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UNHCR – 65 reported drowned after shipwreck off coast of Tunisia


Some 65 people have drowned after their boat sank approximately 45 nautical miles off the coast of Tunisia early this morning, in one of the worst incidents on the Mediterranean in months.

16 people were pulled from the water and have been brought to the coast of Zarzis by the Tunisian Navy. One person has been immediately transferred to hospital for medical treatment, while the others await permission to disembark.

According to the survivors, the group left Zuwara, around 120km west of Tripoli, yesterday evening. Their boat ran in to trouble soon afterwards when encountering strong waves.

“This is a tragic and terrible reminder of the risks still faced by those who attempt to cross the Mediterranean,” said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR Special Envoy for the Mediterranean.”

UNHCR staff are ready to assist the survivors with emergency shelter, food and blankets, and to conduct an assessment of their protection needs. UNHCRs partner, Tunisian Red Crescent, is standing-by to provide medical assistance.

This latest incident is the highest loss of life since some 117 died or went missing in mid-January. For some months, UNHCR has been raising the alarm at the lack of search and rescue capacity on the central Mediterranean.

164 people died on the route between Libya and Europe in the first four months of 2019, considerably less than in previous years, however, the journey is becoming increasingly fatal for those who risk it. In the first four months of this year, one person has died on the central Mediterranean for every three that have reached European shores after departing from Libya.

“Across the region, we need to strengthen the capacity of search and rescue operations,” said Cochetel. “If we dont act now, were almost certain to see more tragic events in the coming weeks and months.”

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Save Children Philippines raised concern on situation of 1.8 Million children living in Mindanao


Save the Children Philippines has raised concern on the situation of 1.8 Million children living in conflict affected areas in Mindanao who face death, injury, diseases and psychosocial trauma due to lingering gun battles.

Lawyer Albert Muyot, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Save the Children Philippines said children are the most vulnerable in armed conflict as they have fragile bodies and dependent on parents and adults for care and protection.

He said reports gathered by Save the Children Philippines showed that 96.4 percent or 3.6 Million of the population of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) are vulnerable to conflict. Of this number, 48.8 per cent or 1.8 Million of them are children. BARMM provinces include Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-tawi.

Save the Children, now celebrating 100 years has launched its global campaign ” Stop the War on Children” to seek protection of some 420 Million children around the world who are living in conflict zones , a rise of 30 million more since 2016.

“Across the world, children wake up to the sound of explosion of bombs, gunshots, suffer hunger and displacement, are orphaned and are separated from friends and classmates,” said Muyot.

He said armed conflict either end or disrupt childhood as children die from gunshots, injury and diseases, forced to leave homes and miss out on school.

“The impact of war on children linger beyond the end of conflict,” said Muyot. He said the breakdown of essential services such as healthcare, water and sanitation aggravate the situation.

Save the Children global data showed that from 2013 to 2017, the number of deaths of children five years old and below due to armed conflict has reached 870,000, five times higher than the 175,000 adult fighters who died during the same period.

Muyot said children in Mindanao suffer grave violations of their rights. Atleast 16 children were killed in a crossfire in Mindanao last year and another 17 children injured due to similar cause.

He said since 2017, there were 157 recorded cases of grave child rights violations that include 24 attacks in schools and 36 attacks in health care facilities, recruitment of child soldiers and trafficking for sexual exploitation.

At least seven children killed in yet another attack on civilians in northwest Syria


NEW YORK, 7 July 2019 – “At least seven children are confirmed to have been killed in an attack yesterday on the village of Mhambel in northwest Syria. It has been reported that most of those who lost their lives were internally displaced, having already been forced from their communities by previous waves of fighting.

“This latest outrage adds to the mounting child casualties caused by intensifying violence over the past few weeks, including in Al Wadihi, southern Idlib, northern Aleppo and northern Hama. At least 140 children have been killed in northwest Syria since the start of the year.

“The obvious disregard for the safety and wellbeing of children evident in these attacks is appalling. My heart breaks for the young lives lost and for all the children in the area who remain in harms way.

“I strongly and unequivocally urge the parties to the conflict and those who have influence over them to ensure that children in the northwest and across the country are protected from the ongoing violence.”

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Thousands protest in Moroccan capital for release of activists


Thousands of people have protested in Morocco’s capital Rabat, demanding the release of 42 activists who had rallied against corruption and unemployment.
Sunday’s “march of the Moroccan people” was organised by political and civil rights groups, as well as the families of detainees.

It comes weeks after a court upheld prison sentences for the activists, who held protests in 2016 and 2017.
Authorities accuse them of threatening the security of the country.
Protesters have been pictured with flags, banners and pictures of the jailed activists, who are members of Hirak Rif – or the “Rif Movement”.

The demonstrations also called for the release of journalist Hamid El Mahdaoui, who is serving a three-year sentence for covering the protests in Morocco’s northern Rif region.
In June 2018, a court sentenced Nasser Zefzaki, the leader of Hirak Rif, to 20 years in prison.

The same term was given to activists Ouassim El Boustati and Samir Ghid, while others were given sentences of up to 15 years.
The Hirak Rif organised protests in 2016 and 2017 after the death of a fishmonger in Al-Hoceima, a town in Rif.
Fishmonger Mohcine Fikri was crushed to death by a rubbish lorry whilst trying to recover his fish which had been confiscated by local police.
The incident prompted a wave of anger and thousands took to the streets, accusing authorities of corruption and an abuse of power.

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Philippines Tropical Storm Tembin kills more than 100 on Mindanao


More than 100 people are reported to have been killed as a tropical storm swept through the southern Philippines, with dozens more missing.

Storm Tembin brought flash flooding and mudslides to parts of Mindanao island.

Two towns badly hit were Tubod and Piagapo, where a number of homes were buried by boulders.

Tembin, with winds of up to 80km/h (50 mph), has now passed across Mindanao and is heading towards the southern tip of Palawan before moving further west.

The Philippines suffers regularly from deadly tropical storms, although Mindanao is not often hit.

Tembin, known as Vinta in the Philippines, started lashing Mindanao on Friday, with a state of emergency declared in some parts, including the Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur regions.

Disaster management officials quoted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer said there were at least 62 fatalities in Lanao del Norte, another 46 in Zamboanga del Norte and at least 18 in Lanao del Sur.

Tubod police officer Gerry Parami told the AFP news agency that there had been at least 19 deaths in the town, which is in Lanao del Norte.

“The river rose and most of the homes were swept away. The village is no longer there,” he said.

He said volunteers were digging through mud to try to recover bodies in the village of Dalama.

Ashland Library’s first ‘Food For Fines’ a success


ASHLAND – Last month, Ashland Public Library tried something new.

The library agreed to give patrons a clean slate, wiping out overdue fines in exchange for donations of non-perishable foods and household items for local charities.

In just one week, the library collected 736 items for Associated Charities, Ashland County Council on Aging, Catholic Charities, Rape Crisis Domestic Violence Safe Haven and The Salvation Army Kroc Center.


The response was far greater than library director Heather Miller expected. And particularly surprising and heartwarming, Miller said, was the fact that library staff members contributed more than half of those items.

Miller said she told staff members they could donate items on behalf of patrons. For each item donated, one outstanding line item on a patron’s account would be removed.

Line items can be as little as 10 cents for an item that was one day overdue or as much as several dollars for an item returned a few months late, Miller said. Fees for lost or damaged materials were not waived as part of the program.

“This was truly about paying it forward, adn our staff was so generous in donating,” Miller said.

At the end of the collection period, which ran March 17-23, fines on children’s accounts were cleared first. When no children’s fines remained, adult accounts were chosen from a randomized list to benefit from the staff’s generosity.

“I requested that we do children first because I felt that would have the biggest impact in the community,” Miller said.

In total, $567.90 in fines were cleared.

PSC graphics show apartheid South Africa-Israel parallels


By Palestine Solidarity Campaign – PSC today published new graphics showing the parallels between state policies in apartheid-era South Africa and those of contemporary Israel towards Palestinians.

The visuals, produced by Visualizing Palestine, were co-released in the run up to our conference “Justice in Palestine: Ending Apartheid, Achieving Freedom and Equality”, where the graphics will be exhibited publicly for the first time worldwide.

Israels policies toward Palestinians are often described in Hebrew as hafrada (“separation”), a word strikingly similar in meaning to the Afrikaans word apartheid (“separateness” or “apart-hood”).

Although there are substantive differences between the policies of the Israeli government and those of the apartheid regime in South Africa, a 2017 UNESCWA report found that Israeli policies and practices meet the legal definition of the “Crime of Apartheid” as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

In July, the Israeli Knesset passed the Nation-State Law, making its discriminatory policies all the more explicit.

The new images highlight five striking parallels between apartheid-era South Africa and Israels policies towards Palestinians today:

  1. land expropriation
  2. racial classification
  3. mass displacement
  4. violent repression
  5. token independence

View the graphics below, or on our Twitter, Facebook or Instagram pages.

To view more brilliant infographics about life for Palestinians living under Israeli apartheid, visit the Visualizing Palestine site.

A limited number of tickets for our conference are still available. For more info and to book, click here.

Qatari-Bulgarian relations based on mutual respect and co-operation


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The relations between Qatar and Bulgaria have witnessed close co-operation since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Doha and Sofia on 16 October 1990.
In the context of these growing relations, Bulgaria opened its embassy in Doha in 2009, and after three years, in 2012 Qatar opened its embassy in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, and since then the relations between the two countries have developed and became stronger.

In 2009, the first official visit of His Highness the Father Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani to Bulgaria was to promote bilateral relations. The last visit was made last year by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and witnessed the signing of a number of co-operation agreements and memorandums of understanding between the two countries in various fields.

In an official visit to the country, President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev arrived in Doha yesterday. His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and the Bulgarian president will hold talks at the Amiri Diwan today, and they will discuss the friendly relations between the two countries, ways of developing them and a number of regional and international issues of common interest. Over the past few years, both countries have made efforts to lay the foundations of a modern rule of law aimed at intensive co-operation.

Relations between the two countries have been strengthened through mutual visits and active co-operation in various fields, both bilateral and multilateral.
More than 30 agreements and strategic arrangements have been signed between the governments of the two countries.
In those years, there have been many great efforts with strong co-operation between Qatar and Bulgaria.

In this context, ambassador of Qatar to Bulgaria Rashid bin Ali al-Khater said that Qatari-Bulgarian relations have been remarkable, and have witnessed overall development in recent years, pointing out the keenness of Qatar to strengthen them at all levels and in all fields to serve the interests of the Qatari and Bulgarian peoples.
He pointed out that the joint committee for economic co-operation between the governments of Qatar and Bulgaria has been established since 2009. The two countries have been able to strengthen their economic and trade relations, which is reflected in the continuous increase in the terms of trade between the two countries in recent years.

Ambassador al-Khater said that the two countries governments have been able to push forward bilateral co-operation in the economy through many bilateral agreements, stressing that Qatars foreign policy is based on peace, security, stability, co-operation and friendship between countries and peoples of the world.
The relationship between Qatar and Bulgaria has been strong for more than 27 years. The two countries have strong ties of mutual respect and trust.
Bulgaria offers the best expertise to companies operating in Qatar and elsewhere in many areas, and 500 Bulgarians are living in Qatar and working in different companies and institutions.

Last year, during the visit of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to Bulgaria, a number of agreements and memorandums of understanding were signed in the fields of energy, sports and an agreement between Qatar University, Sofia University and another between Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Bulgaria Chamber of Commerce.
A forum was organised for Qatari businessmen and their Bulgarian counterparts to discuss ways to enhance trade co-operation and discuss investment opportunities in both countries.

In 2012, the minister of state for foreign affairs visited Bulgaria accompanied by representatives of several Qatari government companies such as Qatari Diar, Qatar Investment Authority, Qatar Mining, Qatar Rail and Qatar National Hotels Company. On the Bulgarian side, the minister of economy and energy, the deputy minister of tourism and other officials participated to discuss investment opportunities in the field of infrastructure, mines, real estate and tourism.

The Qatari delegation also met with the executives of the Industrial Zones Corporation and the Bulgarian Energy Holding Company, where the Qatari side was briefed on the investment opportunities in the energy sector and the industrial zones.
Qatari investments are very important to Bulgarias economy in different sectors such as agriculture.

There are also Qatari companies operating in Bulgaria, producing and exporting poultry meat to Doha, and there are advanced contacts to discuss ways to enhance the work between Bulgarian and Qatari companies to invest in Qatar.
And this is an important step to strengthen relations between the two countries, especially with the presence of many Bulgarian companies operating in the field of infrastructure in Qatar.

Amir to attend IPU Assembly opening today


The Amir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani will attend the opening of the 140th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) at the Sheraton Hotel on Saturday. The Amir will give a speech to mark the occasion.

The opening ceremony will be attended by President of the IPU Gabriela Cuevas Barron, Under-Secretary for the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office Vladimir Voronkov, their excellencies speakers of parliaments, national councils, legislative councils, senates and heads of delegations participating in the assembly, members of the unions executive committee, organisations, and regional and international unions.
The Shura Council has made all necessary arrangements for the success of IPU assembly and related meetings.

Shura Council Speaker HE Ahmed bin Abdulla bin Zaid al Mahmoud said he is ready to cooperate with the committee and meet all the requirements to make the assembly and meetings successful. Mahmoud said he wants to make it a milestone in the IPU history.

He said the participants in the event have a chance to learn about Qatar heritage, the generosity of its people and to acquaint themselves with the renaissance witnessed by Qatar in all fields thanks to the wise policies of the Amir.

The IPU Assembly in Doha from April 6-10 will see the largest participation of delegates in the history of its meetings outside its headquarters in Geneva.
Mahmoud said the number of confirmed participants so far has reached 2,271 from more than 160 countries including 80 heads of different world parliaments.

He said this large-scale participation reflects the confidence of the worlds parliament leaders in what they described as the smart diplomacy of Qatar.


Texas State football player shot, killed; 2 suspects arrested, search on for others: police


At least two suspects have been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a Texas State University football player, who was killed during a drug deal gone wrong this week, authorities said Wednesday.

manhunt was underway for two additional suspects who police said were involved in the shooting death of Khambrail Winters, 20, a Houston native and defensive back for the football team, FOX 4 of Dallas-Fort Worth reported.

Jake Spavital, the team’s head coach, released a statement saying, “Our Texas State University football team is deeply saddened by the death of our team member, and friend.”

“I met with the players this morning to share the news. We will stand together as a team and support one another during this difficult time. Our thoughts and condolences are with Khambrail’s family and loved ones,” he continued.

Police officers responded to calls of gunfire around 9:15 p.m. Tuesday at an apartment complex in San Marcos, Texas, about 30 miles southwest of Austin. Witnesses described the incident as a drug deal gone wrong, according to a statement from the San Marcos Police Department and city officials.

The officers found Winters with a gunshot wound to the chest and emergency personnel attempted life-saving measures, which were unsuccessful, officials said. Winters was pronounced dead at the scene.

Witnesses told police that Winters, and two other people — identified as Enalisa Blackman and Michael Ifeanacho — went to the apartment building with the intention of buying marijuana, a police statement said.

Winters was shot and killed during the deal. Police arrested Blackman and Ifeanacho, who were charged with capital murder and were being held at Hays County Jail.

Authorities said they are still looking to identify two other people involved in the shooting, as well as other witnesses, FOX 4 reported.

Cameras at the apartment building were “not operational,” the statement added.

An investigation is ongoing.


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