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Watch "National president of aihra" on YouTube

Written by Wednesday, 19 September 2018 06:34

Watch "National president of aihra" on YouTube

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Sheila Dikshit, 80, was a frontrunner in a pack of probables, including AICC secretary and a two-time legislator from Badli, Devendra Yadav, former Delhi assembly Speaker and a prominent Jat leader Yoganand Shastri and former Northeast Delhi MP Jai Prakash Agarwal.

Three-time Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit on Thursday became the state Congress chief, making a political comeback at the age of 80 to try and revive the party’s fortunes in the battle for the Capital’s seven Lok Sabha seats in the upcoming general elections.

Haroon Yusuf, a former minister in the Dikshit government, Devender Yadav and Rajesh Lilothia, both two-time state legislators and presently All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretaries, were appointed working presidents of the Delhi unit to aid her in the effort. PC Chacko, AICC in-charge of Delhi, made the announcements.

Dikshit replaces Ajay Maken, who cited health reasons and resigned on January 4 from the post of state Congress president he held for four years. In her first remark after her appointment, Dikshit said that her first priority will be to keep the Delhi unit of the party together and chalk out a plan for the Lok Sabha elections.

“I’m honoured that the party has given me the opportunity. My first priority will be to talk to all factions and keep the flock together. I’ll meet the party workers at the booth level to chalk out a plan for the Lok Sabha elections,” Dikshit, who held the same post for a brief duration in 1998, told HT.

Dikshit was the longest-reigning chief minister of Delhi, serving for 15 years from 1998 to 2013, when the advent of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ended Congress’s rule.

The Congress then propped up an AAP government that lasted 49 days before chief minister Arvind Kejriwal resigned following his failure to introduce a bill for appointing an anti-corruption ombudsman, Jan Lokpal.

The Congress failed to win a single Lok Sabha seat from the Capital in the 2014 general elections, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) grabbing all seven, and could not win a single seat in the 2015 assembly elections, which the AAP won by a landslide .

When asked about the possibility of an alliance with AAP in Delhi in the coming Lok Sabha elections, Dikshit said: “It is for the party high-command to decide.”

Chacko downplayed the talk of an alliance and said the Congress was strong enough to fight the elections on its own. “This is only about the appointments of the Delhi Congress president and working presidents…There is no question of discussion till now about alliance of Congress party with any other party [in Delhi]. The Congress in

Delhi is strong enough to fight on its own. We are fully prepared and fully ready to face 2019 elections on our own.”

Maken congratulated Dikshit and said under her leadership the Congress party would play the role of a powerful Opposition against the Centre and the state government.

“Congratulations and well wishes to Sheila Dikshit on being appointed as president of Delhi Congress. I had the opportunity to work and learn under her as a parliamentary secretary and as a cabinet minister. I believe under her leadership we will play the role of a powerful opposition against Modi+Kejriwal governments,” Maken tweeted.

But Congress leaders said the party has its work cut out before the elections. The three working presidents will play a key role in galvanising the support of key sections of the electorate, especially Muslims, Dalits and young voters. Yusuf, 60, a four-time MLA from Ballimaran, had been a minister in the Dikshit government since 1998 and handled key portfolios such as power, transport, food and civil supplies, industries and revenue. He is the party’s prominent Muslim face in Delhi.

Yadav, 46, and Lilothia, 49, are both two-time MLAs, from Badli and Patel Nagar, respectively, and are relatively young. They will both play a key role in garnering the support of young voters, who sided with the AAP in 2015, a party leader said on condition of anonymity. Lilothia is a scheduled caste member. Muslims and scheduled castes had been a key vote bank of the Congress until it lost power.

Since its 2015 debacle, the party has been trying to win back its support base. Congress leaders say that the party’s vote share increased from 9% in the 2015 assembly elections to 26% in the municipal elections in 2017. Source : ht

 

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Elizabeth Warren said on Twitter she would announce her decision on whether to run early in 2019.

US senator Elizabeth Warren become on Monday, the last day of 2018, the highest profile Democrat to formally move towards a White House run, announcing the launch of an exploratory committee, usually, but not necessarily, the first step in that direction.

Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and others are expected to follow soon, with similar exploratory committees or a formal run in coming days a week.

“Every person in America should be able to work hard, play by the same set of rules, & take care of themselves & the people they love,” Warren wrote on Twitter on Monday morning. “That’s what I’m fighting for, & that’s why I’m launching an exploratory committee for president. I need you with me,” the 69-year-old said.

In an embedded video for supporters, she pitched herself as a candidate who will fight for the middle-class, people of colour and people immigrants who may come to the country from anywhere and take on corruption by politicians and big corporation.

“Our government is supposed to work for all of us, but instead, it has become a tool for the wealthy and well-connected … If we organize together, if we fight together, if we persist together, we can win.”

Warren, a janitor’s daughter who went on teach law at Harvard, shot into public limelight after president Barack Obama named her to set up a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, based on an idea mooted by her, following the Great Recession triggered by them in 2008.

The aim was to protect consumers from banks and financial institutions, the Wall Street, that had triggered the financial crisis most of the world, because of their linkages to the US economy.

Warren went on to run, and win, for the Senate from Massachusetts and was re-elected for a second term in the November mid-term elections.

Speculation about her run has attracted attention and snide remarks from President Donald Trump, who will be seeking a second term in 2020.

He has attacked her over her claims of Native American ancestry and calls her Pocahontas, after the daughter of a Native American chieftain who interacted with the first American settler in the late 16th century and married one of them. Source : ht

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Why Menstrual Hygiene is an Urgent Human Rights Issue

Written by Thursday, 15 February 2018 06:10

Women and Girls Still Suffer From Lack of Support in Managing Menstruation

The biological fact of menstruation shouldn’t be a barrier to gender equality or stymie women’s and girls’ realization of their human rights. Yet many studies have documented how girls and women are able – or not – to manage their periods have a negative impact on how they are able to exercise and enjoy their rights.

Decisions about how refugee camps, detention centers, schools, and workplaces operate all affect how periods are dealt with. With too little support to handle their periods, women and girls are forced to stay home from school or miss work, while others are banished by their families and subjected to humiliating treatment in their communities. Many lack even the most basic thing a woman who is menstruating needs: access to a safe toilet with clean water where she can manage her period with dignity and privacy.

People who work in development and for aid groups may understand these concerns, but still feel they lack the proper tools to address them. In time for World Water Day, Human Rights Watch and WASHUnited have released a French version of 2017 practitioners guide, which helps aid workers, development professionals, and anyone who works with women and girls to address menstrual hygiene using a human rights framework.

This World Water Day, and every day, we should be working to break the silence around menstruation, and ensure women and girls can manage their periods and be free to get on with their lives. Source : Human Rights Watch

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13 August 2018 Climate Change

Healthy soils are essential to achieve ‘Zero Hunger’ – and other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – peace and prosperity, the United Nations agriculture agency chief underscored in Brazil at the World Congress of Soil Science.

On Sunday, more than 2,000 scientists gathered in Rio de Janeiro under the theme “Soil Science: Beyond food and fuel,” for a week of exploring the increasingly complex, diverse role of soils; grappling with resilient agriculture practices to address environmental and climatic changes; and confronting threats to food security and sovereignty.

“Soil degradation affects food production, causing hunger and malnutrition, amplifying food-price volatility, forcing land abandonment and involuntary migration-leading millions into poverty,” said José Graziano da Silva, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organizaation (FAO), in a video message noting that approximately one-third of the Earth’s soil is degraded

The FAO The Status of the World's Soil Resources report had identified 10 major threats to soil functions, including soil erosion, nutrient imbalance, acidification and contamination.

Mr. Graziano da Silva stressed the importance of sustainable soil management as an “essential part of the Zero Hunger equation” in a world where more than 815 million people are suffering from hunger and malnutrition.

Soils and climate change

“Although soils are hidden and frequently forgotten, we rely on them for our daily activities and for the future of the planet,” the FAO chief said, underscoring the important support role they play in mitigating or adapting to a changing climate. Mr. Graziano da Silva specifically pointed to the potential of soils for carbon sequestration and storage – documented in FAO’s global soil organic carbon map.

“Maintaining and increasing soil carbon stock should become a priority,” asserted the UN agriculture chief. He also noted how soils act as filters for contaminants, preventing their entry into the food chain and reaching water bodies such as rivers, lakes and oceans, flagging that this potential becomes limited when contamination exceeds the soils’ capacity to cope with pollution.

In his message, Mr. Graziano da Silva noted the Global Soil Partnership in which FAO works with governments and other partners to build technical capacity and exchange knowledge on sustainable soil management through the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management.“Let us make soils a vehicle of prosperity and peace, and show the contribution of soils to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” concluded the FAO Director-General said. Source : un.org

 

 

 

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13 August 2018 Peace and Security

Attacks against children caught in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen must stop, the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, appealed on Monday.

In a tightly worded statement, UNICEF pointed out that since Sunday, 28 children were reported killed in Idlib and western Aleppo, located in northern Syria. The death toll included an entire family of seven. Furthermore, three UNICEF-supported health facilities were also attacked, two of which are now out of service.

“The war on children in Syria is putting at least one million children at risk in Idlib alone,” said the statement, attributable to Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. These latest incidents follow the deaths of 21 children in Yemen last week, killed when their school bus was hit during an airstrike. For Juliet Touma, UNICEF Chief of Communications in the region, they represent an escalation in attacks on children.

“There’s obviously a war on children,” she told UN News, explaining that ongoing fighting means children in the two countries are being deprived of basic rights such as access to healthcare and education. The Syrian crisis began nearly eight years ago with civilians continuing “to bear the brunt of a conflict marked by unparalleled suffering, destruction and disregard for human life,” according to the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA.

UNICEF reported that more than five million children there require humanitarian assistance, with nearly half forced to flee their homes.

Meanwhile, the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, said three years of fighting in Yemen means nearly two-thirds of the population requires some form of aid relief or protection support to survive.

“Across the region there are about 30 million children who need humanitarian assistance,” Ms. Touma said, also referring to the situation in places such as Libya, Sudan and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

“So, children under attack…and that needs to come to an end.” Source : un.org

 

 

 

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Deeply alarmed by the escalating violence in Syria’s east Ghouta, the United Nations has reiterated a call for an end to hostilities so that the sick and wounded can be immediately evacuated and humanitarian aid deliveries can reach those in need.

Speaking at a Security Council meeting on Wednesday, Secretary-General António Guterres called for an immediate suspension of all war activities in Syria’s conflict-battered east Ghouta, where, he said, “a human tragedy is unfolding in front of our eyes [with] 400,000 people living in hell on earth.”

“I don’t think we can let things go on in this horrendous way,” he urged, explaining that an estimated 700 people in the town, near the Syrian capital, Damascus, need urgent treatment that cannot be provided there.

Since the Syrian Government and their allies escalated their offensive against opposition-held east Ghouta on 4 February, there have been more than 1,200 civilian casualties, including at least 346 killed and 878 injured, mostly in airstrikes hitting residential areas, according to reports documented by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights(OHCHR).

The Office, however, underscored that the figures are “far from comprehensive” and represent only those cases it has managed to document in the midst of the “chaos and destruction” in east Ghouta.

Furthermore, only one humanitarian convoy has been able to make its way to the war-ravaged city since November last year, bringing to one of its enclaves desperately needed but overwhelmingly insufficient food and medical supplies – enough only to meet the needs of 2.6 per cent of the population in need.

Stop the ‘monstrous campaign of annihilation’ of east Ghouta – UN rights chief

Also on Wednesday, the UN human rights chief also appealed to the international community to act urgently to save lives.

“How much cruelty will it take before the international community can speak with one voice to say enough dead children, enough wrecked families, enough violence, and take resolute, concerted action to bring this monstrous campaign of annihilation to an end?” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said in a statement.

“International humanitarian law was developed precisely to stop this type of situation, where civilians are slaughtered in droves in order to fulfil political or military objectives,” he underscored, reiterating his plea to the international community to ensure accountability for the ongoing violations, many of which may amount to war crimes. Source : un.org

 

 

 

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5 February 2018 – Describing January as “a dark month” in crisis-torn Middle East and North Africa, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) director for the region said Monday that the violence has had a devastating toll on children, who were being killed in ongoing conflicts or suicide attacks, or freezing to death as they fled active warzones.

“It is simply unacceptable that children continue being killed and injured every single day,” said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

In the month of January alone, escalating violence in Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Syria and Yemen has claimed the lives of at least 83 children.

“These children have paid the highest price for wars that they have absolutely no responsibility for. Their lives have been cut short, their families forever broken in grief,” he added.

Mr. Cappelaere said that as the Syrian conflict enters its eighth year, intensifying fighting has reportedly killed 59 children in the past four weeks.

Moreover, across Yemen the UN has verified the killing of 16 children in attacks and continues to receive daily reports of more killed and injured children amidst escalating fighting.

Additionally, a suicide attack took the lives of three children in Libya’s Benghazi while three others died playing near unexploded ordnance – a fourth child remains in critical condition after the blast.

Turning to the old city of Mosul in Iraq, a child was killed in a booby-trapped house, and in the Palestinian Occupied Territory, a boy was shot dead in a village near Ramallah.

Furthermore, 16 refugees, including four children, froze to death in a harsh winter storm in Lebanon – fleeing the war in Syria – where many more children were hospitalized with frost bite.

“We collectively continue failing to stop the war on children,” stressed Mr. Cappelaere.

He underscored, “not hundreds, not thousands but millions more children in the Middle East and North Africa region have their childhoods stolen, maimed for life, traumatized, arrested and detained, exploited, prevented from going to school and from getting the most essential health services; denied even the basic right to play.”

Mr. Cappelaere maintained that we have no justification, no reason to accept this as a new normal.

“Children may have been silenced. But their voices will continue to be heard. Their message is our message: The protection of children is paramount under all circumstances, in line with the law of war,” he argued.

“Breaching that law is a most heinous crime and jeopardizes the future – and not just for children,” concluded the UNICEF Regional Director. Source : un.org

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16 January 2018 – As the brutal conflict in Yemen nears its grim third anniversary, malnutrition and disease are running rampant in the country and virtually every child there is dependent on humanitarian aid to survive, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday.

“An entire generation of children in Yemen is growing up knowing nothing but violence,” said Meritxell Relano, the head of UNICEF operations in the war-torn country, underlining the gravity of the crisis.

“Malnutrition and disease are rampant as basic services collapse. Those who survive are likely to carry the physical and psychological scars of conflict for the rest of their lives,” she stated.

Since the escalation of violence in March 2015, when conflict broke out between forces loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and those allied to the Houthi rebel movement, Yemen, already the poorest in the region, has been left on the verge of a humanitarian collapse.

Hospitals, medical facilities as well as water and sanitation systems have been rendered inoperable across large parts of the country, and humanitarian assistance is the lifeline for over three-fourths of the country's population.

Born into War

This dire situation in Yemen, has perhaps had the worst impact on the three million children born in country since the conflict erupted.

In its latest report, Born into War – 1,000 Days of Lost Childhood, UNICEF notes that 30 per cent of that number were born premature, another 30 percent had low birth weight and 25,000 died at birth or within the first month of life.

Furthermore, more than half of all children in Yemen lack access to safe drinking water or adequate sanitation, children-under-five represent over a quarter of all cases of cholera and acute watery diarrhoea. An additional 1.8 million children are estimated to be acutely malnourished, including nearly 400,000 severe acutely malnourished children “fighting for their lives” adds the report.

The report calls on all parties to the conflict, those with influence on them and the global community to prioritize the protection of children in Yemen by putting an immediate end to violence and reaching a peaceful political solution.

It also calls for sustainable and unconditional humanitarian across the country and lifting of restrictions on imports of goods into Yemen as well as for sustained and sufficient funding for aid programmes. Source : un.org

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An estimated 500,000 to 750,000 Indian H-1B visa holders could be deported if the administration goes ahead with the proposal which is aligned with President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” vision.

The Trump administration is considering a proposal that could potentially lead to large-scale deportation of foreigners on H-1B visas for high-speciality workers waiting for their Green Card — mostly Indians — and drastically alter the way high-tech companies operate in the United States.

The proposal circulated in the form of an internal memo in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees citizenship and immigration, intends to end the provision of granting extensions to H-1B visa holders whose applications for permanent residency (Green Card) had been accepted.

An estimated 500,000 to 750,000 Indian H-1B visa holders could be sent home if the administration decides to go ahead with the proposal which is aligned with President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” vision to boost manufacturing and protect local jobs for Americans.

“If implemented this could lead to large-scale deportations, mostly of Indians, throwing hundreds and thousands of families into crisis,” said an official of Immigration Voice, an advocacy body in San Jose. Immigration Voice is planning to mount a challenge through outreach and sue when a decision is announced, he added.

“The idea is to create a sort of ‘self-deportation’ of hundreds of thousands of Indian tech workers in the United States to open up those jobs for Americans,” a US source briefed by homeland security officials told McClatchy DC Bureau, which first reported the proposal.

A response to Hindustan Times requests to both DHS and the US citizenship and immigration services (USCIS) was awaited, but the existence of the memo was confirmed by sources in the US and Indian governments, industry and those that are likely to face action under the new rules.

An H-1B visa is granted for three years, with the provision of three more with one extension after which visa holders return to their countries. If approved for Green Card, they wait in the US using extensions.

For Indians, that wait could stretch for years given the massive backlog caused by the system of per-country annual cap on the number of permanent residencies.

The proposal is based on the power of discretion given to USCIS officials to decide on extensions to be given to H-1B holders waiting for Green Card. They could choose to extend from one to three years, and often chose the maximum of three, and granted some visa holders as many extensions as needed.

“If it has been left to their discretion,” said a lobbyist. “They can theoretically decide not to grant any extension at all.”

The Indian government is watching the development with mounting alarm as it had the administration’s previously announced plans and decisions to tighten H-1B rules and regulations with the objective of preventing its abuse to replace American workers with lower-paid foreigners.

One of the plans in February 2017 was to roll back H-4 EAD — a regulation introduced by President Barack Obama to attract and retain highly skilled foreign workers by granting work authorization to spouses of H-1B visa holders awaiting Green cards. That will impact mostly Indians again.

The administration also plans to redefine high-speciality professionals for the purpose of H-1B visas. And there is a general review of the programme ordered by the President.

The United States grants 85,000 non-immigrant H-1B visa every year — 65,000 to foreigners hired abroad and 20,000 to foreigners enrolled in advanced degree courses in US schools and colleges. An estimated 70% of these visas go to Indians — hired mostly by American companies such as Facebook, Microsoft and Google and some by American arms of Indian tech giants Infosys, Wipro and TCS.

The US companies, which are large employers of foreign workers but escape the scrutiny facing Indian firms, will be hit the hardest as they are more likely to apply for Green Cards for their H-1B workers than their Indian counterparts, who tend to rotate their workers home at the end of the stipulated period.

These big companies can be expected to push back as well, as could the chamber of commerce. A response was awaited to a request for comments from Compete America, a trade body representing Silicon Valley high-tech firms in Washington DC. Source : ht

 

 

 

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