August 2nd, 2012

President Obama Calls the US Squad

Posted on 02 Aug 2012 at 11:09am

President Obama took time yesterday to congratulate some of America’s newest Olympic gold medalists — as well as the greatest Olympian of all time.

While traveling in Ohio, the President placed calls to the five members of the U.S. women’s gymnastic team — Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney, Kyla Ross and Gabby Douglas.

He also spoke with Michael Phelps, who picked up his record-breaking 19th Olympic medal – a gold — on Tuesday night.

Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that he had a chance to watch some of the competition in London with the President — including the gymnastics competition.

” remarked that it is astounding what they are capable…

Syria: Kofi Annan resigns as UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy

Posted on 02 Aug 2012 at 11:03am

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the resignation of the United Nations-League of Arab States Joint Special Envoy for the Syrian crisis, Kofi Annan.

“Mr. Annan has informed me, and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Mr. Nabil El Araby, of his intention not to renew his mandate when it expires on 31 August 2012,” Mr. Ban said in a statement. “I wish to express my deepest gratitude to Mr. Annan for the determined and courageous efforts he has made as the Joint Special Envoy for Syria.”

Mr. Annan, a former UN Secretary-General, was appointed in late February to serve as the high-level representative of the Secretaries-General of the United…

Somalia: UN envoy deplores killing of prominent comedian and media worker

Posted on 02 Aug 2012 at 10:52am

The United Nations envoy for Somalia has strongly condemned the killing of prominent Somali comedian and media worker Abdi Malaq Jeylani, and called on the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“Almost every month we mourn a victim in the Somali media world. This is simply unacceptable,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Augustine Mahiga, said in a news release.

“I call again on the Somali authorities to take immediate action and do all that is necessary to conduct a full and independent investigation into this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice,” added Mr. Mahiga, who also heads the UN Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS).

Mr. Jeylani, also known as “Marshale,” was…

Three million Syrians in need of food, crops and livestock assistance – UN

Posted on 02 Aug 2012 at 10:49am

Nearly three million Syrians need food, crops and livestock assistance, according to a recent assessment carried out by the United Nations and the Syrian Government.

Carried out by the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Syria’s Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform in June, the Joint Rapid Food Security Needs Assessment mission’s report stresses that out of the three million Syrians in need of assistance, 1.5 million are in urgent need of food aid over the next three to six months, especially in areas that have seen the greatest conflict and population displacement.

Syria has been wracked by violence, with more than 10,000 people,…

UN experts urge States to confront modern-day hatred, violence against Roma

Posted on 02 Aug 2012 at 10:45am

Two independent United Nations human rights experts today called on all countries, particularly those with Roma communities, to confront modern-day hatred, violence and discrimination against this group and find solutions to their persistent exclusion.

Their comments come on Roma Holocaust Remembrance Day, or ‘Pharrajimos’ in the Romani language, which is observed each year on 2 August. Some 3,000 Roma and Sinti were murdered on the night of 2-3 August 1944, when the “Gypsy” camp in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp complex was liquidated by the Nazi regime.

The UN Independent Expert on minority issues, Rita Izsák, who is herself of Hungarian Roma origin, said not enough was being done to challenge “a…

United Kingdom’s Cameron Must Raise Critical Issues with Russia’s Puting in Meeting Today

Posted on 02 Aug 2012 at 10:38am

(Washington, D.C.) — Amnesty International calls on United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin about the Pussy Riot trial and Russia’s increasing intolerance of legitimate dissent as well as Russia’s efforts to block international action on Syria. The two leaders are meeting in London today.

“David Cameron needs to step up and raise these critical issues with President Putin,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s director of Europe and Central Asia. “Russia should stop supplying arms to President Assad’s government and should support a strengthening of the U.N. monitoring mission in the country and a referral of the crisis to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal…

Nigeria: Oil spill investigations ‘a fiasco’ in the Niger Delta

Posted on 02 Aug 2012 at 9:16am

The investigation process into oil spills in the Niger Delta has been challenged today by Amnesty International and the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD), as inconsistencies in Shell’s claims about sabotage were revealed.

Experts have examined evidence from the latest oil spill from Shell’s poorly maintained pipelines in the Bodo creek area and confirmed that it strongly indicates that the leak is due to corrosion of the pipeline. However, Shell appears to be ignoring the evidence of corrosion.

“The investigation process into oil spills in the Niger Delta is a fiasco. There is more investment in public relations messaging than in facing…

Belarus: One Year on, Still Waiting for Justice

Posted on 02 Aug 2012 at 9:05am

Comply With UN Resolution, Free Rights Activist

(Moscow) ­­­– Belarusian authorities should immediately and unconditionally free a leading human rights defender, Ales Bialiatski, and drop all charges against him, Human Rights Watch said today. Bialiatski was arrested on August 4, 2011, and imprisoned on politically motivated charges.

“Every minute Ales Bialiatski spends in prison undermines the rule of law in Belarus,” said Yulia Gorbunova, Belarus researcher at Human Rights Watch. “From the very start the case against Bialiatski has been solely about retaliation for his human rights work. The authorities should free him immediately.”

Bialiatski is vice president of the International Federation on Human Rights and the head of the Belarusian…

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