75 Kg of Cocaine Seized in Casablanca Mohammed V Airport police75 Kg of Cocaine Seized in Casablanca Mohammed V Airport police

first_imgCasablanca – The police of Casablanca Mohammed V international airport arrested on Tuesday night two sub -Saharan Africans who were in possession of 75 kilograms of cocaine, according to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP). The suspects were onboard a flight coming from a Latin American country.This is the biggest amount of cocaine seized recently by Moroccan customs in all border check points in the country. According to Mr. Abdelhadi Siba, chief of the airport’s judiciary police, the drug intercepted was carefully concealed in decorative objects, parts of vehicles, handbags and laptop bags.The perpetrators deliberately used spices to neutralize the smell of drugs.This it is the fifth aborted attempt to smuggle hard drugs into Moroccan soil in less than two weeks. About 22 kg of cocaine were seized recently in similar operations, according to the same source.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributedlast_img read more

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Morocco USA open 2nd session of strategic dialogue in RabatMorocco USA open 2nd session of strategic dialogue in Rabat

first_imgRabat – The second session of the Morocco-US strategic dialogue opened this Friday morning in Rabat, under the co-chairmanship of minister of foreign affairs and cooperation, Salaheddine Mezouar, and US secretary of state John Kerry. Themed “strengthening solid cooperation ties between the two countries”, the meeting is an opportunity for the two countries to promote and expand economic, political, social, educational and cultural partnership. Rabat and Washington have repeatedly expressed resolve to open new horizons in their ties, in keeping with the joint communiqué released last November following the summit-meeting held in Washington between King Mohammed VI and President Barack Obama. Three work sessions, held as part of this dialogue, will look into “political and security issues”, “economic and trade relations” and “cooperation in education and cultural fields”.last_img read more

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Morocco targeted over 125 mln beneficiaries of human development projects inMorocco targeted over 125 mln beneficiaries of human development projects in

Rabat – Projects under the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH) in 2013 benefited over 1.27 million people for an amount of MAD 3.9 billion, including INDH share which stands at MAD 2.2 bln, said a statement by the Initiative coordinating board.The number of projects and actions scheduled or carried out in 2013, as part of the INDH, is 6,227 operations totaling MAD 3.9 billion, including INDH share which is MAD 2.2 billion, that is a lever effect of 43%, said the same source.Last year was also marked by the reinforcement of the program of territorial upgrading, through the launch of over 700 km of roads, the electrification of over 1900 villages, the supply with drinking water for 127 towns, the building of 700 houses for teachers, and the availability of 38 ambulances with medical care, it added. read more

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Moroccan Comedian Abderraouf Honored at Marrakech Film FestivalMoroccan Comedian Abderraouf Honored at Marrakech Film Festival

Rabat – Prominent Moroccan comedian, Abderrahim Tounsi, better known as “Abderraouf” was  honored during the 16th annual Marrakech International Film Festival, which runs  until December 10.At a ceremony held at the Palace of Congress in Marrakech, in the presence of numerous national and international celebrities, fellow Moroccan comedian Hanane Fadili awarded the trophy to Abderraouf, presenting him as a legendary comedian who has instilled joy in the lives of Moroccans throughout the history of comedy in Morocco.Moroccan comedian Hanane Fadili awards the trophy to AbderraoufWhile he was being honored, Abderraouf expressed his appreciation for  the tribute. Before his audience the humbled comedian said, “This tribute marks one of the most beautiful days of my life.” Abderraouf seized the opportunity to express gratitude to his many  fans, who have supported him throughout his career and happily followed  his rise to fame. .As part of her tribute to  her peer for  advancing Morocco’s comedy industry,  Fadili praised Abderrouf as,  ,  “one of the greatest comedians in the world. He was the voice of the voiceless commoners and oppressed people.”While  expressing her admiration for Abderraouf, Fadili also lambasted Moroccan producers for neglecting comedy in cinema, saying, “It is a shame on cinema’s [officials] who do not give Abderraouf what he really deserves.”Born in Casablanca, in 1936, Abderraouf developed a  passion for comedy  during his childhood. Ironically, he began his career in prison, after he was arrested for  joining Morocco’s National Movement.In the 1960s, Abderraouf found himself playing the role of a naïve and ironic character inspired by his classmate’s girlfriend. In many of his roles, he would humorously appear wearing clothes too big for him.   He once said, “I tried wearing different clothes but I realized that large clothes fit my sarcastic character.”In 1975, Abderraouf founded a theatrical band and started touring  popular theaters across Morocco and overseas.In 1979,  seeking opportunities to hone his artistic credentials, Abderraouf requested the Royal Armed Forces permit his band to perform at a number of Moroccan  barracks for the soldiers.“It was a real risk to perform at some [distant] barracks, but the energy of our art pushed us to reach some further place, and I am proud today for devoting my time to make Moroccan soldiers happy,” Abderraouf  stated.With respect to King Mohammed VI’s decoration for his work, Abderraoufsaid, “When the King told me that he appreciates my performances while he was decorating me with National Medal of reward as a Degree officer, I felt motivated to do my utmost to show up anew as I was during the good old days.” read more

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Abdelilah Benkirane I am Still AliveAbdelilah Benkirane I am Still Alive

Rabat – Following his dismissal as appointed Head of Government last week, Abdelilah Benkirane told reporters on Thursday that he is “still the caretaker of the government and Secretary General of the Justice and Development Party (PJD).”After the end of the General Secretariat of the Justice and Development Party (PJD), Benkirane said, “I was the designated Head of Government. I did not manage to form a coalition government. King Mohammed VI [then] appointed a new Head of Government.”“The period [in which I was an appointed Head of Government] is over with its positives and negatives,” Benkirane continued. “It is the period which is over, not me – I am still alive.” Benkirane had spent five months attempting to conduct a fruitful negotiation with party leaders. He added that his successor as Head of Government, Saad Eddine Othmani, is the current speaker. Othmani, who said that King Mohammed VI’s decision for him to replace Abedlilah Benkirane took him by surprise, wasted no time, starting negotiations with party leaders on Tuesday.To date, Othmani has met with Aziz Akhannouch, the Secretary General of the National Rally of Independents Party (RNI), a delegation from the Istiqlal Party (PI), Idriss Lachgar, Secretary General of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP), and Mohamed Nabil Benabdallah, Secretary General of the Progress and Socialism Party (PPS).Following Secretary General, Ilyass ELomari’s meeting with Othmani, the PAM issued a communiqué on Wednesday, repeating their previously expressed position that they will not participate in the coalition government. However, in his first interview with foreign media, Othmani said that he is well supported and expects to form the coalition government soon. read more

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1 US case against Huawei centres around a robot called Tappy1 US case against Huawei centres around a robot called Tappy

NEW YORK — The U.S. government is alleging Chinese tech company Huawei went so far as to steal a robot’s arm in its bid to get its hands on T-Mobile’s trade secrets.The Justice Department unveiled a 10-count grand jury indictment in Seattle in a case that centres on a T-Mobile phone-testing robot named “Tappy.” It’s separate from a 13-count case that accuses Huawei of misleading banks about the company’s business and violating U.S. sanctions.Huawei is China’s first global technology competitor and one of the world’s biggest cellphone companies and makers of telecommunications parts. It has rejected accusations that it is controlled by China’s ruling party and might facilitate spying.But the T-Mobile case portrays a company going to illegal lengths to gain access to others’ intellectual property.Tali Arbel, The Associated Press read more

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Morocco to Launch A Windmill Park and Irrigation Megaproject in SouthernMorocco to Launch A Windmill Park and Irrigation Megaproject in Southern

Rabat – Moroccan authorities are considering a Dakhla megaproject to revamp for the economic outlook of the country’s southern provinces.The megaproject entails the construction of an irrigation and desalinization facility, with the cost estimated to be around MAD 1.7 billion. The Ministry of Agriculture and Sea Fishing, which is overseeing and co-financing the project, says that the facility will have an impressive annual capacity of 30 million cubic meters, as well as a windmill park as an accompanying source of energy.According to Aujourd’hui le Maroc, the project scope and magnitude would constitute unprecedented improvements for agriculture and energy production in the southern provinces. The project will cover an area of 5000 hectares, and investments will operate in two phases: MAD 1.4 billion will go to the realization of the windmill park, whereas MAD 300 million will be invested in building a state-of-the-art irrigation system. This grand project will pull Dakhla and surrounding provinces in a new and totally different direction, say sources at the Ministry of Agriculture. Once completed, “it will yield roughly 500,000 tons of ‘garden crops’ with an added value or profit of 500 million MAD per year,” said the same sources, adding that other than the project’s many direct benefits, “it will also generate 10,000 permanent jobs.”As the Dakhla area is famous for its massive arable lands, another phase of the project will entail cooperation between the government and the private sector to “adequately exploit these massive agricultural areas,” for the region’s benefit. In that regard, the Agency for Agricultural development, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Agriculture, is said to be preparing a call for tenders to attract foreign and national investors to invest in agriculture and be part of the megaproject. read more

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MLBs 150th anniversary logo features silhouetted batterMLBs 150th anniversary logo features silhouetted batter

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball’s 150th anniversary logo features the silhouetted batter created for the 1969 celebration of the first professional baseball team.MLB released the design Tuesday. Players, managers and coaches will wear a 3 1/2-by- 1/2-inch patch on their right sleeves of a batter in white prepared to hit a white ball, with a blue background in front of the batter and red behind. “MLB” appears to the left of the logo and “150” to the right. The patch is more horizontal than the ones used for the 100th and 125th anniversaries.The 1969 logo, designed by Jerry Dior of Sandgren & Murtha, had a white border and “100TH ANNIVERSARY” below in red. The logo became MLB’s official mark as the commissioner’s office took a more prominent role in the American and National Leagues. The logo was put on the backs of caps starting in 1993 and the back of jersey necks in 2000, according to Uni Watch.The 1994 logo changed the batter and ball to gold, had “125th ANNIVERSARY” below and was surrounded by a gold and black border. This year’s patch has darker colours to match the American flag: Pantone 193 red and 282 navy. Last year’s logo was Panatone 199 red and 288 blue.Teams also wore a logo in 1939 to commemorate the now discredited myth that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in 1839 at Cooperstown, New York.MLB said the 150th anniversary patch also will be on caps for March 28 openers.___More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsThe Associated Press read more

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Government Spokesman Morocco to Keep Gas Sugar and Flour SubsidiesGovernment Spokesman Morocco to Keep Gas Sugar and Flour Subsidies

Rabat- El Khalfi said the government has allocated MAD 17.67 billion for the subsidy fund in the 2019 Finance Bill.Moroccan citizens, he said, should know today that the government provides them with an “excellent service” every time they buy a bottle of gas or flour and sugar, reported Moroccan outlet Machahid 24.Expenses from the subsidy fund is expected to reach MAD 17.65 billion by the end of 2018, while the government was expecting to spend just under MAD 13 billion in the 2018 Finance Bill. Read Also: 600,000 Primary Students Study Tamazight in 2018-2019 Academic YearAs the subsidy fund’s mission is coming to an end, the El Othmani government announced Thursday that it will present to Parliament a bill to target the poor who are eligible for support after the price liberalization of flour, sugar, and butane gas, so far subsidised, scheduled for the end of 2019, according to Moroccan outlet Le 360.In 2016, the previous government, led by Abdelilah Benkirane, introduced a reform of the subsidy fund to remove subsidies. read more

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Hervé Renard Breaks Silence About His Future with Atlas LionsHervé Renard Breaks Silence About His Future with Atlas Lions

Rabat- Amidst speculations about his future with the Atlas Lions, coach Hervé Renard has finally broken his silence, saying that he would like to coach the Moroccan side for the 2019 African Cup of Nations (CAN).Renard, who is known for his straight-talking, has been candid about things that need to be done to convince him to stay with the Atlas Lions, according to Al Ahdath Al Maghribia.The Frenchman has reportedly expressed gratitude for the renewed confidence of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF), as well as the love and support of the Moroccan public. He also said he wanted to continue with the Moroccan squad for the upcoming African Cup of Nations, saying that he would not like to leave in the middle of the journey.But the Frenchman has allegedly made three requests of the FRMF that will play a major role in whether he chooses to keep his position.Renard’s first condition is that Nasser Larguet, the squad’s technical director, be allowed to stay at his post.Larguet’s contract ends today, June 30, and it is understood that the FRMF had a list of possible replacements. But Renard is believed to value Larguet’s role as an invaluable asset and a great part of the team’s recent performances.Renard is also pushing for more autonomy in decision-making. The Frenchman has asked the FRMF to allow him more room regarding the choice of players and staff members that he wants to works with.According to Al Ahdath Al Maghribia, Renard wants to get rid of assistant coach Moustapha Hadji, who is said to have issues with many of Renard’s key players. After the Portugal vs. Morocco match, for example, team captain Mehdi Benatia took aim at Moustapha Hadji. Benatia complained about Hadji’s attitude towards the squad after their defeat against Portugal. Prior to the 2018 World Cup, Renard had signed a contract extension until 2022. He has now asked FRMF to put the extension clauses on standby, suggesting that his decision may depend on how his men fare at the 2019 CAN in Cameron.Discussions between Renard and the FRMF are still ongoing, and the final decision is expected by early July. read more

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Health Ministry Poor Peoples Doctor Made Administrative ErrorsHealth Ministry Poor Peoples Doctor Made Administrative Errors

Rabat – Morocco’s Ministry of Health has given its version of the story after a pediatric surgeon accused a hospital of corruption and made a public and controversial resignation on Monday, July 23. The surgeon, Dr. Mehdi Echafai, is better known as the “poor people’s doctor” for helping hundreds of families treat their children. Before resigning, he worked in the Tiznit Provincial Hospital, in an area 97 kilometers south of Agadir.Echafai accused the hospital of “abuses” and “corruption,” denouncing “administrative problems” that negatively impacted his family and his own health. Following Echafai’s accusations Monday, the ministry issued a statement on Thursday, July 26. The department explained that the 34-year-old surgeon “made administrative errors” that led to him being sent to a disciplinary council. The ministry noted the doctor’s right to defense by lawyers had been respected. Back in February, the hospital’s chief medical officer accused the surgeon, Mehdi Echafai, of insulting him and sued the surgeon for libel and defamation. Echafai had posted a video online in February in which he denounced his superiors’ moral harassment, the failing health system, and corruption within the hospital.The ministry assured that the conflict between the surgeon and the chief medical officer was a personal matter that had nothing to do with the doctor’s professional activity. Furthermore, the statement claimed that Dr. Echafai “has been the subject of a complaint filed by the father of a patient who accuses him of refusing to take charge of his child without valid reason and to have published his medical file on his Facebook page.” The Ministry of Health explained that the doctor was under a disciplinary measure depriving him of his salary for 4 months.The regional health department assured that it does not wish to “interfere in a case in progress,” but that it is determined “to take the necessary measures in light of what will decide the justice.” read more

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Feds Powell predicts solid but slower growth in 2019Feds Powell predicts solid but slower growth in 2019

WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says the U.S. economy should keep expanding at a solid, though somewhat slower pace this year. But he warns of growing risks, including a global slowdown, volatile financial markets and uncertainty about U.S. trade policy.In delivering the Fed’s semiannual monetary report to Congress, Powell says the Fed will be “patient” in determining when to boost its benchmark policy rate in light of the various “crosscurrents and conflicting signals.” He says the Fed’s rate decisions will be “data dependent” as the economic outlook evolves.The Fed in December indicated it could hike rates two times this year. But many private economists believe the Fed will keep rates unchanged until late this year and may not hike at all.Powell said that the economy grew at a strong pace last year, with employment and inflation remaining close to the Fed’s goals. He said it appeared that overall growth was slightly below 3 per cent in 2018. The Fed expects 2019 growth to slow somewhat.He said that while the 35-day partial government shutdown “created significant hardship for government workers and many others, the negative effects on the economy are expected to be fairly modest and to largely unwind over the next several months.”Powell cited a number of factors that could slow growth have emerged in recent months.“Financial markets became more volatile toward year-end, and financial conditions are now less supportive of growth than they were earlier last year,” Powell said.He noted that growth has slowed in major foreign economies, including China and Europe, and “uncertainty is elevated” around major policy issues such as Brexit, Britain’s proposed exit from the European Union, and ongoing U.S. trade negotiations with various countries.Powell’s testimony Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee will be followed by testimony on Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee.Some private analysts are forecasting that the Fed’s next move could be a rate cut in 2020 as the central bank confronts a slowing economy.At its last meeting in January, the Fed left rates unchanged at a level of 2.25 per cent to 2.5 per cent and signalled a major pivot away from steadily raising rates by declaring that it intended to be “patient” in determining when to move rates again.The Fed’s decision triggered a big rally in stock prices as investors grew less concerned that the Fed could over-do its tightening cycle and push the country into a recession.The Fed raised rates four times in 2018. Its December rate hike, along with a forecast of two more hikes in 2019, sent the market down sharply as investors worried that the central bank was in danger of over-doing its credit tightening and could end up sending the country into a recession.As the stock market began tumbling last October, President Donald Trump increased his attacks on the central bank, calling the Fed’s rate hikes his biggest threat and saying that the central bank should not be raising rates at all because there was no threat of inflation.Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press read more

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Army Corps of Engineers grants final permit for PolyMet mineArmy Corps of Engineers grants final permit for PolyMet mine

ST. PAUL, Minn. — PolyMet Mining Corp. has received the final permit it needs to proceed with building Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine, the company and the Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday.The Corps said it issued the permit late Tuesday. It deals with the steps PolyMet must take to mitigate the project’s effects on wetlands. The announcement said the project will impact 500 fewer acres of wetlands than PolyMet’s original proposal.“We are confident that we have identified an appropriately balanced alternative and proffered a permit that will allow access to an important mineral resource, while maximizing protection to natural resources including wetlands,” Col. Sam Calkins, commander of the Corps’ St Paul District, said in a statement.In a separate statement, PolyMet called it a “historic achievement” that will let it move forward with Minnesota’s first copper-nickel-precious mine.“It’s a really big day for us,” spokesman Bruce Richardson said.PolyMet and its supporters say the projects near Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt would create hundreds of jobs in northeastern Minnesota. Environmentalists have long fought the project because the vast but untapped reserves of copper, nickel and precious metals underneath the region are in the form of sulfide minerals, which can leach sulfuric acid and other toxic chemicals when exposed to the environment. They’ve also raised questions about the safety of the dam that will hold back its mine waste pond.Minnesota regulators issued the other key permits for the project last year. But the mine still faces litigation that could hold it up, including challenges to its state-issued permits before the Minnesota Court of Appeals and lawsuits pending in federal court that seek to void a land swap between the company and the federal government.Polymet’s critics denounced the final permit. The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy tweeted that it will lead to the largest permitted destruction of wetlands in Minnesota history.“Nearly a thousand acres of irreplaceable wetlands will be destroyed, and thousands of acres will be adversely impacted by PolyMet’s toxic copper-sulfide mine. This is an unacceptable degradation of the headwaters of Lake Superior and must be stopped,” said Lori Andresen, president of Save Our Sky Blue Waters, said in a statement.While a lot of site preparation work and planning for final engineering and construction work is underway, Richardson said PolyMet’s focus now shifts to raising the $945 million it needs for construction financing. That process could take several months, he said.The financial work also includes paying off debt coming due to PolyMet’s largest investor, Swiss commodities giant Glencore AG. PolyMet’s statement also announced an agreement with Glencore on how they’ll proceed with that.“We would not be where we are today, we would not have these permits, without the support and backing of Glencore,” Richardson said. “This agreement shows that they continue to support and have confidence in this project.”Steve Karnowski, The Associated Press read more

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Radio Mars Suspends Host After Misogynistic RemarksRadio Mars Suspends Host After Misogynistic Remarks

Rabat – During his July 4 radio show “The Scientists of Mars,” the controversial host Adil El Omari, made sexist comments which have caused outrage on social networks. Radio Mars consequently issued a statement on July 5, announcing El Omari’s three-day suspension.Reading listeners’ messages on the topic of the Moroccan national football team, El Omari made misogynist comments in response to a message from a female listener who expressed her opinion on the Atlas Lions’ participation in the African Cup of Nations (CAN).The Radio Mars host addressed the listener, telling her that she’d better “take care of her cooking, watch Choumicha’ s shows (famous Moroccan cooking show) and leave the national team alone.”  Internet users, including journalists, supporters of football teams, and activists’ associations, instantly expressed their anger and disapproval of the host’s comments. Fille Football Association stated, in a post on its Facebook page, “unfortunately, we are still witnessing sexist statements that reduce women to household chores, even worse, coming from a so-called journalist on a Moroccan sports’ radio show – the only one of its kind in Morocco.”The association expressed its disappointment that such comments came from “a journalist who is supposed to be a source of information and awareness, and is held by the respect of fundamental values, in particular, freedom of expression and equality.”They then directly addressed the host, inviting him “to learn about the latest advances in the women’s football sector, and the national and international enthusiasm sparked by this game, especially in this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.”The association also called upon Radio Mars, to act on the comments made by its host and to apologize to Moroccan women.Adil El Omari made an official apology on July 05, on Radio Mars. The host expressed that there was no intended malice behind his remarks. He then said, “if the Moroccan woman has deemed my remarks degrading, then I apologize to her.”Hicham El Khlifi, CEO of Radio Mars, qualified the misogynistic comments as “inadmissible and intolerable.” “They go against the editorial line of Radio Mars,” he said. read more

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Senate confirms trio of ExportImport Bank officialsSenate confirms trio of ExportImport Bank officials

WASHINGTON — The Senate has confirmed a trio of nominees to the Export-Import Bank, reviving a U.S. agency that provides loans and other help to foreign buyers of U.S. exports.Confirmation of the nominees, including Republicans Kimberly Reed as board president, restores a quorum and permits the bank to process larger transactions to help companies like Boeing and others with export deals.Congress reauthorized the agency in 2015, but GOP opponents of the bank prevented both President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama from populating its board, which must approve deals exceeding $10 million.It has many GOP critics who say it distorts markets and that too much of its help benefits large corporations like Boeing. Some U.S. businesses, including airlines, say the bank effectively subsidizes foreign competitors.Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press read more

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New European Union members increase support for UN food programmesNew European Union members increase support for UN food programmes

22 March 2007The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has hailed the increasing support and commitment of 12 new European Union (EU) Member States to achieving the number 1 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty and hunger by 2015. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has hailed the increasing support and commitment of 12 new European Union (EU) Member States to achieving the number 1 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty and hunger by 2015. “Over the past two years, we have seen a considerable strengthening of our joint partnership with these new donors and we are optimistic that further strides will be made in the battle against hunger,” WFP Deputy Executive Director for Fundraising and Communications John Powell said. “We are convinced that with such backing, we can have a real impact on this scourge and improve the lives of millions of people around the world,” he added. By 2010, the 12 new EU Members have set themselves an official development aid (ODA) commitment of 0.17 percent of gross national income (GNI) and 0.33 percent by 2015. In 2006, contributions from the 12 reached $2.1 million in support of WFP operations in Georgia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Afghanistan and the occupied Palestinian territory. Poland led with contributions amounting to $1.2 million. In a recent two-day consultation in Nicosia, Cyprus, representatives of the Foreign and Agriculture Ministries of the 12 expressed their enthusiasm for extending the scope of co-operation. They discussed innovative ways to participate in emergency work, as in Lebanon after last year’s war between Israel and Hizbollah, humanitarian aid funding mechanisms, and engaging the young talent of member states to work at WFP. “These areas of potential partnership give us hope MDG One is indeed achievable,” Mr. Powell said in concluding remarks. “We are tremendously grateful for your nations’ generous help for people affected by humanitarian crises and for the confidence you have shown in WFP’s ability to deliver life-saving aid.” read more

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Ban Kimoon to attend Middle East Quartet meeting next weekBan Kimoon to attend Middle East Quartet meeting next week

The Quartet meeting – the first since former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was appointed late last month as its new Representative – “comes at a crucial moment” and offers a forum “to discuss the way forward to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East,” the spokesperson’s statement noted.It added that the Quartet principals, including Mr. Ban, will confer with Mr. Blair on how best to help the Palestinian Authority build its institutions and economy, “which are vital for the creation of a viable Palestinian state.”Quartet principals last met face-to-face in Berlin at the end of May, but since then they have held talks by conference call after the eruption of intra-Palestinian violence, especially in the Gaza Strip, last month.The Quartet members are the UN, the European Union, Russia and the United States. 13 July 2007The Middle East Quartet, the international diplomatic grouping that includes the United Nations, will meet in Lisbon next Thursday to assess the latest developments in the region and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will attend the gathering, his spokesperson announced today. read more

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Nepal world body sets up internal probe after UN vehicle accident killsNepal world body sets up internal probe after UN vehicle accident kills

1 October 2007The United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) has expressed its deep regret at the death of two pedestrians in an accident involving one of its vehicles and said it will set up an investigation into the incident. On Sunday afternoon, an UNMIN vehicle transporting members of the UN verification teams was involved in an accident with three pedestrians some 16 kilometres from Dhangadhi in the country’s western region. Two pedestrians died and a third was seriously injured and taken to a local hospital. “I am deeply saddened by this tragic accident and the loss of life and injury,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Nepal Ian Martin said in a statement.Mr. Martin, who is also head of UNMIN, said the Mission “will do all it can to support the families in their time of grief,” and has sent Deputy Special Representative Tamrat Samuel to convey condolences to the families of the deceased.“UNMIN will of course cooperate with the police in their investigations, and is immediately establishing its own Board of Inquiry in accordance with UN procedures,” the statement added.The Mission was established this January to support Nepal’s peace process by helping to create conditions for the election to take place in a free and fair atmosphere, and to monitor the arms and armies of the former adversaries, the Maoist army and the Nepal Army, who are confined to cantonments and barracks in the lead-up to the election. read more

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Information technology can be harnessed against climate change UN meeting toldInformation technology can be harnessed against climate change UN meeting told

27 November 2007Information and communication technologies (ICT) are largely contributing to climate change but also hold the key to tackling it, several experts and industry figures told a conference today at United Nations headquarters in New York. “We cannot have a discussion on climate change in isolation from the discussion on the technologies to address the problem,” said Alexander Karsner, United States Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, at the outset of a two-day meeting on the impact of ICT on climate change.Calling for “very proactive problem-solving through the deployment of technology,” Mr. Karsner said that “while waiting for the big solution we should take every bit of existing solutions along the way.” On the positive side, “technology is proliferating solutions faster than our global political leadership can enforce them” and energy efficiency had become paramount for all sectors, starting from the oil industry. The right approach involved science and technology, capital markets and policy, he said, since “markets alone do not make global strategies.”“The Secretary-General sees overcoming the threat of climate change as the defining challenge of our times,” said UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang, adding that ICT “are crucial to understanding the environment and the impact of climate change,” provide tools to help cut greenhouse gas emissions and are instrumental in providing information on climate change.General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim said “ICT will be instrumental in helping to develop new, climate-friendly technologies that can help economies growth sustainably and reduce emissions in the years ahead,” stressing that technology had already offered climate-friendly solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon sequestration. IBM Vice-President for Corporate Environmental Affairs Wayne Balta said ICT companies could enact substantial energy savings in their internal operations, in design and manufacturing, and in product use. ICT could improve the energy efficiency of all economic sectors, diagnose the carbon emissions of a product or process and suggest its redesign, he said.Xerox Corporation Environment Vice-President Patricia Calkins said the paper industry was the fourth largest user of fossil fuels, and nearly half of all office paper became waste within a day. The “paperless office” had not materialized, but industry could enable “smarter, more efficient choices,” such as energy-efficient appliances that shut down automatically when not in use. Companies that measured their full environmental impact had achieved greater energy efficiency.“For environmental impact, it all starts with design,” said Tod Arbogast, Dell Computer Director of Sustainable Business, since a product’s design had an impact throughout its life cycle. Efficiency was dictated by economic reasons, since servers, personal computers and monitors accounted for more that 60 per cent of global ICT-related carbon emissions and world average electricity prices had grown by 56 per cent since 2002.Companies had minimized packaging, dematerialized products and were offering customers convenient recycling services, he said, adding that recycling substantially reduced carbon emissions due to raw material extraction, product manufacture, landfill and combustion. The event has been organized by the UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development and AIT Global Inc., a global association of management and information technology professionals. read more

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Luxembourg diplomat elected to lead UN Economic and Social Council in 2009Luxembourg diplomat elected to lead UN Economic and Social Council in 2009

15 January 2009Ambassador Sylvie Lucas of Luxembourg was elected today as the 65th President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), making her the second woman to lead the world body’s principal organ responsible for coordinating work in these critical fields. Ambassador Sylvie Lucas of Luxembourg was elected today as the 65th President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), making her the second woman to lead the world body’s principal organ responsible for coordinating work in these critical fields. Ms. Lucas will be assisted by four Vice-Presidents who were also elected today: Carmen Maria Gallardo Hernandez of El Salvador, Tiina Intelmann of Estonia, Hamidon Ali of Malaysia and Somduth Soborun of Mauritius. This is the first time in the history of the 54-member Council that its Bureau will be led by three women Ambassadors.Speaking after her election, Ms. Lucas outlined the Council’s work for the coming year. “Our main challenge is to further strengthen the quality and relevance of the work of the Council on development,” she noted. She also presented the theme of the 2009 Annual Ministerial Review (AMR), “Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to global health,” to be held next July in Geneva. She urged the Council to take advantage of this theme’s unique cross-sectoral nature that can help it to focus on the inter-linkages between health-related goals, including those that are part of the global anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the overall development agenda. “I intend to work very closely with the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly to make this year a decisive year for action on the health agenda,” she said. In addition, Ms. Lucas announced the participation of ten countries which will make their National Voluntary Presentations (NVPs) during the 2009 AMR, noting that Member States consider the NVP mechanism as an important instrument to review progress, assess impact and promote best practices.ECOSOC will kick start its activities for the 2009 AMR with the Special Event on Philanthropy and Global Public Health, to be held on 23 February. “This meeting will be an opportunity to engage foundations and the private sector together with the UN, to find creative solutions to step up progress towards the health MDGs and to promote global equity,” said Ms. Lucas. Congratulating Ms. Lucas on her election, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said she was confident the new President will guide the Council with as much success as her predecessor, Ambassador Léo Mérorès of Haiti.“Indeed, in the face of multiple global crises, your work will be especially challenging in the months ahead,” she told the meeting. “The effects of the recent financial turmoil continue to reverberate around the world. Years of painstaking efforts – in this Council and across the international community – hang in the balance,” she stated, adding that despite recent progress towards the MDGs, more people are suffering from poverty and hunger.Ms. Migiro recalled the “constructive role” ECOSOC has played in the midst of global crises, such as how its emergency sessions helped mobilize the international community to act in the wake of the food crisis last year.“The Council is in a unique position to forge closer ties among all relevant actors, so as to maximize the UN’s potential to serve the needs of humanity,” she stressed.Likewise, outgoing President Léo Mérorès noted that the establishment of the AMR and the Development Cooperation Forum has underscored the Council’s capacity to bring together a wide range of players to focus on the most critical dimensions of development.ECOSOC coordinates the development work of the 14 UN specialized agencies, 10 functional commissions and 5 regional commissions. It receives reports from 11 UN funds and programmes and issues policy recommendations to the UN system. read more

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