Archive for the ‘APO-OPA’ Category

Preferential tariffs to help Western Sahara to develop

16.January.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Download logo Western Sahara will enjoy preferential trade tariffs on its exports to the EU; origin of products will be traceable; agreement allows region to develop even before a political solution is found On Wednesday, Parliament backed a proposal to lower tariffs in the territory of Western Sahara to the same level as Moroccan tariffs, ...

European Parliament
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Western Sahara will enjoy preferential trade tariffs on its exports to the EU; origin of products will be traceable; agreement allows region to develop even before a political solution is found

On Wednesday, Parliament backed a proposal to lower tariffs in the territory of Western Sahara to the same level as Moroccan tariffs, to benefit local populations.

The Parliament gave the green light by 444 votes to 167 and 68 abstentions, to extend the preferential tariff rates to the territory of Western Sahara after the European Commission and Morocco agreed on a traceability mechanism, which helps define the origin of products exported from the territory. This mechanism was requested by the Committee on International Trade prior to its recommendation for consent.

It guarantees that products coming from the Western Sahara can be clearly tracked, to make sure the benefits of the lower tariffs go to the local population and that they are measurable, a key condition to MEPs’ backing.

Tariff preferences will have positive effect
In the accompanying resolution, adopted by 442 votes to 172 with 65 abstentions, the MEPs emphasised that “the [local] Sahrawi people have the right to develop while awaiting a political solution” on the status of the area of Western Sahara. Preferential trade tariffs granted to Morocco were withdrawn from the territory following a 2016 decision of the EU Court of Justice.

MEPs also point out that the tariff preferences enjoyed by the territory between 2013 and 2016 had a positive impact on the agricultural and fisheries sector, investment in infrastructure, health and education. The non-application of the preferences, on the other hand, would have “adverse effects”, they say.

Next steps
After the Parliament’s consent, the Council will conclude the agreement, which will then enter into force.

Background
The EU and its member states do not recognise the sovereignty of Morocco over the territory of Western Sahara, the legal status of which has been under review by the United Nations since 1988. The EU fully supports the UN’s ongoing efforts to secure a lasting and mutually acceptable solution to the conflict, in what is defined by the UN as a non self-governing territory.

The European Commission liberalised trade with Morocco in 2013, but the decision ended up in court, as it covered the disputed territory of Western Sahara. The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in December 2016 that no trade agreement could cover Western Sahara unless the people of the territory had consented to it and if the territory was explicitly mentioned in the text of the agreement.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of European Parliament.
Source: Apo-Opa

UN Refugee Chief meets Egypt President and Secretary General of the Arab League

16.January.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Download logo Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on 14 January during an official two-day visit to Egypt. During the meeting, Mr. Grandi expressed UNHCR’s appreciation for Egypt’s hospitality towards refugees and asylum-seekers, more than 242,000  of whom are registered with UNHCR in Egypt. The meeting covered ...

United Nations Information Centre - Cairo
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Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on 14 January during an official two-day visit to Egypt. During the meeting, Mr. Grandi expressed UNHCR’s appreciation for Egypt’s hospitality towards refugees and asylum-seekers, more than 242,000  of whom are registered with UNHCR in Egypt.

The meeting covered several local, regional and global issues in light of Egypt’s role as Chair of the African Union (AU) in 2019, which has been declared by the AU as the “African Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa.”

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention and the 10th anniversary of the Kampala Convention (formally, the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa), presenting important opportunities for the African continent to pursue a better future for forcibly displaced people.

Before leaving Cairo, the High Commissioner told the press: “UNHCR will observe these two anniversaries with a series of events throughout the year involving governments and partners to highlight the plight of the displaced in Africa.” Grandi added, “There is a perception that the refugee crisis is in Europe, America or Australia, while in fact 85% of the world’s forcibly displaced are in the Global South. This is an opportunity to remind the world that those uprooted as a result of conflict are in countries with limited resources.”

Discussions also covered Egypt’s efforts to tackle the irregular movement of migrants and refugees, and address the grave risks posed by human traffickers. These efforts call for stronger international solidarity and burden sharing to help Egypt manage the impact of a substantial refugee presence. The adoption of the Global Compact on Refugees aims at mobilizing not only humanitarian resources, but also development investments and long-term support to address the impact of refugee crises and find solutions.

Grandi added that UNHCR can be an advocate for Egypt, supporting the mobilization of international support to the country.

Later in the day, the High Commissioner met with the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Mr Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and discussed displacement crises in the region, including those arising from conflicts in Libya, Yemen, Syria and South Sudan.

Grandi also mentioned the upcoming conference in Brussels to mobilize aid for Syria. Speaking to the press, Mr Grandi said “We have already launched the Syria appeal and we will continue to push very strongly for support to the countries hosting Syrian refugees. Looking ahead, UNHCR, the League of Arab States, and Egypt fully agree that the return of refugees to Syria must be voluntary, and can take place when refugees decide to return. Meanwhile, large numbers will remain in neighbouring countries for an extended period. A few months ago, the one millionth Syrian was born as a refugee after 2011. This striking statistic shows the impact of exile on an entire population. We need to think of those children while they’re in exile; but also, when solutions come, we will need to support them going back.”

Grandi ended his two-day visit in Egypt with a meeting with members of the diplomatic community, thanking them for their generous support and highlighting the importance of more financial support and more resettlement opportunities for refugees in Egypt.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Information Centre – Cairo.
Source: Apo-Opa

UNAIDS, UNICEF and WHO urge countries in western and central Africa to step up the pace in the response to HIV for children and adolescents

16.January.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

At a high-level meeting in Dakar, Senegal, UNAIDS, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) urged countries in western and central Africa to do more to stop new HIV infections among children and adolescents and increase HIV testing and treatment coverage. In 2017, around 67 000 children (aged 0–9 years) ...

United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)

At a high-level meeting in Dakar, Senegal, UNAIDS, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) urged countries in western and central Africa to do more to stop new HIV infections among children and adolescents and increase HIV testing and treatment coverage.

In 2017, around 67 000 children (aged 0–9 years) and 69 000 adolescents (aged 10–19 years) became newly infected with HIV. Two thirds (46 000) of adolescents newly infected with the virus were girls. While progress has been seen in stopping new HIV infections among children in some countries—eleven countries registered a reduction of more than 35% between 2010 and 2017*—others, including Nigeria, which has the largest epidemic in the region, experienced no declines at all.

“Countries in western and central Africa have a real opportunity to create a positive change for children and young people,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “Underlying issues including a lack of domestic investment, fragile health systems, user fees, gender inequality and widespread stigma and discrimination must urgently be addressed to remove barriers and save lives.”

In western and central Africa, close to 800 000 children and adolescents aged between 0 and 19 years were living with HIV in 2017—the second highest number in the world after eastern and southern Africa.

“The majority of children living with HIV in this region are not receiving care and treatment because they do not know they have HIV as they have not been tested,” said Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “We can reverse that trend by focusing on a family-centered approach to HIV testing and treatment and by rolling out innovative point-of-care technologies that bring testing closer to the primary health facilities and the communities where children live.”

Less than half of all pregnant women living with HIV in the region (47%) had access to antiretroviral medicines to prevent transmission of the virus to their child and only 21% of infants exposed to HIV were tested for the virus within the first two months of life.

We should not lose anymore of Africa’s future to AIDS,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “Effectively tackling HIV in children and adolescents needs strong and quality health services. By committing to universal health coverage, countries can fast-track progress towards an AIDS-free generation in western and central Africa.”

Although there has been some progress in antiretroviral therapy coverage for children in western and central Africa, which rose from 18% in 2014 to 26% in 2017, the region still has the lowest coverage in the world. Around 52 000 children and adolescents aged between 0 and 19 years died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2017—34 000 of whom died before they reached their fifth birthday.

In the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Political Declaration on Ending AIDS, countries from western and central Africa committed to work towards reducing the number of new HIV infections among children and young adolescents (under 15 years) to 6000 by 2020 and to ensuring access to treatment for 340 000 children and young adolescents (under 15 years) by 2020.
However, pledges to accelerate the HIV response have not been accompanied by a surge in resource mobilization. The total resources needed for an effective response in western and central Africa were 81% greater than the funds available in 2017.

Translating commitments into action requires engagement from political and community leaders, drastically scaling up investments, scaling up innovative technologies such as point-of-care for early infant diagnosis, differentiated service delivery strategies—including family testing and longer prescriptions for antiretroviral medicines—and task-shifting approaches applied to HIV care and treatment services for children across the region.

As part of concerted efforts to step up progress in the region, UNAIDS, UNICEF and WHO called a High-Level Meeting on the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Universal Health Coverage of Paediatric HIV Testing and Treatment in West and Central Africa to unpack the challenges, share best practices and innovative approaches to address the persisting bottlenecks, agree on corrective actions and ensure commitment to action from countries and partners.

Hosted by the Government of Senegal, the meeting is being held in Dakar from 16 to 18 January 2019, bringing together ministers of health, experts, representatives of civil society and partners from across the region as well as high-level representatives of United Nations organizations, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States and the Economic Community of Central African States.

During the meeting, an important funding announcement to UNAIDS was made by Australia, which confirmed it was pledging nearly US$ 1 million in additional funds for HIV prevention in the Asia–Pacific region.
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* Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

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United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
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Source: Apo-Opa

Merck foundation launched their programs in partnership with Ghana’s First Lady and Ministry of Health

16.January.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com) awarded the First Lady of Ghana to acknowledge her efforts as “Merck More Than a Mother” Ambassador; Merck Foundation CEO and First Lady of Ghana to co-chair the 6th Edition of Merck Africa Asia Luminary in Accra, Ghana on 29th and 30th October 2019 Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck Germany ...

Merck Foundation

Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com) awarded the First Lady of Ghana to acknowledge her efforts as “Merck More Than a Mother” Ambassador; Merck Foundation CEO and First Lady of Ghana to co-chair the 6th Edition of Merck Africa Asia Luminary in Accra, Ghana on 29th and 30th October 2019

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck Germany launched their programs in partnership with The First Lady of Ghana, H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO to underscore their commitment to build healthcare capacity in the country and to finalize discussions about Merck Foundation’s annual conference 6th Edition of “Merck Africa Asia Luminary” to be co-chaired by Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and The First Lady of Ghana, H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO in Accra, Ghana on 29th -30th October 2019.

During the launch event, Merck Foundation also awarded Her Excellency to acknowledge her efforts as “Merck More Than a Mother” Ambassador in the country.

During the conference steering committee meeting, many new programs were finalized and launched in partnership with the Ministry of Health of Ghana.

H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana & Merck more than a Mother Ambassador emphasized “We are excited to partner with Merck Foundation and are happy with their strong commitment and the efficient execution of their programs in the country. These programs will prove very significant in creating an impact on our people’s advancement, as health is very critical to our social and economic development. Also, I am happy to host and co -chair the 6th Edition of Merck Africa Asia Luminary. I will continue to support and cooperate with Merck Foundation for all their programs.”

“We are very happy to award Her Excellency First Lady of Ghana, REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO for her great efforts to empower infertile women as the ambassador of Merck More than a Mother. We have also underscored our long term partnership with her Foundation and Ministry of Health of Ghana to continue building healthcare capacity and train doctors in the fields of Diabetes, Hypertension, Fertility and cancer care. Our aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of people of the continent”, emphasized Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation.

“We are thankful to H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO for hosting Merck Africa Asia Luminary, the annual conference of Merck Foundation. It will be attended by more than 1000 healthcare providers, policy makers, academia and researchers from over 60 African and Asian countries. The objective is to improve disease management, early detection and prevention, build healthcare and scientific research capacity and improve access to quality and equitable healthcare solutions across Africa and Asia.” added Dr. Kelej.

The 5th Edition of Merck Africa Asia Luminary was presided by The President of Senegal, H.E. MACKY SALL in Dakar, Senegal. It was also attended by 09 African First Ladies and 12 Ministers of Health. More than 1000 African healthcare providers from more than 60 countries benefited from several medical education sessions.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation & President Merck More than A Mother, together with H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana & Merck more than a Mother Ambassador also conducted a special meeting with more than 100 Ghanaian infertile women to soft launch Merck more than a Mother campaign through identifying their needs and challenges and work on a concrete strategy to break the stigma of infertility through art, media as an effective tool to raise awareness about this sensitive topic. Moreover, to identify interventions to build fertility care capacity in the country so that every infertile couple would eventually have access to information, healthcare and change of mindset. They both pledged to support this cause through innovative idea that engages all sectors to create a culture shift and make a great impact in a short time.

“Few initiatives to get the desired culture shift include announcing the Merck more than a Mother Media Recognition Award and Media Health Training in partnership with Ghana Journalism Society. Creating songs and movies in partnership with Ghanaian artists to address this topic and educate people across the country which will require supporting film making industry and students of the National Film and Television Institute in Ghana. Also, involving fashion industry to deliver the message of breaking the stigma of Infertile women to the community in day to day life which will be achieved through supporting the young fashion designers and student of Ghana Fashion Academy to come up with innovative ideas to reach youth” Dr. Rasha Kelej added.

Merck foundation has provided clinical training on fertility specialty in the past two years and will continue this program in partnership with ministry of health to improve access to quality and equitable fertility care in the country.

Merck Foundation will also continue enrolling doctors from Ghana in their two year oncology fellowship program and master degree as a contribution to improve cancer care in the country.

Merck foundation has also provided five Ghanaian doctors with one year diabetes and hypertension diploma and will continue to enroll more doctors in the next five years.

Meet Merck Foundation’s Alumni:

Clinical Fertility Management Training

  1. Dr. Jonah Amoah, IIRH, India

  2. Dr. Georgina Moore, IIRH, India

  3. Dr. James Afetsi Yao, IIRH, India

  4. Dr. Joshua Adoboe, Manipal University, India

Oncology: Tata Memorial Centre, India

  1. Dr. Nihad Salifu, Paediatric Medical Oncology

  2. Dr. Kokou H. Amegan-Aho, undergoing Paediatric Medical Oncology

  3. Dr. Iddrisu Abdul-Rashid Timtoni, undergoing Master’s Degree in Medical Oncology

Diabetes: Post Graduate Diploma in Diabetes Management Medicine with University of South Wales

  1. Dr. Gloria Ani-asamoah

  2. Dr. Dominic Oduro-Donkor

  3. Dr. Victor Ekem

Hypertension: Post Graduate Diploma in Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine with University of South Wales

  1. Dr. Florence Akumiah

  2. Dr. Joel Allotey

  3. Dr. Israel Hagbevor

Meet the journalists who have undergone Merck Health Media Training:

  1. Christable Addo, Ghana News Agency

  2. Doreen Andoh, Daily Grapfic

  3. Lennox Amagyei-Antwi, Daily Statesman

  4. Jamila Akweley Okertchiri, Daily Guide

  5. Akua Adufa Aboagye, Peace FM

  6. Vincent Addo Nhiyira, Joy FM

Linda Naa Dedei Aryeetey, Ghanaian Times

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Merck Foundation.

Join the conversation on our social media platforms below and let your voice be heard:
Facebook: facebook.com/merckfoundation
Twitter: bit.ly/2NDqHLR
YouTube: bit.ly/2K3ACZp
Website: www.Merck-Foundation.com

Join Merck Foundation online community to exchange experience and information with other healthcare providers, researchers, students, policy makers and community members in Africa and beyond. www.Merck-Foundation.com free registration.

About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign;
“Merck More Than a Mother” initiative aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and health and by changing mind-sets. This powerful initiative supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe and effective fertility care. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention and management. In partnership with academia, ministries of health and international fertility societies, the initiative also provides medical education and training for healthcare providers and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

With “Merck More than a mother”, we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility on all levels: By improving awareness, training the skills of local experts, building advocacy in cooperation with decision makers and by supporting childless women in starting their own small business. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child.

Along with the First Lady of Ghana, H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, following First Ladies are also the Ambassadors of “Merck More Than a Mother”; H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana; H.E. DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of the Republic of Burundi; H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central Africa Republic; H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of Chad; H.E. DJÈNÈ CONDÈ, The First Lady of Guinea-Conakry; H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH BARROW, The First Lady of Gambia; H.E. AISSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU, The First Lady of Niger; H.E. FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone and H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia.

Also, part of the campaign is our Merck Embryology & Fertility Training Program, a three-month hands-on practical course in partnership with IRSI, Indonesia, IIRRH, India and Manipal Academy of Higher Education (Manipal University), India to establish the platform of fertility specialists across Africa and developing countries. Merck Foundation provided for more than 84 candidates, in clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 29 countries across Africa and Asia such as: Chad, Niger, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire , Ghana, Ethiopia , Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania , Zambia , Nigeria, Benin, Mali, Burkina Fuso, Senegal, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cameron, Rwanda, Botswana,  DR Congo , Congo Brazzaville, Gambia , Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Cambodia.

Merck Foundation is making history in many African countries where they never had fertility specialists or specialized fertility clinics before ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ intervention, to train the first fertility specialists such as; in Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Niger, Chad, Guinea, Ethiopia and Uganda.

About Merck Oncology Fellowship Program:
The Merck Oncology Fellowship Program, a key initiative of Merck Cancer Access Program, focuses on building additional capacity through medical education and training. The lack of financial means is not the only challenge in Africa and developing countries, but a scarcity of trained health care personnel capable to tackle the prevention, early diagnosis and management of cancer at all levels of the health care systems is even a bigger challenge.

Merck Oncology Fellowship Program focuses on building professional cancer care capacity with the aim to increase the limited number of oncologists in Africa and Developing countries. The program provides One-year fellowship program at Tata Memorial Centre – India, One and half-years Oncology Fellowship programs at University of Malaya – Malaysia, Two years Oncology Fellowship Program at University of Nairobi – Kenya and Two years Master degree in Medical, Surgical, Pediatric and Radiation Oncology at Cairo University – Egypt, in partnership with African Ministries of Health, Local Governments and Academia.

Launched in 2016, over 43 candidates from more than 21 African countries have rolled in the Merck Oncology Fellowship Program. The program will continue to build cancer care capability in African countries such as Botswana, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

About Merck Foundation:
The Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com), established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to innovative healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website. Please go to www.Merck-Foundation.com to read more and/or register online to interact and exchange experience with our registered members.

About Merck:
Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Almost 53,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2017, Merck generated sales of € 15.3 billion in 66 countries.

Founded in 1668, Merck is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma.

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Source: Apo-Opa

UN Human Rights Office says credible reports suggest at least 890 killed in western Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) violence in mid-December

16.January.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Download logo The UN Human Rights Office said Wednesday that according to allegations from credible sources, at least 890 people were killed between 16 and 18 December in four villages in Yumbi territory, Mai-Ndombe province in the west of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in what appear to have been clashes between the Banunu ...

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
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The UN Human Rights Office said Wednesday that according to allegations from credible sources, at least 890 people were killed between 16 and 18 December in four villages in Yumbi territory, Mai-Ndombe province in the west of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in what appear to have been clashes between the Banunu and Batende communities.

Reports suggest that at least 82 people were also injured in the attacks, but the actual number of casualties is expected to be higher. Some 465 houses and buildings were burned down or pillaged, including two primary schools, a health centre, a health post, a market, and the office of the Commission Electoral National Independante (CENI). Most of the population of the affected villages has reportedly been displaced, including an estimated 16,000 people who sought refuge by crossing the Congo River into the Republic of Congo. The UN Human Rights Office has launched an investigation into these alarming reports. National judicial authorities have also initiated an investigation.

“It is crucial that this shocking violence be promptly, thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators be brought to justice,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said. “This is essential to ensure justice for the victims of these horrific attacks, but also to prevent new episodes of intercommunal strife, and to address the anger and feelings of gross injustice that may otherwise lead to repeated cycles of violence between communities.”

The High Commissioner offered the advice and support of the UN Human Rights Office in the conduct of investigations, as well as in efforts to prevent the recurrence of such violence, and to work towards justice and reconciliation.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Source: Apo-Opa

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) is monitoring military mobilisation of forces in Tripoli closely; warns against any breach of ceasefire and endangering civilians’ lives

16.January.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Download logo The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) strongly condemns the recent military mobilisation of forces in southern Tripoli and is monitoring the situation closely. UNSMIL warns parties against any breach of the ceasefire agreement concluded on 04 and 09 September 2018, compromising stability in the capital and, most importantly, endangering the lives ...

United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL)
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The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) strongly condemns the recent military mobilisation of forces in southern Tripoli and is monitoring the situation closely. UNSMIL warns parties against any breach of the ceasefire agreement concluded on 04 and 09 September 2018, compromising stability in the capital and, most importantly, endangering the lives of civilians and their properties.

The mission stresses that any party initiating a confrontation will be held fully responsible. UNSMIL affirms that it will take action as necessary and will explore all possible and available measures based on future developments on the ground in order to deter such events, which it condemns and rejects unequivocally.

The Mission reminds all parties in Libya that any direct or indirect attack on civilians, their properties and public facilities constitutes a serious violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
Source: Apo-Opa

South Africa hosts First Lead Author Meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

16.January.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Download logo South Africa, through the Department of Environmental Affairs, will host the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II First Lead Author Meeting of the Sixth Assessment Report from 21 to 25 January 2019 in Durban. IPCC is an international body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was set ...

Republic of South Africa: Department of Government Communication and Information
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South Africa, through the Department of Environmental Affairs, will host the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II First Lead Author Meeting of the Sixth Assessment Report from 21 to 25 January 2019 in Durban.

IPCC is an international body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.

The IPCC assessments provide a scientific basis for governments at all levels to develop climate related policies, and they underlie negotiations at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The assessments are policy-relevant but not policy-prescriptive. They may present projections of future climate change based on different scenarios and the risks that climate change poses and discuss the implications of response options, but they do not prescribe to policymakers what actions to take.

With 195 members and thousands of people from all over the world contributing to its work, IPCC is divided into three Working Groups and a Task Force. Working Group I deals with The Physical Science Basis of Climate Change, Working Group II with Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability and Working Group III with Mitigation of Climate Change. The main objective of the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories is to develop and refine a methodology for the calculation and reporting of national greenhouse gas emissions and removals.

The IPCC Working Group Lead Authors will spend a week focusing on the assessment of relevant literature, especially since the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). The Working Group II scope will cover inter alia the following thematic areas: Terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems and their services ; Ocean and coastal ecosystems and their services ; Water; Food, fibre, and other ecosystem products; Cities, settlements and key infrastructure; Health, wellbeing and the changing structure of communities; Poverty, livelihoods and sustainable development; Sustainable development pathways: integrating adaptation and mitigation; etc.

Members of the media are invited to attend a media briefing and the opening ceremony that will be addressed by IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee, Vice Chair Youba Sokona and the Working Group II Co-Chairs Debra Roberts and Hans-Otto Pörtner. The media briefing and the opening ceremony will take place as follows:

Date:               Monday 21 January 2019

Time:              08:00 – 10:00

Venue:            Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Center, Durban

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: Department of Government Communication and Information.
Source: Apo-Opa

Workers and Organised Labour urged to be vigilant about compliance with National Minimum Wage Act

16.January.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Download logo The Portfolio Committee on Labour has encouraged all workers and organised labour to be vigilant in ensuring that employers comply with the National Minimum Wage Act, as promulgated in November 2018. The Act became operational from 1 January 2019, setting the hourly wage at R20 for those workers who are not covered by ...

Republic of South Africa: The Parliament
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The Portfolio Committee on Labour has encouraged all workers and organised labour to be vigilant in ensuring that employers comply with the National Minimum Wage Act, as promulgated in November 2018.

The Act became operational from 1 January 2019, setting the hourly wage at R20 for those workers who are not covered by the country’s dual wage-setting system. The minimum wages for sectors that are organised into bargaining councils are determined through collective bargaining systems.

The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Labour, Mr Lemias Mashile, said that the national minimum wage represents a marked increase in income for the more than six million workers of South Africa’s labour force, who were previously earning less than R20 an hour.

“Farm workers, domestic workers and workers employed in an Expanded Public Works Programme are entitled to an hourly rate of R18, R15 and R11 respectively. The National Minimum Wage Commission will come up with a proposal for these categories to increase these salaries within two years,” said Mr Mashile.

The committee understands that the South African labour market is characterised by high levels of inequality, unemployment and poverty. Statistics South Africa has also reported that at the end of the third quarter of 2018, out of a labour force of 22.6 million, 16.4 million or 72.5% were employed.

The committee has encouraged the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration and the courts to be ready to intervene when non-compliance with the National Minimum Wage Act is reported.

The committee will continue to conduct oversight on effective implementation of the Act.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.
Source: Apo-Opa

Kenya / Rugby: Ojee Captain Shuuja squad on duty at the Hamilton and Sydney 7s

16.January.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Jacob Ojee will skipper the Shujaa squad during the Hamilton and Sydney 7s deputized by Michael Wanjala. Commenting on his selection of Ojee as Captain, Head Coach Paul Murunga had this to say, “Ojee is able to lead the team. This has been noted enough times during our training sessions where he ensures all players ...

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU)

Jacob Ojee will skipper the Shujaa squad during the Hamilton and Sydney 7s deputized by Michael Wanjala. Commenting on his selection of Ojee as Captain, Head Coach Paul Murunga had this to say, “Ojee is able to lead the team. This has been noted enough times during our training sessions where he ensures all players communicate, his experience in the wing in the 15s version of the game as well as in the 7s is also very key. Wanjala’s past experience in the international sevens stage is also very crucial as we head out to New Zealand.”

“It's an honour to Captain Shujaa. It is a huge responsibility but with the current squad, I am confident that we are going to improve on our performance.”- Jacob Ojee.

Former Kenya Under 19 Captain, Harold Anduvate is also part of the team on National Duty. He is one of five new call ups into the squad: Brian Wandera, Eliakim Kichoi both who were in the Safari7s squad while Eliakim was also part of the team that traveled to Tunisia for the Africa Men’s 7s. William Reeve has also received a nod from the Head Coach. They are joined by Cyprian Kuto, Johnstone Olindi, Brian Wahinya, Vincent Onyala and Daniel Taabu all who were in the Dubai and CapeTown 7s legs of the HSBC World Sevens Series. Bush Mwale makes a comeback into the squad after one season hiatus. He was last in the set up during the 2016/2017 season under former Coach Innocent Simiyu.

Murunga is confident that based on the training sessions the team has had, they will improve on their performance as the HSBC Caravan heads to New Zealand.

Charles Omondi and Alvin Otieno miss out on the tournament due to injuries. Mark Wandetto travels as player thirteen.

The team is currently ranked 14th on the HSBC Standings log with four points. They will kick off their campaign on 26th January at 0022Hrs against South Africa, three hours later they’ll meet Scotland for the second time this season at 0348Hrs before ending their day one at 0800Hrs against France.

Shujaa Squad to Hamilton/Sydney 7s

Jacob Ojee – ©(KCB) Michael Wanjala – Vice Captain (Menengai Cream Homeboyz),Cyprian Kuto(Menengai Cream Homeboyz), Vincent Onyala(KCB), Brian Wahinya(Blakblad), Brian Wandera(Menengai Cream Homeboyz), Daniel Taabu(Stanbic Mwamba), Johnstone Olindi(Menengai Cream Homeboyz), Bush Mwale(Menengai Cream Homeboyz), William Reeve(Kenya Harlequins), Eliakim Kichoi(Stanbic Mwamba), Harold Anduvate(Menengai Oilers), Mark Wandetto(Menengai Cream Homeboyz).

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Kenya Rugby Union (KRU).

Media Contact:
Rugby@APO-opa.org
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Source: Apo-Opa

Marriott International announces Marriott Bonvoy – the new brand name of its Loyalty Program

16.January.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Marriott International (www.Marriott.com) today unveiled Marriott Bonvoy, the new loyalty brand replacing the current loyalty brands – Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) – and reflecting the unmatched benefits, single loyalty portfolio and experiences announced last year. Marriott Bonvoy is built on the belief that travel enriches us all and has ...

Marriott International, Inc.

Marriott International (www.Marriott.com) today unveiled Marriott Bonvoy, the new loyalty brand replacing the current loyalty brands – Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) – and reflecting the unmatched benefits, single loyalty portfolio and experiences announced last year. Marriott Bonvoy is built on the belief that travel enriches us all and has the power to enrich the world. Marriott Bonvoy launches on February 13 when the logo and branding begins rolling out across all consumer touchpoints, including on property, marketing and sales channels, digital, mobile and co-brand credit cards, bolstered by a multimillion-dollar global media campaign starting in late February.

“Marriott Bonvoy marks an evolution in travel because it represents more than a loyalty program,” said Stephanie Linnartz, Global Chief Commercial Officer, Marriott International. “Marriott Bonvoy is a travel program designed to bring to life our extraordinary portfolio of global brands in 129 countries and territories, while also providing endless inspiration for members to keep traveling and pursuing their passions.”

Linnartz continued, “Represented by a simple, bold and modern logo, Marriott Bonvoy is welcoming and optimistic. Our 120 million members have access to the world’s leading hotel portfolio at the best room rates and member benefits, as well our collection of Moments experiences that bring exploration and discovery of the world to the forefront.”

Beginning on February 13, Marriott Rewards Moments and SPG Moments will become Marriott Bonvoy Moments, which together with Marriott Moments will feature approximately 120,000 experiences in 1,000 destinations available for purchase or by redeeming points. In addition. In addition to accessing locally relevant sights and excursions, such as hiking into glacial Patagonia, desert treks on camelback in Morocco or cruising to Vietnam’s timeless floating villages, members can indulge in once-in-a-lifetime experiences like cooking alongside renowned chefs Daniel Boulud and Eric Ripert, or honing football skills in a master class with Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice.

Throughout 2019, Marriott will bring Marriott Bonvoy to life with a series of experiential events for members taking advantage of the company’s marketing partnerships with iconic brands including the NCAA and the FIA Formula One™ World Champions, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, as well as through sponsorships such as the Oscars®, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Dubai Jazz Festival, The Hong Kong Sevens and The PGA Tour World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship.

On August 18, 2018, Marriott launched one loyalty program with unified benefits under its three legacy loyalty brands — Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and SPG.  On February 13, the combined program completes its integration under one name, Marriott Bonvoy.

With Marriott Bonvoy, members will have access to Marriott’s portfolio of diverse brands including the largest collection of lifestyle and luxury properties. Whether it is sun-soaked overwater bungalows at The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, mountain-side resorts nestled against ski slopes like at The Westin Resort and Spa Whistler, beachfront properties hugging pristine sands like at The Ritz-Carlton, Bali, to iconic urban towers offering panoramic views like at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, or former palatial residences like The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel (Venice); Marriott Bonvoy provides members an unparalleled offering of experiences together with the opportunity to earn desirable member benefits.

Since Marriott introduced the unified loyalty benefits under Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and SPG last August, members have been able to seamlessly book stays and earn and redeem points across the entire portfolio and achieve Elite status faster with new Elite tiers. Members now earn on average 20 percent more points per dollar spent.

The launch of Marriott Bonvoy will introduce two new names for previous Elite status tier names:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite will replace Platinum Premier Elite for members who surpass 75 nights.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite will replace Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador. This top Elite status tier recognizes members who surpass 100 nights and more than $20,000 in spend annually. These members enjoy the highest level of personalization with a dedicated ambassador to help plan their travel and cater to their needs one-on-one. 

Marriott Bonvoy will usher in a new mobile experience. Members using either the SPG or The Ritz-Carlton Rewards apps are encouraged to download the current Marriott app now which will automatically update to become the Marriott Bonvoy app on February 13. The SPG and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards apps will be deactivated on that date.

Members can learn more about Marriott Bonvoy at MeetMarriottBonvoy.marriott.com where they also can watch a short video describing the new brand. To download the media kit including images and video, please click here (https://bit.ly/2RAF0nm). To learn more about the loyalty program benefits, please visit www.Marriott.com.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Marriott International, Inc..

Media Contact:
Anjali Mehra
+971 565396555
anjali.mehra@marriott.com

Rahaf Awad
+971 55 591 0723
MarriottInternational@fourcommunications.com

About Marriott Bonvoy:
Marriott Bonvoy (MeetMarriottBonvoy.marriott.com) is the company’s new travel program built on the belief that travel enriches its members and the world around them. Launching in February 2019, Marriott Bonvoy replaces Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG). Comprised of a portfolio of extraordinary brands where you can earn and redeem, as well as offering approximately 120,000 destination tours and adventures on Marriott Bonvoy Moments, the travel program enables members to explore the world in pursuit of their passions. Under Marriott Bonvoy’s five Elite tiers, status is more achievable than ever. With a single currency, earning and redeeming points is faster and simpler, and members can accelerate the points they earn with Marriott Bonvoy co-branded credit card from Emirates NBD and Mastercard® in the UAE. When members book direct on Marriott.com they receive all the perks that come with Elite status, including, free and enhanced Wi-Fi and exclusive member-only rates, and on the Marriott app they enjoy mobile check-in and checkout, Mobile Requests and, wherever available, Mobile Key. In addition to featuring a powerful travel program, Marriott.com also offers 30 extraordinary brands to book, endless experiences and the best available rates. To enroll for free or for more information about Marriott Bonvoy, visit MeetMarriottBonvoy.marriott.com. To download the Marriott app, go here (https://bit.ly/1pLWqG9). Travelers can also connect with Marriott Bonvoy on Facebook (https://bit.ly/2TSZQLb), Twitter (https://bit.ly/2SWnFBR) and Instagram (https://bit.ly/2RvhCaD).
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Source: Apo-Opa