UN staff honour colleagues who fell in line of duty with memorial

21 November 2011United Nations staff, led by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, today mourned the lives of colleagues that perished in the line of duty with a memorial service at UN Headquarters in New York. Since March 2010, 195 men and women died in various incidents around the world; 95 were military personnel, 23 police, and 77 civilians. While ceremonies have been held on an individual basis, Mr. Ban said today’s memorial service would mark the beginning of a new tradition, in which a ceremony will be held every year for all staff who die while serving the UN.“UN staff give the world daily profiles in courage and commitment… Immersing themselves in their work and their communities, they show the world the great, caring face of the United Nations,” Mr. Ban said.“Our best tribute to them, beyond today’s memorial, is to continue the life-saving and life-enhancing work for which they gave their lives.”Mr. Ban added that the UN is taking all necessary measures to protect its staff, and called on countries to ensure those who commit crimes against them are punished.“We continue modernizing our security operations, from infrastructure to threat analysis, training and protection. We are strengthening what we do for families in the aftermath of death and disaster. And we are pressing governments to uphold their responsibility not only to provide security, but to prosecute those who target UN staff for violence,” he said.Recent deadly incidents include a terrorist attack on UN premises in Abuja, Nigeria; a suicide attack in Afghanistan near a refugee compound; two plane crashes – one in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and one in Bolivia; and an attack against aid workers in Sudan.“I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to those who have served the UN around the world – far from their countries and loved ones – and who have suffered the ultimate sacrifice,” said Mr. Al-Nasser.“I would like to underscore that the safety and security of UN personnel – civilian and uniformed – must be a top priority for all involved: the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Secretariat. To this end, we have to work closely with host countries, who bear the primary responsibility for safety and security on their respective territories,” he added.Mr. Al-Nasser commended the Secretariat’s work on the implementation of increased safety and security policies, and said that their execution on all missions would allow for a better assessment of the risks associated with UN operation in the field, leading to better operational decisions in the future. “For all the men, women and children whose lives are richer and safer thanks to the dedication of our staff, there have been those who were lost – the UN personnel who sacrificed their lives for a noble cause,” he said.“As we remember our fallen colleagues, we are all encouraged by their remarkable dedication, and are inspired to work even harder for the collective cause envisaged in the United Nations Charter: to keep peace and to promote better standards of life in larger freedom.” read more

Deteriorating situation in Darfur leaves UN extraordinarily concerned – Annans deputy

“We are extraordinarily concerned,” Mr. Malloch Brown told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York, calling attention to the worsening humanitarian and security situation in the remote region in recent months and “the absence of a clear political path to the deployment of a UN force.”A draft resolution circulating among Security Council members outlines the size and scope of a possible UN peacekeeping operation, which would replace the current mission of the African Union (AU). But so far the Sudanese Government has said it is opposed to having blue helmets in Darfur.In a closed-door briefing yesterday, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hédi Annabi told the Council that Khartoum is building up its armed forces in Darfur, an apparent sign that it is determined to pursue a major military offensive there soon.The period since the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) in early May has been marked not only by fierce fighting, but also by an unprecedented number of attacks on humanitarian workers – in July alone there were 36 reported incidents that led to nine deaths.Mr. Annabi said some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have indicated they may be forced to withdraw entirely from North Darfur, one of three states which comprise the region, because of the dangers to their staff members.Last week Secretary-General Kofi Annan wrote to the Council to express his alarm about the situation, pointing out it has become much harder for those aid workers who remain to direct humanitarian assistance to those in need. As many as 1.6 million people are currently inaccessible, Mr. Annan said in his letter.Today, Mr. Malloch Brown urged the reporters to not forget about Darfur, despite the importance of other crises in the world.He acknowledged that it is “hard to keep two stories in the air at once” but stressed that “it is very, very important that we all pay lots of attention to Darfur.”Scores of thousands of people have been killed and more than 2 million others have been displaced since conflict erupted in 2003 between rebels, Government forces and allied militia groups in Darfur, a region roughly the size of France. read more

Shoppers says underwhelming cold season winter storms hit fourthquarter profit

by The Canadian Press Posted Feb 6, 2014 7:36 am MDT TORONTO – Fewer colds and nasty winter storms left Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. (TSX:SC) with lower profits in the fourth quarter.The pharmacy chain said Thursday it was forced to close 112 locations for as long as two days in late December when severe winter weather slammed Central Canada, causing massive power outages.The fallout contributed to lower profits of $169.4 million, or 85 cents per share, for the quarter ended Dec. 28. That compared with profits of $175 million, or 85 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.Also factoring into the results were $3 million of expenses from the pending a takeover by Loblaw (TSX:L) valued at $12.4-billion.Excluding those costs, Shoppers said it earned $172 million or 86 cents per share, falling in line with analyst expectations, according to Thomson Reuters.Revenue totalled $2.75 billion, up from $2.72 billion a year earlier, while its same-store sales were up 1.2 per cent.“By any measure, our performance in the fourth quarter of 2013 was a successful conclusion to what was a very successful year,” president and CEO Domenic Pilla told analysts during a conference call.“However, (it) remains a very competitive and challenging marketplace.”Shoppers and other retailers have faced increased competition as Target Corp. rolls out its Canadian expansion — one of the factors underlying Loblaw’s expansion in the pharmacy sector.Consumers expect lower prices as they look to the number of alternatives in the retail market.“Our percentage of sales on promotion products continues to increase as a percentage of total sales,” Pilla said.Pharmacy sales, which have been pressured by a lower value of prescriptions, increased 0.5 per cent on a same-store basis.Non-prescription sales, referred to as front store sales, were up 1.1 per cent.However, Pilla said the early cough and cold season fell short of last year, which meant fewer people bought over-the-counter remedies.The Loblaw takeover of Shoppers Drug Mart still requires approval from the Competition Bureau, expected early this year.Shoppers shares closed three cents higher at $58.07 Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email People walk by a Shoppers Drug Mart in Toronto on July 15, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy Shoppers says underwhelming cold season, winter storms hit fourth-quarter profit read more