people to consume healthy diets,” he added.In addition to helping countries achieve health care for all, stepping up nutrition actions could help boost economies, “with every $1 spent by donors on basic nutrition programmes, returning $16 to the local economy”, WHO said in a statement.Meanwhile obesity levels continue to rise, jumping from 4.8 to 5.9 percent, for children between 1990 and 2018; an increase of nine million. When adults are accounted for, 13 per cent of the world’s population are considered obese, with numbers rising in nearly every country and region.Health issues stemming from poor nourishment have seen improvements in some respects, with a global decline in stunting, for example, between 1990 and 2018 from 39.2 to 21.9 per cent, in children under-five.Intervention means health packages “need to contain robust nutrition components but countries will need to decide which interventions best support their national health policies, strategies and plans,” said the UN health agency.,The guide aims to address the “double burden” of treating people who are underweight and overweight, and provide countries with a roadmap for better interventions.On 23 September, alongside the Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit, a high-level meeting is set to take place on the topic of Universal Health Coverage (UHC),In the lead-up to the General Assembly high-level week, WHO and partners will publish the latest version of the Global Monitoring Report on UHC, following global leaders’ 2015 pledge to achieving health for all by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.,Some key report findings:  Approximately 45 per cent of mortality in children under-five is linked to malnutrition. Breastfeeding with complimentary feeding, could reduce mortality among the under-fives by 19 per cent. Limiting salt intake to the recommended level of less than five grams daily, could prevent 1.7 million deaths per year alone. read more

2 10 19

A career information day held at Brock University’s Hamilton campus drew hundreds of teacher candidates hoping to learn more about future job opportunities.The Faculty of Education event, held Wednesday, Jan. 18, allowed students to meet with representatives from a variety of Ontario school boards, private schools, First Nations boards, and out-of-province and international schools to ask questions about applications, interviews and other topics related to their future job searches.Representatives from graduate programs and additional qualification courses were also available to offer information on potential academic career steps for teacher candidates, and Brock Career Services was on-site to review and provide guidance with student resumes. read more

2 10 19

The initial target was to walk the equivalent of a trip across Canada, but the end result covered more than four times that.The Great Canadian Challenge was an initiative launched by Brock Health Management and Wellness in the spring to have University employees track their distance walking, running or cycling through the months of May and June.“Our goal was to cross Canada for a total distance of 6,521 km and I thought it would be a bonus if we could make it back again for a total of 13,042 km,” said Kathryn Walker, Manager Health Management and Wellness.But when the results were tallied, around 80 employees who signed up for the challenge recorded a total of 25,499.32 km.A draw was held for everyone who entered the challenge and Sharon Janzen from the Map Library was the winner of a $20 Campus Store gift card. read more

2 10 19

This week’s Conversation with Goodman podcast host Susan LeBlanc talks to Ransom Hawley, founder of Caddle, a reward-based application that is garnering national attention.An experienced sales and marketing professional, Hawley left his job to pursue his idea full-time and started Caddle in 2015.When scouting locations for his company, Hawley chose Niagara for the support he’s received and its proximity to Toronto.Through the Caddle app, consumers can benefit from earning cash through their participation and brands benefit from a better way to target their consumers.“Caddle is a reward based platform that improves the way brands connect and engage with consumers,” explains Hawley. “We reward consumers for engaging in ads, answering surveys and purchasing products.”“We engage and educate the consumer and introduce them to the product via the ad and survey and then convert with purchase in that digital coupon,” Hawley said.“We offer that holistic and linear marketing platform and from a consumer perspective, you get to earn a little bit of extra money in your spare time.”Hawley, who had the opportunity to pitch Caddle on CBC’s Dragons’ Den show, attended the Improving Your Pitch event hosted by BioLinc, Brock’s business incubator run by the Goodman School of Business.This podcast is the latest in the Conversations with Goodman series which is produced by the Goodman Marketing, Communications and Alumni Relations team and features guests from the Goodman community. read more

2 10 19

PITTSBURGH — Kenny Pickett isn’t offended by the term “game manager.” Last the Pittsburgh sophomore checked, the phrase isn’t an insult but a job description.“Every quarterback needs to manage the game first,” Pickett said.Pickett’s pre-snap checklist is lengthy. Is the protection right? Does he need to audible? Are the other 10 guys lined up in the right spot? What defence are the opponents in?“There’s a lot that goes on,” Pickett said.Each decision is vital in determining whether the ensuing play does or doesn’t work, one of the reasons why Pickett doesn’t get too caught up in what he does — or more specifically, what he doesn’t do — once the ball is in his hands. If he needs to throw it, great. If he doesn’t, even better. Pickett insists he’ll never get caught up in his own numbers.“My whole mindset is to find a way,” he said.One the 20-year-old has no plans on changing Saturday when he leads the Panthers (7-5) onto the field to face No. 2 Clemson (12-0) in the ACC Championship game in Charlotte, North Carolina.While Pickett’s first full season as a starter largely lacked the dazzle of his spectacular coming-out party — he accounted for all three Pitt touchdowns in an emphatic stunner over then second-ranked Miami in the 2017 finale — he hardly cares. He passed for just 1,825 yards, the fewest since 1996 by a Pitt quarterback who played in at least 10 games.Not that it matters to Pickett. He committed to the Panthers because he believed in what coach Pat Narduzzi is building, not to mount a Heisman Trophy campaign. By that metric, this year has been a success.“I wanted to get back to a championship here,” Pickett said. “It’s where this university has been and where it needs to be, winning championships.”Pitt won the Coastal Division for the first time thanks in part to Pickett avoiding mistakes — he threw just five interceptions — and the ever-churning legs of running backs Qadree Ollison and Darrin Hall. If Pickett spends most of Saturday turning around and stuffing the ball into the midsection of his backfield mates, he stressed he will do it “with a smile on my face.”A smile Pickett has tried to maintain during a sometimes uneven year. The Panthers played a daunting nonconference schedule that included losses to Penn State, Central Florida and Notre Dame, games in which he was largely a nonfactor. He averaged just 115 yards passing in the setbacks and his regular season ended with him watching from the sideline after Miami sacked him six times in a 24-3 defeat that took some of the momentum out of Pitt’s run to a division title.Call it part of the maturation process, one Pickett understands was unavoidable, pointing out “some things you can’t learn until you go through it.” He believes the growing pains have helped make him a better player. Asked to describe the difference between where he is now and where he was a year ago, Pickett responded, “I’m a lot more confident in what I’m seeing and slinging it.”Clemson defensive co-ordinator Brent Venables is wary. The Tigers have one of the most dominant defensive lines in the country but gave up 510 yards passing last week to South Carolina’s Jake Bentley and have had issues this season with quarterbacks like Syracuse’s Eric Dungey, who are efficient if not dynamic.“So Pickett, he’s a good football player,” Venables said. “He’s tough, he’s instinctive. Throws a good ball. He’s a mobile guy. Plays with a good edge to him, very competitive. Don’t know him from Adam, but you can tell all those things from tape. Just kind of a baller.”A moniker Pickett has earned nearly from the moment he stepped on campus in January 2017. He spent most of his freshman year as the third option behind Max Brown and Ben DiNucci. Yet his teammates noticed a swagger about Pickett that belied his inexperience.Defensive back Dennis Briggs caught a firsthand look last fall while Pickett was running the scout team in practice.Briggs came in on a blitz and figured he had Pickett cold. One problem. When Briggs went to wrap Pickett up, Pickett spun out of the way and vanished.“Almost broke my ankles,” Briggs said. “I’m like, ‘Who is this dude?’”Briggs laughs at the memory, mostly because he understands he’s hardly the only one who’s been embarrassed after underestimating Pickett. It happened to Miami last fall. The Tigers understand they can’t afford to let it happen to them if they want to reach the College Football Playoff for a fourth straight year.Pitt is a 25-point underdog. That’s fine by Pickett. Defying the odds is kind of his thing. He watched on TV two years ago when the Panthers stunned Clemson in Death Valley. His view will be far different this time around. A win and the Panthers take another step closer to achieving the vision Narduzzi outlined to Pickett on the recruiting trail, a vision set on winning, not mind-boggling stats. Just the way Pickett likes it.“We’re finding who we are, finding our identity as a program,” Pickett said. “I’m just doing my part to step up as a leader of the offence.”___AP Sports Writer Pete Iacobelli in Clemson, South Carolina, contributed to this report.___More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25Will Graves, The Associated Press read more