McDonalds hiring 165 in Calgary

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by audreywhelan Posted Apr 6, 2016 7:11 am MDT Wednesday is National Hiring Day at McDonald’s and the fast food giant hopes to find 750 new employees in Alberta, including 165 in Calgary.Job seekers will be able to learn about the company, apply for a position, and possibly be interviewed on the spot.Spokesperson Jason Hunt says everyone is welcome.“McDonald’s offers a wide variety of positions for all people whether they are making sandwiches in our kitchen or sweeping floors in our dining room. We have our guest experience leaders who take care of our guests in the dining room, saying hello and goodbye, opening doors,” he said.McDonald’s is also hiring people for management positions. (Stock photo: FreeImages.com) McDonald’s hiring 165 in Calgary read more

Diamond the size of a tennis ball found in Canadianowned mine could

Diamond the size of a tennis ball found in Canadian-owned mine could fetch C$90M A three-billion-year-old diamond the size of a tennis ball could fetch more than C$90 million when the Canadian mining company that unearthed it puts the rock up for auction this summer.But the first person to lay eyes on the whopping gem barely gave it a glance, the CEO of Vancouver-based Lucara Diamond Corp. recalled Wednesday, as the eye-popping estimate for the precious stone was issued by auctioneer Sotheby’s.“He’d only been working for us for two weeks, so he sees the thousand carats and goes ‘oh, this must be normal,’” William Lamb told The Canadian Press. “He didn’t tell anybody. It was only when the chief saw it that there was this huge commotion on site.”The diamond was unearthed in November, at the Karowe mine in Botswana that’s owned by Lucara (TSX:LUC).After being closely examined, it was found to measure 1,109 carats, making it the second-largest gem-quality rough diamond ever discovered.The only bigger diamond found to date was the 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond, unearthed in South Africa in 1905. It was cut into nine pieces that form part of the U.K. Crown Jewels.The Cullinan diamond, however, was found when a mine worker noticed something glinting in the side of a pit, grabbed a ladder and started chipping around it with a pen knife, said Lamb.The diamond found at the Lucara mine, in contrast, managed to survive a modern mining process which included drilling, blasting, excavation, crushing and mechanized sorting, he said.“Our stone actually went through an entire processing facility before it was recovered,” Lamb explained. “We were very lucky.”The diamond has been named Lesedi la Rona, meaning “our light” in the local Tswana language.The name came from a local contest which drew some 11,000 entries, Lamb said, and carries a special meaning for Botswana, whose economy has benefited greatly from diamond mining.The Lesedi la Rona is currently on a world tour ahead of an auction in London this summer.It has already been displayed in Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai, and will be shown in New York this weekend before heading to locations in Europe, said Lamb.“We’re trying to get access to people who may want it as a collector’s item,” he said. “We’re looking at people who have the financial resources, but also see the uniqueness, the rarity and the beauty in the stone.”Auctioneer Sotheby’s has estimated the diamond could sell for more than C$90 million, but Lamb said just how much the rock will ultimately go for is hard to say.“This is historic,” he said. “It is the only plus thousand carat stone in existence.”Whoever acquires the diamond will have to decide whether to cut and polish the stone, possibly splitting it into smaller pieces, or keep it in its rough form.“If you ask me, I wouldn’t cut it. It is unique,” said Lamb, who remembered feeling “shock and awe” when he first held the diamond.“It automatically draws you to it. I’d say the stone has an addictive quality to it.”Sotheby’s has said the rough gemstone “of exceptional transparency” could yield the largest top-quality diamond ever cut and polished, if the buyer decides to go that route.David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s jewelry division, called the discovery “the find of a lifetime” and the auction unprecedented, because no rough diamond of this size has ever been auctioned.The Lesedi la Rona could smash the record price for a diamond of US$48.5 million, paid at a Geneva sale last year for the 12.03-carat polished “Blue Moon” diamond. Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau picked it up as a gift for his 7-year-old daughter.The Lesedi la Rona diamond will be offered at auction on June 29.— With files from The Associated Press by Diana Mehta, The Canadian Press Posted May 4, 2016 9:42 am MDT Last Updated May 4, 2016 at 3:01 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email A model displays a large diamond at Sotheby’s in New York, Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The auction house plans to offer the Lesedi la Rona diamond in London on June 29. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) read more

Alberta hopes success in Rocky Mountain tourist areas will spread to other

CALGARY – Alberta’s Rocky Mountains are once again bursting with visitors in what could be another banner year, but the government is hoping to get more tourists spending in other areas of the province as well.“The Rockies are often the hook to get those international travellers to come,” says Shelley Grollmuss, vice-president of industry development at Travel Alberta.“And then we work very hard with our industry partners to try and build road trips or other itineraries, where they can go into other areas of the province and explore.”It’s all part of the province’s plan to boost tourist spending from the $8.3 billion in 2014 to $10 billion by 2020, and to increase jobs in the industry as it works to further diversify an economy that has been heavily reliant on oil and gas.Last week, Premier Rachel Notley announced $33.5 million in funding for an expansion of the Fort Edmonton historic site as part of the Alberta jobs program.“Our government will expand tourist sites to bring in more visitors from around the world, the rest of Canada, and Alberta,” Notley said.The new Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum in Grande Prairie, Alta., has already seen 100,000 visitors in its first 10 months of operation.The older Royal Tyrrell dinosaur museum in Drumheller, Alta., has already topped 135,000 visitors since the start of April, while it set an attendance record last year with 479,000 visitors from more than 130 countries.Grollmuss says tourist numbers are helped by a low dollar that makes travelling abroad for Canadians more expensive than a few years ago when the loonie was higher.Similarly, the loonie’s fall helps make Canada less expensive and more attractive to international visitors.An increase in direct international flights is also helping, Grollmuss says.Hainan Airlines recently launched a direct flight from Beijing to Calgary at the end June, while WestJet started flying direct to London in May.“We do have more tour operators and online travel agencies globally selling Alberta now than we’ve ever had before,” Grollmuss says.But attendance at national parks in Alberta is making other attractions pale in comparison.Banff saw an eight per cent jump to 3.9 million visitors, Jasper was up five per cent to 2.3 million, and Waterton Lakes rose 16 per cent to 486,000 visitors for the financial year ended in March.Lake Louise at Banff National Park was so busy on the Canada Day long weekend that police temporarily shut down access to the town to everyone but residents and those with reservations at hotels.Dave Kaiser, head of the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association, says most of province’s tourism industry has been hit hard by the recession, but the resorts are seeing strong results.“You wouldn’t know we’re in the same province,” Kaiser says.He said hotels in Alberta outside the Rockies in the past year have seen a 25 per cent drop in revenue per room, but in the mountain resorts, revenue is actually up 12 per cent.“We just need to find ways to get some of those tourists to not only go to Banff and the mountains, but to get them travelling to other parts of the province as well,” said Kaiser.———Follow @ibickis on Twitter Tourists take in the views from the newly opened Glacier SkyWalk near the Columbia Icefields in Jasper National Park, Alta., Wednesday, May 7, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh Alberta hopes success in Rocky Mountain tourist areas will spread to other areas by Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press Posted Jul 10, 2016 8:00 am MDT Last Updated Jul 10, 2016 at 10:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Restrictions to limit Internet access on the rise warns UNESCO

“Knowledge and ideas today flow in volumes and at speed that we could not have imagined years ago, ‘regardless of frontier’ and at low cost,” the Assistant Director-General for Communication of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Janis Karklins, told participants at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). “However, barriers to this flow still exist, and new ones continue to emerge.”The Forum, which opened in Baku, Azerbaijan on Tuesday, includes the participation of governments, intergovernmental organizations, business representatives, the technical community, civil society organizations, as well as any individual Internet users interested in Internet governance issues.The theme for this year’s Forum is ‘Internet Governance for Sustainable Human, Economic and Social Development’ and reflects the increasing role of the Internet in the evolution of the various aspects of development, across all countries.According to its website, UNESCO recognizes that the Internet holds enormous potential for development, providing an unprecedented volume of resources for information and knowledge and opens up new opportunities. “The principle of freedom of expression must apply not only to traditional media but also to the Internet and all types of emerging media platforms which will definitely contribute to development, democracy and dialogue,” it states.In an IGF session focusing on online freedom of expression, Mr. Karklins said UNESCO has seen cases of Internet service shutdowns during times of political developments in some countries, limiting connection of specific communication platforms, arbitrarily blocking and filtering content, and criminalizing legitimate speech to silence dissent.“Unwarranted surveillance and violations of the right to privacy have also been inflicted upon Internet users around the world,” Mr. Karklins said. “Many have faced imprisonment, harassment and cyber-attacks. In extreme cases, people who have expressed themselves on the Internet have been killed.”The constant evolution of the Internet landscape, as well as its trans-national nature, present challenges to legal frameworks, with discrepancies arising in laws in different jurisdictions, Mr. Karklins noted, and warned that freedom of expression must be safeguarded to prevent abuses to this fundamental right. The UNESCO official also underlined that States must promote accessible Internet connection and inexpensive equipment, as well as media literacy among their citizens.“Within a multi-stakeholder Internet governance framework, the effective realization of freedom of expression should be considered just as critical as widening access to infrastructure. This is in the interest of individuals, the societies, of governments and the community of nations,” he added, and reiterated UNESCO’s commitment to promoting freedom of expression through traditional as well as online platforms. read more

Upcoming UN forum highlights vital contribution of forests to food security and

Forests cover nearly a third of the globe and provide an invaluable variety of social, economic and environmental benefits. Around 1.6 billion people – including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures – depend on forests for their livelihood. Forests are also the source of three-fourths of freshwater, help to regulate the impact of storms and floods and store carbon from the atmosphere. Also, more than three billion people depend on forests for wood for cooking and heating.The International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition, to be held at FAO headquarters from 13 to 15 May, will bring together policy-makers, scientists, the private sector, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, and community and farmers’ groups, as well as indigenous representatives to raise awareness and understanding about the many ways forests contribute to food security, especially in developing countries.“If you talk to the general public about forests, they think about building houses and furniture and maybe recreation. But they don’t primarily think about food,” said Eva Muller, Director of FAO’s Forest Economics, Policy and Products Division.“So one of the main reasons for organizing this conference is to draw attention to the contribution that forests can actually provide to food security and nutrition,” she stated in an interview with the UN News Centre ahead of the Rome meeting. Ms. Muller pointed out that forests contribute to food security in a variety of ways. They are a source of ‘forest foods’, which include things such as fruits, leaves, seeds and mushrooms, as well as wild animals and insects. “These usually are not the main staple of people’s diets but they are a very important supplement to diets because they are very nutritious and add minerals and vitamins. Also, the insects and wild animals provide the main source of protein for many people who live in and around forests.” Forests and trees also provide income and in many rural areas, they are the basis of small businesses, Ms. Muller noted. Very often, women collect products from the forests – mainly non-wood products – and sell them in the markets to generate crucial additional income which they use to provide food for their families, pay school fees and clothe their children. “But forests also contribute in a more indirect ways to food security and nutrition. And that is through the environmental services they provide,” she stated. Forests help mitigate climate change by storing carbon, regulate water flows, and sometimes provide protection against the effects of storms. Forests are also home to bees which are pollinators for agricultural crops, she added. The first day of the conference will feature the launch of the book Edible Insects: future prospects for feed and food security, which address the multi-faceted role that insects can play in nutrition and supporting livelihoods in both developing and developed countries.Insects, Ms. Muller pointed out, are extremely nutritious. “They’re rich in protein, they’re rich in fat, and they’re also rich in vitamins and minerals.” While edible insects may not be all the rage right now, FAO believes there is growing interest in them and that they can help address the food security needs of a growing global population. “If we think about edible insects, there’s a huge potential that has essentially not been tapped yet because currently, two billion people in the world eat insects but most of these are just collected and there’s very little experience in insect farming, for example, which is something that could be explored in view of a growing population.”The agency has been working on edible insects for a number of years and has established a database of edible insects that are reported to be used in various countries. It decided that the time was right to compile all of the information into one major publication. “We have realized that there is really a huge potential there that hasn’t been very well explored,” said Ms. Muller, who said she believes the publication will be “groundbreaking.”In addition to highlighting the ways in which trees and forests contribute to food security and nutrition, next week’s meeting will explore policy options and innovative approaches for increasing that contribution and identify key challenges and bottlenecks hindering it. Among those expected to address the opening of the conference on Monday is FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva; David Nabarro, Special Representative of the Secretary General for Food Security and Nutrition; Mirna Cunningham, outgoing Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous People; and Braulio De Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity. read more

Security Council approves joint OPCWUN mission to oversee destruction of Syrias chemical

In a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Council today endorsed the UN chief’s plan to deploy up to 100 United Nations and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) experts in a multi-phase operation to carry out last month’s Council resolution on eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons material and equipment, scheduled for completion by 30 June, 2014.The Council passed its resolution after Syria agreed to join the Chemical Weapons Convention following a chemical weapons attack in August that killed hundreds of people in a Damascus suburb, an “especially disturbing” event in a conflict that has already killed over 100,000 people and driven some 6.5 million others from their homes since protesters first sought the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad’s Government in March, 2011.Responding to the Council’s decision to approve the joint mission, Mr. Ban said in a video message he was “very pleased” the 15-member body moved so quickly on his recommendation. “This is a sign of the international community’s commitment to eliminate chemical weapons,” he added.“We have a very tight deadline, but the United Nations is committed to work closely with the OPCW to get the job done. And I am just as committed and determined to make progress in the political and humanitarian tracks for the sake of the Syrian people,” said Mr. BanThe physical destruction of chemical weapons facilities, stocks and associated material is the responsibility of the Syrian Government, since neither the OPCW nor the UN is mandated to conduct actual destruction activities.An advance team of experts and support staff from the OPCW and the UN has been in Syria since earlier in the month and has already begun overseeing the destruction of Syria’s production facilities amid the ongoing deadly violence in the country. The UN earlier reported that mortar fire had struck near the Damascus hotel where the advance team has initially based its operations just hours before it arrived.Today, the UN and the OPCW report that the advance team has made “good progress” since it began its operations. “At the end of the first 10 days of operations on the ground the verification teams have inspected three sites and plans are underway for further site visits,” the organizations say in a joint news release.A second group of inspectors from the OPCW and additional UN support staff also arrived today in Damascus, bringing to about 60 the number of people on the advance team.The release noted that since the OPCW has received initial and supplementary information from the Syrian Government on its chemical weapons programme, it is now in the process of verifying that information. It has also overseen the destruction by Syria of some of its munitions stockpile as well as some of its chemical weapons production equipment. On Wednesday, the OPCW’s Director-General, Ahmet Üzümcü, said the first verification activities have to be completed by the end of this month and production facilities will have to be rendered unusable by that time as well, with the view of destroying all chemical weapons capabilities by mid-2014.Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Jans Laerke, warned that soaring food prices, the unavailability of food for children, displacement and loss of income have made it difficult to provide Syrian children with adequate healthcare and nutrition.In addition, the number of children admitted to hospitals with severe or acute malnutrition has reportedly increased in Aleppo, Dar’a Deir-ez-Zor, Hama, Homs and other areas, Mr. Laerke said.He added that humanitarian agencies in Syria are also preparing to adapt their response, as winter approaches. Partners working in the shelter sector have begun stocking items such as warm clothes, thermal blankets and hot water bottles. They are also preparing to assist the displaced families living in damaged and collective shelters by insulating the shelters against the freezing temperatures during winter. read more

Ebola UN chief hails progress in fight against virus urges intensified response

“The rate of new Ebola cases shows encouraging signs of slowing in some of the hardest-hit parts of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — and that’s good news. The full-scale international strategy to attack Ebola through safe burials, treatment facilities and community mobilization is paying dividends,” the Secretary-General confirmed in an op-ed published in today’s The Washington Post.“Governments and communities in the region are combating the virus. Dozens of countries have stepped up with life-saving contributions. The United Nations is also partnering closely with regional organizations such as the European Union and the African Union, which is mobilizing medical professionals and health-care volunteers from throughout the continent,” he added. Amid recent signs of progress in containing the devastating outbreak, the UN system has been accelerating its Ebola response, including ramped up on-the-ground medical assistance for local governments in affected areas via the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER); providing financial support for the countries hardest hit by the socio-economic consequences of the disease through the World Bank; and monitoring the urgent laboratory testing of an experimental Ebola vaccine which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), could be distributed across West Africa as early as January 2015.While the UN’s ultimate goal is a complete reversal of infection rates and zero cases in all countries, the stated short-term target is captured by a UN-wide directive aimed at managing and treating 70 per cent of Ebola cases and making safe 70 per cent of burials by 1 December – a strategy, Mr. Ban said, which was the only way to break the exponential curve of infection.Recent frontline reports from Guinea and Liberia, in fact, suggest significant decreases in infection rates across many affected areas, fuelling hopes that the target may be within reach. Anthony Banbury, the head of UNMEER, will brief the Security Council on 10 November providing Council members with a full update of the UN’s ongoing Ebola response.Tempering initial enthusiasms, however, the Secretary-General warned against declaring “mission accomplished too soon,” noting that “as caseloads go down in some areas, they are rising in others.” In addition, he said, outbreaks had a tendency of flaring up again if a gap in the response left space for the disease to spread.“The outbreak remains active,” he continued. ‘People are dying every day. New infections continue. And no one can say with certainty what the coming weeks might bring.”Mr. Ban admitted that the Ebola outbreak had left global responders with “no time to lose,” and that the crisis had evolved into a complex public health emergency with “profound social, economic, humanitarian, political and security dimensions.”As a result, he urged international stakeholders to remain vigilant and intensify their responses while also keeping an eye on the underlying causes of the epidemic, most notably by strengthening the region’s health systems.“Ebola will be beaten through a resolute and coordinated effort. We have initial evidence to prove that this can happen. But we must speed up efforts to first get the crisis under control and then bring it to an end,” concluded the Secretary-General.“Now is no time to let down our guard. We must keep fighting the fire until the last ember is out.” read more

Yemen Ban urges all sides to commit to ceasefire and resume UNbrokered

Meeting with Yemeni Vice-President and Prime Minister Khaled Mahfoudh Abdullah Bahah in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where he is attending the World Future Energy Summit, he reiterated his deep concern at the continuing conflict, mounting civilian causalities and alarming humanitarian crisis, despite repeated calls from the international community for an end to the hostilities.In the face of ceasefire violations Mr. Ban’s Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed adjourned peace talks in Switzerland in December to allow for bi-lateral in-country and regional consultations to achieve a comprehensive ceasefire. But the year-long conflict between various factions, which has already killed thousands of people, displaced 2.5 million and imperiled the food security of 7.6 million, has continued unabated, pushing back the calendar.Mr. Ban exchanged views with the Vice-President on how to renew the ceasefire and prepare for a new round of political negotiations. He also stressed the need for all sides to implement the confidence-building measures discussed in Switzerland last month, including the release of prisoners, and full and unhindered humanitarian access, including to the central town of Taiz. read more

After firsthand visit to besieged Yemeni city of Taiz senor UN official

“I witnessed the impact of conflict, particularly on civilian infrastructure and saw the difficulties people are facing,” UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen Jamie McGoldrick said on his return to Sana’a, the capital, from a visit with senior UN officials to Taiz and Ibb Governorates, and in particular to three districts of Taiz city where access has been difficult for many months.“Only a few shops are open. Food and other basic goods needed to survive are in short supply. Basic services are scarce, including access to water and fuel. I visited the Al Thawra Hospital, which has been repeatedly hit. Like other health facilities in Yemen, it has not been spared by this conflict and should be protected against attacks under international humanitarian law.“The hospital, one of the few functioning health facilities in the enclave, is critically short of medical supplies. Medical personnel in Taiz, as is the case elsewhere in Yemen, continues to work despite the dangers they face, often unpaid and with meagre resources. Everywhere I went I saw the trauma the conflict is causing to the women, men, and children, who have been living in this enclave and under these conditions for months.”In recent weeks the UN has made repeated calls to all sides to allow humanitarian access to Taiz and all other besieged areas throughout the country where civilians have been deprived of the basic necessities of life, a demand Mr. McGoldrick reiterated today.“I appeal to authorities and groups to work with the United Nations to establish a mechanism that will allow regular and sustained access of these goods and more into the city of Taiz,” he said. “The United Nations is committed to help the people in need in Taiz and Ibb, as well as all those who require humanitarian assistance throughout Yemen.“I appeal to all parties to the conflict in Yemen to observe international humanitarian law and provide humanitarian access as well as refrain from targeting civilian infrastructure,” he added, thanking all sides for allowing his visit to take place and for the discussions he had to reach people in need.UN agencies have been able to get some emergency supplies into Taiz in recent weeks and Mr. McGoldrick noted that he saw some food, cooking gas, and other commodities being brought into the city. read more

UN chief welcomes Seouls proposal to reopen dialogue with Pyongyang

“The Secretary-General welcomes the proposal by the Republic of Korea to reopen inter-Korean communication channels and encourages the leadership of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to respond positively,” UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq told journalists in New York. The comments follow Monday’s announcement by the Republic of Korea that its Defence Ministry had proposed to meet with DPRK representatives with the goal of ending hostilities. “The absence of communication channels with the DPRK could be dangerous,” the spokesperson said in today’s press briefing, echoing the statement Mr. Guterres made on 28 April at the Ministerial-level Security Council meeting on non-proliferation. At that time, Mr. Guterres said that “we need to avoid miscalculation and misunderstanding . We need to act now to prevent conflict and achieve sustainable peace.” SEE ALSO: Korean Peninsula: Conflict prevention ‘our collective priority’ but onus also on DPRK, says UN chiefHe urged DRPK to refrain from further testing, comply with relevant Security Council resolution, and explore the resumption of dialogue. “This means reopening and strengthening communication channels, particularly military to military, to lower the risk of miscalculation or misunderstanding,” Mr. Guterres said in that speech. read more

UN ready to discuss possible forms of support to further interKorean peace

That call for support includes UN assistance in verifying the imminent closure of a nuclear test site in the north, and transforming the buffer zone separating the two nations into a “peace zone.”The UN confirmed Tuesday evening that Mr. Guterres and the Republic of Korea’s President Moon Jae-in spoke by phone on Monday, in which the latter sought “the support of the United Nations” to verify the shutting down of the nuclear test site in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).Mr. Moon also asked the UN to help implement the recent agreement by the two nations to transform the demilitarized zone.In response, the Secretary-General “reiterated the full support of the United Nations to furthering the inter-Korean dialogue and in this regard pledged that the United Nations stands ready to discuss possible forms of support,” according to a read-out issued by the world body.On 27 April, the leaders of the two nations agreed on a number of measures, including realizing the common goal of “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” and pursuing talks to declare an official end to the Korean War, which devastated the Peninsula, beginning in June 1950.An armistice brought about a ceasefire in 1953, but the conflict never officially ended because the parties failed to reach agreement over a formal peace treaty.Prior to last week’s historic inter-Korean summit, DPRK leader Kim Jong Un had announced his intention to suspend nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launches,  including the closure of the country’s nuclear test site, according to news reports.The DPRK has conducted six nuclear tests since 2006, and in recent years launched numerous test missiles, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.  The 15-member body has regularly reacted to these violations through punitive measures.The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitors the DPRK nuclear programme, including through the use of satellite imagery, but its inspectors have not had access to the country’s nuclear facilities since April 2009. read more

Our future rests in solidarity commitment to rulesbased order UN chief tells

UN Photo/Cia PakSecretary-General António Guterres addresses the opening of the general debate of the General Assembly’s 73rd session.‘Two epochal challenges’In his speech, Mr. Guterres made particular reference to climate change and the risks associated with advances in technology, referring to these two problems as “epochal challenges.”Noting scientific evidence that the planet is getting hotter, increasing concentration of carbon dioxide, Mr. Guterres underscored: “Climate change is moving faster than we are – and its speed has provoked a sonic boom SOS across our world.”“If we do not change course in the next two years, we risk runaway climate change … We need greater ambition and a greater sense of urgency,” he said.Climate change is moving faster than we are – and its speed has provoked a sonic boom SOS across our worldUnderscoring the need to ensure full implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change, Mr. Guterres urged world leaders to make maximum use of upcoming such as the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), or COP24, in Poland in December to strengthen global resolve against the threat.He also announced that he will convene a Climate Summit next September, to bring together countries and cities, as well as political, business and civil society leaders, “to focus on the heart of the problem.”Turning to new technologies, Secretary-General Guterres highlighted the benefits offered by such advances, including to further the sustainable development agenda, but added that alongside the advances, considerable perils are also present.“There are many mutually beneficial solutions for digital challenges. We need urgently to find the way to apply them,” he said, calling on the global community to use the United Nations as a platform to draw attention to the risks and benefits of technological advances and to nurture a digital future that is safe and beneficial for all “As guardians of the common good, we also have a duty to promote and support a reformed, reinvigorated and strengthened multilateral system,” said the Secretary-General, addressing the annual gathering of world leaders at UN Headquarters on Tuesday.“We need commitment to a rules-based order, with the United Nations at its centre and with the different institutions and treaties that bring the Charter to life … There is no way forward but collective, common-sense action for the common good.”Mr. Guterres’ annual opening message, which draws from his yearly report on the work of the Organization, also highlighted the persisting challenges facing the people and the planet, including the seemingly unending conflicts in Syria and Yemen, the suffering of the Rohingya people and the threat of terrorism, non-proliferation and the use of chemical weapons.He also drew attention to increasing inequality and the “discrimination and demagoguery” faced by migrants and refugees, in the context of clearly insufficient international cooperation, as well as cautioned against widening inequalities, tensions over trade and pressures on human rights around the world.“It is our common duty to reverse these trends and resolve these challenges. We need to move ahead based on facts, not fear – on reason, not illusion. Prevention must be at the centre of all we do,” stressed Mr. Guterres.“This session of the General Assembly is a real opportunity for progress.” Full statement here‘Winds of hope’“Despite the chaos and confusion in our world, I see winds of hope blowing around the globe,” said Mr. Guterres, noting the recent signing of the historic peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the start of the peace process between Djibouti and Eritrea, and other positive developments elsewhere.The approval of a compact on refugees and another on migration also represent signs of hope, he said, highlighting also the promise offered by the world’s young people, gender equality gaining ground and growing awareness of discrimination and violence against women and girls.He also stressed that the UN must lead the way in pursuit of gender equality.Despite the chaos and confusion in our world, I see winds of hope blowing around the globe“For the first time in United Nations history, there is full parity in our Senior Management Group and among Resident Coordinators leading country teams around the world. We are firmly committed to equality and empowerment everywhere,” said the Secretary-General.In conclusion, Mr. Guterres recalled the words of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in which Mr. Annan said that the world shares a common destiny and that everyone can master it only if they face it together –that is why we have the United Nations.“Our future rests on solidarity,” said Mr. Guterres, calling on everyone to help repair the broken trust.“We must reinvigorate our multilateral project. And we must uphold dignity for one and for all.” read more

Huge data gaps hampering evidencebased national migration policies

Francesca Grum was addressing a key meeting at UN Headquarters in New York,  convened in response to the UN’s Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the first-ever global migration pact, which was adopted by more than 160 governments in December 2018. The agreement aims to ensure that the overall benefits of migration are optimized, whilst addressing risks and challenges, for individuals and communities in countries of origin, transit and destination.The First Objective of the Compact calls for the collection and utilization of “accurate and disaggregated data as a basis for evidence-based policies”; commits signatory countries to strengthen the “global evidence base on international migration” under the guidance of the UN; and calls for a “comprehensive  strategy for improving migration data at local, national, regional and global levels.”Ms. Grum told the meeting that countries frequently ask UN Statistics for more information and requests on how to improve migration data – including information relating to the root causes and drivers of migration – and its impact on migrants’ origin, transit and destination countries. Better data is needed in order to bring about sustainable social and economic development, and national migrant data strategies are needed to inform good policies.However, she went on to say that there are “several critical challenges” to be addressed before an effective global migration data programme can be developed. These include a lack of coordination amongst data providers, and insufficient capacity to produce, analyse and communicate data. Addressing these problems would involve guidance on the use of new technologies, sampling, and how to communicate data to the public and policymakers.Ideally, said Ms. Grum, a global data migration programme would see improved capacity for data analysis; training assistance on data infrastructure; country, regional and international-level coordination; and the sharing of case studies and best practice examples. The senior statistician emphasised that the private sector, policy-makers and experts, must all be involved in the process, and that all UN guidance must be in line with each country’s national strategy for the development of statistics. read more

UN Security Council utterly failed Syrian detainees a victim voices her plea

Speaking on behalf of the women-led movement, launched in 2017 by families whose loved ones had been detained and disappeared, she painted a picture of sick, injured or dying people, many enduring daily barbaric torture with some scheduled for execution, saying, “hardly any of them will have had a fair trial”. Acknowledging that she was not telling them “anything new”, Ms. Khoulani underscored that “this Council can save their lives if it chooses to act today”. And yet in spite of the reports and information on detention, forced disappearances and torture, numbers continue to rise, including among those who have tried to return. “You have let vetoes and excuses get in the way of what is right and just”, she said, adding that it was the Council’s responsibility to find a way to “end impunity and stop this horror”. Recalling that she herself was imprisoned for six months, for “peaceful activism” and her husband detained for two and a half years, she asserted, “we were both lucky to survive, but many others were not as lucky”. “I don’t have enough words to describe how it felt” when two of her family members were sentenced to death “on the same day at the same minute on 15 January 2013”, she told the Council. Today, around 100,000 Syrian men, women and children remain missing, “the majority detained by the Syrian regime, but extremist and opposition groups are also responsible for the disappearances”, she said.  Ms. Khoulani implored the members to “make the issue of detention and forced disappearance in Syria a priority”, urging them to adopt a resolution pressuring the regime and armed opposition groups for the names and whereabouts for everyone in detention and to allow humanitarian organizations to visit the detention centres. This Council can save their lives if it chooses to act today — Amina Khoulani“Let those of us whose loved ones were executed or tortured to death, know the location of their burial sites so we can grieve them properly”, she said.  Flagging that the crimes of detention and forced disappearance have for decades “plagued” Syria, Ms. Khoulani said that they have become “epidemic” over the last eight years and shattered millions of lives forever.  “The first step toward sustainable peace and justice is truth, an end to arbitrary detention and forced disappearance and the release of thousands of civilians arbitrarily detained and denied their freedom” she concluded.  Information blackout A continued lack of access to detention sites and people being held in Syria has left the United Nations with “no official statistics on those detained, abducted or missing”, UN political affairs chief Rosemary A. DiCarlo told the Council in her briefing. “While the UN is not able to verify, reports suggest that more than 100,000 people have so far been detained, abducted, disappeared or went missing, largely, but not only, by the Syrian Government,” she stated.  Adding that many families have no information on the fate of their loved ones, she underscored that detainees, including women and children, are held “without due process or access to legal representation or their families”.   Moreover, detention cites are not accessible to the UN or international monitors; hospital or burial site records are not public; and some families have paid enormous sums of money to obtain information on loved ones, often in vain. “Deaths in detention have continued to occur, many allegedly as a result of torture, neglect or humane conditions”, she continued, pointing out that this is compounded by the difficulty of obtaining death certificates or remains, which, if acquired, hide the real causes of death. Aside from being victims themselves, women also risk losing their homes, land and property rights in Syria when, after their husbands or male relatives disappear, they cannot explain their whereabouts and lack legal documentation or a death certificate.  “Many women under these circumstances carry the heavy burden of sustaining their entire families”, Ms. DiCarlo elaborated. “For refugees or those internally displaced, these challenges are multiplied”. The UN political chief cited photos of nearly “7,000 dead bodies bearing marks of torture” that were smuggled out of Syria by a military defector and made public in 2014, saying they were “prominent evidence of torture and ill-treatment of detainees in Government detention centers”.  Armed opposition groups have also conducted arbitrary detention, torture and civilian abductions in their controlled area, capturing and sometimes executing government soldiers, collaborators or other armed groups.  The Syrian Democratic Forces have also conducted arbitrary detentions, including arresting men trying to evade forced conscription. “Justice and accountability for these abuses must be ensured, regardless of the perpetrators”, she stressed, adding the UN is concerned that thousands of foreign nationals, many relatives of alleged ISIL members, are currently being detained at Al Hol camp. “We call on Member States to ensure that their nationals are repatriated for the purposes of prosecution, rehabilitation and/or reintegration, as appropriate, and in line with international law and standards”. “Justice and accountability for these abuses must be ensured, regardless of the perpetrators — UN political chief DiCarloPointed to various Security Council resolutions, Ms. DiCarla called for the release of those arbitrarily detained. “The parties must fulfill their obligations under international law, to unilaterally release all arbitrarily detained or abducted, and most urgently, women, children, the sick and elderly”, she spelled out. She said that they must “collect, protect, and manage” detainee, abductee and missing persons data; establish an information management mechanism; identify and return remains to their families; and provide a list of “all places in which persons are being detained and arrange for immediate access” by a neutral third party. “Accountability for serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights is central to achieving and maintaining durable peace in Syria.”, Ms. DiCarlo emphasized. “All parties to the conflict, in particular the Syrian government, must cooperate fully with the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism and the Commission of Inquiry”. In a rare opportunity for the Council to hear directly from family members of people forcibly disappeared, Ms. Khoulani spelled out: “It is your responsibility to protect Syrians from a system that kills, tortures and illegally detains its own citizens”.    read more

BMW Group display demonstrates Olympic bid success

An Olympic-themed exhibition has been unveiled at SMMT’s Westminster showroom with BMW and MINI cars on display from the Official Automotive Partner of London 2012.The BMW Group was awarded the contract based on its submission that centred on the low carbon performance of its fleet. The BMW and MINI fleet surpassed this target with average CO2 emissions of 116g/km CO2 (or 64.5mpg). The EfficientDynamics, hybrid and zero emissions cars, motorcycles and bicycles provided by BMW Group for London 2012 provide mobility for athletes and officials that is vital for the operational success of the Games.BMW Group is also providing a number of adapted vehicles, enabling disabled people for the first time to volunteer as drivers during the Games.80% of the BMW London 2012 fleet fulfils Euro 6 emission standards already – two years before they become mandatory. As of September 2014, Euro 6 will be the mandatory emission limit for all new cars.The display at SMMT includes a BMW 5 Series ActiveHybrid that mates a 1.35kWh lithium ion battery and 40kW electric motor to a petrol engine. This drivetrain delivers 306bhp with just 149g/km CO2. The second BMW model on display is its 320d EfficientDynamics, the most fuel-efficient variant of 3 Series, which is the Upper Medium segment’s best seller in the year-to-date.As part of the Group’s display, a MINI Countryman Cooper D is also on display. The first model in the MINI range with four doors; the Countryman bridges the gap between the classic concept of the MINI and a modern Crossover. With the extra space and flexibility, it is a fun and efficient SUV.BMW’s official vehicle fleet comprises:1,550 BMW 3 Series 320d EfficientDynamics700 BMW 5 Series 520d EfficientDynamics400 BMW 3 Series 318d Touring200 MINI Countryman Cooper D160 BMW 1 Series ActiveE (electric vehicle)40 MINI E (electric vehicle)20 BMW 5 Series ActiveHybrid17 BMW X3 xDrive20d10 BMW X5 xDrive30d25 BMW F 650 GS, R 1200 GS, R 1200 RT motorcycles400 BMW Cruise bicyclesClick through for more information about the BMW Olympic Fleet and the 2012 London Olympic Games.Click through the slideshow below to see all the photos from SMMT’s exhibition space.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more

December new car preregistration figures

Today, SMMT released figures for December pre-registrations in the UK new car market. The data shows the number of cars disposed of by vehicle manufacturers in December 2013 that were defined as pre-registrations.CLICK HERE: Download the December 2013 release.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)

Muskets fired flags lowered to remember death of Sir Isaac Brock

Re-enactors fire muskets at the flag lowering and commemoration of Maj.-Gen Sir Isaac Brock.Staff and students gathered in front of the Schmon Tower this morning for a flag lowering ceremony commemorating the death of Sir Isaac Brock.Re-enactors fired muskets and a bugle player sounded the “Last Post” at the third annual event, which honours the University’s namesake.“He gave his life in a cause that forged the course of history and led to the creation of Canada,” said Rudi Kroeker, chair of the Board of Trustees. “He was a true hero and we are fiercely proud that our university is named after him.”Brock died on Oct. 13, 1812 – 199 years and one day ago – in the Battle of Queenston Heights.The celebration of Maj.-Gen Sir Isaac Brock continues tomorrow with General Brock’s October Soirée.Related stories:• Mythical last words aside, Brock’s commemoration pushes onRe-enactors stand at attention. read more

Grad student focused on major games employees

While most people keep a watchful eye on the athletes at major sporting competitions, Lindsay Smith instead has her sights set on those working behind the scenes.The Brock graduate student is delving deep into employees who work at international multi-sport events, such as the Olympics, Pan American Games and Commonwealth Games.It’s an area she has firsthand knowledge in, having worked at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa after graduating from Brock’s Sport Management program in 2015.She travelled to the Pacific island nation as part of a Queen Elizabeth Scholarship program.Smith’s time with the international multi-sport competition, held over two weeks in Samoa’s capital of Apia, was eye opening.Being part of that niche workforce gave her insight into employment within the major games industry and into the vital role employees play in the organization and operation of the international events. Smith’s experience at the Commonwealth Youth Games now frames her research direction as a Master of Arts student under the supervision of Professor Kirsty Spence.She is in the early stages of a study to better understand the impact of leadership on the development of employees’ perceived workplace fulfillment in the major games industry.Smith’s work experience, which also includes the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, “significantly influenced her decision to more deeply explore the relationship between leadership and its impact on employees’ workplace fulfillment through her Graduate thesis project,” Spence said.“We are certainly looking forward to the managerial and theoretical implications from her study.”Major games are “extremely high intensity and are prone to change with little to no notice given to its employees,” Smith said.  “After being exposed to the workings of major games myself, I became interested in exploring how employees feel when there is so much chaos in their jobs and how different leadership styles can impact them in these situations.”The impact of Smith’s research is rooted in discovering the experience that major games employees have at work.She aims to learn whether employee needs can be met in a broader sense, where meaning developed at work transcends the workplace, also nourishing their personal lives.Smith also hopes to discover whether this is important to employees’ lives both inside and outside of the work context.“Researchers rarely focus on leadership, human resources and employee relations topics within the major games context, which means that this exploratory study has the potential to open the door to many more questions and improvements in the major games industry,” Smith said. Major games leaders will benefit from Smith’s research as it seeks to provide increased insight into the potential needs of employees. Additionally, her research may have direct implications to sport organizations and major games events, as employees who experience workplace fulfillment are said to be more productive — a factor that contributes to overall organizational productivity and success.Smith will soon begin her research by conducting interviews with major games sport managers who have been involved with past or current events.Participants will have relevant insight into the major games working environment and the role that leaders play in the development of employee fulfillment in such a unique working context.In May, Smith will be presenting her research at the Canadian Congress on Leisure Research (CCLR) conference in Waterloo and the North American Society of Sport Management (NASSM) conference in Denver, Colo. read more

Column Patriots not quite at Super Bowl level

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — When Patriots players looked around the locker room Sunday, they saw a generally healthy squad. That’s scary for the rest of the NFL.Or maybe not.Unless New England makes some key improvements over the next month — and can anyone doubt the Patriots will, given their track record? — a third straight trip to the Super Bowl will be problematic.In their 27-13 victory over the game-but-outmanned Jets, the Patriots (8-3) pretty much were workmanlike. Given the competition this season from the likes of the Chiefs, Steelers, Chargers and Texans, that might not be enough.Sure, the running game was a major positive as New England rushed for 215 yards, led by rookie Sony Michel’s season-best 133 on 21 carries. And the defence was OK.But these were the Jets, who don’t measure up in any way to any AFC contenders. Things will get more difficult in December, though not terribly so. And in January, unless the Patriots grab home-field advantage in the AFC — they trail only Kansas City by one game and own the tiebreaker — their defence will need to be stout against some high-scoring, big-play offences.Considering the holes in that defence that the Jets were incapable of exploiting often enough, New England has some issues it hasn’t been plagued by during its remarkable Tom Brady-led run since the early 2000s.These Patriots don’t have the look of a team that can avoid shootouts, especially on the road. When you have Brady and Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski — and now Michel — on your side, you’ll score your share of points. They will need to do exactly that, probably throughout the playoffs, to get to the big game in Atlanta.“You’d love to be perfect out there,” Brady said. “The other teams are well-coached and they have a lot of good players, too. When you win, you feel really good. Obviously, a couple of weeks ago, we did everything the opposite of what we needed to do (at Tennessee). I think we’re doing a better job taking care of the ball; it gives us a much better chance to win games. Scoring more points, converting on third downs, scoring in the red area, all those things are really important that we talked about.“We made some plays, there are certainly ones we left out there, but we’ll take it and keep moving forward.”As they move forward, observers’ eyes will be on several areas:GRONK’S HEALTHGetting back Gronkowski is huge. He’s a difference maker even when he’s not targeted because of the attention defences must pay to the star tight end, and the lift he provides teammates. He’s also brittle, an effect of his playing such a rugged game and taking so many massive hits.Other than Edelman and the ultra-dangerous James White out of the backfield, Gronk’s support crew isn’t intimidating. Josh Gordon remains limited and Chris Hogan is solid, but not a No. 1 wideout. The rest of the cast is, well, the rest of the cast.More than perhaps ever in his nine pro seasons, Gronk’s availability is paramount.THE ROADNew England has played three stinkers away from Foxborough; it’s 5-0 at home. Two of those defeats were to now-mediocre-or-worse Detroit and Jacksonville in September. More worrisome are the sour notes the Patriots played in Music City in Week 10.Never before had former Bill Belichick assistant coaches outmastered the mentor. It happened with both the Lions and Titans this year, of course.The Patriots always struggle in Miami, where they’ve lost four of their last five. They also visit Pittsburgh, not quite a palace of horrors — New England has won three of the last four trips to Heinz Field — but by far their most difficult remaining opponent.Of the eight Super Bowls Brady has guided them to, the Patriots never have missed earning a first-round bye.THE DefenceHere’s the great mystery.Other than safety Devin McCourty, a long-time standout who rarely has gotten the credit he deserves, and linebacker Dont’a Hightower, New England appears to lack difference makers. This group is more a collection of parts fit into roles. They don’t get a lot of pressure on passers, aren’t particularly ball hawks, and, far too many times, New York’s so-so group of receivers was roaming free.Doing that against Antonio Brown, Tyreek Hill or DeAndre Hopkins in the post-season — not a good idea.Naturally, anyone who dismisses Brady and Co. has little sense of history. The Patriots of Thanksgiving weekend aren’t great. Check in around New Year’s Day to see where they stand.___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFLBarry Wilner, The Associated Press read more