#AceNewsDesk : “World News – Headlines – 30 January 2014”

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LATIN AMERICA – CARIBBEAN – CUBA – EU – PAKISTAN – EGYPT – SAUDI ARABIA – UK – SYRIA – BANGLADESH – INDIA – AFGHANISTAN – ISRAEL   

EU will agree next month to deepen relations with Cuba09:36

EU to begin talks with Cuba on cooperation accord

The EU will agree the next month to deepen relations with Cuba in the most significant overture to the communist island since the bloc lifted diplomatic sanctions in 2008, Reuters reported, citing its sources. On February 10, foreign ministers from EU countries will give the go-ahead to launch talks with Havana on a special cooperation accord. The pact, aimed at increasing trade, investment and dialogue on human rights, could be agreed by the end of 2015. “Cuba wants capital and the EU wants influence,” said one source involved in the talks.

Cleric who supported the Afghan Taliban has been shot dead in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta,08:51

Gunmen shoot dead influential pro-Taliban cleric in Pakistan

An influential cleric who supported the Afghan Taliban has been shot dead in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, officials said Thursday. “Two unknown gunmen on a motorcycle” shot dead Maulana Abdullah Zakiri as he was on his way to a mosque Wednesday night,” senior police official Abdul Razzaq told AFP. Zakiri had lived in Quetta for a long time and had no known disputes with anyone. However, his family has accused Afghan intelligence services of his murder.

Saudi Arabia is expected to give Egypt up to $4 billion08:26

Egypt to receive up to $4bn more aid from Saudi Arabia – report

Saudi Arabia is expected to give Egypt up to $4 billion in additional aid in the form of central bank deposits and petroleum products, Reuters said. State-run Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram reported Thursday that the package would be worked out during a visit next week to Riyadh by Egypt’s interim prime minister, Hazem el-Beblawi. Funds from Gulf Arab states have kept Egypt’s economy afloat during the recent political turmoil, which has hit investment and tourism hard.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Thursday that his country will accept the most vulnerable Syrian refugees07:49

UK to accept vulnerable Syrian refugees – Hague

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Thursday that his country will accept the most vulnerable Syrian refugees this year. Hague said in the Philippine capital, Manila, that the details were still being worked out, did not specify a number of the refugees, AP reported. However, he said that Britain would prioritize displaced Syrians who have been exposed to the horrors of the conflict, including victims of sexual violence.

Head of Jamaat-e-Islami party, Motiur Ra07:32

Bangladesh court sentences top Islamist, 13 others to death for arms smuggling

A Bangladesh court on Thursday sentenced 14 people to death over an arms smuggling racket 10 years ago, AFP reported. Those convicted include the leader of the country’s largest Islamist party, the Jamaat-e-Islami party. “The judge sentenced 14 people including Motiur Rahman Nizami, to death on smuggling charges,”prosecutor Kamal Uddin Ahmed said.

10 killed as mob attacks India village in land dispute06:52

10 killed as mob attacks India village in land dispute

A mob armed with shotguns attacked a remote village in northeast India, killing at least 10 people in a land dispute, police said Thursday. The attackers fired indiscriminately Wednesday evening in Chauldhua village in the densely forested area in northern Assam state, AP reported, citing witnesses. The gunmen came from neighboring Arunachal Pradesh state, police said. The dispute dates back to 1987, when Arunachal Pradesh state was created and the village was declared to be in Assam.

Suicide car bomber kills 2 officers in east Afghanistan06:21

Suicide car bomber kills 2 officers in east Afghanistan

A suicide car bomber has attacked a police facility in the country’s east, killing two officers, AP reported. The attacker targeted a police and intelligence compound in the Nangarhar province’s Pachir Wagam district early on Thursday morning, said Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a spokesman in the province. Three members of the security forces were injured in the attack. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in an emailed statement.

scarlett-johansson-steps-down-as-oxfam-ambassador05:08

​Johansson breaks with humanitarian group Oxfam over Israeli settlement boycott

Actress Scarlett Johansson has decided to end her eight-year tenure as ambassador for Oxfam International, a prominent group fighting against poverty and injustice, saying she does not endorse the group’s boycott of Israeli settlements in occupied territories. Oxfam opposes all trade with the settlements, saying their existence is illegal and violates Palestinians’ rights. Johansson recently came under fire for signing on as the first global brand ambassador of SodaStream, a company maintaining a large factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

​Latin America and Caribbean to become ‘zone of peace’01:27

​Latin America and Caribbean to become ‘zone of peace’

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States bloc has signed a resolution declaring the region a “zone of peace”. The 33 nations thus pledged to resolve regional disputes without the use of force in respect to another. The measure was approved on the final day of a summit of Western Hemisphere nations, minus the United States and Canada.

EU agrees on accord to normalize relations with Cuba00:01

​EU agrees on accord to normalize relations with Cuba – source

EU states have agreed on the “whole package” for a new accord with Cuba aimed at normalizing relations with the communist state and encourage reforms and strengthen the human rights in the country, an EU source told AFP. The text of the agreement will be discussed among EU foreign Ministers next month. The bloc suspended ties with Cuba in 2003 after a crackdown on 75 dissidents, which have all now been released from jail.

 

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#acenewsdesk, #assam, #cuba, #egypt, #israeli-settlement, #motiur-rahman-nizami, #oxfam, #quetta, #refugees-of-the-syrian-civil-war, #saudi-arabia, #scarlett-johansson, #taliban, #thursday, #west-bank, #william-hague

After a Long Delay, Lebanon Finally Says Yes to Ikea Housing for Syrian Refugees

#AceWorldNews says It has taken more than six months of intense lobbying to convince the Lebanese government to allow even a trial run of the Ikea units. Now that they are permitted, it’s likely to take just as long to get a sufficient number of the shelters into the country, leaving entire families exposed to the elements as Lebanon’s vicious winter storms drive freezing rain, snow and wind through the informal refugee settlements that have sprung up across the country. UNHCR has delivered tens of thousands of emergency kits containing plastic tarps, blankets and timber to the estimated 125,000 refugees that have not been able to find adequate shelter. Still, it means that many can expect to spend the winter with little more to protect them from the elements than a thin plastic sheet. The government turnaround is a positive development, says Jean-Marie Garelli, UNHCR’s program director for the Syrian refugees. “However it will take some time to put these shelters in place. You won’t see a miracle in a week.”#Syria

Ace says here is a video link: http://world.time.com/2013/12/16/lebanon-says-no-to-ikea-housing-for-syrian-refugees-because-its-too-nice/

#lebanese, #refugees-of-the-syrian-civil-war, #unchr

Refugee’s From “Horn of Africa” Travelling to Yemen Increase as UN Calls for Greater Protection

Conditions in the Ali Hussein camp, one of sev...

Conditions in the Ali Hussein camp, one of several large camps hosting refugees from the 2011 Horn of Africa famine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More than 62,000 people arrived in Yemen from the Horn of Africa this year, the United Nations refugee agency said today, calling for increased cooperation among countries to ensure protection for asylum seekers who risk their lives on this deadly route.

“The crossing from the Horn of Africa to Yemen is one of several deadly sea routes worldwide that UNHCR watches closely,” spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Adrian Edwards, <“http://www.unhcr.org/527cc7b66.html“>told reporters in Geneva.

“Hundreds of people, including Syrian refugees, have died in recent months crossing the Mediterranean to Europe. In Southeast Asia, just last weekend, dozens of people were reported missing after their boat capsized off the coast of Myanmar in the Bay of Bengal.”

Yemen has seen six successive years of high arrivals by sea. Since 2006, when UNHCR started collecting data, more than half a million asylum seekers, refugees and migrants have travelled by sea to Yemen. Most are Ethiopians, citing the difficult economic situation at home and often hoping to travel through Yemen to the Gulf States and beyond.

Yemen IDPs 7

Yemen IDPs 7 (Photo credit: IRIN Photos)

Somalis arriving in Yemen are automatically recognized as refugees by the authorities, while UNHCR has helped determine the refugee status of other asylum seekers, including from Ethiopia, Eritrea, and other countries.

UNHCR is encouraging cooperation among countries affected by mixed migration, and is supporting the Yemeni Government to organize a conference next week on asylum and migration together with the International Organization for Migration.

The three-day conference will took place in Sana’a, with participants from Governments from the Horn of Africa, Gulf States, donor countries, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and institutions such as the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat.

“The aim of the Yemen conference was to establish a regional plan to help manage mixed migration between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula,” Mr. Edwards said.

The objective being to include, saving lives, ensuring better protection systems for asylum seekers and refugees, strengthening law enforcement against smuggling and trafficking networks, increasing funding for assisted-voluntary-returns programmes, and raising awareness of the dangers of irregular migration.

#arabian-peninsula, #horn-of-africa, #international-organization-for-migration, #refugee, #refugees-of-the-syrian-civil-war, #sana, #united-nations-high-commissioner-for-refugees, #yemen

UN-Urges-Countries-to-Ensure-Safe-Passage-for-#Syrians-Fleeing-Conflict

Flag of United Nations Refugee Agency

Flag of United Nations Refugee Agency (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With the numbers of Syrians seeking safety in Europe on the rise, the United Nations refugee agency <“http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/search?page=search&docid=526108d89&query=Italy“>said today it is concerned about difficulties displaced people face during their passage and at borders, including the risk of drowning at sea.

Melissa Fleming, chief spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), cited the case of a boat carrying between 400 and 500 Syrians and Palestinians that sank in the Mediterranean last Friday. Only 200 people have been rescued.

“We are disturbed that the cause of the tragedy could well be attributed to shots that were fired after the boat left Libya, injuring four passengers and damaging the hull,” Ms. Fleming told a news conference in Geneva.

The same day, she noted, a boat sank just off Alexandria in Egypt with an estimated 112 passengers on board, 40 of whom were Syrian. Twelve bodies were recovered, including five children. The survivors are being held in detention facilities in two police stations.

They were among a growing number of Syrians trying to cross the Mediterranean from Egypt to Italy because of anxiety about their security, according to UNHCR. Many mention physical assaults, verbal threats, detention and deportation.

The Egyptian Government estimates that some 250,000 to 300,000 Syrians currently reside in Egypt, of whom more than 122,000 are registered with UNHCR.

Between January and the end of September, at least 7,557 Syrians and Palestinians arrived on the coast of Italy, including 6,233 since August in 63 boats. This compares to about 350 Syrians in 2012. Most of the Syrian refugees that reach Italy continue on to other countries in Europe in search of asylum.

UNHCR was particularly concerned about the increasing number of unaccompanied children making the voyage. As the cost of travel can range from $2,000-$5,000 per person, some families opt to send their children alone or with relatives or friends.

“UNHCR notes with concern that over 800 Syrians have been arrested in Egypt since August for attempting to illegally depart and 144, including 44 children, have been deported to third countries,” said Ms. Fleming.

“Although charges have not been laid, approximately 589 Syrians remain in administrative detention, including women and 84 children. UNHCR is seeking access to the detained in order to properly verify numbers, conditions, and needs, or provide legal assistance,” she added.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ...

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

UNHCR recognizes that a number of countries in North Africa are increasingly affected by the displacement caused by the Syria crisis, placing additional demands on their infrastructure and resources. Given the dramatic needs of Syrian refugees, which are likely to continue and grow in the immediate future, reinforcement of capacity to receive them in North African countries is increasingly urgent, the agency stressed.

UNHCR is working with Governments, the European Union and other partners to put in place a comprehensive response to saving lives of refugees and migrants at sea. It is calling for a number of measures to prevent further tragedies and increase responsibility sharing.

Generous approaches to protection are needed, Ms. Fleming noted, including non-penalization of those arriving without identity documents, offering flexibility in the application of family reunification criteria and procedures, dispensing with certain visa requirements, and facilitation of the entry of Syrians for work, study, family or humanitarian purposes under national programmes.

More than 100,000 people have been killed since opposition groups first sought the ouster of President Bashar Al-Assad in March 2011. The conflict has also sent 2 million people fleeing for safety to neighbouring countries and displaced some 4.5 million people internally.

 

#peace-acenewsservices, #alexandria, #bashar-al-assad, #egypt, #european-union, #italy, #refugees-of-the-syrian-civil-war, #syria, #syrian-people, #unhcr, #united-nations-high-commissioner-for-refugees

British teachers form partnerships with Lebanese and Jordanian schools to provide support for Syrian refugee children.

British teachers form partnerships with Lebanese and Jordanian schools to provide support for Syrian refugee children.

British secondary school pupils will help Syrian counterparts who are refugees affected by the crisis, through a twinning initiative announced today by International Development Secretary Justine Greening.

The scheme, run through the British Council, will partner UK schools with Lebanese and Jordanian schools teaching Syrian refugee children. British school children will get the chance to link up with refugee children and hear first-hand about the reality of life from those who have been affected by the situation in Syria.

Under the initiative, British teachers and educators will form partnerships with schools in the region and provide support to their counterparts on a range of issues such as:

  • specially tailored teaching and learning resources to show schoolchildren in the UK the impact of the Syria crisis;
  • Syrian, Lebanese and British children sharing their experiences through Skype and letter writing; and
  • opportunities for teachers to share ideas, lesson plans and to work on joint projects together.
Coat of arms of Lebanon Deutsch: Wappen von Li...

Coat of arms of Lebanon Deutsch: Wappen von Libanon Español: Escudo de Líbano עברית: סמל לבנון (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The scheme will focus initially on schools in Lebanon, which currently hosts more than a quarter of a million Syrian refugee children, an even higher number than there are Lebanese children. The scheme plans to expand to other schools in Jordan and more widely across the region.

Justine Greening said:

“Syrian secondary school children should not miss out on an education because their country is at war. We must do all we can to prevent a lost generation of Syrian children, and I want to give their UK counterparts and teachers the chance to play their part in our support.

Teachers in Syria’s neighbouring countries are working tirelessly to ensure that everyone in their classroom has the chance to learn, no matter where they are from. But they are under tremendous pressure from cultural and language differences and the sheer weight of numbers of refugee children.

“This initiative will give British teachers and educators the chance to make a direct difference. It will also pave the way for British school children and Syrian refugee children to build friendships, share their experiences and gain a better understanding of the wider world they are all growing up in.”

The initiative will build on the Connecting Classrooms programme that the British Council already runs, drawing on existing partnerships with 20 schools in Jordan and Lebanon. In particular, it will work with schools in Lebanon where 20-30 per cent of pupils are refugees, in order to identify areas where support is most needed. The UK is already working with partners in Lebanon to identify the particular needs of schools there and how best to respond to these.

Over the next two months, the British Council will run a recruitment drive to find new UK schools to partner with 16 Lebanese partner schools already looking for links with the UK. It will also prioritise UK-Lebanon/Jordan links for future school partnership application rounds (25 October 2013 and February 2014), with a focus on those schools in Lebanon and Jordan particularly affected by high numbers of refugee pupils.

#peace-acenewsservices, #british-council, #international-development-secretary-justine-greening, #jordan, #justine-greening, #lebanon, #refugee-children, #refugees-of-the-syrian-civil-war, #secondary-school, #secretary-of-state-for-international-development, #syria, #the-british-council

UK Support for Jordan’s – Hard-Pressed #Syrian Refugees

Jordan will receive urgently needed support to ensure essential public services keep running as Syrian refugee numbers continue to grow

Jordan will receive urgently needed support to keep essential public services running and prevent tensions between local people and growing numbers of Syrian refugees, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced today.

The UK will provide £12 million over the next two years to ensure that local Jordanian municipal governments can meet the needs of both host communities and refugees who have fled the fighting in Syria.

Competition for jobs is increasing, houses built for refugees require electricity and water, and rubbish is piling up. British support will help to maintain road construction and maintenance, waste collection, street lighting, pest control and water supplies. It will focus on areas with high numbers of refugees, particularly in northern Jordan.

Justine Greening said:

The people of Jordan have been incredibly generous in opening their doors to Syrians in desperate need. But with around 250,000 refugees arriving in 2013 alone, the Syrian crisis is placing a huge strain on communities and services.

Some neighbourhoods now have twice as many people living there as before, so it makes sense to invest in schools, health and other basic services to help everyone who has been flung together through no fault of their own.

Our support is vital for refugees, the host communities and for Britain too, because a region able to absorb refugees in the short or medium term is resolutely in our interests.

More than 520,000 refugees have now fled to Jordan to escape the fighting in Syria, around half of them children. Although many are in camps like Za’atari, more than two-thirds are staying in towns and cities where they share space, resources and services with their Jordanian hosts.

The Government of Jordan estimates the financial impact of providing public services at about $250 million for 2012 and the first quarter of 2013 and municipalities have struggled to maintain services in the face of rapidly growing numbers of users.

The rising demand and lagging supply of housing has led to significant increases in rental costs, especially in northern towns, and renting suitable and affordable housing has become harder for Jordanians. Investors have been constructing new housing, which has resulted in the establishment of new neighbourhoods needing roads, street lighting and connections to electricity, water and sewage networks.

Rubbish is piling up in many urban centres. In cities like Irbid and Mafraq, waste has doubled by some accounts, leading many municipalities to overwork their waste collection fleets.

In addition, high unemployment has highlighted the need for municipalities to take on a more active role in promoting local economic development and creating job opportunities.

This new funding commitment is in addition to the £500 million that the UK has now committed in response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, the largest ever response from the UK to a single crisis. This is providing support including food, medical care and relief items for over a million people in Syria and the region.

Notes to editors

  1. The new funding comes from the Arab Partnership Economic Facility and will be channelled through the World Bank-managed Jordan Emergency Services and Social Resilience Programme.
  2. The funding commitment was announced by the International Development Secretary in Washington today, at a World Bank-run event which was also attended by the Jordanian Minister for International Co-operation, Dr. Ibrahim Saif.
  3. https://www.gov.uk/government/world/syria

#peace-acenewsservices, #demographics-of-jordan, #international-development-secretary-justine-greening, #jordan, #justine-greening, #mafraq, #refugees-of-the-syrian-civil-war, #secretary-of-state-for-international-development, #syria, #syrians