first_imgNew Delhi: The Election Commission has directed disciplinary action against the presiding officer of a polling station in the Chandni Chowk parliamentary constituency who forgot to delete test votes, necessitating the need for a repoll, officials said Sunday. The polling station 32 in the constituency saw a repoll on Sunday and recorded a voter turnout of 42.14 per cent. According to an official, the EC directed disciplinary action against the presiding officer after a report was sent about the error to it by the Chief Electoral Officer, Delhi. Tanvi Garg, district election officer of the Chandni Chowk parliamentary constituency, said a show cause notice has been to the polling party seeking a reply in the matter.last_img read more

first_imgTRIPOLI- Leaders from the Libyan port of Misrata have urged militias from the city to leave Tripoli within 72 hours, after they were involved in deadly weekend clashes in the capital.A militia of former rebels from Misrata who fought the regime of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011 opened fire on protesters in Tripoli, sparking unrest that killed at least 43 people.Community leaders, officials and ex-rebel commanders from the coastal city urged the “withdrawal of all ex-rebels from the city of Misrata who are in Tripoli, whatever their group is… in under 72 hours,” in a statement issued late on Sunday. The statement suggested the clashes resulted from a plan to “undermine (Misrata’s) image and show it as if it were the only obstacle to the construction of the state”.Demonstrators protesting against militias on Friday in Tripoli’s Gharghour neighbourhood were fired upon from villas occupied by fighters from Misrata, who killed several protesters before rival militias swept in.At least 43 people were killed and another 450 were wounded in the deadliest unrest to hit the capital since the fall of Kadhafi in October 2011.The defence ministry had ordered the demolition of the villas, previously home to supporters of the Kadhafi regime before they were seized by rebels in2011, before cancelling the decision later.Rebels who fought in the 2011 uprising were initially hailed as heroes for their role in toppling the Kadhafi regime.But many of these groups have since carved out their own fiefdoms in the vast country, refusing to hand over their arms to Libya’s weak central government and paying little heed to its authority.last_img read more

Rabat – King Mohammed VI has congratulated the newly-elected French president Emmanuel Macron on winning by 66% to 34% margin Marine Le Pen’s Front National, said a communiqué issued by the Royal cabinet on Tuesday.The independent centrist candidate gained 66% of the votes in France’s second round of presidential elections, strongly beating his far-right opponent Marine Le Pen.In a phone conversation with the 39-year-old pro-European Union president, the King, who is currently in France, extended his congratulations to Macron for his win, which was made possible by enormous support for his vision of France’s future and the well-being of its citizens, said the communiqué. The King and Macron highlighted the positive relationship between the two countries in all fields, as well as the mutual will to consolidate and enrich their exceptional partnership, the communiqué added.Following his victory on the weekend, Macron, a former economy minister, has pledged to unite the French citizens.“I will do everything to make sure you never have reason again to vote for extremes,” he said while he was addressing thousands of supporters in the grand courtyard of the Louvre.“[The world is] watching us and waiting for us to defend the spirit of the Enlightenment, threatened in so many places,” Macron said.Following the election, the outgoing Socialist president, François Hollande, who is expected to formally deliver the presidential seat to Macron on Sunday, said, “His large victory confirms that a very great majority of our citizens wanted to unite around the values of the Republic and show their attachment to the European Union and show France is open to the world.”Earlier this month, King Mohammed VI met with Hollande for a luncheon at the Élysée Palace in the presence of members of the governments.The two Heads of State expressed their mutual feelings of esteem and respect, which they said were the basis of the renewal of French-Moroccan partnerships in security, sustainable development, culture, and education. read more

TOKYO — Nissan Motor Co. says it has received an inquiry from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.The Japanese automaker said in a statement Monday that it “can confirm that we have received an inquiry from the SEC, and are co-operating fully. We cannot provide further details.”The statement followed reports by both Japanese and foreign media that the U.S. financial markets watchdog was considering investigating Nissan over its pay to executives in the United States.Nissan’s ex-chairman Carlos Ghosn is facing charges in Japan of falsifying financial statements by under-reporting his compensation and of breach of trust related to his handling of investment losses and payments to a Saudi businessman.Ghosn has been detained since his arrest on Nov. 19. He has said he is innocent of any wrongdoing.The Associated Press read more

By Sarah GoodmanRabat – A total of 71 passengers, including 13 women, were rescued from two different inflatable rafts by the Royal Navy of Morocco, operating off the coast of Tangier on Tuesday, February 20.The majority of the men and women aboard were originally from sub-Saharan countries. A source from the military said that the dinghies were drifting in distress due to choppy waves and bad weather.The 71 rescued are the latest in a growing number of men and women making the precarious sea voyage in hopes of crossing the Mediterranean for Europe. Elsewhere on the Mediterranean on Tuesday, near Spain’s Alborán island, the Spanish search-and-rescue operation Salvamento Marítimo conducted separate rescued a total of 60 people aboard two rafts carrying 33 and 37 passengers respectively. These are far from isolated incidents. Already since the start of 2018, Morocco-based National Observatory of Human Rights (ONDH) reported in January that over 1000 migrants tried to enter Spain during January 2018.Salvamar Hamal rescata a 60 personas de 2 pateras (33+27) al norte de la isla de Alborán. Localizadas por avión Sasemar 101 y buque SKS Mosel pic.twitter.com/YsmRm73FB3— SALVAMENTO MARÍTIMO (@salvamentogob) February 20, 2018On Monday, the human rights non-profit organization Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid (CEAR) projected a sharp rise in the number boats crossing the sea between North Africa to get to Spain during the weeks and months ahead.Speaking on Radio Granada, CEAR spokesman José Carlos Cabrera predicted an “avalanche of dinghies” as men and women attempted to reach Europe via the Andalusian coast in the weeks ahead. CEAR estimated that half a million people, from Libya westward to Morocco, are on the move and that many of them are preparing to cross into Europe.Cabrera also shared that Spain is not prepared to adequately receive migrants in the medium or long term.Salvamento Marítimo announced in January that their collective operations had rescued 18,937 migrants crossing the Mediterranean in 2017, marking a 182 percent increase since 2016. read more

TORONTO — CI Financial Corp. says it earned a fourth-quarter profit of $140.4 million as its revenue fell compared with the same period a year earlier.The investment manager says the profit amounted to 57 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a profit of $139.5 million or 51 cents per diluted share a year earlier.Revenue totalled $529.2 million, down from $594.4 million.On an adjusted basis, CI says it earned 57 cents per share for the quarter, down from an adjusted profit of 63 cents per share a year earlier.Analysts on average had expected a profit of 57 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.Average assets under management amounted to $129.3 billion for the last three months of 2018, down from $142.5 billion in the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2017. Companies in this story: (TSX:CIX)The Canadian Press read more

Rabat – Saad Lamjarred’s agent shared a statement from his management team defending the pop singer who is accused of two rapes in France.The agent, Karim Abi Yaghi, shared the communiqué on Instagram, saying that the artist was placed in custody in Aix-En-Provence in southeastern France on September 18, where he will remain until the end of the investigation.The statement added that, originally, the bail judge in Draguignan, France, decided “to release him and put him under judicial control until the end of the investigation.” However, the prosecutor of the city, which requested that Saad Lamjarred be remanded to detention, “appealed in September the decision of the bail judge of freedoms.” The statement affirmed that the court has not made a verdict on the two rape cases in Saint Tropez and Paris.After his arrest in 2016 in the rape case of a French national and subsequent supervised release, authorities arrested Lamjarred in a rape case in August in Saint Tropez.After 48 hours in custody, Lamjarred was released after he paid a bail of €150,000.Some Moroccan citizens and local radio channels, including Hit Radio and Radio 2M,  boycotted his songs, popularizing the viral hashtag campaign: #Masaktach (I will not be hushed).The first French person to accuse Lamjarred of rape, Laura Prioul, took to her Twitter to thank people boycotting Lamjarred’s song, writing the Masaktch hashtag.“A big thank you for the #, the boycotts, and the messages of support and finally the justice!!! #Masaktach,” she tweeted.The Moroccan singer’s named was also ruled off the list of nominees in the All Africa Awards (AFRIMA) competition, which will take place in Ghana in November. The competition removed Lamjarred’s name due to the rape charges. read more

Rabat – As Rabat and Brussels show no signs of reaching an agreement following a month-long negotiations to renew the EU-Morocco fisheries deal, Europeans fishing boats have started preparing to leave Moroccan waters, heightening fishermen’s concerns about the future of the deal and raising questions as to how long the rift between the two strategic partners will last.During the third rounds of the fisheries deal-related discussions between Morocco and its EU partners, the North African nation hardened its stance and asked for a financial compensation of MAD 800 million, as opposed to the 400 million of the expiring agreement.According to Moroccan outlet Akhbar Al Youm, European diplomats did not compromise with Morocco’s financial demands for renewing the deal, leading European boats no choice but to depart from Moroccan waters since the deal expires on July 14. The Casablanca-based daily reported that European fishermen have until July 15 to leave Moroccan coasts.“The worst that could have been carefully prevented has finally happened,” complained Javier Garat, a Spanish fisherman president of the association of European fishing companies operating in Moroccan waters under the terms of the EU-Morocco deal.  For Garat, however, it is just a matter of time before Rabat and Brussels manage to find a mutually acceptable basis for renewal, as both parties have reaped enormous benefits off the agreement in the recent years.“The two parties have converging positions, but there exist some minor details [differences] that have not been addressed,” the Spanish said. He added, however, that European fishermen will have to wait for weeks or even a year before the two parties satisfy all the diplomatic and bureaucratic requirements associated with the renewal process.Citing Spanish sources, Akhbar Al Youm reported that further discussions are expected between Rabat and Brussels given that European fishermen and many workers’ rights advocacy groups are putting enormous pressure on their respective governments to save the “crucial” agreement.“It would be a great pity if the deal is not renewed by its expiry date, because Morocco has made it clear that during second roundtables that all European boats should depart from European water [should Brussels fail to compromise],” Pedro Maza, president of a fishermen’s association in Spain, said last month amid rumors that Brussels and Rabat were having a hard time finding a common ground regarding the renewal of the fisheries agreement.But even in the event of new discussions to renew the deal, Rabat is very unlikely to compromise on its current position. This week, Aziz Akhannouch, Morocco’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Rural Development, was adamant about Morocco’s requirements to sign a new deal.In addition to the MAD 800 million Morocco is requesting from the EU as financial compensation, European fishermen and fishing companies should henceforth be careful about other tiny details of the deal, including quantity, species, and biodiversity, the Moroccan minister said. read more

NEW YORK — Small businesses can reduce their chances of employee theft or limit their losses by implementing technological controls and checks and balances in their daily operations.The thin staffing at many small businesses can make them vulnerable to theft. So can small companies’ tendency to have less sophisticated technology practices.Five ways that companies can protect themselves:— Make sure that responsibility for finances doesn’t rest with only one person, says Doug Karpp, a senior vice-president with insurer Hiscox. At the least, “business owners should have their bank statements sent to their home instead of the business, and given to their accountants to review,” Karpp says.— When a staffer quits or is fired, their access to the company’s computer system and email should be cut off immediately. Any passwords they use should be changed. Owners may also want to consider having the staffer leave the day they give notice.“All the things that go hand in hand with the termination of an employee in a large company, a small company needs to think of too,” says Shira Forman, an employment attorney with Sheppard Mullin in New York.— Watch out for suspicious behaviour that could be a tipoff about stealing, says Rick Gibbs, a consultant with human resources provider Insperity. For example, consider a staffer who never takes vacation or days off. While they could be dedicated, they could also be trying to make sure that no one else gets to fill in for them and see what they’ve been doing.— Surveillance cameras can discourage staffers from stealing property, Gibbs says. Even if a camera is not a deterrent, the owner can see who the thief was.— If an owner suspects or is aware of a theft, they should consult with an attorney or HR provider to decide the best cause of action. They should also take steps to limit or stop the damage. In the case of a technologically savvy staffer, an owner needs to be sure the employee isn’t in a position to harm the company’s systems, Forman says._____For more small business news, insights and inspiration, sign up for our free weekly newsletter here: http://discover.ap.org/ssb_____Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg . Her work can be found here: https://apnews.comJoyce M. Rosenberg, The Associated Press read more

WASHINGTON — Top U.S. CEOs are reporting that their economic outlook weakened in the first three months of the year although it remains above its historical average.The Business Roundtable, a lobbying organization of major companies’ chief executives, also said Wednesday its first-quarter survey of CEOs showed strong support for Congress to create a new national law governing consumer data privacy.The group’s economic outlook index for the January-March quarter fell to 95.2, down from 104.4 in the fourth quarter of 2018. The lower reading, however, far exceeded the index’s historical average of 82.4 for the ninth straight quarter.The new survey showed that companies’ plans for capital investment fell 6.9 percentage points since the fourth quarter, while sales expectations dropped 9.6 percentage points.The Associated Press read more

CONCORD, N.H. — A federal judge has ruled that a law prohibiting interstate wagering applies only to sports gambling and not to state lotteries as some had feared.Monday’s ruling sets aside an opinion issued last year by the U.S. Justice Department that interpreted the 1961 Wire Act as applying to any form of gambling that crosses state lines. That raised concerns that states would lose their lotteries and the educational and other programs they fund.The New Hampshire Lottery Commission sued in February, saying the opinion subjects its employees to prosecution, creates uncertainty about whether it should cease operations and could cost the state more than $90 million a year.In his ruling, Judge Paul Barbadoro said the state had the standing to sue and that the Wire Act is limited to sports gambling.The Associated Press read more

6 March 2007When the top cricketers from across the planet come out to bat and bowl in the Cricket World Cup opening in the West Indies on Sunday, they will also be taking aim at HIV/AIDS in a United Nations campaign focusing on issues facing children and young people affected by the disease and the resources and actions needed to address them. The International Cricket Council is teaming up with the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership, in the latest collaboration between the UN and world sports bodies, to produce a series of public service announcements (PSAs) and other events during the seven-week- long Cup, which is expected to draw more than 2 billion television viewers.The public, especially young people aged 15-24, will get information on the stigma and discrimination around HIV and on how to protect themselves against the virus. “Young people today have never known a world without AIDS,” UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said. “Sports stars such as top cricket players can act as role models for today’s young generation and reach out to them on AIDS issues. Sport is a force for change that can break down barriers, build self-esteem and teach life skills and social behaviour.”He added that by highlighting AIDS issues, the Cricket World Cup and its cricketing stars “are showing exactly the kind of exceptional response needed for the exceptional challenge of AIDS.”Through high profile activities around cricket’s biggest event, the Council is supporting the Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS campaign launched in 2005 by UNICEF, UNAIDS and other partners, which is focused on ensuring antiretroviral treatment for HIV-positive children, preventing mother-to-child transmission, promoting education programmes to help prevent HIV transmission, and aiding children who have been orphaned by AIDS. “Children have been the missing face of the AIDS pandemic,” UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said. “The International Cricket Council will be a powerful ally in ensuring that children are at the heart of the global response to the epidemic.”The PSAs, each lasting 30 seconds, will be available to broadcasters free of charge. They feature leading players, including Ricky Ponting from Australia and Rahul Dravid from India, speaking about how HIV affects children. Players and officials from each team will wear the red and blue ribbon of the Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS campaign during their first games and during the final. Players will also visit programmes supporting children and young people affected by HIV.“We hope the range of activities delivered at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 will make a difference to raising awareness and reducing stigma around HIV in the Caribbean and across the ever-growing cricket world,” ICC President Percy Sonn said. “By encouraging high profile players to support this campaign, we hope to be able to engage those who may otherwise be difficult to reach.”Cricket is popular in many of the countries most affected by AIDS, including India and South Africa. Together, these two countries are home to around 11 million of the 40 million people estimated to be living with HIV. In the Caribbean, where the Cup is being held, UNAIDS estimated that 250,000 people were living with HIV in 2006, 15,000 of them children aged 0-14 years.The ICC is being supported in the effort by the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS, a coalition of over 50 broadcasters in 23 Caribbean countries and territories.“The exceptional reach of broadcast media in the Caribbean gives us a unique opportunity to educate audiences about how to avoid HIV, and how to combat the stigma and discrimination that surround the disease,” the Partnership’s Steering Committee Chair Allyson Leacock said.The campaign is but the latest in a whole series of collaboration between UN agencies and world sport, which has seen the likes of football legends Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane shooting against poverty, the European Swimming League in “a race against time” to prevent deaths from unclean water, and similar initiatives with the International Rugby Board, American football stars, marathon runners and Formula One auto racers. read more

21 May 2007United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed concern about the fighting Lebanon and called on all sides to protect civilians. Mr. Ban “is gravely concerned about the fighting in the last two days between Fatah el-Islam gunmen and the Lebanese army,” his spokesperson said in a statement.“The actions of Fatah al-Islam are an attack on Lebanon’s stability and sovereignty,” Michele Montas told reporters in New York.The Secretary-General welcomed the “united stand taken by Palestinian factions in Lebanon denouncing these attacks on the Lebanese army” and called on all sides to do their utmost to protect innocent civilians. “The Secretary-General also strongly condemns yesterday’s terrorist bombing in Beirut,” the statement said, urging the Lebanese “to unite in the face of threats to their stability and security.” read more

The forces that committed genocide in Rwanda more than a decade ago remain active in the region and must be countered with international action, the country’s President told the United Nations General Assembly today. “While our continent has been consolidating peace and security, there are persistent problem areas that need attention,” Paul Kagame told the Assembly’s annual high-level debate. “In the Great Lakes region, forces that committed genocide in 1994 continue their destructive operations,” he said. “They rape, murder, terrorize and plunder with impunity,” he charged. “Their leaders are active in Europe, America and Africa where they continue to promote the ideology of genocide.” He said the “costly UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo [MONUC] has not diminished their activities” and called on the international community, in collaboration with the Congolese Government, “to end the threat posed by these negative forces once and for all.” An estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered, mostly by machete or club, across Rwanda in less than 100 days starting in early April 1994. Later that year the Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to deal with the worst cases. In his speech today, President Kagame said Rwandans “need peace and stability so that we can concentrate on the business of economic growth and development.” 27 September 2007The forces that committed genocide in Rwanda more than a decade ago remain active in the region and must be countered with international action, the country’s President told the United Nations General Assembly today. read more

Today’s closures mean UN agencies’ stocks of essential goods in Gaza continue to dwindle, several weeks after Israeli authorities imposed tight restrictions on entry to and exit from the area where an estimated 1.4 million Palestinians live.The humanitarian situation in Gaza, where the power supply remains out for most of the day, is being exacerbated by the current spell of unusually cold weather, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).The agency has managed to provide about 112,500 litres of fuel to Gazan officials dealing with waste management, but this is short of the amount needed, resulting in garbage piling up along the streets.Gaza’s schools are scheduled to re-open tomorrow after the winter break, but they will probably have no heating or electricity, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported. UNRWA-run schools will also have no books as Israel has not allowed the agency to take paper into Gaza.UNRWA has so far received only 1 per cent of the $237 million it sought in urgent humanitarian aid last December when it launched its consolidated appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory. 1 February 2008No trucks carrying relief supplies were able to enter the Gaza Strip from Israel today as all the border crossings remained closed, the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process (UNSCO) reported. read more

20 March 2008Over 60 per cent of Africans lack access to a proper toilet, according to the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ahead of World Water Day – observed on 22 March – whose 2008 theme is “Sanitation Matters.” Over 60 per cent of Africans lack access to a proper toilet, according to the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ahead of World Water Day – observed on 22 March – whose 2008 theme is “Sanitation Matters.” The Day aims to raise awareness to the plight of 2.6 billion people worldwide who live without toilets in their homes and are therefore vulnerable to numerous health risks. Contamination of water, soil and food results from the human contact with the bacteria, viruses and parasites, which in turn cause diarrhoea, the second largest killer of children in developing countries. “Sanitation is a cornerstone of public health,” said Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “Improved sanitation contributes enormously to human health and wellbeing, especially for girls and women.” Of the 2.6 billion people without toilets in their homes, nearly 1 billion of them are children. The two agencies approximate that 1.2 billion people gained access to improved sanitation between 1990 and 2004, but at the current rate, 2.4 billion people will still be without basic sanitation in 2015. “The absence of adequate sanitation has a serious impact on health and social development, especially for children,” Ann M. Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director, pointed out. She noted that enhanced support for improving sanitation will save lives and speed up progress towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight anti-poverty objectives with a target date of 2015. Pollution generated by sewage, much of which ends up in coastal waters, leads an economic loss of $16 billion annually and is estimated to cause four million lost “man-years” yearly in terms of human ill-health, said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in a message for the Day. “In many developed countries, part of the answer over the past half century has been found in ever more sophisticated, multi-million dollar water treatment works.” But as projects such as one at the Shimo la Tewa jail in Mombasa, a city on the Kenyan coast, highlight that there are less costly solutions to the problem that are beneficial for other reasons, Mr. Steiner noted.In this project, inmates work with nature to neutralize human wastes by using wetland-filtered water, called “black wastewater,” for irrigation and fish farming, providing a source of protein which can be consumed or sold to local markets.Additionally, this wastewater – containing high concentrations of human waste – will also be used to produced biogas, which can be serve as fuel for cooking, heating and lighting. This could slash the costs of the 4,000-person prison and curb emissions.The scheme in Mombasa, which is also expected to help wildlife such as birds and marine organisms, has a price tag of $25 per person served, which is significantly less than projects in developed countries, the Executive Director said.“It is hoped that the lessons learn can be applied to other parts of the world so that the multiple challenges of sanitation and pollution can, in part, be viewed through a nature-based lens,” he observed.“Working with nature rather than against it is part of that intelligent decision-making that may prove a faster, more cost-effective and more economically attractive way of achieving local and international health and poverty goals.”Events marking World Water Day will be held globally, in places ranging from Bangladesh to Ecuador, and from Guyana to Senegal.In New York today, UNICEF and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) are attempting to break the record for the longest toilet line to raise awareness about the global sanitation crisis. read more

18 August 2008The European branch of the world’s largest car maker, Toyota, today became one of six companies to join the Climate Neutral Network (CN Net), a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) initiative bringing together organizations which pledge to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The European branch of the world’s largest car maker, Toyota, today became one of six companies to join the Climate Neutral Network (CN Net), a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) initiative bringing together organizations which pledge to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.Toyota Motor Europe is the first car manufacturer to join CN Net, a web-based network pooling the resources of governments, local authorities, private companies and individuals to make large cuts to their carbon footprints or even neutralize them.“The participation of a major company like Toyota is a sign that private companies are increasingly playing their part on the road to a low-carbon society,” said Angela Cropper, the Deputy Executive Director of UNEP. Toyota has sold more than 1.5 million hybrid cars worldwide.Along with the five other companies which joined the CN Net today – the Carbon Association of Australasia (Australia), CO2focus (Norway), EcoSecurities (UK), Green Cabs (New Zealand), and Wairau River Wines (New Zealand) – Toyota Motor Europe will share ideas and best practice with the rest of the growing CN Net community for lowering their impact on the environment.In a related development, UNEP today welcomed the launch in the Netherlands of an innovative mobile laboratory to support the international response to environmental disasters. The Environment Assessment Module (EAM) can be rapidly deployed to disasters that involve hazardous substances, along with two fully-equipped off-road vehicles and the relevant technical expertise.“This rapidly deployable mobile laboratory will help us to fulfil the urgent need to address environmental emergencies from their onset,” Ms. Cropper said. “This is an excellent example of integrating environmental and humanitarian concerns.” read more

World Heritage Committee members will evaluate the condition of scores of locations already on UNESCO’s List, as well as the nominations for new additions of cultural and natural sites during its annual session, which opened in Seville yesterday.“The 177 reports on the state of conservation of sites that will be submitted to your review over the week illustrate the extent of the challenges facing the Committee,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said in his opening address to the nine-day meeting.Among the challenges facing the Committee highlighted by Mr. Matsuura was ensuring that all States Parties – soon to number 187 – were represented on the World Heritage List, to improve geographical balance and correct the imbalance between the number of cultural and natural sites.Currently there are 878 sites of “outstanding universal value” in 145 countries inscribed on the World Heritage List, including 679 cultural, 174 natural and 25 mixed properties.Mr. Matsuura also took stock of developments in his agency’s work in protecting World Heritage sites, since he chaired the Committee in 1998 in Kyoto, Japan, and as head of UNESCO, a post he will leave at the end of his term in November.“Over the last ten years, I have had great satisfaction from observing the achievements of the Committee, as well as the growing challenges for the States Parties in protecting World Heritage,” said Mr. Matsuura.He also paid tribute to “the achievements of UNESCO in responding to the growing concerns of national and local authorities, site managers, research institutes, development agencies, the media and the general public.”The World Heritage Committee, chaired by María Jesús San Segundo, Spain’s Ambassador to UNESCO, is slated to close next Tuesday, 30 June. 23 June 2009The annual gathering of the committee that examines requests for inclusion on the World Heritage List is underway in Spain, with 27 new sites up for consideration, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced today. read more