Secure Technologies Group to Build Assembly Plant in Morocco

By Chase LacyRabat- Moroccan entrepreneur Adnan Ouassini has announced that Secure Technologies Group (STG) will install a phone assembly plant in Morocco to be operational 2019-2020 and establish an STG Telecom Moroccan subsidiary. The company, specializing in telecommunications, home automations, robotics and high-tech accessories, was founded by the Tangier-born Adnan Ouassini in 2008 in California’s Silicon valley through his other company Technology Capital Invest (TCI). He announced the move to Matin-Eco that “Morocco is in full industrial development, illustrated today by major projects in the automotive and and aerospace sectors, in particular. The telephone assembly plant project is part of STG’s desire to support this dynamic as a real locomotive for the telecom sector, which still has great potential in Morocco.”He said that MAD 150 million would be designated for the project’s development for 2018-2019. STG will establish a network of 12 physical stores, the first of which will come to Tangier August 2019. Ouassini said production would be for the domestic and international markets, particular for the rest of Africa, and that he is seeking to improve Moroccan access to new technologies with an affordable variety of high quality products.  He claimed that the the plant would directly create 250 jobs and indirectly 300 jobs. The company is partnered with RMA for a breakage insurance service. The company has agreed to a partnership with BMCE Bank of Africa for a 12-month credit offer for smartphone acquisition. Orange will operate as the distribution partner, and the Jumia platform will be used for its digital marketing. read more

Turkeys Erdogan condemns New Zealand mosque attack

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned the attacks on mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch calling it the “latest example of rising racism and Islamophobia.”Tweeting in English and Turkish on Friday, Erdogan said: “On behalf of my country, I offer my condolences to the Islamic world and the people of New Zealand, who have been targeted by this deplorable act.”He also wished a speedy recovery to the wounded.New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said 40 people were killed in the attack on two mosques.Turkey’s private NTV news channel quoted Turkish embassy officials as saying there are no Turkish citizens among the dead.The Associated Press read more

MGM Resorts announces 254 layoffs says more job cuts coming

Las Vegas-based casino company MGM Resorts International has announced a first phase of layoffs in a cost-cutting operational shift as it aims to boost earnings.The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the 254 layoffs announced Thursday will cut labour costs by $100 million.In a letter to employees, CEO Jim Murren calls it streamlining and says more positions will be eliminated in coming weeks.MGM Resorts in January announced its MGM 2020 plan to boost earnings by $200 million by next year.It says the current cuts affect managers, not union workers.The company has about 77,000 employees and is the largest employer in Nevada.It’s under investor pressure to improve earnings after share prices have fallen 12 per cent since August.MGM shares closed Thursday at $27.75, down 14 cents.The Associated Press read more

Albuquerque eyes Route 66 upgrades in forgotten part

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico’s largest city is the latest to embark on upgrades to its portion of the historic Route 66 Highway.Officials in Albuquerque want to see improvements to a barren stretch of Route 66 in an area that some complain is a forgotten part of the city, KRQE-TV reports .City officials are eying a $2.3 million plan that would add medians, landscaping and lighting along the Mother Road west of downtown. Currently, there are no sidewalks, landscaping or bike lanes and very few street lights.Albuquerque has the largest part of Route 66 in an urban area.The move comes as an endangered federal program that has helped preserve the historic Route 66 Highway for two decades is set to end and federal legislation to designate Route 66 as a National Historic Trail remains stalled in Congress.Earlier this year, Gallup, New Mexico, announced a plan to upgrade its Route 66 streetlights to LED lights. And various cities in Oklahoma also have embarked on Route 66 facelifts.Route 66, also called the “Mother Road,” was created in 1926 after the Bureau of Public Roads launched the nation’s first federal highway system, bringing together existing local and state roads from Chicago through St. Louis to Los Angeles. Small towns opened shops, motels and gas stations to pump revenue into local economies just as the nation’s car culture took off.One of the first roads in the U.S. highway system, it spanned more than 2,400 miles (3,862 kilometres). The highway ran through eight states, connecting tourists with friendly diners in small towns.The route changed a number of times through the years. It eventually became less of a destination thanks to new interstate highways.The World Monuments Fund in 2008 listed Route 66 on the “Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites.”The Associated Press read more

UN food relief agency to hand out rice to displaced people in

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced plans to provide emergency relief for more than 42,000 people displaced from their homes on the troubled island of Jolo in the southern Philippines, where there have been deadly clashes over the past week between Government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front.In cooperation with the Philippine Government, WFP will distribute 85 metric tons of rice to the displaced on Jolo following a request from the Governor of Sulu province, where the island is located.WFP Country Director Valerie Guarnieri described the province – where at least 12 people were killed in this week’s clashes – as one of the most conflict-affected areas of the south.“We hope this support for hungry families will help stabilize the situation in Sulu,” Ms. Guarnieri said.Last month the agency provided 25 tons of rice to 6,000 people in Sulu displaced by earlier unrest, but those people have since returned to their homes. Although the Government signed a peace accord with the Moro National Liberation Front in 1996, fighting between the two sides has erupted periodically since then.WFP’s activities in the southern Philippines include not only the direct distribution of free food to needy families, but the use of food to encourage better school attendance, provide nutritional support for mothers and to repair damaged infrastructure. 19 April 2007The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced plans to provide emergency relief for more than 42,000 people displaced from their homes on the troubled island of Jolo in the southern Philippines, where there have been deadly clashes over the past week between Government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front. read more

Concerned at conditions in Somalia Security Council urges end to violence

Speaking to reporters following a closed-door briefing, Ambassador Marty M. Natalegawa of Indonesia, which holds the rotating Council presidency, said the members “expressed strong concern about the deteriorating political, security and humanitarian situation in Somalia.”He said the members also “underlined the need to continue to actively develop contingency plans for the possible deployment of a UN peacekeeping force as part of enhanced UN integrated strategy in Somalia.”Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his latest report on Somalia, issued last week, cautioned that deploying a UN peacekeeping operation is not realistic or viable given the country’s security situation, the intensifying insurgency and the lack of progress towards any political reconciliation.He also noted that conditions are so dire that it has not even been possible to send a technical assessment mission to the country.“Given the complex security situation in Somalia, it may be advisable to look at additional security options, including the deployment of a robust multinational force or coalition of the willing,” the report suggested.The Council members today called for all Somali stakeholders “to renounce violence and to engage in an all-inclusive peace process,” the President said, expressing support for the efforts of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah to promote dialogue, consultation and reconciliation, and for the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) and the African Union Mission (AMISOM) deployed in the country.Council members “recognized the need for greater financial, logistical and technical support” for AMISOM, he added. They also “underlined the need for enhanced international assistance to address the humanitarian situation in Somalia.”Responding to questions from the press, the President said contingency planning involves not only a possible UN peacekeeping force but a UN response to the humanitarian and the political situation in Somalia.He added that Council members were considering an expert-level consultation with UN political, peacekeeping and humanitarian officials.“There is a clear recognition that this an issue that requires continued attention,” he said. “We’ll take this one step at a time, mindful of the urgency of the situation.”Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed the safe arrival of the two ships carrying WFP cargo, the first two ships to be escorted by a French naval vessel assigned to protect them from pirate attacks.The French ship and the two WFP-contracted vessels left the Kenyan port of Mombasa on Friday, carrying more than 3600 tons of food, and arrived in Somalia today.Thanking the French Government and Navy for their assistance, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said the operation comes at a critical time for the Somali people, who have been afflicted by drought as well as ongoing conflict. 19 November 2007Security Council members today voiced concern about worsening conditions in Somalia, urging all concerned to work for peace while stressing the need to lay contingency plans for a possible United Nations peacekeeping presence in the country, which has lacked a functioning government since 1991. read more

UN refugee agency exceeds 20000 resettlement target for Iraqi refugees

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced today that it had topped its target of 20,000 Iraqi resettlement referrals for 2007.As of 7 December, the agency had transferred the files of 20,472 of the most vulnerable Iraqi refugees to be considered for resettlement by 16 countries: the United States, Australia, Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, Ireland, Brazil, Chile, Finland, Norway, Denmark, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Ireland, Spain and Germany.The largest number of files – 14,798 – has been submitted to the US, followed by Australia, Canada, Sweden and New Zealand as the top receiving countries.“With three weeks to go before the end of the year, we are, however, extremely concerned about the low rate of departures to date,” said Vincent Cochetel, Deputy Director of UNHCR’s Division of International Protection.As of 1 December, 4,575 Iraqis – slightly less than one-quarter of the total referred cases – had left for resettlement countries. Of those who have been resettled, the largest number is in the US.“UNHCR has consistently encouraged resettlement countries to speed up their procedures to enable the most vulnerable Iraqis to depart as soon as possible,” the agency said in a press release.Several categories of people are considered for resettlement, including torture victims, women at risk, urgent medical cases, households headed by women, and members of minority groups. UNHCR estimates there are some 80,000 to 100,000 extremely vulnerable Iraqi refugees in the Middle East needing to be resettled.However, the agency noted that realistically, only a small fraction of the most vulnerable can be considered for resettlement to third countries.Over 4.5 million Iraqis are uprooted, with 2.4 million within the country’s borders and nearly 2.2 million in other nations such as Syria and Jordan.“The security situation inside Iraq remains a concern and at this stage UNHCR is not promoting return to the country,” said Radhouane Nouicer, UNHCR Director for the Middle East and North Africa.“We all hope that the situation in the country will continue to improve. Pending this improvement, resettlement will remain one of the solutions for the most vulnerable and exposed Iraqi refugees.”While the agency has the capacity to submit another 25,000 Iraqi cases for resettlement, this depends on firm commitments from resettlement countries to accept them.Meanwhile, UNHCR voiced concern over an estimated 13,000 Palestinians residing in Iraq under the agency’s mandate. Those in Baghdad are under constant threat, while Palestinians living in makeshift border camps are reporting increasing physical attacks and harassment.“In view of their dire condition and the difficulty they have in escaping Iraq, UNHCR feels that humanitarian relocation to places of safety is their best option,” the agency said.But to date, only Sudan, Chile and a few other nations have indicated they are willing to help the Palestinians in Iraq. 12 December 2007The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced today that it had topped its target of 20,000 Iraqi resettlement referrals for 2007. read more

Ban Kimoon mourns death of UN police officer in Kosovo

Kynol Ivor, 25, was part of the Ukrainian Formed Police Unit (FPU) and was killed in an operation undertaken – jointly by the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the NATO-led Kosovo Force, or KFOR – to reclaim the courthouse in North Mitrovica which was stormed and occupied on 14 March. In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said that he “calls on all parties to refrain from violence and to engage in a constructive dialogue and work together to promote security and stability in Kosovo.”Extending his condolences to the officer’s family, the Secretary-General also thanked the Ukrainian Government for its “dedicated commitment” to the UN’s work in Kosovo.Also mourning the policeman’s death, a senior UNMIK official today said the recent violence is “unacceptable” and will not be tolerated.“Our condolences go to the family of the Ukrainian police officer who was killed by this mob, who was murdered by this mob,” said the Secretary-General’s Principal Deputy Special Representative in Kosovo, Larry Rossin, at a press briefing.Characterizing the 14 March attack on the courthouse as an “orchestrated occupation,” he said that there had been several attempts to persuade Serbia’s Minister for Kosovo Slobodan Samardzic, as well as Kosovo Serb political figures in Mitrovica, to resolve the situation peacefully.Despite such communications, the courthouse continued to be occupied by some 40 people, including some officers of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior,” Mr. Rossin noted. Additionally, UNMIK received information that those who carried out the courthouse attack were planning to occupy another UN building in the area.After planning and consulting with both KFOR and the Police Commissioner, he said he authorized the operation which began early yesterday morning to regain control of the courthouse and restore law and order.Despite originally starting out peacefully, the situation deteriorated into violence, with a mob attacking first with rocks, then with Molotov cocktails. Shortly after, UN police and KFOR troops came under direct gunfire and hand grenade attacks, resulting in 42 UN police officers and 22 KFOR troops sustaining injuries.“I hesitate to call them demonstrators, because demonstrating implies peacefully and this was far, far beyond the limit of what is acceptable,” Mr. Rossin said of the mob.He added that 32 of those occupying the courthouse were temporarily detained, processed and released back to North Mitrovica. “Criminal investigations into all these illegal acts, including murder and attempted murder, perpetrated on UNMIK and on KFOR soldiers are ongoing and we firmly intend to bring those responsible for these crimes to justice.”The situation in the area is now calm, but tense, Mr. Rossin observed, urging all to respect the rule of law and to allow UNMIK to carry out its mandate.Last month, the Assembly of Kosovo’s Provisional Institutions of Self-Government declared independence from Serbia, and since then the Secretary-General has underlined the need for restraint from all sides. 18 March 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed his deep sadness at the death of a United Nations police officer during yesterday’s violent clashes in Mitrovica in the north of Kosovo. read more

UN welcomes United States removal of entry restriction based on HIV status

Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), issued a statement saying the move by US President Barack Obama overturns a restriction that was discriminatory and did not protect public health.“Today’s announcement reinforces the position of the US as a global leader in HIV policy and practice,” Mr. Sidibé said. “This policy change is a significant step forward by the United States towards promoting human rights in the AIDS response.”The statement noted that the US Government had already concluded that maintaining HIV status on a list of excludable entry conditions would not result in public health benefits and contributed towards the stigmatization of HIV-infected people.Mr. Obama announced the change today as he signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009, which has provided treatment and support services to people living with HIV since 1990. The legislation is named after Ryan White, a teenage boy who became a nationally known figure in the US in the 1980s as he battled discrimination and ostracism after contracting HIV from a contaminated blood treatment. He died in 1990.Mr. Sidibé said UNAIDS described the Ryan White programme “as an integral part of the global AIDS response and a gesture of the United States towards achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for people within the United States living with HIV.” 30 October 2009The United Nations agency spearheading the world body’s efforts to tackle the HIV/AIDS pandemic today welcomed the decision of the United States to remove 22-year-old entry restrictions based on HIV status. read more

Massive refugee influx from DR Congo straining neighbours resources – UN

12 January 2010A massive influx of 125,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) into neighbouring Republic of Congo (ROC) and Central African Republic (CAR) after deadly ethnic clashes is severely stretching the meagre resources of the impoverished region, the United Nations refugee agency reported today. “There is an acute need for formal refugee sites to be established in both CAR and ROC, as the majority of the DRC refugees occupy public buildings and spaces,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Andrej Mahecic told a news briefing in Geneva, warning that the influx could lead to tensions with the local community.“In Mougoumba in CAR (where 17,000 people have fled, 60 per cent of them children and many from orphanages) the refugees outnumber the locals by 200 to one, while the Likouala region of northern ROC has seen its population double with the arrival of 107,000 refugees.”The refugees fled Equateur province in north-west DRC after fighting erupted in late October when Enyele militiamen launched deadly assaults on ethnic Munzayas over fishing and farming rights in the Dongo area. Tensions have since expanded to most parts of Equateur and the DRC army has launched an offensive against the militia.Although land has been allocated to accommodate 4,000 refugees in ROC, more space needs to be designated for refugee sites and discussions are ongoing with both ROC and CAR governments, Mr. Mahecic said. Meanwhile, UNHCR has sent emergency staff to support the widely dispersed refugee communities in this region.The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has already provided month-long rations of maize, beans, vegetable oil and salt for internally displaced persons (IDPs) within Equateur province, where peacekeepers from the UN mission in DRC (MONUC) have protected the food convoys. Refugees who fled across the Oubangui River into ROC started receiving WFP food aid at the end of November, but their numbers have now swelled.According to the DRC Government, 270 people were killed when the inter-ethnic clashes first erupted. read more

Brazil UN rights expert urges stepped up efforts to fight slavery

“Slavery is a crime that should not go unpunished,” said Gulnara Shahinian, Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, including is causes and consequences, at the end of her visit to Brazil. The Government has taken commendable action to combat the scourge, including publishing a so-called ‘Dirty List’ of all farms and companies using slave labour, excluding them from accessing public funds, she said. But “some landowners, businesses and intermediaries, such as the gatos, have found a way to avoid criminal prosecution by taking advantage of legal loopholes that delay justice and foster impunity,” the expert said. Civil penalties have been successfully applied to some landowners and companies but criminal penalties have not been enforced, with jurisdictional conflicts and delays in the judiciary system resulting in the lapsing of the statute of limitations, she pointed out. Although forced labour is considered a serious crime, first-time offenders might only face house arrest or community service. Brazil could shortly become the world’s fifth largest economy, but the Special Rapporteur cautioned that this ascendancy should not come at the expense of people’s rights. Forced labour in rural areas, which she said is a “slavery-like practice,” is most wide-spread in the cattle ranching and sugar cane industries, and the victims are mostly men and boys over the age of 15. In Brazil’s urban areas, forced labour takes place largely in the garment industry. “In all these situations the victims of forced labour work long hours, with little or no pay,” Ms. Shahinian said. “They are threatened with, or subjected to physical, psychological and sometimes sexual violence.” During her visit, she held talks with Government authorities, international organizations, the private sector and non-governmental organizations, and visited communities in São Paulo, Cuiabá, Imperatriz, Açailândia and Brasília. In rural areas, she met with people subjected to forced labour and slavery-like practices in the cattle ranching and sugar cane industries, and she also spoke with garment workers. The expert called for the adoption of schemes that ensure that the people most vulnerable to performing forced labour can enjoy basic rights, such as the rights to food, water and education to allow for their rehabilitation and reingetration into economic life and social protection networks. Education should also include vocational training and literacy programmes, which should be complemented by Government action to safeguard the right for indigenous groups and others “to work without having to succumb to forced labour,” she stressed. “The strongest message that the Brazilian Government can send to Brazilians to show that the crime of slavery will not go unpunished is to pass the constitutional amendment” which would allow for the expropriation of land where forced labour is used,” the Special Rapporteur emphasized. “This expropriation would occur without compensation and the land would be re-distributed, with priority being given to those workers previously held in conditions analogous to slavery.” Passing this amendment, she said, “will show that Brazil is indeed strongly committed to fighting slavery.” 29 May 2010An independent United Nations human rights expert has called urged Brazil to strengthen efforts to close loopholes perpetuating the practice of slavery, including forced labour in the vast South American nation’s rural areas. read more

UN expert calls for action to improve the lives of Armenias displaced

20 September 2010Armenian authorities need to do more to integrate internally displaced persons (IDPs) into their new communities and help those still living in difficult circumstances, a United Nations human rights expert warned today after visiting the Caucasus country. “Internally displaced persons in Armenia have been forgotten for too long,” said Walter Kälin, the Secretary-General’s representative on the rights of IDPs. “More should be done to improve the lives of these people who have been displaced for two decades, and this needs a concerted effort by the Government and the international community.”During his two-day visit, which concluded on Saturday, Mr. Kälin met with IDPs from the Dprabak village, and from the Gegharkurnik region. The displaced populations there still face great problems with respect to their economic and social rights, he said. They suffer, in particular, from a lack of adequate housing and limited economic opportunities. While many IDPs in Armenia have integrated well into their new communities, a considerable number still live in difficult circumstances, he said. Others have not been able to return to their homes in the border regions because of a lack of shelter and livelihood opportunities. During the course of his visit, Mr. Kälin met with Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, as well as Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan and the First Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration. He also met with the country’s ombudsman and representatives of both the international community and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Mr. Kälin said he was encouraged by the Government’s envisaged measures to help the displaced return to border villages or to integrate within the villages to which they had been displaced, adding that such initiatives must be supported.“Armenia is in the enviable position of being able to solve its remaining displacement cases and to be taken off the map of countries still hosting internally displaced persons,” he said. “It is imperative that the international community supports the Government in its efforts.” He said such efforts should focus not only on housing, but also on improving social and economic conditions in the border regions – including opportunities for steady household incomes, quality education and prospects for youth. Mr. Kälin stressed that the parties to the conflict and the international community must strengthen their efforts to reach a peace agreement, and that any such agreement must address the human rights of the displaced, including their right to restitution of property or compensation. A Swiss law professor, Mr. Kälin has been the Secretary-General’s Representative on the Human Rights of IDPs since 2004 and serves in an independent and unpaid capacity, reporting to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. This is his second visit to Armenia since 2007. read more

Côte dIvoire UN envoy certifies results of first round of presidential poll

Y. J. Choi said the electoral process during the first round held on 31 October was “peaceful and democratic, and that the results of the elections were determined through fair and transparent process.”The “anomalies, irregularities and errors” brought to his attention were “of such minor nature as to affect in no significant way the overall results of the elections,” he added in a statement made in Abidjan. The two candidates in the forthcoming run-off are incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and former prime minister, Alassane Ouattara.The elections, originally scheduled for as far back as 2005, were repeatedly postponed. They are a major step in restoring stability in the country, which was split by civil war into a Government-held south and rebel Forces Nouvelles-controlled north in 2002.An additional 500 troops were sent to the country to reinforce the 8,650-strong UN peacekeeping force (UNOCI) and assist with security during the election period.Mr. Choi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire and head of UNOCI, noted that polling day during the first round was “marked as much by enthusiasm of the population as by the respect for human rights and democratic principles.” He called on all stakeholders to remain committed to the holding of an open, free, fair and transparent second round of the presidential elections, in order to bring the Ivorian crisis closer to a conclusion.Cote 12 November 2010The United Nations envoy to Côte d’Ivoire today certified the results of the first round of the presidential election in the West African country, paving the way for the run-off on 28 November between the two candidates who garnered the highest number of votes. read more

Lack of funds threatens UN food aid to millions of vulnerable Afghans

“We are making this appeal to give us the best possible chance of plugging the looming gaps in supply,” said Louis Imbleau, WFP’s Country Director for Afghanistan. “Food security is the bedrock of development in this country – especially for the youngest and most vulnerable.”WFP’s operation in Afghanistan has a twin focus, providing lifesaving relief and emergency aid for immediate needs, including those stemming from conflict and natural disaster, and improving overall food security, in partnership with the Government.The agency lacks half of the funding it needs to assist 7.3 million Afghans across all 34 provinces this year, and if money does not come in soon a “critical pipeline break” in wheat is expected to occur in June, it stated in a news release. This will affect millions of people in Afghanistan, where wheat is the primary food staple and is used in rations for nearly all WFP operations, including food-for-work activities, vocational training and literacy programmes for women and other marginalized groups, and emergency food distributions. Supplies of vegetable oil and pulses will run short in July and August, the agency added.The funding shortfall will also mean that WFP will have to scale back school-feeding activities by half in June, affecting more than a million schoolchildren.“By August, without swift and robust support from the international community, WFP will have exhausted all remaining commodities and be forced to reduce or suspend some parts of the operation,” it stated.The agency is calling on donors to provide a rapid injection of funds so that it can begin procuring food locally and regionally to avoid a potentially devastating break in food supplies. 15 April 2011The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today it urgently needs $257 million to continue providing food and assistance to over 7 million vulnerable Afghans, most of whom are women and children. read more

UN and partners scale up malaria response for two million Somalis at

17 October 2011The United Nations and its partners are escalating their response measures to prevent a malaria outbreak in Somalia, where two million people already suffering from drought, famine and conflict are at higher risk of contracting the disease during the current rainy season. “The health of many Somalis is already extremely compromised due to the drought and famine, especially children suffering from malnutrition. With the rains come an increased risk of malaria,” said Sikander Khan, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Somalia representative.“We must act as swiftly as possible to prevent deaths due to this deadly disease. We are working with our partners on prevention as well as providing treatment services as necessary,” he said.Malaria, which is caused by a parasite transmitted to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes, kills nearly 800,000 people around the world every year with most of the deaths occurring in Africa.To protect the population, UNICEF, World Health Organization (WHO) and partners have engaged in a large-scale campaign which consists of distributing protection kits according to each region’s needs and educating people on the ways to prevent and treat the disease.In drought-affected regions such as Hiran, Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle, Lower Juba and Middle Juba in south-central Somalia, 280,000 long-lasting insecticide treated nets will be distributed in the next weeks to over 140,000 households in addition to the 79,000 nets which have already been distributed since July.In Mogadishu, where nets are not practical, 45,000 households will receive indoor spraying which will protect them for three to four months, and will be re-sprayed in March and April next year.Health facilities throughout high-risk areas will be equipped with 560,000 doses of anti-malaria drugs as well as with the ability to provide one million rapid diagnostic tests and the capacity to treat cases.The campaign is financially supported by the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFTAM) and the United Kingdom Department for International Development.“With these investments in prevention and treatment, and by encouraging people to seek treatment quickly, we can avoid the tragic impact malaria has on people’s lives,” said Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund.The number of malaria cases in Somalia has decreased by 57 per cent in recent years, from 1.73 million cases in 2005 to 740,000 cases in 2009. This is largely due to the development of new, more effective drugs, rapid diagnostic tests and long-lasting insecticide-treated nets, all of which did not exist 10 years ago, as well as the increase in international funding to prevent the disease. read more

Canada Pension Plan to buy UK equipment maker for 11billion

TORONTO — The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has agreed to pay $1.1 billion for the air distribution division of Tomkins, a diversified U.K.-based industrial company.The division makes products used in heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems for commercial and residential buildings.The pension fund manager is already a part owner of Tomkins, which was acquired in 2010 by CPP and Toronto-based Onex Corp.Since then, Tomkins has been selling off non-core businesses.With the deal announced Friday, CPP Investment Board will have a “significant majority interest” in the Tomkins air distribution division including the portions it owns directly and indirectly through its stake in the parent company.The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter but other financial details of the transaction weren’t disclosed. read more

Toronto stock market dips after open as Ottawa gives details on next

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market opened lower, while Ottawa announced it will hold another auction for wireless spectrum next year to increase competition in the cellphone market.The S&P/TSX composite index dipped 16.96 points to 15,198.Industry Minister James Moore says the majority of the spectrum will be set aside for new entrants and is part of the government’s efforts to lower the prices of wireless cellphone plans. The telecom sector on the TSX fell nearly 1%, with shares of BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE), Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B), and Telus Corp. (TSX:T) all lower in early trading.Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar was up 0.16 of a cent to 94 cents US, ahead of the Bank of Canada’s latest survey of Canadian businesses.The business outlook, which will be released on Monday, is one of the ways the central bank gauges how the economy is faring. It relies on a summary of interviews conducted with senior management at about 100 Canadian firms on topics such as demand and capacity, and how they view future economic activity.U.S. markets were down with the Dow Jones industrials losing 55.23 points to 17,013.03, the Nasdaq dropped 11.25 points to 4,474.68, while the S&P 500 lost 5.39 points to 1,980.05. Wall Street had been closed since midday Thursday for the Independence Day holiday. read more

Quebec Ontario premiers team up to push Ottawa to help fund Bombardier

VANCOUVER — The premiers of Canada’s two most populous provinces have joined forces to push for federal help for Bombardier’s CSeries aircraft.Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard drew support from his Ontario counterpart in calling for Ottawa to back the airliner, saying the CSeries is important to the Canadian economy.The province wants the federal government to join it in contributing US$1 billion to the troubled jet program at Bombardier.Quebec has secured a 49.5 per cent stake in the CSeries and two of five seats on a separate board after agreeing last October to the financial contribution.Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare says CSeries is en route for successA bailout won’t fix Bombardier’s biggest problems: family control and dual-class sharesCouillard says he understands it takes time for Ottawa to consider the proposal, but he likened Quebec’s case to federal support for the auto industry in the past.Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne supported Couillard, telling reporters at climate change talks in Vancouver that Bombardier is an important national company.The Liberal government has said it was continuing to evaluate the request for funding.The narrow-body CSeries planes, which are two years late and over budget at US$5.4 billion, are set to enter into service in the coming months. read more

TSX higher on rising oil Wall Street muted following Fed decision

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market extended gains for a second day as the price of crude hit a high not seen since November.The S&P/TSX composite climbed 78.22 points to 13,887.66 after the June contract for West Texas Intermediate crude shot up $1.29 to US$45.33 a barrel. It’s the first time oil has closed above US$45 in five months.The Canadian dollar also continued to benefit from the rise in oil, adding 0.02 of a U.S. cent to 79.25 cents US.Meanwhile, stock markets in New York were generally muted following the latest policy-rate statement by the U.S. Federal Reserve. The central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged, acknowledging that the U.S. economy slowed last month but that job market conditions are improving.The Dow Jones industrial average gained 51.23 points to 18,041.55, while the broader S&P 500 was little changed, up 3.45 points to 2,095.15. The Nasdaq composite shed 25.14 points to 4,863.14 as shares in Apple fell six per cent after the tech giant reported its first decline in quarterly revenue since 2003.In commodities, June natural gas was down a penny at US$2.15 per mmBtu, while June gold gained $7 to US$1,250.40 a troy ounce. July copper slipped two cents to US$2.22 a pound. read more

Mutual funds must now provide key information on fees performance before investors

TORONTO — A new safeguard is now in place to help protect mutual fund investors.Effective Monday, mutual fund companies are required to provide investors key information on things like a fund’s performance and fees before they buy.The so-called “fund facts” document mandated by securities regulators is the final step in improvements to mutual fund disclosure rules that began more than five years ago that are aimed at ensuring investors receive the information they need.Four ways to assess whether an investment adviser is right for youDavid O’Leary: Why mutual funds that charge performance fees are a scamA fund facts statement is a brief document written in plain language with basic details about a fund, including an explanation of expenses and fees and investor rights and is issued in addition to a fund’s prospectus.Mutual fund companies have been required to post a fund facts document on their website since 2011, and changes in 2014 required fund companies to deliver the document within two days of an investor buying a mutual fund. Now they get must get it before making the purchase.The change in mutual fund disclosure rules isn’t the only one investors will see this year.New rules are coming July 15 for the relationship between financial advisers and their clients. They will introduce new reporting requirements for investment advisers when it comes to the disclosure of fees and the performance of their investments. read more