Moldova becomes latest State party to International Criminal Court

14 October 2010Moldova has become the latest country to ratify the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is tasked with trying people accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Moldova has become the latest country to ratify the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is tasked with trying people accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The country ratified the 1998 Rome Statute on Tuesday, bringing the total number of States parties to 114. The treaty will enter into force for Moldova on 1 January 2011.“The ICC applauds Moldova’s decision to join the international community’s efforts to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes that threaten the peace, security and well-being of the world,” the court, which is based in The Hague, said in a news release.An independent, permanent court, the ICC was set up in 2002 after the number of ratifications passed 60 that year. It is currently investigating events in five countries or regions: Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Sudan’s Darfur region, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Kenya. An individual State or the Security Council can refer cases to the court for investigation. read more

UNICEF seeks 14 billion to assist women and children in crises

7 March 2011The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today requested $1.4 billion in its annual appeal to assist children and women caught in crises, with the bulk of that needed for Pakistan and Haiti. The agency’s Humanitarian Action for Children Report (HAC) 2011 highlights projected needs in 32 countries and territories and 6 regions, and emphasizes the increasing importance of strengthening the resilience of communities. This year’s requirements have increased 21 per cent over those for 2010.“Investing in children and building the resilience of countries and communities living on the edge not only shortens their road to recovery, but also helps them to manage anticipated risks before a crisis strikes and to mitigate loss when it does,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Hilde Johnson. Humanitarian crises such as drought famine and conflict have dire consequences for children, including recruitment into armed forces, sexual violence, and the loss of basic services such as water, health and education, UNICEF pointed out in a news release. The agency noted that the unprecedented scale of last year’s disasters in Haiti and Pakistan triggered an extraordinary global response from all humanitarian organizations and partners. At the same time, it underscored the need to strengthen preparedness and risk reduction in the communities that are hit repeatedly by crisis. “Granting vulnerable communities the skills to face and withstand risk is an increasingly important component of humanitarian action, and an area to which UNICEF is deeply committed,” stated the agency.The HAC 2011 presents crises that require urgent action to save lives, to protect children against the worst forms of violence and abuse, and to ensure access to basic services, such as water and sanitation, health, nutrition and education. UNICEF is requesting $296 million for Pakistan and $157 million for Haiti, according to the Report. The financial needs for emergencies in the Asia-Pacific region have significantly increased and represent the region with the highest funding request – $373 million. Of the funding for Asia, 80 per cent is needed for assistance to Pakistani children and women affected by flooding and conflict. The requirements for Latin America and the Caribbean have increased eightfold, mainly as a result of emergency situations in Haiti and the addition of the Guatemala appeal. The 2010 regional requirements for Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States have also increased with the inclusion of the Kyrgyzstan appeal as well as increasing needs in Tajikistan. Requirements for Eastern and Southern Africa have been significantly reduced, particularly in such countries as Burundi, Eritrea and Uganda. While maintaining funding requirements for preparedness following the Sudan referendum, overall requests in West and Central Africa and the Middle East and North Africa have also been reduced. read more

Toronto Vancouver real estate hot pockets rest of Canadian housing mostly stable

TORONTO — The cost of owning a home has been holding steady in most parts of Canada, but affordability declined during the second quarter in the two most expensive markets, Vancouver and Toronto, a report by Royal Bank says.In its latest analysis of housing trends, RBC also said Monday it expects prices will continue to rise in Toronto and Vancouver in the short term because of tight supplies of detached homes for sale.The bank said supply and demand are more balanced in other Canadian markets and affordability has been close to the long-term average since 1985. Canadian housing prices to rise only 1% next year, TD Bank says‘Playing with fire’: How the Tories’ renovation tax credit promise may affect Canada’s hot housing marketsVancouver’s hot housing market shows no sign of easing as prices and sales hit fresh recordsIn a separate report, TD Bank said it expects a decline in Canadian borrowing rates in the first half of 2015 will likely boost demand into the early fall, but then have a waning effect in the late stages of this year.It says the low-rate environment has helped to keep markets “humming” in hot markets and reduce the impact of low commodity prices in other markets, particularly in Alberta and Saskatchewan. TD said commodity-dependent regions such as Edmonton, Calgary, Regina and Saskatoon “have weakened considerably so far this year, but to a lesser degree than was originally anticipated.”“Elsewhere, markets that had embarked on soft landings over the last few years, including Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City, have seen activity either stabilize or perk up,” TD said. The RBC quarterly report takes into account income, property prices and the typical costs of home ownership, such as mortgage payments, utilities, taxes and fees when calculating its affordability measure.The split, in fact, widened during the second quarter of 2015, with strong price increases for single-detached homes in Toronto and Vancouver squeezing affordability further“The central theme for housing affordability in Canada continues to be the wide divide between stretched conditions in Toronto and Vancouver, and fairly neutral conditions in the rest of the country,” RBC said in its report.“The split, in fact, widened during the second quarter of 2015, with strong price increases for single-detached homes in Toronto and Vancouver squeezing affordability further in these markets, whereas a slow pace of appreciation — at best —kept the cost of home ownership mostly stable in the majority of other markets.”RBC said there was evidence that buyers were more confident in Alberta than they had been in the previous two quarters as a result of the dramatic decline in oil prices, but “prices still remained under slight downward pressure for the most part …”“The picture was a little different in Saskatchewan where a recovery in single-detached home prices negatively affected the affordability of bungalows and two-storey homes.” In Quebec, RBC said home prices were “quite stagnant” and that contributed to improved housing affordability.“Widespread improvements similarly took place in Atlantic Canada, although there remain few indications that housing demand is turning a corner in the region.” read more

WatchGuess which 12 states are the biggest losers if NAFTA is killed

MEXICO CITY — A new projection from the biggest business lobby in the United States shows the 12 states that would likely feel the impact of NAFTA’s cancellation the most also voted for Donald Trump.The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has stepped up its efforts to save the North American Free Trade Agreement amid threats of an American pullout.The group’s newest projection shows the states exporting the most to Canada and Mexico in total dollars, or as a percentage of their overall global exports.Supporters cheer as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania in October, 2016. Trump won all 12 states — Michigan, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Texas, Missouri, Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Arizona, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and North Carolina — which delivered more than half his electoral college votes.The current round of talks, underway in Mexico City, is expected to represent a calm between two storms. The countries have now made their demands on key issues, but are likely still months away from revealing their bottom lines.Officials have played down expectations for this week’s talks. The lead NAFTA ministers for the three countries aren’t even attending the Mexico round, and Canadian officials suggest there won’t likely be movement on the most controversial issues.Canada and Mexico have suggested one potential area for compromise — the U.S. idea of regular reviews of the agreement — but don’t want it to include a so-called termination clause. The Trump administration wants the agreement to lapse after five years unless all three countries agree to extend it.Canada, Mexico prepared to bend on controversial U.S. sticking point in NAFTA negotiations72 U.S. lawmakers escalate complaints over Trump’s handling of NAFTA in flurry of lettersThinking the unthinkable on NAFTA has C$ traders doomsday preppingThat’s one of several U.S. demands that shocked observers — Canada, Mexico, numerous American lawmakers, and the business community. Several dozen U.S. lawmakers wrote to the administration this week expressing concern.And the Chamber of Commerce has begun organizing regular NAFTA events in an effort to save the agreement. It released its projections in an op-ed today headlined, “Which States Would Be Hit Hardest by Withdrawing from NAFTA?”“Imagine the scene: The U.S. unemployment rate is climbing. Crops in the heartland are rotting. Manufacturers are moving abroad. Consumer prices are rising,” the piece begins.“That’s the picture painted.” Getty Images read more

Trilingual human rights action plan goes online

As many of these policies and laws are however yet to be implemented, it was decided to include in the Human Rights Action Plan specific areas covered by these policies or proposed laws, in addition to mentioning the implementation of these policies and laws as a Goal/Issue/Activity.“The commitment of the Government of Sri Lanka towards the full realization and guaranteeing of Human Rights was further manifested when in 2008, a Committee was appointed to give effect to proposals in Mahinda Chinthana, for the inclusion of a comprehensive Bill of the Rights into the Constitution. A Draft Bill of Rights was thereafter formulated which is being deliberated by stakeholders, with a view to its incorporation. The National Action Plan aims at giving teeth to these existing mechanisms and further strengthening the current regime, in order that they comply with modern trends of enforcing them, to achieve the efficacy of there full amplitude. The priority area on Civil and Political Rights amply sets out those objectives,” the National Action Plan says on the website. (Colombo Gazette) The Action Plan is in eight parts representing the eight thematic areas.  They are each in the form of a matrix consisting of Focus Area, Goal, Issue, Activities, Key Performance Indicators, Timeframe and Key Responsible Agencies. The action plan, available on http://www.hractionplan.gov.lk, follows a commitment given to the UN Human Rights Council in 2008. The aim in general was to include priority areas and not all areas for action, as the Plan is time bound and could not realistically cover every issue which may need to be addressed.Where national policies or plans of action exist in relation to a particular area, these have been taken into account and mentioned where appropriate. The government has made available the National Human Rights Action Plan in all three languages online, officials said today.The action plan covers a wide area including Civil and Political Rights, Economic Social and Cultural Rights, Prevention of Torture, Rights of Women, Labour Rights, Migrant Workers, Children and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP). read more

Canada will not leave the Commonwealth

“I think this is a test,” he said, “and by all accounts at this stage, the institution isn’t responding well to the challenge.”But aside from threatening to boycott the next Commonwealth leaders summit, Baird did not say what other steps Canada might take.Asked if the government was contemplating leaving the organization, he replied: “Not at this time.” NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar said “if anyone should be leaving right now, it’s Sri Lanka.” In addition to hosting the summit, Sri Lanka is also in line to serve as the institution’s chair for the next two years — which Canada and other critics believe would seriously undermine the group’s moral authority and its ability to persuade other errant regimes to mend their ways. Baird said the government and Canadian diplomats have been pressing other Commonwealth countries on the issue, but he would not comment on why those efforts have been unsuccessful.“This is a tremendously difficult file,” he told the committee. “And if Canada is the lone (country) to stand up and speak truth to power, we can all be tremendously proud.”Liberal international co-operation critic Mark Eyking, however, described the Conservative government’s failure to get other countries onside as a diplomatic “failure.” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says the Commonwealth is failing its greatest test by letting Sri Lanka host this year’s leaders summit but yet Canada has no intention of leaving the organization, the Vancouver Sun reported.Canada has been alone in threatening to boycott November’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo unless Sri Lanka improves its human rights record and moves towards post-civil war reconciliation with the country’s Tamil minority. Canada is the Commonwealth’s second-largest donor, and the institution would be in dire straits if Canada were to withhold the $25 million it contributes every year.Dewar said the government should review all options, but the first step is declaring categorically that Canada will not be attending November’s leaders summit.“We should not participate, period,” he said. “Remember apartheid? We led strongly in that. That’s what we should be doing. Not a little bit here, a little bit there. Just be very strong and say ‘We’re not going to participate.’” “We’re tremendously concerned about the deteriorating and authoritative trend of the government in Sri Lanka,” he told the Commons’ foreign affairs committee.Speaking to reporters afterward, Baird said the fact Canada is the only country speaking out reflects poorly on the Commonwealth as a whole. Days after expressing frustration that Sri Lanka and the upcoming summit were not on the agenda of a Commonwealth foreign ministers’ meeting, Baird appeared before a parliamentary committee and reiterated his criticisms of the Asian nation, the Vancouver Sun reported. read more

Muttur probe intensifies

The LLRC had called for an investigation into the incident after human rights groups and the international community continuously raised the failure to take to task those responsible. suspects on charges of unlawful assembly, murder and attempted murder in the killing of five students in Trincomalee.The 13 suspects have already been remanded by the Trincomalee Magistrate. The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has been instructed to prepare a comprehensive list of witnesses in the controversial case involving the murder of 17 aid workers in Muttur in 2006.According to the National Plan of Action on the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), the CID is conducting investigations into the killing of the aid workers of Action Against Hunger, a French humanitarian agency. The National Plan of Action, which was last week placed in the public domain by Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, stated that the outcome of the Muttur inquiry was forwarded to the Attorney General. A team of Senior State Counsels are also reviewing material related to the incident, the National Plan of Action stated.The National Plan of Action also notes that the Police has been advised to institute Non Summary Proceedings in the relevant Magistrate Court, against thirteen read more

President insists Government will not topple

“Some people are saying that this Government will not last long. Some are saying this Government can be toppled soon. Do not expect a new Government before 2020,” the President asserted. He said that the National Government has come under attack from day one from various elements and allegations have also been raised against him and the Prime Minister.The President said that he has no intention of responding to some of the allegations and he thanked the SLFP and UNP members who agreed to work together in a National Government. (Colombo Gazette) President Maithripala Sirisena says he expects the National Government to stay in power for five years despite the allegations being raised against him and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.Speaking at a ceremony held to appoint new State and Deputy Ministers today, the President said that he has faith in the new Government and does not think anyone will be able to shake it. The President said that he took office and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the new Ministers took office not with the expectation of achieving an easy target. read more

FCID grills MRs personal physician Eliyantha White

He claims to have healed ailments in many cricket players including Lasith Malinga, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar and Ashish Nehra.Sachin Tendulkar once called Dr. White the “Miracle Doctor from Sri Lanka”. He is not a registered medical practitioner. (Colombo Gazette) The police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) questioned Dr. Eliyantha White today over his residence which is being used by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.Eliyantha White is a spiritual healer who treats only VIP’s and also uses herbs, and is considered to be the personal physician for former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse. read more

Indian girl held in Sri Lanka for Buddha image on dress

The Police had detained and questioned an Indian tourist who was wearing a dress with a print of the Buddha on it.The 26-year-old tourist was on the island on a family holiday at a resort near Bentota, The Hindu newspaper reported. Before the group’s departure from Colombo on Monday, some of them were shopping at an upmarket mall in the capital. “Just as we were about to make the payment at the counter, three cops came up to us and said they needed to arrest and take my niece. We were terrified,” said Deepam R., aunt of the young woman. The 26-year-old and the rest of the family apologised to the police and said they did not intend to offend Sri Lankans, she said. Insisting that she would accompany her niece, Ms. Deepam went to the police station, where they were made to sign a statement and apologise, before being allowed to proceed to the airport for departure.When contacted, the police said the family was let off with a warning. “Wearing such a print is an offence according to the penal code. It is not just about the Buddha, wearing prints of deities of any religion is considered offensive,” police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara told The Hindu. However, senior lawyer J.C. Weliamuna said: “Only defaming a religion is a criminal offence in Sri Lanka, wearing a normal print of the Buddha does not amount to that. This is ridiculous.” “One of my nephews rushed to the store next door and bought a T-shirt, so my niece could wear it over the dress. But the police did not allow her to do that. They asked her to come to the police station with them,” Ms. Deepam told The Hindu over telephone, upon her return to Chennai. read more

EU court removes freeze on LTTE funds orders delisting

The European Union’s top court today removed the freeze on LTTE funds in EU countries and also ordered that the LTTE be removed from the EU’s terrorism list.The court said the EU had not produced any evidence to show that there was a risk of the Tamil Tigers carrying out attacks after its military defeat in 2009, the Reuters news agency reported. LTTE was added to the list in 2006. (Colombo Gazette) The EU terrorism list, created after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 and last updated in January, includes 13 individuals and 22 organizations, such as the Communist Party of the Philippines and Peru’s Maoist-inspired rebel group, Shining Path. “The Court of Justice therefore confirms the annulment of the continued freezing of the LTTE’s funds,” it said. read more

Pakistans PM notes importance of relationship with Sri Lanka

Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi met President Maithripala Sirisena on the sidelines of UN General Assemply in New York.The meeting began by reiterating the deep and historic relations between the two countries. It was decided to further strengthen the bonds of friendship between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the News in Pakistan reported. The President thanked the Prime Minister for Pakistan’s consistent support to Sri Lanka during challenging times when Sri Lanka was facing wave of terror, and during natural disasters. The President stressed on the need for enhancement in trade and economic relations between the two countries. It was agreed that there is a large potential for expansion in defence cooperation between the two countries. Prime Minister Abbasi said that Pakistan considered Sri Lanka a very important country and attached great importance to its bilateral relations with Sri Lanka. “We believe that Sri Lanka, being an important member of SAARC, can play a significant role in the regional organisation,” the prime minister said. “We want to further expand trade and economic cooperation with Sri Lanka,” the Premier said.Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also extended an invitation to the Sri Lankan President to visit Pakistan. (Colombo Gazette) It was also agreed that both the countries would continue to cooperate at all the multilateral forums in the spirit of neighbourhood and longstanding relationships, which were rooted in history. read more

CEB unions suspend strike launched over Police attack

The employees later surrounded the office of the chairman and held him hostage. Employees attached to trade unions protested at the CEB yesterday after discussions with the chairman, W.B. Ganegala, over some demands failed. Unions attached to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) have decided to suspend the strike launched today over the Police attack on a protest yesterday.The Special Task Force (STF) stormed the CEB yesterday and freed the chairman after he was held hostage by the staff. A tense situation arose with some STF members, the Police and the protesters exchanging blows.Following the incident, the CEB trade unions launched a strike today to protest over the manner in which the Police dealt with the situation. (Colombo Gazette) The Police obtained a court order and the employees were told to release the chairman but the protesting CEB employees refused to do so.The STF was then called in and the CEB chairman was escorted out with Police protection. read more

Former Prisons Commissioner and Police IP further remanded

They were placed in remand and when the case was heard today the Fort Magistrate’s Court ruled that they be further remanded till September 18th. (Colombo Gazette) Former Prisons Commissioner Emil Ranjan and Inspector of Police (IP) Neomal Rangajeewa, who were arrested over the 2012 Welikada Prison riot, have been further remanded till September 18th.Emil Ranjan and Neomal Rangajeewa had been arrested over the 2012 Welikada Prison clashes in which several inmates were killed.

Brock grads business among fastestgrowing in Canada

Albert IannantuonoFresh on the heels of receiving a 2012 Brock Alumni of Distinction Award, Albert Iannantuono’s (BA ’85) company Tri-Media Integrated Marketing Technologies has been selected 93rd among “Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies” by PROFIT Magazine.The 24th annual PROFIT 200 ranks Canada’s fastest-growing companies by five-year revenue growth, profiling the country’s most successful growth companies.“I am so proud that during some of the toughest economic times, we were able to not only survive, but evolve into a sustainable, growth-oriented business, serving some great clients globally,” says Iannantuono. “We are proud to be amidst the top companies in the country.”St. Catharines-based Tri-Media Integrated Marketing Technologies Inc. has evolved from a traditional advertising agency into one that provides traditional, digital, social and mobile services to major brands globally.With offices in three countries, Tri-Media maintains a workforce of more than 65 employees, and has high-profile clients as diverse as the Discovery Channel, AOL, Google-YouTube, Parks Canada, and others.“[These] companies are an inspiration to Canadian entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs,” says Ian Portsmouth, Editor-in-Chief, PROFIT Magazine. “PROFIT is proud to celebrate the success of these businesspeople, who, despite a challenging economy, have achieved outstanding success in a wide variety of fields.”In March 2012, the Brock University Alumni Association honoured thirty-five outstanding graduates to celebrate the Association’s 35th anniversary. Iannantuono was among this distinguished group of alumni who exemplify the spirit of Brock through their scholarly, creative, humanitarian and professional contributions to Canada and beyond.In addition to running Tri-Media, Iannantuono has used his business acumen to spearhead a range of civic and philanthropic campaigns to showcase and increase pride and business in Niagara. He was one of the founders of the Niagara Social Project and has received many awards for his community support.For more info: www.tri-media.com read more

OPP investigating reports of fraudster targeting Fergus

Ontario Provincial Police have released images of a man wanted in connection with a fraud investigation in Fergus.Police received a report of fraud at two businesses, where a man provided false credit card numbers to employees to purchase items.The transactions were later declined.Images of the man and his vehicle have been released.Witnesses say he is 5’11” with a slim build and approximately 25 years old.Anyone with information is asked to contact Wellington County OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. read more

Halton police looking to identify suspect in break and enters

Halton police are looking to identity a male responsible for breaking into apartment buildings in Oakville.On April 24, just before 4 a.m. security camera caught a lone male prying open a side door and entering an apartment building.Once inside he used a grinder saw to access mailboxes and steal from a vending machine.Then just after 5 a.m. the same male was caught on security camera  entering another apartment building. He attempted to access the superintendent office and mailboxes but was unsuccessful.He’s described as, white, 30-35 years old, slim build, 5’10-6′ with dark hair. He was wearing black pants, black hoodie, white shoes, camouflage hat and carrying a grey backpack.Anyone with information is asked to contact 2 District, Criminal Investigations Bureau,  Detective Omar Nadim at 905-825-4747 ext. 2278. read more