Ontario researcher joins annual NASAfunded Antarctica meteorite search

first_imgAn Ontario physicist is embarking on a NASA-funded expedition to Antarctica to collect meteorites, in hopes that the fallen space rocks will give researchers new insight into the outer reaches of the solar system.Scott VanBommel, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Guelph, is joining the annual Antarctic Search for Meteorites for a six-week excursion to the Transantarctic Mountains, about 350 km from the South Pole.It will mean sleeping in a two-person tent in one of the least hospitable environments on Earth, but VanBommel said it’s a chance to give back to the scientific community.“I’m just really happy to go and be a part of this important work,” the 30-year-old said hours before his Friday departure. “We can learn a lot by studying these fragments of space rocks that potentially are in their native form, from when the solar system formed. They provide us little windows into the past, to study and potentially learn more.”Antarctica’s empty, ice-covered expanse makes the continent ideal for spotting space debris.“Meteorites fall pretty uniformly all over the world, but what makes Antarctica special is that you have this white backdrop, so you have these dark meteorites and this light background,” VanBommel said. “It makes them much easier to find than, say, around here where you have weathering and erosion and dirt.”Antarctica is also home to giant ice sheets which, over thousands of years, gradually shift toward the edges of the continent. When the ice sheets run up against mountain ranges or other natural barriers, old ice deep below the surface gets forced up, bringing deposits of old meteorites with it.Led by Ralph Harvey, a planetary materials professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, the expedition team will split into two groups of four people.One group will continue the ongoing systemic search of an area visited in previous missions.The second group, which includes VanBommel, will conduct “spot-to-spot” reconnaissance, looking for new sites.“It’ll be exciting,” VanBommel said. “We’re covering a lot of ground this year.”The Norwich, Ont., native is one of a handful of volunteers selected from a pool of 100 researchers who apply each year to participate in the trip.As one of the rookie members of the team, VanBommel went through a three-day boot camp at Case Western to prepare him for the trip.“We went over all the details of what we’ll be doing, the type of equipment we’ll have, safety stuff. It was very thorough three days,” he said.Since 1976, the Antarctic Search for Meteorites has brought back over 21,000 meteorite specimens. The samples they recover are shipped to a laboratory at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Samples of the meteorites are also sent to the Smithsonian Institution. Researchers from anywhere in the world can examine the meteorite samples, upon request.last_img read more

How impact of US tariffs is likely to vary from one province

first_imgOTTAWA – The National Bank of Canada says the impact of new American tariffs on steel and aluminum will vary sharply from province to province, because of regional concentrations. Some comparisons:Steel exports to the U.S. over the last 12 monthsOntario: $5.8 billion.Quebec: $1 billionB.C.: $0.3 billionOther provinces: $0.3 billionAluminum exports to the U.S. over the last 12 monthsQuebec: $7.2 billionOntario: $2.9 billionB.C.: $0.7 billionOther provinces: $0.2 billionThe bank says Canadian steel and aluminum exports to the U.S. represent less than five per cent of Canadian exports to that country and less than one per cent of Canadian GDP.Quote: “This latest stunt from the U.S. will hardly break the Canadian economy.”last_img read more

CRTC orders national wireless carriers to offer lowerpriced dataonly plans

first_imgTORONTO – Consumers who yearn for more alternatives to Canada’s large wireless carriers will have to wait longer, but in the meantime the CRTC has ordered the Big Three to offer consumers the option of lower-cost, data-only plans.The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said Thursday that it has ordered Rogers, Bell and Telus to submit initial proposals for data-only wireless plans by April 23.It also lowered the maximum wholesale rates that they can charge to other carriers that use their networks, from the levels set on an interim basis in December 2015.But the CRTC didn’t go so far as to force the trio to strike agreements with mobile virtual networks, a type of competitor that could avoid the enormous expense of having their own infrastructure by using another carrier’s.“Taking these things collectively, we’re confident that today’s decisions will ensure that Canadians have access to a range of affordable and innovative wireless services while fostering continued investments in high-quality networks,” CRTC chairman Ian Scott said in a conference call with reporters.He added that the CRTC had fulfilled its requirement to find a balance between competitive pricing and services for consumers and a sustainable business model for companies that invest in the necessary infrastructure.The federal cabinet ordered the CRTC to reconsider a position it took last year, when it issued a pair of rulings against Sugar Mobile’s attempt to piggy-back its WiFi-based mobile virtual network on the Rogers network.While leaving those decisions intact, Scott said that there will be a “more fulsome” public process that will take another look at WiFi and MVNO options.“I want to emphasize that we’ll continue to monitor facilities-based competition as it continues to intensify and evolve.”Navdeep Bains, the minister responsible for telecommunications, ordered the CRTC to review its March 2017 decisions which were seen as a setback for competition from mobile virtual networks.In one decision released March 1, 2017, the CRTC said it wouldn’t require Rogers to open its network to Sugar Mobile, which wanted customers of its WiFi service to be able to use the national carrier for making calls.In a more general decision, the CRTC said companies without a cellular network cannot allow their customers to “permanently roam” on the networks of the established national carriers.Sugar had wanted to expand the reach of its WiFi phone service through Ice Wireless, a regional carrier in Canada’s three northern territories that has a wholesale roaming agreement with Rogers Communications Inc.Bains said last June that the CRTC decisions would prevent smaller carriers like Sugar Mobile from offering cheaper alternatives to Canada’s large carriers and ordered the regulator to reconsider its decisions.last_img read more

Africa is Ambitious Project Strongly Backed by King Mohammed VI Amrani

Rabat – Africa is an ambitious project strongly supported by King Mohammed VI, says Youssef Amrani, chargé de mission at the Royal Cabinet. It is a project based on the principles of shared growth, common wealth and innovation, and reinforced by an African pragmatic and promising policy in line with the new realities of the continent.“This is a definite royal vision, which mirrors the Sovereign’s commitment to the emergence and development of our continent,” Amrani said at a conference organized by the Moroccan Association for Marketing and Communication (AMMC) in Rabat on Monday with the title “Moroccan firms in Africa: what strategies and what positions?”. He stressed that Africa and Morocco have a common destiny and that “the African policy of the Kingdom, which was boosted by the Sovereign, constitutes a break with the classical schemes of cooperation.”Amrani also said that, for Morocco, “Africa is a dynamic continent, which today represents the second area of global growth after Asia.”“Morocco has always advocated the sharing of experience and cooperation to contribute to the strengthening of states’ capacities” in the continent, he addedOrganized by HEM Business School’s research center, this conference took place on the occasion of the publication of HEM’s latest book: “Morocco, regional hub: South-South trade strategies”, which analyzes Moroccan investments in other African countries as well as economic collaborations within the continent.Amrani was joined in the conference by Amine Mahmoud Redouane El Alj, the Executive Director of the Bank of Finance and Investment at Attijariwafa Bank, Khalid Baddou, the president of the AMMC, Caroline Minialai, a researcher at HEM, and Hanane Harrath, a journalist at Medi1TV. read more

Concerns raised over removal of Customs whistleblower

Reports that a senior Customs investigation officer Assistant Superintendent W.M.R.P. Wijekoon has been sent on compulsory leave on allegations of leaking information to the media, have raised concerns over the protection of whistleblowers.Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) is concerned that the provision within the Right to Information (RTI) Act which seeks to protect whistleblowers, has not been considered prior to disciplinary action being taken under the Establishments Code. According to a media report on Sunday, “Mr Wijekoon and his team from the Customs Central Investigations Bureau (CIB) recently raided an unauthorised vehicle reassembling yard in Minuwangoda after obtaining a court order. The importer had allegedly made a false declaration to the Customs and was bringing dismantled vehicles in containers, declaring them as used vehicle parts. This was apparently to pay less as Customs duties.” The provisions of the RTI Act override all other written law, including the Establishments Code. The officer was reportedly sent on compulsory leave for violating the Establishments Code by using a trade union as a conduit for providing information to the media.TISL believes that due consideration has not been paid in this matter to Section 40 of the RTI Act – the whistleblower provision – which reads as follows; “Notwithstanding any legal or other obligation to which a person may be subject to by virtue of being an officer or employee of any public authority, no officer or employee of a public authority shall be subjected to any punishment, disciplinary or otherwise, for releasing or disclosing any information which is permitted to be released or disclosed under this Act”.TISL highlights the importance of expediting the process of amending the Establishments Code to reflect the provisions and principles of RTI and urges authorities to consider the whistleblower protection clause in the case of Assistant Superintendent W.M.R.P. Wijekoon. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Three men wanted in armed robbery of vehicle in Regina

Regina police are searching for three suspects involved in using guns to steal a vehicle.Officers were dispatched to the 800 block of Mackay Street for the report of a robbery with a firearm at about 12:25 a.m. Wednesday.According to a police new release issued Wednesday, a man was in a vehicle stopped in the area of Scarth Street and 2nd Avenue North when he was approached by three people on foot.The suspects had guns and demanded personal property and the victim’s vehicle. After complying, the victim was taken in the vehicle to the 800 block of Mackay Street where he then exited.The victim was not injured as a result of the robbery.The first suspect is described as a tall 30-year-old man wearing a baseball hat. The second suspect is described as 30-year-old man with spiked hair and tattoos on his forearms. The third suspect is described as a 20-year-old man with long hair wearing a baseball hat.The victim’s vehicle has been recovered, though police did not specify where it was located. read more

Donald Trump Jews who vote for Democrats show great disloyalty

President Donald Trump beat back criticism of his comments accusing American Jews who vote for Democrats of “great disloyalty” and went a step further on Wednesday, saying any vote for a Democrat is a vote against Israel.“I think that if you vote for a Democrat you are very, very disloyal to Israel and to the Jewish people,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House.The Republican president drew outrage on Tuesday from Democratic presidential candidates and U.S. Jewish groups after accusing American Jews who vote for Democrats of “great disloyalty.”Critics said Trump‘s comments echoed an anti-Semitic trope accusing American Jews of dual loyalties to the United States and Israel.Trump initially responded on Twitter on Wednesday by quoting a conservative columnist as saying American Jews “don’t know what they’re doing.” The Republican president thanked the commentator, Wayne Allyn Root, who likened Trump to the “king of Israel” and said Israelis “love him like he is the second coming of God.”Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.The comments about Israel followed Trump‘s attacks on a group of first-term Democrats in Congress, U.S. Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who were denied entry to Israel last week after Trump pressured the government.“Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they’re defending these two people over the state of Israel? And I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” Trump said on Tuesday, without specifying what or who they were being disloyal to.Those remarks sparked a swift backlash.“My message to Trump: I am a proud Jewish person and I have no concerns about voting Democratic,” Senator Bernie Sanders, a leader in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination and an independent, wrote in a Twitter post late on Tuesday.Former Vice President Joe Biden, the current front-runner to challenge Trump in November 2020, called the president’s comments “insulting and inexcusable” and urged him to stop dividing Americans.“The Jewish people don’t need to prove their loyalty to you, @realDonaldTrump – or to anyone else,” said Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke, a former U.S. congressman from Texas who has called Trump a racist over his immigration rhetoric.The Jewish people don’t need to prove their loyalty to you, @realDonaldTrump—or to anyone else. https://t.co/BjgyPo72hH— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) August 20, 2019American Jews lean Democratic. Roughly 70 percent of American Jews have typically supported Democratic candidates in recent U.S. presidential elections.J Street, a liberal lobbying group based in Washington, was among the many U.S. Jewish organizations that expressed outrage or alarm at Trump‘s comments.“It is dangerous and shameful for President Trump to attack the large majority of the American Jewish community as unintelligent and ‘disloyal,’” the group said on Tuesday.Said Anti-Defamation League leader Jonathan Greenblatt, “It’s unclear who @POTUS is claiming Jews would be ‘disloyal’ to, but charges of disloyalty have long been used to attack Jews.”The American Jewish Committee called Trump‘s comments “shockingly divisive.”“American Jews – like all Americans – have a range of political views and policy priorities. His assessment of their knowledge or ‘loyalty,’ based on their party preference, is inappropriate, unwelcome, and downright dangerous,” said committee Chief Executive David Harris.The Republican Jewish Committee sided with Trump, saying, “President Trump is right, it shows a great deal of disloyalty to oneself to defend a party that protects/emboldens people that hate you for your religion.”Trump is popular in Israel. He delighted many Israelis – while appalling other world powers – by recognizing Jerusalem as their capital, moving the U.S. Embassy there, withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which has particularly close ties with the Trump administration, declined to comment on his remarks.AmericanIsraeli President Reuven Rivlin wrote on Twitter that he had spoken with House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top U.S. elected Democrat, about strong U.S.-Israel relations he said were “not dependent on the links with either party.”Trump has for weeks been attacking Tlaib and Omar, accusing them of hostility to Israel and anti-Semitism. He repeated his attacks on Tlaib on Wednesday, accusing her on Twitter of wanting to cut off aid to Israel, a U.S. ally that has long enjoyed bipartisan support.In February, Omar, who along with Tlaib supports a boycott of Israel over its policies toward the Palestinians, said U.S. Jews have divided loyalties. She apologized for those remarks after being widely condemned by many in her own party.Most Democrats disagree with Tlaib and Omar’s views on Israel, but Trump‘s attacks on them have rallied support for the two within their party.— Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Mayaan Lubell; additional reporting by Jeff Mason; editing by Jonathan Oatis read more

General Assembly criticizes human rights abuses in DPR Korea Belarus Iran

Acting on reports of torture in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), harassment of journalists and failure to hold free elections in Belarus, and intimidation of human rights workers and political opponents in Iran, the General Assembly has called on all three States to immediately end such abuses.The Assembly adopted country-specific human rights resolutions on each on Tuesday, acting on recommendations made by the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) at a meeting which also saw the adoption of 38 other resolutions and 5 decisions on a wide range of subjects, from Israel’s actions in Lebanon to religious intolerance.Referring to the DPRK, the Assembly expressed its “very serious concern at continuing reports of systemic, widespread and grave violations of human rights… including torture; the situation of refugees expelled or returned and sanctions imposed on citizens repatriated from abroad,” along with other reported abuses.Turning to Belarus, the Assembly urged the Government to “bring the electoral process and legislative framework into line with international standards and cease politically motivated prosecution, harassment and intimidation.”Echoing similar concerns over Iran, the Assembly called on the authorities to “ensure full respect for the rights to freedom of assembly, opinion and expression, and for the right to due process of law, to eliminate the use of torture and other cruel forms of punishment,” as well as abolish public executions and eliminate violence against women and girls.The Assembly also adopted a resolution on the human rights consequences of this year’s Israeli operations against Hizbollah in Lebanon, deploring the death of more than 1,100 civilians, strongly condemning the use by Israel of cluster munitions and deploring the environmental degradation caused by air strikes against power plants.Among the other resolutions and texts adopted, the Assembly deplored the use of print, audio-visual and electronic media to “incite acts of violence, xenophobia or related intolerance and discrimination against Islam or any other religion” and urged Member States to take “resolute action to prohibit the dissemination of such ideas and materials.”Concluding its action on all Third Committee reports on Wednesday, the Assembly adopted an International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and six other resolutions, along with three other decisions as recommended by the Committee.The Convention, which had been co-sponsored by more than 100 Member States and adopted by the newly-established Human Rights Council in June, will recognize the right of persons not to be subjected to enforced disappearance and commit States party to it to criminalize enforced disappearance, bring those responsible to justice as well as take preventive measures.General Assembly President Sheika Haya Al Khalifa said the practice of enforced disappearances is still widespread throughout the world, noting that since 1980 there have been more that 51,000 enforced disappearances in more than 90 countries. In remarks before action on the resolution, she said adopting the Convention “can help prevent enforced disappearances and bring perpetrators to justice [and] provide justice for victims and their families who have suffered.” Urging Member States to adopt the convention by consensus, she appealed to Member States “at their earliest convenience” to take all necessary steps to ensure the full implementation of the Convention.By another measure, the Assembly deferred action on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples until sometime before the end of the current session, because of concerns by some delegations about its potential effects on national sovereignty and land rights. Several other Member States – mainly from Latin America – noted that after 24 years of drafting and revisions it was time to make the Declaration a reality. read more

Netherlands give UNICEF largest single donation ever – over 200 million

“We will use this uniquely generous donation from the Dutch people to reach more children with even better quality programmes,” UNICEF Programme Funding Director Karin Hulshof said. “Millions of children who might never have had the joy of the first day of school, never seen a book or held a pencil will be transformed thanks to this gift.”While schooling children stuck in emergencies, whether conflict or natural disasters, is a core part of UNICEF’s mandate, this donation will allow for a dramatic scaling up of programmes. Children recover more quickly if they are in school, a safe haven both physically and psychologically.Some 25 million children in 40 countries in emergency or post-crisis situations are expected to benefit from the additional funding, which will enable 10 million youngsters currently deprived of any form of education to return to school, and another 15 million living in crisis situation to receive a better education.The countries include Sudan, Liberia, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Lebanon, occupied Palestinian territory, Nepal, Myanmar, Haiti, Sri Lanka, Côte d’Ivoire, Azerbaijan, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Swaziland. The funds will be distributed over four years. UNICEF will also receive an additional $56 million for water and sanitation programmes, $24 million for child protection programmes and $24 million for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment from the Dutch Government.“This donation perfectly reflects UNICEF’s priorities for children,” Ms. Hulshof said. “Education, health, protection and HIV/AIDS prevention are all essential to ensuring a solid future for children and for all of us.” read more

UNbacked body lowers export quotas for caviar

Combined export quotas of Caspian Sea caviar for 2007 have been set 15 per cent lower than for 2005, the last year such quotas were published, as long-term efforts continue to reverse the impact of decades of over-fishing, the United Nations-backed body overseeing a global treaty governing trade in endangered species announced today.Export quotas for caviar from Persian and stellate sturgeon from the five Caspian countries – Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan – have been reduced by over 25 per cent, while that from Russian sturgeon has risen by 23 per cent. It has not been possible to publish quotas for beluga, the world’s most valuable caviar, because the information provided by the five states is not yet complete, and the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has given them an extra month to provide the missing data about the sustainability of their sturgeon catch. Last year, CITES did not publish any quotas because the states did not provide sufficient information. “Ensuring that sturgeon stocks recover to safe levels will take decades of careful fisheries management and an unrelenting struggle against poaching and illegal trade,” CITES Secretary-General Willem Wijnstekers said. “The income earned from the sale of sturgeon products in 2007 should provide both an incentive and the means to pursue the long-term recovery of this commercially and ecologically valuable natural resource.” As caviar stocks continued to decline through the 1990s, the Parties to CITES decided to place all sturgeon species that remained unlisted on a special appendix to ensure that all exports of caviar and other sturgeon products comply with strict treaty provisions, including the use of permits and specific labelling requirements. In 2001, CITES responded to high levels of poaching and illegal trade with a temporary ban. Extensive discussions and stronger actions by the five states were required before the annual quotas could be agreed for 2002 to 2005. With the agreement of these States, the rules on how to set quotas under CITES have become increasingly rigorous. To have proposed quotas published, countries with shared sturgeon stocks must agree on catch and export quotas based on scientific surveys of stocks. They must also adopt a regional conservation strategy, combat illegal fishing and demonstrate that their proposed catch and export quotas reflect current population trends and are sustainable. But importing countries also have to play their part. “They must ensure that all imports are from legal sources, and they must establish registration systems for their domestic processing and repackaging plants and rules for the labelling of repackaged caviar,” Mr. Wijnstekers said. read more

UN hopes Israel Palestinians avoid violence in light of positive developments

In response to a question at the daily briefing, spokesperson Michele Montas referred specifically to last month’s meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Israel’s decision to release some Palestinian taxes and Mr. Olmert’s meeting yesterday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. “We would hope that all parties would act with restraint to encourage these small steps back towards dialogue and away from violence, such as the Israeli military incursion into Ramallah yesterday,” she said. Last year, Israel stopped the transfer of Palestinian value added taxes (VAT) following the election victory of Hamas, which is committed to Israel’s destruction. read more

Stability in DR Congo will benefit whole of Africa global commitment still

While stressing the importance of last year’s historic elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the first held there in more than 40 years, two top United Nations officials today told the Security Council that continued international involvement is crucial to stability not only in the massive country but for the whole region.“The DRC is the natural, yet still developing, pole of stability in the troubled region of Central Africa,” said Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno. “The resolution of the crisis in the DRC will benefit Africa more than solving any other of the continent’s current conflicts.”At the same time, he warned that the DRC’s achievements “will be at risk if the international community, or the Congolese people, repeat some of their past mistakes.”Mr. Guéhenno pointed out that in previous cases where elections were held but the international community pulled out too soon, conflict resumed a few years later, “requiring a new, costlier international intervention.”He also reiterated to the Council the important role played in the DRC by the European Union, particularly the assistance given during last year’s polls by the European Union Force (EUFOR RD CONGO) and its help to the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC). The elections were the largest and most complex the UN has ever helped organize.Thanking other Member States as well for their assistance, Mr. Guéhenno said that the main credit nevertheless must go to the Congolese people and their “desire for change,” although he noted that the electoral process was far from over in the country and also highlighted continuing security concerns in the east.“MONUC stands ready to support the newly-elected Government as it begins to address the many challenges facing the country,” he said, noting that the transitional agenda must be completed and the Constitution’s call for stronger national unity must be carried out.“The continued engagement of the international community is also required to help the DRC complete a comprehensive electoral process, with local elections due in the second half of this year,” he said, anticipating close cooperation with the European Union and other parties on all these fronts.Speaking after Mr. Guéhenno, the UN’s top political officer also praised the 2006 polls, while further echoing the need for continued international assistance to cement the DRC’s transition to stability, after a brutal six-year civil war that cost 4 million lives through fighting and attendant hunger and disease.“Although elections are never an end by themselves, they are, when credible, a critical part of any democratic process. Holding successful and credible elections as we did in the DRC is a testimony to what can be achieved when there is collective effort,” said Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari, noting that the UN’s Electoral Assistance Division has been involved with the polling process since 2003.“These elections have resulted in the establishment of the first democratically elected national institutions in over four decades, and of this we can be justly proud. However, much still remains to be done… the DRC is now in a post-transitional period but this is by no means a post-electoral period.”Mr. Gambari told the 15-member body that the Division would continue to assist MONUC’s electoral work for this year’s polls, which will involve 13 to 18 months of preparation, as he also underscored the challenges ahead.“I encourage the members of the Council and other partners such as the EU (European Union), the AU (African Union), South Africa and Turkey to continue to provide the generous assistance rendered during the 2006 electoral process.”Given the logistical challenges in the DRC, a country roughly comparable in size to Western Europe, he said continued support will be “critical.”Over 10 speakers, including EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, took part in today’s discussions.In a related development on the ground, the DRC’s first democratically-elected National Assembly in more than 40 years was inaugurated today in the capital Kinshasa, a UN spokesman said in New York. MONUC also says that an investigation team arrived in the eastern province of Ituri on 5 January to look into human rights abuses, including the execution of some 24 civilians near Bunia in late December and the torching of civilian homes near Fataki last week. read more

Sudan backs deployment of hybrid peacekeeping force in Darfur – UN

The Sudanese Government remains committed to the deployment of a hybrid United Nations-African Union (AU) peacekeeping force in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today as his Special Envoy continued his mission to find a durable solution to the conflict that has caused massive humanitarian suffering.The envoy Jan Eliasson conducted what he described as fruitful and substantive talks with Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir in the capital, Khartoum.The meeting follows talks earlier this week with Sudanese Foreign Minister Lam Akol, the former rebel leader Minni Minawi and other key Government officials, as well as with AU officials at its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Tomorrow the UN envoy heads to Darfur itself.More than 200,000 people have been killed and at least 2.5 million others displaced since 2003 because of fighting across Darfur – an arid and impoverished region on Sudan’s western flank – between Government forces, allied militias and rebel groups seeking greater autonomy.Mr. Eliasson told reporters today after his meeting with Mr. el-Bashir that Sudanese officials, including the President, had agreed with him that the conflict could only have a political solution and not a military one.Last month Mr. el-Bashir informed the UN that Sudan supported the three-phase plan, agreed to at summits in Addis Ababa and Abuja in November, which culminates in the hybrid force replacing the existing and under-staffed AU monitoring mission known as AMIS. The new force is expected to have about 17,000 troops and 3,000 police officers.During a press conference today at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Ban said he had been encouraged by what he heard of Mr. Eliasson’s meetings this week and reiterated plans to join Mr. Eliasson at an AU summit on the issue in Addis Ababa at the end of the month.Asked about recent press reports that Mr. el-Bashir had now rejected the deployment of UN peacekeepers in Darfur, Mr. Ban said he had been told by Mr. Eliasson that the President assured him of his Government’s “very strong cooperation and assistance” with both the UN and the AU.“There was an agreement in Addis Ababa and Abuja. We are committed to implementing this agreement,” Mr. Ban said.Under the first phase of the agreement, the UN is providing a $21 million “light support package” to AMIS, which includes the provision of equipment as well as military advisers, police officers and civilian staff from the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) – a separate peacekeeping operation mandated to oversee a peace pact ending the 21-year war in the country’s south.UNMIS handed over the first batch of equipment and supplies to AMIS today, with the remainder expected to be delivered in the coming weeks. The first batch included generators, tents, cookers, sleeping bags, mosquito nets, ground positioning systems (GPS) and night-vision goggles. Some 17 military advisers and 19 police officers are already in Darfur.The details of the second “heavy support” phase, which includes the provision of staff and equipment, are still being finalized. read more

Rural mortality rates in China outpace urban areas by up to sixfold

Mortality rates in China’s least developed rural areas, where just under half the country’s 1.3 billion people live, are four to six times higher than urban areas, accounting for three quarters of total mortality, and the Government should give priority to ensuring universal maternal and child health care, according to a United Nations-backed report launched in Beijing. But despite serious concerns about slowing progress due to increasing disparities between urban and rural areas as well as the state of vulnerable populations such as migrant workers, the world’s most populous country is on track to reach Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on maternal and child health. MDGs 4 and 5, part of an ambitious eight-point programme adopted by the UN Millennium Summit of 2000 to drastically slash a host of social ills by 2015, aim to cut the mortality rate among children under five by two thirds and the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters. “Our challenge is to reach the most marginalized and vulnerable populations and ensure universal access to affordable and equitable health care, for only equitable and harmonious development will enable China to fully reach the Millennium Development Goals,” UNICEF representative Yin Yin Nwe said. The report, the outcome of review conducted by the UNICEF, the UN World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and the Chinese Health Ministry with assistance from national and international experts, calls for increased funds for health services in poor areas, an effective strategy for human resource development and a strengthened maternal and child health surveillance system. While China is experiencing an epidemiological transition, with diarrhoea a significant cause of death only in very remote areas, four or five causes of death remain responsible for over 75 per cent of all maternal and child deaths, it notes. With neonatal mortality and post-partum haemorrhage still leading causes of death, universal access to essential obstetrical and neonatal care, as well some other key high-impact interventions such as exclusive breast-feeding, have the potential to further reduce maternal mortality by 52 per cent and child mortality by 34 per cent, the report says. read more

Pettersson helps Canucks end skid in 42 win over Kings

LOS ANGELES — Vancouver rookie Eilas Pettersson scored his 13th goal of the season and helped the Canucks snap an eight-game winless streak with a 4-2 victory over the struggling Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.Pettersson stole a long, cross-ice pass by Dion Phaneuf inside the red line for a breakaway and fired it past Los Angeles goalie Cal Petersen midway into the third period.Adam Gaudette and Sam Gagner also scored for the Canucks, and Tyler Motte added an empty-net goal. Goalie Jacob Markstrom stopped 20 shots.Drew Doughty and Matt Luff scored for the Kings, whose 7-14-1 record is the worst in the NHL. Petersen stopped 26 shots.After a scoreless opening period, both teams scored twice in the second period.The Kings tied it at 2-2 when Luff broke free on a breakaway. Luff faked a backhand to pull Markstrom out and then snapped in the shot behind him. It was his third goal of the season.Both teams converted on power plays earlier in the period.Vancouver took a 2-1 lead on some bang-bang passing. Pettersson snapped a short pass to Bo Horvat just outside the net, who deflected it to Sam Gagner six feet outside the crease. Gagner fired in the puck for his first goal of the season.The Kings ended an 0-for-16 streak on the power play when Doughty drilled a shot through traffic and off Vancouver’s Christopher Tanev for his second goal of the season.The Canucks opened the scoring with the first career goal from Gaudette. Jake Virtanen fought free and fed to Gaudette, who was alone on the opposite side of the net. The 22-year-old Gaudette quickly slipped the puck past Petersen.UP NEXTCanucks: Switch roles and play host to the Kings on Tuesday.Kings: Complete a three-game homestand Sunday against Edmonton.___More NHL hockey: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsThe Associated Press read more

Lazarovs 12 pieces of showtime

handballhandball resultsKiril LazarovMacedonia handballMen’s EHF EURO 2014 Macedonian star Kiril Lazarov (33) set a new record at Men’s EHF EURO 2014 with 12 goals against Czech Republic which took his team close to the Main Round, what was the main goal. Take a look how his scoring series led Macedonians to important draw…Macedonia will fight with Austria for some points which will be taken to the next group, if Czech Republic doesn’t make a miracle with triumph over Denmark… ← Previous Story GROUP D: Balkan derby – Rutenka is back for Swedish challenge Next Story → Tim Suton is new generation of “Lions” read more

New bill attempts to link video games and aggressive behavior

first_imgThe Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2011 (H.R.400.IH) has this week been reintroduced by U.S. Congressman and Republican Joe Baca. From the name of the bill you wouldn’t think it too serious, but read the details and you discover a bill that is both excessive in its claims and acting on unclear information.If the bill ever got passed, all games rated as T, M, or AO in the U.S. would have to carry a label on their boxes which states:WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior. The bill would also apply to games distributed digitally meaning we could see a large warning label pop up on the game details page or during the purchase process.The bill is supported by Frank Wolf, also a Republican, who explained why the label was necessary:Just as we warn smokers of the health consequences of tobacco, we should warn parents – and children — about the growing scientific evidence demonstrating a relationship between violent video games and violent behavior. As a parent and grandparent, I think it is important people know everything they can about the extremely violent nature of some of these games. This is not the first time Joe Baca has attempted to make it law that video games should carry a health warning about aggression. In 2009 a similar Labeling Act was proposed, but wasn’t taken up. At the time Baca said:The video game industry has a responsibility to parents, families, and to consumers – to inform them of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products. They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility. Meanwhile research continues to show a proven link between playing violent games and increased aggression in young people. American families deserve to know the truth about these potentially dangerous products. At no point does the bill refer to any concrete evidence or research conducted showing a clear link between aggressive behavior and video games. Surely that would be a mandatory addition to any bill pushing for such a blanket statement to be clearly visible on all games carrying a T or above rating?In the official press release announcing the bill it is stated that:Recent scientific studies from the Pediatrics Journal, University of Indiana, University of Missouri, and Michigan State University all point to a neurological link between playing violent video games and aggressive behavior in children and teenagers. Gamasutra rightly points out that a review carried out in December 2010 by the Australian government, as part of the ongoing discussion of introducing an R18+ rating in the country, found no definite link between video games and aggression.With such a review finding the opposite of Baca’s claims it would seem foolish to pass the labeling bill before further research is carried out and a clear link proven without a doubt.Read more at Gamasutra and Joe Baca’s press releaselast_img read more

Walking out at the Maracana brought a tear to me eye I

first_img‘Walking out at the Maracana brought a tear to me eye. I never had those moments with GB’ Ollie Dingley is an Irish athlete, he’s proud to represent Ireland and has once again reiterated his desire to put Ireland on the diving map. Dingley walking out behind Paddy Barnes at the Rio Opening Ceremony. Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO 23,568 Views Dingley walking out behind Paddy Barnes at the Rio Opening Ceremony. Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO By The42 Team Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Share Tweet Email1 Apr 15th 2017, 11:00 AM center_img Saturday 15 Apr 2017, 11:00 AM http://jrnl.ie/3339033 16 Comments ‘At 24 years old, I’d like to live closer to the city but that would mean getting a second job’ Follow us: the42.ie Short URL Written by Ryan Bailey and originally posted on The42 on 13 AprilIRELAND’S FIRST OLYMPIC diver in 68 years, Ollie Dingley, says he would never consider moving back to England to represent Great Britain even if they were able to offer him more financial support.Dingley exceeded all expectations at last summer’s Games in Rio as he conjured a brilliant performance to finish eighth in the 3m springboard final, just two years after switching allegiances to Ireland through his Cork-born grandmother.The 24-year-old, who represented Great Britan at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and won bronze in Glasgow, was then frozen out by Team GB and decided to chase his Olympic dream with Ireland.Dingley truly announced himself on the global stage in Rio and his performance there has earned him a place on the World Series, a competition reserved for the top divers in the world.His stock has risen considerably, and last week he received a ‘World Class’ grant from Sport Ireland, but Dingley rejected the idea that he would ever move back to England now that he has proved those who doubted him wrong.“No, never. I’ll never, ever go back,” he said. “I get on with everyone. They all cheer for me. They’re all friends, I cheer for them but I consider myself an Irish athlete. I’m very lucky to be an Irish athlete. I’m very lucky to have gone to Rio and I was very proud and humbled to wave that flag on the world stage. The 24-year-old went into the Games without a world ranking. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO“I enjoy representing Ireland, I’m very proud to do it. I was always proud to represent GB but more so Ireland because the sense of achievement has been surreal and I’ve been very, very humbled.“Coming back from Rio the support from the public was amazing and the programme itself has taken off.“To be a part of that process and that journey has been absolutely amazing and it is an up and coming sport and through that we are getting some very good divers coming through, some good kids who most likely will be at the Olympics one day and we won’t have to wait another 68 years for an Irish diver at the Games.”There must have been some point during the Olympic final when the Team GB coaches and officials watched on and wondered whether they’d made a big mistake in forcing Dingley out of the system.Their loss was Ireland’s gain, however.“Who knows? I’ve never asked them,” he replied when asked if he thought they regretted the decision now. Dingley celebrates with his coach Damian Bell. Source: James Crombie/INPHO“But it’s great, I mean, going to the World Series which is top eight divers in the world. And knowing that I’m top eight in the world as an Irish diver is very satisfying knowing I have the potential. It’s just as nice to beat British divers as it is any other nation. I’m very proud to show any other nation how it’s done.“I was lucky enough to walk out at the Maracana behind Paddy Barnes and the flag [for the opening ceremony], that brought a tear to my eye. It was absolutely amazing, I loved every single second of it. It was so emotional and I never had those moments in the British set-up.“When I moved over I was never going to do things by half, I was always going to throw myself fully into it and give it a good shot and we got a good result in Rio and we, Ireland, can get an even better result in Tokyo.”Written by Ryan Bailey and originally posted on the42.ieThe42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us!last_img read more

Melbourne leads housing market growth

first_imgMelbourne has seen a huge 3.2 per cent growth in its housing market last month, surpassing all other capital cities. Sydney, which normally leads in market growth, only saw a 0.8 per cent rise, while Brisbane followed with a 0.7 per cent jump in the last month. Hobart surprisingly beat the major cities, and recorded a 2 per cent rise in growth but still remains the most affordable city, with the median price of $340,000. The growth in Melbourne has pushed its median house prices up to $610,000. It surpassed its previous peak, set in October 2010, at $593,600. In just the month of January median house prices rose $22,500 in Melbourne, and were pushed up by a high rate of auctions. In the last quarter, the auction average was more than a thousand a week, REIV CEO Enzo Raimondo says. “Sellers were also confident of making a sale, with about 12,800 auctions held during these three months,” he says. He believes the increase was driven by investors encouraged by low interest rates and a hot market. “Low interest rates, a record number of auctions, and an increase in million dollar-plus sales all led to an impressive quarter for the market,” he said. Sydney still holds the highest median house price, sitting at $660,000. Investor borrowing grew by 7 per cent last year, compared to 3 per cent in 2011, showing a new confidence in entering the market. Despite the strong growth, these highs aren’t predicted to stay, with many analysts expecting the market to cool in the coming months. RP Data senior analyst Tim Lawless believes such high figures in Melbourne will have to soften. “The January figure is very high; I’d be surprised if we saw this level of growth continue – I think Melbourne will slow down into the year.” The growth was not felt in all states, with Adelaide recording zero growth, while Perth and Darwin both recorded negative growth at -1.1 per cent. The Demographia International survey, which ranked cities in seven countries based on house prices against income, found Melbourne was less affordable than New York but more affordable than London. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Une usine chinoise pollue les eaux de Somalie

first_imgUne usine chinoise pollue les eaux de SomalieUne usine chinoise de tannage installée en Somalie depuis 2008 est accusée de polluer les eaux du pays. L’entreprise rejetterait sans scrupules ses déchets toxiques dans les canalisations à 60 kilomètres de Mogadiscio, la capitale.L’usine de tannage chinoise du groupe Jeronimo, installée depuis 2008 en Somalie est aujourd’hui au coeur d’une vaste polémique. Installée à 60 kilomètres de la capitale Mogadiscio, elle est accusée de polluer les eaux somaliennes des alentours. En effet, d’après les habitants, l’entreprise déverserait sans scrupules ses déchets dans les canalisations, contaminant ainsi tout le réseau. Spécialisée dans la fabrication de gant en cuir, le groupe Jeronimo s’est installé il y a plus de 4 ans dans le village de Dar-Buruq où il emploie 60 locaux et seulement 6 Chinois, produisant plus de 2 millions de pièces par an. En plus d’être accusé d’attenter à l’environnement, il est également suspecté de ne pas présenter de bonnes conditions de travail à ses employés qui effectuent leurs tâches sans protections (gants, masques) alors qu’ils manipulent des produits dangereux.Pour savoir ce qu’il en était, des journalistes du Guardian se sont récemment rendus sur place et ont été surpris par une forte odeur nauséabonde près de l’usine. Une observation qui va dans le sens des accusations des villageois qui se sont notamment plaints de problèmes respiratoires. Ajouté à cela, ils auraient également signalé une baisse importante dans les stocks de nourriture. En effet, les eaux polluées feraient fuir le gibier qui ne s’abreuve plus près de Dar-Buruq.Des risques passés sous silence À lire aussiDengue : symptômes, traitement, prévention, où en est-on ?Les autorités font cependant la sourde oreille. L’usine chinoise est le seul investisseur de la région dans un pays qui peine à sortir la tête de l’eau. La Somalie est depuis de nombreuses années victime de guerre civile et s’était vue classée dernière en 2001 sur la liste des pays par indice de développement humain. La Chine, souvent rappelée à l’ordre pour ses manquements au respect de l’environnement est aujourd’hui l’un des principaux partenaires de l’Afrique. Avec elle, de nombreux pays espèrent remonter leur économie et multiplier les échanges. Qu’il s’agisse de cuir, d’industrie, de construction hydroélectrique ou bien d’achat d’ivoire. Li Fai La, manager de Jeronimo a ainsi expliqué au Guardian, “si le gouvernement était inquiet sur les répercussions pour la santé, il aurait dû vérifier cela avant qu’on arrive”. Le 16 juillet 2013 à 19:32 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more