Daily Archives: May 19, 2015

Armed youths lead killings in South Sudan, says UNICEF

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Dozens of children have been killed in the latest escalation of violence in South Sudan’s oil-rich Unity state, the UN agency says. Photo: UNICEF

Children have been raped, abducted and killed amid escalating conflict in South Sudan as warring groups try to make ground ahead of the rainy season, UNICEF said Tuesday.

The UN children’s agency says survivors have been forced to flee armed groups in Unity State and seek shelter in camps or hide in swamp land.

The violence is reportedly ongoing and comes despite discussions with all armed groups to respect the rights of civilians, as Daniel Johnson reports from Geneva.

Duration: 2’10”

AGI: A WINDOW ON THE ARAB WORLD WITH THE NEW DIALOGUE REVIEW

With completely different graphics and a new format, Agi Agenzia Giornalistica Italia has presented at the International Book Fair in Turin the new Dialogue, entirely dedicated to Expo Milano 2015 and to the relationships between Italy and Gulf Countries.

Rome, 19 May 2015Agi Agenzia Giornalistica Italia strengthens its traditional attention towards the Arab world thanks to the review Dialogue, which has been presented in the framework of the International Book Fair in Turin, with completely different graphics and a new format.

A quarterly magazine published both in English and Arabic, Dialogue aims to enhance the dialogue between Italy and the Arab world, promoting reciprocal awareness of different cultures, and featuring in-depth articles on geopolitics, economics, culture and art.

The new edition, Da Milano a Dubai (From Milan to Dubai), focuses particularly on the challenge thrown down by Expo Milano 2015, the great international event that recently started in Milan, with Italy’s Commissioner for Expo Milano Giuseppe Sala discussing the aims and innovations of the exposition.

The powerful ties between Italy and the Middle East, with particular focus on the United Arab Emirates, are the common thread of the review. It contains, among others, an interview with Executive Director and Chief Editor at Al Bayan newspaper Dhaen Shahin, another with the Italian Ambassador in Abu Dhabi Giorgio Starace, an article on the prestigious Gulf Enterprises Studies programme at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and an interview with Alitalia Ceo Silvano Cassano, following the company’s merger with Etihad.

The magazine is also available on Agi Arab, a portal in Arabic language realized thanks to the contribution of Agi Arabic desk and partnerships with relevant newspapers, TVs and think thanks in the Middle East.

Thanks to the new Dialogue, Agi confirms its role as a key player in the global information arena, strengthening its international vocation, already strong with a network of correspondents and partners in over 50 countries and news production in 7 languages.

 

Agi – Agenzia Giornalistica Italia is one of Italy’s leading news companies. Since 1950 its news bulletins inform Italian institutions, businesses, industries and media. Agi’s international growth strategy focuses on strategic areas worldwide, through a network of correspondents and partners in over 50 countries and news production in 7 languages, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

Contact details:
Press office:
 Tel. +39.0651996296
Switchboard: +39 06.5199161
E-mail: 
ufficio.stampa@agi.it
Website: www.agi.it

The EU’s migrant strategy: a welcome new impetus

19 May 2015
Yves Pascouau (Director of Migration and Mobility Policies) and António Vitorino (President of the Jacques Delors Institute)

The publication of the Commission’s agenda on migration comes at a difficult time: first and foremost in humanitarian terms on account of the recurrent and intolerable tragedies taking place in the Mediterranean, which demand a rapid response; and secondly, in political terms, if we consider both the economic situation (the crisis) and the political situation (the rise of far-right and anti-European parties) which makes all debate and action in this field rather tricky.

In this context, the Juncker Commission faced a sensitive challenge because it needed to act quickly but had only limited room for manoeuvre. While certain guidelines had already been revealed at the European Council meeting on 23 April, the publication of the agenda has provided the Commission with an opportunity to recall and to specify the actions it wishes to undertake in the immediate, medium, and long terms. There are three aspects to the agenda worth highlighting: its innovation, its confirmation, and its long-term vision.

Solidarity by constraint: an innovative and politically active agenda

The first innovative aspect concerns the measures announced in connection with the “relocation” and “resettlement” of people seeking or currently receiving international protection. This European jargon describes a new form of “solidarity” both among the EU’s member states and towards third countries.

Relocation, broadly covered by the term “European quotas,” consists of setting up a mechanism for sharing out among member states those asylum-seekers who have made it onto EU soil (primarily the soil of those countries situated in the frontline). This is particularly relevant for Italy, whose capacity for taking in an increasingly large number of asylum-seekers (up 143% in 2014 over 2013) has become saturated.

Faced with member states’ reluctance to afford Italy any concrete assistance, the Commission has swung into action and decided to submit a mechanism for compulsory relocation among the EU’s member states at the end of May. The proposal will rest on a temporary mechanism for redistributing individuals in clear need of international protection. Asylum-seekers are to be shared out among member states on the basis of objective criteria concerning the population (40%), GDP (40%), the unemployment rate (10%), and the proportion of asylum-seekers granted asylum and refugees resettled per million inhabitants between 2010 and 2014 (10%).

If anyone ever questioned the Juncker Commission’s “political” nature, they can think again. Because this is a genuine feat of strength pulled off in application of Article 78.3 in the TFEU. This legal basis is important in two ways. First, it allows the United Kingdom, which is opposed to the mechanism, to resort to its opt-out clause, which it has already said it plans to do. And second, it requires a qualified majority for its adoption. Hence member states hostile to the project, such as Hungary, are going to have to put together a blocking minority if they wish to scuttle the proposal.

Negotiations over the proposal’s content, however, are set to be tough. On the one hand, the distribution criteria are in danger of being bitterly disputed, and indeed as they are envisaged today they may yet change. On the other hand, several aspects have yet to be defined, such as the legal remedy and grounds with which individuals will be able to appeal against a relocation decision, or the measures to adopt in order to ensure that relocated individuals remain in the designated member state.

The announced adoption of a recommendation on a resettlement mechanism is the other remarkable innovation. In this case it is a matter not only of displaying solidarity with third countries that take in considerable numbers of refugees, but also of organising the arrival and distribution of vulnerable individuals from those third countries towards member states. Based on distribution criteria akin to those adopted for relocation, this currently non-binding mechanism provides for the resettlement of 20,000 people a year until 2020. The Commission has stressed that this first initiative may be completed, if necessary, by a compulsory resettlement mechanism. Here again, the voluntary nature of the measure is in danger of showing its limits and of prompting the Commission to enforce solidarity by decree.

The innovation that the Juncker Commission has displayed is a testament to its will to respond to the humanitarian emergency, forcing the member states’ hand in the sphere of solidarity if necessary. At this juncture the ball is in their court. While the negotiations over the relocation system will reveal their degree of internal solidarity, the number of refugees effectively resettled out of the figure of 20,000, at a time when millions of people are fleeing conflicts and live in the Middle East or in North Africa, will reflect the extent of their external solidarity.

Confirming the existing situation: a pragmatic agenda

The first issue here is the trebling of the budget allocated to Operations Triton and Poseidon for 2015 and 2016. As the Commission has pointed out, this will allow the FRONTEX agency to extend its support for member states under pressure, particularly in connection with border surveillance and with search and rescue operations. This decision is undoubtedly going to be criticised by certain countries for its alleged “pull factor” (which has in any case yet to be proven), but it is necessary if we truly do wish to prevent people from dying at sea.

Second, the Commission’s agenda confirms a trend involving, on the one hand, the need to implement existing legislation and, on the other, the need to improve operational coordination. These issues are addressed in the second part of the agenda dealing with the actions to be implemented in the four areas of migration policy (illegal immigration; border management; asylum; and legal immigration).

Some people may argue that the proposals “lack breadth” both in terms of content and in terms of cooperation between the Commission’s services. But endeavouring to implement existing rules while improving their effectiveness is a tricky business and deserves attention. In addition, the current political context is not conducive to more sweeping action.

The long-term vision: an agenda usefully expanding the debate on migration

The final part of the agenda, introducing measures for implementation in the longer term, contains the breadth that is missing in the second part. The Commission here introduces those guidelines which, while not yet enjoying the member states’ backing, it would like to debate or even to implement.

Where asylum is concerned, the Commission introduces three areas for debate, namely an “asylum code,” the mutual recognition of asylum decisions, and the establishment of a single asylum decision process, while attempting to remedy the current shortcomings in the Common Asylum System and the limitations in the rationale underpinning the Dublin Regulation.

Where border management is concerned, the Commission envisages a strong mutualisation of resources and the creation of a European coast-guard corps. And finally, it would like to see a debate on the establishment of a system inviting employers to identify priority applicants from a pool of migrant candidate workers.

While these proposals are only points on which the Commission would like to work, they have the immense merit of imparting a fresh thrust to the crucial debates on legal immigration and integration, the need for a labour migration and mutual trust among member states.

The agenda submitted by the Commission may – and undoubtedly will – receive criticism. Yet we have to give the European executive the credit for displaying political commitment and determination in a context which does not necessarily lend itself to such a display.

António Vitorino, president of the Jacques Delors Institute and Yves Pascouau, director of migration and mobility policies at the European Policy Centre and senior associate research fellow at the Jacques Delors Institute.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this Commentary are the sole responsibility of the authors.

The EU’s migrant strategy: a welcome new impetus

United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the BMW Group Launch Search for Innovative Projects that Promote Intercultural Dialogue and Understanding

– Eligible Organizations Should Apply by 30 September 2015

NEW YORK and MUNICH, May 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and BMW Group are pleased to announce the fourth edition of the Intercultural Innovation Award. Grassroots initiatives that are working to alleviate identity-based tensions and conflicts around the world using innovative methods are encouraged to apply online at interculturalinnovation.org. The deadline for applications is Wednesday, 30 September 2015 at 5:00pm in New York.

Ten organizations will receive the Intercultural Innovation Award following a rigorous selection process.  Awardees will be given a financial contribution to help their project expand and replicate, with a first prize of USD 40 000. They will also take part in a one-year support program that includes training and capacity-building, increased visibility, access to a network of change makers working in intercultural dialogue and ongoing project-specific mentoring.

“Honoring grassroots organizations that are deeply committed to improving relations across communities and people lies at the core of the Alliance’s work. That we are doing in this partnership with the BMW Group is further evidence of the innovative approaches we pursue,” said H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations. Added Mr. Bill McAndrews, Vice President Corporate Communications Strategy, Corporate and Market Communications at BMW Group, “Our commitment to the awardees extends beyond financial support to include every relevant resource we can offer. This can make the crucial difference in turning an idea into a reality that improves peoples’ lives.”

Launched in 2011, the Intercultural Innovation Award is the result of a unique public-private partnership between the UNAOC and BMW Group. With the overarching aim of helping people to help themselves, the two partners jointly mobilize their resources, time, and networks to support awardees. This new model of collaboration between the UN and the private sector creates deeper impact, as both partners provide their respective expertise to ensure the sustainable growth of each project. For the third edition of the Intercultural Innovation Award, more than 600 applications were received from over 100 different countries.

For enquiries, please contact:

Milena Pighi, BMW Group, Corporate Communications, Spokesperson CSR
Telephone: +49-89-382-66563, Fax: +49-89-382-24418, Milena.PA.Pighi@bmw.de

Alessandro Girola, Project Management Specialist – Intercultural Innovation
Telephone: +1- 929-274-6217, Fax: +1-929-274-6233, alessandrog@unops.org

Internet: www.press.bmw.de
E-mail: presse@bmw.de

Open Web Device Compliance Review Board Certifies First Handsets

Announcement Marks Key Point in Development of Open Source Mobile Ecosystem

SAN FRANCISCO, May 19, 2015 / PRNewswire – The Open Web Device Compliance Review Board (CRB), in conjunction with its members ALCATEL ONE TOUCH, Deutsche Telekom, Mozilla, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and Telefónica, has announced the first handsets to be certified by the CRB. The CRB is an independently operated organization designed to promote the success of the open Web device ecosystem by encouraging API compliance as well as ensuring competitive performance.

The two devices are the Alcatel ONETOUCH Fire C and the Alcatel ONETOUCH Fire E. ALCATEL ONETOUCH has also authorized a CRB lab.

The certification process involves OEMs applying to the CRB for their device to be certified. CRB’s authorized labs test the device for open web APIs and key performance benchmarks. CRB’s subject matter experts review the results and validate against CRB stipulated benchmarks with a reference device to ensure compatibility and performance across key use cases. The two ALCATEL ONETOUCH devices passed the CRB authorized test lab procedure and met all CRB certification requirements.

The process is open to all device vendors whether they are a member of CRB or not. The CRB website www.openwebdevice.org will publish the process for applying for certification.

CRB certification testing is conducted by industry labs authorized by the CRB, with each submission expected to be completed within approximately three days. The CRB offers a platform for the rest of the industry to request certification.

“As an initial founding member of the CRB, we are pleased to know that the Board has achieved one of its major objectives in certifying Firefox OS devices on a standard set of Web APIs and performance metrics,” said Jason Bremner, Senior Vice President of Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. ”We expect other companies will also certify, improving their product development cycle time while ensuring a compelling user experience and compliance to standard Web APIs.”

“As one of the partners of the CRB and owners of these certified devices, ALCATEL ONETOUCH is excited to witness the solid progress and achievements made by all members,” said Alain Lejeune, Senior Vice President, ALCATEL ONETOUCH. “In the coming year, ALCATEL ONETOUCH will continue to contribute to the CRB and establishment of the Firefox OS ecosystem. This news is not only an honor for us but will inspire more Firefox OS partners to strive for certification.”

“In the last three years Mozilla has proven with Firefox OS that open Web technology is a strong, viable platform for mobile,” said Andreas Gal, Chief Technology Officer, Mozilla. “Certification by the CRB provides a launch pad for those who complete to prove that their device offers a consistent and excellent experience for users, reducing time and cost to qualify across operators and markets. Today’s announcement paves the way for other device makers to reach this milestone.”

“TELEFÓNICA supports the opportunities that an open Web ecosystem delivers to mobile consumers,” said Francisco Montalvo, Head of Group Devices Unit at TELEFÓNICA S.A.. “Having CRB as a product certification scheme helps all the partners guarantee that rich Web content is delivered to certified devices with the right level of quality. We are glad to collaborate on this effort.”

“Deutsche Telekom is pleased to be a close partner with Mozilla, Qualcomm, Telefonica, and ALCATEL ONETOUCH among others in the development of the Firefox OS,” said Louis Schreier, Vice President of Telekom Innovation Laboratories’ Silicon Valley Innovation Center. “As one of the founding members of the CRB, our goal in focusing on API compliance and performance is to establish a uniform set of requirements, test and acceptance criteria, enabling uniform and independent testing by accredited labs.”

For more information about the Open Web Device Compliance Review Board, please visit https://openwebdevice.org.

About the CRB
The Open Web Device Compliance Review Board (CRB) is an independently operated organization designed to promote the success of the open Web device ecosystem. It is a partnership between operators, device OEMs, silicon vendors and test solution providers to define and evolve a process to encourage API compatibility and competitive performance for devices. Standards are based on Mozilla’s principles of user privacy and control.