The Maldives opposition expressed confidence of a free and fair poll as voting got underway on Saturday in bi-elections in the politically troubled nation.International affairs spokesman for the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Hamid Abdul Ghafoor told Xinhua that his party led by former President Mohamed Nasheed hopes the peaceful conditions will pave the way for an early presidential election. The Elections Commission on Friday said it had received 21 complaints in relation to the parliamentary bi-elections for the Kaafu Atoll Kaashidhoo and Thaa Atoll Thimarafushi constituencies and the Kumundhoo council bi-election.The Maldives with nearly 1,200 scattered atolls is undergoing political turmoil since former vice president Mohammed Waheed took over the office as president following a controversial power transfer. “Polling is going peacefully and we have confidence with the elections commission that the elections will be free and fair. We are thankful to everyone to help make this peaceful. This shows the conditions to hold peaceful elections exist and thus there is no reason hold back on an early presidential election,”said Ghafoor. Voting in the bi-elections for the Kaashidhoo and Thimarafushi constituencies and the Thaa Atoll Gaadhiffushi and Haa dhaal Atoll Kumundhoo island councils began early Saturday and will continue till evening. Former President Nasheed claimed he was ousted by a military- backed coup and is demanding an early presidential election.In a statement last month the European Union noted that agreement on the holding of early elections, on the independent investigation of the transfer of power in February and the reestablishment of the correction functioning of government and parliament is now more important than ever.The United States has also supported an early presidential election and has come forward to assist the holding of a free and fair poll. (Xinhua)

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first_imgLondon: England batsman Jonny Bairstow can’t wait for the “biggest summer” of his cricket career to get underway with the World Cup this month but he also expects it to be the most gruelling as the Ashes is lined up just a few weeks later. Bairstow, who scored 445 runs from 10 matches for Sunrisers Hyderabad in his debut IPL season, will be a key player for the England in the World Cup starting May 30 in the United Kingdom. The World Cup will end on July 14 and the Ashes, against arch-rivals Australia, will start August 1. “It is huge. It is the biggest summer I will ever be involved in. It is the biggest ever summer for English cricket full stop,” he told ‘The Daily Telegraph’. “A World Cup and an Ashes; it is going to be amazing. You dream of winning them. If you can’t dream about that and think what that is going to feel like then what is the point (of playing)? “At the same time you know it is going be a gruelling summer. Five Tests at the end of World Cup is going to be tough, mentally and physically,” he added. Bairstow played alongside Australia’s David Warner, who came back after serving a one-year ban for his role in the infamous ball-tampering scandal, in the IPL. Speaking of his impressions of the controversial but swashbuckling batsman from Down Under, Bairstow said, “I think that experience (ball-tampering) can only change you as a person. He was a very good team-mate, he passed on a lot of knowledge about local bowlers, game-plans, pitches, everything. He was excellent.” All praise he might be for Warner but the Englishman said there would be no love lost when the two square off during the Ashes. “We can say hello now. We did not have a connection before, but now we’ve played together and done well together and had a good partnership it will make a difference. “We spent five weeks together having dinner and coffees. It changes things but it will still be England versus Australia,” he said. Bairstow also spoke of an interaction with England football manager Gareth Southgate, who was widely credited for the team’s run till semifinals of the FIFA World Cup last year. The batsman, however, did not elaborate on the interaction. “The biggest thing for us will be home support, playing in front of our own fans. We heard from Gareth Southgate last week. He was brilliant. A lovely guy. The football lads were so meticulous in their planning for the World Cup last year.last_img

first_imgAgadir- According to the daily Al Massa , a Moroccan immigrant residing in France declared he would renounce the Moroccan citizenship in protest against the juridical system, which hasn’t executed the verdict pronounced in his favor since 1997.The case he won was regarding two parcels of land that had been unlawfully taken over by a group of people in Casablanca. Mr. Rafei Ben Abdallah has exhausted every possibly and peaceful attempt to retrieve his land, to no avail.One of the occupying residents had menaced to burn himself, his children and house should he be  evicted. Rafei said he struggled for 17 years, wrote to all responsible authorities, including the Ministry of Justice, and Hassan II Association for Immigrants, and still has not been able to effectuate the court order. On December 24. 2012, the court of first instance has issued an order mobilizing concerned authorities to the affected site, in order to evacuate the Rafei’s property, but the task was not completed.Ben Abdallah expressed that he has been affected mentally and financially, as his case dragged on unnecessarily . He also insisted on his suspicions that an unknown party must have interest in keeping the situation as is, and called for justice to take effect. © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributedlast_img

Ten years after the adoption of a Security Council resolution calling for equal participation by women in post-conflict peacebuilding, much remains to be done to ensure they can play their part in shoring up peace, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a report released today.“Now is the time for systematic, focused and sustained action, backed by resources and commitments on the part of all stakeholders – national and international, public and private, women and men,” he writes, laying out a seven-point action plan aimed at changing practices among all actors and improving outcomes on the ground.These include ensuring that women are fully engaged in all peace talks and post-conflict planning, including donor conferences, that adequate financing is provided to address women’s specific needs and advance gender equality, and that women participate fully in post-conflict governance as elected representatives or decision makers, including through temporary special measures such as quotas.The plan also calls for rule-of-law initiatives to encourage women’s participation in seeking redress for injustices committed against them and in improving the capacity of security actors to prevent and respond to violations of women’s rights, and for prioritizing women’s involvement in economic recovery, such as employment-creation schemes, community-development programmes and delivery of front-line services.“Ensuring women’s participation in peace-building is not only a matter of women’s and girls’ rights. Women are crucial partners in shoring up three pillars of lasting peace: economic recovery, social cohesion and political legitimacy,” Mr. Ban says, noting that several world economies that grew the fastest during the past half-century began their ascent from the ashes of conflict, based in part on women’s increased role in production, trade and entrepreneurship.“Recognizing the ability of women to contribute to sustainable peace and the obstacles they face in attempting to do so requires an approach to peacebuilding that goes beyond restoring the status quo ante. Rebuilding after conflict is an enormous undertaking, but it also represents an opportunity to ‘build back better.’”Mr. Ban stresses that strengthening national capacity and ensuring national ownership are crucial elements of effective peacebuilding since external support can bring countries only so far in their quest for sustainable peace.“Enabling women to contribute to recovery and reconstruction is integral to strengthening a country’s ability to sustain peacebuilding efforts,” he says. “Similarly, efforts to facilitate an increased role for women in decision-making processes must be based on recognition of the fact that peacebuilding strategies cannot be fully ‘owned’ if half the nation is not actively involved in their design and implementation.”Increasing the confidence of women in the political process requires robust action in the immediate post-conflict period to bring more women into public office, elected and appointed and Mr. Ban says creating a “critical mass” of women officials is crucial, as this will encourage women to engage more substantively within male dominated institutions, especially in the uniformed services. “Increasing women’s political presence must begin even before conflict ceases,” he writes. “Peace negotiations not only shape the post-conflict political landscape directly, through peace agreements’ provisions on justice, power-sharing and constitutional issues, but also indirectly, by lending legitimacy to those represented at the peace table.”He notes that progress made by the UN itself in promoting greater engagement by women in peace processes has been too slow, with women constituting less than 8 per cent of negotiating delegations in UN-mediated efforts and less than 3 per cent of peace agreement signatories. He pledges to appoint more women as chief mediators in such processes and to include gender expertise at senior levels in mediation support activities.With regard to gender equality in the political process, Mr. Ban acknowledges that it is up to sovereign States to choose an electoral system, with the UN proposing and facilitating but not imposing. “But neither may we abdicate our responsibility to remind States of their international commitments, including the need to increase the proportion of women in elected bodies and other public institutions,” he stresses.“We should harbour no illusions, however, about the challenges of implementation [of the action plan],” he concludes. “Revising procedures and designing programmes requires careful deliberation. Additional resources are also needed, and the Secretary-General urges Member States to make substantial, long-term investments in women’s security and productive potential, which act as “force multipliers for lasting peace.” 8 October 2010Ten years after the adoption of a Security Council resolution calling for equal participation by women in post-conflict peacebuilding, much remains to be done to ensure they can play their part in shoring up peace, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a report released today.

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