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Massachusetts Public Schools grant Muslim student a day off on Eid

first_imgFez- On a cold winter day of Cleveland- Ohio, an American friend who happened to be driving me to Westside Market within the city glimpsed a catchy billboard. Since I was not the one behind the steering wheel, I glued sight on the big capital letters forming the statement: AMERICA IS A CHRISTIAN country. I still remember neither concurred  with what that board said. My friend is Jew and I am a Muslim. This was few years ago.Today, the Revere public schools in Massachusets approved our (my friend’s and mine) standpoint from the content of that Billboard. The Revere Public schools took a leading initiation to grant the students a Holy day on Eid  Al Adha (a Muslim celebrated- day of Sacrifice), which falls this year on the 15th of October. The school board (administrators and school committee) reached a unanimous decision to modify the holy days calendar for this Academic year. Good Friday (April 18th, 2014) will not be the only religious day off for students. The Jewish Rosh Hashanah (September 5th, 6th) and the Muslim Eid Al Adha (one day off) will make the total religious days off grow to four.The Decision was reached based on the conspicuous growing number of the Muslim community in the school district. Last year, a major problem of absenteeism among Muslim students happened on Eid Al Adha when kids preferred to spend the day with their families to celebrate the Holy Day.Last year, it was Cambridge Public Schools and this year it is Revere Public Schools that recognize the religious holidays of the multi-cultural community. The experience is expected to get cloned in many other school districts and with this recognition the Muslim community is amply satisfied.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributedlast_img read more

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Casablanca Among 10 Most Disappointing Destinations in the World

first_imgCasablanca- Travel website Smarter Travel has recently published a list of 10 places it considers as the “most disappointing” destinations in the world. Casablanca has made it to the list.Casablanca, Morocco’s economic capital is a “soulless” city, according to Smarter Travel. According to the website, Casablanca is only a transitory station, unlike other places in the Northern African kingdom, and is thus one of the “10 most disappointing” destinations in the world. “Many international flights to Morocco arrive in Casablanca, but many visitors wish that their flight had kept right on going. This very commercial city is mostly office buildings and has been called “soulless” by many tourists. Transit here, but keep on going to the rest of Morocco if you want a more authentic experience,” says the survey. In addition to Casablanca, the top teen “most disappointing destinations in the world” includes Gibraltar (UK), the Niagara Falls in New York, Temple Bar in Dublin, California’s Hollywood, Nassau, in Bahamas, Liberty Island in New York, Frankfurt in Germany, Florida’s famous Walt Disney World, and Las Vegas. The survey, however, doesn’t says what are the criteria it used to arrive to such a conclusion or whether it based its ranking on the opinions expressed by travelers.In another survey published by American Magazine WeatherWise, Morocco’s largest city ranked 3rd best weather place in the world.  Referring to weather condition in Casablanca, the survey says: “Strongly moderated by cold currents of the Atlantic Ocean, the weather of the northwestern coast of Morocco experiences little seasonal variability and extremely mild temperatures year round. According to World Meteorological Organization data for Casablanca, which lies in the heart of this region, January experiences an average daily high of 63°F and a mean nighttime low of 45°F.”© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributedlast_img read more

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Moroccan Experience in Youth Policy Presented at UN Global Forum

Baku – Azerbaijan – Two Moroccan civil society and youth policy specialists, Karima Rhanem and Yassine Isbouia, recently took part as panelists at the first ever United Nations-backed Global Forum on Youth Policies. The forum, held in Baku, Azerbaijan from October 27 to 30, brought together over 700 participants from over 165 countries.Youth Ministers, experts, advocates, civil society members, and representatives of the United Nations, as well as other international and regional bodies, participated in panel events, bilateral discussions, and informal meetings on how to renew commitment to a global youth policy framework.Any policy for youth Leisure? Yassine Isbouia, general coordinator of the Mediterranean Forum of Youth, spoke in a panel with UNESCO about leisure policies for youth.He said that “free time is an important factor for the development of youth and children’s personality and for their social integration.” He added that “leisure and free time need to be institutionalized by a public policy. Yassine stressed that “during free time, the young person is ready to accept, learn and acquire any given knowledge, skill, and attitude that is given to him or her under non-formal education.”“It is unfortunate that leisure has no importance in the educational system of many Arab countries. Extra curricular activities at school are limited, if not absent, and this may lead kids to choose the street as an alternative,” added Isbouia, raising concerns of youth falling into the trap of extremist ideologies or other kind of dangers, such as drugs, alcohol abuse, violence, crime, and terrorism.Today, “there is a need more than ever for a coordinated effort of all education stakeholders to mobilize resources and funds to meet the needs of children and young people and prepare them for life,” he concluded.Strategies for youth and stakeholders’ participationFrom her part, Karima Rhanem participated in a panel with the UNDP under the theme “Governing youth policy frameworks – strategies for youth and stakeholders’ participation.To ensure greater stakeholder participation; Rhanem told a panel “there is a need to improve the legal enabling environment allowing for more inclusive, transparent and equal participation of citizens including civil society and young people in public policy development, implementation and evaluation.”Rhanem highlighted cases in the Arab world of an inclusive process of youth policy creation and the specific characteristics of participation strategies that made them successful. She also highlighted challenges and issues of practical implementation of policies.“It is highly important to find out alternative ways to turn youth street protest into a meaningful constructive dialogue with stakeholders and empower youth led organizations to be an influential force of proposition impacting policies,” she saidFor that to happen, there should be a political will from the state institutions, and a civic engagement from civil society and watchdog organizations to take part in a coordinated cross sectoral dialogue. A monitoring and evaluation system also needs to be put in place to ensure recommendations and proposals presented in the dialogue are implemented and felt by the general grassroots to whom it was originally designed.Rhanem argued that “the main reasons leading civil movements in the Arab world to dissolute is their focus on toppling figures rather than presenting alternatives to change the system of governance.”Many of these movements, according to Rhanem, are characterized by division, a lack of vision and leadership, the tendency to refuse dialogue with authorities, and choosing the street protests and boycotts as their main recourse.She added that “many demanded the fall of institutions without thinking about an alternative transition and the availability of real political new elites to run the country.”“Some of their demands were way too ambitious, unrealistic, and could not take effect immediately. Change needs time, inclusive dialogue, and realistic proposals. This doesn’t mean that some measures could not have been taken immediately, but real change needs a vision to make an impact,” said Rhanem.In some countries, like Morocco, civil movements have been weakened by a series of reforms that the Kingdom has undertaken as a quick response to uprisings. These reforms caused the movements to gain little international attention and lose its ability to gain grassroots support.Rhanem also provided examples on how youth protests, demonstrations, and riots can be transformed into constructive participation of young people in political processes and what reactions from both governmental actors and young people themselves are needed for such a successful transformation.From Street Protest to Constructive DialogueKarima Rhanem also gave an overview of Morocco’s reforms following the Arab Spring and how civil society and youth were able to move from street protests into a real force for change that could influence the country policies, helping to pass constitutional reforms and formulate legislation related to youth, civil society, and citizenship in general.Unlike other countries in the region, Rhanem said that Morocco has witnessed both street activism led mainly by the February 20th Movement and an institutional revolution led by the youth wings of political parties and civil society organizations.The consultations on constitutional reforms included for the first time vast consultations with civil society organizations, which submitted over 200 Memorandums to the government, out of which 55 demanded the creation of consultative councils, including councils focused on youth.Prior to the premature 2011 legislative elections, a coalition was formed composed of representatives of the youth wings of political parties and civil society organizations who have led a political communications and advocacy campaign to put pressure on the state and political parties to establish a quota for youth representation in parliament.“Although the quota system is debated, and viewed by many as a non democratic system. Youth and institutions considered it as the ultimate solution within the current context. After several meetings, held with heads of political parties and the ministries of youth and interior, the new election code, voted by the parliament, allowed for the creation of a national list for youth. This has guaranteed 30 seats for youth in the parliament,” Rhanem explained.She mentioned other initiatives at the local level, through the creation of ad hoc or temporary committees following Article 14 of the Communal Charter, allowing for greater participation of youth and civil society in the management of local affairs.“The draft law on petitions and legislative motions should also move citizens from the culture of complaining to a culture of alternative proposals,” emphasized Rhanem.A new culture of public consultation & dialogueIn relation to effective stakeholder participation, Rhanem outlined that Morocco launched a year and half national dialogue with civil society, reaching out to more than 10,000 participants and hundreds of civil society organizations (CSOs), diaspora groups, and stakeholders in Morocco’s sixteen regions to discuss key constitutional questions to develop specific proposals for the Parliament and to shape public policies. To lead the dialogue, a committee was formed consisting of over 60 appointed representatives from government, CSOs, universities, human rights councils, constitutional bodies, MPs, and political actors.The dialogue aimed to produce several key outputs, including new CSO-related organic laws and a review of the 1958 Decree on the right to establish associations, a diagnosis of civil society in Morocco considering CSO capacity and governance issues, the laws on legislative motions and petitions, the law on public consultations, and a ‘Participatory Democracy Charter’, which is a road map for the implementation participatory democracy, as stipulated in the 2011 constitution.Another parallel dialogue was conducted by civil society coalitions who were not pleased with the government dialogue. They issued their own recommendations and proposals. “This only shows the level of dynamism and maturity of civil society, which instead of just protesting conducted its own dialogue and make proposals and recommendations, while advocating for its implementation,” she added.As for youth dialogue, Rhanem mentioned that “the Ministry of Youth and Sports also launched in 2012 a consultation with around 35,000 youth across the Kingdom with a new vision to have an inclusive process in developing a strategy for youth, which was finalized in 2014. The Ministry formed a committee to develop a youth law and a law on the Consultative Council of Youth and Community Work.”Rhanem concluded that “there are a number of initiatives in the law concerning political parties, election code, communal charter, and other normal or organic laws that encourage civic and political participation of young people. Yet, there is still a problem in the implementation of these policies and involving youth in key political decisions.”Birth of African Network of Youth Policy ExpertsIt is worth mentioning that Karima Rhanem was also among the most active African delegates at the forum who engaged in an intensive dialogue and mapping and analysis of youth policies on the African continent, which was followed by a concrete document that led to the emergence of the African Network of Youth Policy Experts.The platform, which was openly announced at the closing session of the Global Forum, is designed to enhance advocacy for youth policy implementation among African countries by persuading Africa’s UN Member States to renew their commitments regarding youth policies.Quoting the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, who received the African delegates that initiated the network, “we have seen young Africans come together to establish a network for researchers on youth policies. We have seen countries pledging support and commitment and resources to support the global initiative on youth policies. I’ve seen people debating issues around youth policies.”The forum concluded with the launch of an outcome document pledging to support countries that are in the process of developing and “elevating” national youth policy.The Baku Commitment on Youth Policies, which was agreed to by participants and co-conveners (the UNDP, UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the team of youthpolicy.org), highlights the principles to guide formulation, implementation, and evaluation of youth policy in the 21st century. It calls for greater youth involvement in youth policy monitoring and evaluation.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed. read more

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Spanish Police to Target Arabs as part of new Antiterror Measures

Rabat – As part of new anti-terror measures following the terrorist attacks in France last week, the Spanish Police was instructed to pay special attention to people of Arab origin who are carrying large sums of money or cameras outside of tourist areas.According to Spanish daily 20minutos, the Spanish National Police has sent a series of recommendations to police officers to check passports of “Arab-looking” people to ascertain whether they have been to “hot” countries such as Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Syria and Lebanon.The officers have also been instructed to pay special attention to Arabs carrying more than €1,000 due to fears they could be acting as couriers. Arabs strolling around in Spanish cities using video cameras away from tourist areas could also be stopped and checked by the Spanish Police.“The police will pay attention to people of Arab origins who are doing video recordings in non-tourist places, especially near critical infrastructure such as ports, airports, railway transportation, electrical and nuclear power plants and commercial areas,” according to the Spanish newspaper.In addition, the new measures require officers to carry out identity checks on Arabs in vehicles working with laptops.The Spanish Police have also been told to pay special attention to Algerian nationals.The series of recommendations have been issued to two police headquarters in Andalusia, but will soon be operational in other areas with significant Muslim and Arab populations, including Catalonia, Madrid, Valencia, Ceuta and Melilla.Police officers have also been told to avoid any kind of racist or xenophobic comments when approaching Arabs. read more

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Morocco Eyes 479000 Italian Tourists by 2015

Milan – Morocco seeks to attract around 479,000 Italian tourists by 2015, that is an increase of over 10 percent compared to the previous year, Morocco’s Tourism Promotion Office (ONMT) said.A strategy has been devised by ONMT to achieve this goal, ONMT Delegate in Italy, Jazia Santissi told MAP.“We managed to achieve a 7 percent growth in arrivals and 10 percent increase in overnight stays in 2014 thanks to targeted proximity actions”, she added. According to Santissi, 381,614 Italian tourists visited Morocco for 400,000 overnight stays in 2014.ONMT has carried out a marketing campaign to attract more Italian tourists, notably through close relations with Italian travel agencies and media outlets, especially radio and TV channels. read more

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New Highway to Link Beni Mellal to FezMeknes and Errachidia

Rabat – The Department of Infrastructure, Transport and Logistics has launched a tentative offer for the construction of a highway linking Beni Mellal to Fez-Meknes and Errachidia.In its February 20th issue, the weekly La Vie Eco announced a new highway that will connect Beni Mellal to Fez-Meknes.In order to open up the southeastern provinces and central-east to the rest of the Kingdom, the minister decided to link the province of Errachidia to the highway connecting Beni Mellal with Fes-Meknes. Three new highways will operate this year, namely Rabat highway (41 km), Berrechid-Beni Mellal highway and El Jadida-Safi highway.According to “Autoroutes du Maroc” (ADM), Morocco’s Highways, the Moroccan network has now reached 1,800 km., 1,511 of which are in operation, and the rest will have been completed by 2016. read more

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Moroccan F16 Warplane Goes Missing in Yemen

Rabat – A Moroccan F-16 jet-fighter that is taking part in the Saudi-led coalition against the Houtis in Yemen has gone missing on Sunday, the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces said in a statement. The warplane was hit at 6 pm local time, according to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP). It is unclear whether the pilot has ejected himself form the jet. A pilot of the same squadron could not confirm if the pilot ejected himself from the warplane, the communique added, according to MAP. An investigation is underway, the same source added.Morocco is among the countries participating in the military campaign against the Houthi rebels, a Shia group supported by Iran.Since the first day of the bombardment, which started on March 26, Rabat was among the first countries to express its solidarity with Saudi Arabia. read more

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Hollande Thanks King Mohammed VI for Effective Assistance After Paris Attacks

Rabat – French President thanked Morocco’s King Mohammed VI for the “effective assistance” provided by Morocco after the Paris terrorist attacks, said the French Presidency in a statement following a meeting between both heads of state on Friday in Paris.The two leaders expressed the “shared determination of France and Morocco to carry out together the fight against terrorism and radicalization, and to work towards the resolution of regional and international crises,” the statement went on.The two heads of state also “reaffirmed their full mobilization for the preservation of the planet and the success of the COP21 in Paris and COP22 in Morocco in 2016,” the statement added. The French President and the Moroccan monarch hailed the “vitality of exceptional French-Moroccan partnership and its ability to renew itself to address common challenges.”The meeting comes a week after the Paris terrorist attacks and following an eventful week in which Moroccan intelligence services played a pivotal role in helping French authorities to foil other potential terrorist attacks on French soil.Thanks to the information provided by Moroccan intelligence services, French authorities were able to locate the whereabouts of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, suspected mastermind of last Friday’s carnage.On Wednesday morning, French special forces cornered the Belgian national along with a female terrorist in the apartment where they were hiding in Saint-Denis, in Paris suburb. They were both killed in the assault.On Thursday, French Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said in a press conference that a country outside of Europe provided French intelligence services with key information that helped locate Abaaoud.“It was only on November 16, after the attacks in Paris, that the Intelligence Services of country outside Europe reported that it was aware of his presence in Greece,” said today French Interior Minister.“An intelligence service outside Europe suggested that he could be in France,” he added. read more

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1200 Farmers Refuse to Pay Royalties on Water Used for Irrigation

By Alexandra KrauskaRabat – A report exposed 1,200 farmers from the Souss-Massa-Drâa region who refused to pay royalties on the water they used to irrigate their land. Charafat Afailal, the Minister delegate for the Minister of Energy, Mines, and Environment in charge of water, announced the discrepancies at a meeting on Tuesday. Some of the suspected agriculturalists are members of parliament.The current royalty rate is two cents for every cubic meter of water consumed. This is in place to protect the groundwater in the region and to conserve resources. By refusing to pay these royalties, the farmers deprive the state of a significant amount of money. The funds would have been used for investment in the region.The Minister Delegate of Water also announced that they would abandon the dam construction project “Boukhmiss,” because the dam is no longer needed. read more

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The Latest Oil leak near St Louis estimate 1800 gallons

ST. LOUIS — The Latest on an oil leak near St. Louis (all times local):5 p.m.Missouri environmental regulators say the early estimate is that about 43 barrels, or 1,800 gallons (6,814 litres) of oil leaked from a pipeline near St. Louis.The leak, discovered Wednesday in St. Charles County, forced the closure of sections of both TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline and Enbridge Inc.’s Platte pipeline while an excavation crew determines which of the pipelines leaked.A TransCanada spokesman says the Keystone pipeline is closed from Steele City, Nebraska, to Patoka, Illinois. Enbridge says its pipeline is closed from Salisbury, Missouri, to Wood River, Illinois. Both companies are based in Canada.The Missouri Department of Natural Resources says the oil is contained to an area of about 4,000 square feet (372 sq. meters). The agency says oil did not get into any waterways, including the Mississippi River, which is about 2,000 feet away.___3 p.m.An oil leak near St. Louis has forced the closure of parts of two pipelines.The leak was discovered Wednesday near St. Charles, Missouri, about 30 miles (48 kilometres) northwest of St. Louis. TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone pipeline and Enbridge Inc.’s Platte pipeline both run through the area and crews on Thursday were preparing excavation work to determine which one leaked.A TransCanada spokesman says the Keystone pipeline is closed from Steele City, Nebraska, to Patoka, Illinois. Enbridge says its pipeline is closed from Salisbury, Missouri, to Wood River, Illinois. Both companies are based in Canada.Officials don’t yet know how much oil leaked. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources says the oil is contained to an area of about 4,000 square feet (372 sq. meters). The agency says oil did not get into any waterways.The Associated Press read more

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Cristiano Ronaldo Leaves Real Madrid for Juventus

Rabat – Juventus has reached an agreement to sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid for EUR 100 million.The news may shock several football fans, but it is really happening. After nine seasons with Los Blancos, Ronaldo is joining the Old Lady (Juventus). The 33-year old forward will join Juventus for four seasons with an estimated salary of EUR 30 million. Ronaldo is among the most expensive footballers in the world.Confirming his Juventus transfer, the Portuguese forward wrote an emotional farewell addressed to his fans and Real Madrid. “I only have feelings of enormous gratitude for this club and for this city,” Ronaldo wrote in an open letter to Real Madrid fans,” said the footballer.He also expressed his joy over spending a “wonderful years at the club.”“Real Madrid has conquered my heart, and that of my family, and that is why more than ever I want to say thank you: thank you to the club, the president, the directors, my colleagues, all the staff, doctors, physios and incredible people that make everything work.”Ronaldo concluded his heartfelt message, thanking “everyone.”“And of course, as I said that first time in our stadium nine years ago: Hala Madrid!”Real Madrid also issued a statement on Ronaldo’s transfer. The statement said that the club agreed to the move “at the request and the will of the forward.”The club also expressed satisfaction with Ronaldo’s services throughout the nine seasons at and outside the Bernabeu.“Real Madrid would like to express its gratitude to a player who has proved to be the best in the world.” read more

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Rubiales Its an Honor to Play the Spanish Super Cup in

Rabat – The Royal Spanish Football Federation president has said he is delighted with Morocco’s organization of the Spanish Super Cup final.President Luis Manuel Rubiales made his appreciatory remarks today in a press conference with the president of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF), Fouzi Lekjaa. Rubiales is convinced that all conditions are fulfilled for a great football meeting between Sevilla FC and FC Barcelona, on August 12, in Tangier’s Ibn Batouta stadium. “It was an easy decision to go for Morocco and Tangier. I am convinced that we will experience a joint celebration with a great Moroccan public, who are great football fans,” Rubiales said.“For us, it’s an honor to play the Spanish Super Cup in Morocco, a country that is at the forefront of African football,” he added, highlighting the ancestral relations uniting Spain and Morocco in all fields.“Spain and Morocco are two friendly countries united by history and geography, but also by values and passion for football,” said the former player of Levante and Alicante. He said that thanks to this match, the milestones of a fruitful cooperation are set to move forward in the cooperation between the football authorities of the two countries.“The great goal of this meeting FC Barcelona / FC Sevilla is to unite our two populations, which is the essence of sports and football,” said Rubiales.Morocco is a nation of football whose team showed professionalism and high technical quality at the last World Cup held in Russia, concluded the president of the FRMF.This will not be Tangier’s first experience as a “neutral site” for foreign leagues, as the city’s stadium hosted the French Super Cup on two occasions: the 2011 Super Cup between Lille and Marseille (4-5) and the 2017 Super Cup between Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco (2-1). read more

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Moroccan Singer Saad Lamjarred Loses Appeal for Bail to Stay in

Rabat – Jean Marc Fedida, Lamjarred’s lawyer, had requested the singer be released on bail.The Moroccan singer is facing two pending cases of rape from two women in France. The most recent allegation came in August when French police put Lamjarred under formal investigation for the alleged rape of a woman in a hotel in Saint-Tropez in southeast France.Following the Saint-Tropez incident, Lamjarred paid €150,000 bail and left jail on probation. On September 18, Lamjarred went back to jail following the Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal’s decision after the prosecutor’s office in Draguignan appealed Lamjarred’s release. The 33-year-old singer has faced three previous rape accusations. In 2010, he was accused of rape in New York. US prosecutors later dropped the case when the complainant withdrew. French police arrested Lamjarred in October 2016, and a Paris court charged him for “aggravated rape” in case brought by Laura Prioul. The case is still pending trial. Lamjarred spent six months in detention in Paris until April 2017.A French-Moroccan woman also accused Lamjarred in November 2016 of assaulting her in the spring of 2015, according to Huffpost Maghreb She later withdrew the complaint, “following pressure from her family.”Saad Lamjarred is one of the most popular artists in Morocco and the Arab world. His hit song “Lmaallem” (the boss), as of February 2018, was the most-viewed song by an Arab artist on YouTube. The music video has been seen more than 684 million times. read more

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GuineaBissau Unconditionally Supports for Moroccos Autonomy Plan

Rabat – The government of Guinea-Bissau has expressed “unconditional” support for Morocco’s territorial integrity. The statement is part of Guinea-Bissau’s determination to back Morocco’s Autonomy Plan submitted to the United Nations in 2007 as a political solution to end the dispute over Western Sahara.On August 22, Bissau-Guinean Minister of Foreign Affairs Suzi Carla Barbosa said that, along with the autonomy plan, her country also expresses full “support for the role played by the United Nations as an exclusive and consensual framework” to reach a lasting solution to the conflict.Barbosa made her remarks in a joint statement following talks with her Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita, in Rabat on Thursday, August 22. Guinea-Bissau also reiterated support for Morocco’s territorial integrity at the 4th Committee of the United Nations General Assembly held in October  2018.In her meeting with Bourita, Barbosa also extolled the partnership her country has with Morocco, welcoming the “huge economic opportunities offered by both countries.”A statement of the meeting reaffirms Guinea-Bissau’s determination to develop bilateral trade and establish a “mutually beneficial economic partnership.”Read Also: Kuwait, Guinea Bissau Support Morocco’s Sovereignty in Western SaharaData from the European Commission’s directorate-general for trade shows Morocco as one of the top trading partners for Guinea-Bissau in 2018. Excluding region member states, Morocco is the seventh biggest source of imports to Guinea-Bissau with a value estimated at €3 millionThe joint statement from Bourita and Barbosa emphasizes that “both sides urged economic operators in the two countries to conduct prospecting missions and participate in economic and trade events organized by the two countries.”The two countries aim to foster collaboration in agriculture, health, education, fisheries, infrastructure, and training.Education partnershipIn 2015, King Mohammed VI and Guinea-Bissau’s head of state Jose Mario Vaz signed 16 partnership agreements in several fields, including education.Under the partnership agreement on education, Morocco will grant scholarships and internship opportunities for students from Guinea-Bissau.The recent meeting between Bourita and Barbosa served as an opportunity to emphasize the importance of the agreement for students.Morocco has decided to increase by 50% the number of scholarships granted to Bissau-Guinean students from 80 to 120, Maghreb Arab Press reported.Morocco also vowed to support Guinea-Bissau’s determination to implement socio-economic development projects to strengthen peace and stability in the country. read more

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Deutsche Bank ready for more cuts as share price sags

FRANKFURT — The CEO of Deutsche Bank says he is ready to make “tough cuts” as he aims to strengthen the struggling bank’s profitability and raise a “disappointing” share price.Christian Sewing made the statement Thursday in front of restive shareholders at the bank’s annual meeting in Frankfurt, Germany.Sewing touted the bank’s full-year profit from 2018 — the first since 2014 — and achievement of its cost-cutting goals. The bank has cut staff to 91,700 employees, from 99,700 in 2016.The meeting takes place against the background of recent negative news for the bank. Share traded at record lows Thursday, Congressional committees have subpoenaed records of U.S. President Donald Trump, and on Wednesday the bank admitted problems with anti-money laundering software. Shares dropped 3.4% to 6.39 euros on Thursday.The Associated Press read more

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UN sustainable development meeting in search for balanced solutions on energy

Energy policies that can fuel economic and social development while reducing air pollution and the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change will be considered by more than 2,000 participants at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development’s (CSD) annual session, which starts on Monday in New York.Almost 80 government ministers are expected to attend the Commission, which will attempt to chart a sustainable course of action on the interlinked issues of energy, climate change, air pollution and industrial development.The chair of this year’s session, Abdullah Hamad Al-Attiyah, Qatar’s Energy Minister, stressed ahead of the opening that all delegates should remember that many people still do not have access to modern energy services.About one in four people around the world do not have electricity, and an estimated 2.4 billion use traditional fuels such as firewood or dung for cooking or heating.“As long as women and children have to forage for firewood, for as long as students cannot read after sunset, and as long as new businesses and industries cannot get the power they need to operate, we cannot expect to achieve development that is economically, socially and environmentally balanced,” he said.Noting the gravity of the challenges ahead, Mr. Al-Attiyah said the task for this year’s CSD session is to decide specific policy options and practical measures that can work.“I am optimistic about the future,” he said. “The coming decades will witness significant investments in energy infrastructure, as well as in industrial development. We must seize the opportunity to make a difference by making the right policy decisions and choices.”This year’s CSD will mark the 20th anniversary of the Brundtland Commission report, Our Common Future, that was seen as a landmark document on sustainable development. To mark the anniversary, Gro Harlem Brundtland – a former Norwegian prime minister and director-general of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) – is planning to address the high-level portion of the meeting on 9 May.Energy use is expected to grow by 50 per cent over the next 25 years, with two thirds of that increase in developing countries. But there are numerous competing national and global energy issues that are also under consideration, including access to affordable energy, as well as reliable and clean energy supplies.The CSD brings together government delegates and representatives of civil society, including women, children and youth, indigenous people, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), business, academia, local authorities, scientists, workers and trade unions. 27 April 2007Energy policies that can fuel economic and social development while reducing air pollution and the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change will be considered by more than 2,000 participants at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development’s (CSD) annual session, which starts on Monday in New York. read more

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UNmandated group suggests screening rights records of Congolese soldiers

21 May 2009The expert panel monitoring United Nations sanctions imposed on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has underscored the need for a vetting mechanism to screen the human rights records of officers in the national army, as part of overall efforts to reform the security sector. In its interim report, published today, the Group of Experts on the DRC focuses on the security situation in North Kivu province, where the most serious fighting took place in late 2008, and particularly on the accelerated military integration of non-State armed groups into the national army (FARDC) in early 2009.They state that information on the continued presence of children in the ranks of the recently integrated brigades, as well as grave human rights abuses committed by former commanders of armed groups currently integrated in the FARDC “make a compelling argument” for the establishment of a vetting mechanism.The Group considers that such an initiative is “indispensable” for a sustainable integration process, and would strengthen the Government’s capacity to effectively extend State authority in the strife-torn eastern part of the vast nation and protect its own nationals. “In the absence of such a mechanism, command responsibility for human rights abuses of the civilian population will ultimately rest with the supreme military command of FARDC,” the report adds. The Group also highlights a number of other concerns on the issue of military integration, notably the maintenance of parallel command structures operated by former senior officers of rebel National Congress in Defence of the People (CNDP) who have been integrated into the FARDC. Also, it notes that there are several armed groups in South Kivu which have not yet joined the integration process, including some Mai-Mai militias. The Group is also concerned about ongoing militia activities in the Ituri region, which it continues to monitor closely.The Group is also continuing to monitor the situation in north-eastern DRC, after it received verified reports of hundreds of civilian casualties and abductions at the hands of the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) since December 2008. read more

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UN pays tribute after designer of iconic logo dies at 102

5 October 2009A senior United Nations official paid tribute today to the designer of the original emblem for the world body, Donal McLaughlin Jr., who died peacefully in his sleep last week at the age of 102. Mr. McLaughlin worked on many projects during his long career, but he will be most remembered for his iconic UN logo design. It is now one of the most recognized symbols in the world, emblazoned on peacekeepers’ helmets in the field, on helicopters and trucks carrying aid, and on leaflets distributed to remote corners of the globe, as well as posters, books, postcards and all manner of UN promotional products. “The United Nations lost a true friend and hero with the passing away of Donal McLaughlin Jr.,” said Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information. “The beautiful UN emblem that is now recognized by all peoples around the world was drawn many years ago by Mr. McLaughlin and his team of artists,” said Mr. Akasaka. “The design stemmed from Mr. McLaughlin’s artistry and imagination – and from the knowledge that he was taking part in something meaningful and significant.” A native New Yorker and Yale University-trained architect, Mr. McLaughlin graduated at the height of the Great Depression and worked on a series of high-profile projects, including the 1939 World’s Fair in the United States and the Tiffany and Company’s flagship store in Manhattan. During World War II, Mr. McLaughlin joined the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the war-time precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), working mostly on espionage-related designs, such as cigarette-paper packages showing diagrammatic instructions for derailing German trains. The team – headed by architect and industrial designer Oliver Lundquist, who died in January – was tasked with all the graphic design for the UN Conference on International Organization, the historic 1945 San Francisco Conference of delegates from 50 allied nations who drafted the UN Charter. The team of designers brainstormed the task of creating an image for the delegates pin. Mr. McLaughlin’s draft was chosen and later became the prototype for the UN logo used today. “Although he did not know it at the time, Mr. McLaughlin’s emblem would in the years that followed become an enduring symbol of peace that would live far beyond his lifetime,” said Mr. Akasaka. His design was a view of the atlas from the North Pole down, including all the continents except for Antarctica and placing North America in the centre, with the conference’s name, date and location within a circle. Other members of the team nestled the globe first between crossed laurel branches and then two olive branches. A revised version of the design was officially adopted as the United Nations emblem by resolution 92(I) on 7 December 1946, which had modifications to the colours and centred the continents along the international dateline. Mr. McLaughlin, who as a young man dreamed of seeing his designs in brick and stone but used to joke that he is best known for a button, passed away on 27 September at his home in Garrett Park, Maryland, leaving behind three children, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. read more

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Sudan Senior UN rights official praises agreement to end use of child

The Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), which fought in the nation’s long-running north-south civil war, signed the action plan to discharge the children on Friday in the southern capital, Juba.“This commitment is a milestone in the efforts to end association of children with the SPLA,” said the Secretary General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, on the eve of her departure from Sudan after a nine-day visit. “I shall continue to appeal to the SPLA leadership to spare no effort to release and prevent re-association of these children with their armed elements,” said Ms. Coomaraswamy. She also stressed that her office will collaborate with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to help find much needed resources and funds to support rehabilitation and reintegration efforts of former child soldiers in the whole of Sudan.While praising the Government of National Unity for its progress over the past two years in strengthening child protection, Ms. Coomaraswamy voiced concern over the “presence of children amongst non-State armed groups including the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) factions.” In addition, she stressed that incursions into villages and abductions in southern Sudan led by the notorious Ugandan rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) remain a threat to children in the region.“I spoke to girls and boys formerly abducted by the LRA in Juba who recounted that they lived in fear of death everyday,” she said. “Children’s experiences were horrendous, and the LRA remains one of the worst offenders in the world today.”The Special Representative urged the international community to harness all its force in a bid to protect civilians, especially children in the LRA affected regions. 22 November 2009A top United Nations human rights official today welcomed a deal agreed by a former rebel group in southern Sudan to end the use of child soldiers among its ranks, while warning of the threat posed to children by various armed militia operating in the region. read more

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UN envoy welcomes pharmaceutical companys release of malaria data

GlaxoSmithKline announced today its decision to freely disseminate information on more than 13,500 chemical compounds with malaria-fighting capabilities. Raymond Chambers, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria, praised the move calling it a “revolutionary nexus between the corporate and humanitarian worlds” that “will undoubtedly catalyze research and development and ensure a competitive marketplace.”According to UN data, malaria kills a child every 30 seconds.In a statement released today, Mr. Chambers said GlaxoSmithKline’s decision would accelerate intervention and “directly translate into more lives saved.”Of the nearly half a billion people infected with the malaria parasite each year, about 1 million die. Nearly 90 per cent of cases are in Africa.In April 2008, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon set a timetable for comprehensive malaria control in Africa by the end of 2010.“With just one year remaining until the Secretary-General’s deadline to ensure universal access to malaria control interventions, I’m extremely grateful for GlaxoSmithKline’s commitment,” Mr. Chambers said. Combating malaria is also one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the world’s leaders in 2000, for which the countdown to 2015 – when they are supposed to be achieved – is ticking. 21 January 2010The envoy leading United Nations efforts against malaria today praised one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies for its plan to open up its database to scientists in hopes of promoting research to help combat the deadly disease. read more

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