The Gambia rejoins the Commonwealth

The Gambia rejoined the Commonwealth on 8 February 2018, after the Commonwealth Secretariat confirmed their application had been approved unanimously by Commonwealth Member States.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

“The Gambia’s return to the Commonwealth family is fantastic news. When I visited the country last year, I saw huge enthusiasm for the values and opportunities offered by our modern, diverse Commonwealth.”

“This shows that when a country commits to strengthening democracy, governance and the rule of law, it is welcomed back to the international community and the Commonwealth family.”

“I very much hope to welcome President Barrow to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London in April.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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SITA to Keep Air Mauritius’ New Airbus A350 Fleet Connected to Key Systems on the Ground

SITA ( is providing wireless connectivity on the ground to Air Mauritius’ new fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft, keeping the new-generation aircraft connected to the vital back-end systems no matter where they fly.

In October 2017, Air Mauritius introduced the first two new-generation Airbus A350 aircraft with a further four expected to join the fleet over the next few years. The Airbus A350 is one of the most advanced aircraft flying today. It brings with it a unique complexity with large data exchange in its own unique protocol – Media Independent Aircraft Messaging (MIAM). This is designed to exchange large amounts of data between the aircraft and ground systems using multiple communication channels.

SITAONAIR – SITA’s sister company focused on connected aircraft – has developed a solution to understand this complex MIAM communication and simplify integration into airline systems and processes. Additionally, Air Mauritius wanted this exchange over Inmarsat SwiftBroadband (SBB). This required SITAONAIR to work closely with all stakeholders, including Airbus and IBM, to ensure the successful launch of A350 operations and in the process, hosting the entire service in the SITA ATI Cloud.

At the gate, SITA’s wireless connectivity ( allows the airline to quickly and securely exchange vital aircraft information generated during flight with both the airline’s own systems as well as with Airbus and IBM. At the same time key information ahead of the next flight can be uploaded, including passenger and flight information.

This connectivity allows for rapid exchange of aircraft information which will help Air Mauritius speed up aircraft turnaround times while ensuring seamless management of the aircraft’s systems by ensuring complete connectivity globally.

Donald Li Ying, Vice President – Information Systems at Air Mauritius, said: “As Air Mauritius begins to introduce a new-generation of connected aircraft such as the Airbus A350, it is vital that we have a partner that can support the transfer of data both in the air and on the ground. This is vital to leverage the full benefit that connected aircraft can bring to the airline and our passengers.”

Maneesh Jaikrishna, SITA Vice President Indian Subcontinent, Eastern & Southern Africa said: “The continued growth in connected aircraft such at the Airbus A350 is opening new possibilities to enhance the passenger experience on board as well drive new efficiencies in how these aircraft are managed.”

“These new aircraft have become flying data centers which rely on world-class connectivity in order to exchange information on everything from engine data, passenger requirements to updates at the destination. This requires reliable, fast connectivity no matter where the aircraft finds itself. At SITA we are working with airlines globally to support that connectivity and ensure that the full benefits of connected aircraft can be unlocked.”

A total of 30% of airlines are already operating connected aircraft within their fleet and 73% of airlines will either operate or have taken delivery of connected aircraft in the next three years, according to SITA Air Transport IT Insights 2017 (

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of SITA.

For further information (not for publication) contact:

Julius Baumann
Media Relations Manager
Tel: +41 22 747 6993

Charlie Pryor
Tel : +44 20 7872 5465
Email :
Skype: LEIDAR_Charlie

SITA (Indian Subcontinent, Eastern & Southern Africa)
Vishwendra Verma
Regional Marketing Manager
Mobile: +91 9650017018

Daisy Blacklock | Sam Wilson
Corporate Communications, SITAONAIR
+44 (0) 117 980 6388

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• SITA, SITAONAIR keep @airmauritius’ new fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft connected while on the ground
• SITA, SITAONAIR connectivity allows @airmauritius to leverage the full benefit that connected aircraft bring to its passengers.
• 73% of airlines expect to take delivery of connected aircraft in the next three years. We at SITA will help keep them connected.

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About SITA:
SITA ( is the communications and IT solution provider that transforms air travel through technology for airlines, at airports and on aircraft. The company’s portfolio covers everything from managed global communications and infrastructure services, to eAircraft, passenger management, baggage, self-service, airport and border management solutions. Owned 100% by more than 400 air transport industry members, SITA has a unique understanding of its needs and places a strong emphasis on technology innovation.

Nearly every airline and airport in the world does business with SITA and its border management solutions are used by more than 30 governments. With a presence at more than 1,000 airports around the world and a customer service team of 2,000+ staff, SITA delivers unmatched service to more than 2,800 customers in more than 200 countries.

In 2016, SITA had consolidated revenues of US$1.5 billion. SITA’s subsidiaries and joint ventures include SITAONAIR (, CHAMP Cargosystems ( and Aviareto (

For further information go to

SITAONAIR ( is the air travel industry’s trusted connected aircraft service expert. With its unrivalled industry-backed heritage, SITAONAIR empowers 400+ airlines and 16,000+ aircraft to navigate the complexity of connectivity and unlock connected aircraft value. We work in partnership with the air travel community, helping support its digital transformation, to unlock the true value of data, grow ancillary revenues, and enhance the passenger experience, operational efficiency and airline safety. Our co-created solutions for passengers, cockpit and cabin crew, and aircraft data management, equip the industry to address the challenges and value-generating opportunities it presents.

SITAONAIR is a subsidiary of The SITA Group, which is airline-owned and airline focused. Find out more by visiting

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Closing of Crossing Egypt Challenge

Cairo, 8 February 2018, today marks the closing of Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)‘s campaign “Crossing Egypt Challenge”. The campaign aimed at raising awareness on Egypt’s population growth. The closing event is hosted by Ministry of Youth and Sports and organized to commemorate the Egyptian Youth Day on the 9th of February and for welcoming the runners after they concluded their 938km awareness challenge. The event will take place in Gezira Youth Center, and it will include recreational games and activities for youth, theater performance by Y-PEER and closing remarks by UNFPA Representative.

A long fruitful on foot journey of 24 days and 938.3 KM from Aswan to Cairo by four ambitious young athletes who walked and ran this distance while engaging in discussion with youth of Egypt on challenges and solutions for increased population growth, importance of family planning, youth participation, combating all harmful practices against girls of female genital mutilation and early marriage in the cities and villages along the Nile. Young female and male athletes and youth have been driven by the notion that impossible is not an option, and population growth challenge in Egypt can be addressed when citizens become well informed and can decide on their reproductive health, their preferred family size and act to combat all forms of violence against girls. The four young athletes were warmly greeted by the governorates residents, especially in Suhag and Assiut, where most of the youth centers welcomed them on route with a parade celebrating their passing by Beni Suef was organized commemorating the day for Zero Tolerance against FGM.

“Crossing Egypt Challenge” campaign is not the last nationwide campaign tapping on youth leadership to promote population growth awareness, it’s just the beginning of a series of nationwide campaigns. The United Nations Population Fund in Egypt have successfully launched the “Youth Population Awareness Bus”, that took 90 young leaders on board and interacted with 2500 young people in 9 governorates throughout 10 days to raise awareness on population growth in August, 2017. Given the community engagement on such campaigns, after Crossing Egypt challenge, UNFPA will launch another round of the “Youth Population Awareness Bus” in the upcoming period, UNFPA places young people at the center of population awareness using creative techniques such as: Drama, theater, edutainment and sports like this initiative. These campaigns harness the power of the 62 percent of Egypt’s population that is below the age of 29, given that Egypt is reaching the peak of the “youth bulge”, the largest cohort of young people in its history.

For the four young men and women leading the campaign, population growth and its associated challenging norms are problems they recognize yet they rarely encountered themselves in this social network. During the journey while addressing people and promoting the campaign objectives, they came across the father who was going to take his daughter to be cut the next day, the young student who was going to get married to his relative who is still 16 years old and the young father of four children who is planning to make his children work. The female participants and athletes challenged the norms of the villages they passed by through walking and running in the streets and engaging in conversations denouncing all forms of gender based violence. Even though the athletes had previous work experience on youth training and professional development, for them the edutainment techniques used by the young peers were effective in steering this community dialogue on population. Throughout these 938 KM, the youth participants witnessed transformation in how they view the role of their peers in leading the demographic change needed for Egypt. They became strong believers of using sports, drama and games for social change and for challenging norms perpetuating preference for bigger families with no attention for quality of life for children, harmful practices of FGM and child marriage against girls and reduced youth knowledge and awareness of their reproductive health and their role in the society.

In his remarks, Dr. Aleksandar Sasha Bodiroza, UNFPA Representative in Egypt concluded: “We need leadership of the Government of Egypt and its Ministry of Youth and Sports to mobilize young people in the communities to change the norms around the size of the family and invest in the well-being of adolescents and youth, and particularly adolescent girls that will unleash a demographic dividend of inclusive, sustainable economic growth in Egypt. UNFPA will be there as a valuable partner to help. Only together we can make a long lasting difference and help achieve Egypt’s Vision 2030. The Government, civil society, communities, young people, religious leaders, private sector, public figures, celebrities, UN, donors… Because it isn’t that what it’s really all about — to go further together than we could alone. It’s a spirit of hope and spirit of possibility. About prosperous Egypt we all envision for 2030”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

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Canada concerned with events in Kenya

Global Affairs Canada today (February 7, 2018) issued the following statement on the human rights situation in Kenya:

“As a friend to Kenya, Canada is deeply concerned by some of the Government of Kenya’s recent actions, including the unlawful detention of opposition members without due process or access to counsel, and the shutdown of, and restrictions on, certain media outlets. In the words of the Chief Justice of Kenya’s Supreme Court, ‘there have been worrying developments in the administration of justice that threaten the rule of law.’ A free media and adherence to the rule of law are essential components of democracy.”

“We urge the Government of Kenya to uphold its constitution, to allow freedom of expression and to respect court orders, including those that order the release of those granted bail.”

“Kenyans of all political beliefs must come together to peacefully resolve their differences‎.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Government of Canada.

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