8 October 2008The United Nations agency entrusted with assisting Palestinian refugees issued an urgent appeal today for Arab funds for emergency aid for 30,000 people whose homes were destroyed by fighting last year in northern Lebanon, noting that so far only the United States has come forward with a firm pledge. Last month, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) appealed for $43 million for temporary services such as emergency food rations and shelter for the refugees from the Nahr el Bared Camp. So far only the US has pledged $4.3 million, while a few European donors have indicated a willingness to pledge, the agency said, noting that no donations have been forthcoming from Arab donors. UNRWA Commissioner-General Karen AbuZayd called on “Arab donors to help UNRWA respond adequately to the humanitarian needs of these refugees who have endured more than their fair share of misery and displacement.” The agency’s officials have said that if funds do not come in soon, essential emergency programmes will be severely reduced, since $2.5 million is needed every month for basic emergency aid. “Unless we receive additional contributions by the end of the year, services to refugees will suffer. We must not allow that to happen,” Ms. AbuZayd said in Vienna at the signing of an agreement between UNRWA and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), worth $5 million, for building eight new schools to replace those destroyed by the fighting in Nahr el Bared. OFID has contributed $7 million to UNRWA projects since 2004 and today is the single largest supporter of the agency’s microfinance programmes which give refugees an escape from the poverty trap and offer financial self-sufficiency. “This is a cooperative enterprise for which UNRWA is grateful and in which we can all take pride,” she said. She noted that OFID was among the first donors to respond to a joint appeal by UNRWA and the Lebanese Government for $445 million for rebuilding Nahr el Bared, the largest project in the agency’s nearly 60-year history. Of the $57.8 million pledged so far, 91 per cent came from Western governments. “I hope I will soon learn of Arab government pledges, widely anticipated – and essential – if this project is to go ahead as planned,” she said. Overall, she said her organization was facing a shortfall of $80 million from its regular budget, in part because of the rising cost of fuel which had hit UNRWA hard. She appealed to OPEC countries to help cover $4 million of fuel costs for UNRWA operations for 12 months in the occupied Palestinian territory, pointing out that the agency helps local municipalities in Gaza with fuel supplies for garbage disposal to prevent epidemics from breaking out.
22 June 2010United Nations officials today stressed the need to ensure that the world body is equipped with the requisite human, material and financial resources, and the backing of Member States, to field successful peace operations, as they marked the 10th anniversary of a landmark report on the issue. The General Assembly’s thematic debate, entitled UN Peacekeeping – Looking into the Future, examines the challenges and opportunities for peacekeeping since the 2000 report produced by the panel on UN peace operations, chaired by Lakhdar Brahimi, former Special Adviser to the Secretary-General and former Special Representative for Afghanistan. The Brahimi Report, as it has come to be known, is “a milestone in the evolution of United Nations peacekeeping operations,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told today’s meeting, noting that it came after a period of unprecedented challenges for the Organization, including a rise in the number of deployed personnel and increased complexity in mission mandates. The first UN peacekeeping mission, the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), began operations in Palestine in May 1948. Today there are more than 124,000 personnel serving in 16 operations on four continents, doing everything from clearing landmines and delivering aid to helping refugees and supporting free and fair elections.“Thanks to the reforms proposed by the panel, UN peacekeeping has been able to grow, incorporate the lessons learned from those experiences, and continue to serve as a cost-effective and flexible tool – a flagship UN activity, a mission of hope for people caught in armed conflict,” he stated. Mr. Ban added that it is necessary to continue to strengthen the Organization’s peacekeeping machinery, and said that he is encouraged that the Assembly’s different committees have expressed general support for the proposals that are part of the New Horizons agenda to reform peacekeeping. “The process has helped to reinvigorate the peacekeeping partnership through dialogue between troop- and police-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat,” he stated. “Today we have reached a better understanding of what UN peacekeeping should and can do.”Peacekeeping has been “a unique and uniquely successful experiment,” but there is a perpetual need to sharpen our tools, he added. “We can do this, but only with continued engagement from Member States, not only in terms of contributions of personnel and financing, but with strong and consistent political support.”Noting that peacekeeping is a collective undertaking, Assembly President Ali Treki stated that the debate is intended to not only provide guidance on policy but also to galvanize the full engagement, participation and commitment of Member States for the smooth and effective functioning of peacekeeping operations. “The bulk of UN peacekeeping presence today is in integrated missions, mostly deployed in complex crises and conflicts often having military, political, humanitarian and other dimensions,” he noted.“To build and sustain peace in such complex and fragile situations, we require a broader, holistic strategy that synergizes the peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts to address the interlinked issues of security and development in a comprehensive manner.”He noted the need to reassess the ways in which the UN and other partners engage in assisting countries emerging from conflict. “The record of the UN and the international community is mixed and we are all struggling over how to get it right.“We must uphold the principle of ‘do no harm.’ We must candidly review how we operate in these situations, to ensure that our actions and support do not undermine the national authorities. One size fits all approaches do not work. We must do better in catering to the specific requirements of individual situations keeping the national priorities and perspectives in the forefront,” said Mr. Treki.Among those participating in today’s meeting is Mr. Brahimi, via videoconference from Paris, as well as Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy, Joint Special Representative for the African Union-UN mission in Darfur Ibrahim Gambari and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Liberia, Ellen Margrethe Løj.Speaking to reporters, Mr. Le Roy noted that peacekeeping remains one of the flagship activities of the UN and cited achievements in such places as Timor-Leste and Liberia. Today UN peacekeeping is facing more and more complex situations and the challenges associated with that. “That’s why we want from our side to increase the dialogue between the three main partners – the Security Council, the Member States and the Secretariat,” he said.
Maj.-Gen. Gloodtdofsky, 58, will replace Major-General Kim Moon Hwa of the Republic of Korea as the Chief Military Observer and head of the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). Mr. Ban expressed his gratitude to Maj.-Gen. Kim, who completed his assignment on 27 November, for his exemplary and highly professional service in UNMOGIP over the past two years.The Secretary-General said Maj.-Gen. Gloodtdofsky brings extensive and wide-ranging experience, including significant command expertise and prior service in UN peacekeeping to his new position. He joined the Uruguayan army in 1972 and is currently a division commander.Between September 2006 and November 2007, Maj.-Gen. Gloodtdofsky served as Deputy Force Commander of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and, in 1991, as a Military Observer in UNMOGIP. He was also the Military Adviser of the Permanent Mission of Uruguay to the UN from 2001 to 2003. 17 December 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appointed Major-General Raul Gloodtdofsky Fernandez of Uruguay as head of the United Nations mission in India and Pakistan.
OTTAWA — The Harper government says it has upgraded its free trade deal with Chile, including obtaining greater access for Canadian banks to the south American country’s financial services market.As well, the upgrade in the 16-year-old treaty includes new rules on government procurement, customs procedures and dispute settlement.Trade Minister Ed Fast said ahead of a formal announcement that the financial services deal will ensure Canada’s banks, insurance firms and other business will enjoy enhanced access in Chile.The financial sector represents about 16% of Chile’s gross domestic product.Ottawa says it estimates trade with Chile boosts Canada’s economy by about $250 million annually, a relatively small number.Canadian Press
TORONTO — PricewaterhouseCoopers says there was about $2.7 billion raised through Canadian initial public offerings last year — a 50% increase from 2012.The accounting and consulting firm says there were a total of 30 IPOs on all Canadian exchanges in 2013, including six in the fourth quarter that raised $582.6 million on the Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange.In 2012, there were 62 issuers that went public but they raised only about $1.8 billion, including 23 in the fourth quarter that raised $1.3 billion.IPOs enable businesses to raise money by selling shares or other types of equity that will be listed and traded through a stock exchange.Investors who buy into the business through the IPO will reap a profit if they sell the stock at a higher price, or a loss if the price goes down.Among the most notable Canadian IPOs in the fourth quarter were Canadian Tire’s real estate spinoff, which began trading in October. CT Real Estate Investment Trust began trading at $10.01 on Oct. 23 and closed the year at $10.92 on Dec. 31.
OTTAWA — Donald Trump’s trade czar says U.S. negotiators will take a “do-no-harm” approach to renegotiating NAFTA amid fears that altering the deal could hurt many American agricultural sectors.U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer repeated the remarks several times Thursday as he testified before a House of Representatives committee in Washington.He insisted he would enter the upcoming NAFTA talks with the goal of modernizing outdated aspects of the 23-year-old agreement, while protecting gains U.S. farmers and ranchers have been reaping from the trilateral pact.“It is very important that we do no harm,” said Lighthizer, who will play a central role in negotiations that could begin as early as mid-August.“Our very high priority will be making sure that we do not disrupt our sales in agricultural products to either Canada or Mexico.”U.S. President Donald Trump has signalled he wants to do more than simply tweak the North American Free Trade Agreement, which includes Canada and Mexico.He’s called for “very big changes” to a pact he’s labelled a disaster, or else he will scrap it once and for all.NAFTA is a deeply important deal for Canadian businesses, which have been closely following developments in the U.S.Lighthizer’s responses Thursday to the ways and means committee suggest the U.S. is preparing for a surgical approach to try to avoid severing any American benefits.“Clearly, with respect to the provisions where NAFTA has been successful, we want to secure that going forward,” said Lighthizer, who noted he will pursue adjustments to some rules of origins issues.“We clearly will not be part of a negotiation where there are new barriers to agriculture.”Rep. Jason Smith, a Republican from Missouri, said his constituents blame NAFTA for job losses in places like shoe, bicycle and clothing factories in the state.Smith said the deal needs updates when it comes to manufacturing, but he urged Lighthizer to preserve the big agricultural gains.“Any disruption of trade with Mexico and Canada is a concern of our farmers and our ranchers,” Smith said.Lighthizer’s remarks Thursday came shortly before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the New York Times in an interview that NAFTA had been improved a dozen times over the years and will be updated once again to adjust to new challenges.“Canada is far more important to the United States that the United States realizes,” said Trudeau, when asked about the future of the deal.“I can understand the politics around saying that ‘Oh, we need to improve it, it’s terrible.’“The facts don’t necessarily bear that out, though. It’s created massive numbers of jobs in both of our economies. It’s created tremendous advantages.”Earlier this week, Lighthizer told the Senate finance committee that the U.S. plans to move very quickly on NAFTA talks. The negotiations can begin Aug. 16, at the end of a 90-day consultation period in the U.S.He said the U.S. is still discussing the specific start date with its partners.The U.S. will hold public hearings scheduled for June 27-29 and will release a detailed summary on July 17 of NAFTA negotiating objectives.Lighthizer has also indicated he has no deadline to complete the negotiations because the Trump administration’s top priority is nailing down the best deal possible for the U.S.Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitter
The average value for the Canadian dollar on Friday was 77.60 cents US, up 0.36 of a cent from Thursday.The U.S. dollar was at C$1.2887, down 0.59 of a cent.Pound sterling was at C$1.6603, down 1.70 cents, and US$1.2884, down 0.72 of a cent.The Euro was at C$1.4692, down 0.75 of a cent.Quotations provided by the Bank of Canada.
She urged Manmohan Singh to take immediate steps to initiate a diplomatic dialogue with the Sri Lankan government to immediately stop the recurrence of such incidents of arrest and harassment of Tamil Nadu fishermen in the Palk bay, which is their traditional fishing ground.Jayalalithaa emphasised that the arrests and detention of fishermen for long periods of time by the Sri Lankan government have created tension and agitation among the fishing community in Tamil Nadu. “A strong message should be delivered through diplomatic channels that India will not tolerate these attacks. Our diplomats in Colombo should take up the matter with the government of Sri Lanka and take concrete steps to secure the immediate release of all the 90 fishermen who are now in Sri Lankan jails.” “The fishermen community in Tamil Nadu, which faces continuous harassment not only by the Sri Lankan Navy but also attacks by Sri Lankan miscreants in the guise of fishermen, now nurses a strong grievance against the government of India that it has forsaken them in a time of crisis and is apathetic to their interests,” she said. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa today requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take immediate steps to initiate “coercive diplomacy” against “unfriendly” Sri Lanka that continues to attack Indian fishermen, the IANS news service reported.In a letter to Manmohan Singh Tuesday, the text of which was released to media here, Jayalalithaa, citing the arrest of 20 Indian fishermen by Sri Lanka Aug 3, said: “These continuous attacks and abductions are acts of an unfriendly nation and should be countered effectively by coercive diplomacy.” Jayalalithaa said 70 innocent fishermen from Tamil Nadu languish in Sri Lankan jails.
Australia has issued a new travel advice to tourists visiting Sri Lanka after the recent floods and landslides.Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishopa said that Australia’s thoughts are with the Sri Lankan people after heavy rainfall in recent days caused widespread flooding and landslides, loss of life and damage to homes. Australia’s travel advice for Sri Lanka has been updated and any Australians travelling to Sri Lanka have also been told to ensure they are registered on smartraveller.gov.au and monitor travel advice to the region. (Colombo Gazette) She said the Australian Government stands ready to provide any assistance that Sri Lanka may require in responding to the disaster. The Foreign Minister also said that any Australians intending to remain in or visit the region should heed the advice of local authorities and stay informed of local conditions.
A Tamils for Clinton spokesman said that at the 34th session of the UNHRC in March 2017 they will ask the new US administration to pass a resolution to ask the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Sri Lanka to the ICC, to ensure accountability for the serious abuses committed by Sri Lanka in the 2009 conflict. A US based Tamil diaspora group says it will urge US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to bring alleged Sri Lankan war criminals to the International Criminal Court (ICC).Tamils for Clinton, which is supporting Clinton at the Presidential elections next month, noted that so far Tamils have not seen substantial results in Sri Lanka after the latest UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution. Tamils for Clinton is a political activist group comprised of Americans with the majority being Tamil Americans. They believe that over 145,000 Tamil civilians living in Sri Lanka were massacred during the last weeks of the Sri Lankan ethnic war. (Colombo Gazette) “Currently, about half a million displaced Tamil people live in Northeast of Sri Lanka. There are fifty thousand orphans and ninety thousand war widows who are still waiting for accountability and justice seven years after the end of conflict. Transitional justice processes and mechanisms are a critical component of the United Nations framework for strengthening the rule of law; Tamils should not accept anything less than that,” Tamils for Clinton said.
Pakistan Naval Ship ZULFIQUAR has brought in dry rations, medicines, de-flooding pumps and other relief items. Additionally, the Ship has the capability to provide search and rescue facilities through its helicopter, rescue boats, medical team and expert divers.Sri Lanka is facing severe floods which has caused havoc and devastation in many parts of the country. (Colombo Gazette) The Foreign Minister expressed his gratitude to the people and Government of Pakistan for providing timely and valued assistance. The Minister emphasized that Pakistan and Sri Lanka enjoy excellent relations. It has been a tradition that both nations come to assist each other in times of adversity. The Naval Ship PNS ZULFIQUAR dispatched by the Government of Pakistan arrived in Colombo today with relief goods.The Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan, Dr. Sarfraz Ahmed Khan Sipra handed over the relief goods to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Ravi Karunanayake at the Colombo Port. On the Occasion , Dr. Sarfraz Sipra said that the people and the Government of Pakistan will leave no stone unturned to further help the people and the Government of Sri Lanka in this time of need.
The Prime Minister said the current Government, since taking office in 2015, has achieved a lot. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says the development of the country will come at a cost.Speaking at an event at the UNP headquarters today, the Prime Minister said that he was held up in traffic today as a result of the construction of the Rajagiriya overhead bridge. He said the public will face similar issues when the country moves forward. He says the Government has provided over 400,000 jobs, given houses, reduced the price of fuel and increased the monthly wage of Government employees. (Colombo Gazette)
He said that if the university students continue to protest it is only they who will stand to lose. “It is clear like the sun and the moon that we will not shut down SAITM,” he said. The Government insisted it will not agree to demands to close the SAITM private campus in Malabe.High Education Minister Lakshman Kiriella told reporters in Kandy that the students who have been protesting against SAITM must return to their classes. The Minister said that the issue related to SAITM is now before court and the Government will respect the final court ruling and act accordingly. (Colombo Gazette)
UK Minister for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field is to visit Sri Lanka to discuss reconciliation, demining and the illegal wildlife trade.The visit to Colombo and Jaffna on the 5th and 6th October is Field’s first official visit to Sri Lanka since becoming Foreign Office Minister for Asia and the Pacific. “The UK and Sri Lanka are long-standing friends, and we are committed to supporting Sri Lanka achieve its commitments on reconciliation and human rights. I welcome the Sri Lankan Government’s commitment to reconciliation and strengthening democracy. I am looking forward to talking with the Government and affected communities about the additional steps that are needed to deliver long-term peace and stability for all Sri Lankans,” Field said. During his two-day visit he will meet Minister of Foreign Affairs Tilak Marapana, Minister of Finance and Media Mangala Samaraweera, Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan, Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya and Governor of the Northern Province Reginald Cooray, the British High Commission in Colombo said. In Colombo he will meet with families affected by enforced disappearances from both the North and South of the country, and hear of their concerns and their hopes for the Office of Missing Persons.He will also meet UK and Sri Lankan education institutions at the British Council to discuss education, and the UK’s world-leading role in transnational learning. In Northern Sri Lanka, the Minister will visit a UK-funded demining operation and meet families living on land cleared of mines. He will speak with British demining charity The Halo Trust and hear how UK support for demining has enabled displaced families to return home. He will also visit the British Council teaching centre in Jaffna where he will talk with young people about their aspirations for the future and the importance of education.“Having hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2013, Sri Lanka is an ob-vious partner in defining and driving a shared vision of the Commonwealth, to ensure it is fitted to deliver for all its member states into the future. The UK will host an ambitious and dynamic Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018, with the purpose of ensuring that the Commonwealth remains on a path that is relevant for the 21st century,” the Minister said. (Colombo Gazette)
United National Party (UNP) senior member Lakshman Kiriella says UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) leader Maithripala Sirisena will unite again after the Local Government (LG) elections.He said that despite both sides attacking each other on the stage at election rallies ahead of the February 10 Local Government elections, everything will be forgotten after the election. Kiriella said that during elections it is normal for both sides to attack each other but after the election they will be like long lost lovers. The Leader of the House also insisted that the unity Government will continue in power till 2020. (Colombo Gazette)
The curfew which was imposed in Kandy during this week has now been completely removed.The Police said the curfew has been completely removed as the Kandy area was peaceful.
Jennifer RowsellAn article in a popular magazine reported recently that excessive video game-playing accounts for boys’ “underachievement” in reading and writing.But Jennifer Rowsell says her research on the use of new media in the classroom tells a different story.“Boys and girls are creative. They’re interested and voracious readers and, what is more, they do so many other sophisticated things that weren’t done a decade ago,” says Rowsell, director of Brock University’s Centre for Multiliteracies, The Reading Clinic and professor in the Faculty of Education.During her five years as Canada Research Chair in Multiliteracies, Rowsell has pursued a number of projects that explore how rapidly developing technologies and new communicational practices can teach children skills and impart information in new and exciting ways.For instance, with the Minecraft project, a collaborative research project with Rob Simon at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Rowsell came to discover that creating new worlds within this incredibly popular video game has enabled students to gain knowledge and skills.“I interviewed a young man who created a whole art deco world,” Rowsell says. “It required him to do research on the Internet about art deco, about aesthetics in the 1920s, about the historical time period during when art deco flourished.“It may seemingly be that students are playing this video game, but actually they’re going out and doing a lot of extensive reading on the kinds of things that inform design processes that they are engaged in.”She gives another example of a group of girls who used characters from the movie Frozen to write about themselves and conduct research on sibling relationships.“The arguments across all of the research projects is that, when you actually find out what students love and what they do outside of school, and then you use those technologies, then you start to make school more permeable, more of a contemporary space driven by interest,” Rowsell explains. “Students exhibit motivation and interest when they are motivated by what they love.”In turn, Rowsell says educators can capitalize on this interest by “harnessing their interest to schooling topics, such as making short films or bringing Minecraft into the classroom.“So, using the example of the young male student, teachers can say, ‘OK, we will talk about Minecraft, but then we will move over and talk about art deco, and then we’ll move into studying a novel that was written during the age of art deco.’”The federal government’s Canada Research Chairs program announced recently that Rowsell was among those across the country getting their chair positions renewed.“Holding a Canada Research Chair is an incredible gift,” she says. “I feel privileged and grateful at the same time. It’s absorbing – I love it.”In addition to the Minecraft Project, which studied the classroom use of ebooks, iBooks, apps and the Minecraft video game, Rowsell’s other projects include:• Crayons and iPads, documenting the impact of iPad technology on children’s creativity and output (principal investigator is Deb Harwood)• Community Arts Zone, which brings into schools drama, movement, photography, music and play-building, expanding the repertoire of children’s literacy; and• Remaking Families, which studies how families use photographs, Facebook and other technologies to tell their family stories (principal investigator is CRC Andrea Doucet and co-investigator is Diane Collier).During her next five-year term, Rowsell says she aims to take her projects a step further. “I would like to work more actively with the community, with more schools, to bring into the classroom these multi-modal approaches that will range from using iPads to creative expression of the arts.”Rowsell plans to arrange for media professionals to teach students the “nuts and bolts” of various aspects of media. She is also involved in a Western University-led research project to investigate the introduction of iCloud technology into schools.The Canada Research Chairs program invests approximately $265 million per year to attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds. Chair holders aim to achieve research excellence in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences.
Hamilton police are investigating more than ten related incidents of overnight vehicle and home entries in the mountain, Ancaster and Waterdown areas. Police say suspects get into the homeowner’s unlocked vehicles to access the garage door opener. Once inside, they take the car keys and steal the vehicle. In the first entry, the suspects were wearing dark clothing. Police are reminding residents to keep all doors locked and windows closed.
The Ministry of Labour is investigating a crash Saturday night at Flamboro Speedway north of Hamilton.The owner of the racetrack says an employee is one of the five people injured after a car went over the wall.The owner of the speedway, John Casale is pretty shaken up after the crash.He’s thankful all five people injured, including his employee have been released from hospital. But the future of the speedway is in jeopardy.Tthe race car went over the cement barricade and crashed into the fence.John Casale has owned the speedway for more than 40 years and says he’s never had anything like this happen before.The driver of the car, 45 year old Kevin Hinds from Whitby was cut out of the vehicle, seat and all.He was released from hospital Saturday night. Four other people were reported injured and according to Casale all are now out of hospital, including one employee.The Ministry of Labour is investigating. They were on scene Sunday morning and are expected back on Monday .The speedway will remain closed until the Ministry of Labour investigation is complete.
NEW YORK — CBS chose the middle of the summer for Norah O’Donnell to debut as “CBS Evening News” anchor, so probably should not be surprised that not too many people noticed.The Nielsen company says that 5.24 million people watched her newscast each day on average last week. That’s essentially unchanged from the week before, when CBS was also a distant third in the ratings behind ABC’s “World News Tonight” and NBC’s “Nightly News.”There are different ways to look at the numbers. CBS says last week’s viewership trends up ever-so-slightly compared to the past month. Its rivals point out that the audience is down 5 per cent from the same week a year ago.Either way, O’Donnell has her work cut out for her.The Associated Press