Slew of security measures for peaceful polls

first_imgKolkata: Kolkata Police have made elaborate arrangements for the last phase of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019. Keeping the recent cases of huge amount of cash seizure in mind, several wings of the Kolkata Police have been instructed to keep a strict vigil across the city apart from general security arrangement.According to Kolkata Police officials, there are 4,755 booths in 1,576 polling premises, which fall under the Kolkata Police jurisdiction. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaTo ensure the rights of the voters and prevent untoward incidents, it has been decided that there will be two Quick Response Team (QRT) in each police station’s jurisdiction. These teams will be in place at strategic points in the area so that in case of emergency they can reach the spot in minimum time. Also 274 sector mobile teams will ply across the city. To deal with any kind of clash and other problems, 53 Flying Squad Team and 60 Static Squad Team (SST) will be there to assist the other two groups. Apart from patrolling teams, there will be 180 police picket and 80 naka-checking points which will be made static throughout Sunday. There will also be a special Mobile Striking Force which would be led by Divisional Deputy Commissioners. According to sources, normal security arrangements will be in place. Apart from general Heavy Radio Flying Squad (HRFS), Striking Force (SF) and River Patrol and Divisional Mobiles will be deployed usual. Sensitive areas will be kept under strict vigil. Central Forces will reach the designated polling booths by Saturday afternoon.last_img read more

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Delhi HC seeks JNU reply on plea for early hearing of contempt petition

first_imgNew Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday sought JNU’s response on a plea by several women students seeking early hearing on a contempt petition filed against the varsity and a professor who is accused in a sexual harassment case. Justice J R Midha issued notices to the university, its vice chancellor, professor Atul Johri and Delhi Police on the early hearing application and listed the matter for consideration on July 2. The court also called for the records of the main petition on the next date. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: JavadekarThe students sought early hearing after the court on May 3 listed the contempt as well as the main petition for hearing on October 31. In the main petition, the students have challenged the clean chit given by JNU’s Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to the professor. The ICC report of July 23 last year followed the high court’s May 29, 2018 direction to the committee to find out whether a prima facie case of misconduct was made out against the professor to suspend him from the Jawaharlal Nehru University. Also Read – Union min Hardeep Singh Puri, Delhi L-G lay foundation stones for various projects in DwarkaAdvocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for the women students, said there was urgency on hearing because the petitioners are scholars who will not be able to complete their PhD if not given access to the laboratory. She said the contempt petition has been filed against JNU, its vice chancellor and the professor for allegedly “wilfully disobeying” the earlier directions of the high court given in its orders of May 29 and May 2, 2018. The plea said the court had directed that Johri will have no access to a particular laboratory and the authorities will give complete access of the laboratory and separate keys to the students. It said the petitioners have learnt that on the request of Johri, the executive council of JNU in February allowed him access to the laboratory in School of Life Sciences and delegated teaching responsibilities back to him. The plea sought contempt proceedings against JNU, VC and Johri and that the resolution passed in the EC’s meeting be stayed.last_img read more

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Rights body condemns US repatriation of Algerian detainee

first_imgWASHINGTON – A regional human rights body Thursday condemned the United States’ forced repatriation of an Algerian detainee from Guantanamo Bay prison earlier this month.The Inter-American Human Rights Commission said in a statement the transfer was “against the will of Djamel Ameziane and in violation of international human rights.”Ameziane and another Algerian, Bensayah Belkecem, were sent home from Guantanamo December 5 despite their protests that they faced persecution there. The United States said the transfers were coordinated with the Algerian government “to ensure these transfers took place with appropriate security and humane treatment assurances.”The commission, a body of the Organization of American States, took up Ameziane’s case in March 2012.It said he was held in a secret prison in Algeria after his arrival in the country but was released on December 16.Nevertheless, it said the US transfer was “a violation of the principle of ‘no expulsion,’ which prohibits transfers and deportations of people to countries where they run the risk of being tortured.”The United States recently has stepped up repatriations of Guantanamo prisoners as part of a long-stalled bid by President Barack Obama to close the 12-year-old “war on terror” detention center on the southeastern tip of Cuba.Currently, 160 detainees are still being held at Guantanamo, about half of whom have been approved for transfers.last_img read more

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Syrian refugees struggle against cold

first_imgSULAYMANIYAH – Syrian refugees struggle to survive the cold weather and bleak camp conditions at Arbat refugee camp in the Sulaymaniyah province in the Kurdish regional administration in the north of Iraq.Refugees reportedly face extreme need for doctors and medical supplies.The Arbat camp hosts around 2,000 Syrian refugees and most of their basic needs, such as food and clothes, are met by the Iraqi Kurdish people. Refugees, who are able to find job and cheap shelter, migrate to cities, while the number of refugees working and living in Sulaymaniyah exceeds 20,000. Those without employment and shelter in city centers struggle against winter conditions in camps.Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Muhammed Yusuf, a Syrian refugee, said they are in need of gynecologists and medical materials, stressing that it would benefit the women in the camp if the administration permits Syrian doctors to work there.Muhammed Ahmed, another refugee, said the camp’s tents were not suitable for winter conditions and occasionally caught fire, against which camp residents stood guard.Refugees at Arbat camp also ask the administration’s officials to transfer them to the Behirke camp near Irbil.last_img read more

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US Ambassador to UN Praises Morocco’s Decision to Maintain Flights To…

New York (UN) – US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power praised the airlines which maintained flights to the Ebola worst affected West African countries, including Morocco’s carrier Royal Air Maroc (RAM), saying the remaining flights are a precious “lifeline” for the people of the region.Following a tour in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the US official hailed the airlines of Belgium, France and Morocco for maintaining their flights to the West African region.These flights are a “lifeline” for the people of this region who, thanks to these airlines, can move while respecting certain protocols, she added. Royal Air Maroc decided to maintain its regular scheduled flights to the three worst hit countries by the Ebola pandemic (Sierra Leon, Guinea and Liberia) “in a gesture of solidarity” read more

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Rabat: Africa’s Highest Suspension Bridge to Be Operational in June

Rabat – Morocco’s landmark cable-stayed bridge, which is the highest and longest of its kind in Africa, is going to be inaugurated for traffic use in June 2016.The information was announced by the Deputy Minister for Transport, Mohamed Najib Boulif, on Wednesday, May 11.The bridge, which was set across Oued Bouregreg, is 950 meters long, with three lanes in each direction, a central span of 375 meters, 100 meter deck height and two main towers of 200 meters height with an architecture inspired by the Islamic arts and architecture. This project is supposed to have important environmental and social impacts. The bridge, which is part of the highway by-passing Rabat will significantly alleviate traffic in the cities of Rabat and Salé.The Russky Bridge, connecting Vladivostok to Russky Island in Russia is the bridge with the largest range in the world with 1,104 meters. It will soon be overtaken by Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge in Istanbul, which will be inaugurated next August and will have a range of 1,408 meters. read more

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Moroccan Amazigh Activist Interrogated by Police over Threats to ‘Slaughter’ Arabs

Rabat – Amazigh female activist, Malika Mazane, is currently under police investigation following a controversial video she published where she threatened to “slaughter Arabs”, according to Al Yaoum24.The Amazigh activist and made her statements when she was angrily calling for an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq, saying that the Arab there are denying them this right.“My Kurdish brothers, this time I will speak directly to those racist Arabs of Iraq”, she said. “Those who are against your right to self-determination, I tell them if your keep being opposed to the establishment of a Kurdish stat, be sure that we the indigenous people of North Africa, the Amazigh and Copts, we will chase Arabs back to their land”. She went on with her bluntly racist statement: “either you let the Kurds have their own state or we kick you out from here. Enough is enough. You have destroyed our land. We don’t want Arabs anymore in North Africa and Egypt.Things got even uglier when she presented Arabs with two options: either you let Kurds create their state or we, the Amazigh people of North Africa, we’re ready to join hands with Satan and Israel to kick you out of our land”.Threats reached a clear incitation to violence when she said “we’ll create chaos and slaughter Arabs, one after one, especially those in the Gulf”.Many Amazigh activists sympathize with Kurds as they see that both ethnicities have been long marginalized by pan-Arab regimes.Mazane had previously been at the heart of other controversies. In the past, she declared she was ready to offer her body for Kurdish soldiers fighting ISIS.Her recent statements have been widely condemned on social media as an incitement to violence. read more

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Imperial Oil reports $853M Q4 profit, boosted by downstream operations

The Canadian Press Companies in this story: (TSX:IMO) CALGARY — Imperial Oil Ltd. reported a profit of $853 million in the fourth quarter compared with a loss of $137 million in the same quarter a year earlier.Imperial says the profit amounted to $1.08 per diluted share for the last three months of 2018 compared with a loss of 16 cents per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2017, which included $566 million of upstream asset impairments.Revenue and other income for the quarter totalled $7.89 billion, down from $8.08 billion in the last three months of 2017.Imperial says its upstream operations lost $310 million in the fourth quarter, compared to a loss of $481 million in the same period of 2017.Meanwhile, the company’s downstream operations earned $1.14 billion in the quarter, up from $290 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, boosted by stronger margins the absence of turnaround activities in the quarter.For the full year, Imperial says it earned $2.31 billion or $2.86 per diluted share in 2018, up from $490 million or 58 cents per share in 2017. read more

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King Mohammed VI in Al Hoceima ahead of Significant Throne Day…

Rabat- As Morocco’s Throne Day approaches on July 30, Moroccan media have reported that King Mohammed VI has been in the troubled northern city of Al Hoceima since Monday, July 23.Security services have moved into cities in the north, especially to Al Hoceima, where King Mohammed VI has arrived with senior officials, Al Massae newspaper reported Friday.The King was seen in his car on an Al Hoceima street with his advisor, Fouad Ali El Himma. Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita also arrived in the northern city along with the minister of the interior, who oversees the security arrangements in the city. For the 19th anniversary of Throne Day, the King will give a speech addressed to the Moroccan nation, expected to be broadcast from a northern city.  The Ministry of the Royal Household, Protocol, and Chancellory announced that the King’s speech will be broadcast on radio and television Sunday, July 29, at 9:30 p.m.According to public expectations, the King will most likely speak from Al Hoceima or Tetouan. In the last two years, the King has given Throne Day speeches from Tetouan.According to Al Massae, Morocco’s King is staying near the Bouskour beach, located in Imzouren, near Al Hoceima.Al Hoceima province Governor Farid Chourak is responsible for maintaining security in the many neighborhoods and streets in Al Hoceima, according to the same outlet.Al Hoceima has been on full alert on all main streets, neighborhoods, and squares in order to secure the royal visit, especially since the King is used to roaming streets without official protocols, Al Massae noted. According to the newspaper, Mohammed VI will stay for more than two weeks in the north. Ministers and officials will reportedly travel to the region over the weekend to prepare for the Throne Day celebrations.King expected to deliver a significant speechSunday’s speech is expected to be one of the King’s most important since 2018 has witnessed many significant events in Morocco. The most striking occurrence has been the boycott of three prominent companies in Morocco since April 20 and controversially “harsh” sentences given to Hirak Rif activists on June 26 for their participation in 2016-2017 Al Hoceima protests. Many Moroccans are waiting for the King to announce important policy changes on Throne Day. Others are expecting that King Mohammed VI will probably grant amnesty to the 54 convicted Hirak Rif activists, who were sentenced to 1 to 20 years in prison.Up to now, the monarch has not spoken directly on the Hirak movement, except when he decided to sack many ministers and senior officials in October 2017, after they mishandled the Al Hoceima development projects “Manarat Al-Mutawassit.” The King said he was “disappointed in their performance at their respective ministries and he would never again entrust them with any public missions.”King seen aboard a yacht off Al Hoceima coastA video has been recently circulating social media, claiming to show King Mohammed VI sailing the coast of Al Hoceima on what was identified as a yacht belonging to the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.The Qatari yacht, known as “Lusail,” was carrying many people and surrounded by security boats that prevented the public from approaching it.According to the poster of the 35-second video, King Mohammed VI was seen aboard Lusail yacht while Moroccan citizens chanted “Long live the king” on the other side. The security boats prevented the public from taking photos.Social media pages also featured pictures believed to be of the King in his car accompanied by his adviser Fouad Ali El Himma. read more

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Gulf Crisis, Saudi Arabia: Bourita Shares Morocco’s Position on All Hot…

Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita gave an interview to Al Jazeera, explaining recent developments in Moroccan diplomacy.Bourita’s interview was aired yesterday on the Bila Houdoud (Without Borders) television program.The interview started with an overview on the Gulf crisis. Al Jazeera journalist Jalal Chahda asked Bourita whether Morocco’s neutrality in the crisis created tension between Morocco and Saudi Arabia. Bourita denied that there is tension between the two kingdoms. Instead, he said, Morocco was clear in its neutrality statement and has attempted to get to the bottom of the crisis between the Saudi coalition and Qatar.According to the official, the crisis was unfortunate because the Gulf Cooperation Council, which has since been dissolved, was the “only point of light in the Arab world.”Bourita also recalled that Morocco offered to mediate in the Gulf crisis because Morocco’s destiny is linked to the stability of the region.Read Also: Gulf Crisis Will Not Affect Moroccan-Saudi Relations: Moroccan Analyst “If the parties so wish, the Kingdom of Morocco is ready to offer its services to foster a frank and comprehensive dialogue,” Morocco said at the time.Morocco also sent food assistance to Qatar. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs cited religion as a reason “especially during the month of Ramadan where solidarity among Muslim people is required.”King Mohammed VI was also the first world leader to visit Qatar after the blockade, earning the nickname by Qataris as the “blockade breaker.”Morocco’s position on MBS, YemenThe Moroccan official acknowledged that Morocco was originally part of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s world tour in November 2018. Bin Salman, also known as MBS, made stops in Tunisia, Algeria, and Mauritania but skipped Morocco.Bourita said that Bin Salman did not visit Morocco due to the country’s schedule:“If relationships are measured by different schedules, this trivializes the relationship.”In November 2018, rumors ran wild that Bin Salman had snubbed Morocco. But a government source confirmed to Morocco World News that actually, Morocco had turned MBS down.The source told MWN that King Mohammed VI suggested that he would not receive MBS, but that Bin Salman could meet the King’s brother, Moulay Rachid. However, MBS rejected the King’s offer.Read Also: US Senate Seeks to End US Support for Yemen WarIncreasing rumors of diplomatic tension, Morocco decided not to participate in  the Red Wave naval exercise in Saudi Arabia from December 30 to January 4, 2019.Bourita said that Morocco had participated in Saudi Arabia’s campaign in Yemen, but then decided to “change our participation” after further evaluation, which resulted in Morocco’s absence from the military maneuvers and Arab meetings.He added that Morocco supports the Gulf’s plans and would be against anything that undermined the stability of the UAE and Saudi Arabia from Yemen. But Morocco expressed concerns over the humanitarian aspects of the Yemen war. He added that the Yemeni people do not deserve the suffering they are experiencing.Iran’s only response is to ask for evidenceThe interview did not exclude the Moroccan-Iranian diplomatic crisis. Bourita recalled that Morocco cut ties with Iran in May 2018 because of Hezbollah’s collusion with Polisario. He added that Morocco provided evidence of the collusion, but Iran denied that Hezbollah trained and equipped the separatist group. Bourita said that diplomatic ties between the two countries had not been good since 2009 when Rabat last cut ties with Iran after accusing it of spreading Shi’ism in Morocco.Morocco renewed ties with Iran in 2014, but their diplomatic bonds started to weaken after Morocco handed over Kacem Mohamed Tajeddine, one of Hezbollah’s top financiers, to the US. According to Bourita, the Moroccan government has not received any explanation from Iran about Hezbollah-Polisario links. He said that Morocco opened negotiations with Iran many times, but “saw that Iran entered in issues that affect Morocco’s interests and security.”Syrian crisisBourita said, “there should be Arab coordination concerning Syria‘s return to the Arab League.”Egypt also supports the idea. In a press conference co-chaired with Bourita earlier this month in Cairo, Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry called on Syrian President Bashar Al Assad to return to the Arab League.Read Also: Eastern Syria Faces Terror Threat amid US Troop Withdrawal“There’s a need to get out of the current crisis in Syria through the political framework sponsored by the UN envoy in Geneva,” said Shoukry.Syria was suspended from its membership in the Arab league after Assad’s crackdown on protesters during the early phase of its civil war in 2011. read more

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Bank Al-Maghrib Signs MoU with Dubai to Supervise Moroccan Banks

Rabat – Morocco’s central bank, Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) to cooperate in the supervision of banks based in Morocco and Dubai.The two bodies signed the MoU on Wednesday, March 13, in Rabat.The agreement highlights Bank Al-Maghrib’s commitment to developing the highest governance standards in Moroccan banks and supervising their activities overseas, including within international financial hubs such as Dubai, said BAM in a statement. The MoU will cover, in particular, the efficiency of regulatory tools for banks having mutual interests in Morocco and Dubai. The agreement would help bolster investors’ confidence and promote bilateral financial services.Under the MoU, Bank Al-Maghrib and the DFSA will share all information regarding authorization applications made by banks established in both jurisdictions. The exchange will also concern information on the financial strength of credit institutions as well as the points identified in reports and during supervision visits.Representatives of the two authorities will hold ad-hoc meetings to address supervisory issues relating to cross-border institutions based in both jurisdictions.BAM and DFSA will also work jointly to identify possible financial offenses related, in particular, to unauthorized banking services, money laundering, and any other breach of regulatory requirements. read more

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Moroccan Royal Navy Frigate in Rouen, France Draws Visitors

Rabat – The frigate named Tarik Ibn Ziyad represented Morocco at the 7th Armada of Rouen, the biggest event on the sea. Created by the Armada of Liberty Association, the Armada of Rouen is “the biggest” and “the most beautiful” gathering of sailboats and ships in the World.Opening on June 6, ships, national naval vessels, sailors and crews animate the city and its 7 km of docks for 10 days. Among these ships is the frigate Tarik Ibn Ziyad of the Royal Moroccan Navy. Guided tours of the frigate are still available to the general public every day during the festival from 10 am to 12 pm and from 2 pm to 5 pm local time (GMT + 2). The frigate, which docked Wednesday at the quay of Rouen, welcomed visitors on Thursday in a very festive atmosphere, as it was presented with live Moroccan music performed by the Royal Navy orchestra. The orchestra of the Royal Navy played a repertoire of cultural songs, including the famously beloved, “Nidae Al Hassan.”Thursday at 6 pm, no less than 1000 people went on board the frigate to appreciate it. The captain was honored to welcome them with Moroccan tea and cakes, according to the hospitable tradition that is the pride of the Kingdom.Equipped with ultra-modern technologies, the frigate, which measures 105 meters in length and 13 meters in width, can carry up to 110 passengers. It is designed to withstand the most extreme weather conditions.For its 7th installment, the festival features fifty ships representing 13 nations, having traveled to the port of Rouen to display the most beautiful sailboats in the world.The sailing ship of honor of this armada is an exceptional replica of the Hermione ship.Created in 1989, the Armada of Liberty association aims to animate and organize gatherings of frigates on the quays of Rouen, which the general public can visit for free.Fireworks, concerts, exhibitions, and more will take place on the docks of Rouen. The Armada will end on June 16 with a grand parade along the Seine.The event coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Allies landing in Normandy. read more

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Evers: Foxconn proposed renegotiating Wisconsin deal

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said in a letter his office released Tuesday that Foxconn Technology Group approached the state last month about wanting to renegotiate its contract for a project that could yield the global electronics giant more than $4 billion in state and local tax credits.Evers said for the first time last week that the state was renegotiating the deal with Foxconn. That led Republican legislative leaders to accuse Evers, a critic of the project near Racine, of attempting to undermine it.But in a letter to Foxconn executive Louis Woo, Evers said it was Woo who first raised the idea of renegotiating the contract during a meeting in March. Evers wrote that he wanted to clarify their conversation.“You indicated that Foxconn intends to suggest several changes to the existing agreement to better align the terms with the evolving project and global marketplace,” Evers wrote. “To my knowledge, this was the first time either Foxconn or the State of Wisconsin had mentioned amending or changing the agreement approved in 2017.”Evers also wrote that Woo had briefed Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on his intention to seek changes to the deal. Both Vos and Fitzgerald last week said Evers was trying to undermine the deal, but neither of them said anything about a conversation with Woo.Fitzgerald, Vos and Foxconn spokeswoman Myranda Tanck didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment.Evers said in the letter that the state was identifying areas where there could be “greater flexibility and transparency as the project continues to evolve.” Evers has not offered details and did not spell out any in the letter.Earlier Tuesday, the head of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, which reached the original deal with Foxconn, defended the contract.“We have a solid contract with the company,” said WEDC secretary and CEO Mark Hogan.He spoke with reporters following a state Senate committee hearing during which he declined to answer a question from a lawmaker about contract renegotiations.Under the original deal, Foxconn can receive about $3 billion in state tax credits if it employs 13,000 people and spends about $9 billion on a display screen manufacturing campus near Racine, in southeastern Wisconsin. With local incentives, the value of the deal to Foxconn exceeds $4 billion, the largest government subsidy to a foreign corporation in U.S. history.President Donald Trump has heralded the project as the “eighth wonder of the world” and came to Wisconsin last summer for the groundbreaking.But Foxconn missed its hiring minimum to receive job tax credits in 2018 and has scaled back the size of the factory it plans to build. Evers, a Democrat, campaigned against Republican Gov. Scott Walker as a critic of the Foxconn deal, saying taxpayers were on the hook for too much money and the deal needed to be renegotiated.Evers said last week that it was unrealistic to think Foxconn would employ 13,000 people as it originally promised, given that the size of the factory had been reduced, and that the contract may have to be updated to reflect the smaller scale of the project.Hogan emphasized that the contract awards most of its credits to Foxconn only after the company meets hiring and capital investment benchmarks.“The value of the contract is the contract is scalable,” Hogan said. “If they spent $6 billion and they employed 6,000 people, 7,000 people, the contract scales to that. … It’s a pay-for-performance basis.”Hogan, in a break from Evers, also suggested that the 13,000 employment target was still within reach.“They continue to make that commitment,” Hogan said of Foxconn.___Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter: Bauer, The Associated Press read more

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Trump: Trade deal was close, but China tried to renegotiate

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says the United States was close to a trade deal with China, but then China tried to renegotiate.Trump said Thursday that the Chinese wanted to come back to continue negotiations. He added that if it doesn’t work out, the U.S. has an “excellent” alternative.The United States plans to raise tariffs on Chinese imports on Friday. U.S. and Chinese negotiators are to resume trade talks Thursday.Trump also said that Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) sent him a “beautiful letter” and he will “probably” speak to him on the phone.Trump says, “I have no idea what’s going to happen.”The Associated Press read more

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Hundreds protest slow movement on rent rules in New York

ALBANY, N.Y. — Hundreds of protesters frustrated by the slow movement of proposals to strengthen tenant protections in New York state have blocked access to the Senate and Assembly chambers.The group marched through the Capitol chanting protests Tuesday morning before taking positions outside the legislative chambers.State Police began arresting individuals who refused to move.The state law governing rent control and rent stabilization rules in the New York City area are set to expire later this month. Those rules regulate rental increases for thousands of older multi-unit apartment buildings.While lawmakers are expected to renew the law, the protesters who gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday want to see stronger protections for tenants, including a possible statewide rental law.The Democrat-led Legislature is scheduled to adjourn June 19.The Associated Press read more

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SecretaryGeneral concerned at Turkish move on attacking Kurdish targets in Iraq

19 October 2007Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced concern today about the Turkish Parliament’s decision this week to enable the country’s armed forces to take cross-border military action in Iraq against targets of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). “The Secretary-General strongly urges all sides to demonstrate restraint at this delicate juncture,” his spokesperson said in a statement released at United Nations Headquarters in New York. “He welcomes the affirmation by the Turkish Foreign Minister [Abdullah Gül] that Turkey is open to discussing all problems in Iraq.”The statement added that Mr. Ban calls on the Iraqi Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to ensure that Iraqi territory is not used to mount cross-border attacks against Turkey.“Recent attacks by the PKK inside Turkey have been rightly condemned by the international community,” it noted. read more

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Tajikistan and UN agency agree on deal to integrate Afghan refugees

In a joint communiqué signed yesterday by UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) António Guterres and Tajik Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi, Tajikistan and the UN agency also announced a series of measures aimed at making the refugees more self-sufficient.The two sides will jointly conduct training courses for the refugees and their children on professional and technical education and on Tajik- and Russian-language studies. UNHCR and international aid organizations will also work together to improve the schools and health-care facilities used by the refugees.Mr. Guterres congratulated Tajikistan on the agreement, saying the country’s people were showing a willingness to “extend their generosity to others who need protection.”The communiqué was signed on the first day of a four-day visit by the High Commissioner to Tajikistan, the first country in Central Asia to accede to both the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol.Mr. Guterres held meetings with many senior Government figures, including Mr. Zarifi, President Emomali Rahmon, Labour and Social Protection Minister Shukurjon Zuhurov and Internal Affairs Minister Mahmadnazar Salikhov. He also talked with refugees and met the non-governmental organization (NGO) partners of UNHCR. 2 April 2008About 1,000 Afghans who have been living in neighbouring Tajikistan for up to 20 years will be able to apply for permanent residency and citizenship under a cooperation agreement worked out by the United Nations refugee agency and the Tajik Government. read more

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UN welcomes Nicaraguan laws protecting refugees

After four years of collaboration between the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Nicaragua, the Central American nation’s Parliament has unanimously passed a new law to support refugees, it was announced today.The legislation details the need of legal counsel for asylum-seekers, in particular unaccompanied minors and vulnerable adults; the right of asylum-seekers and refugees to work and access state services; and the obligation of immigration officers, police and army to identify and quickly refer asylum-seekers to the country’s eligibility procedure.This “demonstrates how the refugee experience of a country can translate into a positive step forward in upholding refugees rights as human rights,” said Marion Hoffman, UNHCR’s regional representative, adding that the new legislation “is the expression of the Nicaraguan people to unite in their quest for protecting refugees.”In the 1980s and 1990s, Nicaragua – situated along a key migration route to the United States and Canada – granted asylum to many refugees from neighbouring countries, while more recently, people from Africa, Asia and other Western Hemisphere nations have sought asylum in the country.Additionally, Nicaragua was itself a refugee-producing country in past decades.“This law represents the spirit of the Nicaraguan people; it reflects our tradition of hospitality,” said Salvador Talavera, a former refugee and current National Assembly member.Recently, asylum-seekers from Angola, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Pakistan and Somalia have arrived on Nicaraguan shores, and the country’s refugee law will help officials identify and assist those in need of international protection. 5 June 2008After four years of collaboration between the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Nicaragua, the Central American nation’s Parliament has unanimously passed a new law to support refugees, it was announced today. read more

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Côte dIvoire UN environment agency launches plan on toxic waste

16 June 2008A new project to help the Government of Côte d’Ivoire and others in the region manage hazardous waste was launched today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). A new project to help the Government of Côte d’Ivoire and others in the region manage hazardous waste was launched today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The project is designed to tackle issues raised by the incident in 2006 when the dumping of toxic waste from the vessel Probo Koala in Abidjan left several people dead and caused 3,000 others to seek medical help, complaining of nausea and vomiting after inhaling fumes. The UNEP initiative will establish a hazardous waste management plan for the District of Abidjan which will address gaps in regulations on the movement of hazardous wastes, unscrupulous behaviour by some private operators, improvement in port systems and the need to strengthen local capacities to handle toxic waste. The project will be replicated in other French-speaking African countries in the region, with the possibility of extending it to English-speaking countries as well, and will also examine the possibility of setting up an early warning system between Europe and Africa, with the support of the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO). The initiative, which is funded by the Governments of the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark, is being carried out jointly by UNEP and the Basel Convention Regional Centre for French-speaking countries in Africa. The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, regulates international movements of waste and obliges signatories to ensure that wastes are disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. Parties to the Convention are also required to minimize the quantities that are moved across borders, to treat and dispose of wastes as close as possible to their place of generation, and to prevent or minimize the generation of wastes at source. Strong controls on storage, transport, treatment, reuse, recycling, recovery and final disposal of wastes are also obligatory. read more

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Sudan and UN sign fouryear development assistance plan

The agreement, known as the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), was signed by representatives of the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan and 18 UN agencies headed by Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator Ameerah Haq.Ms. Haq said the new agreement, which covers the years 2009 to 2012, “will enable us to move beyond annual planning, and set more ambitious development goals with the help of all our national and international partners. With the endorsement of this planning tool, the UN will spare no effort in helping the country achieve tangible progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).” “The consolidation of peace and stability in the country remains the ultimate goal of the UNDAF process,” she added.Welcoming the new agreement, Sudan’s State Minister of International Cooperation El Elias Nyamlell Wakoson said that it “represents an important step in terms of moving forward jointly with a common vision of our strategic direction in support of the peace process.” 23 July 2008The Sudanese Government today signed an agreement with United Nations agencies operating in the country on a four-year aid plan covering peacebuilding, governance and the rule of law, employment, education and health care as well as other services. read more

Read More Sudan and UN sign fouryear development assistance plan