Talks between UNs top Kosovo official and Belgrade lauded by European Union

“The EU warmly welcomes the support expressed by President Kostunica for UNMIK’s efforts to establish a legal framework for Kosovo and his confirmation of Kosovo Serb participation in this process,” according to a statement issued in Brussels. The hour-long discussions yesterday between President Kostunica and UNMIK chief Hans Haekkerup were termed constructive by both men. According to UNMIK, President Kostunica agreed to urge the Kosovo Serbs to participate in finalizing the legal framework for provisional self-government for Kosovo, and to take part in elections to be held later this year.Mr. Haekkerup said he had agreed to use his best efforts to determine the fate of 3,000 missing persons in Kosovo, 1,300 of whom were Serbs. On the question of the divided city of Mitrovica, it was agreed that UNMIK would work with the Yugoslav Committee for Cooperation to ensure improved security for the area’s Serbs. read more

Antimine efforts paying off but challenges remain Annan

“As you meet in the aftermath of the terrible tragedy that occurred in the United States a week ago today, this gathering takes on even greater significance,” the Secretary-General said in a message to the Third Meeting of States Parties to the Mine-Ban Convention in Managua, Nicaragua. “Never has there been a greater need for the world to show unity and purpose against the forces of violence and destruction,” Mr. Annan said in the message delivered on his behalf by Jayantha Dhanapala, UN Under Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs. Mr. Annan said the Mine-Ban Convention – formerly called the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction – was making a difference in the lives of people around the world. “More mines have been cleared, more victims assisted, more stockpiles destroyed, and more effective technologies for mine action have been developed,” he said. “More men, women and especially children have been made aware of dangerous landmine zones.”So far, 120 countries have ratified the treaty, also known as the Ottawa Convention, or are in the process of doing so, the Secretary-General said, urging those that have not yet joined the treaty to do so as soon as possible.The UN chief also warned that challenges remained ahead, particularly in creating more effective coordination and mobilization of resources at the international level, and building better capacity for mine action programmes at the national and local levels. In response to those challenges, he said, the UN was developing a five-year mine action strategy to identify goals to be achieved, including an international instrument addressing unexploded ordnances, which were not originally a part of the Convention. read more

Conference on Annans Global Compact initiative opens in London

The event, being convened at the British Petroleum training centre to review Global Compact’s progress, will seek to address a range of issues associated with the Secretary-General’s initiative, which was launched in July 2000, with the aim of involving business in upgrading environmental, labour and human rights conditions, and bringing the benefits of globalization to more people worldwide. Discussions will focus on charting how participating companies can share their experiences in working with the Compact’s nine guiding principles, which are drawn from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organization’s Fundamental Principles on Rights at Work, and the Rio Principles on Environment and Development. The event will also explore how an Internet data bank and learning resource tool can be set up to provide information and commentary on corporate citizenship. The conference is expected to draw some 80 participants, including representatives of major corporations, academic experts, and leaders from the labour, human rights, and environmental movements from around the world. read more

Annan hails creation of group of nations concerned about situation in Liberia

In a message to the inaugural meeting of the International Contact Group on Liberia, the Secretary-General said he was pleased to note that the membership reflected the “convergence of views” among the international community and regional stakeholders on the need for effective cooperation to promote lasting peace and stability, especially in Liberia.He also noted that significant progress had been achieved in Sierra Leone, contributing to the general stability of the sub-region. “We must do all we can to preserve and consolidate this progress, and expand our efforts to foster peace and stability in the rest of the sub-region,” Mr. Annan said in his message, which was delivered on his behalf in New York by Tuliameni Kalomoh, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs.“We must encourage those who work to promote peaceful change in the sub-region, including civil society groups, and take a firm stand against those who hamper the attainment of this objective,” he added. “And we must encourage all efforts made inside Liberia to prepare fertile soil in which peace, democracy, good governance and stability can take root.”Abou Moussa, the Secretary-General’s new Representative for Liberia, will be the UN focal point on the ground, working with the Government of Liberia and the Group to help it achieve its mandate.Meanwhile, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, will also be closely monitoring developments in the Mano River basin. The envoy plans to visit the countries of the Mano River Union shortly to explore ways in which the UN can support efforts by its members and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to promote sustainable peace and stability. read more

Sudan UN agencies relocate refugees from Chad border airlift food aid to

“The airlift coincides with an urgent refugee relocation operation aimed at moving tens of thousands of refugees away from the insecure Chad-Sudan border to safer camps further inland before the start of the rainy season in May,” Ron Redmond, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said at a press briefing in Geneva. Nearly 4,000 refugees have been transported so far to two new camps. “Obviously, we’ve still got a long way to go in this race against time and the elements,” he added. Meanwhile, as conditions deteriorate in the Darfur region in western Sudan, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is airlifting food aid into the area to help alleviate the suffering of tens of thousands of people displaced by the conflict there. The airlift of some 500 tons of sorghum to El Fasher, in North Darfur, is an interim measure to ensure that food reaches people who have been cut off since November. Insecurity continues to prevent WFP from transporting food by road from its main warehouses to key supply points in El Fasher and Nyala. “We are not planning a massive airlift to the region, since we hope that road transportation will be re-established very soon,” said Bradley Guerrant, WFP’s Deputy Country Director for Sudan. “This is intended to meet the urgent needs of people we have been unable to reach for several months.” The airlift of sorghum comes in response to additional urgent needs in the region, where in recent weeks WFP has managed to distribute nearly 2,000 tons of food assistance to 105,000 displaced people – 96,000 in Kutum town and another 9,000 in four other locations. An additional 28,000 displaced people are still expecting assistance in Kutum, where WFP’s stocks have run out. An estimated one million people have been displaced in Darfur as a result of the conflict between rebel movements, militias and the Government of Sudan. To escape the fighting, which began a year ago, another 110,000 people have crossed the border into Chad where they will receive WFP food. On the Sudanese side of the border, humanitarian agencies are hopeful that current access to Kutum will be extended to cover other areas in Greater Darfur so that assistance can reach those who desperately need it. read more

UN officials help observers to monitor polling in Palestinian presidential election

The world body’s Liaison and Support Unit arranged for the Palestinian Central Election Commission and Palestinian security officials to brief more than 350 election observers from 63 separate delegations over the past two days, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe said.She said UN officials will help ensure that the observers can carry out their mandate on Sunday, when Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are due to vote on a new president. A debriefing for the observers has been scheduled for Monday, when the provisional results from the polls are also expected to arrive.

As death toll in Lebanon mounts UNs top relief chief heads to

Jan Egeland is expected to meet with senior members of the Lebanese Government and with the newly-established High Relief Council, as well as with the UN country team and other United Nations representatives, including the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.“During his visit, he expects to survey sites that have been identified as part of the proposed humanitarian corridors for the international relief effort in Lebanon and other areas that have been affected by the conflict,” OCHA said.According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 350 Lebanese have been killed and more than 1,000 injured. An estimated 34 Israelis have been killed and 200 wounded. WHO also estimates some 600,000 displaced people in Lebanon.Bombardment by the Israeli Defence Force has caused widespread damage to bridges and roads, hospitals, schools, residential housing, electricity plants, airports and seaports, especially in southern Lebanon, and OCHA warned that fuel shortages are looming. Three main hospitals in southern suburbs of Beirut were not operating today, WHO said.Civilians in parts of southern Lebanon are cut off due to the damage, and the UN has been unable to move relief supplies into and within southern Lebanon due to the destruction and security concerns, OCHA said.The UN will launch a Flash Appeal for humanitarian assistance in New York and Beirut on Monday.The UN High Commissioner for Refugees is monitoring countries surrounding Lebanon for refugee outflows and assessing needs in-country of those displaced, while stockpiling goods in Jordon and Syria. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has started using tankers to supply clean drinking water to public buildings housing internally displaced persons (IDPs). The agency is also providing water purification systems, soap and oral rehydration salts with plans to send two planes of relief items to Beirut over the weekend.The UN World Food Programme (WFP) estimates sufficient food supplies in Lebanon for up to three months, but has concerns about disruptions to food supply chains, as well as safety of relief convoys. Emergency staff from WHO are undertaking health assessments and monitoring health threats. Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are delivering lifesaving assistance to populations with critical needs in Lebanon.Mr. Egeland, during an official tour that runs through Thursday, will travel to Israel after launching the Flash Appeal on Monday. He is expected to meet with senior members of the Israeli Government and representatives of the Israeli Defence Forces, as well as with the UN country team.From there, he intends to undertake a visit to the Gaza Strip, where he will meet with the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and others involved in humanitarian relief. read more

Security Council extends life of UN mission in troubled Central African Republic

In a presidential statement read out by Ambassador Jorge Voto-Bernales of Peru, Council members also voiced fears that conditions could worsen further because of instability along its volatile borders with Sudan and Chad.The statement noted the attacks by rebels since late last month on the north-eastern towns of Birao, Ouanda-Djalle and Sam Ouandja, and said the Council was concerned about the capacity of the armed forces of the CAR to deal with the insecurity, especially in the north and north-east.The UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations has dispatched a fact-finding mission to the CAR to assess the security situation along the borders.The mandate of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office in the CAR, established in 2000 and known by the French acronym BONUCA, will now run until 31 December next year.The Council statement said it welcomed the efforts of the CAR Government to revive dialogue with political and civil society groups, and it urged BONUCA to support the regular staging of such meetings, “which are vital to restoring trust among Central Africans and promoting lasting reconciliation.”Council members also praised the “courageous” of the Government to try to improve the management of the national treasury and ensure transparency in economic activity and governance.In a report to the Council last month, Secretary-General Kofi Annan also painted a grim picture of the security and human rights situation inside the CAR, which has experienced a resurgence of acts of violence by regular soldiers, unidentified armed gangs and road-blockers. read more

Barclays chairman Marcus Agius steps down after bank hit with massive fine

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email LONDON – The chairman of Barclays announced his resignation Monday after accepting responsibility for a price-fixing scandal that saw the bank slapped with trans-Atlantic fines of $453 million.Last week, U.S. and British agencies imposed the fines on Barclays for submitting false data on interbank borrowing rates between 2005 and 2009. The bank’s executives have been under fire since then and the calls are growing for chief executive Bob Diamond to quit too.“As chairman, I am the ultimate guardian of the bank’s reputation,” said Marcus Agius, who had led the board since 2007. “Accordingly, the buck stops with me and I must acknowledge responsibility by standing aside.”Barclays shares were little changed at 162.05 pence in early trading in London. Its share price has fallen sharply since the imposition of the fine.In a further attempt to soothe critics, Agius said Michael Rake, a senior independent director of the bank, has been appointed to lead an in-house review of all past practices and to publish a report of its findings and develop a new, mandatory code of conduct for everyone at Barclays.Barclays Chief Executive Bob Diamond, who is also under great pressure because of the scandal, said Agius “has been a thoughtful and supportive colleague to me in all of my roles — especially since I became chief executive last year — and for this I will always be grateful.”Agius will remain as chairman until a successor is appointed, the bank said.His departure may leave Diamond more exposed. Diamond is likely to face a grilling Wednesday when he appears before a group of lawmakers. His critics say he is culpable because he set the aggressive style at Barclays Capital, the investment banking operation he previously led.Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labour Party, called for Diamond to go.“I don’t think he can carry Barclays forward … because I think that he was there, he was actually in charge of the part of Barclays where some of these scandals took place some years back,” Miliband said in an ITV interview.Barclays admitted that it had submitted lower than actual figures on its interbank borrowing during the credit crisis in 2007 and 2008.“Even taking account of the abnormal market conditions at the height of the financial crisis, and that the motivation was to protect the bank, I accept that the decision to lower submissions was wrong,” Diamond said last week.In other cases, regulators found that individual traders encouraged colleagues to file false reports to protect their own dealings.The rate data, along with submissions from other banks, are used to set the London interbank offered rate, a key index for financial dealings.A number of other banks including Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Citigroup are also being investigated for possible manipulation of the rate.Agius, 65, joined the Barclays board in 2006 and became chairman in January 2007.His banking career began when he joined Lazard, a major asset management and advisory company, in 1972. He served as chairman of Lazard London and then as deputy chairman of the company’s worldwide operations.“If anything, by falling on his own sword, Mr. Agius leaves the board temporarily weakened at a time when a strong leader is required to make tough decisions,” said Gary Greenwood, analyst at Shore Capital.“While the departure of Mr. Agius will grab the headlines today, the bigger issue remains whether Mr. Diamond should also remain in his role,” Greenwood added. “From a pure operational perspective it is not clear to us that his removal would be beneficial, but we question whether the negative sentiment towards the company, of which he is the focus, can be repaired while he remains at the helm.” by News Staff Posted Jul 2, 2012 4:40 am MDT Barclays chairman Marcus Agius steps down after bank hit with massive fine for data scandal read more

Most actively traded companies on the TSX TSX Venture Exchange markets

by The Canadian Press Posted Oct 31, 2012 7:55 pm MDT TORONTO – Some of the most active companies traded Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the TSX Venture Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (12,422.91 up 45.86 points):Talisman Energy Inc. (TSX:TLM). Oil and gas. Down 18 cents, or 1.57 per cent, at $11.32 on 21,974,626 shares. The struggling energy producer announced Tuesday it will cut its 2013 spending and will steer away from chasing risky, expensive international exploration projects. The Calgary-based company was in the red in the third quarter, booking a loss of $731 million due to asset write downs.Westaim Corp. (TSX:WED). Insurance. Unchanged at three cents on 10,690,850 shares.Telus Corp. (TSX:T). Telecommunications. Up 40 cents, or 0.62 per cent, at $64.84 on 8,450,879 shares. The telecommunications services subgroup ended the day up 0.52 per cent to 112.30 points.Yamana Gold Inc. (TSX:YRI). Miner. Up 69 cents, or 3.54 per cent, at $20.17 on 6,437,434 shares. The Toronto-based gold miner said Monday its third-quarter profits dropped 48 per cent to US$60 million due to a $146 million charge for taxes, while revenue grew to $611.8 million from $555.2 million.B2Gold Corp. (TSX:BTO). Miner. Up six cents, or 1.47 per cent, at $4.13 on 4,543,703 shares. The metals and mining sector was one of the biggest advancers, jumping 1.58 per cent to 934.11 points.Cline Mining Corp. (TSX:CMK). Miner. Up 3.5 cents, or 15.56 per cent, at 26 cents on 3,978,761 shares.TSX Venture Exchange (1,314.48 up 11.56 points):Pacific Coal Resources Ltd. (TSXV:PAK). Miner. Unchanged at 13.5 cents on 8,550,500 shares.Renegade Petroleum Ltd. (TSXV:RPL). Oil and gas. Up 22 cents, or 9.05 per cent, at $2.65 on 6,529,061 shares.Companies reporting major news:Astral Media Inc. (TSX:ACM.A). Media. Down 95 cents, or 2.27 per cent, at $40.88 on 778,694 shares. Fourth-quarter profits improved to $54.3 million or 96 cents from year-earlier $47 million or 85 cents per share at the Montreal-based television, radio and billboard company. Revenue was up by two per cent to $251.8 million, with the largest increase coming from its billboard segment.Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (TSX:MFI). Meat and bakery. Up three cents, or 0.27 per cent, at $11.10 on 190,326 shares. The Toronto-based company earned $32.6 million in the third quarter, down from $43 million in the same period last year while revenue slid to $1.24 billion from $1.26 billion. Maple Leaf said the weaker profit was due to revenue decline and some assets write downs.Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (TSX:POT). Fertilizer. Up 18 cents, or 0.45 per cent, at $40.15 on 1,571,383 hares. Canada’s biggest fertilizer company confirmed it held talks with Israeli government officials about increasing its stake in Israel Chemical Ltd, although Potash said no deal has been formulated. Most actively traded companies on the TSX, TSX Venture Exchange markets AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more