President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has met with the new Special Representative of the United Nations (UN) Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Mr. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.The Liberian President received Mr. Ahmed and his delegation at her Foreign Ministry office during a courtesy call on Tuesday, January 6, 2015, where brief acquaintance pleasantries were exchanged. Mr. Ahmed, a Mauritanian, replaces Mr. Anthony Banbury. Special Representative Banbury was the first envoy appointed by UN0 Secretary Ban Ki-Moon during the heat of the Ebola crisis in the sub-region. He initially noted that his mandate was to eradicate the virus from the sub-region. Mr. Banbury’s tour of duty ended over the weekend, thereby ushering in the new envoy.President Sirleaf welcomed the new Head of UMEER to Liberia and described the work of his predecessor as excellent and very supportive of the country’s fight to contain the deadly ebola virus disease.“Your predecessor effectively spearheaded the operations of UMEER with huge progress. Even though the country still has a lot to be done with regards to Ebola, much was achieved with the assistance and cooperation of UNMEER,” President Sirleaf indicated.She pledged her government’s support to the transitional process in UNMEER and emphasized the need for improved and strengthened regional collaboration and cooperation in the continued fight against the further spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease.She named exchange of information, experiences and best practices as important elements required to enhance regional cooperation and collaboration in the Ebola fight, thereby acknowledging that some level of regional collaboration is taking place, but still below the level it ought to be and stressed that the regional dimension of the virus makes it difficult for progress to be made in one country without the corresponding progress in the others.The new UNMEER Head, Cheikh Ahmed, expressed appreciation for the leadership and commitment of the Liberian government, which he considers the main factor responsible for the level of progress made in Liberia’s fight against the further spread of the Ebola virus disease.He pointed out that the mechanism for coordination may not be perfect but has impacted the Ebola fight in Liberia and the region very efficiently.Mr. Ahmed indicated that UNMEER will also focus on helping government reactivate the educational system and declared the mission’s support to the back to school effort. He, however, advised that appropriate measures and processes be put into place to protect both the students and staff as Ebola is still active in Liberia.Mr. Ahmed was accompanied by the Secretary General’s Special Representative of the UN Mission in Liberia, Karin Landgren; UN Ebola Envoy, David Nabarro; and Mr. Peter Graff; while Health Minister, Dr. Walter Gwenigale; Minister of State Without Portfolio, Mr. Sylvester Grigsby; and Dr. Emmanuel Dolo, were also in attendance.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Story Highlights As such, he said that strategic partnerships have been forged with the Jamaica Manufacturing Association (JMA) and the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) to aid in the setting up of a Sector Skills Council. Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says the Government is working to ensure that the local labour force is equipped with the skills that are demanded by investors.As such, he said that strategic partnerships have been forged with the Jamaica Manufacturing Association (JMA) and the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) to aid in the setting up of a Sector Skills Council.Mr. Vaz said that establishment of the body is part of recommendations arising from the Labour Market Forum held in April through contribution from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).He informed that apprenticeship programmes will be created with support from the private sector “to address skill gaps experienced by employers (which) will lead to greater employment”.Mr. Vaz was speaking at the official opening of Honey Bun Limited’s new US$1-million warehouse facility, at its Retirement Crescent headquarters in Kingston on May 3.He said that the Government is continuing its pursuit of policies that will boost job creation and economic growth.“These policies are (already) bearing fruit as unemployment continues to trend downwards. In January this year, the unemployment rate was 9.6 per cent, the lowest it has been for at least a decade. This figure represents a decrease of 3.1 per cent when compared to 12.7 per cent in 2017,” he indicated.Minister Vaz commended Honey Bun on the new facility, which, he said, “signals the confidence of the private sector in the economy”.The 11,500 square-foot space, built on the site of the former studio of veteran Reggae Producer, Joe Gibbs, will enable Honey Bun to increase production and exports as well as boost employment by 100 persons.Honey Bun Executive Chairman, Herbert Chong, said that the new warehouse will enable the company to operate at maximum capacity “utilising every inch of space in the most effective way”.It has been named in honour of the company’s late non-executive Board member and mentor to the Board, Sushil Jain.Founded in 1982, Honey Bun is the fastest-growing wholesale bakery in Jamaica, specialising in producing packaged pastries and baked snacks.It is the first Jamaican bakery to be Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)-certified, and became publicly listed on the Jamaica Junior Stock Market in 2011.Mr. Chong said that through the junior market the company has been able to realise “many of its accomplishments”. Mr. Vaz said that establishment of the body is part of recommendations arising from the Labour Market Forum held in April through contribution from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says the Government is working to ensure that the local labour force is equipped with the skills that are demanded by investors.
OTTAWA — A Chinese government spokesman says it is not “convenient” to discuss the charges against two Canadians detained in China despite an assertion by the country’s top prosecutor that they broke the law.Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang offered that explanation during a press conference in Beijing today, one of two cryptic Chinese government media events that deepened the mystery surrounding the arrests of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.The two were detained last month in what is widely viewed as Chinese retaliation for Canada’s arrest of high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, by the RCMP in Vancouver at the request of the United States.The U.S. wants Meng to face fraud charges in the U.S. and she has been released on bail and is living in an upscale Vancouver home in advance of her extradition hearing.Little is known about Kovrig’s or Spavor’s circumstances, because they’ve each had only a single consular visit by Canada’s ambassador to China, John McCallum, last month.China’s chief prosecutor, Zhang Jun, told a Beijing briefing today “without a doubt” Kovrig and Spavor broke the country’s laws and are being investigated.At a regular foreign-ministry briefing, Lu refused to elaborate on the nature of the charges.“We have said here that these two Canadian citizens are under investigation in accordance with law for engaging in activities that undermine China’s national security,” said Lu. “It is not convenient to disclose more information now.”Kovrig is a Canadian diplomat who was on a leave from Global Affairs Canada and was working in Beijing for the International Crisis Group, an organization that has written critically about China in the past.Spavor is an entrepreneur who organized tours to North Korea.A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland reiterated Canada’s call for the release of the two men.“We are deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities of two Canadians last month and call for their immediate release,” said Adam Austen.The government has sought the support of key allies in pressuring China to release Kovrig and Spavor.The U.S State Department has called for the release of the two Canadians, while Germany, France, the European Union and Australia have also issued supportive statements.Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press