Materials sector helps lift Toronto stocks US markets mixed at late morning

Index and currency in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) TORONTO — The materials sector helped lift Canada’s main stock index higher in late-morning trading as the prices for gold and copper also moved up.The S&P/TSX composite index was up 70.96 points at 15,909.20.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 14.61 points at 25,868.64. The S&P 500 index was up 1.31 points at 2,776.91, while the Nasdaq composite was up 13.19 points at 7,485.60.The Canadian dollar traded for 75.44 cents US compared with an average of 75.38 cents US on Friday.The April crude contract down 14 cents at US$55.84 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was up 2.5 cents at US$2.65 per mmBTU.The April gold contract was up US$19.10 at US$1,341.20 an ounce and the March copper contract was up 6.7 cents at US$2.87 a pound. The Canadian Press read more

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UN Pope Franciss Visit to Morocco is Extremely Important

Rabat – The United Nations has described Pope Francis’s visit to Morocco as “extremely  important.”The spokesperson of the United Nations Secretary-General, Stephane Dujarric, said that the Jerusalem appeal signed by King Mohammed VI and Pope Francis “goes along the lines of what the Secretary-General has been saying for a quite long time, that Jerusalem has a sacred character for Jews, for Christians and Muslims and that it needs to be preserved.”On Saturday, March 30, the pope and the King expressed concerns through an appeal to the world to warn against moves that undermine the status of Jerusalem. “We believe it is important to preserve the Holy City of Jerusalem (Al-Quds Al-Sharif) as a shared heritage of humankind and to safeguard it, above all for the believers of the three monotheistic religions, as a symbol of peaceful coexistence and as a meeting place where mutual esteem and dialogue are fostered,” reads the appeal.Dujarric said that the pope’s visit to Morocco is “extremely important and extremely symbolic.”“Anything that can bring greater understanding and tolerance between religions is to be welcomed and the issue of migrants and the protection of migrants and the respect of migrants’ dignity is something that is very close to the Secretary-General’s heart,” said the spokesperson in a press briefing on April 1.The European Union also expressed satisfaction with the Jerusalem appeal.A spokesman of the EU, quoted by Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), said that the European institution “recognizes the special importance of the holy places of Jerusalem for the three monotheistic religions.”The unidentified spokesperson added that the EU also “firmly believes that the status quo established in 1976 must be maintained in accordance with the previous agreements.”Pope Francis dedicated his first-ever visit to Morocco to discussing migrants’ rights, interfaith coexistence, and the importance of charity.Meeting hundreds of migrants during his visit, the pope chaired a holy mass at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat, convening Christians from all over the world.An estimated 10,000 people attended the pope’s mass.On his way back to the Vatican, Pope Francis regretted issues facing migrants.The pope also criticized US President Donald Trump’s policy regarding migrants, saying that the world should invest in building bridges, not walls.“Those who build bridges are moving forward. The bridge is for human communication, it is very beautiful and I have seen it here in Morocco,” the pope told the press. read more

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Polisario Sends New Hostile Letter About Morocco to Security Council

Rabat – Polisario leader Ibrahim Ghali sent another hostile letter about Morocco to the Security Council on Sunday.The letter, published by the separatists’ “official” news agency, accused Morocco of “violations” in Western Sahara, citing UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s report.Ghali also accused Morocco of putting up obstacles to “stop the process of settling the conflict.” The letter comes two weeks before the meeting of the Security Council, whose 15 members are expected to meet by the end of the month to renew the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara, MINURSO.The letter is the second of its kind this month from the Polisario Front. The “representative” of the front at the UN, Mohammed Ammar, also wrote a letter to the Security Council earlier in April to maneuver against Morocco.“Morocco’s growing violations seriously undermine the new momentum created by the Personal Envoy and contradict the serious spirit we are supposed to have as parties as we engage in the peace process,” said the separatist representative.Read Also: Sahrawi Activist Accuses MINURSO of Becoming Polisario’s Partner in CrimeBoth Ghali and Ammar ignored the UN chief’s remarks about Polisario’s violations in the region.The UN report also discussed Polisario’s violations east of Morocco’s defense wall, calling on the Polisario Front to meet in Rabouni, Algeria, with MINURSO members instead of insisting on meeting in Western Sahara.The UN chief warned against major risks of tensions in the region due to Polisario’s military exercises in restricted zones.“I nonetheless reiterate the importance of ensuring that no action, in particular of a military nature, be conducted that could risk creating tensions,” he said. read more

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More than 441000 Moroccan Students to Sit for Baccalaureate Exam in

Rabat – Morocco’s Ministry of Education announced that 441,065 Moroccan students will sit for the Baccalaureate exam, an increase of 0.3% compared to last year. The exam will take place from June 11-14.The Ministryadded that of the 442,065 candidates, 108,767 are free candidates (25%), while 48% of the candidates are female. “The number of candidates in the scientific and technical category reached 244,776 candidates compared to 187,383 candidates in the literary field,” stated the Ministry. The number of candidates in the international field (French and English) increased to 24,979, compared to 18,326 in 2018, an increase of 36%.The number of candidates for the professional Baccalaureate has risen significantly this year compared to 2018 from 2,115 to 8,178 candidates. The candidates for the professional Baccalaureate are split into 19 divisions. The professional business saw an increase of 3,542 compared to last year’s 574. The industrial category increased by 282% from 1,394 to 3,927. The candidates for the professional services went from 147 in 2018 to 709 this year. Four-hundred candidates with special needs will sit for the exam this year compared to 242 in 2018. This year’s exam will see the Ministry of Education adopting the Baccalaureate exam specially designed for candidates with different kind of disabilities who will receive extra time and assistance if needed. The results of the Baccalaureate exam will be announced on June 29, 2019. Make-up exams will be held on the July 4-8, and the results will be announced on July 13, 2019. read more

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Arms registration and storage concluded in western Nepal – UN envoy

Arms registration and storage by United Nations monitors in the western part of Nepal has now been concluded, the world body’s senior envoy to the Himalayan country confirmed today.Ian Martin, the Special Representative of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, made the announcement following a visit Friday to cantonment sites of the Maoist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Kailali and Surkhet. He arrived at Kailali just as UN teams were registering and storing the arms of a final group of about 100 of the combatants based at the PLA seventh main cantonment site. He was joined on the ground by the senior UN arms monitor, General Jan Erik Wilhelmsen.Under the procedures established by agreement between the Government and Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M), the arms were catalogued and bar-coded by registration teams before being stored on racks inside cargo containers. The containers are locked and subject to round-the-clock UN monitoring. Arms storage at Surkhet, which Mr. Martin toured later in the day, had been completed on Thursday. The envoy was received at Kailali by Commander Prajwal of the PLA and at Surkhet by Commander Pratik. Both expressed complaints of inadequate living conditions in the cantonments. “With only two sites to go in the East, arms registration and storage is now approaching its conclusion, and that will be an important staging post in the peace process. But the conditions in the cantonments are lagging behind. I intend to raise these concerns with the Government,” Mr. Martin said. He was accompanied in his delegation by two UN experts in the disposal of mines, improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordinance. He was joined also by B.B. Gurung, Commander of the Interim Task Force.Composed of Nepali ex-servicemen from the Indian and British armies, the Interim Task Force has played a critical role in supplementing the advance group of UN arms monitors sent pending full deployment of the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN). 10 February 2007Arms registration and storage by United Nations monitors in the western part of Nepal has now been concluded, the world body’s senior envoy to the Himalayan country confirmed today. read more

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UN sends more food to hurricane victims in Central America

6 September 2007The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has distributed a second consignment of aid to hungry residents in northern Nicaragua, where Hurricane Felix affected as many as 60,000 people with high winds that destroyed or damaged homes and commercial buildings. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has distributed a second consignment of aid to hungry residents in northern Nicaragua, where Hurricane Felix affected as many as 60,000 people with high winds that destroyed or damaged homes and commercial buildings. But despite the losses and hardship, humanitarian officials are relieved that Felix did not cause more damage during its trajectory through Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador. “Hurricane Felix had the potential to create enormous devastation and suffering for millions of people,” WFP Deputy Director Gordana Jerger said. “We are extremely fortunate. However, there is still a lot of urgent work to be done in helping those who were affected and we will need immediate financial assistance from our donors who have proven repeatedly that they are prepared to help.” An emergency WFP airlift of 4.5 metric tonnes of beans, rice, oil, fortified corn-soya blended food and cooking oil has arrived in the Nicaraguan coastal town of Bilwi (formerly Puerto Cabezas), which bore some of the worst of Hurricane Felix’s landfall on Tuesday. The food is enough to feed almost 900 people for 10 days and follows the distribution on Tuesday of 70 tonnes in Bilwi and Waspam, just hours after Felix struck. Road transport has been halted after a key bridge was washed away by the rain-swollen river. “We are only able to deliver assistance to the affected areas by air, sea or river,” WFP Country Director William Hart said. In Honduras, WFP staff in the capital city Tegucigalpa have distributed food to thousands of people who had gathered in shelters. Meanwhile, in El Salvador, WFP is still assessing Felix’s impact, especially in geographically vulnerable areas. “Because WFP has food stocks for its long-term projects in the area, we were able to respond with unusual speed,” Ms. Jerger said. “However, not only will these stocks have to be replenished, we will need international support for our operation in Nicaragua where people require assistance, not just in the short term, but also to rebuild their lives and homes in the coming months.” read more

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SecretaryGeneral convenes information session on HIV in UN workplace

30 November 2007On the eve of World AIDS Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today convened an orientation session on HIV in the United Nations workplace as part of his efforts to ensure that the world body becomes a model in responding to the virus. Facilitated by one of the UN’s coordinators on HIV in the workplace, the session was intended for all Under-Secretaries-General and Assistant Secretaries-General based at Headquarters, as well as the executive heads of New York-based UN agencies. “The Secretary-General hopes the session will provide him and his senior leaders with important lessons and messages, while helping them set an example as managers and colleagues,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson, Michele Montas, told reporters. While sessions on HIV in the workplace have been offered to the Organization’s staff on a voluntary basis in recent years, they are now becoming mandatory for all employees working at Headquarters and in the field. These sessions convey information on transmission, prevention, stigma and discrimination, care and treatment, as well as the UN’s policies, initiatives and services. Also today, Mr. Ban will address a World AIDS Day observance at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan. Ms. Montas said the Secretary-General would emphasize the need for Government and individual leadership to assure universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support, noting that “We all need to take responsibility for the response.” read more

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Speeding longterm recovery on first day of crisis is focus of UNbacked

“The importance of early recovery planning – a separate but parallel process within any emergency setting – is one of the key lessons of the new millennium,” United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery Director Kathleen Cravero told the meeting in Copenhagen.“It is a lesson learned the hard way – from conflict zone to earthquake zone, tsunamis to flash floods. Even as humanitarian workers are actively distributing life-saving supplies, we need to give communities something to live for – providing the resources and know-how families, communities and countries need to get back on their feet again,” she said.Jointly sponsored by the UNDP and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Early Recovery Practitioners’ and Policy Forum aims to outline a set of commitments and actions to boost early recovery efforts and bridge the gap between reliance and self-sufficiency. While beginning on the first day of any crisis, natural disaster or conflict, early recovery is geared towards the future, addressing damages to infrastructure, property, livelihoods, and societies. Its goal is not just to enable a smoother transition to long-term recovery, restoring livelihoods, government capacities and shelter, but to offer hope to those who survive the crisis.Early recovery builds on humanitarian programmes and lays critical foundations for generating self-sustaining, nationally-owned recovery. Its scope goes beyond the restoration of basic services and encompasses efforts to secure stability, establish peace and resuscitate markets.Forum participants will draw upon the lessons learned from crisis situations in four countries – the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia, Myanmar and Pakistan – where early recovery strategies have been put into action, illustrating the benefits of early recovery programming as well as the areas needing improvement.More specifically, the forum aims to address the gaps in early recovery planning, capacity building and financing, resulting in a set of commitments participants will sign at the event’s conclusion. 1 October 2008Representatives from the United Nations, developing countries and the donor community opened a high-level conference today to address the crucial time gap in coverage between humanitarian relief in the immediate aftermath of a crisis and long-term recovery. read more

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Security Council discusses border tensions between Djibouti and Eritrea

23 October 2008The Security Council heard calls today for the peaceful resolution of the current border dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea, which flared into fighting in the Horn of Africa in June that killed at least 35 people and left dozens of others wounded. Representatives of Djibouti and Eritrea outlined their positions to a Council meeting that also heard statements from the Council’s 15 members, in which they stressed the need for restraint and backed existing international efforts to mediate a settlement.Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh, whose country requested the Council meeting, asked the panel to call on Eritrea to meet its international obligations and move to end the dispute, which centres on an undemarcated border in an area known as Doumeira. If not, he said, sanctions may be needed.The armed conflict erupted in early June after weeks of tensions and military build-up on both sides, and a subsequent UN fact-finding mission reported that the dispute had the potential to destabilize the entire region.Mr. Guelleh said Djibouti’s priority was to demilitarize the area and re-establish mutual trust by reactivating existing bilateral mechanisms and creating some sort of arbitration to demarcate the border.He said Eritrea had continued to reinforce its troops and refuse to negotiate since June, and Djibouti therefore had no choice but to mass troops at the border and defend its territory.Eritrea’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Araya Desta, said his country had already dealt with Djibouti’s “unwarranted statements” at a previous Council meeting on the issue, adding that it was Djibouti that had provoked the conflict in June.Mr. Desta said Eritrea had exercised restraint and not taken any land belonging to Djibouti, and there had not been any new developments since the fighting four months ago.“Eritrea will not allow itself to be dragged into and invited to engage in a diversionary and fabricated conflict,” he said, noting that his Government stood ready to resolve the dispute.Eritrea refused to receive the UN fact-finding mission when it visited after the fighting, and consequently only Djibouti’s version of events was made available to it. The mission concluded that Djibouti was being drawn into a crippling and expensive military mobilization to deal with the situation. read more

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Stronger action needed to rid world of landmines SecretaryGeneral says

He told the tenth annual gathering of high contracting parties to the protocol of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons that calls for curbing the use of landmines, which convened in Geneva, that enhanced action is needed because “these weapons, silent and well-hidden, continue to kill and maim.”Amended Protocol II to the Convention bans the use of mines, booby-traps and other explosive devices against civilians. It entered into force in December 1998 and currently has 92 States parties.“You must consider in particular how to make the Protocol even more effective, and in particular how to enhance the Protocol’s implementation mechanism,” the Secretary-General said, in a message delivered by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva.Mr. Ban called for membership to the Protocol to be expanded, particularly among developing countries, nations affected by landmines and States in conflict. 12 November 2008More efforts are needed to eliminate landmines and other explosive devices, despite the great strides made in ridding the world of the deadly weapons, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today. read more

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Gunmen launch yet another attack on aid workers in Darfur UN reports

The non-governmental organization (NGO) convoy of three vehicles with six local staff was stopped this morning in South Darfur on its way from Nyala, the provincial capital, to Kalma internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, the joint UN-African Union mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said in a statement. The gunmen forced it to drive down to a nearby gully.“Although the workers complied without resistance to demands for money, the attackers assaulted them up before leaving the scene,” it added “Three out of the six workers were reportedly severely beaten and taken to the local hospital, where their condition is listed as stable and non life-threatening.” Initial reports suggest that the assailants were informed of the workers’ movements and that they were transporting cash intended for the payment of salaries for the Kalma camp staff.“If proven right, these suspicions would point to an act of banditry,” UNAMID added.Just yesterday, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes told the Security Council that 261 vehicles had been hijacked and 172 compounds broken into so far this year. Rebel movements, or those linked to them, appear primarily responsible for the majority of “these terrifying incidents” in rural areas, but many also occur in main towns in Government control, he said.“I call on both the Government security forces and rebel leaders to put a stop to this banditry once and for all,” he added. “It seriously damages the quality of assistance – just as one example, World Food Programme (WFP) rations are still only at 70 per cent because of attacks on their convoys – and it damages the credibility of their promises to ensure our safety.”UNAMID, slated to reach 26,000 personnel but now only 10,500-strong, is being deployed throughout Darfur in an effort to bring peace to a region where more than five years of fighting between Government forces, allied Janjaweed militia and rebel groups have killed an estimated 300,000 people and driven another 2.7 million from their homes. 4 December 2008Two gunmen equipped with AK-47 assault rifles and a hand grenade stopped a humanitarian convoy in Sudan’s war-ravaged Darfur region today, beat up the aid workers and stole money in the latest of a long series of such assaults that are impeding relief operations, the United Nations reported. read more

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Nepal UN worried over risk to victim others after conviction in domestic

22 January 2009The United Nations human rights office has urged Nepalese authorities to ensure the safety of the wife and others involved in a domestic violence case, who have reportedly received threats after the victim’s husband was convicted of trying to kill her by setting her on fire. In a news release issued in Nepalgunj, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal) said it is “deeply concerned about reports of threats received by the victim, human rights defenders and others in relation to their involvement in the case of Hasrun Idrisi, which was decided by the Banke District Court on 19 January. “The Office strongly urges the state authorities, including the Nepal Police and Chief District Officer, to take measures to ensure the security of the victim, her family, witnesses, the lawyers representing the victim, and other human rights defenders, in line with their obligations under domestic law,” added the OHCHR-Nepal statement. In a case that highlighted the serious issue of domestic violence in Nepal, Ms. Idrisi’s husband and a member of his family were convicted for attempted murder by setting her on fire on 6 November 2007. Ms. Idrisi suffered severe burns as a result of the attack. OHCHR-Nepal encouraged the Government to ensure that “robust” legislation on domestic violence, consistent with international standards, be passed as a matter of priority. read more

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UNbacked maternal and child health drive kicks off in Sierra Leone

27 April 2010The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Sierra Leonean Government have embarked today on a new initiative to provide free health care for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five across the West African nation. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Sierra Leonean Government have embarked today on a new initiative to provide free health care for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five across the West African nation. Sierra Leone, which ranked 180 out of 182 countries in the 2009 Human Development Index (HDI), has been facing serious challenges in the delivery of and access to health-care services, UNICEF’s Christiane Berthiaume told reporters in Geneva.In 2008, the under-five mortality rate was 140 per 1,000 live births and the maternal mortality ratio was 857 per 100,000 live births. The lifetime risk of a woman dying from complications of pregnancy and childbirth was one in eight, Ms. Berthiaume added. The Free Health Care Initiative seeks to redress this situation by boosting access to services and ensuring that mothers and young children receive the care they need. In addition, the agency plans to reach 250,000 pregnant women and lactating mothers, as well as 1 million children under five, with essential medicines to enhance maternal and child health at all Government facilities, with the help of an $8.8 million contribution. read more

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Number of Ivorian refugees in Liberia tops 25000 – UN agency

11 January 2011The United Nations refugee agency said today that there are now some 25,000 Ivorian refugees in neighbouring Liberia, with around 600 people arriving daily after fleeing the post-electoral crisis in their homeland. The United Nations refugee agency said today that there are now some 25,000 Ivorian refugees in neighbouring Liberia, with around 600 people arriving daily after fleeing the post-electoral crisis in their homeland.The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has started work on a new camp for refugees in the eastern Liberian town of Bahn which will be able to initially house about 18,000 people.“The camp is urgently needed to better protect the refugees and to ease pressure on Liberian communities that have been hosting people in some 23 villages along the border with Côte d’Ivoire,” UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards told reporters in Geneva.The political crisis in Côte d’Ivoire began after incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down after being defeated by his challenger, Alassane Ouattara, in the November run-off election.The polls were meant to help reunify the West African nation, which was split by civil war in 2002 into a Government-controlled south and a rebel-held north. Instead, has sparked fears of a return to civil war and has led to a new crisis, marked by incitement to hatred and violence, human rights violations, attacks against civilians as well as peacekeepers serving with the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), and increasing displacement.In addition to those that fled to Liberia, some 16,000 people have been forced to leave their villages and take refuge in the towns of Duékoué, Man and Danané in western Côte d’Ivoire, according to UNHCR. Calm has returned to Duékoué in the past three days, which is allowing UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies to assist the displaced.Cote read more

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UN envoy urges people of Darfur to participate in new dialogue initiative

25 February 2011The head of the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Ibrahim Gambari, has urged inhabitants of the troubled Sudanese region to engage in dialogue to find a solution to their protracted conflict, saying a process of popular consultations would soon begin. “Now is the time for all Darfuris, for the Government and the opposition, for the armed groups and for the government forces, to come together and enter in a dialogue designed to resolve their differences and herald peace in Darfur,” Mr. Gambari wrote in an op-ed published in today’s edition of the Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom. He said that the Darfur Political Process, which he described as “a series of broadly inclusive popular consultations” would give everyone an opportunity to express their views on how the conflict can be brought to an end. “Crucial to the credibility and prospects for success of this Darfur-based initiative is the need to ensure that those represented are able to participate without fear of being harmed, harassed, detained or otherwise restricted as a result of their involvement. “I have sought and obtained assurances from the highest levels of government that steps will be taken for a suitable, enabling environment that protects the basic rights and freedoms of all participants,” Mr. Gambari wrote. He said that some stakeholders had expressed concern that the initiative may be susceptible to interference and manipulation, but gave the assurance that he and former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, and the African Union high-level panel on Darfur that he chairs, had elicited pledges from the government that it will respect the independence of the process and refrain from interfering in it. Mr. Gambari urged the international community to “stay the course in Sudan and replicate recent achievements in the implementation of the north-south peace process by brokering peace in Darfur.” The people of Southern Sudan voted overwhelming in a referendum in January to secede from the rest of the country. The vote was the culmination of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended two decades of civil war between the North and the South that claimed the lives of some two million people and drove an estimated 4.5 million others from their homes. “The immediate post-referendum environment presents an ideal opportunity to marshal our common resolve to broker, successfully and honestly, a durable solution to the conflict. The people of Darfur deserve no less than our collective and full commitment to attain this goal. Their lives, their hopes, their dreams and their futures depend on it,” wrote Mr. Gambari. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, meanwhile, told a Security Council session on peace and security in Africa that peace talks in the Qatari capital, Doha, between the Government of Sudan and the two main rebel groups in Darfur are continuing and that the parties are currently reviewing a draft agreement. “It is essential for the international community to step up its engagement and help the parties reach an inclusive and comprehensive peace,” said Mr. Ban, referring to the talks between the Sudanese Government, the Justice and Equality Movement and the Liberation and Justice Movement. The Secretary-General also voiced concern over hostilities between the Government and an alliance of rebel groups in North Darfur state, which has reportedly displaced large numbers of civilians. read more

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