Identity of Russian Ambassador’s Assassin Revealed

Casablanca – The man who shot dead Andrey Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Ankara, at an art exhibition on Monday worked for the Ankara riot police since 2014.A gunman shot Russia’s ambassador to Turkey at an art exhibition while the official was delivering a speech. The attacker was camouflaged with a black suit that made him appear as the ambassador’s personal bodyguard. He appears in the video shooting the ambassador with several bullets, which also injured three others during the assassination.Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, reportedly said the attacker’s name was Mevlut Mert Atlintas. He also revealed that Atlintas worked for Ankara’s riot police for more than two years but was off-duty as he carried out the act. Mevlut Mert Atlintas, 22 years old, shouted “Allahu Akbar” in Arabic, which translates into ‘God is great’. He then began repeating, in Turkish, “Do not forget Aleppo! Do not forget Syria! Do not forget Aleppo! Do not forget Syria!”A witness told Voice of America that security was not tight that night, which explains why the metal detectors that were used in the entrance did not detect the attacker’s gun.According to Turkish authorities, the assailant, who was shouting “Only death will remove me from here,” was killed 15 minutes after his attack, in a gunfight with Turkish Special Forces.Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, told Reuters that Russia considers the attack a “terrorist act,” noting that “terrorism will not win and we will fight against it decisively.”The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, stated in a televised comment following the attack that he held a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart, and that “the investigative committee has already launched an investigation into this killing. It had been tasked with the mission of forming a working group, which will have to fly to Ankara to join its Turkish colleagues in jointly investigating this murder.”In his turn, the Turkish president said in a tweet: “This attack is a provocation aimed at disrupting our relations. I condemn it vehemently.” read more

One out of 13 Moroccans Suffers from Diabetes

By Safaa KasraouiRabat – Doctors and medical experts discussed metabolic disease’s prevalence in Morocco at the Global Premix Summit in Rabat on March 18.The Premix summit, already hosted before in Marrakech and Casablanca, brought together more than 250 doctors, endocrinologists, diabetologists and internists from Africa. ”Morocco is one of the most affected African countries, with an estimated prevalence rate of 7,7 percent, corresponding to a population of nearly 1,671,400,” said a press release issued by the Summit.Affected people are mostly aged between 20 and 79 years.According to an International Diabetes Federation (IDF) report, 41.2 percent of Moroccan patients are undiagnosed (688.200 person).According to the IDF, diabetes kills over 9,500 adults per year.Abdelmjid Chraibi, a professor of Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases and the dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of Agadir, called for a new model for the follow-up of diabetic patients, especially those of type2.He explained that “patients are often passive in the fact of the different aspects of the therapeutic strategy proposed by their doctors, without making efforts to adopt a participatory and responsible behavior in taking burden of diabetes.”“Patients must understand that the most important aspect of their care can be achieved by themselves,” He added.Financial assessments of care costs associated with the management of diabetes is a clear obstacle to the achievement of the new sustainable development objectives (SDGS), especially since the link between chronic disease and economic growth been now been demonstrated.According to the Global Premix Summit report, the burden of noncommunicable diseases will globally increase by 17 percent in the next ten years, and specifically by 27 percent in the African region, which in 2030 will make it the world’s leading cause of disability. read more

Here’s a quick glance at unemployment rates for January, by Canadian city

OTTAWA — The national unemployment rate was 5.8 per cent in January. Statistics Canada also released seasonally adjusted, three-month moving average unemployment rates for major cities. It cautions, however, that the figures may fluctuate widely because they are based on small statistical samples. Here are the jobless rates last month by city (numbers from the previous month in brackets):— St. John’s, N.L. 7.4 per cent (7.4)— Halifax 5.1 (5.6)— Moncton, N.B. 5.4 (5.2)— Saint John, N.B. 6.2 (6.3)— Saguenay, Que. 4.8 (5.1)— Quebec 3.8 (3.9)— Sherbrooke, Que. 5.2 (5.4)— Trois-Rivieres, Que. 5.2 (5.3)— Montreal 6.1 (6.0)— Gatineau, Que. 5.0 (4.8)— Ottawa 5.3 (5.0)— Kingston, Ont. 5.8 (6.0)— Peterborough, Ont. 5.9 (5.0)— Oshawa, Ont. 5.6 (5.7)— Toronto 6.1 (6.0)— Hamilton, Ont. 3.9 (4.3)— St. Catharines-Niagara, Ont. 6.8 (7.0)— Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, Ont. 4.9 (5.1)— Brantford, Ont. 5.9 (6.3)— Guelph, Ont. 1.9 (2.3)— London, Ont. 5.2 (5.0)— Windsor, Ont. 5.2 (5.3)— Barrie, Ont. 5.1 (4.9)— Sudbury, Ont. 6.7 (6.3)— Thunder Bay, Ont. 5.5 (5.2)— Winnipeg 5.7 (5.8)— Regina 4.8 (5.7)— Saskatoon 5.8 (5.6)— Calgary 7.3 (7.5)— Edmonton 6.4 (6.3)— Kelowna, B.C. 3.1 (3.3)— Abbotsford-Mission, B.C. 4.8 (4.5)— Vancouver 4.8 (4.5)— Victoria 3.6 (3.6)The Canadian Press read more

Bill, Melinda Gates unfazed by criticism of wealthy giving

KIRKLAND, Wash. — Bill and Melinda Gates are pushing back against a new wave of criticism about whether billionaire philanthropy is a force for good.The couple says they’re not fazed by recent blowback against wealthy giving. It’s come in high-profile moments at the World Economic Forum and the shifting political conversation about taxes and socialism.Melinda Gates told The Associated Press that the attacks are about wealth, not philanthropy.The latest criticisms challenge whether their level of wealth is good for society and whether it’s functional to rely on the generosity of the very rich to fix its problems. The couple’s non-profit work relies on the tax-exempt fortune they hand to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.The Gateses have released their annual letter Tuesday reviewing their work and vision.Sally Ho, The Associated Press read more

Morocco’s Boys and Girls Celebrate Laylat al-Qadr Tonight

By Chase LacyRabat – Tonight is a special night for Morocco and a majority of the Muslim world. Muslims will come out in droves to celebrate Laylat al-Qadr (Night of the Decree), one of the holiest days during Ramadan.The tradition dates back to when the Prophet Muhammad would spend a month in solitude, performing prayer and fasting at the Cave at Hira in Mecca. On that day the Angel Gabriel revealed the first verse of the Quran, Al-Alaq (Quran 96:1-5). Although there is debate regarding the exact date of Laylat al-Qadr, there is a relative consensus on the 27th day of Ramadan. There is an atmospheric electricity that stimulates the spirit on a night that bears fruit to the perfection of God’s love and forgiveness for the individual’s sins.Photo credit: Morocco World NewsChildren who have not reached puberty are not required to participate in the fast for Ramadan. However, during Laylat al-Qadr, children will fast for the very first time. The f’tour on this night especially has bounties of food and sweets for everyone’s enjoyment.Girls go to a negafa (stylist) who will dress them up with makeup, traditional clothing of the finest quality, and gold adornments.Photo Credit: MaghribiatBoys will typically dress in a djellaba (Moroccan tuni), crown their heads with a fez, and wear a special shoe called balgha. The style of dress that children wear during Laylat al-Qadr are similar to what brides and grooms wear for a wedding.Photo Credit: Morocco World NewsFamilies will often take their children to photo booths to commemorate the special day and give them presents. Adults will put henna on girls’ hands, and they will be paraded in an ammaria, a special sedan chair.Both boys and girls, accompanied by their parents, will ride horses as well. One witnesses vivid colors while the ears reverberate with the sounds of drums and joyful shrills.  Parents express how proud they are of their children. For both girls and boys, Laylat al-Qadr is seen as an important milestone in their lives. read more

African Leaders to Gather at AU’s 32nd Ordinary Summit February

Rabat – The African Union has announced the agenda for its 32nd ordinary summit, which will take place from January 15 to February 11 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.The summit will take place under the theme “Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa.”The agenda of the summit will include the 37th Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC) January 15-16; the 34th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council February 7-8; and the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU’s Heads of State and Government February 10-11. Irregular migration has been the focus of the pan-African organization in recent years.In 2017, King Mohammed VI addressed issues such as youth immigration in a message to the participants of the 29th AU summit.“African population growth, African institutions, migration and youth issues are opportunities we should leverage together,” the King said.The King renewed Morocco’s commitment to Africa’s development during the international conference of migration held in December 2018 in Marrakech.The monarch said in his message to the symposium that Morocco’s efforts to tackle migration are “neither recent nor incidental.”The King also emphasized Morocco’s “longstanding, voluntary commitment expressed through a policy which is humane in its philosophy, global in its substance, pragmatic in its methodology and responsible in its approach.” read more

UN urges AsiaPacific nations to scale up domestic funds for AIDS response

21 August 2007The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has warned that countries in Asia and the Pacific will face serious difficulties in sustaining their response to the disease unless they become less reliant on external donors and commit more national funds to their AIDS programmes. Resources for national AIDS programmes in the region, while increasing, are insufficient for a long-term response to the pandemic, UNAIDS Asia Pacific Regional Director Prasada Rao told those gathered at the 8th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, which opened yesterday in Colombo, Sri Lanka.National budgets for AIDS programmes in the region account for only 30 per cent of the $1.2 billion allocated for AIDS, he noted, adding that, with the exception of Thailand, international donors fund the balance.Echoing his comments, Deborah Landey, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, said she hoped to see a substantial increase in domestic funding for AIDS in the region by next year.“In this third decade of the epidemic, it is becoming more and more important for countries not only to demonstrate strong political leadership, but to commit their own funds to tackling AIDS,” she stated. “This gives new meaning to the concept of national ownership.”Although prevalence rates remain low across the region, new infections rates are rising in a number of countries such as Papua New Guinea, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Nepal and Bangladesh. Overall, the region has seen some 1 million new infections in the last two years. Mr. Rao called on civil society groups – including people living with HIV – to continue and to increase pressure on Governments to deliver concrete AIDS programmes. “We need continued vigilance to ensure that HIV prevention and treatment are reaching people most at risk and most in need,” he said.The weeklong conference brings together more than 3,000 delegates from some 60 countries to discuss critical issues on AIDS in the region such as stigma and discrimination, access to HIV prevention and treatment and the importance of sustained political commitment on AIDS. read more

Iraq UN report on rights violations says violent attacks in decline

15 March 2008In its latest report on human rights in Iraq, the United Nations mission in the war-torn nation noted that violent attacks have decreased significantly in the capital Baghdad, but cautioned this reduction might not be sustainable as the security situation continues to deteriorate in other areas. The twelfth report of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) – covering the second half of 2007 – said that the decline in such attacks, such as suicide attacks and car bombings, is a result of the ongoing “surge” within the Baghdad Security Plan launched last February.“The extent to which the decrease in violence was sustainable remained unclear, with the security situation still precarious in many parts of the country,” it observed. “As security improved in parts of Baghdad and other locations, it deteriorated elsewhere with heightened activity by insurgent groups and others in governorates such as Mosul and Diyala.” Civilians were deliberately targeted by Sunni and Shi’a armed groups through suicide bombings, car bombs and other attacks, UNAMI said.“Such systematic or widespread attacks against a civilian population are tantamount to crimes against humanity and violate the laws of war, and their perpetrators should be prosecuted,” the mission said.Also vulnerable to attack were: Government officials; religious figures; state employees; law enforcement personnel; professional groups including academics, journalists, lawyers and judges; religious and ethnic minorities; and women in so-called “honor killings,” it reported.During the reporting period, thousands were forced to flee due to the continued sectarian violence. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as of last December, there are over 4.4 million displaced Iraqis worldwide, with 2.5 million inside Iraq and about 1.9 million in neighbouring countries.The new report welcomed the expanded capacity of the Iraqi judiciary to process cases as the detainee population continues to grow.Despite this progress, UNAMI voiced concern over “continuing prolonged delays in reviewing detainee cases; the lack of timely and adequate access to defense counsel for suspects; the failure to promptly and thoroughly investigate credible allegations of torture and to institute criminal proceedings against officials responsible for abusing detainees; and the procedures followed by the Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI) and other criminal courts, which fail to meet basic fair trial standards.”Additionally, although the Multi-National Force (MNF) has taken steps towards speeding up reviews and decisions on the release of detainees, UNAMI said that its concerns regarding their due process rights within the Force’s legal framework remains unaddressed.The mission cited gender-based violence as cause for serious concern in the Kurdistan Region, in Iraq’s north. In spite of the creation by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of an Interior Ministry department to tackle violence against women, the report called for scaled up efforts and political will to bring those responsible to justice.UNAMI also welcomed Iraq’s decision to ratify the UN Convention Against Torture, and noted there has been “a greater degree of transparency and access to information pertaining to law enforcement issues on the part of both Iraqi officials and their international advisers.” read more

Cyprus Security Council extends mandate of UN peacekeeping mission

The Council voted unanimously to keep the mission, which has been in operation since 1964 after the eruption of intercommunal violence between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, in place through 15 June 2009.The negotiations have created “the prospect of a comprehensive and durable settlement,” the resolution said, urging the sides to take full advantage of the opportunity by stepping up the pace of talks and maintaining the existing atmosphere of trust and goodwill.The 15-member body also called on the sides to continue to consult with UNFICYP on the demarcation of the buffer zone.In his latest report on Cyprus to the Council, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “encouraged” that Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat had decided to resume formal negotiations towards achieving a bizonal, bicommunal federation.“It reflected political courage, vision and commitment, which both leaders clearly share,” he wrote.The latest round of talks took place between the leaders of the two communities last week in the UN Protected Area in Nicosia. 12 December 2008The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) by six months, welcoming September’s historic launch of talks between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities aimed at reunifying the Mediterranean island. read more

Congolese displaced by Ugandan rebels to receive UN aid

“This remote and increasingly unstable area poses immense logistical challenges for aid agencies due to the lack of roads or their poor condition,” Ron Redmond, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said, following renewed assaults in the north-east Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) over the past week. “We continue to work with local authorities and other agencies on finding ways of delivering assistance in these insecure and inaccessible areas,” Mr. Redmond added.The estimated number of people displaced since the attacks began last September now stands at 135,000, according to UNHCR. More than 560 Congolese people have been killed by the LRA, a Ugandan rebel group notorious for abducting children for troops and sex slaves, over the past four months, the agency said.The attacks have prompted condemnation from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council, which last week voiced its grave concern at the scale of the atrocities and emphasized that those responsible must be brought to justice.A UNHCR team in the town of Dungu, in Orientale Province, that itself was raided by the LRA in November, reported that the group on Saturday attacked the nearby town of Tora, killing residents, pillaging and burning homesteads. Some 15,000 people who fled Tora and neighbouring villages reached Dungu, which already hosts some 54,000 internally displaced persons (IDPS), over the weekend, arriving on motorbikes, bicycles and on foot, the team said.Carrying few possessions, the new arrivals have occupied public buildings, schools and empty houses. They told UNHCR many more people are on their way to Dungu, hiding or taking a break in the forests along the way.UNHCR said that this morning it would support the local Red Cross in starting rapid registration of the newly arrived population and identifying those in urgent need.The distribution of food and aid items such as plastic tarpaulins, blankets, sleeping mats and soap will start tomorrow in the village of Bamokandi, 17 kilometres north of Dungu, and eventually will cover the whole Dungu area.In other developments in the region today, Olusegun Obasanjo, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on the Great Lakes Region, met today in Kinshasa with DRC President Joseph Kabila, who briefed him on joint Congolese-Rwandan operations against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebel group, blamed for much of the violence in the eastern DRC, which are expected to last some weeks. Meanwhile, negotiations on lasting peace in the region continue under the facilitation of Special Envoy Obasanjo and former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa. 20 January 2009The flood of Congolese civilians fleeing raids by the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) are in dire need of food, shelter, medicines, clothes and other aid items, and United Nations’ relief will begin reaching them tomorrow despite immense logistical challenges, the Organization’s refugee agency said today. read more

Security Council urges new Somali President to step up peace efforts

3 February 2009The United Nations Security Council today voiced concern over the growing violence in Somalia, while it commended the Horn of African country’s lawmakers on the recent election of their new President. “Council members expressed their concern regarding the humanitarian situation in Somalia and condemned the violence directed at civilians, AMISOM [the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia] and humanitarian personnel,” Ambassador Yukio Takasu of Japan, which holds the rotating Council presidency for this month, said in a press statement.Welcoming the election of President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the Council called on the new leader to act quickly to establish a government of national unity and advance the peace process.Under the 2008 Djibouti Agreement the Transitional Federal Government (TGF) and opposition Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) – led by the new President – agreed to end their conflict.“The members of the Council expressed their strong support for the peace process and for this important step towards political settlement in Somalia,” stressed Mr. Takasu.The Council also called on all Somalis to support transitional federal institutions as peace and reconciliation efforts go forward and commended AMISOM along with UN Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, for their important work. read more

Ban calls on regional bloc to find peaceful resolution to Honduran crisis

Mr. Zelaya was ousted by the military on 28 June, hours before a referendum was slated to be held on changing the Honduran constitution. He attempted to fly back to Honduras yesterday, accompanied by General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto and several regional leaders, but was prevented from landing at the airport in the capital, Tegucigalpa.At least two people were reportedly killed when soldiers clashed with supporters of the President over the weekend. “I am very saddened by the loss of lives in the course of these demonstrations,” Mr. Ban told a news conference in Geneva, where he is currently on an official visit.He said the Honduran authorities “should refrain from using excessive force,” and added that the country’s citizens “should be allowed to express their free will, without being intimidated, without being threatened by physical force.”He stressed that any unconstitutional change of power is unacceptable, and welcomed the role and the measures taken by the OAS. “I sincerely hope that [the] OAS at this time will take the necessary leadership role to find a peaceful solution to this issue, whereby the constitutional order can be restored.”The coup d’état has received widespread condemnation from both within and outside the UN. Last week the General Assembly adopted a resolution deploring the incident, which it stated has “interrupted the democratic and constitutional order and the legitimate exercise of power in Honduras.”Also last week, a group of independent UN human rights experts voiced serious concern over the situation in the Central American nation and called for the lifting of curbs on fundamental freedoms. 6 July 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced his sadness at the deaths that have occurred in Honduras following the ouster of President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, and called on the Organization of American States (OAS) to find a peaceful resolution to the ongoing crisis. read more

UN refugee chief honoured with prestigious rights award

António Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has been awarded this year’s Calouste Gulbenkian International Prize for his efforts to promote human rights and inter-cultural dialogue.The Prize, created in 2007, is awarded to individuals or institutions whose thoughts or actions have decisively contributed to understanding, defending or fostering universal human values.The €100,000 prize, presented at a ceremony in Lisbon, Portugal, earlier this week, will be shared by Mr. Guterres and the co-winner, the Peace Research Institute in the Middle East (PRIME), which is a non-governmental organization (NGO) bringing Palestinian and Israeli researchers together to further mutual co-existence and peacebuilding.This year’s recipients of the award – created two years ago and named after Calouste Gulbenkian, the Armenian Turk who was a pioneer in the oil industry, an art collector, diplomat and philanthropist – were selected by a six-member panel of judges, led by former Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio.The High Commissioner dedicated half of the prize to humanitarian aid workers who have lost their lives during the course of helping others around the world.In the past six months, three UNHCR staff members have been killed in Pakistan, while Natalia Estemirova, murdered last week in Russia, worked with UNHCR through the NGO Memorial.The award comes as “a great encouragement at such a difficult time,” Mr. Guterres said.This is the second honour for UNHCR in two weeks, with the agency receiving the Francisco de Vitoria medal at a ceremony last week, bestowed by the municipality of Vitoria-Gasteiz, in northern Spain, and the University of the Basque Country for exceptional commitment to human rights and international understanding.UNHCR is the second winner of the annual award, with the first being the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the UN.The prize is named after the 16th century Spanish Roman Catholic philosopher, theologian and jurist, who is regarded as one of the founding fathers of international law. 22 July 2009António Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has been awarded this year’s Calouste Gulbenkian International Prize for his efforts to promote human rights and inter-cultural dialogue. read more

Somali political bickering undermines peace process – UN envoy

“We had reached a stage where we thought we had provided a very good momentum through the Djibouti agreement two years ago… we had agreed in Djibouti that the transitional has to come to an end in August,” Augustine Mahiga, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, told the UN News Centre. “The problem is that neither Parliament nor the Government want change. And that is the crux of the paralysis,” said Mr. Mahiga. Somalia’s transitional parliament voted in February to extend its term for three years after the end of the transitional period, a move rejected by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), which has instead proposed extending the interim period for one year, saying it wanted to try to enhance political stability and security. Earlier this week, the Security Council called upon Somali’s transitional federal institutions (TFIs) to “ensure cohesion and focus on the completion of the transitional tasks.” It regretted decisions by the TFIs to extend their mandates unilaterally and urged them to refrain from further unilateral action. “What we are trying to do in the Security Council and [other] stakeholders in the region, the African Union and IGAD [regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development] is to heal this paralysis and provide a fresh momentum to push the peace process forward by agreeing on the necessary benchmarks for the end of the transition,” said Mr. Mahiga. The benchmarks include political outreach to political factions and Somalia’s semi-autonomous regional administrations to foster dialogue and reconciliation, and the drafting of a new constitution for the Horn of Africa country, which has lacked a fully functioning national government and has been wracked by factional warfare since 1991. “The Government has not succeeded in undertaking any political reforms that would inject new momentum into the process,” said Mr. Mahiga. “At the moment the political will is lacking.” “What I need to do with the help of the Security Council, IGAD and the African Union is to try first of all to create congenial conditions for the two institutions… to see the extent to which we can develop consensus to hold the elections in August or to have them deferred,” he said. He said the Security Council is expected to meet Somalia’s leadership and representatives from the AU and IGAD in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, during its forthcoming mission to Africa, in an effort to break the deadlock. Mr. Mahiga said that TFG forces and allied militia have, with the support of the troops of the AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM), made significant territorial gains against Al Shabaab insurgents in the capital, Mogadishu, as well as in the central, western and southern areas. “My worry is that this political bickering may adversely affect this very significant military gains on the ground,” he said. He also stressed that Somalia’s semi-autonomous regions could form the basis for a viable federal government. “This needs to be brought into the political dialogue for an agreed framework of federalism, devolution, decentralisation,” he said. “Both the Government and Parliament have not addressed this issue,” he said. Mr. Mahiga voiced great concern over the humanitarian situation in Somalia, saying it was “worse that it has ever been”, with more than 75 per cent of livestock having perished as a result of the prevailing severe drought, and people moving from one corner of the country to another and across the borders into neighbouring countries in search of food and water. “The international community has not given enough resources for food and other basics. This is our cry to the international community,” said Mr. Mahiga. An estimated 2.4 million people – or about a third of the country’s 7.2 million people – are in need of relief aid as a result of drought and two decades of conflict. 13 May 2011Political divisions between Somalia’s transitional Government and interim Parliament have undermined the momentum of the country’s peace process, a United Nations envoy said today, calling for a concerted regional and international effort to help break the stalemate. read more

ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrant for Sudanese minister for Darfur crimes

According to a news release issued by the court, the evidence led the prosecutor to conclude that Mr. Hussein is one of those who bears the greatest criminal responsibility for the same crimes and incidents presented in previous warrants of arrest for government minister Ahmed Harun and Janjaweed leader Ali Kushayb, both of whom have been indicted by the court.The alleged crimes that Mr. Hussein is allegedly responsible for were perpetrated during attacks on the towns and villages of Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar and Arawala in the Wadi Salih and Mukjar localities of West Darfur from August 2003 to March 2004.The attacks followed a common pattern: Sudanese Government forces surrounded the villages, the Air Force dropped bombs indiscriminately and foot soldiers, including militia or Janjaweed, killed, raped and looted the entire village, forcing the displacement of four million inhabitants. Currently, 2.5 million people remain internally displaced.At that time Mr. Hussein was the Sudanese Minister for the Interior as well as Special Representative of the President in Darfur, with all of the powers and responsibilities of the President. He delegated some of his responsibilities to Mr. Harun, the Minister of State for the Interior, whom he appointed to head the “Darfur Security Desk.”In the case against Mr. Harun and Mr. Kushayb, the pre-trial chamber ruled that local security committees coordinated these attacks. They were supervised by state security committees, which reported to Mr. Harun, who in turn, according to the evidence, reported to Mr. Hussein.“The evidence shows that this was a State policy supervised by Mr. Hussein to ensure the coordination of attacks against civilians,” said Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.“Moreover, the evidence shows that directly and through Mr. Harun, Mr. Hussein played a central role in coordinating the crimes, including in recruiting, mobilizing, funding, arming, training and the deployment of the militia/Janjaweed as part of the Government of the Sudan forces, with the knowledge that these forces would commit the crimes,” he stated.The Prosecutor believes that Mr. Hussein should be arrested to prevent him from continuing to commit crimes within the jurisdiction of the court.This is the ICC’s fourth case in Darfur, which the Security Council referred to it in 2005 after a UN inquiry found serious violations of international human rights law. In addition to Mr. Harun and Mr. Kushayb, ICC judges have issued arrest warrants against Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and summonses to appear for rebel leaders Abdallah Banda, Saleh Jerbo and Abu Garda for war crimes. 2 December 2011The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today requested an arrest warrant against Sudanese Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur. read more

Stocks mixed ahead of Fed meeting

Canadian stocks headed lower Tuesday, as traders stayed wary ahead of a meeting by the U.S. Federal Reserve this week.The S&P/TSX composite index dropped 20.90 points to 15,461.66.The loonie was up 0.31 of a cent to 90.81 cents US, as the latest data showed that Canadian manufacturing sales in July handily beat analysts’ expectations.Statistics Canada said sales rose 2.5 per cent to $53.7 billion in July, exceeding the previous record of $53.2 billion set in July 2008. Economists had expected a gain of one per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.Wall Street was mainly weak with the Dow Jones industrials fading 12.33 points to 17,018.81, the Nasdaq was ahead 1.22 points to 4,520.12 and the S&P 500 index gained 0.35 of a point to 1,984.49.Specifically, markets will be looking to see if the statement released by the Fed following its meeting will contain any hints on when the central bank will raise interest rates and if this move will be sooner than mid-2015, which has been widely anticipated. Short-term rates have been near zero since the financial collapse of 2008-09.For some time, the Fed has reassured markets that “it likely will be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends.” Markets will look to see if the Fed drops the words “considerable time” in the announcement.Overseas, there continues to be uncertainty over the outcome of the upcoming referendum in Scotland. With just two days to go until the vote, anti-independence supporters argue that separation would cause economic uncertainty, while yes supporters accuse the no side of scaring voters. Most think the outcome is too close to call at this point.A yes vote would result in huge complications from currency to membership in the European Union and NATO.In corporate news, an investment group that includes Wind Mobile founder Tony Lacavera and Canadian private equity firm West Face Capital has a tentative deal to buy out Wind’s majority shareholder, VimpelCom Ltd., a Russian-Dutch company that has been trying to exit the Canadian market since it was blocked from gaining full ownership of the small wireless carrier last year. Financial terms of the deal were not released.Lacavera, who owns about 35 per cent of Wind Mobile through Globalive, has been attempting to position it as a significant competitor to Canada’s three biggest carriers, which collectively have about 90 per cent of the total wireless subscriber base.Wind currently has about 750,000 customers, or less than 10 per cent of any of the Big Three: Rogers (TSX:RCI.B), Telus (TSX:T) and BCE’s Bell (TSX:BCE). The telecom sector on the TSX was down 0.30 per cent.Meanwhile, Allergan and Pershing Square have agreed on a step toward settling a fight over the makeup of the Botox-maker’s board. Allergan will hold its special shareholders meeting as planned on Dec. 18, while Pershing Square and its partner, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, continue their push for control of the California-based rug company.Valeant, based in Laval, Que., has made several offers to buy Allergan, the latest bid coming in at US$53 billion. Shares in Valeant (TSX:VRX) dipped 0.45 per cent to $133.59.On the commodity markets, the October crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 63 cents to US$93.55 a barrel. December bullion was up $1.30 to US$1,236.40 an ounce, while December copper was up a penny to US$3.09 a pound. read more

TSX closes lower amid sliding gold prices traders link jobs data with

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed lower Friday even as jobs data for January in both Canada and the U.S. blew past expectations.The S&P/TSX composite index declined 41 points to 15,083.92 as losses in mining stocks cancelled out gains by financial and energy issues.Statistics Canada reported that 35,400 positions were created in January, far higher than the 4,500 that economists had expected. However, the agency said the gains were the result of more part-time work. The unemployment rate declined 0.1 percentage points to 6.6%.The Canadian dollar was lower after jumping almost a cent on Thursday, down 0.64 of a cent to 79.85 cents US.The loonie weakened in the face of a strengthening U.S. dollar after the U.S. Labor Department reported total employment gains of 257,000 last month, well above the approximately 233,000 positions that economists had expected. The U.S. jobless rate edged up to 5.7% from 5.6%.New York markets were lower as the Dow Jones industrials moved down 60.59 points to 17,824.29, the Nasdaq lost 20.7 points to 4,744.4 and the S&P 500 fell 7.05 points to 2,055.47.North American markets had traded higher for most of the day but a number of items encouraged sellers late in the session.For one thing, traders considered whether the strong jobs data makes a rate hike mid-year by the U.S. Federal Reserve more of a certainty.Also, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded Greek debt further into junk territory. And markets had already racked up strong gains this week.As it is, the TSX ended the week up 410 points or 2.8%, paced by a 12% jump in the energy sector. Oil prices have essentially stopped going straight down, having entered a period of volatility as traders try to find a bottom. Prices seem to have found some support around US$50 a barrel, but analysts caution that recent lows will be retested before firming up.“The good news is you’re starting to see some volatility and up days — we weren’t seeing any up days,” said Kevin Headland, director, portfolio advisory group at Manulife Asset Management.“So now we’re trying to find that floor but I would say there is a large potential to retest the lows and even hit lower lows before we see a reversal and get a trend to the upside.”On Friday, the TSX energy sector gained 0.7% with the March contract in New York ahead $1.21 to US$51.69 a barrel.Financials were also a major support, ahead one per cent.The gold sector was the biggest TSX decliner, down almost five per cent as bullion prices fell sharply after the release of the U.S. jobs data. April gold faded $28.10 to US$1,234.60 an ounce.The base metals sector also dragged, down 1.25% as March copper was off one cent at US$2.59 a pound.In earnings news, Domtar Corp. (TSX:UFS) had US$71 million or $1.10 per share of net income in the fourth quarter and US$1.379 billion in sales, both up from a year earlier. Ex-items, the Montreal-based paper company had US$91 million or US$1.41 per share of adjusted earnings, well ahead of the 92 cents that analysts had expected and its shares ran up C$3.32 or 6.95 per cent to $51.11. read more

Nearly one in six Canadians could not handle 500 increase in mortgage

OTTAWA — Nearly one in six Canadians would not be able to handle a $500 increase in their monthly mortgage payments, a new survey from the Bank of Montreal suggests.According to the bank, 16 per cent of respondents said they would not be able to afford such an increase, while more than a quarter, or roughly 27 per cent, would need to review their budget. Another 26 per cent said they would be concerned, but could probably handle it.Such an increase would be generated in the case of a three percentage point hike in interest rates — from 2.75 per cent to 5.75 per cent — on a $300,000 mortgage with a 25-year amoritization period.Toronto-area detached home prices surge above $1 million, out of reach of first-time buyersThree tips for single female homebuyersCanadians’ mortgage debt ramping up fast as cheap money fuels leap in luxury home pricesGiven that interest rates are likely to increase in the foreseeable future, the bank said there was no better time to put together a detailed debt management plan.“The ultimate goal of most Canadians should be the elimination of debt, but the first step needs to be getting rid of bad debt, which has the potential to destabilize a household’s financial situation,” said Chris Buttigieg, senior manager of wealth planning strategy at BMO.“A financial professional can help you avoid having your debt lead to long-term financial instability and work with you to develop a plan to sort out your balance sheet as quickly and efficiently as possible.”A report by Statistics Canada last month found the ratio of household credit market debt to disposable income climbed in the second quarter of 2015 to 164.6 per cent, up from 163.0 per cent in the first three months of the year.That means Canadians owed nearly $1.65 in consumer credit and mortgage and non-mortgage loans for every dollar of disposable income.The report by BMO’s Wealth Institute found that almost half of Canadians, 47 per cent, believed that the high level of debt in Canada has been influenced by soaring real estate values, while 40 per cent believed it has been influenced by low rates.Interest rates, including mortgage rates, have been near historic lows. The Bank of Canada has cut its key interest rate twice this year in an attempt to boost an economy hobbled by a sharp drop in commodity prices.BMO noted that when interest rates are low it is a good time to make aggressive principal repayments on loans and its survey found that 35 per cent of those asked are looking to pay down their mortgage sooner.“However, statistics have shown that debt service rates have not changed very much from the early 1990s, when interest rates were much higher,” the report said.“It appears that many Canadians have used low interest rates to get larger loans on more expensive houses rather than to aggressively repay their debt.”The online survey was conducted by ValidateIt for BMO from June 23 to 29, with a sample size of 1,014 Canadians.The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population. read more

ICE Futures Canada quotes and cash prices

WINNIPEG — Grain quotes Monday for tonnes, basis Lakehead:Canola (Vancouver): Open High Low Close FriNov. 503.90 503.90 493.00 494.00 504.80Jan. ’18 509.70 509.70 499.10 499.90 510.30March 511.90 511.90 505.00 504.40 513.90May 512.90 512.90 507.90 507.40 514.70July 516.00 517.90 511.40 510.90 518.00Nov. 482.50 484.80 476.90 479.00 485.00Jan. ’19 0.00 0.00 0.00 479.80 485.80March 0.00 0.00 0.00 482.50 488.50May 0.00 0.00 0.00 482.50 488.50July 0.00 0.00 0.00 482.50 488.50Nov. 0.00 0.00 0.00 482.50 488.50Barley (Western): Open High Low Close FriOct. 0.00 0.00 0.00 140.00 140.00Dec. 0.00 0.00 0.00 140.00 140.00March ’18 0.00 0.00 0.00 140.00 140.00May 0.00 0.00 0.00 140.00 140.00July 0.00 0.00 0.00 140.00 140.00Oct. 0.00 0.00 0.00 140.00 140.00Dec. 0.00 0.00 0.00 140.00 140.00March ’19 0.00 0.00 0.00 140.00 140.00May 0.00 0.00 0.00 140.00 140.00July 0.00 0.00 0.00 140.00 140.00Nov. 0.00 0.00 0.00 140.00 140.00ICE Futures Canada cash prices:Feed wheat: Track Thunder Bay CW: $178.00Canola:Thunder Bay No. 1 Canada: $499.00 (November 2017)Vancouver No. 1 Canada: $519.00 (November 2017) read more

Bank of Canada daily avg for the Cdn dollar 7950 cents US

The average value for the Canadian dollar on Thursday was 79.50 cents US, down 0.12 of a cent from Wednesday.The U.S. dollar was at C$1.2578, up 0.18 of a cent.Pound sterling was at C$1.6519, down one cent, and US$1.3133, down 0.99 of a cent.The Euro was at C$1.4928, up 0.38 of a cent.Quotations provided by the Bank of Canada.