Tag: Catlin

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Over 5000 AWOL soldiers report back under amnesty

A total of 5412 Officers and Other Rankers of the Army who are Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL) have so far reported back to their respective Regimental Headquarters to receive their legal discharge under the ongoing 24 day-long General Amnesty period that ends on 15 November 2017.As of Monday today, 6 Officers, 6 Officer Cadets and 5400 Other Ranks of the Army, considered as absentees, sought the legal discharge during the past fortnight after the General Amnesty period came into effect on 23 October 2017. The general amnesty that was announced to coincide with the 68th Army anniversary would enable Army absentees to directly reach respective Regimental Headquarters and receive their legal discharge. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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UN agency heads call on world trade negotiators to protect inkind food

With global food aid already under threat, slipping dramatically last year to 7.5 million tons from 10.2 million in 2003, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as well as the heads of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) stressed that three fourths of such aid in 2004 was essentially in kind.Food donations have come under scrutiny at the so-called Doha Round of trade negotiations which will continue at the UN World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong from 13 to 18 December. The proposal banning donations of food in kind or restricting them to major emergencies would restrict donor governments to giving cash only for the purchase of food aid, even through the UN.But globally, more than 90 per cent of the 25,000 deaths every day from hunger and malnutrition – one every five seconds – occur outside classic emergencies like Darfur or the Pakistan earthquake, the three said in a joint statement.“We strongly believe reform of international agricultural trade is vital and can help overcome poverty in the developing world,” UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres and WFP Executive Director James Morris declared.“This may well include disciplines on some types of food aid. But reforms should be carefully designed to protect millions of the world’s children, refugees and malnourished people who count on donations of food aid for their survival, nutrition and health,” they added.The WTO talks will seek agreement on liberalizing agricultural trade, and a final push will be made to reach an accord on eliminating agricultural export subsidies and other trade-distorting support in the developed world, thus opening up market access there for the agriculture of developing nations.Based on past donor behaviour, it is unlikely that equivalent levels of cash could be made available by donor governments, especially new developing country donors with limited cash resources, the three agency heads pointed out.Last year, three out of four tons of food donated worldwide were purchased in donor countries and essentially made in kind: gifts of wheat, maize, rice, beans, vegetable oil and other foods specially designed to meet the nutritional needs of malnourished populations.“The needs of hungry people already exceed donations available,” Mr. Morris said. “Any decision that might reduce the food available to them through the United Nations would be very hard to understand.”Of particular concern is the fact that some 45 per cent of food aid delivered in 2004 went to citizens of countries which are not even members of WTO, and therefore have no one representing them in ongoing trade negotiations.“The needs of hungry women and children should take priority if the Doha Round is to be the pro-poor trade round we all hope for,” the three officials said. “We appeal to negotiators at the World Trade Organization to put humanitarian considerations first when they address food aid.” read more

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