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first_imgPanaji: The BJP on Sunday announced the candidature of former MLA Siddharth Kunkolienkar for the Panaji Assembly bypoll scheduled for May 19.The bypoll was necessitated following the death of sitting MLA and former chief minister Manohar Parrikar on March 17. While there was speculation that Parrikar’s elder son Utpal would be given a ticket, a statement on the BJP’s website about Kunkolienkar’s candidature put an end to it. The BJP’s Central Election Committee secretary Jagat Prakash Nadda announced the candidature of Kunkolienkar on Sunday afternoon. Incidentally, Kunkolienkar had won the seat in the 2017 Assembly polls before vacating it on May 10 that year to allow Parrikar to contest and enter the 40-member Goa Legislative Assembly. Parrikar, who was then Union defence minister, was brought back to helm the state government after the BJP fell short of a simple majority and had to ally with other parties like Goa Forward Party and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, as well as Independents.last_img read more

first_imgNew Delhi: The Delhi Police Economic Offences Wing (EOW) had registered a case against the private company for cheating investors /homebuyers. Police said that the complainant in the case told them that in the year 2012 he saw the advertisement for the company’s project in the newspaper.”He contacted the company and on the next day, he met on the person in company’s office. That person told them about company project in Yamuna Expressway in Greater Noida,” police said. After showing the brochure the person told the complainant that if he invests in the company’s project he (complainant) will get possession of the flat in two years. It was also told to the complainant that the company has all approval and licenses regarding the project. A dummy model was also shown. At the project site, the complainant show company’s hoarding. After that in December 2012 complainant booked one flat. The first payment made through cheque of Rs 4 lakh by the complainant. The money receipt came through the post in his house. The complainant told police that he had paid 30 per cent of money to the company. After two payments company issued allotment letter on his name and after third payment builder buyer agreement was signed. “The company said that the remaining payment will be taken after construction will start,” complainant further told the police. Later no work started by the company. “I called them through phone and sent email but the reply was not satisfactory from the company side,” the complainant told the investigating agency. In 2016, the complainant visited the construction site no hoardings were seen of the said project and also the company removed the project from their websites without telling him. All the investors in April 2017 went to the company’s office. The company’s official told them that the construction will take time. According to police, all other complaints received in the matter are also clubbed with main complaint. The number of complaints at present is sixteen and on the basis of the contents of complaint and pre-registration enquiry an offence under sections 406, 409, 420 and 120 B of IPC. Case against manager A case of cheating was registered with the Delhi Police after a woman who claimed herself owner of the media institute has said that centre manager had entered into a conspiracy with other members of the institute to commit financial frauds.last_img read more

first_imgBENGHAZI – Three Libyan tribesman have been killed in fighting that grew out of disputes between army units under conflicting orders over who controls key resources in the country’s east, officials said Monday.Another five people were wounded in the fighting between Toubou and Zuwayya tribesmen on Sunday night in Ajdabiya, 160 kilometres (100 miles) south of Benghazi.The clashes were sparked by fighting on Friday between one unit made up of Zuwayya, under the orders of the general staff, and a Toubou unit that takes its orders directly from the defence ministry, an official explained. At stake was control over oil wells and an agricultural water reservoir in Al-Sarir, 600 kilometres south of Benghazi, he added.Five soldiers were killed in the fighting on Friday, and clashes broke out between Zuwayya and Toubou in Ajdabiya the following day after the soldiers’ burial that spilled over into Sunday.The Zuwayya, who are Arab, and the Toubou, who are black, have a long history of conflict.Following the overthrow of long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, tribal unrest broke out in parts of Libya, particularly in the south and west, prompted by a settling of grudges or competition for control of smuggling across the country’s borders.Since Kadhafi’s ouster, Libya’s authorities have struggled to impose their authority and stem rising lawlessness.last_img read more

By Rabii BenadadaCasablanca – On Saturday, April 19th, British Polo Day – presented by Land Rover – celebrated its first event on African soil with the inaugural British Polo Day Morocco. Guests including Sir Richard Branson, philanthropist Eve Branson, Philip Treacy, British Ambassador to Morocco Clive Alderton, US Ambassador to Morocco Dwight L. Bush Sr and a handful of Virgin Galactic astronauts gathered at the Jnan Amar Polo Club for a day of top polo, followed by a Gala Dinner which raised over US$175,000 – a record for the British Polo Day Global Series. Hosted by the Jnan Amar Polo Club for the benefit of The Eve Branson Foundation, under the High Patronage of King Mohammed VI and the auspices of the Royal Moroccan Polo Federation, British Polo Day entertained over 350 guests and VIPs. Against the backdrop of the majestic Atlas Mountains, guests enjoyed a drinks reception over a quintessentially British game of Brompton bicycle polo – a rather amusing spectacle! Everyone then took their seats in the beautiful traditional Berber tents overlooking the polo field below, for an afternoon of fast-paced polo.The day’s polo got off to an exhilarating start with the Jnan Amar Cup – a closely-fought encounter between the Royal Salute Eve Branson Commonwealth and Oxford Group Holdings Jnan Amar Rest of The World teams. New Zealand international eight-goaler John Paul Clarkin and his team were on top form from the opening minutes of the first chukka and went on to win the match seven and a half goals to four, despite some serious pressure and very fine play from the Oxford Group Holdings team.After a delicious afternoon tea, the Hackett British Army took to the field alongside the Moroccan Royal Guard – their first ever encounter – for the Land Rover Trophy. At plus four goals, this was a unique affair and a low scoring game belied the intensity of the play, which resulted in a two goal draw. A fitting end to this first ever match between the two armies.The day drew to a close at the British Polo Day Morocco prize-giving which took place at one of Jnan Amar Polo Club’s stunning villas – a showcase for the first phase of the Ritz-Carlton Private Residences soon to launch on sale. With the crowds gathered, Sir Richard Branson and his mother, Eve presented the Royal Salute Eve Branson Commonwealth team with the Jnan Amar Cup, while the US Ambassador to Morocco, Dwight L. Bush Sr jointly-presented the coveted Land Rover Trophy to both the Hackett British Army and Moroccan Royal Guard teams.The Holland & Holland Shot of the Day was awarded to Stuart Wrigley of the Royal Salute Eve Branson Commonwealth team for a high grade shot in the final minutes of the Jnan Amar Cup match. Top British designer Zaeem Jamal then took to the stage to present the eagerly-anticipated Best Dressed prize to glamorous guest, Laura Novell.The evening’s Gala Dinner took place at Marrakech’s historic La Mamounia. Arriving to a Royal Salute Scotch Whisky and Taittinger champagne reception, guests then sat down for a three-course dinner in the Mamounia’s beautiful ballroom. Then followed a spectacular fashion show by milliner to stars and royalty, Philip Treacy and celebrated womenswear designer Zaeem Jamal.The Charity Auction proved to be the perfect culmination of the day’s event and raised over a record US$175,000 for The Eve Branson Foundation. The ever-inspiring Eve Branson gave a moving speech on her Foundation and her exciting plans to help a new project village in the Atlas Mountains. Enthusiastic philanthropist, Sir Richard Branson not only invited three lucky guests to play a rather memorable game of doubles tennis with him, but also threw in a surprise additional lot of a week at his exclusive private Necker Island, which of course sparked a bidding frenzy!Travelling with Abercrombie & Kent, British Polo Day Morocco’s guests not only enjoyed the day itself but an exclusive four-day itinerary taking in some of Marrakech’s most spectacular landmarks. Highlights included: a private preview of Royal Mansour’s new Yahya&Qotbi exhibition, an Atlas Mountains Land Rover Experience – in which guests navigated themselves through the mountains to Eve Branson’s project villages – and the official British Polo Day Morocco medina launch party on the atmospheric rooftop of Riad El Fenn.Before heading home, Sir Richard Branson personally invited the Charity Auction lot winners to a private Easter Sunday philanthropist lunch at the magical, boutique Kasbah Tamadot. By all accounts the doubles tennis match was of an impressively-high standard and somewhat competitive.Photo Courtesy British Polo DayRabii Benadada is a researcher in sports management at the ISCAE Business School in Casablanca, Morocco©Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more

Lima  –  Morocco called, on Wednesday in Lima, for a new world order concerning climate on the basis of the principles of equity in sustainable development and “climate justice”.Speaking at the Lima Climate Change Conference (COP20), Minister Delegate for Environment Hakima El Haiti said there should be a differentiation between commitments to decrease CO2 emissions by industrial states and the voluntary reduction by developing countries, stressing the need for supporting these states at the technical, financial and capacity-building levels in a way that is conducive to achieving MDGs.The Moroccan official also highlighted the importance of incorporating the gender appproach in efforts to curb climate change. The meeting was also an occasion to brief the audience on the efforts led by Morocco in the last decade in favour of the setting up of an institutional, judicial and financial framework that is geared to enable environment-friendly socio-economic development.In this respect, light was shed on the national strategy for human development to which Morocco has earmarked 2% of its GDP.On the same occasion, El Haiti announced Morocco’s candidacy to host the 22nd conference of the parties to the UN Convention on climate change (COP22) in 2016. read more

Agadir – A team of divers and a researcher specializing in underwater archeology discovered, Sunday, the remains of a British steamship which had wrecked off in 1918 near Sidi Toual beach, 15 km south of Agadir in the commune of Sidi Bidi (Shtouka Ait Baha province).Preliminary data shows that pieces of wreckage are scattered over 700 square meters, Azeddine Karra, underwater research specialist at the Culture Ministry, told MAP.The vestiges, found at the depth of 6-10 meters, include rusty doors, parts of the engine and large iron bars, he said. In a similar statement to MAP, Ait Baaziz, professional diver, said that the steamship “SS Baynyassa” was on a trade mission from Brazil to Gibraltar and changed its route towards the Agadir coast because of a mechanical failure. read more

Rabat – Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is trying to make his way back to the forefront of French political landscape. He was invited by French radio station RTL in the wake of the terrorist attacks on France that claimed the lives of 17 people and left many others injured.During the interview, the former tenant of the Elysee called for the unity of France and the need to strengthen ties with foreign intelligence services in order to improve the security measures for the French people. However, the highlight of the radio interview was Sarkozy giving an incredible grimace to a listener identified as Natalie when she told him that she converted to Islam 10 years ago.Sarkozy perhaps forgot that the radio interview was also being filmed. French satirical television show Le Petit Journal seized the “Golden” opportunity to poke fun at the former president.Photo Credit: video caption read more

Rabat – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and CEO, said on Tuesday during a Town Hall question and answer session at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, that Facebook would soon add a “dislike” button to the users’ statuses.Facebook is finally responding to growing demands from Facebook users and decided to add the “dislike” button. The social media site’s users said that “like” button does not fit certain status updates and moments, such as sad and tragic events.“It’s important to give people more options than just ‘like’ to help express empathy and sympathy,” Zuckerberg said. However, the social network company wanted to limit the dislike button to very specific posts, something that won’t be simple.Zuckerberg said Facebook wants to limit the use of the “dislike” button to only be used to express sympathy and empathy when someone posts something sad or upsetting.The founder of Facebook said that the company has found that users don’t really want to use the “dislike” button to put down others, but they want to have a feature through which they can express support when their friends share something sad.“What they really want is an ability to express empathy,” Zuckerberg said, adding, “If you’re expressing something sad… it may not feel comfortable to ‘like’ that post, but your friends and people want to be able to express that they understand.”© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission read more

Rabat – Nine companies from the Spanish region of Murcia, operating in various sectors, will visit Morocco May 7 to 14 in order to strengthen their presence in the Moroccan market, Murcia’s first exports destination in North Africa.This economic mission, organized by the Murcia Chambe Nine companies from the Spanish region of Murcia, operating in various sectors, will visit Morocco May 7 to 14 in order to strengthen their presence in the Moroccan market, Murcia’s first exports destination in North Africa.r of Commerce and the Murcia Region Development Institute (INFO), aims to consolidate and increase exports from the region to Morocco, which amounted to EUR 341.36 million in 2016, stated INFO in a communique.Different sectors will be represented in the Murcian delegation, including agri-food, building and construction materials, chemical industry, water technology, and logistics transport, the statement said, pointing out that in 2016, 724 companies from the region have exported to Morocco. On this occasion, Javier Celdran, the Director of INFO, stressed the importance of this economic mission to strengthen trade partnerships with Morocco, a “strategic market” for Murcian companies.Morocco is the main export destination of the region of Murcia in North Africa, ahead of Libya, Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia. Exports from this region to North Africa have grown steadily since 2011 and amounted to 722.94 million euros last year, stated the Institute.The main products exported to Morocco are fuel, worth EUR 159.16 million in 2016, followed by containers and packaging with EUR 45.24 million, and iron and steel products at EUR 31.42 million.These results make Murcia the 7th largest Moroccan-exporting autonomous region of Spain, as well as the 7th region in terms of imports from Morocco.This economic mission is part of the “Africa Plan”, one of the strategic axes of the Outreach Plan coordinated by INFO. It also receives funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). read more

by Zakaria wadghiriRabat – A man who attacked Strasbourg’s Christmas market is on the run after he opened fire and “spread terror” Tuesday evening, in the words of French interior minister Christophe Castaner.On Wednesday, police made an initial announcement that three people were dead and 13 injured after the attack. However, the toll was later revised to two dead and 14 injured, nine of them seriously.The Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation into “murders, attempted murders involving a terrorist enterprise and terrorist criminal conspiracy,” Castaner said.Castaner identified the shooter, who was already known to law enforcement. The prefecture of Bas-Rhin indicated that the suspect was registered as “S,” short for “State security.” According to the Guardian, French police had already tried to arrest the suspect earlier Tuesday for armed robbery. Read Also: Morocco’s BCIJ Has Dismantled 57 Terrorist Cells Since 2015Anonymous police officials told the AP news agency Wednesday that the man was identified as 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt.German police said the suspect was in prison in Germany in 2016 and 2017 for theft and then deported to France.The French intelligence services knew the suspect, who was born in Strasbourg in February 1989, as a potential security risk.The French interior minister said, “The government has decided to move the security level to the emergency attack level with stricter border controls and increased controls at all Christmas markets in France to avoid the risk of copycat attacks.”The French military spokesman, Colonel Patrik Steiger, said that the shooter did not seem to be targeting soldiers patrolling in and around the market, but rather civilians.Soldiers guarding the Christmas market shot the suspect. Not fatally wounded, he escaped in a taxi, said BFM TV.No one immediately claimed responsibility, but the US-based Site Intelligence Group, which monitors radical websites, said that ISIS supporters were celebrating.In recent years, several extremist attacks have hit France, including coordinated attacks on several Paris sites that killed 130 people and injured hundreds in November 2015, and a truck attack in Nice in 2016 that killed 86 people and injured hundreds. read more

The Agadir Regional Tourism Council recorded over 4.5 million overnight stays by tourists in the 10 months of January to October 2018, up from 4 million overnights during the same period in 2017, increasing by 13 percent.Domestic tourists from other Moroccan cities topped the list of visitors in the first ten months of 2018, with 950,000 overnight stays. The figure is an increase of 4 percent compared to the same period last year’s 920,000 overnight stays. Read Also: New Motorway to Connect Agadir’s Al Massira Airport with TaghazoutFrench tourists, the most common foreign tourists, made 910,000 overnight stays compared to 730,000 overnight stays during the same period in 2017, read more

Rabat – Sarah Perles, a French actress of Moroccan and Portuguese descent announced on an Instagram story she will be joining the cast of the thriller series “Homeland.” Alex Gansa, the producer of the showtime series “Homeland,” previously said in Digitalspy, “We get to play this last season in DC with the intention of taking us overseas for one last chapter.” the last season will be set in Afghanistan but will be filmed in Morocco.Thanks to her Middle Eastern features, the actress will play the role of an Afghani woman named Paksima. Perles did not say if her role will be a lead or an extra. Perles has earned recognition for her work. She was pre-selected for a nomination in the 44th Cesar awards for the “most promising actress in France.” Perles also claimed success in the films “Sofia,” directed by Meryem Benm’barek (2018), and “Burnout” by Nour-Eddine Lakhmari (2017), as well as the Netflix series “The Team” (2018). Showtime has confirmed that the eighth season will premiere in the fall of 2019. read more

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Trump administration and coal industry allies are insisting that a federal black lung trust fund will continue paying benefits to sick miners despite a drastic cut in funding. But the expected shortfalls will be covered by taxpayers instead of coal companies.In January, a tax rate coal companies pay to support the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund was cut in half, leaving sick miners and their advocates fearing future benefit cuts. The fund is about $4 billion in debt.The trust fund offers medical coverage and cash payments to black lung patients.The Department of Labor told the Associated Press on Wednesday that it is obligated to continue to pay benefits to sick miners. The agency says any shortfall would be covered by borrowing from the U.S. Treasury.Dylan Lovan, The Associated Press read more

Rabat – The Grammy-winning dance-pop band Black Eyed Peas will join the line-up of stars at Rabat’s 18th Mawazine Festival Rhythms of the World. Organizers of the event announced on Tuesday, April 23, that the band will be performing at the OLM Souissi stage on June 25. The group has sold over 35 million albums and 21 million singles in less than 15 years, garnering international fame. With tracks like the major hit “Where Is the Love?” from their 2003 Elephunk album  topping worldwide charts, the Black Eyed Peas have produced dazzling musical melodies crafted from sounds of rock, pop, funk, and even salsa.Read also: Hip-Hop Music at the Heart of Mawazine 2019The band was born out of three Californians,, Taboo, and In 2009, the Black Eyed Peas were one band out of only 11 artists to have held both number one and two simultaneously on America’s “Billboard Hot 100” record chart. The Black Eyed Peas’ unique style with hip-hop and boundary-crossing vibes address a wide range of critical societal issues like war, hate crimes, terrorism, and discrimination.Under the patronage of King Mohammed VI, the annual  Mawazine Festival will bring music to six venues across Rabat June 21-29, coinciding with International Music Day. The festival’s four largest stages offer free concerts, but two smaller stages require tickets.Read also: Mawazine 2019: Which African Artists will Dominate the Bouregreg Stage?Rosalia, American DJ Marshmello, and Colombian-born reggaeton star J Balvin will open the festival on June 21.Mawazine Festival serves as a platform to highlight Morocco’s multifaceted cultural diversity and is a meeting point for people from all around the world. read more

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s state-run news agency says a court has acquitted HSBC bank’s Turkey chief of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan through Twitter.Selim Kervanci was charged with insulting a state employee for reposting a video in 2013 deemed to be insulting to Erdogan, who was prime minister at the time.Kervanci told the court on Thursday that he had no intention of insulting anyone and that he had retweeted the video before watching it with the sole intention of viewing it at a later time.Anadolu said the court ruled there was no criminal intent and acquitted Kervanci. The bank chief faced up to two years in prison.Human rights groups say thousands of people have been prosecuted in Turkey for insulting Erdogan.The Associated Press read more

OTTAWA — The federal government has moved forward in Parliament with the ratification of the new North American free-trade agreement as the legislative clock ticks towards a summer adjournment and fall election.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled a Ways and Means motion in the House of Commons Monday afternoon to lay the groundwork for ratifying the new pact.Freeland says the full lifting of the U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs on Canadian imports has paved the way for formal approval of the new deal.She says Canada will move forward in tandem with the U.S. in ratifying the deal, as much as that is possible.Freeland says she will meet soon with her cabinet colleagues to update them on plans to table the necessary legislation to ratify the updated continental trade pact that Canada, the U.S. and Mexico signed last November.On Thursday, U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence will be in Ottawa, where he is expected to exchange views with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Freeland on the legislative way forward in their two countries.The Canadian Press read more

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has again decided not to label China or any other country as a currency manipulator. But in a report to Congress, the administration is keeping China on a list of countries whose trade surpluses with the United States and other indicators are closely tracked.The administration says that no country meets the criteria to be labeled as a currency manipulator seeking to gain unfair trade advantages over the United States. But the report says that nine nations — China, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam — are on the monitoring list.Two nations — India and Switzerland — that had been on the previous watch list issued in October were removed.Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press read more

LONDON — Official figures show that average earnings in the U.K. increased in the three months to April while unemployment remained at its lowest level since the end of 1974.The Office for National Statistics said Tuesday that average weekly earnings excluding bonuses were up 3.4% in the three months to April compared with the year before. That’s up from the 3.3 per cent recorded in March and points to building inflation pressures in the economy.Elsewhere, the statistics agency said the 3.8% unemployment rate is the lowest since December 1974 after another 34,000 people came off the jobless register, taking the total out of work at 1.3 million. The employment rate of 76.1% was also the joint-highest since records began in 1971.The Associated Press read more

29 January 2007The United Nations today marked the annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust with an urgent appeal that the remembrance of the millions of Jews and others murdered by the Nazis serve to prevent new massacres, a rebuff for those who deny that the tragedy ever occurred, and moving testimony from survivors. “The Holocaust was a unique and undeniable tragedy,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a video message played to a special memorial ceremony in the General Assembly Hall on the Holocaust in which 6 million Jews, 500,000 Roma and Sinti and other minorities, disabled and homosexuals were killed.“Decades later, the systematic murder of millions of Jews and others retains its power to shock. The ability of the Nazis to command a following, despite their utter depravity, still strikes fear. And above all, the pain remains: for aging survivors, and for all of us as a human family that witnessed a descent into barbarism.He emphasized the importance of remembrance in tribute to those who perished and in global efforts to stem the tide of human cruelty. “It keeps us vigilant for new outbreaks of anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance. And it is an essential response to those misguided individuals who claim that the Holocaust never happened, or has been exaggerated,” Mr. Ban declared. He said the presence at today’s ceremony of disabled persons and the Roma and Sinti community showed that, even now, the act of bearing witness can offer new perspectives, while the participation of young people highlighted the value of going beyond remembrance to ensure that new generations know this history.Mr. Ban noted that while the General Assembly was marking the event in New York he himself was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at an African Union (AU) summit where one of the main items is ending the violence in Sudan’s wart-torn Darfur, where over 200,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million displaced by the conflict between the Sudanese Government, allied militias and rebels.General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Al Khalifa called for paying tribute to all victims – the needless deaths of millions of Jews and the suffering endured by the many minority groups that were also victims, some of whom were present in the Hall.“Today’s commemoration is an important reminder of the universal lessons of the Holocaust, a unique evil which cannot simply be consigned to the past and forgotten. The Holocaust was a historical event, which cannot be denied. Its consequences still reverberate in the present.” she told the ceremony.“It is a tragedy that the international community has not been able to stop new horrors in the years since the Holocaust. This makes it all the more important that we remember the lessons of the past so that we do not make the same mistakes in the future. We must remain vigilant. The forces of hatred, bigotry and racism are still at work in the world.”Thomas Schindlmayr, who works on disability issues for the UN but was speaking in his personal capacity, discussed the persecution of people with disabilities under Nazi Germany. “They were stripped of any legal protection and denied control over their own lives and bodies,” he said, recalling the forced sterilization of persons with disabilities and other abuses. While much had been learned since then, the notion that persons with disabilities are somehow inferior is still prevalent, he warned.The keynote speaker, Simone Veil, a member of the Constitutional Council of France and President of the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah, said that by creating this annual observance, the UN had remained faithful to its founding principles.“For those of us who were deported, not a day goes by that we do not think of the Shoah,” said Ms. Veil, who was a prisoner in Auschwitz, and was at Bergen-Belsen when that camp was liberated by the British Army. “What obsesses us the most is the memory of those from whom we were brutally separated when we arrived at the camps, and who we later learned were sent straight to the gas chambers,” she added, recalling how her own father and brother were taken away, never to be seen again.“We thought we had no more tears but we still wept, and I still weep today when I think of” those who were marched directly to the gas chambers, she said. “And I think of it every day, many times.”She said that while those who survived hoped and pledged “Never again,” their warnings were in vain. “After the massacres in Cambodia, it is Africa that is paying the highest price in genocidal terms,” she said, referring in particular to the events in Darfur, Sudan, and calling for UN action in response.Under Secretary-General Shashi Tharoor, who moderated the event, said it had two key purposes: “Of course, we meet to mourn that part of our human family that is missing – to remember the individuals and tell each other their stories. But we also meet to unearth the lessons we can draw from their lives and their fates.”He said the first among those lessons “is that, just as human beings have an almost infinite power to destroy, they also possess an enormous capacity to learn, to grow and to create.”At a news conference at UN Headquarters in New York, representatives of Roma and Sinti, who with 12 million members make up Europe’s largest minority, said they are subject to discrimination, social disadvantage and frequently also to open violence.“Especially in the countries of Eastern Europe, there are millions of members of our minority who live in ghetto-like housing, often cut off from any infrastructure,” Romani Rose Chairman of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma said. “The infant mortality is extremely high, the degrading conditions that prevail there call the former apartheid system in South Africa to mind.“Excluded from education, marginalized in the labour market, people are deprived of any opportunity of participating in the development of society and of leading a self-determined life. Quite frequently Roma and Sinti are victims of pogroms, racially motivated murder and other of acts of violence. Often such attacks emanate from the State security forces themselves. Only rarely can the perpetrators expect consistent prosecution.”Ceremonies were held in other UN outposts around the world. “The sheer dimensions of the organized murder of Jews and others, the very scale of the systematic attempt at destroying an entire people, make the Holocaust a unique calamity that cannot – and should not – be forgotten, let alone denied,” the Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva told a ceremony at the Palais des Nations.“Sadly, other genocides and atrocities have followed the Holocaust, and the world has been unable, or unwilling, to prevent or stop them,” said Sergei Ordzhonikidze. “If we are to spare future generations from similar tragedies, we must carry forward the lessons of the Holocaust. We must not allow any of lessons of the Holocaust and of the Second World War to be distorted.”On Friday the General Assembly condemned without reservation any denial of the Holocaust, with only Iran publicly disassociating itself from the consensus resolution. read more

Addressing an open meeting of the Security Council, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Michael Williams also said that renewed violence has threatened the stability of Lebanon and that Israel has faced fresh rocket attacks on its northern front.“The region as a whole is highly volatile and unstable, overshadowing efforts to make political progress,” Mr. Williams said during his briefing on the Middle East’s latest developments.Describing Hamas’ takeover of control in the Gaza Strip as “well planned and executed,” he condemned “the brutal violence… and the attacks on the legitimate institutions of President Abbas and the PA [Palestinian Authority] government” as totally unacceptable and said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon regretted the failure of the National Unity Government.“Despite what has happened, Gaza and the West Bank remain one Palestinian territory, legally administered by one Palestinian Authority headed by President Abbas, who has appointed an emergency government led by Prime Minister [Salam] Fayyad.”Mr. Williams said it was now vital that Israel and the international community immediately deliver political and financial support to Mr. Abbas and the Palestinian government, including by releasing all previously withheld Palestinian customs and tax revenue.“What is also needed is action on previous Israeli commitments, including the evacuation of settlement outposts, removal of roadblocks and checkpoints and release of prisoners. Equally, Fatah and the PA should act on previous commitments, not only to end violence, but to thoroughly reform its institutions.”The UN’s most immediate humanitarian concern is to re-open the crossings between Israel and Gaza for commercial and humanitarian imports, the envoy told the Council, especially as the situation in Gaza has stabilized and food and medical shortages there have mounted.In response later to a question from journalists, Mr. Williams welcomed Israel’s move this morning to allow a number of people seeking urgent medical care to cross from Gaza.The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that crossing points into and out of Gaza remain largely closed, and increasing food shortages are expected in the coming weeks.Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes called on Israel and the Palestinian authorities to regularize access for essential goods to prevent a further deterioration of the situation.The World Food Programme (WFP) reported that seven of its trucks successfully crossed into Gaza yesterday, and another nine trucks crossed today, carrying basic commodities. A separate truck brought medical supplies yesterday as well.The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is aiming to send vaccines and medical and emergency kits, as well as fuel for urgent sanitation and water needs, to Gaza.Turning to Lebanon in his briefing, Mr. Williams expressed concern about last week’s assassination of the lawmaker Walid Eido and nine others in a Beirut bombing, and the continuing violence between the Lebanese Armed Forces and Fatah el-Islam gunmen at a Palestinian refugee camp in the north of the country.He also noted that two Katyusha rockets were fired on Sunday from southern Lebanon at the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona, causing minor damage but no casualties, and called it “a most serious violation” of the Security Council resolution ending last year’s war between the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and Hizbollah. 20 June 2007Hamas’ violent seizure of de facto political authority in Gaza, the demise of the Palestinian National Unity Government and the declaration of a state of emergency by President Mahmoud Abbas have created new political realities and worrying conditions across the occupied Palestinian territory, the United Nations Middle East envoy warned today. read more