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Omar Azziman Defends Philosophys Place in Education System

Rabat – Omar Azziman, President of the Higher Council for Education, Training and Scientific Research (CSEFRS), expressed his views on the Islam Education textbook polemic, during an interview with MAP on January 27.According to Azziman, philosophy occupies an “irreversible place of choice” in the Moroccan Education System, and no one can deny the “decisive” impact of this discipline on the students’ education. The president of the CSEFRS stands firmly with those who speak to “consolidate, strengthen and develop it more.”Azziman also referred to the historic legacy of this discipline. The teaching of philosophy went through three crucial periods; from Morocco’s independence to the 1970s, when this discipline was regarded as a critical part of the Moroccan educational system, to the 1970s when it was rejected and ousted. Since the enthronement of King Mohammed VI, however, this discipline has been reintroduced and consolidated as an important component of Moroccan education, given its important role in learning critical thinking and mind formation. This process is part of the political openness and liberalization interlocked under the royal impulse.The aim, according to Azziman, is to inspire in students the “capacity for reflection, culture, perspective and critical thinking necessary to be useful to their country and to themselves.” Regarding the “excess” that is currently influencing the debate around the content of an Islamic education manual on “faith and philosophy” has given a “negative connotation” to this debate, which in itself is a “Positive” debate.“Philosophy teachers are worried about the fate of their discipline, their passion and protectiveness is quite legitimate and positive,” said Azziman. Recognizing this, however, he is calling for everyone to deal with this issue in the correct rational manner.On this matter, the president of the CSEFRS stated that the textbook revision involved 29 Islamic education textbooks, while the debate focused on a single textbook. More specifically, it focused on a citation presented in the Faith and Philosophy module, which many considered to be radical and hostile to philosophy.“Instead of taking it as a gospel word, philosophy teachers are called upon submitting this opinion for discussion,” because, explains Omar Azziman, “the most important thing is to teach students to question the ideas of others and form their own opinions.”The concerned Council committee will try to come up with a methodology for the revision of textbooks in order to avoid a recurrence of these polemics, said Omar Azziman, calling for “serenity,” and asking “not dramatize the debates.” read more


October 12, 2019 0

Moroccan Journalists Launch Association for Advocacy and Training

BY Safaa KasraouiRabat – A new assocation, the Forum for Young Journalists, is about to launch, aiming to support Moroccan journalists in Morocco by adovacting for “the freedom of press, the right to access information, and the right for vocational trainings for young journalists”.The president of the association, Samy El Moudni, told Morocco World News that the association will focus on enhancing the abilities of media students and journalists and integrate their common issues into discussion of public and administrative regulations.  ”The association is working hard to achieve its objectives through several activities, including preparing reports and memoranda in line with thematic discussions with the aim of promoting the right to access information and to ensure that people are able to exercise their constitutional rights freely,” explained El MoudnyHe went on to add that the association is expected to organize several roundtables, seminars, and workshops related to media issues and arrange vocational sessions to benefit journalists and young people interested in the sector. “Regarding the funding, the Forum will stick to Moroccan Public institutions, in charge of Media and human rights as well as international organizations that share our goals”, he added. One of the associaton’s more ambitious goals is to offer vocational training 200 people with press credentials, following achieving a legal license from the administrative authorities.The chairman of the coalition said that he also intends to encourage the involvement of women in the media sector, adding that the association’s executive bureau comprises 50 percent of women journalists.“The association staff strongly encourages young journalists to contribute in the development of the national press sector,” he added.Currently, El Moudni and the board are pursuing the necessary legal stages. “The Forum for Young Journalists, has presented its paperwork to the administrative authorities of the Rabat-Sale-Kenitra region, with the aim of obtaining a legal license”, he concluded. read more


October 12, 2019 0

Police Arrest SwordWielding Suspect in Central Morocco by Firing Warning Shots

Rabat – A police officer in the city of Benguerir in the Marrakech-Safi region used his service revolver on Tuesday in order to arrest a suspect, who was charged with drug trafficking and endangering the lives of authorities.The police were chasing after a suspect carrying a large sword, with which he was threatened police officers before the armed intervention. One officer used his gun after the suspect refused to comply with the authorities’ orders.According to press release issued by the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN), one of the police officers fired a warning shot and then a second bullet, which gazed the suspect’s left foot. The suspect was transferred to the hospital to get the necessary care while the sword used in the assault against police officers was seized. Police say he will soon be placed in custody for further investigation under the supervision of the public prosecutor’s office. read more


October 12, 2019 0

Scottish Woman Living in Imlil Delivers Touching Testimony About Morocco

Rabat – A Scottish woman named Alice Morrison who lives in Imlil, 200 meters away from where the murder of Louisa and Maren took place, has delivered a heartfelt speech about Morocco and Moroccans. Morrison spoke through a microphone in front of many tourists and locals on Saturday, December 22, both in Darija (Moroccan Arabic) and English.“As a foreigner and as a guest among you, I found kind, loyal, and generous people. I found love. I am thankful to be with you, thank you so much,” Morrison started in Darija, before she continued in English. “As everybody else in this community, I was horrified to hear of the death of the two young women, and I am disgusted by the people who perpetrated it,” she stated. “I would like to say as somebody who lives here and who’s met with such kindness and such beauty in this wonderful country, this does not represent in anyway, Morocco or Moroccans.”Read Also: Not in My Name: Moroccan Campaign Condemns ExtremismMorrison described Moroccans as “wonderful people,” saying: They’re peaceful, they’re kind, they’re honorable, and they are so hospitable…. I would like to reiterate that with the Moroccans I am so proud to live here and to find such a wonderful community to be part of.”Morrison shares the same view as many who condemned the heinous murder and said that the criminals do not represent Morocco or Moroccans: “The people who did these kind of crimes have done them also in my country in Britain, in France and in Brussels. It’s the same thing.”Expressing condolences on behalf of all Moroccans, she said: “When this crime happens it happens to the whole community. Our thoughts are with the families of those women and with the women themselves.”Morrison concluded warmly: “On behalf of all those who don’t speak English to those who do, I am so sorry for what’s happened to these girls and to their families. And I hope that in the future we could all live together in peace and in harmony.” The sit-in in Imlil is one of the many forms of solidarity by Moroccans who condemned the murder.Read Also: Imlil Murders: Danish Ambassador Grateful for Morocco’s SupportOn the same day, crowds of Moroccans, men and women, gathered in front of the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Rabat, carrying banners with messages of solidarity. The banners read “No to terrorism,” and “We are all Danish and Norwegian.”Moroccans placed flowers and lit candles in front of the two Scandinavian embassies.Both Norwegian and Danish ambassadors thanked Moroccans for their support.Ever since the news of the murder emerged on Monday, December 17, Moroccans have displayed various gestures of sympathy with the victims and their families. Many signed a petition calling for the death penalty for the first four arrested suspects.Moroccan security services found the bodies of Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark and Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway, by their tent in an isolated area near Imlil.Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Intelligence (BCIJ) arrested 13 suspects involved in the murder. The first four arrested suspects had pledged their allegiance to ISIS. read more


October 12, 2019 0

Frances IER Installs SelfService Checkin Kiosks at Casablanca Airport

Rabat – French airport solutions provider IER deployed 30 self-service check-in kiosks and 12 self-service bag drop units in the newly renovated Terminal 1 of Casablanca’s Mohammed V Airport, IER said in a statement January 29.On January 22, King Mohammed VI inaugurated the new Terminal 1, which covers an area of 76,000 square meters and increases the airport’s overall capacity to 14 million passengers a year.“This project is responding to the ongoing growth of passenger traffic and participates actively in the socio-economic boost of the region,” IER’s statement reads. Morocco’s National Airports Office (ONDA) operates the new terminal. IER worked with Morocco’s national carrier, Royal Air Maroc (RAM) , to introduce the new technology to Mohammed V Airport.Read Also: King Mohammed VI Launches New Terminal at Casablanca Mohammed V AirportJean-Luc Rauline, a vice-president at IER, said, “We are convinced that the implementation of IER self-service solutions will increase RAM passenger satisfaction and experience.”RAM passengers departing from Terminal 1 will enjoy “a smooth check-in process.”The self-service kiosks include options for passengers to give language preference, select a seat, and print their luggage tag.The bag drop units will allow passengers to “scan their tag before their baggage is injected in the baggage system,” according to IER’s statement.Established in 1962, IER provides airport operators and airlines with self-service solutions such as hardware and software, from check-in to boarding. read more


October 12, 2019 0

China rejects unfounded hype after GE spying accusation

BEIJING — China’s foreign ministry has complained the country is unfairly accused of stealing technology after a former General Electric Co. engineer and his Chinese business partner were charged with industrial spying.The foreign ministry said Wednesday that it had no details of the case against Xiaoqing Zheng and Zhaoxi Zhang. But it said it appeared to be a “common commercial case” that should not be “over-interpreted and politicized.”Zheng and Zhang are accused of receiving money from the Chinese government and co-ordinating with officials to make agreements with official institutions to develop turbine technologies.The foreign ministry statement complained Americans have “made unfounded accusations” against China over innovation. It called on critics to “stop unfounded hype.”The Associated Press read more


October 12, 2019 0

Netflix Series about Syria Features Moroccan Money Transfer Agency by Mistake

Rabat – Only a few days after Netflix released one of their newest series, “The Spy,” Moroccans noticed some editing mistakes made by the famous production company. “The Spy” is a series set during Syria in the 1960s, however some scenes showed some Moroccan money transfer agencies, including “Wafacash,” which was not founded until 1991.“In this scene from the new series “The Spy” produced by Netflix, we can see that the Syrian capital, Damascus, had Wafacash, MoneyGram, and Western Union agencies since the 1960s,” said  a Moroccan Facebook user sarcastically.The series was filmed in Morocco, mainly in Casablanca. Editors, however, were not able to completely metamorphose the decor from that of a Moroccan city to a 1960s Damascus. This small detail was not the only thing that Moroccans noticed. In one of the scenes, extras were shouting “we are in Morocco” in Moroccan dialect. Producers did not notice until the series were already online.Je viens de finir The Spy, si on met de côté le côté propagande “les israéliens c’est les plus intelligents, les syriens étaient débiles”:les +: Sasha Baron Cohen excellent dans un rôle sérieuxles – : les détails dans les décors et les figurants qui crient qu’on est au Maroc— Jean Paul (1-0) ساخط (@NumeroLmou9ana3) September 15, 2019“I just finished ‘The Spy.’ If we don’t take into consideration propaganda ‘Israelis are smart and Syrians are stupid,’ on the plus side, Sacha Baron Cohen is excellent in serious roles, on the minus side, the details in decor and extras screaming that we’re in Morocco,” posted a Twitter user.Other internet users, from different countries, also found many inconsistencies in the decor used in the series, including the use of the wrong Syrian flag, the use of incorrect maps, or the use of Malaysian coins.So I am watching the spy on Netflix and guess what I see as the “Syrian flag”? FSA flag is shown as the official Syrian flag back in Al-Hafez’s time. Am in tripping…?@Partisangirl @ejmalrai@Ali_Kourani @Brasco_Aad @Syriasonline @MaxBlumenthal @MoonofA pic.twitter.com/ywzp9tFbQQ— Wahabeasts (@wahabeasts) September 8, 2019There is a map of #Kurdistan in the 4th episode of The Spy, the @netflix series based on the story of the late Israeli intelligence operative Eli Cohen. This is supposedly a military base in the Golan. Epic mistake. (The Israeli map of 1961 in the opening credits is wrong too) pic.twitter.com/8X3O8lpQvt— Ceng Sagnic (@cngsgnc) September 9, 2019Was watching The Spy on Netflix when I noticed this supposed syrian coin looking familiar pic.twitter.com/OmER8kcFcD— poppy (@rushdijaafar) September 14, 2019“The Spy” tells the story of Israeli spy Eli Cohen, who lived in Syria during the 1960s for a long-term mission. The series stars the English actor Sacha Baron Cohen. The series received mixed reactions from viewers. While some people expressed their enjoyment of the series and how brilliant they found the acting, others believed it is full of propaganda.I watched The Spy on Netflix. An Israeli spy in Syria was was found out and killed. Sasha Baron Cohen plays Eli Cohen. Excellent.— cece (@krittercrews) September 10, 2019The propaganda is strong Netflix’s The Spy. Would love to hear the story from the other side.— Wamathai (@Wamathai) September 10, 2019 read more


October 12, 2019 0

Lowes Fiscal 1Q Earnings Snapshot

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) _ Lowe’s Cos. (LOW) on Wednesday reported fiscal first-quarter earnings of $1.05 billion.On a per-share basis, the Mooresville, North Carolina-based company said it had net income of $1.31. Earnings, adjusted for pretax gains, were $1.22 per share.The results fell short of Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 15 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.33 per share.The home improvement retailer posted revenue of $17.74 billion in the period, topping Street forecasts. Eleven analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $17.63 billion.Lowe’s expects full-year earnings in the range of $5.45 to $5.65 per share.Lowe’s shares have increased 20% since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has risen 14%. The stock has increased 27% in the last 12 months._____This story was generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on LOW at https://www.zacks.com/ap/LOWThe Associated Press read more


October 12, 2019 0

Hotel investor Trump evaded taxes in Panama

NEW YORK — The majority owner of a former Trump-branded hotel in Panama alleged in a court filing on Monday that the U.S. president’s company misrepresented finances of the building to evade taxes in the country.A filing in New York federal court by property owner Orestes Fintiklis alleges that President Donald Trump’s hotel management company evaded income and social security taxes when it managed the former Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower. The new accusations are part of protracted, bitter dispute between Trump’s company and Fintiklis, the majority owner of the 70-story, seaside, sail-shaped building.The filing says that Trump’s company misrepresented salaries paid to employees and other financial records of the hotel to cut its tax bill on fees it was collecting for managing the hotel, slash its social security payments and hand over less to owner Fintiklis. The filing does not state how much in taxes the Trump company allegedly should have paid.The Trump Organization said that it did not evade any taxes and, if anything, Fintiklis is to blame on tax matters.“To the extent any taxes were to be withheld, it was the responsibility of the condominium that owns the hotel. The Trump Organization’s only role was to manage the property,” Trump Organization spokeswoman Kimberly Benza said in an emailed statement. “We look forward to taking the depositions of Mr. Fintiklis’ and his partners and unmasking their fraud.”The filing in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York follows a ruling by judicial officials in Panama early last year against Trump’s company in favour of Fintiklis. A few months later, Trump’s name was removed from the facade and building management turned over to U.S. hotelier Marriott International.The dispute started in October 2017 after Fintiklis’ company, Ithaca Capital Group, took control of 202 of the hotel’s condos. Fintiklis then pushed to terminate Trump’s 20-year contract managing the building, alleging “gross negligence and potentially fraudulent conduct,” including “looted” bank accounts. The Trump Organization disputed its termination as illegitimate and refused to hand over the property.Bernard Condon, The Associated Press read more


October 12, 2019 0

State labour report shows job gains after 3 years of losses

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A state labour department report says recent job gains after three years of losses could signal the end of Alaska’s recession.The report says the state saw year-over-year job growth for seven straight months, starting in October. This followed revisions to 2018 figures. The Anchorage Daily News reports the department revises job numbers after releasing initial estimates.While the growth was small, department economist Karinne Wiebold says it strengthens the case that the economy is recovering. The numbers remain subject to change, and Wiebold says it’s too early to say the downturn is truly over.The recession, which began in 2015, is the longest Alaska has seen, though it wasn’t on the level of an economic crash that occurred in the 1980s.The Associated Press read more


October 12, 2019 0

Two new Force Commanders to head UN missions in Golan Heights and

18 January 2007Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has named two generals with United Nations peacekeeping experience as the new Force Commanders for the world body’s operations in the Golan Heights and Lebanon. In letters to the President of the Security Council, Mr. Ban announced his intention to appoint Major-General Wolfgang Jilke of Austria to lead the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and Major-General Claudio Graziano of Italy to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).In his almost 40-year military career, Major-General Wolfgang Jilke, whose tenure is effective today, has held a variety of posts both within and outside of his home country of Austria. He succeeds Lieutenant-General Bala Nanda Sharma of Nepal in his post as Force Commander.Major-General Jilke has taught at the Austrian War College and has served as Commander of his country’s International Peace Support Command as well as the Chief of the Office of the Austrian Federal Minister of Defence. He has represented Austria in both the European Union and NATO since January 2003.The major-general brings past experience of UNDOF to his new post, as he served twice in the mission in the past as Company Commander in 1975 and as Deputy Chief of Staff from 1989 to 1990.Major-General Graziano joined the Italian Military in 1974, and has since held a number of posts at the tactical, operational and strategic levels. He was promoted to the rank of major-general in January 2006.He has a Bachelor’s degree and two Master’s degrees in Human Sciences and in Strategic Military Studies.As Commanding Officer of the Susa Alpine Infantry Battalion, the major-general was deployed with his battalion in the UN Operation in Mozambique. He also served as Commander of the Kabul Multinational Brigade in Afghanistan from July 2005 to February 2006.Major-General Graziano will replace French Major-General Alain Pellegrini who will step down on 17 February. read more


October 12, 2019 0

UN atomic watchdog agency reports stalemate over Irans nuclear programme

5 March 2007Lacking “the necessary level of transparency and cooperation,” the United Nations atomic watchdog agency reiterated yet again today that it could not provide assurances that Iran’s nuclear programme is solely for the peaceful purpose of generating energy and not for producing nuclear bombs. “The current situation remains somewhat of a stalemate,” UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei told the agency’s Board of Governors in presenting his latest report on Iran’s nuclear programme, noting that the case was in a class of its own because of Tehran’s two decades of undeclared activities in breach of its obligations under Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). “The Agency has been able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran. However, we continue to be unable to reconstruct fully the history of Iran’s nuclear programme and some of its components, because we have not been provided with the necessary level of transparency and cooperation on the part of Iran,” he said. “We have not seen concrete proof of the diversion of nuclear material, nor the industrial capacity to produce weapon-usable nuclear material, which is an important consideration in assessing the risk. However, quite a few uncertainties still remain about experiments, procurements and other activities relevant to our understanding of the scope and nature of Iran’s programme. This renders the Agency unable to provide the required assurance about the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme,” he added. He termed Iran’s insistence on linking its readiness to resolve IAEA concerns to actions by the Security Council, which has already imposed sanctions and is considering further measures “difficult to understand,” and called for the resumption of negotiations between Tehran and all relevant parties. “I remain convinced that only through negotiation can a comprehensive and durable solution be attained to the Iranian nuclear question and other issues related to it,” he said. Iran insists its programme is purely for energy production but many other countries maintain it is for making weapons, and in December the Council imposed limited sanctions and called on Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment. In the IAEA report, Mr. ElBaradei noted that despite this Iran had continued enrichment, which can produce fuel for generating electricity or, at a much higher level, making nuclear bombs. It was the discovery in 2003 of Iran’s hidden activities that gave rise to the current crisis, as Mr. ElBaradei stressed today. “The IAEA’s confidence about the nature of Iran’s programme has been shaken because of two decades of undeclared activities,” he said. “This confidence will only be restored when Iran takes the long overdue decision to explain and answer all the Agency’s questions and concerns about its past nuclear activities in an open and transparent manner. Until that time, the Agency will have no option but to reserve its judgment about Iran’s nuclear programme, and as a result the international community will continue to express concern.” Mr. ElBaradei painted a more positive picture on another area of major IAEA concern, the nuclear programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), noting the DPRK’s agreement at diplomatic talks in Beijing last month to shut down and eventually abandon its Yongbyon nuclear facility. The agreement envisions the return of IAEA personnel to conduct necessary monitoring and verification after they were ordered out four years ago when the DPRK withdrew from the NPT. The DPRK also invited Mr. ElBaradei to visit. “I welcome the Beijing agreement, and the invitation to visit the DPRK, as positive steps towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and towards the normalization of the DPRK’s relationship with the Agency,” he said. read more


October 12, 2019 0

Mongolia issues call at UN for strategy to ensure global energy security

24 September 2008A comprehensive, global strategy is needed to ensure all countries have energy security, Mongolia’s Prime Minister told the General Assembly tonight, voicing concern about the impact of recent oil price hikes and the need to develop greener sources of energy. Addressing the Assembly’s annual general debate, Sanjaa Bayar said it was critical to reduce global dependence on fossil fuels such as coal given the impact they have on the environment.“Ensuring energy security is a challenge that requires a comprehensive solution both nationally and internationally,” he said. “No country in the world is endowed with or has developed all possible energy sources. So each country has a vested interest in energy cooperation and has something to contribute to it.”Mr. Bayar praised the efforts of some UN Member States and international organizations to research, develop, deploy and transfer innovative energy technologies, particularly those from renewable or low-carbon sources.By contrast, “the use of inefficient coal-burning technology causes air pollution, impacting negatively on the population’s health and the environment.”The Prime Minister added that the development of clean coal technology is a priority for Mongolia, where coal is a major source of energy for electricity and heating. read more


October 12, 2019 0

Middle East peace talks could be completed within a year Israel tells

24 September 2008The current track of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations can still be completed within the next year, leading to two States living side by side in peace, security and mutual respect, Israeli President Shimon Peres told world leaders gathered at the General Assembly today. The current track of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations can still be completed within the next year, leading to two States living side by side in peace, security and mutual respect, Israeli President Shimon Peres told world leaders gathered at the General Assembly today.Speaking at the Assembly’s annual high-level debate in New York, Mr. Peres said the so-called Annapolis process – named after the United States city where the negotiations began late last year – will not be successfully wrapped up by its initial planned deadline.“We tried to conclude the negotiations this year, [but] it will take longer,” he said. “But I believe it can be accomplished within the next year. I know that our Prime Minister is more than ready to conclude an agreement. Knowing [Palestinian] President [Mahmoud] Abbas, he will not miss this opportunity.”Mr. Peres said progress can be made despite the imminent change in the Israeli leadership, with Ehud Olmert stepping down as Prime Minister.“Gaps have been narrowed through negotiations – particularly the territorial ones. But peace is not just a matter of territorial compromise.”The President said “rogue politics” still have the potential to disrupt the process, citing the actions of Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip since Israel’s withdrawal of forces.“These militants carry no positive alternative… They added kidnapping to bombings, bringing strife to innocent families,” he said, calling for the immediate release of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was captured in 2006.The General Assembly should place the release of Mr. Shalit at the top of its agenda, he stressed. “Holding a hostage in Gaza determines its isolation and further deterioration.”For its part, Israel wants a wider peace in the region, the President said, including with neighbours Lebanon and Syria, and he proposed face-to-face talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.He invited Arab leaders “to come and discuss peace in Jerusalem, which is holy to all of us.” In addition, he said that Israel would “gladly accept an Arab invitation at a designated venue where a meaningful dialogue may take place.”But he warned that Iran continues to threaten hopes for peace “its quest for religious hegemony and regional dominance,” its support for Hamas and its backing of Hizbollah in Lebanon.Turning to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s address to the General Assembly yesterday, Mr. Peres said he had “renewed the darkest anti-Semitic label – the protocols of the elders of Zion. An attempt to bring to life one of the ugliest plots of history.”“Their despicable denial of the Holocaust is a mockery of indisputable evidence, a cynical offence to survivors of the horror [and] contradictory to the resolutions adopted by this Assembly.” read more


October 12, 2019 0

UN agency chief marks World Tourism Day with call for greener industry

Global tourism can play a much bigger role in efforts to combat climate change and alleviate poverty if industry operators and governments change their habits and adopt greener and more sustainable technology and practices, the head of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Francesco Frangialli, Secretary-General of the Madrid-based agency, said in a message to mark World Tourism Day – which is being observed today – that the tourism sector needs to move more quickly towards becoming carbon-neutral. “We encourage urgent adaptation of a range of policies which promote sustainable tourism that reflects environmental, socio-economic and climate responsiveness,” he said. Responding to the challenges posed by climate change is the theme of this year’s Day, and Mr. Frangialli noted that the UNWTO had stepped up its efforts over the last year to press the tourism industry to become as close to carbon-neutral as possible. “Our call to action is hence to change habits and position renewable energy at the forefront of international response by promoting the action-oriented Davos Declaration Process, encouraging tourism stakeholders to adapt, to mitigate and use new technology and secure financing for the poorest countries to face the challenge of climate change.” UNWTO is hosting a think-tank in Lima, Peru, today in which government tourism ministers, industry officials and operators will gather to discuss possible solutions and strategies to help mitigate climate change, especially in developing countries, where the industry is often a major source of employment and income. 27 September 2008Global tourism can play a much bigger role in efforts to combat climate change and alleviate poverty if industry operators and governments change their habits and adopt greener and more sustainable technology and practices, the head of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). read more


October 12, 2019 0

UN refugee agency voices concern over murder of 3 Baloch leaders in

The three men from the south-western province of Balochistan, the largest in Pakistan, were members of the Quam Dost Committee, which was recently established by the Government to investigate cases of missing people in the region, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). “UNHCR supports calls for the Government of Pakistan to immediately investigate these murders and to ensure that the Balochistan Quam Dost Committee continues its important work,” UNHCR spokesperson Ron Redmond said yesterday in Geneva. “We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those killed,” he added.Earlier this month, the head of the UNHCR office in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, was released after being abducted in an attack on 2 February that left another colleague, Syed Hashim, dead.The Balochistan Liberation United Front was the group that claimed to be holding UNHCR staff member John Solecki, demanding the release of people it says are in Pakistani custody. 15 April 2009The United Nations refugee agency has added its voice to the concern expressed over the killing of three Pakistani Baloch leaders last week, urging the South-Asian Government to launch an investigation into the murders. read more


October 12, 2019 0

Robust demand for mobile phone services will continue UN agency predicts

Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), told an industry congress in Barcelona that advanced services and handsets in affluent countries and increased take-up of mobile banking and mobile health-care services in poorer nations is driving the continued demand.“Even during an economic crisis, we have seen no drop in the demand for communications services,” Dr. Touré said. “I am confident that we will continue to see a rapid uptake in mobile cellular services in particular in 2010, with many more people using their phones to access the Internet.”The number of mobile cellular subscriptions had already reached 4.6 billion by the end of last year, and the ITU said it expects growth to be strong across all regions.The agency also predicted that, if current growth rates continue, within five years Web access by people on the move – such as from laptop computers and so-called smart mobile devices – will exceed Web access from desktop computers.“Even the simplest, low-end mobile phone can do so much to improve health care in the developing world,” said Dr. Touré. “Good examples include sending reminder messages to patients’ phones when they have a medical appointment or need a pre-natal check-up. Or using SMS messages to deliver instructions on when and how to take complex medication such as anti-retrovirals or vaccines.“It’s such a simple thing to do, and yet it saves millions of dollars and can help improve and even save the lives of millions of people.”In the developing world, the ITU noted, there are also large numbers of people who have a mobile phone subscription but no bank account and use their phones for banking activities. 15 February 2010Global demand for mobile telephones remains strong, despite the economic crisis, with the number of individual mobile cellular subscriptions likely to top 5 billion this year, the head of the United Nations telecoms agency said today. read more


October 11, 2019 0

UN seeks aid of private sector philanthropies in empowering women

“To the private sector, we look to you to exercise even more leadership for gender equality starting from the top,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a special event at UN Headquarters in New York, attended by some 300 representatives of foundations, private companies, academia and civil society organizations. “We need you to promote education. Support human rights and non-discrimination. Empower women through all levels of corporate responsibility… “To the philanthropic community, we look to you to target women with your programmes. Make sure that female beneficiaries are treated equally. Work to ensure that their communities, homes, schools and workplaces are free of verbal, physical or sexual harassment.” Co-sponsored by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the UN Office for Partnerships (UNOP) and the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), the forum heard speakers stress the importance of women in ending poverty and propelling economic development. “It is well recognized that women and women’s leadership are essentials to build strong economies, more stable societies and achieve agreed international goals for human rights and development,” UNIFEM Executive Director Inés Alberdi explained at a news briefing. “The private sector and philanthropy increasingly understand that advancing women is good for business. “This is true at all levels, from the market place to the investment community, from the consumer to the work force. Similarly, the United Nations increasingly understands that the private sector is an influential force, one which it is critical to engage… We want to work hand in hand with the private sector to share our expertise on how to move the gender equality agenda.” She called for united action to achieve women’s full participation in all aspects of community and national life. ECOSOC, too, noted the enormous potential of women for economic development. “Gender inequality deprives countries of a critical resource in the struggle to end poverty and attain stability,” it said in a news release. “Empowering women is not only a justice, a rights-based approach, but it’s actually good macro-economic policy. So empowering women, allowing them to pursue a family and an education and have a career is actually giving countries a competitive edge,” ECOSOC Vice-President Ambassador Morten Wetland of Norway told reporters. UNOP Executive Director Amir Dossal underscored the great significance of today’s event for the UN. “The idea is that we must spur concrete action not just within Member States and international organizations but also among civil society and citizens such as yourselves,” he said. In his opening address, Mr. Ban noted that the global recession had shown once again that women and children often bear the brunt of economic downturns, with more girls being pulled out of school, fewer decent jobs for women, and higher rates of violence against women, undermining development, generating instability, and setting back peace. “Full empowerment requires more progress in two key areas: first, expanding economic opportunity and second, ending violence against women,” he said. Speaking at the opening of an art exhibition at UN Headquarters, entitled “Reflective Mirror” and featuring works by women from around the world, Mr. Ban voiced his belief that “when we empower women, we empower communities and societies. When we empower women, we will power progress in meeting the MDGs for all people, women and men alike.” In the spirit of the exhibition, he stated: “Let us hold a mirror up to our world, reflect on the challenges we face, and paint a picture of more opportunity, hope, and progress for women everywhere.” 22 February 2010The United Nations launched a new effort today to expand its partnership with the private sector and philanthropies in the battle for complete gender equality and the empowerment of women, not only as a necessary human right but as economic common sense as well. read more


October 11, 2019 0

Republic of Korea grants refugee citizenship for the first time – UN

23 March 2010For the first time since it adopted the 1951 Refugee Convention almost two decades ago, the Republic of Korea (ROK) has granted a recognized refugee citizenship, in a move hailed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today. For the first time since it adopted the 1951 Refugee Convention almost two decades ago, the Republic of Korea (ROK) has granted a recognized refugee citizenship, in a move hailed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today.The new citizen is a 38-year-old Ethiopian man who fled persecution in his home country and arrived in the ROK in 2001.“This is a highly significant milestone in Asia, where few countries have signed the 1951 Refugee Convention, and even fewer have extended citizenship to refugees,” said UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming.“We are grateful to the Republic of Korea for its leadership in local integration, one of the three durable solutions available to refugees, and one that is rarely used in Asia,” she added.Citizenship, Ms. Fleming pointed out, is the most comprehensive form of local integration, voicing hope that other Asian countries will follow suit.The ROK recognized its first refugee in 2001. Since its Government began receiving refugee claims in 1994, it has recognized 175 refugees and given humanitarian status to an additional 93 people who were found not to be refugees but still requiring international protection.Between 1994 and the end of 2009, the country has received nearly 2,500 applications and 321 are still pending. read more


October 11, 2019 0