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first_imgKolkata: Star India wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav believes he wouldn’t have been successful at the world stage had it not been for skipper Virat Kohli, who gave him the freedom to attack. “You need a skipper who backs you and believes in your ability to shine on the big stage. You think we could have been so successful if Kohli bhai had not given us the freedom to attack? I don’t think so,” Kuldeep told PTI in an interview. Kuldeep, who played for Kolkata Knight Riders, was badly let down by the batting friendly conditions at Eden Gardens in this year’s IPL as he returned with just four wickets from nine matches before being dropped by his franchise in the business end of the tournament. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: Rijiju The 24-year-old said he is looking forward to put the IPL disappointment behind with a spectacular performance in the upcoming World Cup beginning May 30. “IPL is very different than World Cup. There are players who have done well in IPL but have struggled to make a mark for the country. I’ve matured as a bowler and by no means it will affect my performance in the World Cup,” Kuldeep said. “It’s (T20) such a format, you may have a bad day where you’re hit for runs. I’m not a magician who will do well in every match. You cannot say I will take so many wickets.” Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai Masters By his own standard, an average of 71.50 in IPL is something he would look to forget. “If I’m not getting wickets it does not mean I’m not bowling well. Now I play as a mature cricketer and think more about the team,” Kuldeep said. Kuldeep also spoke about the recent controversy about his comments on Mahendra Singh Dhoni that sometimes the former skipper “goes wrong” with his tips. “How can a youngster like me make such comments on a senior member of the side? My comments had been misinterpreted by media to create a controversy,” he said. “There is no doubt that his tips have been invaluable not only for me but for the entire team. His presence behind the stumps makes our job easy and nobody can change that fact. We wouldn’t have been half as effective without his inputs.” Andre Russell was a terror in the IPL with his batting exploits and single-handedly turned KKR’s fortunes before they failed to make the playoffs. Kuldeep said he has learnt a few tricks which he would employ against the West Indian in the World Cup. “He has some problems facing a turning ball. If the ball is turning, then he has a weakness. It’s not just this, I’ve different plans to unleash against him in the World Cup. I know how to stop him and I’m very clear in my mind,” he signed off.last_img read more

Rabat – Moroccan-born Aicha Mesrar, a councilor in the northern Italian city of Rovereto, has been reportedly forced to resign her post and flee Italy after she received a series of death threats, insults and xenophobic messages over the last two years.On Thursday Italy’s first Muslim councilor, Aicha Mesrar, resigned from her post as local councilor for the Democratic Party in Rovereto and fled Italy after she received anonymous death threats over the past two years, citing her children’s safety, local media reported.Italy’s Gazzetta Del Sud quoted Aicha Mesrar, 45, who has lived in the city of Rovereto since the age of 22, as saying that she cannot live always under “escort.” “I have no fear and it is not the fault of the people of Rovereto, but of some, “Aicha said. “I leave with pride, satisfied with everything I have done and what I received.”Aicha said that she has been receiving death threats in the form of anonymous letters, over a two-year period. The local police offered her special protection, but they could not uncover the source of the letters.The head of the provincial government,Bruno Dorigatti expressed his “total solidarity” with Mesrar, hailing her as an ““outstanding example of civic commitment,” according to The Independent.“If Aicha Mesrar, an extraordinary example of commitment towards building bridges between cultures – in Rovereto and Trentino – decides to abandon her post and even leave the country, then everyone should be concerned,” he said.He went further to say that if she has to give in to intimidation and anonymous threats “it means that Trentino has yet to defeat the dangerous disease of intolerance.”Aicha Mesrar was born in Casablanca. In 2010 she was elected Local Councilor for the Democratic Party in Rovereto, and became the first woman to wear a veil in city hall.Edited by Jessica Rohan© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed. read more

Rabat – A group of Moroccans from several countries of the world gathered Friday in Rabat to announce the creation of the Forum of Moroccans of the world.According to the Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), the Forum is a” Think Tank” which aims to bring together the different experiences of Moroccans living abroad.In a communique released by MAP, Moroccans of the World said that their Forum “is a space for dialogue and exchange. “It is a new synergy able to instill a responsible and peaceful discourse on all issues related to Moroccan immigration in host societies, as well as its relations with Morocco,” they added. This initiative led by members of the forum are Moroccans living in several countries in the world including France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, UAE, Ivory Coast, Canada etc. gained the support of the Council of the Moroccan Community abroad.Anis Birou, Minister in charge of Moroccans living abroad and migration affairs, welcomed the initiative, saying that it is a “positive and constructive approach.” read more

Rabat – A new report ranks Cadi Ayyad University of Marrakech (UCAM) and the Mohammed V University of Rabat as the 12th and 15th best universities in Africa, according to a new report by the United Kingdom-based site Times Higher Education (THE).The Moroccan institutes were the only two universities from Francophone Africa found on the 15-member list.THE’s report said it takes into account several criteria to rank institutes of higher education, including academic and professional reputation, the volume of publications and citations in scientific journals, the teacher-student ratio, and the weight of international pedagogical exchanges. “This snapshot ranking is based on the same criteria as the World University Rankings but we are keen to develop a bespoke range of metrics, following a public consultation, for a full Africa University Ranking,” Phil Baty, the list’s editor, said.South Africa had the strongest showing in the report. Out of the six South African universities listed, four were in the top five and the University of Cape Town took first place for “adopting strategies to become research-led flagship universities.”Egypt’s Suez Canal University, Alexandria University, and Cairo University ranked in the 9th, 10th, and 11th spots, right above UCAM.THE said the publication of the rankings anticipates the outcomes of the news organization’s second Africa Universities Summit, which will held on the 27th to the 29th of April at the University of Ghana, which won 7th place.The THE Africa Universities Summit will cover “globalization and policy directions for African higher education” and consider the best ways to educate Africa’s booming youth population. read more

By Anthony AbteRabat – The 2016 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program announces its call for applications for the 2016 fellowship round. The program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, allows young and mid-career professionals from Morocco and around the world to study at one of 15 host universities in the United States for one year. Throughout this year of non-degree studies, fellows from Morocco will experience American culture and academia and will explore in depth an issue of common concern in both the United States and Morocco. In addition to their studies, fellows attend lectures and conferences and conduct practical hands-on work. Due to the program’s flexibility, fellows can travel away from their host universities to engage in a variety of ways with American counterparts, including 30-day placements at relevant institutions.The program began in 1978 and has hosted more than 4,600 from 157 countries in the past 38 years. More than 40 universities have participated in the program since its inception. Seventeen fields of study are available within four categories: sustainable development, democratic institution building, education, and public health. These program fields account for a wide variety of civil society, and leaders from all regions of Morocco are encouraged to apply.The program is open to any English-speaking Moroccan leaders who have a university undergraduate degree and at least five years of related work experience. Applicants should have a strong record of public service in their communities and should have limited or no experience in the United States.Applications and more information can be obtained through the Moroccan-American Commission for Cultural and Education Exchange (MACECE). Full details, requirements, and a link to the application portal can also be found through MACECE. The application deadline is September 1, 2016. read more

Rabat – In what is being called a “stunning embarrassment to the FBI,” recently unsealed federal court records are revealing a marriage between one of its agents and an ISIS fighter in Syria. Former FBI interpreter, Daniela Greene, met and pursued an intimate Skype relationship with Denis Cupert, a German national and wanna-be rapper who performed under the name Deso Dog.Already married, Greene told her husband she was travelling to Germany to visit her parents. Instead, she made her way to Syria to marry Cupert, who changed his name to Abu Talha al-Almani in Syria. Friends suspected nothing and noticed no unusual behaviour in Greene before she left. At the time, Cupert was functioning as a recruiter of young, vulnerable Germans for ISIS. Video of him released online shows Cupert standing in a battlefield, threatening former US President Barack Obama.After only a short time in Syria with her new husband, Greene suddenly realized she had made a mistake and began reaching out to contacts in the US to come up with an exit strategy.After returning home in August of 2014 she was promptly arrested and sentenced to two years in prison. It is known that she tipped Cupert off to the fact that he was being investigated by the FBI.A federal court decided to seal her case records to avoid contaminating the investigation by involving media. Once prosecutors were convinced that Greene’s cooperation had ended, they asked for the records to be unsealed.Former State Department official, John Kirby, acknowledges that “It’s a stunning embarrassment for the FBI, no doubt about it.” He also acknowledges that most westerners attempting to do what Greene did usually end up “getting their heads cut off.”On the other hand, he concedes that her adventure took no small amount of planning. “… for her to get in as an American, as a woman, as an FBI employee and to be able to take up residence with a known ISIS leader, that all had to be coordinated.”Greene has since been released from prison and now works as a hostess in a hotel lounge, a far cry from her position with the FBI. read more

NEW YORK — Facebook says some of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s posts on the social media site were deleted due to technical errors.The company says it is unclear which posts were deleted. Facebook says the posts were mistakenly deleted a few years ago and the work required to restore them was extensive and might not have worked.The deleted posts were first reported by Business Insider. All posts from 2007 and 2008 have been deleted, according to the report.The way Facebook shares company information has changed over the years. It introduced its current “Newsroom” page in 2014 and shares and archives major company announcements there.The Associated Press

Rabat – The Ministry of Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education, and Scientific Research changed the date for the unified regional exam for first baccalaureate as well as “free baccalaureate” candidates to June 8 and 10.According to the statement, the Ministry rescheduled the exam from June 7 and 9 to June 8 and 10 because the initial proposed date may coincide with the Eid al-Fitr holiday.Read also: El Othmani: ‘Clear Vision’ Helped Morocco’s Education System Make Progress Despite ChallengesThe statement reminded candidates to stay alert to the daylight saving time changes that will take place, with the clocks going forward by an hour at 2.00 a.m on Sunday, June 9 (GMT+1).

Spain Stepsup CeutaMorocco Border Security

October 12, 2019 | hpnymhct | No Comments

Rabat – The autonomous city of Ceuta has been upgrading its security system at the border with Morocco, as planned by the Spanish ministry of interior.According to El Confidencial, a Spanish news outlet, the ministry replaced 41 DOMOS cameras and 11 fixed cameras and installed 14 new technical cameras as well as a more modern CCTV control platform.The facial recognition system, whose launch date has not yet been announced, will be installed in both Ceuta and Melilla as a way to fast-track border control and increase security. The interesting change is Ceuta’s plan to remove concertina wires while Morocco is building its new wire fences.Morocco’s new fence is a result of the agreements reached with the European Union that included a €140 million investment to control migration.Read also: Spanish FM: EU Financial Contribution to Morocco for Curbing Migration Not SufficientHowever, according to El Confidential, Morocco began building concertina wires before receiving the EU funding.Khalid Zerouali, director of Immigration and Border Surveillance of the Moroccan Interior Ministry, said: “it is part of a project to reinforce Moroccan security measures in the Mediterranean over 1,000 kilometers.”The Immigration director described the project as “the outcome of an analysis that began in 2016 when we had identified some improvements which we are now incorporating.” read more

BRUSSELS — The European Union is praising Facebook, Google and Twitter for tackling disinformation while urging the social media giants to do more in clamping down on fake accounts.Under an EU code of conduct, the three companies report routinely on their efforts to stop election interference. Facebook, for one, has been criticized for being a tool for foreign interference in elections.Tuesday’s reports say Facebook, Google and Twitter are tightening advertising policy and surveillance, particularly with election-targeted ads.But the commission urges them to share fake account data with outside experts and researchers.Millions of people across the 28-nation bloc will vote in the May 23-26 European Parliament elections.Polls show nationalist and populist parties could make significant gains, while mainstream parties would lose seats but retain control over the assembly.The Associated Press read more

Rabat – King Mohammed VI granted royal pardons to hundreds of detainees sentenced across Morocco.The Ministry of Justice issued a statement on July 29 to announce the royal pardons granted in the event of the King Mohammed’s 20th Throne Day.The statement said that 4,764 detainees benefited from the royal pardon. The royal pardon, according to the statement, included a number of detainees jailed for their participation in unauthorized demonstrations in the Al Hoceima protests (2016-2017). The ministry did not reveal the exact number of activists who benefited from the royal pardon.The pardon also includes some prisoners convicted of terrorism. The released prisoners convicted for terror crimes were part of the fourth annual Reconciliation (Moussalaha) program.Morocco launched the reconciliation program in 2018. The program aims to reintegrate prisoners into society.Morocco’s government has eminent trust in the reconciliation program. King Mohammed VI has offered the royal pardon to numerous defendants convicted of terror-related crimes who applied to join the program.The royal pardon reduced prison sentences for 2,477 prisoners.The royal decree also commuted the death penalty sentences to life imprisonment for 31 detainees.One hundred prisoners have been excused fines, while two people benefited from royal pardon with exemption from prison and fines. read more

BEIJING — China’s factory activity fell into contraction territory in May amid an ongoing trade dispute with the U.S. that has seen higher tariffs slapped on Chinese exports.The National Bureau of Statistics and an industry group, the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing, said Friday that the composite purchasing managers’ index of China dropped to 49.4 in May, down from 50.1 in April.That suggests that manufacturing activity for the month shrank since any reading below 50 shows that activity is contracting.In an analysis, ING Greater China economist Iris Pang said: “We believe that the contraction in new orders means domestic manufacturing activity has been affected by both the trade war and the technology war.”The Associated Press

So far, local authorities have confirmed 510 deaths, 1,000 injuries and over 16,000 homes destroyed. But these numbers could climb in coming days, since areas such as Nazca and Palpa in the hardest-hit department of Ica have so far been inaccessible.The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that early data has revealed the cities of Cañete, Chincha and Pisco to be the most damaged by the tremors registering 7.9 on the Richter scale which struck Peru on the evening of 15 August.The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has contributed $200,000 for relief efforts in the response phase and will allocate an additional $300,000 for reconstruction initiatives. The agency’s Deputy Representative said that the Government’s response to the disaster has been well-organized. “It is a country that is used to this kind of emergency,” said Florence Bauer. “All the hospitals in the country, including the ones from the national army, are open to provide services to anyone who may need it.”The agency believes that the water supply might be affected, and at the request of the Government, it is transporting emergency items – including water-purification tablets, water containers, oral rehydration salts and water tanks with a 10,000-litre capacity – from Panama to the Peruvian capital, Lima.“Our first priority is for the affected population to have safe water,” said Ms. Bauer.UNICEF is also working with the Ministry of Education to evaluation the quake’s impact on schools. “Fortunately, when the earthquake happened the schools were all closed,” said Ms. Bauer. “Today, all children of the country are not going to school because of the emergency. We know there is a high number of schools that have been destroyed.”A UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team has been deployed and should arrive in Peru shortly to assist those impacted by the earthquake, whose epicentre was 161 kilometres south of Lima.The Government has requested relief supplies such as shelter, tools and medicine, and it is working with the UN Country Team and the international community to identify the most urgent needs.The UN Resident Coordinator in the South American country has activated the Emergency Operations Centre on a 24-hour basis, and has also informed the Government that an emergency cash grant to support assessment work is available.Several UN agencies have received requests for assistance, and their responses are being coordinated by the UN Disaster Management Team (UNDMT), while the UN Emergency Technical Team (UNETT) is on standby to help should the Government request it.A donors’ meeting, also attended by the Government, took place today. Yesterday, OCHA and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) announced that they had released two grants totalling $200,000 to provide immediate relief in the earthquake’s aftermath.Meanwhile, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) announced yesterday that it will provide $500,000 worth of urgently-needed food relief to victims of the country’s earthquake.UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Margareta Wahlström said at a press briefing in New York today that several of Peru’s neighbours – Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Mexico – have provided supplies.“I think you can see importantly a huge effort is done in the near region,” she said.The Government, she said, has approved a compensation scheme of $312 per family member killed, and $1875 will be provided per family to reconstruct their homes. 17 August 2007Amid mounting fears that the death and injury tolls will rise following the major earthquake which rocked Peru earlier this week, the United Nations is stepping up efforts to provide relief to victims. read more

14 November 2007The lack of offers from Member States for key ground transport and aviation units and the Sudanese Government’s unwillingness so far to approve the presence of non-African units means the hybrid United Nations peacekeeping mission planned for the war-torn Darfur region could fail, a senior UN official warned today. Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno told reporters that if the joint UN-African Union operation – known as UNAMID – does not have the necessary capacities in critical areas by the start of next year, when it is due to take over from the existing AU mission, it may not be wise to deploy the force.“It is a terrible dilemma, because on the one hand, you can say that a force, even if it doesn’t have all the assets, can make a limited difference for a number of people in Darfur, and that is something in itself which is good,” he said. “On the other hand, if that force was to know humiliation in the early stages of its deployment, then it would be very hard to recover from such a humiliation. So it’s an extremely difficult decision to make.”Mr. Guéhenno spoke after briefing Security Council members on the latest developments regarding UNAMID, which is aiming to quell the conflict between rebels, Government forces and allied militia that has killed more than 200,000 people and left 2.2 million others homeless since 2003.He said Council members and UN Secretariat officials remain worried that the mission will not be able to robustly carry out its mandate without the support of both the missing units and those that Sudan has not yet approved.“If those issues are not addressed in a timely manner, very shortly, it means that the mission in 2008 will not be able to really meet the expectations, [and] that it will not be able to make the difference that the world wants it to make, and that it may become a failure, so this is a very important moment.”He noted that UNAMID still does not have a commitment for a ground transport unit, for 18 transport helicopters to serve as close air support and for six helicopters to be used for light tactical purposes.“I think it tells a sad story on the commitment to Darfur, frankly. I think there is an immense tragedy that has unfolded in Darfur and now it is up to the countries that care about Darfur to really make the commitment that will make a difference. I think this is the time for concrete action.”Mr. Guéhenno also voiced concern that the Sudanese Government has not clearly signalled its approval of several non-African units in UNAMID, which is to have a predominantly African character.“The Sudanese Government hasn’t said no to any particular unit, but the Sudanese Government hasn’t said yes either to any of those units that have been mentioned… We believe that the clock is ticking and that it is important to move forward.”Thailand has offered to provide an infantry battalion, Nepal is willing to contribute a force reserve and sector reserve unit and the Nordic countries of Sweden, Norway and Denmark have offered to send an engineering unit.“There is no alternative to those units because to prepare for deployment takes time. We know that these units are ready; we know that they have made the preparation. They need now to deploy, and they are ready to deploy.”The Under-Secretary-General stressed that even with the provision of these units, UNAMID will be overwhelmingly African in its composition. The Thai battalion would be one of 18 battalions in the peacekeeping force.Meanwhile, the Security Council today also heard briefings from the chair of three of its subsidiary bodies, committees set up to examine counter-terrorism issues, monitor Al-Qaida and the Taliban, and promote the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. read more

26 June 2008The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN refugee agency said today that they have resumed food distributions to tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees in the Syrian capital, Damascus, after a two-month interruption. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN refugee agency said today that they have resumed food distributions to tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees in the Syrian capital, Damascus, after a two-month interruption.The first 1500 families received food baskets containing basic foodstuffs on Tuesday and Wednesday. At least 150,000 people are expected to benefit over the next month. UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has opened a new distribution warehouse in Douma in the capital, after an earlier distribution site was closed down. “The idea is that we centralize the assistance we offer to refugees living in Damascus. We are effectively offering a field service to refugees so that they can collect food and financial assistance from the same place where they can meet community service staff and protection officers,” said UNHCR Senior Programme Officer Ayman Gharaibeh.A total of 4.7 million Iraqis have been uprooted as a result of the crisis in their country. Of these over 2 million are living as refugees in neighbouring countries – mostly Syria and Jordan – while 2.7 million are internally displaced inside Iraq.Rising food and fuel prices, the seasonal rise in rents and diminishing savings are resulting in more and more Iraqi refugees becoming reliant upon assistance from the UNHCR and other humanitarian organizations. A former gold merchant called Mohamed told UNHCR that food assistance was now his only source of support. “We can’t work, can’t travel, can’t dream. At least keep me alive and, please, don’t ever delay this distribution again,” he said.But UNHCR says it is facing a major challenge in meeting the growing needs. The agency has only received half of the funds it needs for its operations in Syria this year. Without additional funds, outreach work with the Iraqi population is likely to be limited. read more

The United Nations Peacebuilding Fund has swiftly become a unique and dynamic tool to help countries emerging from conflict avoid slipping back into war, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report published today.Launched in October 2006, “the Fund has been supporting countries to build sustainable peace and security while making positive strides to prevent the recurrence of violence in post-conflict countries, it has achieved this by helping countries to address some of the causes and effects of conflicts through reconciliation, institution-building, political and economic reforms,” Mr. Ban wrote.Currently, it is supporting projects in the four countries on the Peacebuilding Commission’s agenda – Burundi, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea-Bissau – and 37 emergency schemes in nine post-conflict nations.Nearly $270 million has been contributed to the Fund by dozens of nations and groups, surpassing its $250 million funding target.“The Peacebuilding Fund approach is based on the recognition that stable peace must be built on social, economic and political foundations that serve the needs of the population,” the report noted.It focuses on areas such as the rule of law, security sector reform, human rights, youth employment, addressing property disputes, refugee resettlement, and the promotion of inclusive national political dialogue.The report highlighted that the Fund targets areas – such as supporting the negotiation of peace agreements and reconciliation in Burundi and the Central African Republic (CAR) – typically not covered by official development assistance (ODA) criteria because donors see such projects as too high-risk.Additionally, it promotes countries’ ownership of peacebuilding efforts, Mr. Ban said.But he cautioned that for the Fund to be successful, greater investment and reforms are essential. “The concept of peacebuilding is not well understood by all actors and more in-country training is needed prior to setting up the Peacebuilding Fund infrastructure.”To ensure longer-term support from donors for the Fund, the Secretary-General called for an annual pledging conference. 3 September 2008The United Nations Peacebuilding Fund has swiftly become a unique and dynamic tool to help countries emerging from conflict avoid slipping back into war, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report published today. read more

12 November 2008Africa’s urban population is projected to more than double by 2030, defying the global trend of slower growth in the number of residents of cities, a new report from the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) indicates. Africa’s urban population is projected to more than double by 2030, defying the global trend of slower growth in the number of residents of cities, a new report from the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) indicates. The report shows that there will be about 759 million urban inhabitants across Africa by 2030, compared to an estimated 373 million last year, according to a press release issued by UN-HABITAT yesterday from its Nairobi headquarters. That year is also projected to be when the number of Africans living in cities matches the number living in rural areas. The continent is undergoing a broader demographic change, the report noted, as the number of city dwellers rises steadily and the greatest growth occurs not in Africa’s largest urban agglomerations, but in the so-called “intermediate cities,” which have fewer than 500,000 inhabitants each. UN-HABITAT said the implications of this swift urban growth within intermediate cities should be clear to policymakers. “African governments should start strengthening the governance capacities of their intermediate and smaller cities so that these fast-growing towns will be prepared for [a] rapid increase in new and additional demand for urban spatial planning, urban housing, urban services and urban livelihoods,” the agency said. Across the continent, the population distribution is uneven. East Africa remains the least urbanized region of the world, but its rates are growing rapidly than in any other part of Africa. But everywhere the number of people is rising, including in the biggest cities. In 1950, Alexandria and Cairo, both in Egypt, were the only African cities with more than 1 million inhabitants. Today there are at least 43 such cities. Meanwhile, in Bangkok, a UN official told a regional gathering on air quality management today that Asia-Pacific policymakers need to take a more integrated approach to managing urban growth to ensure that the region’s rapidly expanding cities are economically and environmentally sustainable. Shaoyi Li, a senior environment officer with the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), told participants at the meeting that all too often policies are designed in isolation and aim to tackle single issues rather than take a holistic approach. read more

The agency cautioned that money only exists to provide food aid to some tens of thousands of families in Guatemala until the end of September, including the provision of a fortified food to 100,000 children under the age of three and 50,000 pregnant-lactating women.More than 90 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition were admitted to the national hospital of Jalapa in August – three times higher than the same month last year – and out of the 117 children rushed to the hospital between January and July, 17 have died, WFP noted in a situation report issued last week.In its immediate response to the food crisis in Guatemala’s so-called “dry corridor,” WFP has committed 20 tons of High Energy Biscuits (HEB) and 200 tons of other food supplies, including corn soy blended food, black beans and corn to complement Government rations assisting 75,000 families living in the most affected areas.WFP will also expand a food-for-work scheme to support another 93,000 families affected by damage to the upcoming harvest and who will need assistance for around six months. The Government has also made $7.5 million available to complete the first phase of its National Contingency Plan while calling on donors to make further donations in response to the crisis, according to WFP.However, food shortages are likely to worsen, with a 60 to 80 per cent loss of crops expected in the upcoming harvest in some of Guatemala’s provinces, which would put even more households at very high risk of becoming food insecure.WFP noted that the annual food shortages caused by droughts in the six provinces of the “dry corridor” – Jutiapa, Santa Rosa, Zacapa, Chiquimula, El Progreso and Baja Verapaz – has been intensified by previous crop losses, low food stocks, combined with declining remittances, exports, tourism and foreign investment and rising unemployment due to the global recession.The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced today that the country team plans to issue a flash appeal in the coming days to respond to the current humanitarian crisis in the Central American country. 10 September 2009Urgent funding is needed to help combat an acute hunger crisis that is ravaging much of Guatemala, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has warned. read more

26 January 2010Thousands of Haitians are gaining a semblance of normalcy following the recent devastating earthquake in their homeland by gaining employment and rebuilding their neighborhoods through a cash-for-work scheme run by the United Nations. The programme, coordinated by the UN Development Programme as part of its Emergency Relief and Recovery Framework, employs 11,500 people at the legal minimum wage of 150 gourdes, or $4, for half a day’s labour. The plan is to put 100,000 people to work as quickly as possible, with up to 220,000 as conditions allow. “There are a million Haitians on the streets who lost their homes,” Kim Bolduc, UN Humanitarian Coordinator and the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative, said in a statement released today. “We need to start programmes like that that immediately meet their most critical needs while involving them in the process of reconstruction.” The project gives priority to female-headed households, particularly those with destroyed housing and those with deceased family members. Dominique Charles is a 21-year-old mother who lost her home in the Carrefour Feuilles district of Port-au-Prince. She is one of 1,500 workers currently employed in her neighbourhood. “I work for my three children,” Ms. Charles told UNDP. “To put food on the table and ensure their well-being. This programme allows me to do that. I am able to work and earn a small wage.” The project has a dual benefit. While earning a small wage, workers also provide vital services that the Haitian Government cannot coordinate right now, such as clearing the debris and rubble from the roads and removing waste that is piling up on streets. “I also am able to do something important for my community,” said Ms. Charles holding a shovel. “By clearing these roads the buses, the police, the fire trucks and the ambulances can get to us. After the earthquake we were completely cut off.” The sanitation benefits of the work are clear to Lenny Gibson, who is also employed in the Carrefour programme. “I like this project for two reasons. Not just because we can make a little money. But we have to clean things up. I already lost my child. I don’t want to lose anyone else due to poor sanitation,” Mr. Gibson told UN Television. UNDP Country Director Eric Overvest said that while the first phase of the programme emphasizes clearing rubble from roads and removing waste that could pose a health risk, workers are also “cleaning and restoring public markets, tented settlements and communal washing areas so that the local economy can once again start to function as efficiently as possible.” Job creation aimed at rebuilding infrastructure remains critical to UNDP’s efforts to scale up programmes like the “cash-for-work” scheme, which is intended to inject money into the affected Haitian economy. Funding and resources remain a challenge for the programme, despite the local community’s backing and the call from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for international support. UNDP recently issued a flash appeal calling for $35.6 million for immediate recovery priorities, including debris clearance, rehabilitation of basic infrastructure, and cash-for-work reconstruction activities. The appeal is part of a wider UN flash appeal for $575 million which as of is only about half-way funded. In addition, UNDP has said that the programme’s expansion is constrained by the need to coordinate with local authorities and ensure the systems are in place for payments and for the transparent and accountable management of the finances. Another obstacle is obtaining the boots, gloves, shovels, pickaxes and trucks needed to remove the waste. Given the challenges already faced in Haiti, these obstacles seem small in comparison with the hope they bring. “As long as I can see the light, there is hope. The cash for work programme gives us a chance to see something besides the destruction. It gives us light,” Jacqueline Jean Baptiste, whose home in Carrefour was levelled during the quake, told UNDP. “The work allows me to feed my kids. I do not know what I would do without it.” read more

French International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) aid worker Laurent Maurice, who was taken by unidentified gunmen in November in eastern Chad while on a harvest assessment mission just 10 kilometres from the border with Sudan’s war-ravaged Darfur region, was released on Saturday and immediately flown to Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, where he received medical attention.UNAMID Joint Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari said the release was particularly welcome as the mission too had faced a similar ordeal last year when two of its members were abducted, only to be released after more than 100 days in captivity. Another ICRC staffer, abducted in West Darfur state in October, still remains in captivity. Mr. Gambari stressed the importance of aid work undertaken by UN and humanitarian workers in Darfur and called upon all parties to refrain from impeding their work.UNAMID was set up in 2007 to try to quell the violence in Darfur, where an estimated 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million others displaced in a nearly seven-year conflict pitting rebels against Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen.The mission has reached about 70 per cent of its authorized strength of 19,555 troops and 4,449 police officers, and still lacks key military elements, including a series of medium utility helicopters considered vital in the remote region. 8 February 2010Another international aid worker abducted in the strife-torn Sudanese-Chadian border area has been released in a move hailed by the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), which has had some of its own members kidnapped. read more