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  • All about the African Union

    first_imgIn 1963 the Organisation of African Unity rose from the ashes of colonial rule. Since then, as the African Union, it has expanded and embraced its ever-growing role. The opening ceremony of the 23rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on 26 June 2014. (Image: AU Facebook) Priya PitamberAs African countries shook off the shackles of their colonial masters and gained their independence in the 1950s and 1960s, they recognised the need for a unified voice on the continent.This led to the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which officially came into being on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. At inception, it comprised 32 independent African states; over the years, the number of member states gradually increased.However, Morocco withdrew its membership in 1984. Then, in the 1990s, OAU leaders debated an alternative structure for the organisation in response to the rapidly changing global political environment. By 1999, the OAU heads of state and government had issued the Sirte Declaration to establish a new African Union (AU). The AU was launched in Durban, South Africa in 2002, when it convened its first meeting.On 9 July 2011, South Sudan joined the AU, becoming the 54th country to do so.See images of the launch in 1963:The Heads of African States and Governments have signed the OAU Charter in the City of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 25th day of May, 1963Posted by African Union on Thursday, 16 May 2013 Addis Ababa, May 1963. for the first time in history, the leaders and representatives of all independent African states meet under one roof.Posted by African Union on Thursday, 16 May 2013The official languages of the AU are diverse: Arabic, English, French, Kiswahili, Portuguese, Spanish, and any other African language, but the working languages are limited to Arabic, English, French and Portuguese.Basic structureThere are various organs within the AU:The AssemblyThis is made up of the heads of state and government or their ascribed representatives. It is the highest structure in the AU.The Executive CouncilThe Executive Council is composed of ministers or authorities chosen by the governments of member states. They are accountable to the Assembly.The CommissionsEach commission has a specified portfolio and is made of a chairperson, a deputy chairperson, eight commissioners and other staff members.The Permanent Representatives’ CommitteeThis committee comprises permanent representatives of member states accredited to the AU. It is responsible for executing the work of the Executive Council and Assembly.The Peace and Security CouncilThe Peace and Security Council (PSC) was set up to provide quick and efficient responses to crises. It is made up of 15 members.The Pan-African ParliamentThe purpose of the Pan-African Parliament, or PAP, is to “ensure the full participation of African peoples in the development and economic integration of the continent”. It has up to 250 members representing the 54 AU member states.There are also numerous other organs within the AU, which deal with judicial, legalisation, financial, economic, and human rights issues.Role of the unionMany of the core principals of the OAU moved over to the AU:• To promote the unity and solidarity of African states;• To co-ordinate and intensify their co-operation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa;• To safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states;• To promote international co-operation within the UN framework; and,• To harmonise members’ political, diplomatic, economic, educational, cultural, health, welfare, scientific, technical and defence policies.Watch the opening of the 24th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly, which took place on 30 January this year in Addis Ababa, the seat of the union:Sources:AU Handbook 2015 and the AU website.last_img read more

  • ‘Finding skilled manpower was the key challenge for Bogibeel project’

    first_img Delivering steel platesThe construction teams used a combination of rail and road transport to deliver 80,000 metric tonnes of steel plates sourced from various parts of the country to the project site in Assam. The orders for extra-wide plates were placed in advance to ensure timely execution of the job. The spherical bearings used in the construction were sourced from Germany, while the load testing of the bearings was done in China. The bearings were then shipped back to the project site after being refitted in Bhopal.“The high grade, copper bearing steel ensures durability and makes the super structure corrosion proof,” Mr. Kishore said, adding that quality and documentation requirements were really stringent. “A lot of learning has taken place, because this is the first of its kind in India,” he said.(The writer was in Assam at the invitation of HCC) A major challenge in the construction of the Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge — set to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25 — was finding the required skilled manpower, and convincing the personnel to work in the hostile conditions of Upper Assam.“Getting the required manpower on this project in this part of the country, that too ensuring they were technically qualified was a task,” R.V.R Kishore, project director for HCC, the company which built the steel superstructure, told The Hindu. The bridge was under-construction for 16 years.Over time, they managed to mobilise 120 engineers and 300 welders from different parts of India. The challenge with getting welders was that they had to be qualified as per European codes and welding standards.Benefiting armed forcesThe 4.94-km-long structure, India’s longest rail-cum-road bridge across the Brahmaputra, will help the Indian armed forces move men and material to Arunachal Pradesh in a faster manner. It will also benefit the Indian Railways, as it will help reduce the distance between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh by 600 km.The design of the ₹4,857 crore bridge is such that, unlike a normal steel bridge, it did not require the use of a single nut or bolt. Bolts and rivets that are normally used in a steel bridge require periodic replacement due to shear failure over traffic loads.In the Bogibeel bridge, construction of trusses using welding has made the connection between components a permanent one, eliminating the above failures, Mr. Kishore said.The structure is India’s first fully-welded bridge, which will protect it from harsh weather.Several companies took part in Bogibeel’s construction. The state-owned RITES undertook pre-construction studies, geo-technical investigations and provided detailed designs. Bhartia Infra constructed the guide bunds and approach embankments.The foundation and sub-structure were built by Gammon India. A joint venture of HCC, VNR Infrastructures and the German company DSD Bruckenbau constructed the superstructure.last_img read more

  • Olympic silver medalist says she also has testosterone condition

    first_imgPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hosting FILE – In this file photo dated Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba reacts after winning a Women’s 800m semifinal during the World Athletics Championships in London. Olympic and world championships medalist in the 800 meters, Niyonsaba, acknowledged in an interview with the Olympic Channel Wednesday April 17, 2019, that she has the hyperandrogenism condition that gives her high levels of naturally occurring testosterone.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip, FILE)Caster Semenya’s closest rival also has a condition that gives her high levels of naturally occurring testosterone and would be affected if track and field’s governing body implements a contentious rule to control hormone levels.Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi, who won silver medals behind Semenya in the 800 meters at the 2016 Olympics and 2017 world championships, said in an interview with the Olympic Channel that she has hyperandrogenism, the first time she’s spoken about it publicly.ADVERTISEMENT Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics PLAY LIST 00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Blake Griffin misses another playoff game due to sore knee Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated LATEST STORIES Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hasslescenter_img And echoing the argument of Semenya, the 25-year-old Niyonsaba called the IAAF’s intention to force some female athletes to lower their natural testosterone levels or be barred from certain events “discrimination.”“I know people talk, talk, talk about me,” Niyonsaba said. “You can’t stop people talking. I like to hear people talking. That is motivation.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics“I didn’t choose to be born like this. What am I? I’m created by god. So, (if) someone has more questions about it, maybe (they) can ask god. I love myself. I will still be Francine. I will not change.”Referring to the rule, Niyonsaba said: “For me, it’s about discrimination. It doesn’t make sense.” The IAAF wants Semenya, Niyonsaba and other female athletes with high levels of natural testosterone to lower them — either through medication or surgery — to be eligible to compete in events from 400 meters to the mile at top track meets like the Olympics. The IAAF argues that female runners with abnormally high testosterone levels have an unfair advantage.Semenya, the two-time Olympic champion from South Africa, is challenging that at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the decision, now expected at the end of the month, could have serious ramifications for female runners.Semenya, Niyonsaba and possibly other medal-winning athletes could be forced to take hormone-suppressing medication for the remainder of their careers or give up their favored events. The IAAF has records that show numerous athletes have the condition but has never identified them because confidential medical details are involved.Previously, Semenya and Indian sprinter Dutee Chand were the only top athletes to say they had hyperandrogenism, and Semenya only said it publicly recently in written statements regarding her case against the IAAF.Semenya and Niyonsaba finishing 1-2 in the 800 at the last two major meets appears to strengthen the IAAF’s stance that hyperandrogenism gives runners a significant and unfair advantage. Niyonsaba rejected that.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue “To get on the podium is not easy,” she said. “It’s hard work. It’s a lot of sacrifice … Running to get good results is just about training. Nothing else.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

  • Defensive Positional Power Rankings: Defensive Line Revived in Week 2

    first_imgSacks0001001 QBH00000 Sacks10001 Yards3300 Yards023190042 TFL01010.502.5 TFL1.50203.5 Penalties100001 StatRichardsFlowersGreen QBH0000 1. Defensive End (Previously: 5)Last week’s weaklings are this week’s strongmen.The edge rushers and run stoppers were outstanding Friday, especially Jordan Brailford. He has been stricken with injuries and doubters, but he demonstrated why Gundy liked him so much after the Sugar Bowl a few years ago.If he and Jarrell Owens can create a consistent pass rush and Cole Walterscheid and Vili Leveni can come in for run support, this group can be so good. Total Tkl32218 Targets123118 Solo Tkl1112117 StatBrailfordWalterscheidOwensLeveniTotal StatWhitenerPhillipsBundageTuckerOgbongbemigaAkemTotal Targets601 StatGreen WilliamsHarperKearseBakerTotal Comps200 3. Linebacker (Previously: 1)Kirk Tucker will likely start against Pittsburgh on Saturday, and we should be OK with that.Kenneth Edison-McGruder is week-to-week, and Calvin Bundage picked up a targeting penalty that will hold him out for the first half. Shouldn’t matter. Tucker has been one of the Cowboys’ best in special teams and played extremely well for being a third-string Star linebacker.Depth is becoming a concern after injuries to Kevin Henry and Edison-McGruder. For now though, they’re still all right. Pen Yds10000010 Week 2 was a weird one for the Oklahoma State defense.The starters didn’t give up any points, but there was an ejection, injuries, peculiar standouts and it seemed like Tre Flowers didn’t get his name called once. Yet nobody played poorly, as indicated by the 44-7 scoreline and the stat sheet and the tape. There were a few blips in coverage, but third down was far improved.With that, and I’m sure some of you won’t like these ranks, here are the power rankings for the defensive units after two weeks of play.5. Cornerback (Previously: 4)There was an Adrian Baker sighting Friday night in Mobile, Alabama. We believe his next point of interest will be Pittsburgh.He wasn’t in much, just a few snaps, but he did almost nab an interception and didn’t make any big mistakes.Rodarius Williams and Madre Harper were exploited at times (relative to how good South Alabama is), which to me, is a good thing. Against Tulsa, A.J. Green was targeted almost 10 times. He dealt with it fine. Although Williams and Harper weren’t great against USA, better now than in a month’s time. Still, someone has to go at the bottom. 4. Safety (Previously: 3)Tre Flowers’ column at the bottom of this block of copy is astounding to me. All zeros.Za’Carrius Green had more of an impact in coverage than Flowers. That’s no knock to the senior safety but more an indication that South Alabama wanted no part of it. Instead, the Jaguars went after Ramon Richards.Through two games, we are seeing how his aggressive style has translated from corner to safety. In Week 1, he almost came down with an interception, and this past week, he nearly had two. With that, he did technically give up the most yards of anyone in the secondary. Comps022004 Solo Tkl1113 2. Defensive Tackle (Previously: 2)The OSU defensive tackles have a knack for getting in the backfield.If you don’t believe me, look at this.I love that play. It makes me laugh. DQ is huge and plays so much like Vincent Taylor, I’m becoming convinced that’s actually him out there. Penalties000 Past RankingsPreseasonWeek 1OffensiveDefensive StatDeQuinton OsborneTrey CarterEnoch Smith Jr.Total If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers! Total Tkl21153315 Solo Tkl12205 QBH0002002 Total Tkl2316 TFL1012 Sacks1012 Pen Yds000last_img read more

  • 21 days agoNewcastle boss Bruce fears he’s already running out of time

    first_imgNewcastle boss Bruce fears he’s already running out of timeby Paul Vegas21 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveNewcastle United boss Steve Bruce fears he’s already running out of time to implement his ideas.The Magpies are second from bottom in the Premier League after one win in seven matches and the head coach accused his team of ‘surrendering’ during last Sunday’s 5-0 defeat at Leicester.”They’ve played a certain way and that certain way has been drilled into them (by Rafa Benitez),” said Bruce.’We have to start with that again. If that’s the way they play, I understand that, that’s what we’ll do.”He added: “If you take a manager’s job, you’re under pressure from day one and these days you don’t get time to implement things. You have to be instant, that’s the way it is.”You can’t think you’re going to get two or three years to change things round, you have to work with what you’ve got and try to find a few results.”You don’t get the time anymore – it’s the same with all managers. The flak always stops with me at the top of the tree.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

  • Private Sector Urged to Work Closely with Public Sector to Improve Customer Service

    first_imgDirector General of the Public Sector Transformation and Modernisation (PSTM) Division, Office of the Cabinet, Veniece Pottinger-Scott, has called on the private sector to work closely with the public sector to improve customer service in the country.“We are relying on you, the private sector, to work even more closely alongside us to make the impactful change that our millions of citizens, residents, members of the Diaspora and our investors expect and deserve,” Mrs. Pottinger-Scott said.She was speaking to private sector leaders at an Excellence Visioning Workshop held on July 27 at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in Kingston.The event was one of a series of consultations organised by the Office of the Cabinet in collaboration with the Social Development Commission (SDC) to improve customer service in the public sector and to agree on elements of service excellence.Mrs. Pottinger-Scott said early next month, the PSOJ and Government, through the PSTM programme, will sign a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen the collaboration on customer service improvement.The agreement will emphasise the creation of learning opportunities between sectors and the sharing of best practices that can be adopted to address service delivery weaknesses in the public sector.“We are making slow strides and are eager to partner with PSOJ to get further faster,” she added.She said the PSTM programme is keen on improving “Jamaica’s competitiveness ranking,” adding that the country slipped two spaces from the 65th ranking it held in the Doing Business Report last year.Currently, Jamaica is ranked 67 among 190 countries in the World Bank-led Report.Mrs. Pottinger-Scott cited a slew of initiatives under the PSTM programme scheduled to come on stream before the end of the next financial year. Among the initiatives is the launch of an electronic business registration system through the Companies Office of Jamaica.“We are still working on it and we have certain timelines that we have to meet. It involves not just the automation of the application process for company registration, but putting the system online, so that 24 seven applications could be put in,” she said.Additionally, she said the AMANDA development approval process portal, which will allow builders and developers to upload and track their applications online, is being implemented.The Director General also spoke of plans to launch a national Government e-portal, which will provide “a single gateway to information on all Government services to make finding information and services far easier than it is today.”Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the PSOJ, Dennis Chung, said he was happy to accept the invitation to partner with the Cabinet Office in the customer service improvement venture, since “it was a natural fit and a natural progression to get there.”Mr. Chung said customer service is the heart of private sector businesses in Jamaica, adding that service excellence makes a significant difference to achieving the maximum potential in private sector businesses.“If you think about the potential that it can achieve in the country through the delivery of excellent customer service, it is tremendous,” he emphasised.According to Mr. Chung, public sector bureaucracy is the second impediment to doing business in Jamaica.“If the Government could resolve the bureaucracy issues, then we can go a far way in driving economic activities in the country,” he said.Since April 2017, the PSTM Division, which was created to streamline activities aimed at boosting Government efficiency, has been engaging technocrats in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), civil society and other groups at service excellence visioning workshops.last_img read more

  • BJP banks on Modi factor as Kanhaiya perks up fight in Begusarai

    first_imgUjiarpur/Begusarai: An energetic campaign boosted by his image of being a trenchant critic of the Modi government has propelled CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar into the centre stage of electoral contest in Begusarai seat but many see his rising graph posing a bigger threat to the opposition RJD than the ruling BJP.The BJP supporters in Begusarai and other Lok Sabha seats in the region, which will vote on April 29, assert that the appeal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi remains a big draw for voters, while the opposition’s alliance is hoping to counter it with its social arithmetic at several places. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’If the Modi factor is powering the BJP’s campaign, the alliance of the Lalu Prasad’s RJD, Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP and the Congress is betting on a formidable social equation in these seats, including Ujiarpur, where Kushwaha is taking on Bihar BJP chief Nityanand Rai to make the going difficult for the saffron party. Both Ujiarpur and Begusarai were won by the BJP in 2014. In the 2014 polls, BJP’s Bhola Singh, who died in October last year, had defeated Lalu Prasad-led RJD’s Tanveer Hasan, who is again in the fray, with a margin of 5.4 per cent votes (more than 58,000). The JD(U)-backed CPI had finished a distant third with near 93,000 votes. Singh had got over 4.29 lakh votes. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KCPI has fielded Kumar, former JNU students union leader, this time, while BJP has brought in union minister Giriraj Singh, who had won from Nawada last time. However, for most BJP leaders and supporters Prime Minister Modi is the main draw and even Singh has said that it is Modi himself who is the NDA candidate on all seats in the state and the leaders fighting the elections are only his “symbols”. “Giriraj Singh will win. Our vote is for Modi. He has done a lot. ‘Aur option kya hai Dilli mein’ (What other option we have for the central government),” said Sanjay Kumar, who hails from an extremely backward community. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) is now a BJP ally, boosting the saffron party’s prospects but the 32-year-old former JNU student union president Kumar is threatening the traditional social equations with his high-pitched electioneering. The fact that a number of public figures like actor Prakash Raj and lyricist Javed Akhtar, vocal critics of the Modi government, have come to the town to campaign for him, has strengthened the perception that he poses a better challenge to the BJP than Hasan, a soft-spoken leader who many believe lacks Kumar’s appeal and connect. Villagers in Bachhwara, where Yadavs — the backbone of RJD’s support — hold sway, display open sympathy for Kanhaiya and many say they will vote for him while several others insist that they cannot help but support “our leader Lalu when he needs us the most”. “Kanhaiya takkad de sakta hai BJP ko (Kanhaiya can challenge the BJP),” Rambadan Rai says. Arvind Kumar, another local, claims the CPI leader is the voice of people and deserves to be in Parliament. Many anti-BJP voters say they will wait till the day of polling to decide whom to back between Kumar and Hasan. Shakeel Ahmed, an RJD worker, says Muslims have sympathy for Kumar because of his strident stand against the BJP and the RSS but the community may end up backing the RJD candidate. “You need anywhere between 4 to 5 lakh votes to win. How can the Left get so many votes just because their candidate is Kanhaiya,” he asks. Kumar’s critics have also cited his alleged links to anti-India protests in the JNU and incidents of his supporters beating up protestors showing him black flags to corner him. The BJP watchers feel the party’s tactic of making the election a contest about Modi is working, with most of its supporters asserting their vote is for the prime minister and not for the candidate and lauding his government on issues like national security and strong leadership. In Ujiarpur, even some BJP supporters express their anger at Rai, the saffron party’s candidate, for his “dismal presence” in the constituency and due to concerns over poor availability of drinking water. Kushwaha, who was a BJP ally in 2014 but switched over to the opposition camp last year, appears to have succeeded in winning over a big chunk of his community, who are present in large number in the seat. Vinod Chaudhary, a BJP supporter in Dalsingh Sarai, says “a strong Modi wave” is needed for Rai to win from here. Asked if such a wave is there, he says reflectively, “There is a current but who knows how strong it is.” PTIlast_img read more

  • Egyptian Woman Allegedly Kicked Out of Beach Resort for Wearing Burkini

    Ghita El HafidiRabat – A group of people allegedly forced a Hijabi woman out of the “Hacienda Bay Resort” in Egypt, for wearing a body-covering burkini.The incident has prompted many people to take to social media networks to share pictures taken to expose the reality of “the regressive and bigoted religious conflicts.” Sarah El Amry, a Facebook user, who witnessed the entire incidence, shared a post about it on Sunday, saying that she found it “outrageous how people reacted when they spotted the woman swimming in a burkini at beach resort.”“A group of people forced her out of the beach and wanted to check the material of her burkini because they worried it was ‘unhygienic,” El Amry wrote. “Some of them even beat the woman’s husband and her young son,” she added.Soon after she shared it, El Amry’s post went viral and thousands of people worldwide took advantage of the platform to comment on the incident.While many were irritated by the way the woman was treated, others shared comments stating there was more to the story, saying the woman was forced out because she was taking pictures of other women in bikinis.Other Facebook users who claimed to witness the incident, however, said that the event was “true” and confirmed El Amry’s post.The dramatic episode is only the most recent incident of its kind to be shared on social media in the past year. Over the Eid El-Fitr holiday, a Lebanese Muslim woman shared her own experience of being forced out of a beach resort for wearing a burkini. A video was also uploaded on YouTube last August showing a woman in Egypt forced to leave a swimming pool due to her swimsuit.Designed to help Muslim women enjoy the beach without compromising their modest dress code, the burkini has stirred controversy all over the world in the past couple of years.In 2016, several towns in France decided to ban full-body swimsuits. The country’s highest administrative court, however, later ruled that the “burkini ban” is illegal and a violation of fundamental liberties. read more

  • Possible food crisis looms over DPR Korea warns UN agency

    16 April 2008The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned today that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is facing a potential food crisis owing to a low harvest resulting partly from last summer’s heavy floods. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned today that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is facing a potential food crisis owing to a low harvest resulting partly from last summer’s heavy floods. “The food security situation in the DPRK is clearly bad and getting worse,” said WFP’s Regional Director for Asia, Tony Banbury. “It is increasingly likely that external assistance will be urgently required to avert a serious tragedy.” It is estimated that more than 6.5 million people in DPRK suffer from food insecurity, and that number is expected to increase unless the growing food shortages are addressed. In addition to the poor harvest, DPRK, like many other countries around the world, is trying to cope with the recent surge in food prices. The prices of staple foods such as rice and maize have doubled in the capital, Pyongyang, over the past year and are now at their highest recorded levels since 2004. “The rapid rise in the real price of food for persons living in the DPRK confirms WFP’s fears that the DPRK may suffer deeper and more widespread hunger this year,” said Jean-Pierre de Margerie, WFP Country Director in Pyongyang. “Now it takes a third of a month’s salary just to buy a few days worth of rice. Families and especially vulnerable persons will suffer from lack of access to food, eat fewer meals and have a poorer diet, increasing their vulnerability to diseases and illness,” he stated.The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has predicted a food shortfall of 1.66 million metric tons in the country this year – almost twice the 2007 deficit and the highest since 2001. Until 2005, WFP was assisting over six million people in DPRK – some 25 per cent of the population. Since 2006, following a DPRK government decision to reduce its operation, WFP has been assisting 1.1 million of the most vulnerable persons, mainly women and children. The agency plans to distribute 45,000 metric tons of food in 50 of the DPRK’s 203 counties until August, when its food aid programme is scheduled to end. “WFP stands ready to do its part to help the people of the DPRK meet their minimum food needs, and avoid a possible return to the tragic circumstances of the past,” said Mr. Banbury. “But WFP cannot solve the problem on its own. The DPRK government needs to provide the necessary operating conditions for aid agencies so that donors have confidence that their donations will be used for the intended purposes. And donors need to do their part to ensure that the people of DPRK do not go hungry, or worse.” read more

  • Annan congratulates Bill and Melinda Gates on Africare award

    He was congratulating the couple on being selected as the recipients tonight of the 2003 Bishop John T. Walker Humanitarian Award from Africare, a 33-year-old Washington, D.C.-based, Africa-focused aid organization founded by former Peace Corps official C. Payne Lucas. The late Bishop Walker was the long-time chairman of Africare and the first African-American Episcopalian bishop of Washington.”Bill and Melinda Gates have helped set new standards in philanthropy and partnerships,” Mr. Annan said in a message to the award dinner. “Time and again, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has demonstrated its visionary approach to the use of wealth for the greatest public good, in areas from education to public health in this country and the developing world.”Nowhere has this approach been more important than in the global fight against HIV/AIDS – an issue which I have made my personal priority.”The leadership they have contributed to that fight “not only serves as a powerful example to other donors and to governments, in its own right, it is also helping to save millions of lives.”Previous award recipients included former South African President Nelson Mandela, former South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, lawyer-activist Sargent Shriver and entertainer-activist Harry Belafonte. read more