ISLAMABAD: Deputy Chairman Senate Saleem Mandviwala Tuesday said Pakistan and Morocco would further boost the Parliamentary linkages to mutually benefit and support each other in economic, education and social sectors.
While talking to the Mohamed Karmoune, Ambassador of Morocco who called on him here at Parliament House, he said that Pakistan and Morocco shared many commonalities and both had supported each other on International issues. He said there was a need to enhance cooperation in economic, education and tourism for mutual benefits of the two sides.
He said that the exchange of Parliamentary delegations would steer the agenda to enhance bilateral ties and economic relationship. The deputy chairman said Morocco could benefit from Pakistan in different sectors especially education and training. He said both the countries could further cement their relation in tourism, education, livestock, and dairy development sectors. He said that tangible were required to develop a strong link between business communities and create an enabling environment for investment in mutually beneficial projects.
The Ambassador welcomed the remarks of Deputy Chairman Senate and agreed with the views to enhance bilateral cooperation in different sectors. Senators Muhammad Javed Abbasi and Sajjad Hussain Turi were also present on the occasion. They also underscored the need for enhanced parliamentary linkages by activating the friendship groups at bilateral levels to learn from experiences of each other.
UN warns of famine risk in C. Africa
GENEVA: The humanitarian situation in the violence-hit Central African Republic is deteriorating at an “alarming rate”, the UN said Wednesday, warning that famine would hit if nothing is done to reverse the trend.
Growing unrest in the country of 4.5 million people is forcing many to flee their homes and abandon their fields, causing spiraling food insecurity, United Nations humanitarian coordinator in the country, Najat Rochdi, told reporters in Geneva. If the situation remains the same, and people do not return to their fields, … “it means that yes, in very few years we will have a famine in the Central African Republic,” she said.
“We are not talking about 10 people. We are talking about hundreds of thousands” at risk, she said, pointing out that several regions have already reached level 4 in terms of food insecurity — just away from famine. Thousands have been killed and a quarter of the population has fled during violence triggered after President Francois Bozize, a Christian, was overthrown in 2013 by mainly Muslim Seleka rebels, triggering Christian militia revenge attacks.
The UN’s World Food Programme warned earlier this month that CAR was facing the worst situation of food insecurity in four years, with nearly two million people in urgent need of food aid. Fresh data from the UN humanitarian agency, OCHA, meanwhile showed Wednesday that 2.9 million people – 63 percent of the population — require aid and protection.
“The world cannot turn a blind eye to what is happening in the CAR. We are back to square one,” Rochdi said, deploring “despicable attacks” which are “taking a huge toll on the lives of innocent men, women, boys, and girls.”
In the past three weeks alone, more than 50,000 people have been impacted by violence in the northern town of Batangafo and in the central town of Alindao. Two sites hosting displaced people in those areas were also torched, OCHA said.
“As humanitarians, we continue to scale up emergency response assistance, but in these two towns we have to do it from scratch as our achievements have been lost,” Rochdi said. One of the world’s poorest nations despite a rich supply of diamonds and uranium, the CAR has struggled to recover from the 2013 civil war that erupted when Bozize was ousted.
In response, Christians, who account for about 80 percent of the population, organized vigilante units dubbed “anti-Balaka” in reference to a local machete. Rochdi called for a halt to the violence and for the government, armed groups, and the international community to help avoid a “catastrophic scenario”. “I am raising the alarm not to say famine will arrive tomorrow, but to say that every possible measure must be taken to ensure that it doesn’t,” she said.
7 UN peacekeepers killed in Congo
BENI: Seven United Nations peacekeepers were killed in an operation against a rebel militia in eastern DR Congo, the UN said on Thursday.
Ten other peacekeeping troops were wounded, and another is missing, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in New York.
Several Congolese were also killed or wounded in the joint operation, he said.
The deaths mark the biggest loss by the large UN force in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the rebels killed 15 troops nearly a year ago.
Earlier Thursday, General Bernard Commins, deputy head of the MONUSCO force, said a joint operation had been launched with DRC troops on Tuesday against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a jihadi group blamed for bloody attacks on civilians.
The offensive aimed at Kididiwe, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Beni, a city of between 200,000 and 300,000 inhabitants, said Commins.
“We are holding Kididiwe at present, after violent fighting with an armed group. At present, we are evacuating wounded Congolese troops and Blue Helmets,” he told AFP. He added he was unable to provide any information about reports at that time of fatalities.
Six peacekeepers from Malawi and one from Tanzania were killed, the UN said in New York.
Malawi’s armed forces confirmed earlier that four of its soldiers with MONUSCO — a sergeant and three privates aged between 29 and 38 — had been killed on Wednesday.
The military “has lost courageous, hardworking and disciplined soldiers who were always ready to serve to ensure that peace prevails,” the Malawi Defence Force said in a statement.
It gave no further details on where or how they died.
Commins described Kididiwe as a “major stronghold” of the ADF.
A Congolese officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the town had been used as a springboard for militia attacks on Beni’s suburbs this year.
On Wednesday, Commins said MONUSCO had deployed attack helicopters against ADF forces threatening UN troops in the Mayangose area, northeast of Beni.
The region is also battling an Ebola outbreak that has left more than 200 dead. Insecurity is hampering efforts to contain the disease, the UN spokesman said.
S.Africa public broadcaster says no wages by March
JOHANNESBURG: South Africa’s cash-strapped public broadcaster on Tuesday warned it would be unable to pay its workers by March if it fails to secure a loan.
South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) directors told lawmakers that the company requires three billion rands ($207 million) and that it had launched a process to lay off a third of its full-time employees. By “February we might not even be able to pay full salaries. March is our day zero if nothing happens,” board member Mathatha Tsedu told a committee of members of parliament. The directors said the company had on Tuesday approached the labor arbitration agency to retrench 981 of its 3,370 staffers.
Another 1,200 of its 2,400 freelancers are also earmarked for dismissal. SABC posted losses of 622 million rands ($45 million) in the financial year ending March 2018. It projects that this will deepen to 803 million rands by the end of March next year. “The threat of commercial insolvency is increasing quite significantly,” said company CEO Madoda Mxakwe. The company’s financial troubles worsened during the tenure of its former chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, an ally of ex-president Jacob Zuma. The SABC has three free-to-air television channels and 18 stations broadcasting in all of the country’s 11 official languages.