Thursday, 31 March 2011
Wednesday, 30 March 2011
Last updated at 2:13 (UK time) 30 Mar 2011 Latest news Ambassador appointments
Tuesday 29 March
Foreign Secretary's statement following the conference
Prime Minister David Cameron's opening speech
Foreign Secretary ahead of the Libya conference
London Conference on Libya attendees list
Foreign Secretary meets Libyan Interim Transitional Council Special Envoy
Conference photos (Foreign Office flickr)
Tuesday, 29 March 2011
Sunday, 27 March 2011
Press release Saturday 26th March 2011 For immediate use - For operational use Ed Miliband speech to the TUC rally Friends, we come here today from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, from all generations. Men, women and children with one simple message for this country and this government: there is an alternative. I look out at this extraordinary sea of faces gathered in this historic park and I feel profoundly moved by this moment. We come in the tradition of movements that have marched in peaceful but powerful protest for justice, fairness and political change. The suffragettes who fought for votes for women and won. The civil rights movement in America that fought against racism and won. The anti apartheid movement that fought the horror of that system and won. The cause may be different but in coming together today to realise our voice, we are standing on the shoulders of those who have marched and struggled for great causes in the past Our struggle is to fight to preserve, protect and defend the best of the services we cherish because they represent the best of the country we love. We know what the government will say: that this is a march of the minority. They are so wrong. David Cameron: you wanted to create the big society. This is the big society. The big society united against what your government is doing to our country. We stand today not as the minority, but as the voice of the mainstream majority in this country. The midwives from Kingston here to speak up for maternity services. The sure start workers from Hampshire here to speak up for children’s centres. The small business owners from Liverpool here to speak up for jobs. The teachers and students here to speak up for the next generation. We speak today for the mainstream of Britain because we are the mainstream of Britain. We recall the greatest moments of our country’s history. We remember what happened after the second world war when we faced enormous challenges but built a country fit for the future. The National Health Service Homes fit for heroes. The welfare state Out of the shadows of that time, we built a better society. Every one of us knows that today the country faces difficult times. But we know too there is a different way. We hold to some simple truths: We need jobs to cut the deficit. Unemployment is never a price worth paying. The next generation should never have their hopes sacrificed on the altar of dogmatic deficit reduction. There is a need for difficult choices, and some cuts. But, this government is going too far and too fast and destroying the fabric of our communities. Where is the fairness? They say we are all in this together. But how can it be right that while children’s centres close, it is business as usual for the bankers? How can it be right that while the cost of living goes up for everyone else, the government gives the banks a tax cut? We are not talking about the politics of envy, we are talking about the politics of fairness. We do not simply reject the government’s policies. We reject the narrowness of their vision, the injustice of their ideology and the poverty of their aspiration for our great country. They are the dividers not the unifiers. We reject their attempt to divide Britain. I grew up in the 1980s. This government is taking us back. Setting private sector against public sector. Setting those in work against those on benefits. Setting North against South. I say to David Cameron: The hundreds of thousands of people on this march reject your politics of division. It falls to us to be the unifiers of our country. That is why it is so important that this is a peaceful protest that wins public support. A protest remembered for its cause and for its purpose. And it falls to us to be the optimists too. We do need to cut the deficit. But we must also protect families struggling to get by. We must also protect the promise of Britain that the next generation does better than the last We must also preserve the things we value in our communities: the library, the citizen’s advice bureaux, the community centre. We know, from generations before us, that it is not just politicians who make change happen, it is people. And so when people ask, who will, stand up for our NHS? Let us say: we will When People ask who will stand up for our children’s centres, Let us say: we will When people ask who will stand up for the hopes and dreams of the next generation, Let us say: We will And when people ask us who will stand up for the mainstream majority in Britain, we say: We will. Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King said: The arc of the moral universe is long and it bends towards justice. But only if people bend it that way. You are those people standing up for our country. Standing up for justice Standing up for fairness Standing up for change Thank you for your commitment. We will prevail Thank you Ends
Mark C. Toner
Acting Deputy SpokesmanOffice of Press Relations
March 26, 2011
The United States commends the African Union for convening a meeting of the international community in Addis Ababa yesterday to discuss the situation in Libya. The African Union has an important role to play in the resolution of the Libyan crisis. We are especially grateful for the emphasis the African Union placed on the effective protection of civilians and the urgent need to extend humanitarian assistance to those affected by the violence. We also commend the African Union for reiterating its commitment to a resolution to the crisis that is within the framework of international legal structures, including United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973.
Friday, 25 March 2011
Thursday, 24 March 2011
Team at BEN TV
CPA Sec Gen Dr William Shija
CPA Sec Gen Dr William Shija, Alana Leissle-BEN TV, Luciano-CPA Outside Buckingham Palace
The secretary general of the commonwealth parliamentary association met H.M Queen Elizabeth II this week to update her on the work of the CPA especially the forthcoming annual CPA meeting in July that will be held in the UK. H.M was eager to know about the theme of the conference which is reinforcing democracy, given the fact that this year’s theme of the commonwealth is women as agents of change. Dr Shija briefed her majesty about the topics that will be discussed at the conference which will include immigration, climate change and conflict resolution. Should you need more information about the conference please visit www.cpahq.org
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of StateWashington, DC
March 18, 2011
The United States is alarmed by today's violence in Sana'a against anti-government protesters and is seeking to verify reports that this is the result of actions by security forces. We have seen increased numbers of deaths and injuries at demonstrations throughout Yemen in the past two weeks and I join President Obama in strongly condemning this violence. We call on Yemeni security forces to exercise maximum restraint, refrain from violence, and permit citizens to freely and peacefully express their views.
We extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives and call on President Saleh to uphold his promise to protect peaceful demonstrators. All perpetrators of violence should be held accountable and brought to justice.
The Yemeni people, like people everywhere, have the universal rights to demonstrate peacefully, to freely assemble, and to express themselves without fear of intimidation or death. A solution to Yemen's problems will not be found through security measures. We support dialogue as the path to a peaceful solution to Yemen’s current political situation. This must include genuine participation by all sides in an open and transparent process that addresses the legitimate concerns of all Yemeni people, including their political and economic aspirations.
Monday, 21 March 2011
This is part of the Conversations with America video series coordinated by the Bureau of Public Affairs, in which the State Department's senior leadership hosts conversations live, online, with leaders of prominent non-governmental organizations. The discussions aim to provide a candid view of how leaders from civil society engage the Department on pressing foreign policy issues.
View the text and video from other Conversations with America by following the links below:
Conversations with America : Diplomacy in the 21st Century: Stabilization and Conflict Prevention (February 25, 2011)
Conversations with America: The State Department's Internet Freedom Strategy (February 18, 2011)
Conversations with America: International Disability Rights (February 17, 2011)
Conversations with America: U.S. Efforts to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (February 8, 2011)
Conversations with America: Haiti in 2011: The Way Forward (January 10, 2011)
Conversations with America: Leading Through Civilian Power: The First QDDR (January 6, 2011)
Conversations with America: The Millennium Development Goals (September 16, 2010)
Conversations with America: A Discussion on PEPFAR (August 10, 2010)
Conversations with America: A Discussion on the NEW START Treaty (July 29, 2010)
Conversations with America: U.S. Engagement with Muslim Communities (July 9, 2010)
Conversations with America: The U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue (June 8, 2010)
Conversations with America: A Discussion on Afghanistan and Pakistan (April 19, 2010)
Sunday, 20 March 2011
19 March 2011
At the invitation of President of the French Republic, M. Nicolas SARKOZY, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations ; Mr. José Luis Zapatero, President of the Government of the Kingdom of Spain, Mrs. Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor of Germany ; Mr. Steven Harper, Prime Minister of Canada; Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affaires of the State of Qatar ; Mr. Donald Tusk, President of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Poland ; Mr. Lars Loekke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Denmark ; Mr. Silvio Berlusconi, President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic ; Mr. George Papandreou, Prime Minister de la Hellenic Republic ; Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway ; Mr. Yves Leterme, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium ; Mr. David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ; Mr. Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands ; Mr. Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States ; Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council ; Mrs. Catherine Ashton, European Union High Representative for Foreign affairs and Security policy ; Mr. Hoshyar Mahmoud Zebari, Foreign minister of the Republic of Irak ; Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates ;Mrs. Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States of America ; Mr. Nasser Joudeh, Foreign minister of the Kingdom of Jordan ; Mr. Taïeb Fassi-Fihri, Foreign minister of the Kingdom of Morocco.
At the end of the summit, the following declaration was adopted:
Since 15 February this year, the Libyan people have been peacefully expressing the rejection of their leaders and their aspiration for change. In the face of these legitimate requests coming from all over the country, the Libyan regime has carried out a growing brutal crackdown, using weapons of war against his own people and perpetrating against them grave and massive violations of humanitarian law.
Despite the demands which the Security Council expressed in UNSCR 1970 on 26 February, despite the condemnations of the Arab League, African Union, Organization of the Islamic Conference’s Secretary-General and European Union, as well as very many governments in the world, the Libyan regime has stepped up its violence in order to impose by force its will on that of its people.
This situation is intolerable.
We express our satisfaction after the adoption of UNSC 1973 which, inter alia, demands an immediate and complete ceasefire, authorises the taking of all necessary measures to protect civilians against attacks and establishes a no-fly zone over Libya. Finally, it strengthened and clarified the arms embargo vis-à-vis the Libyan regime and the rules applicable to the Libyan asset freeze, in particular on the National Oil Company, and travel restrictions against the Gaddafi’s regime.
While contributing in differentiated way to the implementation of UNSCR 1973, we are determined to act collectively and resolutely to give full effect to these decisions.
Muammar Gaddafi and those executing his orders must immediately end the acts of violence carried out against civilians, to withdraw from all areas they have entered by force, return to their compounds, and allow full humanitarian access. We reiterate that the Security Council took the view that Libyan regime’s forces actions may amount to crimes against humanity and that, to this end, it has referred the matter to the International Criminal Court.
We are determined to take all necessary action, including military, consistent with UNSCR 1973, to ensure compliance with all its requirements.
We assure the Libyan people of our determination to be at their side to help them realise their aspirations and build their future and institutions within a democratic framework.
We recall that UN Security Council resolution 1973 does not allow for any occupation of, or attempt to occupy the Libyan territory.
We pay tribute to the courageous action of the Libyan National Transition Council (NTC) and all the Libyans in positions of responsibility who have courageously disassociated themselves from the Libyan regime and given the NTC their support.
Our commitment is for the long term: we will not let Colonel Gaddafi and his regime go on defying the will of the international community and scorning that of his people. We will continue our aid to the Libyans so that they can rebuild their country, fully respecting Libya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Thursday, 17 March 2011
For the attention of Advance Planning Desk’s
EMBARGO: Immediate release
Date 16th March 2011.
Smiley Culture’s Family Call Press Conference
The family of UK reggae star Smiley Culture aka David Emmanuel, who died Tuesday 15th March in suspicious circumstances during a raid on his home by the Metropolitan Police Serious Crime Squad, will be holding a press conference at the Karibu Education Centre 7 Gresham Rd Brixton SW9 7PH, Thursday 17th March at 12 noon.
In attendance and speaking on behalf of the Emmanuel family will be Merlin Emmanuel. A long time friend and associate of Smiley’s, Asher Senator will speak along with other members of his immediate family.
Lee Jasper Chair of the London Race and Criminal Justice Consortium will chair the press conference.
Wednesday, 16 March 2011
From Her Majesty the queen, head of the commonwealth
Last week, on the 8th March, we marked the hundredth anniversary of the first international Women’s Day. The idea having a women’s day was first proposed against the backdrop of the rapid industrialization of the early 20th centaury. From small beginnings, this idea has grown become a widely recognized way of celebrating women around the world. While some people use this day to acknowledge the love, admiration and respect for women, others use it to remember the great social and political strides made both by and for woman in the last 100years. There is no right or wrong approach.
In the commonwealth every year 26milion girls are born; and this equates to one new baby girl arriving every second of every day. In the time it takes hold the commonwealth Observance Service at Westminster Abbey, nearly 4000 girls will have been born in Commonwealth lands. And every one of these births marks the start of a new life, a journey which begins with the hopes of parents, families, and communities, and which is continued through the aspirations of those girls themselves.
This year, the Commonwealth celebrates the important role that women already play in every walk of life and in every Commonwealth country from the richest to the poorest areas, across continents and oceans, from villages to places of international debate, in every culture and faith recognizing that women are ‘agents of change’ in so many ways: as mothers and sisters, teachers and doctors, artists and craftspeople, smallholders and entrepreneurs, and as leaders of our societies, unleashing the potential of those around them
And also this year, the Commonwealth reflects on what more could be achieved if women were able to pay an even larger role. For example, I am encouraged that last year the Commonwealth launched a global effort to train and support half a million more midwives worldwide.
In all this work the commendable goal is to create a greater opportunity for women as children and adults to pursue their hopes and dreams, to attain their goals, and to make best use of their talents and knowledge.
This year, and on Commonwealth Day especially, as governments continue to search for new ways to tackle these important challenges, let us all give a thought to the practical ways in which we, as individuals or as groups, can provide support to girls and women- so that everyone can have a chance of a fuller and more rewarding life, wherever they happen to be born.
Remarks Preceding Meeting With Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of StateCairo, Egypt
March 16, 2011
It was very exciting and moving for me to go to Tahrir Square and to have some sense of what those amazing days must have been like here in Cairo.
I'm so looking forward to helping in any way that we can in this transformation and all the work that needs to be done.
I was just saying to one of the ministers that we have an expression: It's like drinking from a fire hose. There is so much to be done. But the United States stands ready to help in every way possible to translate what happened in Tahrir Square into the new reality for Egypt.
Tuesday, 15 March 2011
By Frances Webber
10 March 2011, 4:00pm
An audit of UK Border Agency (UKBA) officials' responses to medical reports concerning vulnerable detainees, including torture survivors, demonstrates a frightening lack of care.
The UKBA report, Detention Centre Rule 35 Audit, 'seeks', in its own words, 'to address the perception among some NGOs that the UK Border Agency fails to comply with ... policy and detains thousands of torture victims every year'. The findings of the audit provide no comfort to critics and vindicate concerns that torture allegations are not taken seriously.
For years now, campaigners have argued that the UKBA does not follow its own policy whereby vulnerable people including torture survivors should not be detained. A 2006 test case exposed the routine failure of detention centre medical staff to screen new arrivals for signs of torture or physical and mental illness, as required by the immigration rules - because UKBA refused to pay them to do the screening. As a result, signs of torture were not being picked up and torture survivors were unlawfully being detained. Since then the issue of detention of torture victims has received more scrutiny. Both Medical Justice and the The Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture urged the UKBA to audit its procedures to see whether torture survivors were in fact being inappropriately detained. The UKBA audit was conducted a year ago but was only released on 1 March 2011.
The somewhat obscure title of the report refers not to the on-arrival screening duty (Rule 34 of the 2001 Detention Centre rules), but to Rule 35, which imposes duties on medical staff to report to managers whenever they become aware of detainees whose health is likely to be affected badly by detention, including those suspected of having suicidal intentions, as well as on persons who may have been victims of torture. Under the rule, managers of detention centres must send copies of 'Rule 35' medical reports to the UKBA 'without delay'. In practice, medical staff give a copy of Rule 35 reports to on-site UKBA staff, who are required by Detention Services Order 03/2008 to send it on within 24 hours to the detainee's 'case owner' with responsibility for the decision to detain, who must review the person's detention within 48 hours. Clearly, the purpose of the exercise is to remove extremely vulnerable people from the harmful environment of detention as quickly as possible.
The audit looked at all the cases in November and December 2009 when a Rule 35 report was submitted to UKBA, to see whether UKBA officials responded promptly and appropriately. It found that in only 35 per cent of cases did UKBA officials respond within the 48-hour time limit.
It is unclear whether all Rule 35 reports were examined or just those where torture was alleged: the executive summary suggests that all cases where medical staff reported on the health of detainees were included, while the text of the audit suggests that it was limited to allegations of torture. In any event, during the two months covered by the audit, a total of 216 Rule 35 reports were received, in respect of 190 detainees (out of the total of 6,666 people who were detained during the period). In only sixty-seven cases (35 per cent) did UKBA staff respond within the required 48-hour period, and in one-third of the cases 'case owners' failed to respond to the medical report. The audit states that in all but ten cases, there was evidence from the case file that the allegation of torture had been taken into account, although there had been no formal response, but it is not clear how - in particular, whether there was a detention review.
This is bad enough, indicating as it does a fairly devastating failure on the part of UKBA officials to respond promptly to serious medical concerns - but the most shocking findings are left until last. The review of detention resulted in release in only 9 per cent of the cases; in the other 91 per cent of cases, the information contained in the Rule 35 report made no difference to the decision to detain. We are given no explanation whatever for this extraordinary finding, which suggests that case owners are simply disregarding medical evidence - after all, they are not medically qualified - or that they are not applying policy which states that torture survivors and those for whom detention carries unacceptable risks should not be detained. The other shocking statistic is that only twenty-six of individuals subject to a Rule 35 report - 14 per cent - were granted any form of status, whether refugee status or humanitarian or discretionary leave, while ninety - 47 per cent - were refused and removed, and another seventy-four - 39 per cent - were refused or claims are still ongoing.
These latter findings go to the heart of UKBA decision-making. They suggest that case owners are either provided with inadequate medical information, or that they are simply not equipped to take vital decisions about the detention of asylum claimants or about the strength of their claims. But the report fails to discuss the implications of its own findings. It is full of management-speak about 'improving communications across business areas to drive up performance', 'sampling and data quality checks', arranging 'roll-out of improved recording and monitoring systems'. With this kind of language, it is perhaps not surprising that elementary human truths are lost. Nowhere does the report ask: Do the medical reports provide enough information for case owners? What is the quality of the information provided? Or is it that case owners have no understanding of the reports they read? Why do those responsible for people in detention appear not to care about their welfare, even where there is evidence that they have been tortured? The audit demonstrates that the business model of performance indicators and box-ticking is fundamentally flawed when it comes to dealing with damaged and vulnerable people. The meaning of torture, the experience of asylum seekers, the inhumanity of current detention practices - all these the audit signally fails to address.
Since the audit was carried out, things have got even worse, according to Medical Justice, which points out that the latest HM Inspector of Prisons report on Colnbrook detention centre (August 2010) noted that of 125 Rule 35 reports UKBA had received, only sixty-one had been replied to (49 per cent). HMIP reports: 'The paucity of information provided by health services staff gave case owners little reason to consider release and most replies were equally brief and unhelpful.'
In a statement, Medical Justice expressed its bitter disappointment with the audit, which it says 'fails miserably and is symbolic of UKBA's lack of commitment to safeguarding vulnerable detainees'. The organisation intends to lodge a complaint about the inadequacy of the audit and to demand disclosure of the raw data on which the audit was based. According to Medical Justice's Clinical Advisor, Dr Frank Arnold, they 'regularly see the outcome of Rule 35 failures; torture survivors and people with serious medical and psychiatric conditions who are routinely and inappropriately detained. Many people fleeing from regimes our government says it abhors are routinely subjected to being wrongfully and harmfully detained each year.'
Saturday, 12 March 2011
Africa is bidding to host the world's most powerful radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). When constructed, in 2025, it will have 50 times greater sensitivity than any other radio telescope on Earth. The SKA will probe the edges of our universe, even before the first stars and galaxies that formed after the Big Bang. This telescope will contribute to answering fundamental questions in astronomy, physics and cosmology, including the nature of dark energy and dark matter.
South Africa is leading the African bid and has already legislated to create 12.5 million hectares of protected area - or radio astronomy reserve. This area is also referred to as the Karoo Central Astronomy Advantage Area, offering low levels of radio frequency interference, very little light pollution, basic infrastructure of roads, electricity and communication.
The human story began in Africa and it can also be the place where we find answers to the story of our universe. Please help us bring the SKA project to Africa by informing the readers of Ubuntu platform about the project and the advantages of the South African SKA bid. I've created a comprehensive resource that you're welcome to explore and borrow from:
Please let me know if you have any questions or need more information. If you are able to post about this, I'd love to get the link to your post.
Residents in Alsalam Area in Benghazi city revolted against the terrorist bands who had taken the control of the city during the last days.Eyewitnesses in Alsalam area stated that a fight between the terrorist band members, who had seduced the residents of Alsalam area and had spread fear among them, and the residents took place.
Czech Republic announced its categorical refusal for the possibility of executing any military action against Libya.Russian Voice Radio stated yesterday that Czech Republic president, heading his country delegation at an extraordinary summit of EU on last Friday, warned the risk of taking improper resolutions towards the events in Libya such those resolutions sponsored by US government and implemented by NATO against a number of world states
President, Malam Bacai, of Guinea Bissau conducted a phone call today Thursday afternoon with the Leader of the Revolution through which he expressed his solidarity and Guinean people's solidarity with Libyans in countering the conspiracies that are targeting Libyans' security, stability and achievements realized by Elfateh Revolution and the Leader.It is known that this phone call comes within the series of phone calls conducted by most African presidents with the Leader to underline his pioneering role in the unity of Africa and the importance of Great Jamahiriya position in the African continent march towards promoting the presence of African space among other spaces in the world.