Day: October 6, 2019

UN General Assembly renews call for end to US embargo against Cuba

The resolution urged all States to repeal or invalidate any laws and measures – such as the US “Helms-Burton Act” – which affect the sovereignty of other States, the legitimate interests of entities or persons under their jurisdiction and the freedom of trade and navigation. One hundred and seventy-three countries voted in favour of the measure, which was opposed only by the US, Israel and the Marshall Islands. Four countries – Ethiopia, Malawi, Nicaragua and Uzbekistan – abstained from the balloting.Explaining his country’s position, US Ambassador Sichan Siv called Washington’s embargo against Cuba “strictly a matter of bilateral policy” which the General Assembly should not address. He said the US did not prevent other nations from trading with Cuba, and argued that the embargo is not the cause of Cuba’s economic problems.”The failure of the Cuban Government to respect the rights of its people concerns more than just Cuba,” Mr. Siv said. “The focus of the international community, as manifested in the United Nations, should be on the continuing human rights crisis in Cuba rather than on the bilateral United States efforts to encourage a peaceful transition to democracy.”The President of Cuba’s National Assembly, Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada, said a wide range of civil society and influential business entities in the US were calling for a lifting of the blockade and the normalization of economic ties with Cuba. Thanks to their efforts, it had been possible to take a few steps, he added, noting that for the first time in four decades, a number of US exporters were able to sell their products to Cuba and carry out the necessary operations despite the severe obstacles and discriminatory practices they had to confront. Mr. Alarcon de Quesada also pointed out that a constructive spirit had also been echoed in US legislative bodies, but these efforts were forced to contend with the opposition of a powerful minority. The anti-Cuban minority, protected by its privileged relations with the current US administration, acted ever more openly against the true interests of the United States, he said, hailing the General Assembly for its action to provide justice for the Cuban people, who had suffered greatly as a consequence of a policy unjust, illegal and contrary to both reason and morality. A comparable text was adopted last year with 167 in favour and the same three countries in opposition. read more

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Nearly a million people repatriated in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1995 UN

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the February returnees included 891 people from minority groups in particular areas, bringing the number of minority returnees to 436,238.Assistant High Commissioner Kamel Morjane noted last month that about 100,000 Bosnia and Herzegovina refugees were still displaced, while the country was hosting more than 25,000 refugees from Croatia and Kosovo.Some 325,000 IDPs were awaiting permanent housing, he said during his visit to the region. read more

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Annan urges lawful approach to Afghan poll dispute as experts named to

In a statement released by his spokesman, Mr. Annan said “that the election was held without major security incident is a tribute to the determination” of Afghans.The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) also reported there was massive popular participation in the balloting, enthusiasm around the country and safe conditions for voting.The Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB), the UN-Afghan body charged with overseeing the country’s electoral process, said that after extended discussions yesterday about reported irregularities it had decided to set up a panel “to further enhance the transparency and legitimacy of the election.”After a request from JEMB, the UN nominated Craig Jenness, a former Canadian diplomat and experienced jurist, and Staffan Darnolf, a Swedish election administration expert, to serve on the probe. The European Union has been asked to help identify a third panellist.The investigators will first examine any issue that would require a specific ballot box to be isolated from the counting process, which is expected to take several weeks, for further evaluation.”This will allow the two exercises – counting and investigation – to proceed simultaneously,” the JEMB said in its statement today.The panel will supplement the work of the JEMB’s own complaints and investigations unit, which is also examining Saturday’s result. Presidential candidates have been given until tomorrow evening to submit their complaints.The head of the support team for the election monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Ambassador Robert Barry, told reporters yesterday that while there were some irregularities, any demand to nullify the election was unjustified.”October 9 was a historic day in Afghanistan, and the millions who came to the polls clearly wanted to turn from the rule of the gun to the rule of the law. If their aspirations are to be met, disputes about the validity of election results should be dealt with as the law provides,” he said.Mr. Barry said one of the problems focused on the indelible ink, which was stamped on each voter’s hand so that they could not vote more than once. In some cases the ink rubbed off, especially after people washed their hands vigorously.”I don’t know whether the problem was primarily using the wrong marker, although I know that in many cases that was the issue, because the markers in the kits looked very similar,” he said. “But there were obviously other places where the bottles of ink supplied were dried out.”UNAMA also said that while there were problems with the indelible ink process, they had been solved by late morning on Saturday.In some polling stations, Mr. Barry added, the agents of candidates or election personnel were observed coaching people about how they should vote. In other stations, candidate agents or election observers were barred from entering.”Clearly that kind of incident should not happen. But again it’s not unique that it happened here,” he observed. “It happens in many countries, especially where polling station staff is not very well acquainted with the rules and regulations.”Saturday’s election was the first of its kind in Afghanistan, which endured more than two decades of war and Taliban misrule until late 2001. read more

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UN relief office gathers data on possible aid needs after quake in

“There appears to be some damage but the extent still remains unknown,” Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said of the quake which was felt in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya.”While additional information is still being sought regarding the situation on the ground, there are concerns of poisonous gas emissions from the ground of the lake,” OCHA added. “There are also fears of the possibility that the quake might have caused landslides.”OCHA’s main office in Geneva is staying in contact with the regional and field offices in the affected countries. read more

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Developing countries need better fisheries management UN agency says

The increase in fish exports has proved helpful in fighting hunger in the developing world, according to a new study carried out by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which, however, urges poor countries to adopt better management techniques to reap long-term benefits.The report released today to coincide with a weeklong meeting on the international trade in fish products being held in Santiago de Compostela in Spain said that fish trade was so far having no detrimental effect on the amount of fish available for consumption as food in poor countries.The UN agency told delegates from the 60 countries attending the Tenth Meeting of the Sub-Committee on Fish Trade that growing exports earning had increased employment, raised incomes and improved government services.The value of the international fish trade increased from more than $15 billion in 1980 to over $71 billion in 2004, according to FAO.But the agency cautioned that good management of fisheries by developing countries is essential if they are going to continue to benefit over the longer term.“The fish trade helps poor countries shore up their food security situation,” said Grimur Valdimarsson, FAO’s Director of Fisheries Industry Division. “But increasing international demand can at times result in executive fishing pressure, leading to the over-fishing and wasteful use of stocks.”Mr. Valdimarssen stressed that meeting demands must be balanced with sustainable development if poorer countries want to continue to “benefit this way.”Currently, about 77 per cent of fish consumed worldwide as food is supplied by developing countries. Wealthy developed countries account for 81 per cent of all imports of fish-based products. The top importing nations include Japan, the United States, Spain, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.FAO said at this week’s meeting it will present a draft text aimed at giving authorities in both developed and developing countries guidance on making the international trade in fish products more sustainable. The guidelines includes the use of “eco-labels” and fish tracking systemsComprising 77 FAO members, the Sub-Committee on Fish Trade meets every two years to share information, discuss policy issues related to fish trade, and make recommendations to the agency regarding its related work. read more

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Taiwan asks Apple to blur satellite image of new early warning radar

Taiwan asks Apple to blur satellite image of new early warning radar AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan is asking Apple Inc. to blur a map image of its new $1.4 billion early warning radar station that can detect aircraft and missiles coming from as far as western China.Defence Ministry spokesman David Lo said today that Apple should follow its rival Google in using only low-resolution satellite pictures to show sensitive facilities.He acknowledged the military should also try to camouflage them.The 10-storey high radar installation built with U.S. technology is expected to go online later this year. It’s near the Hsinchu Airbase in northern Taiwan.The satellite picture that can be viewed with iPhones is believed to have been taken a year ago.Local media say the radar installation can monitor targets, determine their speeds and fire missiles to intercept them. by News Staff Posted Oct 9, 2012 2:46 am MDT read more

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