Western Union’s PASS initiative reaches 250,000 pass milestone

LONDON, United-Kingdom, December 18, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The Western Union Company (http://www.westernunion.com/) (NYSE:WU), a leader in global payment services and a Global Partner of the UEFA Europa League (http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/index.html), today announced that, as the Group Stage in this season’s competition comes to an end, over 250,000 successful passes have been made since the launch of its three-season PASS initiative in September 2012.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/western-union.jpg

With the PASS initiative, Western Union and the Western Union Foundation (http://foundation.westernunion.com/) in collaboration with UNICEF (http://www.unicef.org/), are turning every successful pass in the UEFA Europa League into funding for better education, harnessing the power of football to support vulnerable children around the world.

At the end of last season, the PASS fund totaled 178,231 passes, a figure which has now reached 282,568 since the 2013/14 season started on September 19, 2013.

The top 5 clubs/players for passing in the UEFA Europa League 2013/14 season to date are as follows :

Leading Passing Teams Leading Passing Players

1. Tottenham Hotspur FC (3,673) 1. Mousa Dembélé, Tottenham Hotspur FC (451)

2. Swansea City AFC (3,269) 2. Jeffrey Gouweleeuw, AZ Alkmaar (352)

3. AZ Alkmaar (2,663) 3. Thanos Petsos, SK Rapid Wien (346)

4. Valencia CF (2,651) 4. Alexandros Tziolis, PAOK FC (340)

5. PSV Eindhoven (2,532) 5. Jan Wuytens, AZ Alkmaar (337)

In September, Western Union announced that Jamaica, Nigeria and Turkey were the first countries to receive funding raised by the PASS initiative. In Jamaica, PASS is supporting UNICEF programs aiming to achieve high levels of attendance, retention, numeracy and literacy among secondary school children with a focus on adolescent boys. In Nigeria, Western Union is helping increase the number of qualified female teachers and, in turn, the enrollment of female students, contributing to UNICEF’s efforts to meet the country’s need for 1.3 million more qualified teachers in the country. In Turkey, funding raised by the PASS initiative is being used to ensure disadvantaged children and ethnic minorities have access to a quality secondary education, with a focus on rural and low income areas where only 30 percent of children attend secondary school.

As part of Western Union’s three-year partnership with UNICEF, Brazil will be a future recipient of funding from the PASS initiative.

Brazilian International and Tottenham Hotspur FC midfielder, Sandro Raniere said: “The Western Union PASS scheme means a lot to me because we can help children go to school, and children in Brazil need this help as some children are very poor”.

“It means a lot to me also because I am from Brazil so I can help children from my home country and around the world. I’m so happy on the pitch doing my job and helping people around the world. Tottenham are the highest passing team this season and that is amazing – I feel great, helping people, it’s amazing”.

Patrick Gaston, president of The Western Union Foundation, commented: “Since the PASS initiative commenced in September 2012, we have experienced an outstanding level of support from players, fans and customers, which has been instrumental in allowing us to not only use the power and reach of football to build awareness of the global education challenge, but to also start to make a real difference to young people and their communities. PASS is a key part of Western Union’s Education for Better campaign for secondary and vocational education, and it is fantastic to see the positive impact funding from this initiative is making in the countries that need it most.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Western Union.

About Western Union

The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of September 30, 2013, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of approximately 515,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories and approximately 115,000 ATMs. In 2012, The Western Union Company completed 231 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $79 billion of principal between consumers, and 432 million business payments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.

About the Western Union Foundation

The Western Union Foundation is dedicated to creating a better world, where the ability to realize dreams through economic opportunity is not just a privilege for the few but a right for all. Through its signature program, Education for Better, and with the support of The Western Union Company, its employees, Agents, and business partners, The Western Union Foundation works to realize this vision by supporting education and disaster relief efforts as pathways toward a better future. Our combined social ventures efforts make life better for individuals, families and communities around the world. Since its inception, The Western Union Foundation has committed more than $91.2 million in grants and other giving to more than 2,682 nongovernmental organizations in more than 133 countries and territories. The Western Union Foundation is a separate

Norway concerned about crisis in South Sudan

OSLO, Norway, December 18, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — “The violent clashes in South Sudan in recent days give serious cause for concern. We urge all parties to refrain from the use of violence and to help find a political solution to the conflict,” said Foreign Minister B

Categories: African Press Organization

UNAMID, UNDP Provide Vocational Skills to North Darfur Prisoners

EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, December 18, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On 17 December 2013, inmates from Shallah Federal Prison in El Fasher, North Darfur, graduated from an intensive training course during which they acquired various vocational skills, including in welding, masonry and electrical work, in two new workshops that UNAMID recently constructed.

UNAMID implemented this project with UN Development Programme (UNDP) and Government of Sudan support to empower prisoners at risk of recidivism. Staff members from UNAMID’s Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) section guided the programme, while Sudanese Police conducted the training.

The Chief of UNAMID’s DDR section, Mr. Aderemi Adekoya, spoke during the graduation ceremony, noting that the course’s completion marks the end of one of the largest vocational skills workshops ever implemented in a Darfur prison. “We believe in the reintegration of inmates,” he said, explaining that Darfur’s conflict has increased delinquency rates. “It is a priority to change the lives of these prisoners when they are released on completion of their sentences,” he added.

UNDP’s representative, Mr. Christopher Laker, also spoke during the ceremony. “This project is an opportunity for the inmates to start a new life with their families,” he said, noting that the impact of this project extends not merely to the inmates themselves, but also to the communities to which the prisoners will return once they have completed their sentences.

As part of the Mission’s approach to support peace at the community level, UNAMID’s DDR section has been implementing similar workshops across Darfur. In addition, DDR has been working on a violence-reduction strategy that has taken several forms in practice, most notably in community-based, labour-intensive projects.

These community projects are designed to support the efforts of the Government of Sudan in addressing the needs of at-risk young people and other vulnerable groups in communities and in camps for displaced people. The projects focus not only on building vocational skills, and in many cases facilitating infrastructure development, but also on fostering reconciliation across Darfur.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

The Federal Council extends the freezing of assets of several individuals from Tunisia and Egypt

BERN, Switzerland, December 18, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Federal Council decided during today’s session to extend by three years the freezing of all assets held in Switzerland by deposed presidents Ben Ali (Tunisia) and Mubarak (Egypt) and by politically exposed persons in their entourage. The aim of this extension is to provide more time for criminal investigations in Tunisia and Egypt into the origin of these assets. The Federal Council is thereby taking account of the political transition in the two countries.

At the beginning of 2011, the Federal Council ordered the preventive freezing of all assets held in Switzerland by deposed presidents Ben Ali (Tunisia) and Mubarak (Egypt) and by politically exposed persons in their entourage. The assets are frozen for a period of three years. The aim of the asset freeze is to facilitate mutual legal assistance on criminal matters with the affected states and thus to create the preconditions for judicial scrutiny into the origin of suspicious assets. The asset freezes ensure that potentially illicitly acquired assets are not hidden in other financial centres and thus evade judicial clarification. In the case of Tunisia, approximately CHF 60 million has been frozen and in that of Egypt approximately CHF 700 million. These amounts have been frozen pursuant to the Federal Council’s ordinances on the freezing of assets, mutual legal assistance and criminal proceedings.

Over the past three years, the competent authorities in Switzerland have established close cooperation with the authorities in Tunisia and Egypt. Thanks to this cooperation, significant progress has been made in determining the origin of assets frozen in Switzerland. Nevertheless, neither in the case of Tunisia nor in that of Egypt have investigations made sufficient progress for the preventive freezing of assets to have achieved its purpose. The Federal Council has therefore decided to extend the asset freezes by another three years. The aim is to give investigations in Tunisia and Egypt more time and to take account of the political transition in the two countries.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Head of UNAMID welcomes SLA/Minni Minawi decision to ban recruitment of child soldiers

EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, December 18, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The African Union-United Nations Joint Special Representative for Darfur, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, has welcomed the decision taken by the Sudan Liberation Army/Minni Minawi (SLA/MM) to prohibit the recruitment and use of child soldiers in its ranks.

“UNAMID appreciates the commitment of SLA/MM to adhere to the international laws and principles on the protection of children against violence,” the JSR said. “Involving children in armed conflict is a serious crime that not only endangers their own lives but will also affect negatively their future and that of their societies.”

The command order, issued by SLA/MM leader Minni Minawi, comes following his participation in a workshop on peace and security in Darfur held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 9-11 December and co-organized by the AU-UN Joint Mediation Support Team and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. The event discussed issues related to international humanitarian law and human rights.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

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