Oct 292014
 

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 29, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ —

• Merck signs memorandum of understanding with KEMRI to collaborate on research and development projects, programs and activities focused on malaria and schistosomiasis

• Merck is committed to advancing research capacity and improving access to innovative healthcare solutions and safe medicines in Africa

Merck (http://www.merckgroup.com), a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical, chemical and life-science sectors, announced today the signature of a memorandum of understanding with Kenya Medical Research Institution (KEMRI) for a scientific partnership aimed at contributing to the country’s social and economic development. The partnership will cover research and development projects, programs and activities focused on malaria and schistosomiasis, as well as related co-infections.

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Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1487 (Belen Garijo, CEO and president of Merck serono and Prof. Solomon Mpoke, Director and CEO of KEMRI)

“Merck is pleased to engage with KEMRI on a scientific collaboration as part of our commitment to advancing healthcare capacity and providing sustainable access for patients to high-quality health solutions and safe medicines in Africa,” said Belén Garijo, President and Chief Executive Officer of Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck. “We are fully committed to partner with KEMRI, Kenya Ministry of Health, Kenyan patient associations and other stakeholders to develop and deliver solutions to expand healthcare capacities and improve access to health in the country.”

“KEMRI is especially delighted to partner with a company that is committed to building healthcare capacities and providing sustainable access to high-quality, safe medication and health solutions in developing countries,” said Solomon Mpoke, KEMRI Director and Chief Executive Officer. “We are looking forward to establish a scientific collaboration with Merck focused on malaria and schistosomiasis, as well as related co-infections, for the purpose of advancing science and most importantly for benefitting patients.”

“Merck’s partnership with local research institutions will advance their research capacity and boost their rigorous efforts to improve healthcare in the country,” added Solomon Mpoke.

Merck is planning to partner with other research institutes in Africa in order to deliver innovative products quickly and cost-effectively. The company aims to further develop research and development activities through its newly launched Translational Innovation Platform unit dedicated to deliver unique, integrated and affordable solutions to tackle unmet medical needs of major tropical diseases such as schistosomiasis and malaria affecting children in endemic countries.

“Merck is greatly honored to collaborate on this project with a leading African research institute such as KEMRI,” added Belén Garijo. “We hope to maintain a long-standing relationship in this venture to improve the standard of healthcare and research capacity in order to tackle some tropical diseases in Kenya and the rest of African communities as a part of Merck Capacity Advancement Program.”

The Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP) is a 5-year program aimed at expanding the professional capacity in Africa in the areas of research and development, clinical research, supply chain integrity and efficiency, pharmacovigilance, community awareness and education for medical students at African Universities.

Another core element of Merck’s commitment to provide access to healthcare in Africa is the Merck Praziquantel Donation Program to fight the worm disease schistosomiasis together with the World Health Organization (WHO). Since the start of the program in 2007, Merck has donated over 160 million tablets of praziquantel. To date, more than 38 million patients in total have been treated, consisting primarily of school children. Merck is committed to continue its efforts to fight schistosomiasis until the disease has been eliminated in Africa. Merck’s efforts to fight schistosomiasis are in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, and are also part of the initiative to fight neglected tropical diseases that was launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in early 2012.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Merck KGaA.

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e-mail: leonard.saika@merckgroup.com

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Merck (http://www.merckgroup.com) is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors. With its four divisions Merck Serono, Consumer Health, Performance Materials and Merck Millipore, Merck generated total revenues of € 11.1 billion in 2013. Around 39,000 Merck employees work in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to further the success of customers and to help meet global challenges. Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company – since 1668, the company has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. Holding an approximately 70 percent interest, the founding family remains the majority owner of the company to this day. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany is holding the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States, where the company is known as EMD.

Oct 292014
 

MOGADISHU, Somalia, October 29, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, arrived in Mogadishu to pledge support for Somalia’s transition and for efforts to strengthen security and development across the wider Horn of Africa region.

The joint high level visit comes at an important time for Somalia which continues to make significant security gains against the Al-Shabaab insurgency, and is pushing forward essential political reforms with the goal of holding national elections in 2016. The delegation also includes Islamic Development Bank President Ahmad Mohamed Ali and senior representatives of the African Development Bank, the African Union, and the European Union.

“The UN, World Bank Group and indeed the international community as a whole are committed to helping the Somali people. Somalia is on the right track and I am confident that its people will rise to the challenges its country still faces. We are here to tell Somalis that they are not alone and that we will redouble our efforts to help them protect the gains made in recent years,” Ban Ki-moon said.

Somalia faces political, security, development and humanitarian challenges from its over two decades of conflict, but recent advances, including the creation of regional administrations in close cooperation with the Federal Government, are encouraging. Building a more stable Somalia will ensure greater security and economic prosperity across the Horn of Africa.

Somalia’s most vulnerable and marginalised communities, including the displaced, returnees, women and youth need to be included in the process of peacebuilding and statebuilding. Continued political unity will be essential for Somalia to meet its goals for democratic transformation.

“Somalia’s transition is a unique opportunity for the nation and the wider Horn of Africa region to improve the livelihoods of the people by engaging them in productive economic activities,” said Kim. “Political stability and human security are important pre-requisites for reducing extreme poverty and increasing shared prosperity for the Somali people.”

The United Nations and the World Bank, in cooperation with other partners, are committed to accelerate their programmes on the ground to support Somalia’s political, security and development goals, as set out in Somalia’s “New Deal” Compact agreed last year. The peacebuilding process and the scaling up of international assistance will require inclusive and transparent efforts by all.

The government and its partners also need to find a more sustainable solution to the frequent drought and famines, which have left the majority of the population poor and vulnerable. Access of the poor and marginalized to economic opportunities is a key priority. In this context, the Secretary-General also called for international partners to help meet the funding gap for humanitarian assistance to Somalia. Over 3 million people in the country are in need of assistance, while the humanitarian appeal for 2014 remains only 34% funded.

The high level delegation will meet with Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud to discuss the country’s transition and its critical importance to human security and economic prospects in the region. They will also meet with Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, Speaker of the Federal Parliament Mohamed Osman Jawari, senior Government officials and representatives of Somalia’s civil society.

The trip marks the Secretary-General’s second visit to Somalia – he previously visited in December 2011 – and the first visit for the World Bank President. The Bank has stepped up its engagement in Somalia in recent years, evidence of the country’s ongoing transformation after a generation of conflict.

Oct 292014
 

PARIS, France, October 29, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) (http://www.alcatel-lucent.com) announced today that it has closed the sale of its subsidiary Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise to China Huaxin Post & Telecommunication Economy Development Center. Cash proceeds to Alcatel-Lucent are Eur 202 million.

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As previously announced, Alcatel-Lucent will retain a 15% minority stake in the divested business, as well as maintaining a commercial relationship with it in support of its growth ambitions under new ownership.

The divestment of Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise forms part of Alcatel-Lucent’s commitments under The Shift Plan, launched in June 2013, to refocus itself as a specialist in IP, Cloud and Ultra-Broadband Access, while realigning its balance sheet, implementing cost savings of Euro 1 billion and generating at least Euro 1 billion through selective asset sales by the end of 2015.

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise is a world leader in communications and networking solutions for businesses of allsizes, serving more than 500,000 customers worldwide.

China Huaxin Post & Telecommunication Economy Development Center (“China Huaxin” ) is an industrial investment company that seeks long-term commercial growth opportunities in the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) sector.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Alcatel-Lucent.

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ABOUT ALCATEL-LUCENT (EURONEXT PARIS AND NYSE: ALU) (HTTP://WWW.ALCATEL-LUCENT.COM):

We are at the forefront of global communications, providing products and innovations in IP and cloud networking, as well as ultra-broadband fixed and wireless access to service providers and their customers, and to enterprises and institutions throughout the world. Underpinning us in driving the industrial transformation from voice telephony to high-speed digital delivery of data, video and information is Bell Labs, an integral part of the Group and one of the world’s foremost technology research institutes, responsible for countless breakthroughs that have shaped the networking and communications industry. Our innovations have resulted in our Group being recognized by Thomson Reuters as a Top 100 Global Innovator, as well as being named by MIT Technology Review as amongst 2012’s Top 50 “World’s Most Innovative Companies”. We have also been recognized for innovation in sustainability, being named Industry Group Leader in the Technology Hardware & Equipment sector in the 2014 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices review, for making global communications more sustainable, affordable and accessible, all in pursuit of the Group’s mission to realize the potential of a connected world.

With revenues of Euro 14.4 billion in 2013, Alcatel-Lucent is listed on the Paris and New York stock exchanges (Euronext and NYSE: ALU). The company is incorporated in France and headquartered in Paris.

For more information, visit Alcatel-Lucent on: http://www.alcatel-lucent.com, read the latest posts on the Alcatel-Lucent blog http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/blog and follow the Company on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Alcatel_Lucent.

Oct 292014
 

LONDON, United-Kingdom, October 29, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Secretary offers condolences to the people of Zambia following the death of President Sata.

Following the death of President Michael Sata in London, the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said:

“I was saddened to hear of the death of President Michael Sata. He played a commanding role in the public life of his country over three decades, as Governor of Lusaka, as the holder of several Ministerial positions in the 1990s, as the main Opposition leader, and finally as President. I would like to offer my condolences to his family and to the Zambian people at this time.”

Oct 292014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 29, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Eritrea, Sheila B. Keetharuth, expressed alarm about continuing human rights violations in the country resulting in mass departures. She warned the UN General Assembly about the high number of children fleeing from Eritrea without their parents.

“By mid-October, more than 4,000 Eritrean minors had arrived in Italy since the beginning of the year, including more than 3,200 children travelling without their parents,” Ms. Keetharuth said, quoting recent data collected by the UN Refugee Agency.

“The numbers provided only reflect those who make it to Europe. We do not know how many children perish along the flight,” the human rights expert stressed. “In all circumstances, unaccompanied minors require special protection.”

The children risk their lives, travelling on their own or with friends, to escape from looming military training and conscription amounting to forced labour, to join family members or in the hope of finding their rights protected across borders. They are very vulnerable and run the risk of exposure to abuse and violence, including falling in the hands of traffickers and smugglers who ask for ransoms from their families.

Eritreans are escaping systematic and widespread human rights violations, such as indefinite forced conscription and violations in the context of the national service, arbitrary arrests and detention, incommunicado detention, inhumane prison conditions, extrajudicial killings, disappearances and torture.

“In recent months, we have seen a considerable increase in Eritrean asylum seekers and refugees crossing into neighbouring countries with almost 4,000 fleeing on a monthly basis,” she said. Significantly higher numbers of Eritreans are arriving in Europe. Between January and September 2014, 32,537 Eritreans arrived in Italy by boat. With Syrians, Eritreans constitute the largest group of arrivals.

The Special Rapporteur noted that the situation has deteriorated in the context of the attempted coup in January 2013, dubbed as the ‘Forto incident’. An unknown number of people, though the numbers quoted are as high as 800, including public figures, were reportedly arrested and detained, with no information as to their whereabouts, nor have they appeared before any court of law.

“The violations described are committed with impunity. No perpetrators have been brought to justice,” Ms. Keetharuth stated. “This is why I welcome the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry by the Human Rights Council to investigate all alleged violations of human rights in Eritrea, as outlined in my reports.”

The expert called on the Eritrean Government, the Eritrean people, in and outside of the country, as well as the international community to cooperate with both the Commission’s and her mandate. “I remain fully committed to continue delivering on the mandate entrusted to me by the Human Rights Council in a constructive, transparent, independent and impartial manner and look forward to starting work as a member of the Commission of Inquiry,” she said.

The Special Rapporteur welcomed Eritrea’s accession to the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in September, which was long overdue. “I hope this is an indication of Eritrea’s willingness to comply with the prohibition of torture under international law,” she said.

Oct 292014
 

BUSAN, South Korea, October 29, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Governments must enhance their National Broadband planning process to enable ICTs and broadband to catalyse socio-economic development, according to an Open Letter from the Broadband Commission for Digital Development to delegates attending the ITU’s 2014 Plenipotentiary Conference.

Personally delivered by H.E. President Kagame, co-Chair of the Broadband Commission, on the 28th October, the Commission notes the strong links between broadband and development and urges “Member States to continue to push for inclusion of ICTs and broadband as key enabling transformative technologies in the post-2015 development agenda.”

Although there is evidence that Broadband Plans can help to adapt systems and ensure that both industrialized and developing economies can fully benefit from the digital revolution, there are currently 43 countries without any form of National Broadband plan in place.

Dr Hamadoun I. Touré said, “The importance of a National Broadband plan cannot be understated and I encourage all nations to put in place a Broadband Plan that ensures they are ready to meet the digital revolution head-on. Broadband for all, no matter where they live, is a real possibility and represents a real opportunity to achieve meaningful digital inclusion across the globe”.

The letter comes as part of the Broadband Commission’s ongoing campaign for policy leadership in broadband as established in the Commission’s first advocacy target, tracked in the Commission’s annual State of Broadband report, which aims to make broadband policy universal – by 2015, all countries should have a national broadband plan or strategy or include broadband in UAS (Universal Access Service) Definitions.

The Broadband Commission for Digital Development was launched in May 2010 by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in response to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s call to step up efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The Commission unites top industry executives with government leaders, thought leaders, policy pioneers, international agencies and organizations concerned with development. The Broadband Commission embraces a range of different perspectives in a multi-stakeholder approach to promoting the roll-out of broadband, and represents a fresh approach to UN and business engagement. To date, the Commission has published a number of high-level policy reports, best practices and case studies.

Oct 292014
 

WASHINGTON, October 29, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 28, 2014

The United States is concerned by the spirt and intent behind a draft Nati…

Oct 292014
 

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 29, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — H.E President Kenyatta and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Inaugurate First Ministerial Forum on Sustainable Transport in Africa And Launch Pioneering Global Media Campaign to End Female Genital Mutilation

Thursday 30 October 8.45 am EAT – Journalists are requested to arrive by 8.15am

UN Compound, Gigiri,

**Bus will pick up journalists at 7.15am from Chester House, Nairobi CBD**

H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will inaugurate on Thursday the first Africa Sustainable Transport Forum – and the largest gathering of African Ministers of Transport and Environment at the United Nations Complex in Nairobi, Kenya.

Air pollution, rapid urbanization, road safety and sustainable fuels are just some of the issues that will be addressed by ministers and senior delegates from 42 African countries, as they draft an historic framework that is set to tackle Africa’s escalating transport crisis and chart new green pathways to sustainable transport.

The event, hosted by the Kenyan Government, is organized by the UN Environment Programme in corporation with UN-Habitat and the World Bank

There will be a Photo Opportunity with Ban Ki-moon, President Kenyatta, and 42 African Ministers/Heads of Delegations at 10am – at the main delegates’ staircase.

Following that, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will launch a pioneering global media campaign entitled End Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), accompanied by Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning, Anne Waiguru.

Joining the inauguration will also be Maggie O’Kane from the Guardian Newspaper, a lead campaign partner and FGM survivor Kakenya Ntaiya .

The campaign recognizes the crucial role of the media in raising awareness about this serious issue.

Oct 282014
 

WASHINGTON, October 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Remarks

Anne C. Richard

Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration

Remarks at the First Regional Conference Dedicated to the Protection of Refugee Children and Adolescents

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

October 15, 2014

I would like to thank His Royal Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi, and High Commissioner Guterres for hosting this very important conference.

Children in the region confront horrors and hardships that almost defy belief. They have been blown apart by bombs at elementary schools, sold as sex slaves and forced to fight.

Millions of children have been driven from their homes in Syria. Recently hundreds of thousands have fled their homes in Iraq. I have met refugee children in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, and heard their harrowing stories.

I have also seen hundreds of refugee children who were bound for North Africa. They had walked from Eritrea to a camp in Ethiopia. Many were utterly alone. They had fled ruthless repression, hopelessness, and military service without end. But were about to continue northward, where smugglers and traffickers could easily kidnap, rob, rape them or send them off aboard unseaworthy boats to drown.

By cooperating more effectively, I believe we can offer more and better protection to these vulnerable refugee children and adolescents. So I am very pleased that we have gathered for this conference.

Meeting refugees’ basic needs – providing shelter, health care, and nutrition – is not enough. Children and adolescents need targeted aid that is tailored to their ages and needs, recognizes how vulnerable they are and how resilient they can be. These programs can change the trajectory of their lives.

The U.S. government supports the goals outlined in UNHCR’s 2012 Framework for the Protection of Children. Today I will focus on one of these goals, safety, and on the related issues of protecting girls, providing quality, education and proper documentation for refugee children.

Children continue to face danger, long after they flee from the bullets and the bombs. Often refugee children and adolescents shoulder burdens that they should not, because families are fractured, or because years of exile have stripped them of their money, their dignity, and their patience.

More and more children are working, often in jobs that jeopardize their health or their futures because their families need the cash.

Refugee girls and adolescents face sexual exploitation and abuse. Some of those who wield power over refugees have reportedly extorted sexual favors. Land lords, camp leaders, and as in crises elsewhere, even some of those charged with delivering aid.

Many Syrian refugee girls are not allowed to attend school or even leave their homes because it’s considered too dangerous. Women and girls may be reluctant to seek help when they are harassed. Adolescent girls who are harassed may themselves be blamed and punished by relatives for shaming their families. In part, because sexual abuse is such a danger, and in part because families are running out of money, girls are being forced to marry.

Studies show that in two years, the rate of child marriages among Syrian refugees in Jordan has doubled, and nearly half of these marriages pair girls with men at least a decade older. Child brides are more likely to drop out of school, have risky early pregnancies, and face domestic abuse, which endangers both them and their children.

Donors, aid agencies, and host governments can work together to help children be and feel safer. Specialized training can help aid workers care for and counsel children. Most aid groups know that we should not create redundant structures that run parallel to existing government institutions, but instead, improve government services to protect all children.

As humanitarians and donors, we must hold ourselves to the highest possible standard. Aid workers and others who are supposed to be helping refugees should NEVER – not ever – get away with sexually exploiting or abusing them. This is why codes of conduct and respect for the core principles of Preventing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse are so important. We can improve safeguards and mechanisms for reporting abuse and work together to bring perpetrators to justice.

Countries hosting refugee children can also consider tightening certain laws or stepping up enforcement of existing laws to prevent forced early marriage and the worst forms of child labor. Governments could ease the financial pressures on families that put children at risk. For instance, granting temporary work permits to adults – can make an enormous difference to children.

Access to good schools can insulate refugee children from all sorts of hazards. Parents who believe their children are learning something useful are less likely to urge them to drop out and go to work or get married. Being in school lowers the risk that children will be recruited to fight.

In addition, school can offer something precious to uprooted children: normalcy and social cohesion. Yet, after more than three years of warfare, three million children in Syria are no longer in school. More than half a million Syrian refugee children in neighboring countries face the same predicament. This includes half of all registered Syrian refugee children in Jordan and 80 percent of those in Lebanon.

Because schools are severely overcrowded, some communities have resorted to double-and even triple-shifts. Syrian children in Turkey and northern Iraq also struggle because they do not understand Turkish or Kurdish. The majority, who do not live in camps, have a much harder time enrolling in school. Some have missed too much school to go back. Some are too traumatized to concentrate and learn.

Education is also under siege in Iraq and Gaza. In parts of Iraq, more than 2,000 schools now house families forced to flee the mayhem unleashed by ISIL extremists. After the recent fighting, many schools in Gaza are either damaged or destroyed or continue to shelter displaced civilians.

Many of your governments are pouring enormous effort and resources into accommodating the huge influx of refugee children. The No Lost Generation initiative has helped to nearly triple the number of Syrian children receiving education in neighboring countries. The United States is committing millions of dollars for education programs through organizations like UNICEF, UNHCR, UNRWA, and international non-governmental organizations.

The international community supports steps to broaden access further by making it easier to register for school or earn certificates or other credentials. Innovative solutions including non-traditional education can fill gaps. For example, UNRWA is broadcasting school lessons on satellite television and YouTube to reach its students in Syria who are unable to attend school.

We can help children feel safer in school and on the way there. Children too emotionally distraught to pay attention may benefit from counseling. Additional training can help teachers to recognize and assist them. Our projects should not only help refugees but also build social cohesion between refugee and host communities by meeting both groups’ needs.

Finally, I would like to talk about my third topic: the legal documents every child needs to be recognized as a person. We are at risk of creating a generation of stateless children. This is because many refugee children are not registered at birth and because nationality laws in several countries in the region bar women from conferring their nationality to their children.

Every year, thousands of Syrian refugee children are born without documentation, and without fathers on hand to help secure their nationality. Without birth registration, these children may not be able to enroll in school or gain access to vital services. Worse still, they become particularly vulnerable to the type of exploitation we’ve already discussed today: to child labor, child marriage, and other forms of gender-based violence. This lack of birth registration can haunt refugee children for the rest of their lives.

In 2011, the U.S. Department of State launched an initiative to promote women’s equal right to nationality. It seeks legal reforms in the 27 countries where women lack this right, and pushes for registration of all children at birth.

Some countries have taken important steps to remove barriers to registration.

Jordan, for example, is establishing satellite offices of its Civil Service Department in major refugee camps, and waiving certain deadlines and fees for birth registration.

We know that children are resilient. If someone stands up for them, protects them, teaches them, while they are still young they can heal, and learn. The demands are so great and the stakes so high that we must not falter, or waste precious resources or miss opportunities to cooperate. I am grateful to be here, to share our perspectives and to hear yours as we work together to help the region’s children.

Thank you very much.