US waitress fired after reporting a mother who was drinking and

first_imgSidi Ifni- A waitress in the United Sates was dismissed after she called the police to report a woman who was breastfeeding her baby and drinking alcohol.Jackie Conners, an Arkansas waitress, was dismissed after reporting to police a woman who was drinking while breastfeeding her 7 month old daughter.Jackie Conners, who worked at a Gusano’s Pizzeria, spotted 28-year-old Tasha Adams ordering alcoholic drinks and simultaneously breastfeeding her 7-month-old daughter. The mother’s actions are “unacceptable,” Conners was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying.“Me, being a mom, and just seeing something like that and seeing a baby that can’t speak for itself, having a parent do something like that is just unacceptable,” she added.According to the Daily Mail, police rushed to the bar and arrested Tasha Nicole Adams, who is mother of three.The 28 year-old woman was convicted of causing harm to a minor, and she is expected to appear in court in January.But the pizzeria immediately fired the waitress.“Conners’ termination had nothing to do with the breastfeeding incident,” a manager at the restaurant was quoted by ArkansasMatters as saying.But the waitress argues that she was fired because she “took matter into her own hands.”The mother claimed that she did not do anything wrong.“I am really a normal person,” she was quoted by the same source as saying.Pregnant mothers are warned against drinking consuming alcoholic drinks for fear of bringing about birth defects.Adams reiterated that she did not commit anything horrible and that her family is all that she cares about.“I just want everyone to know I am not a horrible person. I have a family to take care of, and that’s all I care about,” she said.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Ronaldo Says He Misses Playing in Manchester United

Rabat – Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has said he misses the good old days at the Old Trafford, according to the Express.The former Manchester United man has revealed he misses playing alongside England captain Wayne Rooney.“I miss playing with Rooney. Maybe we will play together again one day,” the 30-year-old said. “He was the kid of England, everyone loved him.He was so powerful I was calling him Pitbull. The power of Wayne Rooney is his mentality and strength and he never stops.“He’s a fantastic team player and he scores! He’s a fantastic boy and he helped me a lot when he came to join us in Manchester.”Reports suggest that Ronaldo may leave Real Madrid this season. The three-time Ballon d’Or winner has been linked with a move to the MLS league in the United States. Other reports, however, claim that Ronaldo returning to Manchester United is a possible scenario.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission read more

Lawsuits ramp up pressure on family that owns opioid company

The legal pressure on the family behind the painkiller OxyContin intensified this week and is likely to grow.The Sackler family came under scrutiny when a legal filing in Massachusetts detailed how family members and other Purdue Pharma executives sought to push prescriptions for the drug and downplay its addiction risks.A lawyer who has sued the family on behalf of New York’s Suffolk County says he expects similar claims against family members to be added to hundreds of lawsuits seeking to hold the drug industry accountable for an opioid crisis.Documents used in the claims could also be used in more than 1,000 suits against the drug industry that have been consolidated under a federal judge.Purdue has blasted the accusations as an attempt to vilify the company.Geoff Mulvihill, The Associated Press read more

Canada Set to Make Changes to its Immigration Policy

London – In January 2015, the Canadian government introduced the Express Entry system, which aimed to facilitate and increase the immigration process. Under the new system candidates are ranked via a special system.The Canadian government has recently announced further changes in its immigration policy for 2017. The new changes will further encourage immigrants to the country and will reduce the visa processing time.It is expected that annual immigration will increase to 425,000 by 2020. The Comprehensive Ranking System has decreased, resulting in an increase of immigration candidates being sent the ‘Invitation to Apply’.The cut off level is expected to be reduced further, which is good news for those waiting for their invitation to apply.Such changes are hoped to be implemented in the ne year and looks to create a new job bank, through which immigrants will be able to match their skills with the available work before even arriving to the country.Though the Canadian immigration program appears easy in its process, the visa application may persist to be a little complex, as it must be fully complete and presented in an appropriate manner.Information about how to apply for the entry system can be found via the biggest immigration service provider the WWCIS, who provide a step-by-step guide for applicants. read more

ALTV Announces Launch of Moroccan Version of UserGenerated Program

Rabat – ALTV’s free streaming service is bringing a new daily show to Morocco titled “Li Share3 Wijhar Nadar.” Translated as “Street’s Point of View,” the program will be the first ever user-generated events show in Morocco.The daily Moroccan show promises to provide its Moroccan audience with the relevant, localized content their studies showed Moroccans have been asking for.The project is part of ALTV’s mission to “turn viewers from across the MENA region into digital content creators. The concept behind the show is to share “perspectives of everyday people on the day’s local and global trending stories.” Speaking of the show’s success in the region, ALTV’s ambassador, Yassine Jarram, explained that “Street’s Point of View’s rapid success highlights the evident lack of localized programming that is relevant to local audiences.”The show’s approach to reporting on current events is “refreshing to Moroccan audiences and it is proving popular among the millennial generation.”“The show’s coverage presented through the points of view of local communities sets it apart from traditional mainstream broadcasters. It gives communities a voice in addition to an exciting new source of relevant entertainment,” Jarram said.“Street’s Point of View epitomizes the approach that ALTV is bringing to its content, breathing new life into programming and film production to give local audiences the opportunity to enjoy high quality, local stories,” said David C. McCourt, the show’s executive producer, who is a global media entrepreneur and founder of ALTV.McCourt added that ALTV is exploring testing the show’s format in other markets across the Middle East and North Africa as part of its commitment to its audiences, including Morocco. “… the format and premise of the show is already transcending internationally and we expect to formally announce new markets for the show in the coming weeks and months.”Audiences can expect surprise appearances from well-known guests from time to time. No date has yet been announced for the airing of the first episode.ALTV.com is a community-led digital media platform, offering a grass-roots approach to media production to answer an often-neglected appetite for local content. It offers training and production opportunities to creative people who need a start in realizing their vision. read more

African World Cup Qualifiers Morocco Miss Golden Opportunity to Beat Mali

Rabat – In a largely diasappointing performance by the Moroccan football team, The Atlas Lions missed a golden opportunity to beat Mali win three crucial points and become leader of Group C in the fourth round of African 2018 World Cup qualifiers.In both the first and second half of the game held Tuesday night in Bamako, Moroccan players missed golden opportunities to score and come out victorious.Hakim Ziyech strangely missed a penalty while Mbark Boussoufa, Khalid Boutaib and Oussama Tanane all failed to net while they were face to face with the Malian goalkeeper. The taste of the draw tastes even bitter as the Lion Atlas were given a gift by the Gabon team to lead Group C.Gabon stunned Ivory Coast at home with a 2-1 victory on Tuesday.The Panthers scored the lead in the 19th minute by Alex Me Ndong. 10 minutes later the Gabonese team doubled thanks to Mario Lemina. Maxwell Cornet scored the Elephant’s goal in the 58th minute. The Gabonese team suffered a crushing defeat in Libreville on Friday when they lost 3-0.Despite its loss, Ivory Coast is still leader of Group C with seven points, followed by Morocco with six and Gabon with five.The three teams have chances of qualifying provided they win in the last remaining two games. Ivory Coast has an advantage as i twill face Mali next, the weakest team of the group, and Morocco in the final game.The Moroccan team will first have to defeat Gabon at home and they see how they can get a qualifying ticket from Ivory Coast if ever the Elephants manage to score a win or at least a draw against Mali. read more

Royal Air Maroc Prepares to Sue Algerian FM With Top French

Rabat – In early December, Royal Air Maroc said that it would sue Algeria Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel for accusing the flag carrier of “transporting something other than passengers,” referring to hashish. Now, the airline is geared, with two high profile French lawyers, to bring Messahel to justice.The case surfaced on October 2, when the top Algerian diplomat claimed during a meeting with business leaders in Algiers that the Moroccan state-owned carrier transports cannabis to sub-Saharan Africa.His slur immediatly backfired. The company is using all of the legal means at its disposal, including top French lawyers Ralph Boussier and Jean-Yves Dupeux and the Royal Palace’s lawyer Hicham Nacirito, to file a complaint on January against the Algerian official for “defamation” in the Paris District Court. The two celebrated French lawyers have already collaborated with Morocco in national cases.Boussier has represented Morocco in an 1999 case against the French daily Le Monde for accusing Hassan II of being the primary cannabis exporter in the world.In 2003, he intervened on behalf of Othman Benjelloun in a fraud case.Jean-Yves Dupeux has also stood on the side of Morocco, when boxer Zakaria Moumni claimed that he was tortured in Morocco in 2016.Heavy AccusationsThe Algerian minister went so far as to accuse Morocco of funding its investments programs in sub-Saharan Africa with money obtained from drug trafficking, as well as that Moroccan banks helped launder money from the hashish trade.“Moroccan banks are money laundering hashish, that everyone knows. The leaders of so many African countries have told me this, ” he added.These remarks were squarely denounced by Moroccan authorities, who said that the Algerian minister showed a lack of knowledge regarding the Moroccan banking system and the rules of international civil aviation. read more

The Latest Argentine bank president says economy healing

DAVOS, Switzerland — The Latest on the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (all times local):10:40 a.m.Guido Sandleris, president of the Central Bank of Argentina, says the country is “much better prepared” for the challenge of a slowdown in global trade and the rise in interest rates in major economies, following its recession.Speaking at the World Economic Forum, Sandleris said Argentina had previously not been strong enough to cope with those twin challenges amid high inflation at home and big fiscal and trade deficits. As a result, President Mauricio Macri negotiated a $56 billion stand-by financing facility with the International Monetary Fund.Though the deficits are heading in the right direction, Sandleris said inflation remains too high.Sandleris defended the government’s belt-tightening measures and said protests in the country are more to do with the recession — the economy is expected to shrink further this year — than any anger against the IMF.___10:10 a.m.Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed chief executive says she’s “quite worried” that the rules-based system that has governed global trade for decades is under threat.Speaking Wednesday at the World Economic Forum at the Swiss ski resort of Davos, Carrie Lam said any diminution in the traditional rules could lead to rising political tensions around the world.She said Hong Kong has prospered “on the basis of free and open trade.”Worries over the future of the rules governing global trade have been stoked over the past couple of years, certainly since the election of U.S. President Donald Trump. His administration has taken particular umbrage against China and the two have imposed tariffs on each other that has raised concerns of a full-scale trade war.The Associated Press read more

General Dynamics wins 186million Canadian navy contract for underwater sensors

HALIFAX — Ottawa will spend $186 million upgrading and maintaining underwater sensors for the Royal Canadian Navy’s frigates.National Defence said in a news release Friday that global defence giant General Dynamics has been given two contracts that will involve the employment of about 120 people. It said the “majority of this work will occur in Canada.”The Halifax-class frigates use sonar to detect, locate and track surface and sub-surface threats through the continuous monitoring and collection of information.The $186 million contracts include acquisition and upgrade for the first six Halifax-class frigates, totalling $103 million, and in-service support, which would potentially cost $83 million for up to 23 years.The contracts include options to upgrade all 12 Halifax-class frigates, which would bring the acquisition portion to $170 million.The first installation of the upgraded underwater warfare suite is expected to be completed in 2021 and operational in 2022.“Threat detection is critical to initiate rapid defence countermeasures that protect our sailors and our ships,” Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a statement.The Canadian Press read more

Business Highlights

___Luxury retailers, technology companies push stocks higherNEW YORK (AP) — Technology companies helped lead stocks broadly higher on Wall Street Tuesday as strong earnings reports from several companies put investors in a buying mood.The rally, which briefly wavered around midday, extended the benchmark S&P 500 index’s winning streak to five days.___Trump has solid US economy for SOTU, but threats remainWASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump will enjoy the backdrop of a mostly solid economy as he delivers his second State of the Union address Tuesday night, though questions about its sustainability linger. Trump will likely tout the latest signs of strength: Friday’s jobs report showed that employers added the most jobs in January in nearly a year.___A hill of beans: Soybeans upstage trade talksWASHINGTON (AP) — Soybeans, which account for less than 1 per cent of U.S. exports, are upstaging weightier issues as the Trump administration tackles trade disputes with China and other countries. The outsize importance of soybeans — mostly used as animal feed but also consumed by humans in everything from General Tso’s Tofu to soy lattes — was apparent once again recently in two days of U.S.-China trade talks.___Trump to tap David Malpass, critic of World Bank, to lead itWASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump plans to nominate David Malpass, a Trump administration critic of the World Bank, to lead the institution. That’s according to a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official wasn’t authorized to comment publicly on personnel decisions. Malpass, the undersecretary for international affairs at the Treasury Department, has been a sharp critic of the World Bank, especially over its lending to China.___Retail group forecasts solid retail sales growth for 2019NEW YORK (AP) — The National Retail Federation is forecasting that retail sales could increase between 3.8 per cent and 4.4 per cent to more than $3.8 trillion this year as shoppers remain in a mood to spend in a strong economy. The forecast is nearly in line with the 4.6 per cent gain the nation’s largest retail trade group estimated for 2018. Last year’s results are preliminary pending the release of data from the Commerce Department that was delayed because of the government shutdown.___Heavy duty: Detroit 3 all roll out biggest pickups this yearDETROIT (AP) — All three Detroit automakers are rolling out new heavy-duty pickup trucks this year, courting buyers who tow heavy trailers for work or recreation. The introductions are sure to spark claims about horsepower, torque, towing capacity and payload hauling. Pickups from Detroit were the three top-selling vehicles in the U.S. last year, totalling more than 2 million in sales. Heavy-duty versions, with bigger frames, beds, interiors and engines, make up about 30 per cent of that.___Exxon, Qatar Petroleum to expand LNG export plant in TexasDALLAS (AP) — Exxon and Qatar Petroleum say they will go ahead with plans for a $10 billion project to export liquefied natural gas from a facility in Texas. Construction will begin in next two months, and the plant is expected to start running in 2024. Demand for liquefied natural gas is booming, especially in Asia. The export plant will tap into growing production of the gas in west Texas and New Mexico.___Cubs family patriarch apologizes for racist emailsCHICAGO (AP) — The patriarch of the family behind the Chicago Cubs has apologized after an online media outlet published emails in which he took part in racist comments and conspiracy theories. Some of the emails Splinter News published Monday featured Joe Ricketts making Islamophobic comments. Others included conspiracies about former President Barack Obama’s birthplace and education. Ricketts, who founded TD Ameritrade, apologized for the emails, saying he believes “bigoted ideas are wrong.”___UK prime minister vows no return to hard border with IrelandLONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May has told business leaders in Northern Ireland that she is seeking changes to the U.K.’s withdrawal agreement with the European Union, but not the total removal of the Irish border provision that is the most contentious part of the deal. May has said during a visit to Belfast that the British government is committed to preventing the construction of a physical border between EU member Ireland and the U.K.’s Northern Ireland after Britain leaves the EU.___5 reasons why autonomous cars aren’t coming anytime soonPITTSBURGH (AP) — Autonomous vehicles won’t be coming to your city anytime soon. Even the most optimistic of experts say it will be 10 years before the cars are everywhere, but others believe it will take decades. The biggest reasons are camera and laser sensors that can’t see through heavy snow or figure out where to go if lane lines are covered.___The S&P 500 index rose 12.83 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 2,737.70. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 172.15 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 25,411.52. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite added 54.55 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 7,402.08. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 2.69 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 1,520.23.The Associated Press read more

Salt Bae Shares Picture with Crown Prince Moulay Hassan

Rabat – Father and son have both taken a picture with “Salt Bae.” The internet’s favourite butcher also met Moulay Hassan.  After sharing a picture of himself with King Mohammed VI—which went viral on social media, on Friday, August 31, Nusret Gokce, also known as Salt Bae, posted an Instagram story yesterday with Crown Prince Moulay Hassan, who he called “My Brother Ben Hassan.”Moulay Hassan, pictured at Salt Bae’s Nusr-Et restaurant in Dubai, was wearing a black outfit and a Rolex watch estimated to be worth $38,000. Turkish chef Nusret Gokce was called Salt Bae by social media users because of his iconic style of sprinkling salt on his meat. The chef rose to fame in January 2017 with one of his viral videos.A butcher since he was 14, Salt Bae is now the owner of a chain of restaurants called Nusr-Et specializing in meat, especially red meat steaks. The business already has seven restaurants based, among others, in Istanbul, Dubai, and Ankara. read more

Michaels and Nividia rise while DSW and Fox slide

NEW YORK — Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily on Tuesday:DSW Inc., down $3.27 to $22.09The footwear retailer surprised investors with a fourth-quarter loss.Michaels Cos., up $1 to $12.79The arts and crafts retailer reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and revenue.Syneos Health Inc., up $3.98 to $51.40The clinical research company beat Wall Street’s profit expectations for the fourth quarter and gave investors a solid forecast.HFF Inc., up $2.50 to $49.01Real estate services company Jones LaSalle is buying the capital markets services company for $2 billion in cash and stock.Fox Corp., down $1.31 to $39.55The Fox News parent began trading as a stand-alone company after splitting from Twenty-First Century Fox, which is being bought by Disney.Covenant Transportation Group Inc., down $1.79 to $19.61The company warned investors that it could post weak first-quarter earnings because of softer demand.Nvidia Corp., up $6.76 to $175.71The chipmaker held its annual investors’ meeting Tuesday.Ford Motor Co., up 13 cents to $8.70The carmaker is shifting 550 jobs to its Kentucky truck plant to boost production amid growing demand for large SUVs.The Associated Press read more

Crudebyrail exports fall in January as Alberta started production cuts

CALGARY — The National Energy Board says crude-by-rail exports in January fell compared with December, but remained more than twice as high as 12 months earlier.The federal agency reports an average of 325,500 barrels per day of oil was exported by rail in January, down from 353,800 bpd in December but well above 145,700 bpd in January 2018.It says total crude oil exports by rail, pipeline and trucking fell to 3.49 million bpd in January from 3.92 million in December, but were higher than the 3.38 million bpd in January 2018.Alberta enacted a crude production curtailment program as of Jan. 1 designed to keep 325,000 bpd off the market to clear up a glut of oil that had overwhelmed pipeline capacity and lowered prices. The curtailment level is to fall to about 175,000 bpd by June.About half of Canada’s crude-by-rail shipments in December were made by Calgary-based Imperial Oil Ltd.The company cut its rail shipments in January and vowed to take them to near zero in February because of market reaction to the curtailment program.Imperial says the curtailments resulted in narrower differences between prices for crude sold in Alberta and in the U.S. and thus impaired the economic case for paying rail fees to win better prices on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Companies in this story: (TSX:IMO)The Canadian Press read more

After Mueller questions loom about 2020 election security

ATLANTA — With the end of the special counsel’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 race for the White House, election security experts are wondering whether the U.S. is doing enough to fend off an attack in 2020.The special counsel’s probe ended last week with the conclusion there was no co-ordination with the Trump campaign.But the 22-month-long investigation underscored how vulnerable the U.S. was to a foreign adversary seeking to sow discord, spread misinformation and exploit security gaps in state election systems.What happened in 2016 has trigged a wide range of actions by social media companies and federal, state and local officials.But security experts and elected officials wonder whether the federal government and the states have done what they need to do to thwart another attack by Russia or other hostile foreign actors.Christina A. Cassidy, The Associated Press read more

UNICEF hails start of International Year spotlighting need for better sanitation

2 January 2008The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has welcomed the start of the International Year of Sanitation 2008 which draws attention to the plight of over 40 per cent of the world’s population living without proper sanitation. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has welcomed the start of the International Year of Sanitation 2008 which draws attention to the plight of over 40 per cent of the world’s population living without proper sanitation. Thousands of women and children die every day from largely preventable causes, such as diarrhoeal diseases which are the second biggest killer of children under five, to which the lack of proper sanitation plays a part, the agency noted in a press release. Improving sanitation for an estimated 2.6 billion people, including 980 million children, is one of the single biggest development challenges the world faces today, UNICEF said. Speaking at the official launch of the Year at UN Headquarters in New York, held on 21 November 2007, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said access to sanitation is one of the most “overlooked, and underserved human needs.” The International Year, which officially began yesterday, was established by the General Assembly in December 2006 to speed up progress towards achieving Millennium Development Goal (MDG) number 7 – ensuring environmental sustainability – which includes halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Sanitation will be improved by promoting clean, safe toilets; wastewater management; and hygiene promotion. These measures prevent the transfer of pathogens in human excreta, which, if not treated properly, impacts health and can deprive children of an education as well as impede social and economic development. Poor sanitation can contribute to absenteeism and poor classroom performance due to illness, low enrollment and early school dropout, especially for girls whose parents take them out of school when they begin menstruating. During the course of the International Year, major regional conferences on sanitation will be held to share practices and bolster progress, as well as encourage public-private partnerships to raise awareness on the importance of the issue. Many events will be held to commemorate Sanitation and Hygiene Week, from 15-21 March, and World Water Day on 22 March. read more

UN food aid reaches Nairobi slums hit hardest by postelection violence

10 January 2008Tens of thousands of people in the Nairobi slums – some of the largest in Africa – most affected by last week’s post-election violence in Kenya began receiving assistance from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today. Tens of thousands of people in the Nairobi slums – some of the largest in Africa – most affected by last week’s post-election violence in Kenya began receiving assistance from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today. Today’s distribution, starting in the vast Kibera shantytown and continuing in the three other slums of Mathare, Dandora and Korogocho marks the first time WFP food is being handed out in the slums in a general food distribution. Distributed by the Kenya Red Cross, the assistance includes cereals provided by the Government of Kenya, and pulses, high energy biscuits, vegetable oil and corn-soya blend given by WFP. While some 500 families were supposed to receive a one-week ration of food at 12 sites, WFP said thousands had queued up at the sites, which means that a larger number of people would receive smaller amounts of food than the planned ration. Nairobi’s slum dwellers, most of whom depend on casual labour to survive, were not able to work during the unrest that began after President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner in the recent election. Up to 255,000 people have been displaced – and 350 reportedly killed – during the ensuing violence, which took a particularly heavy toll on people in the slums who struggle to survive on less than $1 a day. Almost 60 per cent of Nairobi’s population of 2.75 million live in the city’s slums. Also today, a WFP-chartered helicopter flew from Nairobi to the northern Rift Valley town of Eldoret, helping the agency’s assessment teams to locate scattered pockets of displaced people in need of humanitarian aid. The helicopter, which flew into Kenya from Sudan, will also fly UN aid in the coming days to people cut off by violence.In a related development, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed his strong support for former UN chief Kofi Annan’s role in mediating between President Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, as announced by President John Kufuor of Ghana. Mr. Ban “sees this as a positive development,” his spokesperson, Michele Montas, said today. Clarifying the UN’s role in the disputed parliamentary and presidential elections, Ms. Montas noted that the Organization “did not observe the recent Kenyan elections or the tallying of the votes. Thus, the UN could not have pronounced itself on a matter of which it was not involved and has no facts.” The world body provided technical assistance to the electoral process through the UN Development Programme (UNDP), including helping with voter registration and education, supporting the Kenya Human Rights Commission to ensure that no violations occurred during the campaign, and supporting local media to promote balanced reporting.“The UN did not participate in election monitoring, and no UN staff observed the elections,” Ms. Montas added. read more

Haiti facing explosive situation because of food crisis UN official warns

18 April 2008Haiti will remain in an extremely precarious economic and humanitarian situation unless it receives an urgent injection of funds to widen emergency feeding operations, extend existing job programmes and jump-start agricultural activity, a senior United Nations official to the impoverished Caribbean country has warned. Joël Boutroue, the Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator for Haiti, told the UN News Centre in an interview that while the security situation had stabilized somewhat this week following recent deadly protests over sharp rise in the price of basic foods, daily living conditions are still dire for many Haitians.“If we don’t react very strongly, then we could find ourselves in a very difficult state,” he said. “The level of poverty, combined with the lack of coping mechanisms for the poorest Haitians, means we have the potential for a very explosive situation.”In the past thousands of Haitians have fled their homeland because of economic or political problems, and the Coordinator said it was vital that the international community, as well as the Government and the country’s civil society and private sector, work together to prevent a repeat.He noted that the price of rice has fallen slightly from its peak and President René Préval has outlined to the nation a series of measures he hopes to introduce to alleviate the situation.The Government, in consultation with the UN, is also devising a plan of action for tackling the crisis that has struck worldwide this year, but hit Haiti – already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere – particularly hard. A major international appeal is expected to launch within the next week.Mr. Boutroue said Haiti has suffered especially because of its poor environment: few forests, infertile or low-quality soil, a lack of irrigation, polluted canals and waterways and a predominance of tiny farms means agricultural activity is limited.The country also has few factories, unemployment is estimated at around 60 to 70 per cent and more than half the population lives on less than $1 a day.Mr. Boutroue, who is also the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative in Haiti, called for a series of short- and long-term measures to bring Haiti back from the brink.These include expanding the existing labour-intensive job programmes that focus particularly on rehabilitating the environment, such as the management of watersheds, so that more agricultural and other economic activity can take place.It also includes widening the current targeted food distribution schemes, such as the communal kitchens in poor neighbourhoods and the school feeding operations. Earlier this week the UN World Food Programme (WFP) announced it will distribute an additional 8,000 tons of food to people in need.Agriculture can also be jump-started, the envoy said, by providing – either free of charge or at a subsidized rate – fertilizers, seeds, tools and other equipment.He stressed that many of these activities, including the UN feeding programmes, have the capacity to be expanded rapidly, but he added that a boost should also “inject some more dynamism” into the country and its Government ministries. read more

Jamaican children need hope to resist violence says exsoldier and UN Advocate

Jamaican children need more opportunities, support and hope to resist and rise above violence, former child soldier and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Advocate for Children Affected by War Ishmael Beah said at the end of a two-day visit to the Caribbean nation. The 27-year-old Beah, who was forced as a child to fight in Sierra Leone’s civil war, and was assisted with his rehabilitation by UNICEF, met with children in districts of Jamaica’s capital, Kingston, which have been marred by violence. He discussed ways to stay away from gangs and to navigate difficult situations without resorting to violence. “My life was all about weapons, drugs and violence,” he said during his visit. “Now I teach people to resist violence and to use that energy to do other positive things with their lives. I encourage them to see that it is possible to have a life outside of violence.” Violence is a major threat to children in Jamaica, where 87 per cent of those aged 2 to 14 are subjected to at least one form of psychological or physical punishment. Only 28 per cent of children think their communities are safe. Children are pressed into gang warfare, where they are used as spies and look-outs and are often forced to conceal and use guns. “Every child has the capacity to do great things,” Mr. Beah said at a presentation to the University of the West Indies. “No one wants to take up a gun. It is circumstances that push children into violence. What you provide and how you engage with children is what makes the difference. It is possible to refocus and reshape their lives.” 1 May 2008Jamaican children need more opportunities, support and hope to resist and rise above violence, former child soldier and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Advocate for Children Affected by War Ishmael Beah said at the end of a two-day visit to the Caribbean nation. read more

China UN steps up aid efforts for victims of deadly quake

21 May 2008The United Nations is continuing to rush aid to victims of last week’s devastating earthquake that struck Sichuan province in China’s south-west. According to state media, over 41,000 people lost their lives as a result of the quake, which measured 7.8 on the Richter scale. Some 32,000 people are missing, while more than 250,000 others have sustained injuries. Roughly 5 million people have been left homeless.The UN refugee agency is supplying 11,000 tents to provide emergency shelter for 55,000 people, in response to yesterday’s request by the Government.“This urgently needed aid is an expression of our solidarity with those suffering as a result of this terrible disaster,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) António Guterres.The final details of the delivery of the tents, manufactured in China for the agency, are currently being hammered out with Chinese authorities. It is hoped that they will be delivered as soon as possible.For its part, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is purchasing a second round of relief food supplies, comprising rice, wheat flour and cooking oil, to feed 100,000 people for three weeks.The 473-ton shipment of aid is slated to arrive in Sichuan province by the end of the week and will be distributed as part of Red Cross emergency packages.“WFP hopes that this food will offer strength to the survivors of this terrible tragedy,” said Anthea Webb, the agency’s Representative to China. “By supplying food now, we aim to allow the Government and local partners to focus on settling the survivors into safe accommodation.”The first batch of WFP supplies – enough instant noodles to feed 100,000 people for one week – reached Mianyang, a city in north-west Sichuan, and is ready to be delivered.The WFP-managed UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) is sending airlifts of aid from Brindisi, Italy.The Italian Government has sent two shipments of supplies, including a field hospital, tents, high-energy biscuits and medicines. So far, one arrived in Chengdu over the weekend while another is expected to touch down in China on Thursday.WFP is organizing a third flight – on behalf of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Irish Government – containing additional tents and blankets.Meanwhile, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is taking part in a mission organized by the Government to provide immediate psycho-social assistance for children suffering from emotional trauma following the tremors.The Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) assembled the team – including UNICEF professionals, psycho-social recovery specialists and senior government officials – in response to reports of children exhibiting signs of severe stress related to the massive earthquake.“It is important to reach out quickly to children who have been affected by the traumatic experiences they have been through,” said Yin Yin Nwe, UNICEF Representative and Chair of the UN Disaster Management Team for China.“After the 2007 Yunnan earthquake, when UNICEF provided technical assistance for child psycho-social support we found 95 per cent of children were naturally resilient and could be helped through community-based psycho-social care,” Dr. Nwe added. “The remaining 5 per cent needed to be referred for psychological treatment.”Efforts to collect information on children separated from their parents have been impeded by damaged infrastructure, the agency noted. If children are suddenly separated from their families, their vulnerability to abuse and exploitation increases.UNICEF has also procured more than $400,000 worth of supplies, including tents, blankets and school kits.The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has allocated $100,000 for emergency relief activities, part of which will be put towards coordinating the aid response.Also today, the UN contributed $8 million from its Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) to the Chinese Government, and these funds will be used by six of the world body’s agencies working on the ground.“The United Nations stands ready to provide further support, as required, to the Government of China in its efforts to respond to the humanitarian needs caused by the disaster,” said Khalid Malik, UN Resident Coordinator in the country. read more

Côte dIvoire UN presses ahead with logistical support for future polls

Operation Transport, which was launched on Tuesday, will be carried out in Abidjan, the country’s economic capital, the mission’s spokesperson, Hamadoun Touré, told a news conference yesterday. “The aim of Operation Transport is to reinforce the mobility and capacity of the Independent Electoral Commission with regard to the implementation and monitoring of identification,” he explained.He added that UNOCI would also participate in the transportation of identification equipment in the interior of the country in Toulepleu, Soubré, Zouan-Hounien and Danané. The identification and registration processes were launched in mid-September in preparation for the elections that were slated for 30 November in the country, which is rebuilding after years of conflict.However, the polls have now been delayed again for the third time since the signing of the north-south peace pact last year.The Ouagadougou Agreement – signed in neighbouring Burkina Faso 18 months ago between the Government, which controlled the south, and the rebel Forces Nouvelles, which held the north – called for a number of measures to resolve the crisis that first divided the country in 2002. They included creating a new transitional government; organizing free and fair presidential elections; merging the Forces Nouvelles and the national defence and security forces; dismantling the militias and disarming ex-combatants; and replacing the so-called zone of confidence separating north and south with a green line to be monitored by UNOCI. Mr. Touré said that UNOCI would continue with its support for the identification and voter registration operation until its successful conclusion and the holding of the elections.He stressed that the international community would continue its support, “but it does need a precise timetable in order to justify its intervention and make it more efficient.” 14 November 2008The United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) is making taxis available to transport staff and equipment involved in the identification and voter registration process in preparation the West African nation’s elections, which have recently been postponed for a third time. read more