UNITED NATIONS: Boosting the number of women and girls entering careers involving STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) is vital to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said.
However, women and girls remain “woefully under-represented”, he noted in a message marking the International Day of Women and Girls in Science that was observed on Monday.
The secretary-general said among the reasons for their under-representation was gender stereotyping, a lack of visible role models and unsupportive – or even hostile – policies and environments, at a national level.
He called for concerted efforts to overcome these obstacles, tackle misconceptions about girls’ abilities, and promote access to learning opportunities for women and girls, particularly in rural areas.
The International Day was established in 2015, following the adoption of a General Assembly resolution, signaling the international community’s interest in achieving equality and gender-parity in science for sustainable development, and recognizing that full access and participation in STEM subjects is imperative for the empowerment of women and girls.
The 2019 theme of the Day is “Investment in Women and Girls for Inclusive Green Growth,” and a two-day event began on Monday at UN Headquarters in New York, bringing together global experts and leaders to evaluate the economic and social impact of women’s participation in science-based sustainable development programmes.
The event featured a high-level panel focusing on the public-sector financing of science for green growth, investment to attract and retain high calibre women in science, and financing to ensure gender equality in science.
The second day of the event, will discuss the factors that influence whether girls choose STEM subjects, as they transition from school to higher education: UN data
shows that only around 30 per cent of female students select STEM-related fields in higher education.
There will also be a panel convened by young change-makers and passionate advocates for girls in science from around the world, which aims to give girls the chance to gain core leadership skills, and the opportunity to present a vision for the use of science, to achieve sustainable development goals.
Organizations and UN agencies across the world, led by UN Women and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), have been commemorating the International Day through various events, articles and videos.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a video on Monday to coincide with the Day, in which eight successful nuclear scientists are asked how their gender has affected their career, highlighting the bias and prejudice that still exists in the industry.
Islamic State group claims Sri Lanka bombs that killed hundreds
COLOMBO: A local group on Tuesday said it was behind a devastating string of suicide attacks against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka that killed more than 320 people on Easter Sunday.
The claim emerged more than 48 hours after the near-simultaneous blasts tore through three high-end hotels popular with foreigners and three churches packed with Christians marking Easter.
It came after Sri Lanka’s government said initial investigations suggested the attack had been carried out as “retaliation” for shootings at two mosques in New Zealand last month that killed 50 people.
The Sri Lankan government had already pointed the figure at a little-known local extremist group, but said it was investigating whether they had international support.
“Those that carried out the attack that targeted members of the US-led coalition and Christians in Sri Lanka the day before yesterday are Islamic State group fighters,” a statement released by the group’s propaganda agency Amaq said.
It presented no immediate evidence for the claim, or further details on the attackers.
Kim’s schedule for Russia visit seen to be taking shape
VLADIVOSTOK: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s schedule for a visit to Russia appears to be taking shape, with his security and protocol staff spotted making final preparations in Vladivostok for his upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Moscow and Pyongyang have confirmed that Kim will visit Russia for the summit, but they did not disclose its date and venue. Media speculate that he is likely to arrive by train in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok on Wednesday and hold the talks the following day.
Kim Chang-son, the North Korean leader’s protocol chief, and other staff members have been seen checking facilities in Vladivostok, including those of the Far Eastern Federal University, where the leaders of the two countries are expected to meet.
A diplomatic source here said that Moscow and Pyongyang appear to be fine-tuning the schedule for a dinner between Kim and Putin on Wednesday and their formal meeting the next day.
Should he decide to travel by train, Kim would travel a distance of around 1,200 kilometers from Pyongyang on a trip expected to take 20 hours or more given the poor railway conditions in some stretches toward the border with Russia.
The federal university on Russky Island of Vladivostok is seen as the most likely summit venue, as it has so far hosted a series of top-level international events, including the 2012 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
The university is also a site of Russia’s annual Eastern Economic Forum designed to publicize and strengthen Moscow’s policy initiative to attract investment for and expedite the development of the Far Easter region.
Security on a bridge leading to the insular university is relatively easy to control, another reason why the university has been cited as a likely summit site.
US sanctions over Iran oil will ‘intensify Mideast turmoil’: China
BEIJING: China warned Tuesday that the US decision to impose sanctions on buyers of Iranian oil will “intensify turmoil” in the Middle East and in the international energy market.
The White House announced Monday it was calling an end to six-month waivers that had exempted several countries — including major importer China — from unilateral US sanctions on Iranian oil exports.
“China firmly opposes the US implementation of unilateral sanctions and its so-called long-armed jurisdiction,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing.
“The relevant move by the United States will intensify the turmoil in the Middle East and the turmoil in the international energy market.”
In seeking to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero, the Trump administration is targeting the country’s top revenue earner in its latest no-holds-barred move to crush the economy and scale back the clerical regime’s influence.