UN General Assembly again calls for lifting US embargo against Cuba

In the resolution, the Assembly reiterated its call to all UN Member States to refrain from promulgating and applying laws and measures not conforming with their obligations under the UN Charter and international law, which reaffirm freedom of trade and navigation.The Assembly “once again urges States that have and continue to apply such laws and measures to take the necessary steps to repeal or invalidate them as soon as possible,” the resolution added. The resolution enjoyed favorable votes from 191 of the 193 UN Member States. The United States and Israel opposed the text. Last year, these two countries, for the first time in the 25-year history of the annual review of the issue, abstained in the vote rather than rejecting the text. read more

Iraqis vote in first election since ISIL defeat UN chief hails polls

“Following the military defeat of Dae’sh, the elections represent further progress in building a stronger Iraqi democracy,” Mr. Guterres said in a statement issued Sunday by a UN spokesperson.According to media reports, nearly 7,000 candidates from 87 parties competed against one another in the polls. The UN provided technical assistance to Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC).The Secretary-General saluted the tireless efforts of electoral officials, party agents and the security forces in making the elections largely peaceful and orderly.“He commends all Iraqis who took part, in particular those internally displaced persons who cast their ballots despite their difficult conditions,” said the statement.Calling on all Iraqi political actors and their supporters to uphold peace as the results are processed, the UN chief further urged political actors to resolve any electoral disputes through established legal channels and to complete the electoral process by forming an inclusive government as soon as possible.“The United Nations remains committed to supporting the Government and people of Iraq in this endeavor,” the statement concluded.Ahead of the elections, Ján Kubiš, head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), called on all Iraqis, including in the Kurdistan Region, to come together to strengthen fully sovereign, united, democratic and federal Iraq.“Since the last elections four years ago, Iraq faced the worst assault by the terrorist Dae’sh, which has committed untold atrocities. Today, with Dae’sh’s structures defeated, and the country liberated, it is your opportunity to consolidate this historic victory that was won with the blood of the martyrs and the unity and perseverance of the people, and embark on a new beginning,” he said last Thursday.On Saturday, Mr. Kubiš visited several polling stations in Fallujah, west of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, describing the process very orderly and saying that he was very impressed to see the numbers of people, especially women, headed to vote. read more

Sudan military committed to ensuring stability and peaceful transition says senior diplomat

Her comments followed the ousting of President Omar al-Bashir, announced on State television on Thursday, accompanied by the declaration from the defence minister, that a military council would govern the country for up to two years.Those developments come amid protests that erupted nearly four months ago when the Government attempted to raise the prices of bread and basic commodities, and which are also believed to have claimed dozens of lives.Transition back to civilian rule ‘could be shortened’Speaking in the Security Council on Friday morning, Sudan’s Deputy Ambassador, Yasir Abdullah Abdelsalam, said that the military council’s imposition of a State of Emergency for three months, a suspension of the constitution and nightly curfew, had been done in response to “the demands of the crowds…who have expressed their aspirations and their demands”He said the military council was committed to respecting all international agreements, and “a peaceful transition”, in which it would be the “guarantor” of a return to “civilian government”. “We therefore call on our partners in the international community to support peaceful transition in the country in a way that will help to build on gains, and open up the path to stability development and prosperity, and allow us to move away from the scourge of violence which will positively impact the regional and international situation.”‘Critical, volatile moment’ for Sudan“This is a very critical, volatile moment for Sudan and there is deep uncertainty and unease about the future,” High Commissioner Bachelet said in a statement, delivered in Geneva by Ravina Shamdasani, from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). UN Human Rights Chief @mbachelet urges #Sudan authorities to protect human rights and rule of law. The crisis has its roots in #HumanRights grievances – economic, social, civil & political rights. The solution must also be grounded in human rights. ℹ️ https://t.co/WwrCwQUS9B pic.twitter.com/2tMkd6ri3v— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) April 12, 2019 In an update to journalists, Ms. Shamdasani said that it was “encouraging that there was no violence overnight” in the capital Khartoum – “even though the curfew that had been imposed was not respected by peaceful protesters”.The OHCHR official also noted unconfirmed reports that some political detainees had been released, before urging the authorities to release all political prisoners.However, amid uncertainty about how the crisis might play out, Ms. Shamdasani noted that the demonstrators might be unwilling to accept the military council’s declaration.“I wouldn’t want to get into details on who our sources are, but there are clear indications from them that they are not happy with what happened yesterday and that the protests will continue,” Ms. Shamdasani said. “Which, again, is why we are calling on the authorities to address the people’s demands.”Reiterating the High Commissioner’s comments, Ms. Shadasani noted that the protests against President Bashir stemmed from widespread human rights grievances: economic, social, civil and political.“We also understand that the announcement that was made yesterday didn’t indicate any possibility for people to participate in this transition,” she said. “Which is why we are, again, calling on the authorities to ensure that there’s a concerted effort with the meaningful participation of civil society, of dissenting voices, in charting a way forward.”Asked whether former president Bashir should stand trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity including genocide linked to violence in Darfur – issued by the International Criminal Court in 2009 and 2010 – Ms. Shamdasani said: “We would encourage the Government of Sudan to fully cooperate with the International Criminal Court”.“We are also calling for full accountability, including for the use of excessive force that has taken place since December this year”. UN Photo/Manuel EliasSudan’s Deputy Ambassador, Yasir Abdullah Abdelsalam, addresses a Security Council meeting on Sudan and South Sudan on 12 April 2019.“No party will be excluded” from the future electoral process, he added, including armed groups. He told Council member the suspension of the constitution “could be lifted at any point” and the transitional period back to civilian rule “could be shortened, depending on developments on the ground and agreements reached between stakeholders”.But he noted firmly that Sudan’s political crisis was “a domestic matter” and a “delicate situation” that posed a “threat to its immediate and future stability”“Any democratic process requires time and that should not be threatened. We do not wish to see the nascent gradual democratic process unravel in the name of democracy”, he said. read more

Suzukis Swift leap in pedestrian friendly design

Better car design has helped halve UK road deaths in the last 30 years. Fatalities have fallen despite a near doubling of cars on roads. But while accident statistics show we have some of the safest roads in Europe, there were still more than 3,300 deaths in the UK last year. In the drive to make roads safer for all users, manufacturers are designing new models with an armoury of new safety features that protect more than just car drivers and their passengers. Millions of pounds are being invested in making vehicle front ends less harmful to pedestrians, if they are unfortunate enough to be hit by the car. Models like the new Suzuki Swift show how far the industry has already come. On sale from April, the Japanese supermini won a coveted three star rating for pedestrian safety in recent EuroNCAP crash tests. The result reflects its lightweight, energy-absorbing body structure built on a completely new platform, as well as much closer work with EuroNCAP to improve crashworthiness. Of course, designing safer cars is not just a question of damage limitation – far better to prevent an accident happening in the first place, particularly for those walking or cycling. Here too, the new Swift shows a strong hand. Active safety features include a host of braking technologies in the form of four-wheel ABS, electronic brake force distribution and brake assist. These sort of features are not reflected in NCAP crash tests. Nevertheless, they are helping drivers of models like the new Swift, and other road users to stay where they belong – as far apart as possible. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more

New research examining healthcare issues for minority language communities

A new research study by Brock University nursing students is looking for French-speaking students to volunteer their time.The Health Canada-backed REVIVRE research study will involve the students volunteering at a long-term healthcare facility in the city of Welland, which has a large French-speaking population.The students will be spending time with residents of Foyer Richelieu participating in recreational activities such as playing cards, bowling, knitting or making puzzles.The goals for the students is to increase their knowledge on the importance of health professionals in minority language communities, and to potentially increase their motivation to pursue a health career working with these types of communities.For the residents, the goal is to improve their quality of life and increase their social engagement through French-speaking healthcare volunteers.Ultimately, the long-term goal of the study is for adults in long-term care facilities and other Canadians in official minority language communities to have increased access to health professionals in their languages.For more information, or to take part, contact Stephanie Blais, Research Assistant, 905-688-5550 x1552 or sblais@brocku.ca. read more

Turf field project enters home stretch

Workers this week are glueing in coloured line markers for different sports that will use the new turf field. Just over two weeks away from its official opening, the University’s new artificial turf sports field is nearing completion.Workers have laid most of the turf panels and this week are busy installing the coloured field markings for soccer, lacrosse and rugby.After that, the checklist includes finishing the pads and landscaping for the periphery areas of the field, wiring floodlights in the 70-foot light standards, completing accessible ramps/walkways to the field and installing netting at each end of the pitch.Besides being a new high-quality venue for varsity teams, the facility will be heavily used by students in Brock’s popular inter-mural and recreational sport programs. It will also be available for bookings by community groups.The $1.5-million project is being funded through the Brock University Students’ Union and a donation from an anonymous Brock alumnus.Construction is on schedule to be completed in time for Homecoming Weekend on Sept. 18-20. The field’s official opening ceremony will take place Saturday Sept. 19.Davan Group of Puslinch, Ont. won the contract to build the field. read more

BUSU invites politicians to ride public transit with them

The Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) has completed a campaign to raise awareness about public transit in Niagara and the difficulties students face when it comes to getting to and from campus.BUSU has invited Niagara Region councillors, including Regional Chair Alan Caslin, to spend 30 minutes riding several local bus routes that serve Brock University’s students Thursday.The councillors will also be presented with the results of the campaign, including a transit survey completed by more than 3,000 Brock students that shows the important role transit plays in their daily lives.“The purpose of the survey was to get the full student perspective on transit and how it impacts the community,” said Antonio Sergi, BUSU Vice-President, External Affairs. “Our mandate as a student union is to represent the opinions of students on things that impact them and to address any challenges they face. We’ve had a good relationship with transit providers in the area, however a seamless system seems to be the preference of the students.”The transit campaign focused on three specific areas: The safety of everyone who uses public transit; the opportunity for students to provide feedback on their experiences; and awareness of the progress already made in improving transit routes as well as the relationship between Brock, BUSU and the local transit providers.The results of the campaign will be presented at noon at BUSU’s Skybar Lounge, followed by a ride along that will take councillors on three local bus routes: No. 16 Glenridge; No. 23 West Brock Commuter; and No. 31 Winterberry.For more information on the campaign or to access the survey, visit BUSU’s Ride With Me website. read more

Coop student spends summer impacting young lives

A summer co-op work term has affirmed for Joel Maves that his future lies in making a difference in young lives.The third-year student in Brock’s international dual degree program spent the summer completing a co-op work term at Youth Unlimited, a local not-for-profit Christian outreach organization that works primarily with troubled teens.It was through this experience that his eyes were opened to the potential career path helping others may take him down.Though Maves is taking classes within the Goodman School of Business, he was anxious to participate in a co-op that allowed him to explore his interest in not-for-profit youth work.“Through participating in church youth groups growing up and being a camp counsellor, I have discovered a passion for facilitating programs for youth and building relationships with them,” he said.Maves found it helpful to be able to apply his classroom skills in a real-world working environment.“In my co-op, I found things that applied directly to organizational behaviour, such as dealing with conflicts within the organization or examining the style of leadership that my supervisor was using,” he said.To secure his position with the organization, Maves had to fundraise much of his own salary, complementing the summer student grant Youth Unlimited had already been awarded.He created a fundraising campaign and, with the help of friends, family and other supporters, was able to reach his $4,400 goal and serve as the organization’s summer program co-ordinator.Maves felt one of the biggest draws of working with a not-for-profit organization like Youth Unlimited was the diversity of tasks he was able to take on.“There was no average day,” he said. “I took care of office work, helped to clean the youth centre, planned weekly events and fundraised to send kids to summer camp. I facilitated a weekly faith-based talk and games program for young men, and hosted our drop-in night for guys and girls.”The organization also hosts weekly programming for girls and offers a variety of programs and support networks for young parents.“A lot of the time I was just a listening ear,” he said of his time with Youth Unlimited. “I am here to encourage and uplift those who need it and to help out when they are struggling with self-esteem issues.”Beyond providing a safe space for young people, the organization also aims to help them develop emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, physically and socially.“When they come to us they are encouraged to pursue their interests and we try to help,” said Maves. “One of our students wanted to join the military, and we helped him figure out what he needed to do and how we could assist in that process.”Maves is aware that his work term was different from the office jobs that many students pursue, but he emphasized that co-op students can grow their careers in any work environment.“Don’t be frightened by unconventional opportunities,” he said. “They make you stand out and add tons of value to your resumé.”With 15 per cent of Brock’s students completing co-op work terms in 40 different programs, Maves is one of many participants using the co-op to fast track their career. He was particularly grateful to the Co-op Education team for keeping him on track to achieve his goal of working with youth.“Having assignments throughout my work term helped to keep me accountable,” he said. “I was able to keep track of what I learned, and that helped me to tangibly gauge my improvement while also having time for self reflection.“I knew that I had an interest in working with youth,” he said. “And now I can say that I actually do enjoy it a lot and that I am passionate about entering a career in the not-for-profit sector. It has been fantastic to work with Youth Unlimited, and I hope to use my connection with the organization to continue to work with young people once I have finished my degree.” read more

With a Ring Comes Bell

The story of Vonn Bell’s recruitment ended with the five-star safety putting on a Scarlet and Gray hat and telling a nationally televised audience he will be attending The Ohio State University. Bell, a Rossville, Ga., native, held a press conference broadcast by ESPN in the Ridgeland High School gymnasium on National Signing Day, Feb. 6. With his family beside him and a sea of classmates in front of him, Bell announced he was picking the Buckeyes over the likes of Alabama and Tennessee, among other schools. Bell’s justification for choosing OSU was fairly straightforward. “I just felt more comfortable with coach (Urban) Meyer because I had spent more time with him and his staff,” Bell said. OSU’s journey to get the 6-foot, 190-pound safety to feel that way was arduous in its task, but simple in its nature. The Buckeyes’ lead recruiter on Bell – co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Everett Withers – just outworked his competition. “I’ve seen some really good efforts,” Meyer said. “Everett Withers from start to finish, his effort on Vonn Bell, as good as I’ve ever seen.” The tale of Bell’s courting begins a little more than a year ago. Coming off a junior season in which he recorded 180 tackles and five interceptions, Bell was a hot commodity on the recruiting trail. His first scholarship offer came from the University of Georgia in early January 2012. After that, the offers started pouring in: Alabama (the reigning national champion). Tennessee (the hometown favorite). Florida. Notre Dame. Think of an elite college football team, and Bell likely had a scholarship offer from them, OSU included. “Literally he would get four to five (offers) a day,” Ridgeland football coach Mark Mariakis said in an interview with The Lantern Monday. The Buckeyes, though, didn’t become a serious contender until the hard-hitting safety visited Columbus over his junior year spring break, Mariakis said. Bell spent a day with Meyer, touring the OSU football facilities and getting to know the Buckeyes’ program. The visit to Columbus was part of a double-digit school tour by Bell and his family. When the group returned home to Georgia after the trek, OSU’s appeal was clear. “When he came back, (Bell and his family) realized that Ohio State was going to be in the forefront of the hunt,” Mariakis said. From there, Withers took over. The 49-year-old was like an “octopus” in his pursuit of the top-50 prospect, Meyer said. “The recruiting process is about relationships. You are going to try to find out as much as you can – whether it be good or bad about a young man – you want to try to find it all out,” Withers said. If there was a relationship to be made, Withers was there. OSU’s co-defensive coordinator, naturally, started with Bell himself. The pair “hit it off right off the bat,” Mariakis said. “They’re so like-minded,” Mariakis said. From there, Withers moved on to Bell’s family and coach. Withers talked to Bell’s mother, a teacher at Ridgeland, about what OSU could offer in terms of education. Withers connected with Bell’s father, a director of a few Boys & Girls Clubs in Northwest Tennessee, by discussing how to work with kids. “I got to know the entire family, grandma, the whole deal,” Withers said. “Spending the time with them was really good.” Withers might have burned the majority of his recruiting hours with Mariakis, who chuckled when asked how often he interacted with the Buckeye coach. “Me and him talked numerous times every week,” Mariakis said. “That’s not a stretch, either. It was literally all the time. “He’d call ‘How’s Vonn? How’s he playing? How’d the game go Friday?’ He took a real interest in him. If he could be here, what all the rules allowed him to do, he was here.” Mariakis has been coaching for 28 years. He has had dozens of athletes go on to play high-level college football. He’s been through the recruiting process more times than he can count. In his nearly three-decade long career as a high school football coach, the way Withers went about recruiting Bell is as good as Mariakis can remember. “He took every opportunity he had to build a relationship with Vonn and his family, and with me. He never missed a phone call. If I called him, he’d either answer the phone or call me right back. In visit time, he came and visited,” Mariakis said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a recruiter do as good a job coach Withers did.” The respect goes both ways. “I would have to say in my 25 years of doing this, in this business, coach Mariakis and his staff at Ridgeland High School were probably by far the best group of people I’ve ever been around,” Withers said. The days spent with Bell and those closest to him paid off for Withers in more ways than one. Yes, OSU got the recruit, but also, Withers is now familiar with some of the best aspects of Chattanooga, Tenn., a place less than six miles from Rossville. “I have a new place in Chattanooga, Tenn., to get my haircut. I know where the best barbecue places are in Chattanooga, Tenn. I got around a lot of people,” Withers said. Withers made the strongest impression during the recruitment, but Meyer made his presence felt, too. When Ridgeland took on Sandy Creek High School in the Georgia Class AAAA State Championship Game Dec. 15, Meyer was in attendance. He sat next to Bell’s mother in the Georgia Dome stands during the game, and visited with Bell in the locker room after his team suffered a 45-10 loss. “That was really impressive to me, to stay there and just be in the mix of our community and Vonn’s family meant a lot,” Mariakis said. The story of Bell’s recruitment hits its climax the night and morning before Bell announced his decision. Withers said he thought he would be made aware of what school Bell was going to sign with at about 8 p.m. Feb. 5. That didn’t happen. Withers did receive an encouraging phone call from Bell’s father that evening, though. “(His) dad told me at the end of the night, he said, ‘Coach, live on your body of work because you’ve done all you can do. Sleep well,’” Withers said. Withers made a phone call of his own, too, with Mariakis on the receiving end. “I had talked to coach Mariakis … I said, ‘Coach, if it’s going to be a good phone call, make sure coach Meyer gets it.’ I said, ‘If it’s going to be a bad phone call, just call me,’” Withers said. The next morning, Meyer, Withers and the rest of the OSU staff were in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, anxiously waiting for what the equivalent of college football’s Christmas would entail for the Buckeyes’ program. At one point, shortly after the sun had risen, Meyer said he couldn’t contain his nerves, or be around his assistants, any longer. He separated himself from the rest of his staff and went into a private room to work out on a stationary bike. “I couldn’t take it anymore. Everett Withers was driving me nuts. I had to get away from him,” Meyer said. At about 9:50 a.m., 10 minutes before Bell was set to make his announcement on ESPN, Withers made his way toward Meyer. He heard a phone ring and Meyer answer. It was Bell. “You know I’m in, right?” Bell told Meyer on the phone. Meyer’s response was simple. “No, I didn’t know you were in. Congratulations,” Meyer said. Withers’ yearlong stretch full of time and effort had paid off. Bell, one of the crown jewels of OSU’s 2013 recruiting class that ranks in the top-three nationally, should help the Buckeyes’ defense right away. Bell’s decision to sign with OSU could also be a sign of more good stories to come for the Scarlet and Gray. Going into the land of sweet tea and tangy barbecue and prying a recruit away from the strong clasps of the Southeastern Conference – winners of the last seven national championships – is no easy task in college football. OSU did that with Bell in out-recruiting Alabama and Tennessee, Bell’s other favorites. The Buckeyes might be one of the few programs north of the Mason-Dixon line that can keep on doing it, too. “I think it goes back to the relationships that Ohio State staff is building,” Mariakis said. “When you get that combination of good football and the relationships with those kids, you’ve got something special.” read more

Ohio State baseball wins 5th straight game takes down Xavier 103

The Ohio State baseball team celebrates its victory against Xavier March 19 at Bill Davis Stadium. OSU won, 10-3.Credit: Sam Harrington / Lantern photographerWith Big Ten play looming, the Ohio State baseball team appears to be starting to play their best ball of the season.Playing under a gray sky for most of the evening, the Buckeyes (13-6, 0-0) came out shining and rolled to their fifth-straight victory, defeating Xavier, 10-3, Wednesday.The game featured two freshman starting pitchers on the bump with the Musketeers’ (11-7, 0-0) Trent Astle going against the Buckeyes’ Tanner Tully.Tully, starting his first collegiate game, began with a commanding five-pitch first inning. Astle wasn’t so lucky.Sophomore infielder Troy Kuhn was batting first for the Buckeyes and, on the second pitch he saw, smacked a homerun over the left field wall. The shot was Kuhn’s fourth of the year, good enough to lead the team.“I’m seeing the ball real well,” Kuhn said. “I keep getting good pitches to hit … taking advantage of other teams mistakes.”With runners on second and third and still no outs, freshman outfielder Ronnie Dawson had an RBI groundout and sophomore infielder Zach Ratcliff followed with an RBI single to give the Buckeyes a quick 3-0 lead.Astle found himself in another jam to begin the second. With the bases loaded and nobody out, sophomore infielder Jacob Bosiokovic hit a sac fly to deep center that plated two. Junior outfielder Pat Porter followed with a sac fly of his own to score another and give Tully a six-run lead to work with.The freshman responded, going five innings with five hits on no runs scored. When Tully had Musketeers in scoring position, he turned up the heat to keep them at bay.“It was good just to go in there and throw strikes and keep the defense in it,” Tully said. “I throw a little bit harder, hit my spots a little bit more (with runners in scoring position) and make sure they don’t score.”Coach Greg Beals was impressed enough with Tully’s first start to say he would probably be the Sunday starter this weekend.“There was no question in my mind he was capable of starting and capable of doing what he did,” Beals said. “To put five zeros up like that, though, was sure good to see … in our meeting tomorrow there’s a pretty good chance we decide Tanner Tully is our Sunday starter this weekend.”The Musketeers scored one in the sixth and two more in eighth to give them a chance, but the offense rose to the occasion and responded with four runs of their own in the eighth.Redshirt-senior reliever Tyler Giannonatti recorded the final four outs to give him his first save of the season and keep the Buckeyes perfect at home so far.The win streak has been an enjoyable one for the Buckeyes, but they know it isn’t time to get complacent.“We’re pretty happy (with where we are), but this is where our mission starts,” Kuhn said. “We want to come out hot.”The Buckeyes are next scheduled to Friday when the Michigan State Spartans come to town. First pitch at Bill Davis Stadium is set for 6:05 p.m. read more