Daily Archives: March 10, 2019

Test Release – 3-9-2019 – 946576

Test Sub Headline – 781700

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American HealthCare - Lending Graham Anderson

Georgetown Law Student Killed in Ethiopian Crash

A law student at Georgetown University was one of the 157 people who perished in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight this weekend.

Cedric Asiavugwa, a third-year student at Georgetown Law, was on his way home to Nairobi, Kenya, following the death of his fiance’s mother, the university explained in a statement to students.

“With a heavy heart, we write to share the terrible news that Cedric Asiavugwa … died in the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302 near Addis Ababa,” the letter stated. “With his passing, the Georgetown family has lost a stellar student, a great friend to many, and a dedicated champion for social justice across East Africa and the world.”

Asiavugwa was among 32 Kenyans who were killed, along with 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, and eight Americans. A number of United Nations staff were also among the victims. The state-run Ethiopia Broadcasting Corporation said the flight that went down near the city of Bishoftu carried passengers from at least 33 countries.

Born and raised in Mombasa, Asiavugwa graduated from the University of Zimbabwe with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, with highest honors, the university stated.

“His commitment to issues of social justice, especially serving refugees and other marginalized groups, led him to Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania before coming to Georgetown. Among his many accomplishments, he helped found a community-based organization that addresses the protection of vulnerable women and children fleeing the war in Somalia, researched issues ranging from international conflicts to food security across East Africa, served as the Editor-in-Chief of the philosophy journal Chiedza, and directed a television series on peace and reconciliation.”

Asiavugwa spent eight years in the U.S. and Africa as a Jesuit Scholastic, Georgetown reported. He was “a beloved member of Georgetown’s Campus Ministry offices, tending to a group of first-year undergraduates for the last three years as a residential minister” and “consistently dedicated to the underprivileged in his home country, Cedric also served as the Assistant Director of Advancement for St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School, a free high school for orphans with HIV/AIDS in Nairobi.”

Asiavugwa was studying toward a joint degree in international business and economic law. In a law clinic, he assisted refugee clients seeking asylum in the United States. Last year, he participated in the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic, his goal, the university said, was to return to Kenya after his studies to pursue a career promoting the rights of refugees in East Africa and beyond, the university stated.

“Beyond his many commitments and contributions, Cedric’s friends and faculty in this community remember him as a kind, compassionate and gentle soul, known for his beautifully warm and infectious smile. This is a tragic loss for Cedric’s family and loved ones, for Georgetown and for the broader social justice community that benefited every day from his passion, compassion and dedication.”

Source: Voice of America

Sudanese Court Sends 9 Women Arrested in Protests to Prison

CAIRO Sudan sentenced nine women to a month’s imprisonment for taking part in anti-government protests, an opposition group said Sunday, the latest in a crackdown aimed at quashing almost three months of protests calling for the country’s autocratic president to step down.

The emergency court in Khartoum, which handed down the verdict on Saturday, also ordered 20 lashes for each woman but then waived the flogging, apparently giving in to pressure from the women’s families rallying outside the courthouse at the time, said the Democratic Lawyers Alliance.

The alliance is part of the Sudanese Professionals Association, an umbrella organization that has been spearheading the anti-government protests across Sudan.

Hundreds of protesters have been brought before emergency courts across Sudan for speedy trials over violating a state of emergency declared by President Omar al-Bashir in late February.

Sarah Abdel-Jaleel, a spokeswoman for the Sudanese Professionals Association, said the rulings against the women were part of a series of arbitrary sentences against peaceful protesters” by emergency courts in the past week.

The nine women were arrested just hours earlier on Saturday, a day after al-Bashir ordered that all women detained in the protests be released to mark International Women’s Day, March 8.

The Sudanese Professionals Association called for opposition supporters to march to the parliament Sunday to denounce the emergency laws.

Sudan has been rocked by a wave of unrest since December, initially over price hikes, shortages of food and fuels, but the demonstrations quickly morphed into calls for the overthrow of al-Bashir.

Activists say at least 57 people have been killed in the protests. The government’s latest tally stands at 30 killed, but figures have not been updated in weeks.

Source: Voice of America

UN chief ‘deeply saddened’ by Ethiopia plane crash which killed more than 150, including 19 UN staff

An Ethiopian Airlines fight crashed shortly after take off from the capital Addis Ababa on Sunday, killing more than 150 people on board. The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement that he was deeply saddened at the tragic loss of lives , as reports emerged that UN staff were also among the dead.

The Boeing airliner bound for the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, took off at 8:44 am local time, losing contact with air traffic control atj Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, just six minutes later, according to news reports. The plane was reportedly carrying passengers from more than 35 different countries.

Mr. Guterres conveyed his heartfelt sympathies and solidarity to the victims’ families and loved ones, including those of United Nations staff members, as well as sincere condolences to the Government and people of Ethiopia.

According to the UN Department of Safety and Security in Kenya, 19 UN staff perished in the crash. The World Food Programme (WFP) lost seven staff, the Office of the High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) lost two, as did the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Sudan, World Bank and UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) each lost one staff member. Six staff from the UN Office in Nairobi (UNON) were also tragically killed.

The cause of the disaster is not yet known, although weather conditions were reportedly good and the plane went down in a field near Bishoftu, around 35 miles southeast of the capital.

The UN is in contact with the Ethiopian authorities and working closely with them to establish the details of United Nations personnel who lost their lives in this tragedy the Secretary-General stated.

The disaster happened on the eve of the UN Environment Assembly when Heads of State, environment ministers and thousands of others will convene for five days in the Kenyan capital.

UN officials express condolences, sadness

Many senior UN officials took to Social Media to express their condolences and sadness. On Twitter, Jose Graziano da Silva, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO,) sent his heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the bereaved families, saying that one FAO staff member was among the victims.

Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) David Beasley tweeted that the WFP family mourns today, adding that we will do all that is humanly possible to help the families at this painful time. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers, he said.

In a statement issued later in th day, he said Mr. Guterres had called him “to express his solidarity and support for the WFP family, and I want to thank him and all of the others around the world for their expressions of condolences.”

“As we mourn, let us reflect that each of these WFP colleagues were willing to travel and work far from their homes and loved ones to help make the world a better place to live. That was their calling, as it is for the rest of the WFP family,” he added.

Houlin Zhao, ITU SecretaryGeneral tweeted his “sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in the plane crash” Noting that two ITU staff were on the flight, he said: “Our colleagues in Addis are providing support to their families during this difficult time.”

All of us at UNICEF mourn the tragic loss of our UN colleagues and all those who died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash today. May they rest in peace. Our thoughts are with their families and loved ones, Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund, tweeted.

On behalf of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), whose Headquarters are in Nairobi, Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif tweeted here deepest condolences and prayers to the Great Nation of Ethiopia and to the families of the passengers and crew members who lost their lives in this tragedy. May they rest in eternal peace.

High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi issued a condolence statement saying: UNHCR has suffered today a huge loss.

IOM Director-General Antonio Vitorino issued a statement expressing his deep sadness over the lives lost, including a young IOM staff member Anne-Katrin Feigl, who was en route to a training course in Nairobi as part of her role as a Junior Professional Officer.

Catherine Northing, Chief of the IOM Mission in Sudan where Ms. Feigl worked, called her an extremely valued colleague and popular staff member, committed and professional, saying her tragic passing has left a big hole and we will all miss her greatly.

As a mark of respect IOM said it would fly its flag at half-mast at its offices tomorrow, as will the UN and it’s agencies.

Source: United Nations

Voters head to polls with expectation of ‘peaceful, free and fair’ elections: UN News special report from Guinea-Bissau

After months of preparation by hundreds of national and international officials, including the United Nations, around 760,000 registered voters from Guinea-Bissau headed to the polls on Sunday to choose new members of the National Assembly.

Hopes are high that the vote will help end a political crisis that has been simmering since 2015, as member of the UN Security Council heard for themselves during a fact-finding visit to the West African nation at the end of last month.

Back in 2015, then President, Jose Mario Vaz, dissolved the government of Prime Minister Domingos SimAes Pereira, whose party had won a majority in elections the previous year. Since then, there have been seven different heads of government.

Campaign ends, with day of national ‘reflection’

Electioneering officially ended on Friday, with thousands of supporters of the 21 political parties contesting the vote � the biggest total ever – rallying in the national capital Bissau.

In keeping with electoral law, Saturday was free of campaigning as UN News witnessed, on a special reporting trip to the Portuguese-speaking nation, but the billboards were still standing tall. Red, green, and yellow t-shirts were still seen all over the city. Inside some of the capital’s hotels, more than 130 international observers started being dispatched to every one of the eight regions of the country of 1.9 million people.

The chief of mission for the African Union, Joaquim Rafael Branco, working with a team of 50 observers, told UN News that the people of Bissau are peaceful, and remembered the politicians from different parties he saw talking to each other over the last few days. That’s a good sign for after the election, he said, remembering all parties had signed an agreement committing to accept the results.

Observers play key role

After some controversy in the last few weeks over electoral lists, an audit was conducted, resulting in some agreement by Wednesday over the process, overseen by the National Elections Commission, CNE.

Work, education, and health…Those are our main problems and what we’re focused on now this election day – Saido Embalo, city hall worker

The chief of the observers’ mission from the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, CPLP, Luiz Vilarinho Pedroso, said that had been one the biggest obstacles, overcome with the agreement of all the parties.

The Brazilian ambassador noted that elections had normally taken place in an orderly manner, but he warned that the post-election phase had historically been when political issues became most acute.

The Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, General Francis A. Behanzin, is also optimistic for this year’s vote. He says there are many parties crossing the road and embracing each other, it’s very good for our democracy in West Africa.

Voters’ view

The Santa Luzia neighbourhood, adjoining the pink walls of one of the city’s hotels here in the capital, is one of the biggest in the city of around 400,000, and its unpaved roads were filled with families and friends the day before the election.

On a corner, two friends listened to a local radio station playing the latest news from the campaign trail. Some people were sewing outside, others cooking, children were playing in the heat. Many groups of young men under the shade of trees, talking sports or playing a traditional board game that resembles checkers.

They call it ‘bancar’ in Portuguese Creole, explained Saido Embalo. There is no work anywhere, so they say this is their bancar, that’s all they have to do. Embalo, 46, works for the city hall. But even he says he’s struggling in this country that ranked 177 in last year’s Human Development Index. His parents moved from the countryside to the capital in 1964, but he says young people these days have a different dream. They all want to leave the country. They want to become emigrants.

Work, education, and health, Embalo he added. Those are our main problems and what we’re focused on now this election day. A couple of blocks from Embalo, Ivaldine Joana Landim, 30, is visiting some family and friends.

She says the kids in her family haven’t been to school since October because the teachers aren’t getting paid. She’s a doctor in one of the city hospitals and she says the situation has only deteriorated since she started working there. She says there are many international organizations helping, and their work is invaluable, but it’s just not enough.

She doesn’t sound hopeful about the future, but she will vote this Sunday hoping better days are coming. A good day, she says, would be to get to the hospital and have all the medicine and resources to treat her patients.

UN Support

The UN Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau, UNIOGBIS, in partnership with other agencies from the UN system, has been helping prepare for this election over many months.

They have trained, or supported the training of around 80 police officers, 400 civil society members, around 450 electoral officers, and 120 journalists. They have also held workshops for youth and women candidates, inviting five from each party to a workshop, and offering them smartphones and megaphones to help with them take part on a level playing field.

The mission and the agencies have also partnered with a 400-plus network of national monitors, helped create a fact-checking unit of 6 journalists, and offered technical support to write and negotiate the Stability Pact and the Code of Ethical and Electoral Conduct. Public information town halls were held in about 40 villages.

The chief of Public Information Unit at UNIOGBIS, Julia Alhinho, said all that work had paid off. Despite all the difficulties that the national electoral authorities found, and the difficulties in fundraising,

Because of some donor fatigue, in spite of all those difficulties, yes, everything is ready for the election and we expect that it will be peaceful, free, and fair, she said.

Preliminary results are expected on Monday night. The official tally should be announced on Wednesday, and the party that gains a majority of the seats should be invited to form a government.

According to national electoral law, the country should hold presidential elections either in October or November. Since the declaration of independence from Portugal in 1973 and recognized a year later, no president has so-far completed their full term of office.

Source: United Nations