Premier Horgan says LNG decision could be weeks away

first_imgCBC News is reporting that during a question and answer session with reporters after his speech, Horgan said that the announcement could be occurring in the next couple of weeks.Signs have been pointing towards the LNG Canada making a positive final investment decision for nearly the past year, after Petronas – which scrapped it’s proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG project last July – announced that it was considering a minority stake in the Shell-led joint venture.Kitimat mayor Phil Germuth said in July that he felt that it was incredibly likely that the joint venture partners would pull the trigger on building the $40 billion project, while in May, LNG Canada CEO Andy Calitz said than a final investment decision would occur in 2018, with construction also due to start before the end of the year.With files from CBC News: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/premier-john-horgan-final-address-2018-ubcm-1.4823972 WHISTLER, B.C. – Speaking at his closing keynote address of the Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention in Whistler today, B.C. Premier John Horgan said that an LNG final investment decision could be made in the next several weeks.Horgan said during his nearly 40-minute presentation that the government was  “very, very close to having a final investment decision from an LNG company,” though he didn’t say which.last_img

Huskies Fill The Bus Food Drive huge success

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The 21st Annual Huskies Fill The Bus Food Drive was a huge success on Sunday as volunteers collected food items for the Salvation Army.Members of the Fort St. John Huskies, along with other volunteers, went around town collecting non-perishable food items for the Food Bank. Once the items were collected, they were brought back to the North Peace Arena to be sorted and packed into boxes.After being packed, the boxes were loaded into the Huskies coach bus and delivered to the Salvation Army. Packed boxes as they awaited to be loaded onto the bus. Photo by Scott BrooksCampaign Organizer, Allen Karasiuk, says the Food Drive was a big success.“The Food Drive was very successful this year as we did significantly better this year than last. As usual, the community was extremely generous in their donations to the Salvation Army Food Bank. In particular, ConocoPhillips was a lead corporate sponsor with a $1500 donation and the Burgher family (Paul, Mollie and Teri) donated approximately two pickup truckloads of food. The kids at Alwin Holland Elementary School also collected a significant amount of food.”Karasiuk also says they had approximately 60 volunteers to help out with the campaign.Cameron Eggie, Executive Director for the Fort St. John Salvation Army says the timing for Food Drive is perfect as they prepare for food hampers.“It’s really going to have an impact on our community over the Christmas season. We already have 140 people registered for food hampers in the community that we will be giving out in mid-December. So, the timing of this Food Drive is perfect because it comes right into when we have to prepare these food hampers.”last_img

MP Bob Zimmer to hold second Caribou Closures Town Hall

first_imgThe purpose of the meeting was for residents to hear details regarding the potential Caribou Closures and for residents to have their say during a Question and Answer session.This upcoming meeting will look at the same issues and concerns residents have with the Caribou Recovery Process.The next Northern B.C. Caribou Closures Town Hall is taking place Saturday, February 23, in Prince George at the Marriott Hotel.The meeting will be in the Spruce Room and will run from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.For more information, you can call Anita Bergstrom at 250-561-7982. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Local M.P. Bob Zimmer will be hosting a second Public Northern B.C. Caribou Closures Town Hall.The Town Halls are being hosted by Zimmer in response to the lack of public consultation from the Provincial Government on the Caribou Recovery Process.The first meeting was held in Fort St. John on February 2, 2019.last_img

Economy suffered due to PM’s reckless decisions, says Cong

first_imgNew Delhi: The Congress Saturday alleged mismanagement of the economy by the government and that it has suffered due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “reckless” decisions.Senior Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said that in the past five years, India’s economy is “gasping” instead of “galloping”. “The government is destroying the credibility of Indian data by embellishing the data, fudging numbers and inflating figures. The fact is that there has been an monumental mismanagement of Indian economy under his watch. It is not galloping economy but a gasping economy, a struggling economy which has also suffered because of the reckless decision of Prime Minister Modi,” he told reporters. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The Congress leader claimed that Modi has to be held accountable for destroying tens of millions of jobs by demonetisation. “He has to answer for a hasty imposition of a flawed GST model which he claimed to be ‘one nation, one tax’, but it is one nation, five taxes which excludes 45 per cent of the revenue, making Indian GST the most burdensome most complex,” he said. Sharma said the four engines of the Indian economy — investment, manufacturing, exports and capital formation — were down. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K”How can you keep on claiming that we are the fastest growing (economy) by not creating jobs but by destroying them. There is a huge contradiction. This economy is not creating jobs. Exports have stagnated for five years, manufacturing has gone down, gross fixed capital formation has remained hovering over zero. National investment rate has fallen. These are the facts. The government has gone into heavy borrowing,” he told reporters. Sharma also alleged that the country has played with the credibility of the country’s data. “Fudging of the data is not going to help. NITI Aayog’s job is not meant to embellish numbers and fudge the country’s data. The prime minister and his government has played with the credibility of the country’s data. They have dented the credibility,” he said. “The time has come to punish the PM and his govt for destroying the credibility of Indian data, embellish the data, fudging numbers and inflating figures. The fiscal deficit has reached an alarming point. These are the questions to the prime minister,” he said. He said if the Congress comes to power after the April-May parliamentary election, it would scrap the NITI Aayog and bring back the Planning Commission.last_img

Nawazuddin Siddiqui to star in Glen Barretto’s ‘Dusty to meet Rusty’

first_imgMumbai: Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui will star in filmmaker Glen Barretto’s road trip film, “Dusty to meet Rusty”. The film choices the journey of a girl who takes a road trip from Mumbai to Dharamshala in search of her childhood sweetheart but finds love on her way. “Dusty to meet Rusty” will mark his third collaboration with producer Rajesh Bhatia and Kiran Bhatia’s Woodpecker Movies after his upcoming films “Motichoor Chaknachoor” and “Bole Chudiyan”. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka “When Nawaz heard the narration, he loved the script instantly. Its an honour to work with talent like him who brings great value to the script with his nuances and outstanding performances,” Kiran said in a statement. The preparation for the film has begun and another hero as a parallel male lead and a female actor are on the verge of being finalised. The shooting is scheduled to start in August this year with a start to finish schedule.last_img

Taliban kill 3 US Marines in Afghanistan

first_imgKabul: US forces in Afghanistan revised on Tuesday the death toll from a Taliban attack the previous day near the main American base in the country, saying three service members were killed but not a contractor who was initially reported among the fatalities. The U.S. and NATO Resolute Support mission issued a statement “to clarify initial reporting” about Monday’s roadside bombing of an American convoy near the main U.S. base. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The Pentagon said later that all three service members killed were Marines. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThe mission said a roadside bomb hit the convoy near the Bagram Airfield, killing three American service members, and said “the contractor who was reported as killed, is alive.” The statement said “the contractor, an Afghan citizen, was initially treated along with other injured civilians, later identified as a contractor and treated at Bagram Airfield.” Three other U.S. service members were also wounded in the attack. The base in Bagram district is located in northern Parwan province and serves as the main U.S. air facility in the country. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsThe wounded were evacuated and are receiving medical care, the statement said. Christopher Slutman, a 15-year New York City fire department member, was among the three Marines killed. He leaves behind his wife, Shannon, and three daughters. “Firefighter Slutman bravely wore two uniforms and committed his life to public service both as a New York City firefighter and as a member of the United States Marine Corps,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a written statement. The Pentagon identified the two other Marines killed as Cpl. Robert A. Hendriks, 25, of Locust Valley, New York, and Sgt. Benjamin S. Hines, 31, of York, Pennsylvania. In their claim of responsibility, the Taliban said they launched the attack and that one of their suicide bombers detonated his explosives-laden vehicle near the NATO base. The conflicting accounts could not be immediately reconciled. On Tuesday, local Afghan officials said at least five Afghan civilians were wounded in the commotion after the attack on the American convoy. Four were passersby and the fifth was a driver of a car going down the road, said Abdul Raqib Kohistani, the Bagram district police chief. Abdul Shakor Qudosi, the district administrative chief in Bagram, said American soldiers opened fire immediately after their convoy was bombed. Monday’s U.S. fatalities bring to seven the number of U.S. soldiers killed so far this year in Afghanistan, underscoring the difficulties in bringing peace to the war-wrecked country even as Washington has stepped up efforts to find a way to end the 17-year war, America’s longest. There are about 14,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan, supporting embattled Afghan forces as they struggle on two fronts facing a resurgent Taliban who now hold sway over almost half the country and also the Islamic State affiliate, which has sought to expand its footprint in Afghanistan even as its self-proclaimed “caliphate” has crumbled in Syria and Iraq.last_img

N Korea test-fires new tactical guided weapon

first_imgSeoul: North Korea said Thursday that it had test-fired a new type of “tactical guided weapon,” its first such test in nearly half a year, and demanded that Washington remove Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from nuclear negotiations. The test, which didn’t appear to be of a banned mid- or long-range ballistic missile that could scuttle negotiations, allows North Korea to show its people it is pushing ahead with weapons development while also reassuring domestic military officials worried that diplomacy with Washington signals weakness. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USSeparately, the North Korean Foreign Ministry accused Pompeo of playing down the significance of comments by leader Kim Jong Un, who said last week that Washington has until the end of the year to offer mutually acceptable terms for an agreement to salvage the high-stakes nuclear diplomacy. Both the demand for Pompeo’s removal from the talks and the weapon test point to North Korea’s displeasure with the deadlocked negotiations. In a statement issued under the name of Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the American Affairs Department at the Foreign Ministry, North Korea accused Pompeo of “talking nonsense” and misrepresenting Kim’s comments. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsDuring a speech at Texas A&M on Monday, Pompeo said Kim promised to denuclearize during his first summit with President Donald Trump and that U.S. officials were working with the North Koreans to “chart a path forward so we can get there.” “He (Kim) said he wanted it done by the end of the year,” Pompeo said. “I’d love to see that done sooner.” The North Korean statement said Pompeo was “misrepresenting the meaning of our requirement” for the negotiations to be finalized by the year’s end, and referred to his “talented skill of fabricating stories.” It said Pompeo’s continued participation in the negotiations would ensure that the talks become “entangled” and called for a different counterpart who is “more careful and mature in communicating with us.” In a speech at his rubber-stamp parliament last week, Kim said he is open to a third summit with Trump, but only if the United States changes its stance on sanctions enforcement and pressure by the end of the year. Kim observed the unspecified weapon being fired Wednesday by the Academy of Defense Science, the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said. Kim was reported to have said “the development of the weapon system serves as an event of very weighty significance in increasing the combat power of the People’s Army.” The Associated Press could not independently verify North Korea’s claim, and it wasn’t immediately clear what had been tested. A major ballistic missile test would jeopardize the diplomatic talks meant to provide the North with concessions in return for disarmament. A South Korean analyst said that details in the North’s media report indicate it could have been a new type of cruise missile. Another possible clue: one of the lower level officials mentioned in the North’s report on the test Pak Jong Chon is known as an artillery official. Some in Seoul worry that the North will turn back to actions seen as provocative by outsiders as a way to force Washington to drop its hard-line negotiating stance and grant the North’s demand for a removal of crushing international sanctions. A string of increasingly powerful weapons tests in 2017 and Trump’s response of “fire and fury” had many fearing war before the North shifted to diplomacy.last_img

New UK rules over rape victims’ digital data spark criticism

first_imgLondon: Police are asking rape and sexual assault victims for access to their digital devices under new guidelines published on Monday that prompted criticism from women’s rights campaigners in Britain. Officers now present victims with consent forms to view messages, photographs, emails and social media accounts, with police warning that prosecutions may not go ahead without the permissions. The change follows a disclosure scandal in the legal system which saw a series of rape and sexual assault cases collapse in recent years after crucial evidence emerged at the last minute. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: ReportAssistant commissioner Nick Ephgrave, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said the new “informed consent” forms would be used “proportionately and consistently”. He added police were working with victim groups and others to ensure the approach had “the necessary balance”. “We would never want victims to feel that they can’t report crimes because of ‘intrusion’ in their data,” Ephgrave said in a statement. But women’s advocates as well as privacy campaigners have hit out at the consent forms as overly intrusive and argue they could deter people from reporting crimes. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protests”We seem to be going back to the bad old days when victims of rape are being treated as suspects,” said Harriet Wistrich, director of the Centre for Women’s Justice. The organisation said it was preparing a legal challenge to the policy alongside privacy advocates Big Brother Watch, which has dubbed the measures “digital strip searches”. Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said Monday that the issue was “complex” and police would conduct impact assessments on the forms. “While disclosure is an important component of the criminal justice system… the police have acknowledged that the use of personal data in criminal investigations is a source of anxiety,” he said. “We want victims to have the confidence to come forward.” The forms are part of a wholesale review of disclosure processes within the legal system in England and Wales.last_img

Bombs kill two in Egypt’s Sinai: army

first_imgCAIRO – Militants set off four roadside bombs targeting a security convoy in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Tuesday, killing two people and wounding five, the army said.The convoy was travelling from Rafah, on the Gaza border, towards the North Sinai provincial capital El-Arish further west, when the bombers struck.Militants then traded fire with security forces before fleeing, army spokesman Colonel Ahmed Ali said on his official Facebook page. One member of the security forces and a civilian were killed, and five security personnel wounded, Ali said.The army has poured troops and armour into the Sinai to try to crush militant activity, which has surged since it overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on July 3.A subsequent crackdown on Islamists has resulted in more than 1,000 people being killed and more than 2,000 arrested nationwide.In the Sinai, dozens of soldiers and policemen have been killed in near daily attacks.Since Morsi’s ouster, attacks have also targeted Egypt’s interior minister as well as Christian homes and churches.An Al-Qaeda-inspired group in the Sinai, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, said it was responsible for a car bombing on Saturday in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya that wounded six soldiers and a failed attempt to assassinate the interior minister last month.The military says it has killed or captured dozens of Islamist militants, some of whom proclaim allegiance to Al-Qaeda.last_img

Starbucks rolls out delivery service for coffee drinkers

Starbucks is expanding its delivery service and aims to offer it at nearly one-fourth of its U.S. company-operated coffee shops.The company said it is launching the service Tuesday in San Francisco and will expand to some stores in New York, Boston, Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles in coming weeks. It tested the idea in 200 Miami stores last fall.Starbucks says 95 per cent of its core menu will be available for order using the Uber Eats mobile app. There will be a $2.49 booking fee.In December, company executives laid out plans to expand deliveries in the U.S. and China this year.Executives say delivery works best in dense urban areas where Uber Eats’ delivery fees are lower because of high demand, and customers spend more than they do in stores.The Associated Press

President Trump optimistic ahead of trade talks with China

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is voicing optimism before he meets with representatives from China for trade talks Thursday.But Trump says “No final deal” will be made until he sits down again with Chinese President Xi Jinping “in the near future” to discuss “some of the long standing and more difficult points.”U.S. and Chinese negotiators on Wednesday opened two days of high-level talks aimed at settling a trade war that has weakened both economies.Trump tweets the meetings are “going well with good intent and spirit on both sides,” even though the odds seem stacked against any substantive resolution.Trump has set a March deadline for increasing tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 per cent to 25 per cent.He says: “All of the many problems are being discussed and will be hopefully resolved.”The Associated Press

Australian parliamentary network hacked; no sign data stolen

SYDNEY, Australia — Australia’s leading cybersecurity agency is investigating a breach of the country’s federal parliamentary computing network amid speculation of hacking by a foreign nation.Lawmakers and staff in the capital, Canberra, were made to change their passwords on the system after the overnight breach.A joint statement from House of Representatives Speaker Tony Smith and Senate President Scott Ryan says there’s no evidence that data had been accessed in the breach, but investigations are continuing.Cybersecurity expert Fergus Hanson, from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, says it’s likely a nation-state was behind the incident, though Australian officials have not blamed any country.In 2011 it was reported China was suspected of accessing the email system used by lawmakers and parliamentary staff.The Associated Press

Can’t pay your taxes? No spare cash? IRS has payment plans

NEW YORK — When a small business owner or a company doesn’t have the funds to pay a big tax bill, an installment payment plan with the IRS can be an option.Many tax advisers and the IRS itself recommend that any individual or business who can’t pay their taxes consider other alternatives — borrowing from a bank, family or friends, for example. But owners whose companies don’t have lines of credit and who can’t dip into personal savings may decide the IRS is the best route.Some owners might be inclined not to file their income tax returns if they can’t pay, but that’s a big mistake . The government’s penalty for failure to file can be as much as 25 per cent of unpaid taxes, and that’s on top of late payment penalties and interest. And, if an owner or business hasn’t filed all their returns, they can’t enter a payment plan.On its website, www.irs.gov , the agency advises all taxpayers to pay as much as they can. If they want to apply for a payment plan, they should visit www.irs.gov/payments/online-payment-agreement-application , the web page that explains payment plan options and requirements. Among them:— Businesses (and owners, if they’re seeking a plan as an individual taxpayer) can apply for short-term plans, which means paying their full bill within 120 days. Otherwise, they can ask for long-term plans. There are fees for long-term plans; the fees can be reduced if payments are made by direct debit.— A business can apply online if it owes less than $25,000 in tax, penalties and interest combined. Individual owners can apply for a long-term plan online if they owe $50,000 or less in tax, penalties and interest combined. An owner can individually apply online for a short-term plan if the amount owed is less than $100,000. There’s a link to the application at www.irs.gov/payments/online-payment-agreement-application .— Owners or businesses that can’t apply online must complete IRS Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request. It can be downloaded from the IRS website.— If owners are severely strapped, they may be able to work out agreements to reduce their indebtedness to the IRS. But, suggests Scott Berger, an accountant with Kaufman Rossin in Boca Raton, Florida, “save that for when really need it.”_____For more small business news, insights and inspiration, sign up for our free weekly newsletter here: http://discover.ap.org/ssb_____Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg Her work can be found here: https://apnews.comJoyce M. Rosenberg, The Associated Press

Venezuelan vice-president visits Moscow to rally support

MOSCOW — Venezuela’s vice-president is visiting Russia, voicing hope for stronger ties with Moscow amid the U.S. pressure.Delcy Rodriguez said after Friday’s talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that Venezuela will rely on supplies of food and medicines from Russia as it faces a U.S.-led blockade and hold the door open for more Russian investments.Lavrov reaffirmed strong support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and criticized the U.S. for waging a “cynical campaign aimed at ousting the legitimate government of Venezuela.” He strongly warned Washington against military intervention.Lavrov accused the U.S. and its allies of using economic sanctions and assets freezes to provoke a humanitarian crisis in the country.He said that Russia has delivered a humanitarian aid shipment to Venezuela and will provide more such assistance.The Associated Press

Teacher Accuses Moroccan Embassy Official in Belgium of Harassment

Rabat  – Naima Zaizaa, an Arabic teacher who works with the Moroccan Embassy in Belgium, has filed a sexual harassment complaint against the program’s coordinator. Zaizaa works with the embassy’s ELCO program which aims to connect Belgian Moroccans with their culture.“As soon as I arrived in Brussels, this man had a bizarre behavior with me,” the 33-year-old teacher told Belgian newspaper DH. He reportedly commented on her physique multiple times and praised her for not wearing a veil.“I knew he did not just see me as a teacher and he had ideas in his head. He kept complimenting me, to the point that my colleagues even thought I was having a secret relationship with him,” Zaizaa continued. The coordinator also reportedly kept finding excuses to get Zaizaa in his office, telling her she “deserved a man who would help settle my situation in Belgium.“But, I saw through his game and avoided going to his office, especially after an incident where he touched me,” she continued.She also alleges that the coordinator, who is married, had a complete change of behavior to her after she rejected his advances and allegedly wrote several untrue reports about her work performance.Zaizaa’s complaint has been accepted by Brussels police.Read also: Moroccans Make Up 9% of the Foreign Population in Brussels

Kyodo: Ghosn loses appeal to contact wife while out on bail

TOKYO — A Japanese court has rejected an appeal from the lawyers of Nissan former Chairman Carlos Ghosn over bail conditions that forbid him to freely contact his wife.The Kyodo News service reported Thursday the Tokyo District Court rejected the appeal filed earlier in the day. The report could not be immediately confirmed.Deputy Chief Prosecutor Shin Kukimoto said Thursday limiting contact with Carole Ghosn was “an absolute necessity” because of risks of tampering with evidence. He also expressed outrage over Ghosn’s release.Ghosn was arrested in November on allegations of financial misconduct. He was released in March on 1 billion yen ($9 million) bail, but re-arrested April 4. He was released April 25 on 500 million yen ($4.5 million) bail.Ghosn says he is innocent.The Associated Press

European Central Bank: ready to give more stimulus if needed

FRANKFURT — European Central Bank President Mario Draghi says that the eurozone’s monetary authority stands ready to cut interest rates and could re-start its bond purchase stimulus program if the economy needs it.Draghi said in a speech Tuesday at a conference in Sintra, Portugal, that “further cuts in policy rates… remain part of our tools. “He added that there was “considerable headroom” to re-start bond purchases.Eurozone inflation of 1.2% is below the bank’s goal of just under 2% considered best for the economy, while growth prospects are under pressure from global trade disputes.Draghi said that in the absence of stronger inflation “additional stimulus will be required” and that the bank would “use all the flexibility in our mandate” to push inflation toward the goal.The Associated Press

Least developed countries most vulnerable to climate change – UN official

28 June 2007Efforts must be intensified to assist the world’s least developed countries and small island developing States, the most vulnerable nations in the world to the impact of climate change, a top United Nations official said today. “The UN debate on climate change will lose credibility if the concerns of these countries are sidelined or marginalized,” Anwarul Chowdhury, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), told reporters in New York.Mr. Chowdhury, whose last day in his position is this Saturday, launched a new study entitled “Climate Change Report 2007,” which was presented to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this morning.While acknowledging that the report is neither academic nor scientific, he said he hoped it would spur interest among the media and support groups to advocate on behalf of these countries and raise awareness of the obstacles LDCs and SIDS face.Aside from the environmental effects, the report said that climate change impacts LDCs and SIDS in the economic, human and social cultural realms as well.Reduced rainfall and prolonged droughts could lead to dwindling water supplies, while subsistence agriculture, on which these countries depend heavily, will be harmed by increased tropical cyclones, droughts and loss of soil fertility. Coastal flooding, droughts and disease could also force many people out of their homes.Due to their limited financial and technical resources, high rates of poverty and – in the case of the SIDS – small size, these countries are not as adept at adapting to climate change, noted the report.At the global level, the study recommended that these countries be provided adequate financial and technical support to better deal with climate change and that partnerships with international organizations be established to aid LDCs and SIDS.Meanwhile, the report suggested that at the national level, these countries demand that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) publish a report specific to their situation.

Somalia UNICEF immunizes 100000 children and women in camps

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has announced plans to immunize approximately 100,000 internally displaced Somalis living in camps along the Mogadishu-Afgoye corridor this week.The vast majority of Somali children under the age of five – 95 per cent – have not received the full recommended course of vaccinations. The new drive will provide those to 47,600 children as well as 56,000 women who have fled recent violenceUNICEF’s Representative to Somalia, Christian Balslev-Olesen said UNICEF is spearheading efforts to reach the displaced in response to Somalia’s volatile security conditions. “If you consider that ten percent of the country’s population has had to flee their homes – with these numbers increasing every day – then we have to find effective means of delivering services to these people. This is why UNICEF and its partners have organized campaigns like this one to reach every child.”Somalia has some of the worst social indicators for children in the world: one in eight children dies before his fifth birthday, one in three is chronically malnourished, hardly a third of families have access to clean drinking water, just 30 per cent of children go to school and on average people only live to the age of 47, according to UNICEF.“If the United Nations is to remain relevant and improve the lives of Somalis, then we need to be more aggressive in how we reach children who need us,” said Mr. Balslev-Olesen.This week’s immunization campaign is one of three that UNICEF and its partners will organize in the coming weeks, said the agency, which is also working to deliver clean water, sanitation and education facilities, as well as to improve the delivery and quality of health and social protection services.With the fall of Somalia’s Government in 1991, the country’s health system has faced severe challenges in providing essential services to its population. But UNICEF said recent data coming out of the country indicates that effective awareness-raising campaigns and temporary and mobile health delivery points can significantly reduce the number of children dying from measles and polio.UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) said they can reach 3.5 million children and women in the next two years for as little as $15 per person per year. This cost will enable, among other critical child survival interventions, the delivery of measles, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and tuberculosis vaccines to children under five along with a capsule of vitamin A to boast their immunity. Women of reproductive age will receive iron supplementation and tetanus toxoid immunization. 6 December 2007The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has announced plans to immunize approximately 100,000 internally displaced Somalis living in camps along the Mogadishu-Afgoye corridor this week.

Sweden to head UN Peacebuilding Commission group on Burundi

Sweden has been chosen as the new chair of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission group tasked with helping the impoverished African nation of Burundi recover from recent conflict and avoid sliding back into chaos or misrule. The commission’s organization committee unanimously elected Sweden yesterday to succeed Norway as chair of the Burundi country-specific configuration. Burundi has been the victim of violent coups and political instability since gaining independence in 1962, but in late May the Government and a rebel group involved in recent fighting signed a cessation of hostilities declaration, raising hopes about the country’s peace process. Welcoming Sweden’s election, Ambassador Yukio Takasu of Japan, who is also Chairperson of the Peacebuilding Commission, and Burundi’s Ambassador, Augustin Nsanze, commended the Scandinavian country for its commitment to both the Commission and Burundi. They also thanked Norway for its efforts as chair since 2006. Sweden’s Ambassador, Anders Liden, noted that his country has recently joined the Commission and is keen on being an active member and supporter of its goals and objectives. Aside from Burundi, the Peacebuilding Commission – which was set up in December 2005 – also has country-specific configurations for the Central African Republic (CAR), Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone. 18 July 2008Sweden has been chosen as the new chair of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission group tasked with helping the impoverished African nation of Burundi recover from recent conflict and avoid sliding back into chaos or misrule.