Diplomatic briefs

07-06-2014 05:43 PM

Mary Fikry- Antoun Milad

Two Egyptian soldiers honoured by UN
Two Egyptian soldiers, Amr Ataya and Adel Fathi Mahmoud who died in Darfur while on the peacekeeping UN corps stationed there,

Two Egyptian soldiers honoured by UN
Two Egyptian soldiers, Amr Ataya and Adel Fathi Mahmoud who died in Darfur while on the peacekeeping UN corps stationed there,
 were honoured by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon among those who lost their lives in such missions during 2013. Hailing the “long and proud” history of UN peacekeeping, Mr Ki-moon reminded that over one million “blue helmets” served in more than 70 operations on four continents since 1948. On 29 May 2014, the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, the world body honoured the 106 peacekeepers who died last year while serving under the UN flag, bringing the total number of lives lost in the history of peacekeeping to more than 3,200.
“We mourn the passing of every one of these courageous individuals. We grieve with their friends and families and we recommit ourselves to ensure that their contributions to the cause of peace will never be forgotten,” Mr Ki-moon said.
At UN Headquarters in New York, Mr Ki-moon presided over a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of all peacekeepers who lost their lives last year. The Dag Hammarskjöld Medal will be awarded posthumously to the peacekeepers who fell in the line of duty.
Egypt participates in UN peacekeeping operations with 6002 soldiers stationed in Côte d’Ivoire, Congo, Haiti, Liberia, Mali, Sudan, South Sudan and the Western Desert.
Work opportunities in Italy
Italy is this summer offering 10,000 job opportunities for workers from non-EuropeanUnion countries; this includes Egyptian workers. According to Eissa Iskander, head of workers union in Italy, this comes as the outcome of the decree recently signed by Italian Prime Minister Matthew Renzi relating to the seasonal workers needed in the agricultural field in Italy in 2014. The decree allows foreign workers the opportunity to get legal jobs in Italy while avoiding the hazards of illegal immigration. 
The Food-for-Education programme, conducted over the last three years jointly by the World Food Program and the Egyptian Ministry of Education and in collaboration with major business partners, has this year seen the international cement producer CEMEX join the programme. CEMEX has a cement plant in Assiut, some 350km south of Cairo.
The Food-for-Education project has so far been able to improve the lives of more than 3.jpg5,000 schoolchildren and their families in over 114 community schools in the least privileged areas of Assiut. Throughout the school year, schoolchildren sponsored by the programme have received a daily snack fortified with iron and Vitamin A, which covers about 25 per cent of the child’s daily nutritional needs. Take-home food supplies are also distributed monthly to the families of those students who attend school regularly, contributing to increased school enrolment. The project has aimed to reduce poverty and food insecurity in Upper Egypt by investing in human potential through supporting access to basic education facilities to maximise the children s learning capacity, and at the same time encourage their parents to keep them off the labour market.
UNIDO on clean coal usage in Egypt
The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) will be providing technical assistance to Egypt’s government regarding clean coal usage, UNIDO’s knowledge management officer in Egypt Ahmed Nabil Fahmy has said. In coordination with the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Investment, UNIDO will conduct the2.jpg needed research to ensure coal is used in a manner which complies with environmental standards, Fahmy said, noting that an agreement between UNIDO and the ministry should be signed by the end of 2014.
Despite opposition from the Ministry of Environment, the interim government last April approved the use of coal in the industrial sector to address the energy shortage, pending the endorsement of the Environmental Impact Assessment, which is under the Ministry of Environmental Affairs. The government said that it would impose a tax on coal usage and work to amend laws to tighten penalties for violating environmental standards and regulations. Using coal would require factories’ owners to import coal, which Minister of Industry Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said would not start until the environmental standards and regulations for the industrial use of coal have been finalised and ratified.
However, a coalition of four NGOs, including the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) and the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR), announced their resolve to resist the government’s decision to approve the use of coal.
Listing UNIDO projects in Egypt, Fahmy pointed out that the organisation is currently adopting a project to improve energy efficiency in the industrial sector through training engineers how to best use energy. The project, which was launched in 2012 and will conclude in 2017, is valued at USD95.3 million and is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), an international organisation which addresses global environmental issues.
UNIDO began operating in Egypt in 1997, cooperating with the government and private sector to support industrial development, Fahmy said, adding that there are currently 10 UNIDO projects underway in Egypt.
Egyptian Sumo cup
The first Oosunaarashi Cup of Egyptian Sumo tournament was recently held in Cairo at the El Sawy Culturewheel. The tournament was jointly organised by the Oosunaarashi Fans Association and the Mahatat Misr (Egypt Station) international 1.jpgmagazine which is published in Japan with the aim of promoting tourism, and was sponsored by the Japanese Embassy in Cairo. 
Sumo is a popular sport in Japan, and depends on the weight of the player. The game moved to Egypt and the Egyptian National Team won several international awards. Seven of its members took competed in the recent tournament. Oosunaarashi is the name the Japanese press has bestowed on the Egyptian sumo player Abdel-Rahman Shaalan who became a professional player in Japan; the name is literal for ‘Desert Storm’ and expresses Shaalan’s prowess at the game.
The Oosunaarashi cup this year went to Ramy al-Gazzar.
Watani International
7 June 2014
(Visited 26 times, 1 visits today)