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Dec 16, 2017
At least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in the month after violence broke out in Myanmar in August, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says. Based on surveys of refugees in Bangladesh, the number is much higher than Myanmar's official figure of 400. MSF said it was "the clearest indication yet of the widespread violence" by Myanmar authorities. The Myanmar military blames the violence on "terrorists" and has denied any wrongdoing.   More than 647,000 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh since August, MSF says.   The aid group's survey found that at least 9,000 Rohingya died in Myanmar, also known as Burma, between 25 August and 24 September. "In the most conservative estimations" at least 6,700 of those deaths have been caused by violence, including at least 730 children under the age of five, according to MSF. Previously, the armed forces stated that around 400 people had been killed, most of them described as Muslim terrorists.   The military crackdown began on 25 August after Rohingya Arsa militants attacked more than 30 police posts. After an internal investigation, the Myanmar army in November exonerated itself of any blame regarding the crisis. It denied killing any civilians, burning their villages, raping women and girls, and stealing possessions. The mostly Muslim minority are denied citizenship by Myanmar, where they are seen as immigrants from Bangladesh. The government does not use the term Rohingya but calls them Bengali Muslims. The government's assertions contradicted evidence seen by BBC correspondents. The United Nations human rights chief has said it seems like "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing". "What we uncovered was staggering, both in terms of the numbers of people who reported a family member died as a result of violence, and the horrific ways in which they said they were killed or severely injured," MSF Medical Director Sidney Wong said. According to MSF: §  69% of the violence-related deaths were caused by gunshots §  9% were due to being burnt to death in their houses §  5% were beaten to death. Among the dead children below the age of five, MSF says more than 59% were reportedly shot, 15% burnt to death, 7% beaten to death and 2% killed by landmine blasts. "The numbers of deaths are likely to be an underestimation as we have not surveyed all refugee settlements in Bangladesh and because the surveys don't account for the families who never made it out of Myanmar," Mr Wong said. In November, Bangladesh signed a deal with Myanmar to return hundreds of thousands of the refugees. MSF said the agreement was "premature" pointing out that "currently people are still fleeing" and reports of violence have come even in recent weeks. The group also warned there was still very limited access for aid groups into Rakhine state. The Rohingya are a stateless Muslim minority who have long experienced persecution in Myanmar.   Source:BBC
Dec 16, 2017
The compulsory insurance policy for National Service personnel have been made optional, a statement from the National Service Scheme (NSS) has announced. In a statement signed by Acting Executive Director, Ussif Mustapha said the insurance policy or national service personnel has been made optional for interested national service personnel who will sign onto the policy.   The statement added, ‘’the decision was taken at an Emergency Executive Council meeting of the National Service Personnel Association (NASPA) held in Accra today, after broad consultations with major stakeholders on the policy, and how best it would serve the interest of national service personnel. ‘’Management has therefore decided to suspend the mandatory monthly deductions of GHc15.00 from personnel allowance. ‘’Management wishes to urge all national service personnel to remain calm as their concerns regarding the insurance policy are being addressed,’’ the statement concluded.      
Dec 16, 2017
As part of a national campaign  to engage men and boys as agents of change in reducing inequalities related to gender across communities in the country, the ministry of Gender, Children and social protection has launched an advocacy campaign to realise this objective. The advocacy campaign dubbed ‘He For She’ will among other things advocate for an end to child marriage, help increase women participation and representation in decision making and also help increase women’s empowerment. Addressing stakeholders at the independence square in Accra, President Akufo-Addo urged all Ghanaians to be part of a global agenda to become agents of change to help increase the economic empowerment of women in all part of the country. The president also appealed to Ghanaians to eschew negative cultural  practices , any form of gender discrimination  particularly among girls as it has the tendency to prevent them from realizing their potential in life.’’ I invite boys and girls to become agents of change, I invite traditional leaders to tear down cultural barriers, I invite all to become agents and champions of human right’’. He added. He further expressed his optimism to continuously advocate for ‘He For She’ in order to inspire men to stand beside women in creating change as women are doing today. The Minister for Gender, Children and social protection, Hon. Otiko Afisa Djaba, on her part appealed to parents, guardians to make training of their wards a priority to enable them appreciate and undertand equity among them regardless of the gender. She noted that the choices of both boys and girls are equal and therefore asked society not to engage in any form of discrimination against girls.  ‘He For She’ focuses on a strategic shift by global development actors to put an increased focus on actions that brings men and boys side by side with women and girls, inorder to break through the barriers preventing women and girls from achieving their full potential and contributing this potential to a global community as outlined in the 2014-2017 core principles of UN Women strategic plan. The principle states that the achievement of gender equality requires an inclusive approach that recognizes the crucial role of men and boys as partners for women’s rights. Agya Koo, a popular actor in Ghana was made the campaign ambassador By: Ebenezer Kofi Amponsah    
Dec 16, 2017
The World has announced that it will no longer finance upstream oil and gas after 2019. This was contained in a statement released to announce some new measures taken in line with ongoing support for developing countries the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement’s goals.   The statement said: ‘’ As a global multilateral development institution, the World Bank Group is continuing to transform its own operations in recognition of a rapidly changing world.  To align its support to countries to meet their Paris goals: The World Bank Group will no longer finance upstream oil and gas, after 2019.’’ However, the statement said: ‘’(In exceptional circumstances, consideration will be given to financing upstream gas in the poorest countries where there is a clear benefit in terms of energy access for the poor and the project fits within the countries’ Paris Agreement commitments.)     Read below the full statement       At the One Planet Summit convened by President Emmanuel Macron of France, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank Group made a number of new announcements in line with its ongoing support to developing countries for the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement’s goals.   1. WBG and upstream oil and gas As a global multilateral development institution, the World Bank Group is continuing to transform its own operations in recognition of a rapidly changing world.  To align its support to countries to meet their Paris goals: The World Bank Group will no longer finance upstream oil and gas, after 2019.  (In exceptional circumstances, consideration will be given to financing upstream gas in the poorest countries where there is a clear benefit in terms of energy access for the poor and the project fits within the countries’ Paris Agreement commitments.) 2. Ramping up WBG climate ambition through its Climate Change Action Plan The WBG is on track to meet its target of 28% of its lending going to climate action by 2020 and to meeting the goals of its Climate Change Action Plan - developed following the Paris Agreement.  In line with countries submitting updated and potentially more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the World Bank Group will present a stock-take of its Climate Change Action Plan and announce new commitments and targets beyond 2020 at COP24 in Poland in 2018. 3. Transparency and disclosure to drive our own decarbonization The World Bank Group is working hard to ensure that climate accountability is mainstreamed throughout its operations. In addition to measures already in place: I) Starting next year, the World Bank Group will report greenhouse gas emissions from the investment projects it finances in key emissions-producing sectors, such as energy. The results will be published in late 2018, and annually thereafter. II) The World Bank will be applying a shadow price on carbon in the economic analysis of all IBRD/IDA projects in key high-emitting sectors where design has begun since July 2017.  IFC started using carbon pricing in key sectors in January 2017 and will mainstream the same starting January 2018" 4. Mobilizing Finance for transformation in mitigation and climate resilience To accelerate the mobilization of finance: I) IFC will invest up to $325 million in the Green Cornerstone Bond Fund, a partnership with Amundi, to create the largest ever green-bond fund dedicated to emerging markets. This is a $2 billion initiative aiming to deepen local capital markets, and expand and unlock private funding for climate-related projects.  The fund is already subscribed at over $1 billion. II) Last week, the World Bank and the Government of Egypt signed a $1.15 billion development policy loan aimed at reducing fossil fuel subsidies and creating the environment for low-carbon energy development. III) The World Bank Group will continue to support investments highlighted at the One Planet Summit which demonstrate opportunities to crowd in different kinds of finance in transformational areas. This includes accelerating energy efficiency in India; scaling up solar energy in Ethiopia, Pakistan and Senegal among other countries; establishing a West Africa Coastal Areas investment platform to build resilience for coastlines of West African countries (partnering with WAEMU, NDF, GEF, GFDRR, AFD, AfDB); and introducing the City Resilience Platform (partnering with the Global Covenant of Mayors) so that up to 500 cities will have access to finance for resilience to climate change. IV) The World Bank Group will continue to work with the United Nations and other partners on the implementation of the Invest4Climate platform, which will systematically crowd in multiple sources of finance, with a major event showcasing investment opportunities planned for May 2018 at the Innovate4Climate conference in Frankfurt. V) IFC will work to set a single unifying global standard on green bonds, similar to the Equator Principles, as a means to facilitate the development of the green bond market to crowd in private finance into climate business. And to stimulate the greening of the financial sector, the World Bank Group will partner with the Sustainable Banking Network (SBN) to provide technical support to develop and implement national Roadmaps for Sustainable Finance in six countries. These roadmaps are based on a framework developed jointly with UN Environment. VI)   AXA Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program (MCPP) will allocate a substantial portion of projects to climate-smart infrastructure investments.  IFC and Finland launched the Finland-IFC Climate Change Program, a €114 million returnable capital contribution to spur private sector financing for climate-change solutions,targeting low-income countries focused on investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency, green buildings, climate-smart agriculture, and forestry. 5. Working in partnership To further accelerate climate action, the World Bank Group will be working with various partners to deepen climate action: I) For the first time, all the Multilateral Development Banks and all International Development Finance Club Members issued a joint statement aligning their finance with the Paris Agreement and identifying areas where they will work together to advance climate-smart development. II) Canada and the World Bank will work together to accelerate the energy transition in developing countries and, together with the International Trade Union Confederation, will provide analysis to support efforts towards a just transition away from coal. III) Working with France’s AFD and the Kingdom of Morocco, the World Bank will work to accelerate adaptation in agriculture for Africa. IV) The World Bank will support a unique partnership between Caribbean leaders and people, multilateral organizations, and local and international private sector to define a vision for the world’s first climate-smart zone. The key priority areas for action include renewable energy, resilient infrastructure, innovative financing, and capacity building. V) The World Bank Group will support, through the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, the proposed Carbon Markets of the Americas initiative. VI) Together with Ethiopia, Fiji, Germany, the United Kingdom and other government, NGO and private sector partners so far, the World Bank will support the new InsuResilience Global Partnership with the goal  of significantly scaling up climate risk finance and insurance solutions in developing countries, with a focus on poor and vulnerable people. It will stimulate the creation of effective climate risk insurance markets and the smart use of insurance-related schemes to protect lives and livelihoods from the impacts of disasters. More than $125million has been committed to the initiative so far. It is built on strong G20 and V20 support and has 40 members so far. VII) The Principles on Blended Concessional Finance, first published in 2013, have been recently enhanced with more detailed guidelines developed by a working group (chaired by IFC) representing Development Finance Initiatives (DFIs) that annually invest more than $35 billion a year in private sector solutions. These principles include promoting commercially sustainable solutions so that the use of scarce public concessional finance is minimized; and state the need for high social, environmental, and governance standards.    
Dec 16, 2017
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree Honoris Causa in International Law, from the University of Liberia, at its 98th Commencement Exercises, on Wednesday, 13th December, 2017. The Honorary Doctorate degree conferred on President Akufo-Addo by the Board of Trustees of the University of Liberia, and upon the recommendation of the President of the University, Professor Ophelia Weeks, is “in recognition of your substantive contribution to strengthening the Rule of Law in Ghana, and also in recognition of your substantive contributions in Liberia’s peace building process, coupled with your invaluable service to the Ghana State over the years, as a veritable patriot.” In receiving the award, President Akufo-Addo stated that “I am honoured by the award of the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, and assure you that I will do my best not to disgrace the award.” This is the second such honour President Akufo-Addo has received from a famous African University, the first an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree, in May 2016, from the celebrated Fort Hare University of South Africa, which has been the cradle of African nationalism, responsible for graduates such as Nelson Mandela, Julius Nyerere, Desmond Tutu, Oliver Tambo, Govan Mbeki, Seretse Khama, Herbert Chitepo, Robert Sobukwe, Joshua Nkomo, Chris Hani, Kenneth Kaunda, Robert Mugabe and Mangosuthu Buthelezi. “I am lucky, as the first was received during my time as leader of Ghana’s opposition, and this in my period as President of Ghana,” he said, to a rousing applause from the gathering. Whilst congratulating the President, Vice Chancellor, lecturers, students, and all alumni at the 98th Commencement Exercises of the University, President Akufo-Addo stated that the University of Liberia has done more than most in shaping the intellectual, moral and political outlook of Liberia. “And I must confess that I feel so proud to be part of such a seminal moment.  I feel very keenly the weight of history and the burden of the aspirations of the men and women who passed through these gates, especially in its early years. They had to believe in themselves and in the African race, when all around them said they counted for nothing,” he said. The President continued, “They had to believe in the capacity of the African to conduct his or her own affairs, and be a respected member of the global community, when all around them said they were not up to it. The University of Liberia, from its opening in 1863, to becoming a full-fledged University in 1951, told the young people, who came to study here, that they had the same capabilities as every other young person of every colour, language or race.”  
Dec 16, 2017
Controversial female Dancehall artiste, Ebony Reigns has released her latest video in the bid to help the fight against domestic violence.   The video which was released today [Wednesday] December 13, 2017 and directed by renowned director, Prince Dovlo, depicted a situation where a man abused his wife at the least opportunity.   The scene also exposes the sexual abuse women go through and the culture of silence. It also depicted a scene where the man took offence at an advice given him by his friends he was smoking and playing cards with-on his abusive nature. The song "Maame Hw3' was released by RuffTown Records / Midas Touch Inc.     Domestic violence also known as domestic abuse or family can be termed as is a pattern of behavior which involves violence or other abuseby one person against another in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation.
Dec 16, 2017
Minority Chip Whip and MP for Asawase in the Ashanti Region, Muntaka Mubarak, has lambasted the Ministry of Health ‘’for sleeping on the job’’ with regards to the outbreak of H1N1 Influenza popularly referred to as swine flu at teh Kumasi Academy.   Health authorities in the Ashanti Region say swine flu vaccines to be administered to students of Kumasi Academy (KUMACA) where an outbreak of the disease has so far claimed four lives are not yet available in the country.  Responding to the latest update, the legislator said the Ministry has failed woefully because it should not have taken them one week to administer vaccines for students in the school.   He said from the way the Influenza spreads and claims the lives of victims, the Ministry should have worked around the clock to get the vaccines for the students.   He reiterated that the Ministry went to sleep from between March and  June when the first case was recorded.   According to him, what makes the situation more worrying is that, the students may soon vacate and when they go back home, they may be help spread the influenza to other residents within their localities.   A total of 85 students of the Kumasi Academy were affected with the H1N1 influenza Type A virus, popularly known as swine flu virus since November 30, 2017.  Eleven of the affected are currently on admission at four hospitals in Kumasi but officials say they are also in stable condition.  On Tuesday, they announced at a news conference that the outbreak has been contained to prevent further spread.  But Muntaka Mubarak says the talking is too much and challenged authorities to up their game and stop making promises and giving assurances.   ‘’Nobody is talking about efforts. We are talking about results. They should stop talking and saying they are making efforts. We are looking for results,’’ he stressed.
Dec 16, 2017
Fear has gripped students of Damongo Senior High School in the West Gonja district of the Northern region following the death of   Falila Natogma a first year female home economics student.      It was suspected that the deceased student of died of meningitis.   A source in the school who spoke on condition of anonymity said the late Falila Natogma died at about 1pm and was buried around 4:30pm per Islamic practice.   He said about 12 more students are on admission at the West Gonja District Hospital in Damongo for treatment.   The cause of this, our source says it is as a result of overcrowded classrooms and dormitories in the school.     He explained that “In this school about 20 girls are in one room and in the case of the boys, it’s an eye saw”   He disclosed that the case is not only with the Damongo SHS but most of the schools in the Gonjaland suffer this problem.   Meanwhile reports gathered by Rainbow Radio’s Prince Kwame Tamakloe indicate that some parents who have their wards in the school have started taking them home before vacation.   Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that the deceased died from meningitis.  A preliminary report by a medical team at the Damongo District Hospital, has indicated that the death of a student at the school in the West Gonja District of the Northern Region, was caused by non-communicable meningitis.     By: Prince Kwame Tamakloe
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