CoucheTard signs asset swap deal in US with Cross America Partners LP

first_imgMONTREAL — Alimentation Couche-Tard and CrossAmerica Partners LP have signed a deal to swap convenience and gas station assets in the U.S.Under the agreement, Couche-Tard has agreed to sell 192 U.S convenience and fuel retail stores to CrossAmerica, with an aggregate value of about US$184.5 million.Meanwhile, CrossAmerica has agreed to sell Couche-Tard assets valued at US$184.5 million, including the real estate property for 56 U.S. company-operated convenience and fuel retail stores leased and operated by Couche-Tard and 17 stores owned and operated by CrossAmerica in the U.S. Upper Midwest.Couche-Tard says the deal is expected to take place through a series of transactions over a period of up to 24 months.The closing of each transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.Couche-Tard’s wholly owned subsidiary CrossAmerica GP is the general partner for CrossAmerica Partners LP.“We believe this transaction will be beneficial to both parties,” Couche-Tard chief executive Brian Hannasch said in a statement.“The transfer of Couche-Tard’s retail stores to CrossAmerica will help optimize the long-term value of these assets, further strengthens Couche-Tard’s core retail business and is a win-win for both sets of stakeholders.” The Canadian Press Companies in this story: (TSX:ATD.B)last_img read more

California governor lawmakers confront utility bankruptcy

first_imgSACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers must now deal with the fallout of Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s announcement it will file for bankruptcy.That will include looking at how to keep ratepayer costs down, ensure wildfire victims get the money they’re owed and rethink California’s energy picture in the face of climate change.PG&E said Monday it is filing for bankruptcy as it faces at least $30 billion in potential damages from lawsuits related to catastrophic California wildfires. It kicks off a 15-day window before the official filing.That’s prompting worries that power bills will rise and wildfire victims won’t get all of the money they are owed. Newsom says his top priorities are safety, reliability and affordability.Kathleen Ronayne And Janie Har, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Alberta politicians to debate motion on pipelines as legislature set to reconvene

first_imgEDMONTON, A.B. — The spring sitting of the Alberta legislature is set to begin, with the focus on pipelines and the economy.The session opens Thursday with a speech from the throne, and Government House Leader Brian Mason says the first order of business the following Monday is a debate on pipelines.Mason says all members of the legislature will be asked to vote on a government motion that makes it clear to the rest of Canada its support for Alberta’s efforts on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Alberta has been fighting with British Columbia over the pipeline, which has been approved by the federal government but has met resistance from the B.C. government.The opposition United Conservatives have already voiced support for getting Trans Mountain built, but have disagreed with how Premier Rachel Notley’s NDP is waging the fight.The centrepiece of the session comes March 22, when Finance Minister Joe Ceci delivers the fiscal 2018 budget.last_img read more

Two students score cent percent in Isc

first_imgNew Delhi: Girls outshone boys in the ICSE Class 10 and 12 examination, with two students scoring 100 per cent marks.This is the first time that students have scored 100 per cent marks in the ISC exam. The results of the ICSE class 10 and ISC class 12 were announced on Tuesday by Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) chief executive and secretary Gerry Arathoon. While girls achieved a pass percentage of 99.05 per cent in class 10 examination as against 98.12 per cent by boys, the pass percentage achieved by girls in class 12 examination is 97.84 per cent as against 95.40 per cent of boys. Mumbai’s Juhi Rupesh Kajaria and Muktsar’s Manhar Bansal topped the class 10 ISCE examination with 99.60 per cent. The second rank has been shared by ten students with 99.40 per cent marks and the third rank has been shared by 24 students with 99.20 per cent marks. Kolkata’s Dewang Kumar Agarwal and Bengaluru’s Vibha Swaminathan topped the class 12 ISC examination with 100 per cent marks.last_img read more

IAF officer to face culpable homicide charge for accidentally shooting down Mi17

first_imgNew Delhi: The officer held responsible for the accidental shooting down of a military helicopter at the height of India-Pakistan tension in February will be charged by the Indian Air Force (IAF) for culpable homicide not amounting to murder along with three others, according to reports. The IAF is yet to officially acknowledge reasons for the Mi-17 helicopter’s crash on February 27, the day Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighter jets attempted to cross the Line of Control (LoC). But reports suggest that it was shot down in a friendly fire by IAF’s own air defence missile. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework The Court of Inquiry into the incident killing all six onboard is yet to be completed. The IAF maintains that the investigation was still going on but multiple reports indicate that there was a lapse in following the Standard Operating Procedures. A report said that the officer commanding the Srinagar air base, where the crash took place, has been removed. The officer who was presiding over operations will face charges of culpable homicide, a criminal offence, according to another report. The incident had occurred in Jammu and Kashmir in the melee when IAF jets had engaged intruding PAF fighters over the LoC a day after air strike on terrorist camp in Pakistan’s Balakot.last_img read more

The African Leadership Academy ALA is looking for future leaders in

first_imgRabat – The African Leadership Academy ALA is a pan-African institution founded by Ghanaian-born entrepreneur, Fred Swaniker, Chris Bradford, Peter Mombaur and Acha Leke in 2004.It educates some of the most talented youngsters on the African continent. It has about 550 young leaders in its network and its scholars have won bursaries and scholarships at leading global universities.The institution whose motto is “Developing the next generation of African leaders & entrepreneurs” is now looking for future leaders in Morocco. The goal of ALA is to create 6000 leaders over the next 50 years. The initiative is designed to bring prosperity and hope to the continent by fighting the brain drain. ALA also believes that the most valuable natural resource available to Africa is the minds of its youth. Therefore education of these young minds and providing them with the tools they need to become future African Leaders in all disciplines is the goal of the academy.Mr. Elmahdi Oummih the Strategic Relations Director – North Africa said “ALA students are ultimately expected to leverage their leadership experience and bring to life projects they believe in passionately”. “These ALA leaders are to become the agents of change that will transform Africa into an economic powerhouse that is politically stable and a beacon of hope to the rest of the world”.ALA’s supporters span 25 countries on six continents. Some of the leading supporters include Omidyar Network, The Robertson Foundation, The Bezos Family Foundation, The MasterCard Foundation, Hakeem and Myma Belo-Osagie, Gbenga and Aisha Oyebode, James Mwangi, Oppenheimer family, The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, The Coca-Cola Foundation, Equity Bank, Cisco Systems, The WK Kellogg Foundation, The Google Foundation, the CNN, and the General Electric GE that made a donation of $ 5 million recently, among others.According to Mr Elmahdi the ALA has been searching for future leaders in Morocco for the past five years. Each year, ALA Admissions officers and Partners on the ground scour Morocco in search of the best and brightest Morocco has to offer.For the 2014 timeline therefore the academy is looking for the best and brightest applicants between age limit of 15-19 years old students Morocco has to offer. Students from all over Morocco with in the age limit can apply using the following online procedure to be selected for the scholarship or contact the admission through the given E mail address.The Application ProcedureALA’s application and selection process is very rigorous to ensure that we select the most outstanding students from across Africa with the potential to drive change.First Round: September 1 – November 30ALA’s selection process is extremely competitive. The Academy receives approximately 4,000 applications from most African countries each year. These applicants come from a wide range of social, economic, cultural & educational backgrounds. The application includes short questions and essays and must be submitted with academic transcripts.Finalist Weekends: JanuaryAt this stage approximately 400 finalists are selected to attend Finalist Weekends held across the continent. At these events, finalists write entrance exams, participate in group activities & are interviewed one-on-one by the ALA Admissions team. Finalists are also required to submit teacher recommendations.2014 Timeline:30 November 2013: Application deadline – all applications must be received by ALA.January 2014: All applicants notified of status; finalists invited to attend Finalist WeekendsMay 2014: Finalists notified of admissions decisionsMay – June 2014: Admitted students notified of any financial awardsJune 2014: Admitted students confirm acceptance of admissionClick this link to go to the application page click below link:ALA Admissions: E mail: eoummih@africanleadershipacademy.orgadmissions@africanleadershipacademy.org. Tel: +212 613301735last_img read more

Verdict due in Egypt police trial over blogger death

first_imgAlexandria — The family of a blogger whose death became a rallying cry in Egypt’s 2011 uprising called for the maximum jail term as a court readied to give its verdict Monday in the retrial of two policemen.Policemen Mahmoud Salah Mahmoud and Awad Ismail Suleiman are accused of torturing and killing Khaled Said in June 2010 after unlawfully arresting him at an Internet cafe in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.An initial trial sentenced the defendants to seven years in jail in October 2011 after finding them guilty of unlawful arrest and excessive brutality. Egypt’s Court of Cassation ordered the retrial after the defendants appealed, while angry supporters of Said felt the sentence was too lenient.“We have asked for the maximum sentence, which is 15 years in prison,” Mahmud el-Bakri Atifi, lawyer for Said’s family, told AFP, adding that the earlier verdict was an “injustice”.“Egyptians must be reassured that the police offer them security and are not a threat to them.”Police initially said that Said choked to death after swallowing a packet of drugs.Medics, however, said he died of asphyxiation after being beaten, and that the packet of drugs was thrust in his mouth when he was unconscious.Pictures of Said’s badly marred face after his death spread on the Internet and his case became synonymous with police brutality under then president Hosni Mubarak.His death became a flashpoint between Mubarak’s government and opposition activists, who vented their anger on a Facebook page called “We are all Khaled Said”.It was on this page that one of the first calls was issued for the revolt which toppled Mubarak.Said’s supporters and opposition activists have often clashed with security forces, in particular during the trial hearings.last_img read more

Marrakech Masked Individuals Throw Black Powder Into a University Students Eyes

Casablanca- The ongoing violence within the Moroccan universities marks a new chapter. The university violence saga continues and this time it is the University of Marrakech under the spotlights. According to daily newspaper Almassae in its Wednesday May 7th issue, an “Islamist” student was attacked by a group of unidentified masked individuals inside one of the university bathrooms and threw an unknown black powder directly into the student’s eyes. The student, a 19-year-old female in her freshman year majoring in Islamic studies and a sympathizer of “Attajdid Tollabi” organization, was taken to a hospital for medical attention.The medical crew could not identify the nature of the black powder. The student said that prior to the attack she received threatening text messages. Less than two weeks ago, a homicide claimed the life of Abderrahim El Hasnaoui, an Islamist student and member of “Attajdid Tollabi”, a students’ organization linked to the ruling Islamist Party of Justice and Development. The incident took place inside a cafeteria at the University of Fez- Dher Mehrez after a group of Leftist students believed to be affiliated with “Annahj Democrati Al Qaidi” armed with swords and knives launched an attack on El Hasnaoui causing him severe injuries.  El Hasnaoui was taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead a short time after.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more

First SomaliAmerican Female Legislator Elected in Minnesota

London – Ilhan Omar became the first Somali-American woman to be elected as legislator in Minnesota. The former refugee moved to the United States aged 12, after living in a Kenyan refugee camp, after her and her family fled from the Somali civil war.The 34-year-old told local paper StarTribue that: “It’s the beginning of something new. This district has a legacy of making history.” Her win comes the same day that Donald Trump – a man who called for a ban of Muslims in the US – won the US Presidential election.Aside from her political activities, Ms Omar is also director of policy at Women Organizing Women Network – a group that seeks to empower women, especially immigrant women, to become active citizens and change makers.For Omar, she believes her representation is a way to break barriers and build stronger communities within Minnesota and elsewhere in the US.“For me, this is my country, this is for my future, for my children’s future and for my grandchildren’s future to make our democracy more vibrant, more inclusive, more accessible and transparent which is going to be useful for all of us,” she said.Her victory can come as solace to those who were shocked and disheartened by Trump’s victory, as the US will not see its first women President. read more

Moroccan Economic Growth Dependent on Rainfall HCP Calls For Urgent Reforms

Rabat – After the 1.6 percent registered in 2016, growth forecasts for 2017 have even been revised upwards by the High Commission for Planning (HCP), estimated to reach 4 percent instead of the initial 3.5 announced in January due to significant increases in agricultural activities. During a conference held Wednesday in Casablanca, Ahmed Lahlimi, head of the HCP, announced that the growth rate recorded by his institution is now aligned with that of the World Bank, which had also forecasted 4 percent in a report published in January. These two predictions, however, are less optimistic than that of the government, who in the 2017 FInance Bill projected growth perspectives of 4.5 percent. According to the HCP, the renewed energy of the Moroccan economy is due in large part to the good performance of the world economy but also to certain components of the national GDP. “In an international context that invites optimism, our national economy should improve its performance, but continue to suffer the effects of its structural deficits,” stressed Lahlimi, who also expects the 4 percent growth rate to be maintained in 2018.On the national level, this upward revision can be explained by the “good results of the 2016-2017 crop year,” according to Lahlimi. Rainfall and improvements in area under cultivation are expected to lead to a 200 percent increase in cereal production compared to the 2016 crop year. The agricultural sector is anticipated to help bring the value added of the primary sector to 13.9 percent in 2017 compared to 11.3 in 2016, as well as contribute to GDP growth by to 1.7 percent, instead of  -1.4 percent a year earlier. Lahlimi also brought up the performance of non-agricultural activities, which he called a “real Achilles heel of the national economy.” The latter are expected to follow slow growth with 2.5 percent, after 2.2 percent in 2016, far from the average rate of 4 percent experienced during the period 2008-2011. Their contribution to overall economic growth is thus forecasted to be 1.9 percentage points in 2017, instead of an annual average of 2.8 percentage points over the last 10 years, according to the HCP.Moroccan economy dependent on volatile factorsWhile agricultural activities are the main booster of national economic growth, it remains too dependent on volatile natural factors. This instability still persists despite Morocco’s efforts in recent years to reduce dependence on rainfall, notably through the launch of several sectoral strategies and economic reforms. “The low level of diversification and competitiveness of the national supply is at the heart of the fragilities of the demand which would continue to be the engine of national economic growth,” the High Commissioner said. According to Lahlami, this dependence not only drags down the Moroccan economy, but if no efficient reforms are urgently adopted, this disadvantage would continue to increase unemployment, reduce income opportunities, expand social deficits, and increase the dependence on domestic demand for imports. Lahlimi once again stressed the urgent need to accelerate the pace of structural reforms of the Moroccan economy. “Reforms should aim to eliminate all latent threats, both in our economic fabric and our public finances, in the system of development of our human resources and in our way of national and regional governance.” read more

Laayoune Forum Celebrates Creation and African Women Leadership

Rabat – The southern Moroccan city of Laayoune is celebrating the first edition of the International Forum of Creation and African Women Leadership, which is taking place from December 7 to 9 at the city’s Conference Palace.Under the theme “the Image of Africa in African women’s literary creation,” the forum is gathering together prominent African literature leaders from different countries, including Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire South Africa, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria.The three-day event is being organized at the initiative of Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra region under the instruction of King Mohammed VI. The event seeks to recognize the roles of women leaders in Africa in various fields, according to a statement issued by the region.“These roles have grown in accordance with major changes and challenges facing African societies that have resulted in opportunities for communication and cooperation between women’ elites in order to enable them to actively contribute to opening up the horizons of prosperity and promise that every African aspires to,” said the statement.The first session of the forum was dedicated to celebrate the participation of Aminata Sao Fall, a Senegalese writer. The forum has paid a warm homage to the Senegalese literary leader during the opening ceremony. The symposium will be also marked by different panel discussions and workshops supervised by various critics and authors from Morocco and other African countries. The event is being marked by the participation of major literary figures from Europe, the US, and the Middle East.The event aims to create a platform for exchange, sharing of skills, and know-how between African women, according to Morocco’s Minister of Culture and Communication Mohamed Laaraj.Highlighting the importance of the event, which features the region’s interest in major topics related to women’s leadership, the minister said that “this forum brings together all the elements of a conscious awareness of reconciling the different aspects related to development and to the efforts towards continental integration.” read more

Morocco Japan Want to Reinforce Fisheries Cooperation

Rabat – State Secretary for Fisheries Mbarka Bouaida recently held talks with several senior Japanese officials focusing on developing cooperation between the two nations in the realm of aquaculture.During her visit to Japan this past week, Bouaida met with several senior Japanese officials to learn about Japanese techniques in the areas of aquaculture and fisheries, said a release by the National Aquaculture Development Agency. She was accompanied by Director of the National Aquaculture Development Agency, Majida Maarouf, and Morocco’s ambassador to Japan, Rachad Bouhlal. Bouaida held talks with Japanese Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ken Saito.Saito hailed Morocco’s leadership on the African continent and its commitment to the Ministerial Conference on Fisheries Cooperation among African States bordering the Atlantic Ocean. The kingdom has also played a positive role on the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Bouaida highlighted the opportunities offered by Moroccan shorelines for the development of aquaculture activities, reaffirming the Kingdom’s commitment to better governance of fisheries and natural resources.During her talks with Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono, Bouaida lauded the efforts of Japan particularly with regards to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which has launched several fisheries structuring projects in Morocco.For his part, Kono noted Morocco’s strengths with regards to political stability, as well as its relations of cooperation at the regional and continental levels. During her meeting with JICA Vice President Junichi Yamada, the Moroccan State Secretary praised the efforts made by the JICA in developing international cooperation through commerce. Bouaida also shed light on the progress made through the Halieutis strategy, particularly with regards to the development of aquaculture.Bouaida also met with Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Yoshimasa Hayashi, the Chairman of Japan’s Agency for Marine-Earth Science and the Technological President of Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology. read more

Video Travelers at Tangier Med Port Stuck in Traffic for 24

Rabat- Moroccan summer vacationers leaving Morocco from Tangier Med Port have been stuck in a 10-kilometer-long traffic jam.Moroccan expats returning to their homes in Europe have been waiting for more than 24 hours to board ferries to Europe through Tangier Med Port, due to the high number of travelers heading home at the same time.Video of the traffic jam which have been circulating social media show long lines of vehicles on the road leading to the port. Some travelers can be seen waiting outside of their cars.  On Wednesday, 53,200 travelers left Morocco from Tangier Med Port, the highest single-day number since Operation “Marhaba” launched, according to the secretary of state to the minister of equipment, transport, logistics, and water, Najib Boulif.Boulif’s prediction that “the registered number of travelers on Thursday will most likely” be as high as that of Wednesday has come to life.Tangier Port authorities expect that the high volume would continue through the upcoming days until September 15, the last day of Operation Marhaba, which began on June 5 to welcome home Moroccans living abroad.In a Facebook statement, Boulif apologized to travelers for the ordeal, saying that Morocco and Spain are working together to find solutions to the situation, considering adding another ship to the ferry route to reduce overcrowdedness.Meanwhile, Tangier Port authorities warned passengers that the waiting period before boarding ferries may exceed ten hours. They invited travelers to postpone their trips until after September 15 to avoid the traffic jam.According to Tangier Med Port Authority, a total of 842,698 passengers entered Morocco through Tangier Med from June to August. During the same period, 371,861 passengers, 118,579 vehicles, and 1,695 buses left Morocco through the same port which is a veritable gateway to Africa and Europe. read more

Federal utility picks exec of Canada power company as CEO

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The nation’s largest public utility has picked the leader of one of Canada’s largest power companies to head the $11 billion federal corporation.On Thursday, the Tennessee Valley Authority board announced the selection of Jeffrey Lyash as president and CEO effective in April.Lyash is president and CEO of Ontario Power Generation Inc. He was formerly president of CB&I Power and executive vice-president of energy supply for Duke Energy. He also served in management roles with Progress Energy and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.Lyash is chairman of the Electric Power Research Institute, an international non-profit for public interest energy and environmental research.Lyash replaces Bill Johnson, who’s retiring after joining the federal utility in 2013.TVA serves about 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states.The Associated Press read more

Perdue barbecues to sell Japanese on buying more US beef

TOKYO — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has picked up his barbeque tongs to convey his message to Japan: Buy more American beef.Perdue said Monday that as a top consumer of U.S. beef, Japan should treat the U.S. fairly. He said he hoped President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will strike a trade deal during his boss’s visit to Japan later this month.Japan’s limits on imports of meat and other farm products have been a recurring issue in years’ long trade talks with the U.S.The Trump administration worries that Japan will buy more from other nations that have signed trade deals with Japan in recent years, such as Australia and Europe.Japan, a country of 126 million, is the fourth largest market for U.S. agricultural products.The Associated Press read more

Union Ford to close plant in Wales that employs 1700

LONDON — A union says Ford plans to close its engine plant in Bridgend, Wales, in September 2020.The GMB union says union leaders are being given the news by company officials on Thursday. Ford is expected to make an announcement later about the plant, which employs 1,700 people.GMB regional organizer Jeff Beck says the news is “a real hammer blow for the Welsh economy and the community in Bridgend.”It is the latest setback for Britain’s auto industry.Honda announced in May that it will close its western England car factory in 2021. And in February Nissan announced that it would not build a new SUV in Sunderland, northeast England, as previously planned.The news comes amid anxiety about the economic damage being done by the uncertainty around Brexit.The Associated Press read more

Ban voices serious concern over stalemate in recovering missing Kuwaitis from Iraq

“I am also concerned at the absence of progress with regard to finding the Kuwaiti archives,” Mr. Ban wrote in his report to the Security Council.Mr. Ban noted that Gennady Tarasov, the High-level Coordinator for the issue, reported that security conditions in Iraq had improved enough to allow exhumation work to resume at sites known to contain Kuwaiti prisoners of war and to permit the assessment of new mass graves.The Iraqi Minister for Human Rights, who heads the only body authorized to exhume graves in the country, explained that it only had one team of 12 individuals able to perform the task and that they were currently occupied with the exhumation and identification of victims of the previous regime as well as casualties of the Iran-Iraq war.In his report, the Secretary-General extended his “heartfelt condolences” to the families of the 236 Kuwaiti and third-country nationals whose remains have been identified to date – one more since his previous report in June – adding that no new information had been received on the fate of the missing American Serviceman, Captain Michael Scott Speicher.Mr. Ban also stressed that despite constant encouragement by his Coordinator and himself, no information had emerged pointing to the whereabouts of Kuwaiti State and historical documents, nor had anyone confirmed that the archives had been destroyed.“No credible facts or possible leads have emerged since my last report regarding missing Kuwaiti national archives,” said Mr. Ban. While noting Iraq’s positive stance over the humanitarian process of identifying and repatriating missing Kuwaitis as well as finding the documents, he stressed that statements of goodwill need to be translated into concrete action.“My appeal is directed to Iraq, as the side responsible for returning the Kuwaiti prisoners of war and archives, as well as to other parties concerned.” 9 December 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his “serious concern” today at the inactivity on recovering the remains of Kuwaiti and other nationals missing since the 1990 Gulf war, in a report made public today. read more

UN continues assisting displaced in volatile eastern DR Congo

5 January 2009The United Nations is continuing to rush assistance to help those uprooted by clashes in the war-torn far east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), including victims of violence at the hands of the notorious Ugandan rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Since 28 December, more than 300 people have been killed during LRA attacks in north-eastern DRC, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the National Refugee Commission.There is no information yet from nine villages occupied for two days by the LRA. Congolese armed forces, known as FARDC, are deployed in several villages to ensure the safety of civilians, but no military presence has been set up in the high-risk zone of Bangadi.The LRA, which has been fighting Ugandan forces since the 1980s and has since spilled over into Sudan and DRC, are notorious for human rights abuses including the killing and maiming of civilians, and the abduction and recruitment of children as soldiers and sex slaves.The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has distributed more than 20 tons of food to 7,300 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and their host families affected by LRA violence.In North Kivu province – where hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes in recent months due to stepped up fighting between FARDC and a rebel group militia known as the National Congress in Defense of the People (CNDP), among others – armed groups have blocked the road between the capital Goma and the town of Rutshuru.This has led to further displacements, and houses are reported to have been looted. Aid agencies have sounded the alarm on the recruitment of child soldiers, as well as on the large number of unaccompanied children who lack the necessary protection and the food needs among IDPs.UNCHR said that nearly 4,000 people were transferred from a camp in Kibati, north of Goma, to settlements in Mugunga, but noted that all have since returned to Kibati.WFP plans to distribute 90 tons of food to a camp housing over 1,000 people in Bambu camp which has experienced a large fire.The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that cholera, measles, sexually transmitted diseases and malnutrition are the key concerns for the aid workers in the region. read more

Ban concerned at troop buildup along ChadSudan border

3 May 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced his concern today at reports of the recent build-up and movement of armed elements on both sides of the Chad-Sudan border, and called on the two countries to ease tensions. “In this context, the Secretary-General welcomes the discussions towards the normalization of bilateral relations between the Governments of Chad and Sudan held this week in Doha,” Mr. Ban”s spokesperson said in a statement issued today.The Secretary-General, in his most recent report on the deployment of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), stated that “the security situation along the Sudan-Chad border continued to be tense and unpredictable” during February and March of this year. Last week in a briefing to the Security Council, Rodolphe Adada, the Joint African Union-UN Special Representative for Darfur and head of UNAMID, cited the state of relations between Sudan and Chad as an important factor with regard to the ongoing conflict in Darfur.An estimated 300,000 people have been killed and another 2.7 million have been forced from their homes in Darfur since fighting erupted in 2003, pitting rebels against Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen. read more

Liberia UN confirms death of staffer under investigation for alleged abuse of

The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) today reported the death of one of its civilian staff members who was under investigation for alleged sexual exploitation and abuse of minors.Dale Fosnight, a United States national, died on 24 August at his home in the capital, Monrovia, according to a statement issued by the Mission, which added that the circumstances of his death are being investigated.The staff member was the subject of an investigation into allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse of minors. “The United Nations takes all allegations of sexual crimes against children extremely seriously and is committed to preventing this abhorrent practice, in compliance with the Secretary-General’s zero tolerance policy,” the Mission said.While the Mission is cooperating fully with the Liberian Government’s investigation into the allegations, the UN, in accordance with its own policy concerning allegations of staff member misconduct, also conducts an independent investigation.“UNMIL reiterates strongly that it is the UN’s policy and practice to promptly investigate every single allegation of misconduct by its staff and to take appropriate action if a staff member is found guilty.” 26 August 2009The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) today reported the death of one of its civilian staff members who was under investigation for alleged sexual exploitation and abuse of minors. read more