first_imgKolkata: City-based United Bank of India (UBI), which reported losses for the last seven quarters, is expecting to come out of the prompt and corrective action (PCA) list of RBI in the second quarter of the current financial year, a top official of the bank said. “We should be coming out of PCA by the second quarter of 2019-20. Things are happening the way we have strategised,” Ashok Kr Pradhan, MD and CEO of UBI told PTI. Pradhan said that the bank is not growing due to lack of capital. “However, the government has given us capital support. Last year the bank got Rs 5000 crore which will help us to meet the regulatory requirements”, Pradhan said. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja He said that the bank is increasing the asset book by changing the risk-weighted asset portfolio. “The bank is increasing the advance book by managing the risk-weighted exposures. Earlier, the asset book was tilted towards risky assets. Now we are going for AA and AAA rated accounts”. He said that UBI had received around Rs 4500 crore through NPA resolution during the last year. “Our GNPA should be in the range of 15 per cent to 16 per cent by March 2019, down from 21.27 per cent earlier”. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway Pradhan said “this last quarter we expect to be in profits and continue for the rest of the period quarter-on-quarter”. RBI had imposed PCA on the bank in December 2017 which had led to restrictions on lending, non-opening of new branches and non-recruitment of staff as the cost-to-income of the bank was adverse. The advance book of the bank increased Rs 4000 crore during the last financial year with advances presently touching Rs 73,000 crore. Pradhan said “The target this year for advances should touch Rs 80,000 crore and deposits at Rs 1,35,000 crore”. He said that capital would be required for growth of the bank. “We will raise capital from the market, maybe in the third quarter. “We will also raise Rs 100 crore from the employees through Employees Stock Purchase Scheme”, he said. Since the bank is located in the east, its growth had been constrained due to lack of growth in this part of the country for which it wants to have an ambitious target. In the current fiscal, the retail sector is expected to grow by 20 per cent, MSMEs by 22 per cent to 24 per cent and agriculture eight to ten per cent, he said. “We will be very selective on the corporates and to take exposure in AA and AAA rated accounts”, Pradhan added.last_img read more

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first_imgMumbai: Terming India a well-balanced and in-form outfit, former Sri Lanka pacer Chaminda Vaas predicted that Virat Kohli and his men would reach the semi-finals of the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup. The former left arm bowler was however guarded when talking about his own country’s chances in cricket’s showpiece event to be held in England and Wales from May 30, while mentioning sling-arm pacer Lasith Malinga as a key factor. “Indian cricket has been dominating in the last two-three years. They have good back-up fast bowlers. They will do wonders. Indian team is very balanced. They will do well. My prediction is, India will definitely reach the semifinals (in the World Cup),” Vaas told reporters here on Tuesday. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhVaas is on a visit to Mumbai to inaugurate a local T20 tournament along with former teammate, left-arm spinner Rangana Herath. Meanwhile, Herath sounded optimistic about Indian spinners doing well in the World Cup. “They (the Indian spinners) have been playing well, especially (Yuzvendra) Chahal and Kuldeep (Yadav). That’s why they have picked right-arm leg spinner and the chinaman (in the squad) and the other guy also (Ravindra Jadeja)… and I am sure in the coming World Cup,they will do (give) their best,” said Herath, who has picked 433 Tests wickets. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterHearth also remarked team are usually picking right-arm leg spinners or chinaman’s for their wicket-taking ability. “You may give extra runs but you need kind of wicket-taking options. That’s why they (the teams) pick the right-arm leg-spinner or chinaman (bowlers),” explained Herath, one of the best left-arm spinners of his times. Herath predicted that there will be a stage in the World Cup where the spinners would come into play. “The World Cup will be played all across England. In the later part, there will be some assistance for spinners as well at the same time, you can see some dry pitches as well. I am sure the spinners will get chance at one stage,” he added.last_img read more

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first_imgGurugram: The district administration has completed the voter’s list in Gurugram. According to, the Deputy Commissioner Amit Khatri one lakh voters will be added.Providing the data on the increase in the number of voters, the officials of district administration highlighted that in 2017 there 1033801 voters which in 2018 and 2019 increased to 1064351 and 1082870. There are a total of 21 lakh voters who will be casting their vote Among the major areas Pataudi has a total of 206569 voters, Badhahpur has 346769, Gurugram is at 319563 and Sohna is at 209969. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe district administration also not shied away from in mentioning the sex ratio figures and was transparent in the parity among the voters in terms of gender. At 912 to 1000 males, Gurugram city was the leader in terms of having the best sex ratio among the voters. There are 167094 men and 152469 women who are eligible to vote. At 872, Sohna region proved to be laggard. As compared to 112160 men there are only 97809 women voters. In the other two areas, Pataudi has 108765 men and 97894 women voters and Badshahpur has 182435 men and 164334 women voters. These two regions had sex ratio figure of 901 females to 1000 males. Combining all the regions the sex ratio has been registered this time has not crossed 900 and was pegged at 899 females to 1000 males. In 2011, the sex ratio figures were registered at 853 women to 1000 males. To improve the sex ratio figures the pink booths will be introduced for the first time.last_img read more

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first_imgNew Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday accused the Election Commission of being “silent spectator” to the “excesses” of the BJP and to the utterances of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the poll body has “largely failed” the people of India.The former Union Finance and Union Home Minister also said the plank of nationalism, propagated by the BJP, is a ploy to hide “failures” of the NDA government. “According to me, the Election Commission has largely failed the people of India. It has been a silent spectator to the excesses of the BJP, Mr Modi’s utterances and the enormous amount of money that has been spent by the BJP,” he told PTI in an interview. Also Read – J&K won’t remain UT forever, says ShahRecently, the opposition has complained to the EC alleging that the PM had “brazenly” violated the poll code by invoking armed forces repeatedly during his poll rallies and demanded that a campaign ban be imposed on him for some time. The Congress has said it has given 37 representations to the EC of which 10 can be categorised under “hate speeches, virulent, divisive, polarising” by Modi and BJP President Amit Shah. In the interview, Chidambaram answered questions ranging from the possibility of UPA-III coming to power after the Lok Sabha polls, recent searches by the Income Tax department, the CBI and Enforcement Directorate on some opposition leaders, besides other issues. Chidambaram claimed that the EC has been asking accounts of every opposition candidate and even on their small spendings like on a flag. “They (EC) are adding what it is called notional expenditure, to the expenditure account of the candidates. If you apply the same standard, every BJP candidate will be disqualified,” he said.last_img read more

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first_imgNew Delhi: Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Chairperson Swati Maliwal on Sunday visited the Lalita Park jhuggis which were gutted in a fire two nights ago.She met the distressed women affected by the fire who narrated traumatic tales of loss. According to DCW, there were no casualties in the horrific incident but women and girls have been left without even a change of clothes and have lost all of their belongings. The Delhi government has set up shelters and basic requirement of food and water was being looked after. However, women and girls need urgent supplies of basic household items and compensation to start their life afresh. Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehiclesDCW Chief met two women who were in deep trauma as their daughters are getting married in May 2019 and they lost all the items and cash they had arranged for the marriage. Even their train tickets to Bihar were burnt in the fire. DCW Chief recorded the statements of these women and assured complete support to them. “Swati Maliwal is writing to the DM to ensure full and urgent compensation to all aggrieved. Further, she is seeking special compensation for the women whose daughters are about to be married,” said DCW press statement. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: JavadekarSwati Maliwal said, “I appeal to Delhi citizens to donate liberally to the families by providing clothes and household items to those affected by the fire. Delhi also needs to come forward and liberally donate to the women whose girls were about to be married and who lost everything in the fire. If anyone wishes to donate to these women, they can contact us at livingpositive@gmail.com and we shall connect you to them. We will try our best to rehabilitate them.”last_img read more

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first_imgLiverpool: Liverpool must turn to unlikely heroes to overturn a 3-0 Champions League semi-final, first leg deficit against Barcelona on Tuesday, according to defender Trent Alexander-Arnold after Mohamed Salah was ruled out with concussion. Roberto Firmino will also be absent against the Spanish champions at Anfield, leaving Jurgen Klopp without two of his most potent attacking weapons for what is already a massive challenge. “Obviously we’ve got two of our main goal scorers out, but it also presents an opportunity for some of the other lads to come in, make a name for themselves and make themselves heroes,” said Alexander-Arnold. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: Rijiju”If we do overturn the deficit tomorrow then whoever scores, their name will always be remembered because I am sure it will be one of those really special nights.” Salah was stretchered off during Liverpool’s tense 3-2 win at Newcastle on Saturday that kept alive their chances of a first Premier League title in 29 years after colliding with Magpies’ goalkeeper Martin Dubravka. “It’s a concussion so that means he would not even be allowed to play,” Klopp said on Monday. Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai Masters”He feels OK but it is not good enough from a medical point of view that is all. He’s desperate (to play) but we cannot do it.” Klopp, speaking before Manchester City ensured they remain in the driving seat for the Premier League title by beating Leicester 1-0 on Monday, was realistic about his side’s chances of progressing to a second consecutive Champions League final. But the German refused to give up hope. “Together with our supporters it was a long season and there is at least a little chance to make it even longer,” Klopp added. “Two of the world’s best strikers are not available tomorrow night and we have to score four goals against Barcelona to go through after 90 minutes. “It doesn’t make life easier, but as long as we have 11 players on the pitch, we will try it.” Luis Suarez scored the opening goal against his former club in last week’s first leg at the Camp Nou, but ahead of his return to Anfield, the Uruguayan warned his current teammates of the lift playing on home soil will give Liverpool. “To play at Anfield is like playing with an extra man for what the fans transmit to the Liverpool players,” said Suarez. And Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde believes attack will be the best form of defence as if the Catalans get an away goal, Liverpool will need to score five. “What we have to do is score,” said Valverde.last_img read more

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first_imgNEW DELHI: In Delhi the poll day witnessed higher voter turnout at the Muslim dominated areas. In this list Ballimaran legislative constituency witnessed the highest voter turnout of more than 68 per cent and this area of Chandni Chowk constituency is also a Muslim dominated area.In the Chandni Chowk constituency areas like Chandni Chowk, Matia Mahal also witnessed high voter turnout and these are the places which are Muslim dominated. Matia Mahal witnessed 66.94 per cent turnout of voters whereas Chandni Chowk had the voter turnout around 60 per cent. Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehiclesOn the other hand in the North East Delhi, Muslim majority areas like Seemapuri witnessed 67 per cent voter turnout, followed by Mustafabad with 65 per cent turnout. Silampur also witnessed 65 per cent voter turnout. In East Delhi, Trilokpuri which is also Muslim and caste minority dominated area witnessed nearly 65 per cent voter turnout which is the highest among the other areas of East Delhi. However, Okhla legislative assembly which is one of the most Muslim dominated areas in Delhi witnessed the lowest voter turnout and it was nearly 54 per cent. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: JavadekarAccording to reports Muslim voters largely seemed to be favouring the Congress in Delhi. The AAP had tried hard to forge a poll alliance with the Congress, driven by the fear that the anti-BJP votes might shift to that party. Of the 1.36 crore voters across seven Lok Sabha seats in the national capital, 13 percent are Muslims. In constituencies such as Chandni Chowk, Muslim voters comprise 20 per cent of the total electorate. A large section of the community had shifted their allegiance from the Congress to Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), a move that helped the fledgling outfit trounce the Congress and BJP to emerge victorious in 67 of the 70 seats in the 2015 assembly election.last_img read more

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first_imgCasablanca- Sometimes cops hastily jump to conclusions! Yosra Aajir, a 17-year-old Dutch-Moroccan girl with diabetes was recently arrested in a store in The Hague, The Netherlands, after two guards had mistaken her for a drug addict who was injecting drugs and urinating in the store.Yosra Aajir, 17, and of Moroccan origins, accompanied one of her friends to a store. Once in, she abruptly felt that the level of her blood glucose increased.Yosra then rushed into a fitting room to test her blood sugar level. She was surprised when her blood meter indicated 33.3, which was evidently too high. In a hurry, Yosra pulled her pants down to inject insulin. As she did so, she had some urine leakage, something that typically happens to people who have diabetes.Two store guards drew open the fitting room’s curtain to surprise her injecting insulin surrounded by urine on the floor. Shocked by their discovery, the store guards mistook Yosra for a drug addict who hid behind the curtain to inject drugs.Yosra was then taken to the office of the HEMA, a Dutch discount retail chain. Meanwhile, her friend vainly tried to convince the guards that Yosra had diabetes and that what they had seen behind the fitting room’s curtain was what all people with diabetes typically do.Yosra was allegedly treated like a criminal, harshly pushed against the wall and had her hands cuffed before she was taken to the police station.“I was arrested for shop destruction through urine,” Yosra told a Durtch news source. “I spent four hours in a police cell, and when I showed my medical certificate, they said, ‘That’s probably a trick to be allowed out of the cell way earlier. So do many immigrants.”Yosra’s arrest has stirred indignation among Moroccans in The Netherlands as well as in Morocco. Ahmed Marcouch, a Moroccan MP, is expected to ask questions to the Minister of Justice in The Netherlands.In the same vein, the Islam Democrats Party has written questions to The Hague mayor and some council members.“We are tired to be treated as second-class citizens,” Abdelbasset Zaghdoud, a Moroccan-Dutch told MWN.“Dutch pride HEMA, the security store guards and the police have to come with an apology,” he added.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributedlast_img read more

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Rabat – A local official of the Spanish Red Cross is accused of sexually abusing three Moroccan minors.Joaquim Homs, who was the president of the Red Cross in the city of Banyoles located in the province of Girona in northeastern Catalonia, is suspected of sexually abusing three young Moroccans between 2006 and 2011 in exchange for employment and status legalization.According to Spanish media reports, the victims claim that Joaquim Homs had been forcing the three minors into sleeping naked with him. He also kissed them and touched their genitals. According to Spanish website 20minutos, one of the victim said that the suspect used to tell them that the “touching and kissing were normal, that they love them and was the only who could help them.The victim added that Homs did what “he wanted with them” and took advantage of the fact that they depended on him for their livelihood in the country.Most of the abuses took place in his home, but also in the offices of the Red Cross and even inside ambulances.The same source added that the prosecutor requested 18 years in prison for the former Red Cross local official on three counts of sexual abuse and child prostitution. He could also pay a fine of 7,200 euros and 9,000 euros to the three victims as a compensation. read more

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Rabat – Spanish football club Real Madrid’s President, Florentino Pérez, has allegedly forbidden Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s frequent trips to Morocco onboard his private jet.According to Telquel news website, citing Belgian sports site Het Laatse Nieuws on Tuesday, the Real Madrid boss banned CR7’s customary visits to Morocco with his good friend, Moroccan Kickboxing Champion Badr Hari.Pérez fears that all the traveling back and forth between Spain and Morocco will eventually affect his star player’s performance on the pitch, the same source noted. The Spanish football club also believes that the close friendship between Hari and Ronaldo could allegedly hurt the Portuguese’s reputation and privacy.Last year, following back-to-back trips Ronaldo made to several Moroccan cities with Morocco’s ‘Golden Boy’, the Spanish press slammed the friendship, saying it was controversial and not good for the soccer celebrity, following the stars’ social media posts.According to the same source, Real Madrid’s newly-appointed coach, French national Zinedine Zidane, also said he disagrees with star’s weekend vacations to the North African country.Last month, French sports reporter Daniel Riolo insinuated on French television show “Touche pas a mon sport” that Hari and Ronaldo were more than just friends.“Cristiano Ronaldo – I’m sure flying to Morocco three to four times a week to see a friend and cuddle with him might have an impact on his performances eventually,” he added.Last November, the Spanish Club began to worry about Ronaldo’s trips. “Many voices inside Bernabeu suggest that Benitez and many of Real Madrid’s highest paid players, including Ronaldo, have begun a battle without a happy ending, especially with the ongoing CR7 trips to Morocco in his brand new jet,” Spanish newspaper Extra Confidencial stated.Although a plane trip between Madrid and Rabat lasts less than 1 hour and 30 minutes, Spanish media claimed that Ronaldo was traveling to Morocco as often as every afternoon and returning to Madrid later in the evening.Conversely, according to British media, the Real Madrid star’s true reason for his visits to Morocco was not Badr Hari, but his alleged new girlfriend, Melanie Martins, a Portuguese-French model.Whether Cristiano Ronaldo visited Morocco so often was his friendship with Hari, his reported relationship with Martins, or simply for the beauty of Morocco, it seems that he will no longer travel to his “favorite” destination during football season. read more

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New York – Immediately after Morocco’s national team secured it qualification to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Moroccans of New York flocked to Steinway street in Astoria to celebrate this victory. The Moroccan football team qualified for the 2018 World Cup Russia by defeating, in Abidjan, its Ivorian counterpart (2-0) on Saturday at the Felix Houphouët Boigny stadium.Nabil Dirar scored the first goal and Mehdi Benatia added a second one five minutes later. This is the fifth time the Atlas Lions qualify for the world Cup following the editions of 1970, 1986, 1994 and 1998

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Rabat – Spanish coach Fernando Hierro knows very well what his team will deal with tonight. The Spaniard warned his squad of Morocco’s strength, even though they will not move to the next phase of the 2018 World Cup.The Atlas Lions and La Roja, Spain’s team,  will play tonight in Kaliningrad at 7:00 p.m. (Moroccan time). However, Morocco’s team will fight for its honor after two defeats against Portugal and Iran, while Spain will fight to qualify for the second round of the tournament.For the Spanish coach, Morocco is a “tough rival,” according to American television channel ESPN. “Basically if they qualified for a World Cup we know they will be a tough rival,” said Hierro before the game.He added that his squad cannot have a moment of relaxation  as the team has to be “very much awake, with our eyes very much open, and we are aware that Morocco is not going to give anything away.”Spain and Portugal are in Group B, along with Morocco and Iran. Only two teams will qualify for the next round of the competition. Iran is in third with three points, while Morocco ended its two previous games pointless.Spain, Portugal, and Iran will fight for qualification, while Morocco will fight to bring joy to its fans and to show everyone that its goodbye was due to the “unfair” arbitration in the Portugal-Morocco game on June 20.The Spanish coach might have heard about the plan of Morocco’s coach Hervé Renard, who expressed his determination to offer a good match against Spain tonight.In his pre-match press conference, Renard promised that his Atlas Lions will play this game as if they were trying to get qualified for the next round. In response, Hierro said that “we can’t get into the coach’s head; we’re not sure how they’re going to play tomorrow.”He added that the Moroccan team could make a surprise. “We can’t take anything for granted. We have to trust in our skills, our qualities, and that’s what’s more important ahead of tomorrow’s match.” read more

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WASHINGTON — The operator of a video-sharing app popular with teenagers is agreeing to pay $5.7 million to settle federal allegations it illegally collected personal information from children.The Federal Trade Commission says the Wednesday penalty against lip-syncing app Musical.ly, now known as TikTok, is the largest ever obtained in a children’s privacy case.The FTC says the app violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires kid-oriented websites to get parents’ consent before collecting personal information from children under 13.TikTok says it’s starting a separate, more restrictive app for younger U.S. users.FTC Chairman Joe Simons says Musical.ly knew many younger children were using the app and collecting names, email addresses and other personal information without parental consent.Musical.ly merged last year into China-based TikTok.The Associated Press read more

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LONDON — The U.K. has proposed directly regulating social media companies for the first time, with senior executives potentially facing fines if they fail to block damaging content such as terrorist propaganda or images of child abuse.The regulations proposed Monday would create a statutory “duty of care” for social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter to protect young people who use their sites. The rules would be overseen by an independent regulator funded by a levy on internet companies.Media Secretary Jeremy Wright says: “Voluntary actions from industry to tackle online harms have not been applied consistently or gone far enough.”The proposed regulations were released for public comment on Monday.The Associated Press

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CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s prime minister says his nation will boost spending on infrastructure in the Solomon Islands, but notes the increased aid commitment is not linked to the South Pacific nation’s diplomatic allegiance to Taiwan.Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced after meeting his Solomons counterpart in the capital, Honiara, on Monday that Australia will provide 250 million Australian dollars ($174 million) in aid over the next decade for infrastructure spending.The Solomons’ diplomatic recognition of Taiwan was an issue in the country’s April elections. The U.S. government has urged Pacific nations not to switch allegiances to China.Morrison said Australia would not advise the Solomons government on whether they should maintain their country’s diplomatic alliance with the self-governing democratic island.The Associated Press read more

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In the wake of Cyclone Yemyin, flooding has affected over 800,000 people in Balochistan, with officials reporting dozens of villages being submerged, thousands forced to flee their homes and damage to roads and bridges.UNICEF has supplied to Balochistan’s Government 740,000 water purification tablets, 33,600 blankets and 4,000 jerry cans, as well as tents, and 50 tons of Unmix, a nutrient-rich food supplement for women and children.The agency has already sent two emergency health kits, which can address the immediate health needs of 20,000 people for three months, to the most affected districts.UNICEF is working with the national and provincial Governments and with other UN agencies as well as with non-governmental organizations (NGOs).Also in Pakistan, a new stage of a UN-backed national measles campaign – the country’s largest ever – was launched today, aiming to reach over 63 million children by March 2008.This campaign, led by the Pakistani Government, will be a major step in reaching the global goal of slashing measles deaths by 90 per cent by 2010. More than 20,000 children in the South Asian nation die yearly from measles and its complications.Between 2 and 18 July, 1.5 children between the ages of nine months and 13 years will be vaccinated in eight districts of Balochistan. This process will be conducted in phases throughout the country until next March.The first stage began this March in four districts, and reached 96 per cent of children in the target age group.This current phase in Balochistan will mobilize 600 vaccination teams comprising over 3,000 trained health staff and volunteers to reach children in remote rural areas.The scheme receives financial and technical support from the Measles Initiative, comprising the United Nations Foundation, UNICEF, the UN World Health Organization (WHO), the American Red Cross and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.In another development, ahead of tomorrow’s planned closure by the Pakistani Government of two Afghan refugee camps, the UN refugee agency is urging officials and refugees to engage in a dialogue to ensure the process is peaceful.The decision to close the camps was reached last year in a tripartite meeting among the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Pakistan and Afghanistan.The two camps closing house over 82,000 registered Afghans, and the refugees were given two options by the Pakistani Government: to repatriate to Afghanistan with UNHCR assistance, or to relocate to an existing camp in Pakistan. 29 June 2007The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is rushing emergency supplies – including tents food, medicine, hygiene supplies and equipment – to people hit by heavy rains in the western Pakistani province of Balochistan. read more

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“I welcome the initial set of measures announced today by Tony Blair, in particular its focus on improving movement and access in opening up trade routes,” Robert Serry, who is the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO), said today. “I hope this marks the beginning of improved mobility, economic growth, security and confidence.” According to Mr. Blair’s announcement, Israel has agreed to remove some checkpoints across the West Bank. It has also approved thousands of entry permits to Israel for Palestinian workers. Both sides have also agreed to facilitate access to and from Bethlehem, in a measure designed to boost tourism. Mr. Serry added that “the UN is also giving strong support to the current efforts to achieve a Gaza ceasefire and a reopening of the crossings. Movement forward now is vital in itself, and to sustain the political process at a critical phase.” The Quartet, which is chaired by the UN Secretary-General, comprises the UN, the European Union, Russia and the United States. 13 May 2008A new package of economic measures aimed at improving the economic situation for Palestinians, announced by Tony Blair, the Representative for the Middle East diplomatic Quartet, has been welcomed today by a top United Nations official in the region. read more

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4 September 2008The United Nations food agency expects to be able to send emergency assistance today to Haitians stranded in the flooded northern city of Gonaïves, which was battered by Tropical Storm Hanna on Monday night. After days of waiting for the vicious rainstorm to subside, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) can now sail a boat out of the capital, Port-au-Prince, carrying food and personnel to the previously inaccessible port town.Haiti, already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, has been devastated by three deadly storms, Fay, Gustav and Hanna, in less than a month, and two others, Ike and Josephine, are fast approaching. Hurricane Gustav left at least 76 dead and thousands displaced, destroying homes, livestock and crops primarily in the south and west of the impoverished Caribbean country and forcing some 7,000 people into shelters. WFP, the world’s biggest aid organization, was distributing food to Gustav victims and evaluating the humanitarian impact of the hurricane when Hanna struck Gonaïves in the north and the number of casualties is feared to be high.“Right when humanitarian assistance was reaching affected communities in the south, tropical storm Hanna arrived and again blocked roads and created lots of problems,” said WFP Representative in Haiti, Myrta Kaulard, in an interview with UN Radio.The UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti, known as MINUSTAH, and other UN agencies were eventually able to reach Gonaïves using speed boats to deliver some humanitarian aid, but a ship loaded with WFP and UNICEF supplies has been sitting idle for two days because of the weather.“All roads able to access Gonaïves are cut, either by bridges that have collapsed, by trees that have fallen down, or by waters that have washed way parts of the streets,” said Ms. Kaulard.MINUSTAH also hope that their helicopters are able to transport UN personnel today to start distributing aid and providing humanitarian assistance to the marooned population in Gonaïves. Some residents have been stranded on the rooftops of their homes.“We are bringing in 50 metric tons of water, 19 metric tons of biscuits. We are bringing water purification tablets. We are bringing trucks, cars and boats to help with the evacuation of the people and the transport of this food and water to the population,” added Ms. Kaulard.The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that preliminary information indicates that damage caused by Hanna is more extensive than that of Hurricane Jeanne in 2004, which decimated the city and left around 2,500 dead or missing.“The hurricane season is far from over, several storms have already hit the country, each of them aggravating the damage left by the previous one,” said UNICEF Representative in Haiti, Annamaria Laurini.UNICEF said in a press release yesterday that it is stepping up its assistance to an initial 15,000 Haitians affected by the three successive storms, but as the emergency teams begin to reach currently inaccessible areas, this number is bound to increase. read more

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“As we build these police stations, we also have to focus on other demands, such as the cost associated with running them,” said UNDP Country Director, Dominic Sam, at the ceremony for the Tubmanburg Police Station.“We also need to think about supporting continuous training and provision of essential logistics to enable the LNP carry out its statutory responsibilities successfully,” Mr. Sam added.The new police station, which was funded by Norway with backing from UNDP and the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), contains a women and children protection unit, with tackling rape in particular tasked as well as other forms of gender-based violence.“Norway’s contribution has proved instrumental in encouraging the expansion of the Women and Children Protection programmes in 21 locations throughout Liberia,” said Acting Commissioner of UN Police, Ibrahim Idris.Mr. Idris also pointed out that the programmes have also helped in strengthening the LNP’s ability to protect vulnerable groups, especially by building confidence and trust between victims, police and communities.Meanwhile, in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, participants at a high-level forum on employment in Africa said the creation of jobs across the continent would also bring important peace and security benefits.“There is no lasting peace without jobs,” said a senior official of the UN International Labour Organization (ILO) for Africa, Mpenga Kabundi.“Decent jobs [are necessary] for a just society and a sustainable route out of poverty,” he added, while speaking at the ILO-backed forum yesterday. 10 September 2008The head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Liberia stressed the importance of providing the National Police (LNP) with all the resources necessary to enforce the rule of law, during a hand-over of a newly-constructed police station today. read more

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Talks between the Government and the mainly Tutsi group known as the National Congress in Defense of the People (CNDP) began last December, and the substantive phase kicked off yesterday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.Co-mediator Benjamin Mkapa, the former Tanzanian president who is representing the African Union (AU) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes (ICGLR), chaired today’s meeting and said the parties have made steady, albeit slow, progress on substantive issues.The escalating conflict between Government forces (FARDC) and the CNDP has uprooted an estimated 250,000 people since late August on top of the 800,000 already displaced in the region, mainly in North Kivu province, which borders Rwanda and Uganda.Olusegun Obasanjo, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy and former Nigerian president, is currently holding consultations, including on the possibility of holding a gathering this month of the leaders of Great Lakes nations to update them on progress made so far and obstacles that remain in achieving peace between the Government and CNDP. He is expected to join the talks tomorrow.Meanwhile, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a work plan to contain Ebola, a haemorrhagic fever, in the DRC’s Kasai Occidental province.It is estimated that 42 people – including at least 28 women and 14 children – are infected with Ebola, with 13 people having died of complications related to the virus and 160 others under watch.WHO staff and other relief workers will visit all parts of the province to sensitize the population on Ebola. 8 January 2009The latest round of United Nations-supported Government-rebel political negotiations seeking to quell the violence engulfing the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continued today, with the co-chair reporting slow but steady progress. read more

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