Member States and UN to enhance police peacekeeping training for Darfur

31 August 2007Top United Nations and Member States’ police and human security officials today pledged to enhance training for UN Police (UNPOL) officers preparing to serve as peacekeepers in Sudan’s Darfur region in what will be the largest single UN Police contingent ever with more than 6,400 officers. This outcome came at the end of two days of meetings by the International Policing Advisory Council (IPAC) in the Australian capital Canberra. It followed a call yesterday by new UN Police Adviser Andrew Hughes for the global policing community to cooperate ever more closely with the world body. The new hybrid UN-African Union (AU) peacekeeping force in Darfur, to be known as UNAMID, will be made up of over 30,000 personnel, including more than 19,500 military. Among its final outcomes, IPAC also recognized military and police relations as critical to the success of international policing in peacekeeping operations. As well as facing the challenges of policing in Darfur, IPAC further recommended that the UN and Member States need to work together to enhance pre-deployment training for police officers serving in other global peacekeeping missions. The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ (DPKO) Police Division also pledged to develop more manuals and handbooks for police on the ground. In addition, IPAC agreed on the need for the Police Division to look into ways of cooperating more closely with regional organizations such as the AU, European Union, the Pacific Island Chiefs of Police and ASEANAPOL, which groups the Chiefs of Police from the Association of South-East Asian Nations region. The 24 academics, senior level police and UN representatives who met also identified a number of new challenges facing the world body, in particular the need for enhanced efforts to fight corruption in post-conflict environments. The meeting was run in cooperation with the Australian Federal Police and, along with Mr. Hughes, was also chaired by his predecessor as UNPOL chief, Mark Kroeker. Key participants included high-level academics and police chiefs from Australia, El Salvador, Indonesia, Nigeria, Norway, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Interpol. read more

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UN Darfur envoy honoured by Spain for diplomatic and humanitarian work

8 February 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Envoy for Darfur, Jan Eliasson, has received one of the Spanish Government’s highest honours for his diplomatic and humanitarian work. In a ceremony held yesterday in New York, Mr. Eliasson received the Order of Queen Isabel the Catholic from Ambassador Juan Antonio Yánez-Barnuevo of Spain.Also present at the event were General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim, Ambassador Ricardo Alberto Arias of Panama, which holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council this month, and high-level staff from the European Union and the UN.Expressing his gratitude to Spanish King Juan Carlos and the Government, Mr. Eliasson stressed that the award is a recognition of the collaborative work of UN Member States, not only an acknowledgment of his personal efforts.Spain highlighted the Envoy’s mediation efforts and his successes – including the promotion of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), pledges by world leaders to eradicate social ills by 2015, and reaching agreement on a UN counter-terrorism strategy – during his tenure as President of the 60th session of the General Assembly.Mr. Eliasson was also the UN’s first-ever Emergency Relief Coordinator and head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).As a Swedish diplomat, he served as his country’s Ambassador to the United States, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Permanent Representative to the UN. Currently, with his African Union (AU) counterpart Salim Ahmed Salim, Mr. Eliasson is urging parties to the conflict in Darfur – where at least 200,000 people have been killed since 2003 – to come to the negotiating table to resolve the crisis.The Order of Queen Isabel the Catholic, which dates back to 1815, is bestowed to Spanish citizens or foreigners for their work benefiting Spain or its relations with the international community. read more

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Middle East Ban Kimoon deeply concerned at rising violence loss of life

“These events underscore the urgent need for a calming of violence, and must not be allowed to deter the continuation of the political process,” Mr. Ban said in a statement issued yesterday by his spokesperson.Condemning rocket fire against Israel by Hamas, which intensified Wednesday and killed an Israeli civilian in Sderot, the Secretary-General called on Hamas and other militant groups to “cease such acts of terrorism.”He also condemned the killing of four Palestinian children, including an infant, in Gaza in IDF strikes.Mr. Ban called on Israel to “exercise maximum restraint and ensure respect for international humanitarian law so as not to endanger civilians,” the statement added. The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) confirmed that the Palestinian infant was a six-month-old baby who was killed in the compound of a school run by the agency, near to where yesterday’s Israeli military strike occurred.The infant was the grandchild of the school guard, who lives on site and is tasked with keeping that school free from militants.UNRWA said that in addition to condemning the killing of the baby, it deplored any violence that placed its schools and other facilities at risk. 28 February 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed deep concern at the recent escalation of violence in southern Israel and Gaza, including the loss of civilian life resulting from rocket fire by Hamas and air strikes by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). read more

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Pakistan UN delivers food to 20000 quake victims

In the hardest-hit district of Ziarat, the agency is delivering fortified ready-to-eat biscuits.Additionally, WFP is supplying almost 400 tons of wheat flour, beans, vegetable oil and salt, as a one-month ration, for 20,000 people in Ziarat and neighbouring Pishin district.Almost 200 people have died, with hundreds more injured, in the 6.4 magnitude quake, whose epicentre was located in a mountainous area northeast of Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan.UN agencies have carried out assessments to determine the humanitarian response, with six teams having visited dozens of villages over the past several days to analyze the impact of the strong tremors on the already poor and vulnerable population.Temperatures in the high-altitude region are already very low and expected to drop even more with the approach of winter. The missions found that winterized tents, blankets, warm clothing, food, health services and restoration of drinking water are the main priorities.The Pakistani military has set up camps in Ziarat, which are currently being used as storage depots, with four additional camps proposed in the district. 6 November 2008The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has begun distributing food for up to 20,000 survivors of the deadly earthquake that struck Pakistan’s southwest Baluchistan province late last month. read more

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Islamic law major influence on modern global refugee law – UN study

High Commissioner António Guterres said that more than any other historical source, Islamic law and tradition underpin the modern-day legal framework on which UNHCR bases its global activities on behalf of the tens of millions of people forced from their homes around the world.This includes the right of everyone to seek asylum as well as prohibitions against sending those needing protection back into danger, Mr. Guterres said in the foreword to “The Right to Asylum between Islamic Shari’ah and International Refugee Law: A Comparative Study.” In the study, Professor Abu Al-Wafa, Dean of the Law Faculty at Cairo University, describes how Islamic law and tradition respects refugees, including non-Muslims; forbids forcing them to change their beliefs; avoids compromising their rights; seeks to reunite families; and guarantees the protection of their lives and property.“The international community should value this 14-century-old tradition of generosity and hospitality and recognize its contributions to modern law,” wrote Mr. Guterres. He said that “racism, xenophobia and populist fear-mongering manipulate public opinion and confuse refugees with illegal migrants and even terrorists.”These attitudes have contributed to misperceptions about Islam, and Muslim refugees – who account for the majority – have paid the price, said Mr. Guterres. “Let us be clear: refugees are not terrorists. They are first and foremost the victims of terrorism. This book reminds us of our duty to counter such attitudes.”The study, published by UNHCR in cooperation with Naif Arab University and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), is scheduled to be launched on 23 June at Naif Arab University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 22 June 2009The 1,400-year-old Islamic custom of welcoming people fleeing persecution has had more influence on today’s international refugee law than any other traditional source, according to a new study sponsored by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). read more

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UN expert group urges Nigeria to address core issues behind repeated violence

“Ethnic hatred must not be allowed to foment in Nigeria,” said human rights expert Anwar Kemal, in his capacity as Chairperson of the Committee, which just concluded its 76th session in Geneva. He urged the Government of Nigeria “to take all the appropriate measures to immediately stop the ethnic violence, to protect the victims, and to avoid the repetition of such killings in the future.” As many as 500 people in the area around Jos may have been killed last weekend during the latest wave of clashes between Christians and Muslims, which followed similar attacks in January and in November 2009.In a decision passed this week, the UN expert body urged Nigeria to investigate the massacres, bring to justice those responsible and to provide redress to the victims – which included children, women and the elderly – and their families. Among its recommendations, the Committee called on all local, regional and national authorities in Nigeria to study the underlying causes of the ethnic violence in the country.The Committee also called on the authorities “to firmly address all underlying causes of tension leading to this repeated violence” and to promote dialogue between different ethnic communities to achieve tolerance and peace. The expert group drew attention to the fact that Nigeria has ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of Alls Forms of Racial Discrimination, and is obligated to prevent and protect persons against acts of hatred, incitement to racial and ethnic violence or any form of violence based on ethnicity.Over the last ten years, over 13,500 people have died in recurring acts of violence resulting from tensions between ethno-religious groups in the country. Earlier this week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay voiced their concerns about the ethnic tensions in Nigeria.Ms. Pillay has called the killings a “massacre.” 12 March 2010The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is calling on Nigerian authorities to tackle the underlying causes of repeated outbreaks of deadly ethnic and religious violence near the northern city of Jos. read more

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Displaced villagers in eastern Chad make their way home with UN help

27 May 2011Villagers uprooted by violence in eastern Chad several years ago have begun returning to their homes with the help of the United Nations refugee agency now that security has improved in the region. So far, more than 14,000 of the 130,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who fled inter-ethnic fighting in 2005 and 2006, when conflict spilled over from the troubled Darfur region of Sudan, have signed up for return, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Since Saturday, the agency has organized return convoys carrying over 500 passengers, and one also left this morning.“As more continue to register, we are planning to organize convoys every other day,” UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming told a news conference in Geneva. She noted that some 50,000 spontaneous returns have already taken place since last year as villagers went home on their own within eastern Chad’s Dar Sila and Assoungha regions. Some IDPs have returned on their own to areas that have been deemed “not conducive for return” by UNHCR. While the agency does not organize convoys to those areas, it does provide those returnees with the same assistance package given to the others. Among the challenges faced by returnees is the lack of socio-economic conditions for reintegration. As a result, some of the IDPs say they are still hesitant and prefer to remain where they are or to relocate to other areas. Earlier this month, UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos reported that a number of factors had contributed to improved security for civilians in eastern Chad. These included better bilateral relations between Chad and Sudan; the deployment of a joint border force on their shared border; an increase in the number and deployment of personnel providing security in and around camps for refugees and IDPs, and for humanitarian operations. In addition, there have been no reports of armed clashes in eastern Chad since April 2010, she told a meeting of the Security Council. read more

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Funding shortfall threatens food for 120000 Congolese refugees UN warns

In the last six months the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has received only 15 per cent of the funds needed and its stocks will run out by November, WFP spokesperson Gaelle Sévenier told a news briefing in Geneva, appealing for $6 million to feed the refugees, the vast majority of them women and children, until the end of 2011. After a joint assessment mission in October 2010 by WFP and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the agency had begun providing refugees with three-quarter rations to build their resilience as they prepared to return home. Some $33 million was needed to feed the refugees over a two-year period. The refugees began fleeing across the Oubangi river into the Republic of Congo in October 2009 when Enyele militiamen launched deadly assaults on ethnic Munzayas over fishing and farming rights in the Dongo area of Equateur province in the DRC. Tensions then expanded to most parts of the province. 14 October 2011Some 120,000 refugees who fled ethnic violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (RDC) two years ago to seek shelter in the neighbouring Republic of Congo, will go without food as of next month if no new funding is found, the United Nations warned today. read more

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New rules to cut greenhouse emissions from trucks phased in over four

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — The federal government says new regulations for heavy-duty trucks will cut greenhouse-gas emissions and give truckers a break on fuel costs to boot.The Environment Department says the regulations will be phased in between now and the 2018 model year and will produce a cumulative reduction of 19.1 megatonnes of greenhouse emissions over the life of 2014-2018 model year vehicles.The regulations will cover vehicles such as full-size pick-ups, semi-trucks, garbage trucks and buses and will align with U.S. standards.“With these tough new measures, GHG emissions from 2018 model-year heavy-duty vehicles will be reduced by up to 23 per cent,” Environment Minister Peter Kent said in a news release.The department says improved fuel efficiency will mean an average saving of up to $8,000 a year for a semi-truck operator in a 2018-model vehicle.For heavy-duty pick-ups and vans, the department estimates fuel savings of up to $1,200 a year for the 2018 model-year, while vehicles such as buses, freight, delivery, service, cement, and dump trucks, could save up to $1,000 a year.The news release doesn’t say how much these regulations will cost manufacturers.However, it does say truck makers will be able to use currently available, off-the-shelf technologies such as fuel-efficient engines and aerodynamic cab designs to meet the standards.And it says the fuel savings will offset any vehicle price increase.“For all classes of heavy-duty vehicles, the payback period will be less than one year,” the department said.It said the regulations are structured to allow more powerful vehicles to proportionally emit more greenhouse gases “to ensure that vehicles such as buses, garbage trucks and snow removal trucks can continue to perform at a high level.” read more

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TSX declines as crude oil prices slide Scotiabank takes big Q4 charge

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market plunged almost 200 points on Tuesday, before recovering some of those losses in afternoon trading, as energy stocks sustained significant losses following a move by Saudi Arabia to cut prices to its U.S. customers sent oil reeling to four-year lows.The December crude contract in New York fell $2.25 to US$76.53 a barrel after Saudi Arabia made the price cut. BMO Capital Markets senior economist Robert Kavcic said the move added “to speculation that Middle East producers are working to defend market share amid surging U.S. output.”Prices have also been pushed downward by a U.S. dollar that has gained in strength lately as the U.S. Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program concluded at the end of October.The TSX energy sector fell 4.5 per cent. Major losers included Athabasca Oil, which plunged 12.5 per cent to $3.06 while Canadian Natural Resources dropped 4.5 per cent to $36.55.Falling oil prices and dovish comments Monday by Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz pushed the Canadian dollar down 0.41 of a cent to a five-year low of 87.64 cents US.Energy stocks also punished U.S. indexes as the Dow Jones industrials dropped 81.81 points to 17,284.43, the S&P 500 fell 16.35 points to 2,001.46 while the Nasdaq declined 41.55 points to 4,597.36.Oil prices drop to 3-year low as Saudi Arabia cuts crude prices againCanadian dollar tumbles to below 88 cents as oil prices slumpThe major corporate story of the morning involved Scotiabank, which announced that it’s cutting 1,500 jobs companywide — about two-thirds of them in Canada.It’s posting a $341 million after-tax charge for the fourth quarter which will reduce earnings by 28 cents a share. Part of that is for severance costs but Scotiabank is also taking a number of other steps, including an additional $109 million of loan loss provisions related to the Caribbean region. It will also write down the value of its investment in a Venezuelan bank by $129 million and take a $47 million charge related to unremitted dividends from Banco del Caribe in Venezuela. Its shares lost $1.30 to $67.48.Elsewhere on the TSX, other resource sectors registered sharp losses amid data showing the eurozone economy in precarious shape. The European Commission has cut its growth forecast, saying growth will come in at 0.8 per cent this year, down from 1.2 per cent growth it forecast this spring.The base metals sector lost three per cent with December copper down five cents to US$3.01 a pound.The gold sector was down 0.2 per cent while December gold inched up 50 cents to US$1,170.3 an ounce.The TSX found some strength from consumer staples and telecoms.In other corporate news, TransCanada Corp. reported a third-quarter profit of $457 million or 64 cents per share on $2.45 billion in revenue. That compared with a profit of $481 million or 68 cents per share on $2.20 billion in revenue a year ago. On a comparable basis, the company said it earned $450 million or 63 cents per share for its latest quarter, two cents ahead of estimates and its shares gained 39 cents to $55.42.WestJet Airlines says its quarterly net income excluding losses from the sale of old aircraft surged 31 per cent to a record $85.4 million. The airline earned 66 cents per diluted share in adjusted profits, two cents short of analyst estimates. Its shares declined 85 cents to $31.18. read more

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Odds of Bank of Canada rate hike close to 90 on decision

OTTAWA — All eyes will be on the Bank of Canada this morning as it makes its latest scheduled interest-rate announcement.Economists widely believe that based on the economic environment, it’s likely that governor Stephen Poloz will raise the central bank’s benchmark interest rate today for a third time since last summer.Market odds of a rate  hike are now close to 90 per cent.Many note that Poloz has indicated that interest rate decisions will be data dependent.In addition to a stronger-than-expected jobs report released earlier this month, the central bank’s Business Outlook Survey revealed that sentiment remained positive during the final quarter of 2017.But many economists say a rate hike today doesn’t mean the Bank of Canada is poised to start a rapid tightening cycle.Given high household debt levels, the unknown impact of tighter stress tests for uninsured mortgages that came into effect this year and uncertainty surrounding NAFTA renegotiations, the bank must be cautious about how quickly it raises rates in order to avoid derailing the economy.Scotiabank Economics is forecasting 75 basis points of gradual tightening this year spread out throughout 2018, while TD Economics expects a gradual pace of tightening over the next two years of about 25 basis points every six months.RBC Economics Research says it expects the Bank of Canada to raise the overnight rate by 25 basis points to 1.25 per cent today. read more

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WatchCanada and 10 other countries agree to new TransPacific trade pact without

OTTAWA — Canada and the remaining members of the old Trans-Pacific Partnership agreed Tuesday to a revised trade agreement that will forge ahead without the United States, opening distant new markets at a time of uncertainty closer to home.The deal comes exactly one year after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the agreement, leaving Japan as the largest player in a new 11-nation pact that spans two hemispheres and includes both U.S. neighbours.Asked by reporters whether he was aware of the deal, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said while walking past them at the Davos economic summit in Switzerland: “Who do you think has been working hard at it behind the scenes.”Thrilled to announce that Canada + the 10 remaining members have signed the Comprehensive & Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership #CPTPP. Canada can and will work hard to set the terms of trade so the middle class can compete and win on the world stage.— François-Philippe Champagne (FPC)🇨🇦 (@FP_Champagne) January 23, 2018The agreement follows two days of high-level talks in Tokyo and was confirmed by International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne. The partners are now expected to work toward signing the agreement by early March.“Canada can and will work hard to set the terms of trade so the middle class can compete and win on the world stage,” Champagne tweeted.“The agreement reached today is the right deal.”The announcement came just hours after a Canadian government official told The Canadian Press that Ottawa believed a deal could be struck, even as it pushed for more progress on negotiations surrounding the automotive and cultural sectors.Terence Corcoran: Trudeau can’t land a trade deal — because he’s no free traderCanada attempts to smooth Japan’s ruffled feathers after Trans-Pacific trade standoffForget Trump, Trudeau is now the biggest obstacle to Pacific trade dealAnother Canadian government official said Champagne pressed his counterparts for an exemption on culture-related elements that had been part of the original TPP deal.The official said Canada will protect its cultural sector in the updated deal through legally binding side letters with each partner.This could not be a dumber move at a more important timeFlavio Volpe of the Auto Parts Manufacturers Association The autos component risks being more controversial.In a sector considered key to the deal, Canada managed to get a bilateral arrangement with Japan to resolve non-tariff barriers, including a binding dispute settlement mechanism, according to an official. The official said the side agreement brings into force key commitments made by Japan to Canada and the U.S. in the original deal, but which were lost when the U.S. pulled out.Rebranding of TPP as Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership is a joke. With this deal it’s the same old story. Shameful broken trade promises. This isn’t progress for workers it’s a mockery #cdnpoli #canlab— Jerry Dias (@JerryPDias) January 23, 2018The new deal also includes a bilateral agreement with Malaysia to adjust auto rules-of-origin and another agreement was being finalized with Australia, the official added.But a major Canadian auto-parts association offered a scathing reaction.Flavio Volpe of the Auto Parts Manufacturers’ Association said this agreement moves Canada in the exact opposite direction of where its most important customer and powerful next-door neighbour is headed — right in the midst of sensitive negotiations.He said the U.S. is pushing for a new NAFTA that increases domestic content requirements, and keeps Chinese parts out of North America — but the revamped TPP deal moves Canada and Mexico the opposite way, reducing local requirements and letting more product from non-TPP countries like China into the supply chain.“This could not be a dumber move at a more important time,” Volpe said in an interview.He accused Champagne of chasing a legacy item, without regard for how it might affect the far more important NAFTA negotiations — literally unfolding this week in Montreal: “We’re trophy hunting,” Volpe said.Canada, the second-largest economy among the partners, was widely considered the main holdout in the negotiations. Last fall, the pact was rebranded the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.The Tokyo negotiations were the first high-level talks since the leaders of the partner economies met in November on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Danang, Vietnam.Trudeau made international headlines there by deciding not to sign an agreement-in-principle on what became known as TPP11 following the U.S. withdrawal. Trudeau’s decision in Vietnam to continue negotiating for a better deal, rather than striking an agreement, led to the abrupt cancellation of a TPP leaders’ meeting in Danang.Volpe said Canada has now caved into countries that really wanted a deal, without extracting much new in return. He noted that trade with these countries pales in comparison with the U.S.: “New Zealand,” he said sarcastically, naming one TPP country: “That huge market we’ve been waiting our entire lives to crack.”But other industry leaders, many of whom had actively lobbied Ottawa to commit to the Pacific Rim deal long ago, applauded news of the agreement.Assuming reports of a finalize #TPP trade deal are accurate, CFIB heartily congratulates PM @JustinTrudeau, @cafreeland & @FP_Champagne. #TPP will provide lots of new opportunities for Canadian small firms at a time of trade uncertainty with the US.— Dan Kelly (@CFIB) January 23, 2018Dan Kelly, president and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, tweeted that the “TPP will provide lots of new opportunities for Canadian small firms at a time of trade uncertainty with the US.”John Masswohl of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association tweeted: “Great news for Canada’s beef producers and job creation in Canada as a whole! Helpful for NAFTA talks too.”Many believed the original TPP had suffered a fatal blow when Trump withdrew from the deal in his first week as president.The government official said Trudeau had been bringing up the Asia-Pacific trade pact in recent months every time he’s had conversations with leaders from the other partner economies. Over the last week, he discussed the deal with the leaders of New Zealand and Chile by phone.Trudeau also dispatched well-connected Vancouver Economic Commission chief executive Ian McKay as his personal envoy at this week’s negotiations in Japan, the official said. McKay joined Canada’s chief and deputy chief negotiators in Tokyo for two days of talks that were scheduled to wrap up Tuesday.Besides Canada, the new deal’s partners are Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.Most importantly, the deal will open up access for Canada to Japan’s economy, the third-largest in the world. Canada’s agricultural, seafood and forestry sectors would see some of the greatest benefits, the official said.The official insisted that Champagne and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland also remained engaged with their counterparts in recent months.They added that Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, met with Japan’s ambassador last week to discuss the deal.With files from Alexander Panetta in Montreal read more

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Over 2000 child abuse cases a year

According to the Ministry of Justice, around 2000 cases involving some form of violence towards a child are filed with the Attorney General’s Department each year, UNICEF said in a statement today.Most of the violence is taking place within the family among those a child knows and trusts. A 2005 UNICEF-supported study conducted in Anuradhapura, Colombo South and Ratnapura revealed that 70 per cent of incidents were inflicted by a relative or someone close to the family, while 27 per cent were within a relationship, and only 3 per cent of incidents were inflicted by a stranger or person unknown to the victim. The launch event took place in Anuradhapura followed by training for those working for children including probation officers, school principals and child rights protection officers, UNICEF said in the sattement.The campaign on a ‘Violence Free Society for Children’ seeks to break the culture of silence and prevent child abuse. The Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs has launched a campaign on a ‘Violence Free Society for Children’ in partnership with UNICEF. Several activities will be conducted across the most vulnerable and high risk districts in the country to build awareness on violence against children and child abuse in communities, schools, homes and among politicians; and to develop the capacity of the child protection system to better identify and effectively respond to victims of violence and abuse.“The Government’s vision is to create a violence free society for children, to prevent abuse and exploitation of innocent lives and to create an environment where children will be free to enjoy their childhood,” the Minister of Child Development and Women’s Affairs, Tissa Karaliyadde said.The ‘Violence Free Society for Children’ campaign will help: build capacity of the protection system through training of government staff, who work with families and children, to identify and follow-up cases of violence; equip children with the skills needed to protect themselves; raise public awareness; and advocacy among parliamentarians to increase the state resource allocation for child protection, policy, legal reforms and awareness raising work. The UNICEF Sri Lanka Representative Reza Hossaini said “One child abused is one too many. Violence destroys the very essence of childhood and spirals into their adult life. Children must be made to feel safe, free from molestation and abuse and importantly, be able to trust the very people who are supposed to protect them.” read more

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Australia deports 100 Sri Lankans

The Sri Lankan men were advised of their status and that they were subject to removal from Australia. They raised no issues that engaged Australia’s international obligations.Without a valid visa they had no legal right to remain in Australia and were removed at the earliest opportunity. “This group of 100 people takes to 426 the number of Sri Lankans returned involuntarily since 13 August, as we continue to return people where they do not engage Australia’s international obligations. The message here is very clear: people who pay smugglers are risking their lives and throwing their money away. They are being told lies. There is no visa on arrival, there is no speedy outcome, and there is no special treatment.” “This latest removal was achieved with the cooperation of the Royal Australian Air Force who made a KC-30 aircraft available to enable a larger number of people to be removed at one time than was previously possible,” Mr Bowen said. “The Government is absolute in its resolve to implement the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers to break the people smuggling trade, stop the flow of boats and prevent people from taking these dangerous boats to Australia,” Mr Bowen said.“We will continue to return people to Sri Lanka, we will continue to transfer people to Nauru, and now to Manus Island as well.”Since 13 August, 525 Sri Lankans have returned home – both voluntarily and involuntarily – as people realise that these smugglers only sell lies and false promises about what awaits people in Australia. A group of 100 Sri Lankan men had been sent home to Sri Lanka from Australia today, the ninth involuntary removal this month and the largest return to Colombo to date.The Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, said the Sri Lankan men were all recent arrivals from a number of different boats. Yesterday, the Australian Government also completed the first involuntary return of an Afghan man found not to be a refugee under Australia’s return agreement with Afghanistan. People returned involuntarily do not have access to reintegration assistance. read more

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INTERPOL turns down Red notice request for Sandaruwan

The Gampaha Chief Magistrate ordered that the warrant be issued via INTERPOL as Senadheera is overseas.Sandaruwan Senadheera has been accused of contempt of court and a complaint had been filed against him. However the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) informed court today that INTERPOL has refused to issue the Red notice as charges have not been filed in court. (Colombo Gazette) The international police, INTERPOL, has turned down a Red notice request to arrest the Chief Editor of Lanka E-News Sandaruwan Senadheera.An arrest warrant was recently issued for the founder and Chief Editor of Lanka E-News Sandaruwan Senadheera. read more

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Sri Lanka ratifies the Maritime Labour Convention

In receiving the instrument of ratification, Guy Ryder, Director-General of the ILO stated: “The ratification of Sri Lanka, located in a key position within the global liner shipping network, brings one more important player in the Asia Pacific region within the scope of the MLC, 2006. Such ratification proves once more that the Convention has sparked a new dynamic, as countries now realize that the MLC, 2006 unavoidably impacts on the manner in which they carry out maritime trade and that they have to align their laws and practice with the provisions of the Convention. This ratification is all the more timely as it will allow Sri Lanka to improve labour conditions for its more than 22,000 seafarers and ensure that ships calling at its ports are inspected in compliance with the requirements of the Convention thereby promoting quality shipping and providing additional protection for seafarers transiting within its waters”. The Government has deposited with the International Labour Office the instrument of ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006). Sri Lanka is the 81st ILO member State and the 16th Asian State to have ratified the Convention.In depositing the instrument of ratification, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, stated: “Sri Lanka is committed to the creation of new job opportunities in sustainable manner as envisaged in the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 and particularly, in line with the Government’s commitment to eradicate poverty and promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all. Ambassador Aryasinha also stated that Sri Lanka looks forward to working closely with the ILO for capacity building, in particular, training in the areas of labour standards and labour inspection, for officers in the Ministry of Labour of Sri Lanka”. The MLC, 2006 entered into force on 20 August 2013 for the first 30 member States that had registered their ratification by 20 August 2012. The MLC, 2006 will enter into force for Sri Lanka on 12 January 2018, that is, one year after its ratification. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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Iran wants open and extended ties with Sri Lanka

Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani in a meeting with his Sri Lankan counterpart Karu Jayasuriya in Tehran on Sunday said that Iran wants an open and extended trade ties with Sri Lanka, the IRNA news service reported.He said that the two countries have plenty of capacities for strengthening of relations and cooperation. Referring to export of tea from Sri Lanka to Iran, Larijani said that the country may work in the field of investment to develop technologies to harvest tea in Iran. Larijani called relations between the two countries constructive and expanding, and added that the visit of Sri Lanka’s parliamentary delegation may pave the way to expand bilateral cooperation. Karu Jayasuriya pointed to positive and growing relations between Iran and Sri Lanka, and said that the two states have warm and friendly relations for many past decades.He appreciated supports and relief aids of Iran’s Red Crescent Society during flash flood in Sri Lanka and added that his government intends to develop and promote ties with Iran and expressed the hope that it would happen in the near future. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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Speaker to meet party leaders tomorrow on Parliament debate

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has convened a special party leaders meeting tomorrow to discuss calls for the Parliament debate on the treasury bond report and the report on large scale financial fraud to be held before February 10.The Speaker’s office said that several requests have been made to hold the debate before the Local Government elections on February 10. Parliament is scheduled to debate the report of the Presidential Commission which investigated the treasury bond scam and the report of the Commission of Inquiry appointed to investigate into serious acts of fraud and corruption on February 20 and 21st. (Colombo Gazette) Accordingly the Speaker has decided to discuss the matter tomorrow and take a final decision. read more

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Key information on plot to kill the President to be revealed

An Indian national was also arrested in connection to the investigations. Key information on a plot to kill President Maithripala Sirisena will be revealed over the next few days, the Government said today.Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara told reporters today that key information had surfaced in the investigations and it will be revealed soon. Former Terrorist Investigations Department head, (DIG) Nalaka de Silva, was arrested last month by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) after being questioned over the alleged conspiracy to assassinate President Maithripala Sirisena and other VVIPs. Activist Namal Kumara had made the revelation to the media over the plot to kill the President, following a telephone conversation he had with Nalaka de Silva. read more

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Russia and Sri Lanka discuss militarytechnical cooperation

Russian Deputy Minister of Defence Colonel General Alexander Fomin had talks with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sri Lanka to the Russian Federation Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka.The Sri Lankan Embassy in Russia said that both sides discussed pressing matters of bilateral military and military-technical cooperation, and prospects for its further development. (Colombo Gazette)

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