Grains mixed livestock mixed

CHICAGO — Grain futures were mixed Monday in early trading on the Chicago Board of Trade.Wheat for May delivery was up 2.40 cents at $4.59 a bushel; Mar. corn fell 1 cent at $3.72 a bushel; May oats rose 5.20 cents at $2.7860 a bushel; while May soybeans off .80 cent at 9.0460 a bushel.Beef was mixed and pork was higher on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.Apr. live cattle was up .86 cent at $1.2898 a pound; Mar. feeder cattle was off .27 cent at $1.4135 a pound; Apr. lean hogs rose 2.57 cents at .6972 a pound.The Associated Press read more

Business Highlights

___Federal Reserve foresees no interest rate hikes in 2019WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve left its key interest rate unchanged and projected no rate hikes in 2019, dramatically underscoring its plan to be “patient” about any further increases. The Fed said it was keeping its benchmark rate — which can influence everything from mortgages to credit cards to home equity lines of credit — in a range of 2.25 per cent to 2.5 per cent. It also announced that it will stop shrinking its bond portfolio in September, a step that should help hold down long-term interest rates.___UK’s May asks a wary EU to delay Brexit until June 30LONDON (AP) — Exactly 1,000 days after Britain voted to leave the European Union, and nine days before it is scheduled to walk out the door, Prime Minister Theresa May has hit the pause button, asking the bloc to postpone the U.K.’s departure until June 30. EU leaders, who are exasperated by Britain’s Brexit melodrama, said they would only grant the extension if May could win Parliament’s approval for her twice-rejected Brexit deal.___EU fines Google $1.7 billion for abusing online ads marketBRUSSELS (AP) — Europe’s antitrust regulators have slapped Google with a big fine for the third time in less than two years. They have ordered the tech giant to pay 1.49 billion euros ($1.7 billion) for freezing out rivals in the online advertising business. Google says it has already changed its practices..___Survey: Top CEOs report weaker economic outlook for 1QWASHINGTON (AP) — 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 its first-quarter survey of CEOs showed strong support for Congress to create a new national law governing consumer data privacy.___Disney closes $71B deal for Fox entertainment assetsNEW YORK (AP) — Disney’s $71 billion purchase of Fox’s entertainment business paves the way for Disney to launch its own streaming service, Disney Plus, this year. Disney needs compelling TV shows and movies to persuade viewers to sign up and pay for yet another streaming service. It already has classic Disney cartoons, “Star Wars,” Pixar, the Muppets and some of the Marvel characters. With Fox, Disney gets “The Simpsons” and Marvel’s X-Men and Deadpool.___Pentagon to probe if Shanahan used office to help BoeingWASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon’s inspector general says it will investigate a watchdog group’s allegations that acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan has used his office to promote his former employer, Boeing Co. The ethics complaint was filed a week ago by a group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The probe comes as Boeing struggles to deal with a public firestorm over two deadly crashes of the Boeing 737 Max 8 jetliner within the last five months.___US judge blocks oil, gas drilling over climate changeBILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A judge has blocked oil and gas drilling on almost 500 square miles in Wyoming and says the government must consider cumulative climate change impacts of leasing public lands across the U.S. for energy development The order marks the latest in a string of court rulings over the past decade faulting the government’s consideration of emissions when issuing energy leases. But U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras appeared to go further, saying the U.S. must consider emissions nationwide.___Trump says tariffs on China could stay to ensure complianceWASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says if the U.S. gets a trade deal with China, tariffs could stay in place for some time to ensure that Beijing “lives by the deal.” Trump told reporters at the White House Wednesday that “they’ve had a lot of problems living by certain deals.” The president said administration officials are set to visit China for more negotiations, adding that the deal is “coming along nicely.”___$800K Wells Fargo penalty OK’d in Schilling video game dealPROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A federal judge has approved an agreement for Wells Fargo Securities to pay an $800,000 civil penalty to end a lawsuit by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over Rhode Island’s failed $75 million deal with former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s video game company, 38 Studios. A lawyer for a Wells Fargo employee who is the final defendant says he plans to fight the claims against him.___Fed news sends bond yields sharply lower; US stocks mixedNEW YORK (AP) — Banks led U.S. stocks mostly lower Wednesday after a brief rally sparked by the Federal Reserve’s latest policy update faded. The real action centred in the bond market, where prices rose sharply, pulling Treasury yields down to the lowest levels in more than a year. The central bank said it has ruled out interest rate increases this year and issued a dimmer outlook on the U.S. economy. The 10-year Treasury yield slid as low as 2.53 per cent, down from 2.61 per cent late Tuesday, a big move.___The S&P 500 dropped 8.34 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,824.23. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 141.71 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 25,745.67. The Nasdaq composite eked out a slight gain, adding 5.02 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7,728.97. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 11.83 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 1,543.16.The Associated Press read more

CAF Nominates 3 Moroccans to Referee CAN 2019 Games

Rabat – The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has unveiled the provisional list of referees and assistant referees for the coming Africa Cup of Nations (CAN), scheduled for June 21 to July 18 in Egypt.The CAF has chosen two Moroccan referees, Redouane Jiyed and Noureddine El Jaafari, and one assistant referee, Azgaou Lahcen, to help judge the CAN games.CAN will feature 27 referees and 29 referee assistants. The list includes referees from many African countries.Read also: CAF Executive Appoints Moroccan Mouad Hajji as Secretary-GeneralMorocco’s national football team will take part in the tournament. The Atlas Lions will compete in Group D, where they will take on Namibia, South Africa, and Cote d’Ivoire.In a press conference, South African football team coach Stuart Baxter said that Morocco is a strong opponent. He added that since Group D is called the “Group of Death,” Morocco should fear South Africa.The Atlas Lions hope to win a second CAN trophy after last winning the competition in 1976. read more

Contractual Teachers Return to Rabats Streets 4 Days Before School Starts

Rabat – Contractual teachers in Morocco have returned to the streets to protest again four days before the school starts for the 2019-2020 academic year.Hundreds of contractual teachers are flocking in Rabat streets, calling on the government to integrate them in the public sector.The teachers were chanting several slogans, including “no to contracts,” “we want integration,” and “we will not give up.” The teachers, who called themselves “the forcibly contracted educators” have been rallying in the streets since February 20. They suspended the strikes on April 29 after the National Coordination of the “Forcibly Contracted Teachers” issued a statement, stating that teachers decided to go back to work to preserve students’ interests.Read Also: Contractual Teachers: Hope of Resolution for Ongoing CrisisThe teachers started their protests just four days before the 2019-2020 school season starts.Throughout the protests, the teachers called to be hired into the public sectors. Demonstrators ale also calling for the abolishment of fixed-term contracts, demanding the end of “discrimination” between contractual teachers and public sector teachers.In 2016, the Moroccan government began hiring teachers under annually renewable contacts. read more

The Latest

PARIS — The Latest on the potential merger of carmakers Renault and Fiat Chrysler (all times local):11 p.m.A person briefed on the matter says the French government and Fiat Chrysler have reached a tentative deal on terms for the carmaker’s potential merger with France’s Renault.The person didn’t want to be identified because Renault’s board was still meeting late Wednesday to discuss the proposal.The person says the deal between Fiat Chrysler and the government is a good sign but no guarantee the merger will be approved.The French government owns 15% of Renault and had been seeking job and investment assurances and a seat on the merged entity’s board.The government wouldn’t comment Wednesday.Fiat Chrysler has proposed merging with Renault to create the world’s third-biggest automaker, worth almost $40 billion.The combined company would produce some 8.7 million vehicles a year, more than General Motors and trailing only Volkswagen and Toyota.-Angela Charlton in Paris___2:55 p.m.France’s finance minister says Renault and Fiat Chrysler shouldn’t rush into a merger.Bruno Le Maire said Wednesday on BFM television that the government is keeping up pressure on both carmakers to accept French government conditions for the proposed tie-up. The French state is Renault’s biggest single shareholder, with a 15% stake.Le Maire said the government wants a seat on the merged company’s board and a joint headquarters in France. “Let’s take the time to do things well,” he said. “We want this merger, but we don’t want it under just any conditions.”Renault’s board is meeting late Wednesday to discuss Fiat Chrysler’s merger offer. It would create the world’s No. 3 auto company and reshape the industry as carmakers race to make electric and autonomous vehicles for the masses.The Associated Press read more

UN legal chief calls on Lebanese leaders to demonstrate support for tribunal

20 April 2007It is time for Lebanon’s key political forces to not just express their support for the establishment of a tribunal to try the suspected killers of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, but to demonstrate it, the United Nations Legal Counsel said today as he called on all sides to seek a solution to their impasse on the issue. Nicolas Michel completed his meetings during his five-day visit to Lebanon by holding another round of talks today with Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told journalists.Mr. Michel has noted that all of his interlocutors during his visit to Lebanon, from Mr. Siniora and Mr. Berri to President Emile Lahoud and other parliamentarians and political figures, have indicated their support for the tribunal to be established.Now is the time for those figures and their parties to demonstrate that support, he said, adding that such an outcome is possible only if the parties resume their dialogue.Mr. Michel was dispatched to Beirut by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to offer legal assistance to the Lebanese as they work towards parliamentary ratification of the agreement on setting up the tribunal, a necessary step for the tribunal to enter into force. Yet Lebanon’s parliamentary forces have been deadlocked on the issue and there has been no vote yet.Speaking to reporters after his meeting today with Mr. Siniora, Mr. Michel said he hoped the parties would continue to seek a solution to their impasse and he urged them to do so.The planned tribunal will be of “an international character” to deal with the assassination of Mr. Hariri, who was killed along with 22 others in a massive car bombing in downtown Beirut in February 2005.Once it is formally established, it will be up to the tribunal to determine whether other political killings in Lebanon since October 2004 were connected to Mr. Hariri’s assassination and could therefore be dealt with by the tribunal.In April 2005 the Security Council set up the International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC) after an earlier UN mission found that Lebanon’s own inquiry into the Hariri assassination was seriously flawed and that Syria was primarily responsible for the political tensions that preceded the attack. Its mandate runs out next year.Serge Brammertz, the current head of the IIIC, told the Council last September that evidence obtained so far suggests that a young, male suicide bomber, probably non-Lebanese, detonated up to 1,800 kilograms of explosives inside a van to assassinate Mr. Hariri. read more

Ban Kimoon profoundly relieved at release of BBCs Alan Johnston

4 July 2007United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced relief at the release of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston following 16 weeks of captivity in Gaza, and called for other kidnap victims to be freed. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced relief at the release of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston following 16 weeks of captivity in Gaza, and called for other kidnap victims to be freed.“The Secretary-General is profoundly relieved at the release,” a spokesman for Mr. Ban said in a statement released in Turin, Italy, calling for the earliest release without conditions of kidnap victims detained in similar circumstances. “He pays tribute to Mr. Johnston’s dignity and resilience in captivity, and equally, to the professional reporting of the BBC worldwide, in which Mr. Johnston has long been a gifted and reliable voice,” the spokesman said.The Secretary-General also acknowledged the work of all parties involved in the release, which he called “a crucial reminder of the need to protect not only the freedom, but the security and safety, of the media around the world.”In Paris, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) also expressed relief at Mr. Johnston’s liberation.“I am relieved and delighted that Alan Johnston has finally been freed, safe and sound,” said Koïchiro Matsuura. “He and his family have displayed remarkable courage during this terrible ordeal.”Stressing that journalists must be able to operate without fear for their security, he congratulated all those who advocated for Mr. Johnston’s release. “Alan Johnston was held captive longer than any other journalist abducted in Gaza . It is now up to Palestinian authorities to see that those responsible are located and swiftly brought to justice,” said the Director-General. read more

Liberia UN envoy welcomes new batch of female Indian police officers

8 February 2008United Nations envoy Ellen Margrethe Løj has welcomed a new group of female Indian police officers to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Liberia, highlighting the impact of their presence on the women of the West African nation which is seeking to rebuild after a devastating 14-year civil war. The newly-arrived team replaces the first all-female Formed Police Unit (FPU) from India, which returned home last month after serving for one year with the mission, known as UNMIL.The presence of the all-female police unit in the country has inspired many women to join the Liberian National Police (LNP), observed Ms. Løj, who took up her post as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNMIL in January.“If anyone questioned the ability of women to do tough jobs, then those doubters have been [proven] wrong by the superb professional performance of the first batch of female Indian police peacekeepers in Liberia,” she noted.The new group’s duties will include patrols, rapid response assignment, crowd and riot control support for the LNP and the protection of UNMIL staff and properties, among others.The Special Representative also pointed out that FPUs are essential to help Liberia deal with possible civil unrest, such as violent demonstrations and communal tensions. India is the third largest troop contributing country to the UN, with police and military peacekeepers deployed worldwide under the blue flag. UNMIL currently has nearly 15,000 uniformed personnel, including over 1,100 police officers. read more

UN peacekeepers help in rescue effort after deadly school collapse in Haiti

The upper storey of the two-storey school collapsed during morning classes, crushing all of the classrooms on the ground level. So far, 75 children and teachers have been reported injured and evacuated to two local hospitals.“UN blue helmets are on the scene clearing rubble and trying to help people buried under the debris,” David Wimhurst, a spokesperson from the UN mission in Haiti, known as MINUSTAH, told the UN News Centre.Frantic rescue efforts are under way but the scene of the accident is surrounded by thousands of people, including anxious family members of the hundreds of children who attend La Promesse School in Pétionville, an outlying suburb of the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince.The crowds are making it difficult for rescue workers to gain access to the site to dig out survivors and provide emergency care. The UN commander in Haiti, Maj. Gen. Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz, had to park a kilometre away and walk through the amassed group to get to the school.“If we can’t get rescue equipment in and out it’s going to be hard to help the people trapped in the building,” said Mr. Wimhurst.Peacekeepers are using ambulances to help clear a passage for rescue workers and to transport survivors to hospitals. By mid-afternoon some 60 blue helmets – including military engineers from Brazil, Chile and Ecuador as well as military from the Philippines – that were helping with crowd control had also delivered 540 litres of water to people still buried in the rubble and survivors suffering from dehydration. MINUSTAH had also provided three generators and three sets of industrial strength lighting to aid emergency rescue efforts through the night.“This is a terrible tragedy for the families involved and the children but also for Pétionville itself, which is a huge metro area. It is also a tragedy for the national community because of the loss of life to children,” said Mr. Wimhurst. 7 November 2008United Nations peacekeepers are helping rescue workers dig through the rubble of a school building in Haiti after it collapsed this morning, killing at least 11 children and severely injuring dozens more. read more

Collective resistance best strategy to fight terrorism says Ban

“The best response to a corrosive, malevolent ideology is a strong assertion of collective resistance,” Mr. Ban said at the open meeting.As an independent and impartial universal organization, “the United Nations has a responsibility to lead the international community’s efforts to confront this menace, which no cause or grievance can justify,” he added.The Secretary-General told the 15-member Council that combating terrorism must be one of the world’s top priorities.“Those armed with planes and guns today could well arrive with more potent force tomorrow,” he warned. “And so those who believe that terror is a legitimate means by which they can achieve their goals must be shown that they will fail.”At today’s meeting, which heard from over 30 speakers, Mr. Ban spotlighted the various efforts made by the UN to combat the scourge, ranging from Council and General Assembly actions to the advice and technical expertise provided by agencies such as the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO).He reminded the Council that in two days, it will be the one-year anniversary of the deadly terrorist attacks against UN facilities in Algiers, Algeria, claiming the lives of 17 staff members and injuring 40 others.“It was all-too-reminiscent of the attack on the UN compound in Baghdad more than five years ago,” the Secretary-General said, referring to the August 2003 attack that killed 22 people, including top envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.In October, two UN staff working in the northern Somali town of Hargeisa were killed after a suicide bombing at the local UN Development Programme (UNDP).“It is more apparent than ever that the United Nations, too, has become a deliberate target,” Mr. Ban said. “Yet these tragedies have deterred neither our will nor our ability to serve the international community.”In a presidential statement at the end of the meeting, the Council emphasized the central role of the UN in the global struggle against terrorism and called on States to strengthen their cooperation to find, deny safe haven and bring to justice “on the basis or extradite or prosecute” al those who support, facilitate or participate in financing, planning, preparing or committing terrorist acts or provide safe havens.“The Security Council condemns in the strongest terms the incitement of terrorist acts and repudiates attempts at the justification or glorification of terrorist acts that may incite further terrorist acts,” the statement said, calling on all Member States to renew the degree of solidarity shown after the 11 September, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States. 9 December 2008The United Nations must head up a cohesive global drive to tackle the scourge of terrorism, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council today. read more

UN envoy to begin fourday visit to Myanmar

30 January 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Adviser on Myanmar will begin a four-day visit to the South-East Asian nation tomorrow at the invitation of the Government, the United Nations confirmed today. This will be Ibrahim Gambari’s fifth visit to the country over the past year and a half. He was last there in August 2008.On previous visits, Mr. Gambari met with a range of actors, including senior Government officials, as well as the detained pro-democracy leader and Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.Mr. Ban has asked his Special Adviser to visit Myanmar to continue his consultations with the Government and other relevant parties to the implement the good offices mandate entrusted to the Secretary-General by the General Assembly, according to a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson. “He looks forward to meaningful discussions with all concerned on all the points raised during his last visit,” the statement added.Last month, Mr. Ban voiced his growing frustration that the UN’s long-standing efforts to promote national reconciliation and democratization in Myanmar have yet to achieve the desired results and urged the Government to release all political prisoners immediately and initiate “genuine dialogue” with the opposition. read more

Human trafficking victims address UN event as Ban calls for broadbased action

22 October 2009The United Nations hosted a special event at its New York Headquarters today for the victims and survivors of human trafficking, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issuing a broad-based call to action for States to tackle the root causes and ensure swift justice against the perpetrators. “Our fight against human trafficking is guided by three Ps: prevention, protection and prosecution,” he said in an opening address at the event at which four survivors bore living witness with accounts of their own horrific plight, including a girl who was abducted at age 14 by Ugandan rebels and kept as a sex slave for eight years.“We must also empower victims. They need support systems, information and education. They need viable ways to earn a living. They also need criminal justice systems to pursue traffickers, and subject them to serious penalties. Conviction rates in most countries are microscopic compared to the scope of the problem. But when States help victims, the victims can help States break up trafficking networks.”Mr. Ban cited a litany of abhorrent practices, including debt bondage, forced labour, torture, organ removal, sexual exploitation and slavery-like conditions. “Human trafficking injures, traumatizes and kills individuals. It devastates families and threatens global security,” he declared of a worldwide industry that generates billions of dollars in profit at the expense of millions of victims.“Human trafficking touches on many issues, from health and human rights to development and peace and security. Our response must be equally broad, and must tackle this challenge at its roots,” he added, noting that the global economic crisis is making the problem worse as jobs and food get scarcer and rising social exclusion makes minorities and women especially vulnerable. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, whose office organized the Giving Voice to the Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking Special Event, stressed that persisting economic disparities, conflict and discrimination, particularly against women and migrants, continue to push those least able to protect themselves into dangerous situations from which they cannot escape.Central to the battle “is eradicating discrimination and the unjust distribution of power that underlie trafficking, that grant impunity to traffickers, and that deny justice to victims,” she said. “A victim-centred approach to trafficking demands that we listen to the victims and survivors of trafficking. We must use their first-hand insights to craft better and more effective responses.”She added that according to international trafficked persons should not be subjected to summary deportations, nor held in detention or prosecuted for immigration or other offences that are a direct outcome of their situation. They should be given the support to recover their dignity and rights and their mobility should not be further curtailed, nor should they be denied the right to make decisions. Victims who addressed the event included Charlotte Awino, abducted at age 14 by Lord’s Resistance Army rebels in Uganda and kept as a sex slave for eight years; Buddhi Gurung from Nepal, trafficked for labour to Iraq to work on a United States military base; Kika Cerpa from Venezuela, forced into prostitution by a man she thought of as her boyfriend; and Rachel Lloyd, an activist who survived commercial sexual exploitation as a teenager and started a New York organization to aid girls victimized by sex traffickers.Today’s event came on the eve of the presentation to the General Assembly of the latest report on the scourge by UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons Joy Ngozi Ezeilo. read more

UN chief lends support to global Road Safety Decade

“All of us can play a part in increasing safety and promoting sustainable transport,” Mr. Ban told Mr. Al-Hinai, lending his support to the forthcoming Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020) to be launched on 11 May. “Millions of lives can be saved if we work together for real action on every highway and every street in every community.”He noted that every day, almost 3,500 people lose their lives on the world’s roads, 85 per cent of them in low- and middle-income countries, making road safety a growing public health crisis as well as a hindrance to economic and social development.To help raise global awareness, Mr. Ban was photographed wearing a yellow road safety tag bearing the slogan “Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.” An estimated 1.3 million people die on the world’s roads every year with around 50 million injured or disabled by accidents, which cost countries up to 4 per cent of their gross national product (GNP) yearly.In a message marking the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims last month, Mr. Ban said many tragedies could be avoided “through a set of proven, simple measures that benefit not only individuals and families but society at large.” 9 December 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took a further step in the campaign to improve road safety today, meeting with Oman’s Ambassador to the United Nations, who has sponsored several General Assembly resolutions on a scourge that kills one person about every 25 seconds. read more

Social protection schemes most effective way to combat poverty – UN official

“Social protection is one of the most powerful tools that any society has to combat poverty and to invest in its own social economic development,” said Michael Cichon, the Director of the UN International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Social Security Department.“All we need in developing country context is 4 per cent GDP [gross domestic product] to reduce the poverty rate in a country by about 14 per cent,” Mr. Cichon told a news conference at UN Headquarters to launch a document entitled “Successful Social Protection Floor Experiences,” which is jointly compiled by ILO and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).He said that social protection schemes have succeeded in reducing poverty and providing income security in developed countries over the years. Developing countries are following suit with programmes such as cash transfer arrangements and universal health care, he said.“The real innovation these days comes from the global South,” said Mr. Cichon, noting that in the next 10 to 15 years an estimated 1.2 billion people in developing countries will have a means of social protection, including food security, health services for all and old-age pensions.The ILO is preparing a meeting in June with Governments, employers and workers from all 183 of the agency’s member States to draw up a long-term social protection strategy.At a meeting in Oslo last September, ILO Director-General Juan Somavia and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn agreed to explore the concept of a “social protection floor” for people living in poverty and those in vulnerable situations within the context of a medium to long-term strategy.Currently the world spends 17 per cent on social protection, but that is 19 per cent in developed world and only 4 to 4.5 per cent in developing countries.In the current global economic crisis, developed countries are looking to cut deficits and public expenditure, consolidate budgets and finance fiscal stimulus packages by cutting back on social expenditure.“What it means in the end, and I think we should all understand that, is that the old, the disabled, the sick and the poor are going to pay for the crisis for the next few years,” Mr. Cichon warned on Monday. “And it’s a pretty straightforward message and a pretty perturbing message.”The “Successful Social Protection Floor Experiences” is a compilation of successful case studies from developing countries intended to be part of a broader knowledge-sharing process, according to Francisco Simplicio of UNDP’s Special Unit for South-South Cooperation.“The experiences documented here advocate for a careful analysis of the capacities, needs and existing [social protection] schemes in place that will enable and inform policy-making processes and the gradual building up of social services,” said Mr. Simplicio. 17 February 2011Improving social protection is the most effective way to combat poverty in developing countries, a United Nations official said today, adding that poorer nations are coming up with innovative ways to ensure that their citizens have basic social security. read more

UN mission to South Sudan welcomes action on policemen who assaulted staff

Benedict Sannoh, the head of UNMISS’ human rights section, was severely beaten by police officers in a hotel in the country’s capital, Juba, on 20 August. He sustained injuries when he was punched and kicked as he lay on the floor and was subsequently detained for several hours.The South Sudanese Government today announced that two officers involved in the assault had been suspended on allegations of using excessive force, and that four other policemen had been punished for their role in the assault.“I welcome the steps taken by the Government. This incident was completely unacceptable and a clear violation of the Status of Forces Agreement with the Republic of South Sudan,” said Hilde F. Johnson, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan.“I have previously raised this issue at the highest levels of Government. I am encouraged that today we have seen the Government take measures against those responsible,” she added.Ms. Johnson said UNMISS had also welcomed the Government’s reassurance that such actions would not happen again, adding that the mission was ready to assist the Government to uphold the values of the UN and provide human rights training to its security personnel. 20 September 2011The United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) today welcomed the statement of the country’s Government that it had taken action against police officers who were responsible for an assault against a UN member of staff last month. read more

Azerbaijan wins final vacancy on Security Council

24 October 2011Azerbaijan will become a member of the Security Council for the first time in its history after winning the final vacancy on the 15-member body during voting today in New York. Azerbaijan claimed the non-permanent seat, awarded to an Eastern European country, on the 17th round of balloting after it scored 155 votes from United Nations Member States in the General Assembly – well clear of the necessary two-thirds majority of States present and voting. Slovenia received 13 votes and Hungary one vote.The country’s victory occurred after Slovenia, which was also a candidate for the same Eastern European seat, withdrew its bid at the end of the 16th round. In that round Azerbaijan had obtained 116 votes to Slovenia’s 77.A representative of Slovenia told the General Assembly that while his country believed it would be a good fit for the Council, it was withdrawing its candidacy as the will of the Assembly was clear.Azerbaijan, which will hold the seat in 2012-13, succeeds Bosnia and Herzegovina.Four other non-permanent seats for 2012-13 were filled on Friday when Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo were successful in earlier rounds of voting. All non-permanent seats are allocated according to a geographical formula.The five new members will join Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa, whose terms end on 31 December 2012, and the five permanent Council members, which each wield the power of veto – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. read more

UN book highlights benefits of Amazon plants and foods to improve livelihoods

20 December 2011A United Nations book released today aims to provide people in the developing world with accessible knowledge of Amazon plants and foods they can use to improve their livelihoods. A United Nations book released today aims to provide people in the developing world with accessible knowledge of Amazon plants and foods they can use to improve their livelihoods.The book, Fruit Trees and Useful Plants in Amazonian Life, is written in easy-to-grasp language and incorporates the folklore and customs of rural villagers so they can easily put the book’s recommendations into practice. “Some 80 per cent of people living in the developing world rely on non-wood forest products such as fruits and medicinal plants for their nutritional and health needs,” said Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General for Forestry at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).“This new book provides comprehensive information on Amazon fruits and plants, and is a perfect example of how to make our knowledge accessible for poor people to help them maximize the benefits from forest products and services and improve their livelihoods.”FAO estimates that 25 per cent of people in developing countries are functionally illiterate, and that in rural areas this figure can be of up to 40 per cent. The layout of the book takes this into account and allows readers who lack formal education to extract knowledge using pictures and numbers. “Some 90 Brazilian and international researchers who were willing to present their research to rural villagers in alternative formats – including jokes, recipes and pictures – collaborated in the production of this book,” said Tina Etherington, who managed the publication project for FAO’s forestry department.Ms. Etherington also highlighted that farmers, midwives, hunters and musicians contributed insights and their experiences to the publication, making it an “innovative way of presenting science and how those techniques can be transferred to other areas in the world.”Some of the foods spotlighted in the publication that provide nutrients, minerals and anti-oxidants that keep the body healthy include the Buriti palm fruit, which contains the highest known levels of vitamin A of any plant in the world and the açaí fruit, which is hailed as a “superfood” for its high antioxidant and omega fatty acid content. The publication was co-produced by FAO, the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and People and Plants International, and was unveiled in a ceremony in Rome marking the end of the International Year of Forests. The Amazon is the largest contiguous tropical forest remaining in the world, with 25 million people living in the Brazilian Amazon alone. However, deforestation, fire and climate change could destabilize the region and result in the forest shrinking to one third of its size in 65 years. read more

Closing Bell TSX heads higher on positive eurozone news

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed modestly higher Tuesday amid data that indicated the eurozone economy is improving and a positive reception for BlackBerry’s new Z10 smartphone.Here are the closing numbersTSX — 12,745.65 + 28.03 +0.2%S&P 500 — 1,511.29 +15.58 +1.0%Dow — 13,979.30 +99.22 +0.7%Nasdaq — 3,171.58 +40.41 +1.3%The S&P/TSX composite index was off early highs partly because of declining gold stocks but still ahead 28.02 points to 12,745.65 while the TSX Venture Exchange was down 1.23 points at 1,215.27.BlackBerry (TSX:BB)(NASDAQ:BBRY) shares were up 95 cents, or 6.34%, to $15.94 on very heavy volume of 18 million shares on the TSX as the new touchscreen device went on sale in Canada. It went on sale in the U.K. last week but won’t be available in the U.S. until mid-March because of further testing being done by U.S. phone carriers.The stock has been very volatile since the new product was launched last Wednesday and analysts say that won’t change until BlackBerry’s next earnings are released in a couple of months and investors find out just how well the phone has sold.“They’ve at least rolled the product up, so people can touch it, feel it, use it,” said Craig Fehr, Canadian markets specialist with Edward Jones in St. Louis.“(But) at the end of the day, it’s going to be about phone sales. It’s going to be about contracts, revenues and what they do with their cash position, how much they will have to pay to make themselves a little bit more relevant again in this smartphone space. And all of that remains a question mark.”There was also major acquisition activity in the tech sector as computer maker Dell agreed to be taken private by its founder and a group of investors that includes Microsoft in a deal worth US$24.4 billion. Shareholders are receiving $13.65 per share for their stock. Dell shares inched up 15 cents to US$13.42.The Canadian dollar edged up 0.24 of a cent at 100.38 cents US.New York’s Dow Jones industrials advanced 99.22 points to 13,979.30.The Nasdaq climbed 40.41 points to 3,171.58 and the S&P 500 index gained 15.58 points to 1,511.29.Markit, a financial information group, said its purchasing managers’ index for the eurozone economy rose to a 10-month high of 48.6 in January from 47.2 in December.Despite the data, the region continues to face a number of headwinds, including the serious government debt problems of many of its members.Meanwhile, Italy’s general election at the end of this month looks like it may yield a split parliament, which would make it more difficult to push through much needed economic reforms. And the Spanish government is embroiled in a corruption scandal over alleged secret cash payments that has raised questions over the future of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.Worries about the eurozone helped send North American markets lower on Monday, prompting some investors to take profits from strong gains racked up in January.“What yesterday showed was that the financial crisis and the debt crisis in Europe is not solved and is still one of those things that can cut the strings from this rally a bit,” added Fehr.“But I think this data does show that it’s the rate of change that’s really improving. We’re seeing a slowdown in the rate of contraction which has to start before you grow again.”The consumer staples sector was the second biggest advancer next to the tech sector as grocer Loblaw Cos. (TSX:L) gained 58 cents to $40.77.Industrial stocks helped take the TSX higher with transport giant Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B) ahead a dime to $4.05.The energy sector was up 0.57% with the March crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange up 47 cents to US$96.64 a barrel. Suncor Energy (TSX:SU) climbed 22 cents to C$34.38.March copper was unchanged at US$3.77 a pound and the base metals sector 0.23 added%. Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) ran up 36 cents to C$36.87.The gold sector was the leading TSX decliner, down about 0.5% while April bullion declined $2.90 to US$1,673.50 an ounce. Alamos Gold (TSX:AGI) faded 28 cents to C$15.03.On the earnings front, telecom provider Bell Aliant Inc. (TSX:BA) says it had $70 million of net income or 31 cents a share in the fourth quarter, a $10-million decline from the same period of 2011. Adjusted earnings came in at 37 cents, four cents less than expectations. The regional telecom company’s operating revenue was down 0.8% to $695 million and its shares were up 63 cents to $26.18.In other corporate developments, the two rival groups that have been competing to buy Primaris Retail Real Estate Investment Trust (TSX:PMZ.UN), one of Canada’s largest shopping mall operators, have reached a $4.6-billion compromise. Some of the Primaris properties will be bought by the KingSett Capital consortium but H&R Real Estate Investment Trust (TSX:HR.UN) will end up owning Primaris and the rest of its portfolio. Primaris units were 57 cents higher to $27.50 while H&R units lost 16 cents to $23.50.U.S. indexes were also lifted by solid housing data. Home prices jumped by the most in 6 1/2 years in December, helped along by a low supply of available homes and rising demand. CoreLogic, a real estate data provider, says home prices rose 8.3% in December compared with a year earlier.However, the Institute for Supply Management’s index of non-manufacturing activity dipped to 55.2 in January from 55.7 in December. That’s above the 12-month average of 54.5. The report measures growth in industries that cover 90% of the work force, including retail, construction, health care and financial services.Here’s the news investors were watching today:BlackBerry Z10 looks set for record sales on first day in CanadaDell going private in US$24-billion dealToronto home prices jump even as sales declinePiper Jaffray advises investors to buy McGraw-Hill after stock plunges over $5-billion S&P rating lawsuitON DECK WEDNESDAYECONOMIC NEWSCANADA10 a.m.Ivey Purchasing Managers’ Index (Jan): Economists expect a reading of 53.9, up from last month CORPORATE NEWSCANADATMX Group Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 77¢ a share WestJet Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 42¢ Gildan Activewear Q1 earnings: Analysts expect 30¢ Canaccord Financial Q3 earnings: Analysts expect 16¢ Sierra Wireless Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 19¢  UNITED STATESVisa Inc Q1 earnings: Analysts expect US$1.79 Time Warner Inc Q4 earnings: Analysts expect US$1.10 Prudential Financial Inc Q4 earnings: Analysts expect US$1.74 The News Corp Q2 earnings: Analysts expect 42¢ Marathon Oil Corp Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 67¢ IntercontinentalExchange Inc Q4 earnings: Analysts expect US$1.75 read more

AntiKeystone XL billionaire challenges TransCanada boss to live debate

CALGARY — A San Francisco billionaire has challenged TransCanada boss Russ Girling to a live debate on the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.Tom Steyer, an ardent critic of the project and a major Democratic financier, says in an open letter to Girling that he wants to have a “real, substantial conversation” on the more than US$5.3-billion project.A TransCanada spokesman didn’t say if Girling would accept the challenge, but noted the project is nearly five years into a State Department environmental review process that the company hopes will be complete in the coming months.Shawn Howard added the project is expected to create thousands of jobs and displace U.S. imports of crude from unfriendly countries — assertions Steyer disputes in his letter.A draft State Department report earlier this year raised no major environmental red flags with the proposal, which had been rerouted to reduce some of the ecological impact in Nebraska.U.S. President Barack Obama — who has final say over the pipeline — has expressed skepticism that the pipeline will be a significant job creator. read more

Open Text profit doubles from a year ago revenue rises more than

WATERLOO, Ont. — Open Text Corp. reported Wednesday that its fourth-quarter profit doubled compared with a year ago, as revenue improved by more than 40%.The corporate software company, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, said it earned US$88.1 million, or 72 cents per diluted share, up from $42.2 million, or 36 cents per diluted share, a year ago.Revenue improved to $494 million, up from $347.3 million.Open Text noted that licence revenue was up 27% compared with a year ago, while its cloud services revenue was up 255%. Customer support revenue was up 12%.For its full year, Open Text reported a profit of $218.1 million or $1.81 per diluted share on $1.62 billion in revenue. That compared with a profit of $148.5 million, or $1.26 per diluted share, on $1.36 billion in revenue the previous year.The company also announced the appointment of John Doolittle as chief financial officer, effective Sept. 8.Doolittle will replace Paul McFeeters who is retiring. read more