Political vacuum undermines Lebanons ability to tackle many challenges – Security Council

In a presidential statement, the 15-member body also called on all parties to “act responsibly and put Lebanon’s stability and national interests ahead of partisan politics,” and called on Parliament to convene to elect a president “without further delay.”There has been a presidential vacuum in Lebanon after the term of Michel Sleiman came to an end on 25 May 2014. UN officials and the Security Council have repeatedly urged the Lebanese Parliament to elect a new leader without delay.The country has also been dealing with renewed terrorist threats and a growing refugee population resulting from the conflict in neighbouring Syria that currently numbers almost 1.2 million.“The Security Council expresses its deep concern at the increasing and negative impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon’s stability and the immediate threat to its security,” said the statement, which follows a closed-door briefing to the Council earlier this week by the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag. It also strongly condemned acts of terrorism, including hostage taking by terrorist and violent extremist groups, including the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as Daesh, and Jabhat al Nusra, on Lebanese territory.Further, the Council voiced its deep concern following the recent incidents which occurred across the Blue Line separating Lebanon and Israel, and in the area of operations of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). “The Security Council stresses that such violence and the presence of unauthorized weapons in the UNIFIL area of operations violates resolution 1701 and the cessation of hostilities,” the statement said, referring to the resolution that ended the month-long war between Israel and the Lebanese group Hizbollah in 2006.“It underlines the risk that such events could lead to a new conflict that none of the parties or the region can afford.” read more

Syria deputy UN relief chief urges political solution amid extremely challenging humanitarian

Humanitarian access to civilians trapped by the Syrian conflict is being increasingly obstructed by the ongoing fighting in the country and a shortfall in critical funding, a senior United Nations relief official warned today. Delivering remarks at the Security Council’s briefing on Syria, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Kyung-Wha Kang, told delegates that despite the international community’s efforts to find a political solution to the hostilities, violence continues with “utter impunity” leading to a spiralling deterioration of the crisis. “Over the past month, this violence, which is perpetrated by all parties to the conflict, has neither abated nor diminished in brutality,” Ms. Kang observed. “The parties…continue to violate human rights and international humanitarian law with impunity – killing and torturing civilians, blocking humanitarian access, destroying and besieging communities.” In its latest situation report, OCHA warned that some 12 million people in the Middle Eastern country today remain in need of humanitarian assistance – a 12-fold increase since 2011. The figures include 5.6 million children. Meanwhile, 7.6 million people have been displaced by the conflict and over 4 million have fled across borders. The humanitarian impact of the crisis is only further compounded by the grim human toll which, as of today, counts over 220,000 people killed and over one million injured since hostilities began. Despite the “extremely challenging environment,” Ms. Kang continued, humanitarian organizations operating within Syria and from neighbouring countries are continuing to reach millions of people in need. However, she added, due to depleted funds, food assistance across the region is now in jeopardy and the tenuous situation inside the country has made access to the 4.8 million people in hard to reach and besieged locations “a serious challenge.” “Given the fluid and dynamic nature of the conflict in Syria, it is crucial for UN agencies to be able to use any and every route, across borders and conflict lines, to reach those who require assistance,” said the UN official. “But these efforts require adequate resources. Only a quarter of the appeal for live saving work in Syria and the region is funded today.” The humanitarian challenges facing the UN and other aid agencies are further impaired by the regular and indiscriminate use of barrel bombs by Government forces as well as attacks on medical facilities and the continued use of explosive weapons in populated towns and cities. “For the people of Syria and humanitarians who assist them, it is hard to see an end to this nightmare of violence and destruction,” Ms. Kang concluded. “We look to the leadership of this Council to press for a political solution.” read more

Ukraine growing despair among over three million civilians in conflict zone –

Map of Ukraine Residents of territories under the control of armed groups are particularly vulnerable to human rights abuses, the report says, describing how they live in an environment characterized by the growth of parallel governance structures, a complete absence of rule of law, reports of arbitrary detention, torture and incommunicado detention, and no access to real redress mechanisms. “I am particularly concerned by the lack of space left for civil society, the vulnerability to abuse of people deprived of their liberty, and the complete absence of due process and rule of law in territories under the control of the armed groups,” Mr. Zeid said. The report describes how a recent wave of arrests in the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ has had a further chilling effect on the ability of people to exercise their already heavily circumscribed rights to the freedom of expression, religion, peaceful assembly and association.Allegations of violations perpetrated with impunityDuring the reporting period, UN human rights monitors also documented allegations of violations perpetrated with impunity by Ukrainian law enforcement officials—mainly elements of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU)—including enforced disappearances, arbitrary and incommunicado detention, and torture and ill-treatment.“I urge the Ukrainian authorities to ensure prompt and impartial investigation into each and every reported human rights violation,” Mr. Zeid stated. “Accountability is critical to bring justice for victims, curtail impunity, and foster long-lasting peace, and it is also important as a deterrent to further violations by State authorities. Each violation that goes un-investigated and unpunished saps the State’s moral and legal authority.” The High Commissioner also called on the Government of Ukraine and the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ and ‘Luhansk people’s republic’ to take action to clarify the fate of missing persons and to prevent other people from going missing. “The clarification of the fate of the missing should be a key priority of any peace negotiations,” he stressed. Meanwhile, the human rights situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea remains very difficult, according to the report, with Crimean Tatar demonstrators facing prosecution and others being arrested for alleged membership in ‘terrorist’ organizations. Last month, the prosecutor of Crimea filed a request with its supreme court to designate the Mejlis, the self-governing body of the Crimean Tatars, as an extremist organization and to ban its activities. OHCHR qualified this as a “significant and worrying” development.Ceasefire remains tenuousThe UN report also shows that the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine remains tenuous, with reported violations to it, the continued occurrences of indiscriminate shelling and the presence of anti-personnel mines and remnants of war. During the reporting period, 78 conflict-related civilian casualties were recorded in eastern Ukraine, bringing the estimated casualty figures since the beginning of the conflict to more than 30,000 people, including at least 9,160 killed and 21,000 injured (figures include civilians as well as Ukrainian armed forces, and members of armed groups).“The implementation of the Minsk Agreements is the only viable strategy for achieving a peaceful solution in certain areas of eastern Ukraine controlled by armed groups, which, in turn, is key for resolving the human rights crisis in Ukraine. This includes the restoration of effective control by the Government of Ukraine over the border with the Russian Federation and the withdrawal of foreign fighters, mercenaries and military equipment,” the High Commissioner stressed. Civilian casualities along the contact line “There is a terrible sensation of physical, political, social and economic isolation and abandonment among the huge number of people – more than three million in all – who are struggling to eke out a living in the conflict zone. They are in urgent need of greater protection and support,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, in a news release.Daily struggle for survivalThe latest in a series of reports on Ukraine by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which covers the period from 16 November 2015 to 15 February 2016, places particular focus on the daily struggle for survival by people living around the ‘contact line,’ which separates the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ and ‘Luhansk people’s republic’ from the rest of Ukraine.According to OHCHR, many homes have been damaged and looted. Local administrations are not functioning, and access to basic public services is, at best, limited. Water and food are expensive and difficult to acquire. Freedom of movement is severely hampered by check points with, at times, hundreds of vehicles waiting to cross the contact line and passengers forced to spend the night in freezing temperatures. read more

UN Commission on Status of Women opens with calls to seize the

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the opening meeting of the sixtieth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). UN Photo/Loey Felipe Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka addresses the opening meeting of the sixtieth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). UN Photo/Loey Felipe “When I see all of you – from so many different countries, with so much experience and such strong commitment – I know we can achieve full equality for all women, everywhere,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told hundreds of participants attending the opening of the two-week annual session at UN Headquarters in New York.“As long as one woman’s human rights are violated, our struggle is not over,” he insisted, stating that the world is still full of inequalities and injustices for women and girls.The UN chief further underlined that there are still four countries where not a single woman is in the parliament and eight countries without any women in the cabinet.“I am not going to disclose the names but I am urging them to change this. I will be checking every day to see if there is any progress, and I will keep pushing until the world has no parliaments and no cabinets with no women,” he said, in what he described as a “personal appeal” to these nations. The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. Since 1946, it has been instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women. The priority theme for the 60th session is women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development. Discussions by governments will focus on creating a conducive environment for gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted unanimously last September by all UN Member States. Women and the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable DevelopmentIn her opening remarks, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka hailed the Commission as the largest and most critical intergovernmental forum, with diverse women’s voices that can influence the road to the 2030 Agenda, telling delegates: “In your hands is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to end poverty and transform gender relations irreversibly for the next generation, making the world a better place for all. Let us seize the day!”“What was agreed in the 2030 Agenda calls on us to change the way we live, do business, grow food, value motherhood, engage and protect girls and boys, communicate, and respect and recognize the rights of those different from the mainstream in their sexual orientation or in any other way,” she continued. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka added that this is the moment “to capitalize on all the positive commitments,” and the moment to Step It Up for Gender Equality, referring to UN Women’s call to action, to which 98 countries have pledged.Also speaking at the event, the President of the UN General Assembly recalled that this time last year, the global community had not yet adopted the Agenda, which can direct the world “towards a future where men and women, boys and girls, enjoy equal opportunities and full equality in a sustainable world.”Despite noting that little has changed since September when the Agenda was adopted along with 17 newSustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mogens Lykketoft said what has been achieved is a change in the narrative around both the importance of gender equality and what it is that gives rise to inequality. “The 2030 Agenda embraces the fact that gender equality is an absolute precondition for the other changes we want to bring about by 2030 – tackling poverty and inequality; building peaceful and inclusive societies, fostering shared prosperity and shifting to low-carbon climate resilient economies,” he stated. “And compared with the MDGs, the SDGs go to the heart of the prejudices and structural causes of gender inequality.”He added that during this session, the Commission has a unique opportunity to provide guidance to governments and others who are aligning their plans, core strategies and funding with the 2030 Agenda.“It can remind governments that gender equality requires action not just on Goal 5 but right across the Agenda. And it can highlight the pitfalls, opportunities and concrete steps towards a gender-equal world by 2030,” Mr. Lykketoft explained.Women and the Paris Agreement on climate changeMeanwhile, speaking on behalf of the President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Vice-President Jürg Lauber, who is also the Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN, said the Paris Agreement adopted by Parties to the Un Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was another recent achievement in the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment.“In Paris, Parties committed to respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on gender equality and the empowerment of women while addressing climate change,” he highlighted, adding that ECOSOC will continue to do its part to contribute to progress for women and girls and that it has a mandated responsibility to eliminate and prevent all forms of discrimination against them.“The Council welcomes the leadership role of the CSW and its efforts to act as a catalyst for gender mainstreaming within and beyond the ECOSOC system,” Mr. Lauber said. “Your session over the next two weeks will be a valuable step towards addressing the medium to long-term challenges of realizing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls by 2030.” read more

UNICEF and EU launch EmergencyLessons campaign on education in crisis zones

Zainab Jan, 12, is a student at a UNICEF-supported school in the Jalozai IDP camp in Nowshera district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Photo: UNICEF/Asad Zaidi The #EmergencyLessons campaign specifically targets people 25 years old and younger in Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia and the United Kingdom to inspire them to raise their voices on behalf of millions of children and adolescents whose education has been interrupted by emergencies, UNICEF said in a press release. “Young people understand better than anyone how important education is to their lives today and to their futures,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Who knows better than they that their tomorrows depend on what they learn today? Who, better than today’s youth, can demand that the world provides them with the skills they will need to build a better world? Their future, and ours, depends on it,” he added. The campaign draws on the real-life experiences of children living through emergencies in countries such as Guinea, Iraq, Nepal and Ukraine. Throughout the next seven months, their stories will be shared on social media through #EmergencyLessons. Nearly one in four of the world’s school-age children – 462 million – now live in 35 countries affected by crises, including an estimated 75 million children who are in desperate need of educational support, UNICEF stressed. Apart from missing out on education, and the benefits it yields for them and for their societies, out-of-school children are more vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and recruitment by armed forces, the agency said. UNICEF noted that the campaign also celebrates the other benefits of going to school – the friends made, the teachers who support children through trauma, and the stability found in the routine of attending classes. “Here in Europe, we tend to take school for granted, and forget what a vital part of life it is to children, especially when everything else around them is collapsing,” said Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management. “We hope this campaign will better help Europeans understand why, when disaster strikes, opportunities to learn are just as important as access to food, water, vaccines and shelter.” UNICEF noted that a number of celebrities are lending their support to the campaign, such as Samantha Cristoforetti, Italian European Space Agency astronaut; Boštjan Nachbar, Slovenian basketball player; Kriszta D. Tóth, Hungarian news presenter and media personality; and Jaro Bekr, Slovakian dancer. read more

UN refugee agency welcomes Frances decision to close Calais jungle camp

“It is vital that they be moved in a planned and organized manner, and that proper alternative accommodation is found for them around the country,” Adrian Edwards, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva.“People need to be fully informed in advance about the dismantling of the camp. Asylum-seekers need to be given proper information and prompt access to asylum procedures,” he added.Dubbed ‘the Jungle,’ the site, estimated to host some 6,000 people, has been problematic for a number of years, and UNHCR has long recommended its closure, Mr. Edwards said, pointing out that the living conditions are “appalling,” with the most basic shelter, inadequate hygiene facilities, poor security and a lack of basic services. The camp will be closed in the coming days, according to France, with people there to be moved to centres where better help can be provided.“It is also crucial to pay special attention to the estimated more than 1,200 unaccompanied or separated children in the ‘Jungle,’ whose best interests have to be taken into account, making arrangements such as special reception centres to ensure their safety and welfare when the site is closed,” the spokesperson said.He explained that “this is important so that children don’t move on to other destinations and risk becoming exploited by human traffickers or end up living on the streets without any support.”Strengthened measures must be taken to reunite children with relatives in Europe, such as the 200 unaccompanied children in Calais identified as having family links in the United Kingdom, he said.UNHCR commended the French authorities on almost doubling in recent years the accommodation space in reception facilities for asylum seekers in the country, while urging the Government to further increase the number of places.An additional 20,000 places would ensure that all asylum-seekers and refugees have adequate accommodation while their claims are processed, Mr. Edwards said. read more

Peacekeepers saved many lives despite challenges UN officials stress at years end

Sexual exploitation and abuseOne of the main challenges in peacekeeping operations has been grappling with allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers. Earlier this year, Secretary-General António Guterres unveiled his strategy for eradicating the scourge, and appointed Jane Connors as the first Victims’ Rights Advocate. “It is about dignity for the victims, compassion, a real feeling of empathy, a feeling that they are not forgotten,” Ms. Connors said in early December. “That their hurt, their pain is acknowledged, and we do as much as we possibly can do to make their situation better.” It is about dignity for the victims, compassion, a real feeling of empathy, a feeling that they are not forgottenVictims’ Rights Advocate, Jane ConnorsMs. Connors made the comments during a visit to South Sudan, where four of last year’s 103 allegations were filed. This year, the UN recorded 54 allegations – roughly half the number. “This is a result of the many robust efforts put in place to train our personnel, raise awareness among communities on the risks associated with SEA [sexual exploitation and abuse], promote and enforce the zero-tolerance policy and partner with Member States,” said Mr. Khare. The new UN strategy to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse puts more pressure on governments to investigate and prosecute wrong-doing. In addition, 17 countries volunteered some $1.8 million for a trust fund to aid victims get medical, psycho-social, legal or socio-economic support. “We can see that information about allegations are coming more with less obstacle than before,” Mr. Lacroix said. “At the same time, we need to do more to fully implement the policy and it has to have strong awareness at every level.” Protecting the environmentUN peacekeeping is also managing its impact in another way within the countries that host its operations – by preserving natural resources and not damaging the environment during the physical deployments. “’Do no harm’ must include both communities and the resources upon which they depend: water, land, cultural heritage,” Mr. Khare said. Plans to reduce the peacekeeping footprint and energy consumption also saves time and resources, allowing peacekeeping missions to focus on implementing their core mandates. All UN peacekeeping operations this year launched Environmental Action Plans which have, for example, led to 80 wastewater treatment plans being installed in peacekeeping operations. “We are constantly looking into keeping our own house in order, and leave the place better than we found it,” said Mr. Khare. The Mongolian peacekeeping contingent at the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). UN Photo/Amanda Voisard “We do protect civilians every day. We do save lives every day. We often do it under very difficult and stressful circumstances,” Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix said in a recent interview with UN News. We do protect civilians every day. We do save lives every day. We often do it under very difficult and stressful circumstancesMr. LacroixHe added that “many lives were saved” because of peacekeepers’ actions this year in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, South Sudan and other places.“I think it’s more than warranted to pay tribute to them and their achievements,” Mr. Lacroix said. “But certainly we have to work hard to overcome the challenges we are facing.” VIDEO: Under-Secretaries-General Jean-Pierre Lacroix and Atul Khare reflect on achievements and challenges for UN peacekeepers over 2017.Challenges in 2017One of the challenges facing UN peacekeepers, as they operate in increasingly complex and dangerous areas, is the need for better training and equipment, particularly when it comes to intelligence gathering and enhancing situational awareness.This includes the use of modern technologies, such as unmanned aerial services, radars and tethered balloons. The head of the UN Department of Field Support, Atul Khare, said the UN is also looking to borrow or purchase more equipment related to security reinforcements, accommodations, vehicles and communications tools, among others.In Mali, for example, one out of four military hospitals is without staff or equipment, and in the Central African Republic, one in three, he said.The needs also extend to gaps in working closely with local communities, which means that in some areas more peacekeepers are needed who speak French. “We must do even more on the side of prevention and risk mitigation when seeking to protect our colleagues. Providing for the safety and security of deployed personnel in volatile environments is an absolute necessity,” Mr. Khare told UN News. A police officer from the UN mission in Mali on patrol in the capital, Timbuktu. Photo: MINUSMA/Harandane Dick Looking ahead to 2018If the year 2017 brought ambitious reform, then 2018 must be the year that these reforms are implemented, Mr. Lacroix said. He noted that this will be particularly important in the field, where colleagues must be informed and empowered to act. Mr. Khare echoed the idea that reforms are ongoing, noting that the goal is to “ensure that we are stronger in prevention, more agile in mediation, and more nimble, efficient and cost-effective in our operations.” He pointed to improved efficiency and effectiveness of peacekeeping, including also by strengthening engagement with Member States and regional organizations to better serve the most vulnerable people around the world. “We approach 2018 with a sense of hope. We will do our best to successfully implement these reforms and certainly we will do our best to support our colleagues in the field,” said Mr. Lacroix. read more

With realities shifting in Darfur operations on the ground must change urges

“The peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) should be directed to the area where it is most needed, namely at the site of continued conflict in the Jebel Marra,” Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the UN Under-Secretary-General for peacekeeping operations, told the Security Council on Monday.“In the rest of Darfur, the UN system should leverage the capabilities of the agencies, funds and programmes best suited to tackling the problems that remain there.”Presenting a special report from the UN Secretary-General and the AU Commission Chairperson, Mr. Lacroix outlined two “central concepts” behind a new two-year strategy – each supporting the other.The first, dealing with peacekeeping, would focus on protection of civilians, humanitarian support and mediation of local conflict.The second central tenet, would, in effect, bridge the evolution from peacekeeping to early recovery and development, in collaboration with the UN country team serving Darfur, he added.“The whole-of-system transition concept focuses on addressing the critical drivers of conflict and preventing relapse,” explained Mr. Lacroix.For the roadmap to be realized, the senior UN official underscored the need to have longer-term funding arrangements in place and increase voluntary contributions from donors.In addition, funds from the assessed budget would need to be used during the transition and in close collaboration with the Peacebuilding Support Office, to access sufficient resources, he added.Also vital is the need for continued engagement and partnership with the AU and backing of the Government of Sudan and UN Member States, he said.“We believe that, working together, this new approach can help establish a future of UN and AU support to Darfur that will help to improve the lives of the Darfuri people now and in the long-term,” concluded Mr. Lacroix. read more

Superminis taking Britain by storm

UK drivers are going for smaller cars, as factors like fuel economy and a new company car tax scheme influence buying decisions. The supermini segment has grown by more than 4.5 per cent over the last five years as buyers increasingly switch to smaller vehicles, according to Motor Industry FACTS – 2002, just published by the SMMT.Small cars now come with more standard equipment and safety features, with an array of extras that would have previously been reserved for larger executive models. Air bags, anti-lock brakes, CD-players and air conditioning are now the norm, making these cars true ‘super minis’.Real diversity in the segment is also helping woo drivers. Super economical diesel engines where 60mpg can be expected as the norm, right through to range topping performance models offering genuine driver involvement and allow buyers to choose the car that best suits their lifestyle.Commenting on the change in buying habits, SMMT Chief Executive Christopher Macgowan said, ‘There is an incredible amount of competition in this segment and consumers are benefiting from this. Practically all the volume manufacturers have a supermini model in their range and the level of equipment fitted as standard is now quite phenomenal. The barriers to smaller motoring have been removed and buyers have recognised this’.Top five selling superminis in 2001 1. Ford Fiesta 98,2212. Peugeot 206 97,8873. Vauxhall Corsa 93,7924. Renault Clio 79,8435. Fiat Punto 59,573(Attachment shows trends)Information can be found on pages two and three of Motor Industry FACTS – 2002. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more

Week In Brussels – Week ending Friday 15 July 2011

DOWNLOAD On this page you will find the current news from Brussels. These weekly reports are archived every Friday. Week in Brussels can be e-mailed to you on a regular basis if you register for News Alerts.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)

Week in Westminster – week ending Friday 5 June 2015

DOWNLOAD1. SMMT – Ultra-low emission vehicles surge past 10k mark2. May 2015: Rise of 17.4% in CV registrations3. London Assembly urges Mayor to bring ULEZ forward4. Election of Deputy Speakers5. EEF/DLA – Growth forecast softens as manufacturers lose momentum6. UK to host first Automechanika trade show – automotive supply chain7. Week aheadClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)

New members – May 2017

Find out who has joined the premier automotive trade association and what they get from membership. New members – May 2017.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)

Beam signing Thursday for Goodman School of Business building

Brock University is giving the community a chance to leave its mark on the Goodman School of Business construction project.A beam signing will be held in front of Schmon Tower Thursday, Feb. 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. where students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the Goodman School of Business can autograph what will be the final steel beam installed in the school’s $22 million expansion project.Permanent marker in hand, community members will be able to leave their mark on the beam and include their names with those that will be embedded on the business school’s structural support for years to come.There will be a separate opportunity after the Feb. 20-24 Reading Week to watch the signed beam being raised and installed in a topping out ceremony which will mark the completion of the construction project’s steel framework.This $22-million Goodman School of Business expansion project will feature:79,000 square feet of new and renovated spaceSix new and nine refreshed classrooms with state-of-the-art technologyLarge two-storey engagement AtriumFive employer interview roomsBloomberg financial research labGraduate student study space, faculty research space and additional officesFor regular updates and photos from the project, visit the Goodman Expansion website. read more

Brock volunteers needed for Habitat build

Brock University is helping Habitat for Humanity Niagara mark a milestone year with a massive build in Welland.The University is looking for 18 faculty and staff members to contribute to a five-home build set to begin this spring in celebration of Habitat’s 25th anniversary.The near $1-million project, which includes two semi-detached and a single-dwelling home, will take place on a large lot on Afton Avenue in Welland.While Brock has previously participated in two Habitat Women Build events, this is the first time a co-ed team from the University will be taking on the challenge of an open build.“I’m really looking forward to being able to have men join us this time around,” said Sandy Howe, Brock’s Associate Director, Experiential Education, and a past build participant. “The Women Builds have been fantastic in years past and I can’t wait to see the interest from the Brock community for this first-time open build.”Internationally, the University also participates in the Habitat Collegiate Challenge and Global Village builds, working with students on construction projects over Reading Week.The builds are an opportunity to give back to the community in a tangible way and to help provide affordable housing that is strongly needed across Niagara, Howe said.“As someone who has done a number of builds with Habitat both locally and abroad, I love the opportunity to go out with a team of colleagues at home and contribute to positive change in our community,” she said.Those participating in this spring’s build will work on one of two days: Framing walls on Monday, April 30 or insulating on Wednesday, June 27.Staff and faculty interested in being part of the Brock Habitat team can submit an expression of interest online by Monday, March 26 at 11:45 p.m. Interested parties will then be entered into a lottery for the available team spots. Successful participants will be notified Tuesday, March 27.Each participant must raise a minimum of $350 towards the Brock team’s $6,000 goal. All funds will directly support the Habitat build.The near $1-million project marks Habitat Niagara’s largest-ever single fundraising goal. Since its inception in 1993, the organization has built 57 homes in the region for families in need of decent and affordable home ownership. read more

Students introduce innovative ways to make math fun

When it comes to learning math in a classroom setting, the ‘fun factor’ can be a challenge.But through an innovative final project for a recent Brock Mathematics Integrated with Computers and Applications (MICA) course, five aspiring math teachers aimed to tackle the problem.Their solution involved explaining math as a key component of processes like coding, then reinforcing the message through engaging, coding-based activities that were explicitly or implicitly about mathematics. With a focus on experiential learning, Brock students Marika Fowler, Kirstin Hofstee, Joyce Khouzam, Ashley Lovnicki and Xingjian Wu worked in collaboration with Niagara Catholic District School Board teachers to develop learning activities for students using computer programming.Front row, from left, George Gadanidis, guest speaker from the University of Western Ontario, Chantal Buteau, Brock Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, and student presenter Joyce Khouzam. Back row, from left, Jeff Martin and Laura Cronshaw, Niagara Catholic K-12 Numeracy Consultants, and student presenters Ashley Lovnicki, Marika Fowler, Kirstin Hofstee and Xingjian Wu.The partnership is part of the MATH 3P41 course, designed for future teachers and taught by Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, Chantal Buteau.The collaborative initiative with Niagara Catholic falls under, and is partially funded by, the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Mathematics Knowledge Network, for which Buteau is a Brock representative.For third-year Concurrent Education (Intermediate/Senior) student Lovnicki, the project provided an opportunity to experience the future of math education firsthand.“Right now is a very exciting time to be a part of mathematics education,” she said. “As we saw through the various projects completed in this course, adding programming is a great way to make math fun and engaging for students, regardless of age, attitudes toward math or students’ ability.”The 20-year-old Stoney Creek native was tasked with showing students different ways math can be applied to their everyday lives. Lovnicki paired up with a Niagara Catholic teacher to present their learning activity with no mention of the math concepts students would be using. Instead, the focus was on a coding-based task.“I was amazed at how much fun the students had doing math without even realizing they were,” she said. “The activity gave them the opportunity to see how math can be used in different areas of their lives, including computer games and apps. It was a really rewarding experience.”Knowing that many students struggle with math concepts, Khouzam was strategic when presenting her learning activity to a junior class.“We revealed to students that they were innately doing math throughout the activity,” the 21-year-old said. “The students were noticeably more confident after this and even started using math vocabulary in their conversations during the activity.”Buteau views the MATH 3P41 course, and its experiential learning final project, as a response to increasing interest in integrating programming in school curricula. Extending the expertise of Brock’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, the course offers students a chance to experience the meaningful integration of programming for mathematics learning in a real classroom setting.“One of the great things about Brock is the various opportunities students have to get involved in various streams of experiential learning,” Lovnicki said.“This course in particular was very exciting, as it was one of the first chances I had in the classroom where I got to lead students and teach them a new concept. I feel that this was a true benefit as it gave me not only the chance to work closely with a current teacher, but it also helped me to develop my lesson planning and teaching abilities.”Along with preparing and executing their learning activities, students also created a document outlining how other teachers can implement the projects into their own classrooms.The concepts generated positive buzz during the first-ever Brock-Niagara Catholic Computational Thinking in Mathematics Classroom event in April, when Brock students presented their final project findings to fellow students, Niagara Catholic K-12 Numeracy Consultants, DSBN technology co-ordinators, and Brock faculty and staff.Hofstee felt the enthusiasm for the concepts was associated with the move away from traditional math memorization methods.“Using programming, this method helps build a deeper understanding of math concepts that will help students remember what they learn rather than memorizing a method for a short period of time,” said the Guelph native. “Additionally, computational thinking is not just a math skill, but teaches transferable skills.”After seeing the innovative approach’s success among Niagara Catholic students, the Brock students plan to implement what they’ve learned into their own future classrooms.“This course really opened my eyes to the possibilities of programming in math education,” Khouzam said. “This assignment was definitely the best final experience I’ve had in university.” read more

Watsons 4th quarter scores send NC Central past SC St

ORANGEBURG, S.C. — A pair of Tyquan Watson touchdowns in the fourth quarter was the difference as North Carolina Central rallied to beat South Carolina State 21-17 on Saturday.The game was originally scheduled to be played on Sept. 15 but was postponed due to Hurricane Florence.Watson’s 19-yard run with 10:36 left put North Carolina Central (5-6, 3-4 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) ahead for good, 14-10. Four minutes later, Dominique Shoffner threw a 41-yard score to Watson to seal it for the Eagles. Tyrece Nick threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Quan Caldwell to cap the scoring for the Bulldogs (5-6, 4-3).Shoffner finished with 153 yards passing and two touchdowns.Nick, the Bulldogs’ sophomore quarterback, finished 97 rushing yards shy of becoming the second South Carolina State quarterback to pass and rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season. He finished with 39 yards on the ground on 17 carries. Nick threw for 147 yards and two touchdowns.The Associated Press read more

Jets lose again but at least put up a fight vs Patriots

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Any athlete will state firmly that a loss is a loss, regardless of the quality of performance.Still, the way the New York Jets fell to the New England Patriots 27-13 on Sunday didn’t have a terrible look or feel. Certainly not how their 41-10 debacle against weak sister Buffalo felt in the Jets’ most recent game before their bye.For one, the Jets’ fifth straight defeat was to the perennial AFC power. For another, they were tied 13-13 late in the third quarter and were making things difficult for Tom Brady and Co.That’s clearly so much better than basically not showing up against the offensively challenged Bills, then getting torn up for 41 points.So what’s the message to their frustrated fans in a spiraling season that could be the last of four for coach Todd Bowles?“Stick with us, man,” said second-year safety Jamal Adams, one of the few Jets having a good season. “Obviously, they’re hurting and we get a lot of negative comments and we understand it. I get it. I get the frustration, but at the end of the day, we’re hurting twice as much as you. So, just stick in there with us, man. We’re going to figure it out.“Do I know when? Do I know the timetable? No. But all I can do is just continue to do my part as a leader on this football team and as a player on this team, and just do my job and continue to help those around me to get better.”Getting better after successive 5-11 seasons will require quite a turnaround as the calendar hits December. The Jets (3-8) show signs of decency on both sides of the ball, and placekicker Jason Myers is having a strong year; he set an NFL record Sunday when he became the first kicker to hit five field goals from 55-plus yards in one season.They hope to have quarterback Sam Darnold, the third overall pick in April’s draft, back on the field from a foot injury sometime next month.And they didn’t come close to lying down against New England the way they did vs. Buffalo.“Every man competed,” said Darnold’s fill-in, 16-year veteran Josh McCown. “Obviously, we didn’t play as clean as we would like. Up until the last tick on the clock, we competed hard. I think that was much better than last week.“It’s obviously not ideal. I think individually, it’s a test. A test of who you are and what you’re about and your ability to get back up, come back to work, work hard, and be a professional. Those things are tested in these times.”The Jets have lost all four division games in sinking into the cellar in the AFC East. With the exception of Buffalo, their remaining opponents have playoff aspirations: Tennessee, Houston, Green Bay and New England.So improving on the record of the past two seasons — and saving Bowles’ job — is a hefty challenge.“When you find yourself in this situation, you don’t desire to be there,” said McCown, whose had a heavy wrap around his right hand when he left the locker room. “The good in it is that you’re tested and you can see what you’re really about. In this tough moment it’s about the guys sticking together, each man continuing to fight, work hard and being a pro. When you’re in this situation, that’s all you can do.”___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFLBarry Wilner, The Associated Press read more

CSU Fullerton snaps 2game streak routs Cal Lutheran 9960

FULLERTON, Calif. — Khalil Ahmad scored 29 points and CSU Fullerton returned home to snap a two-game losing streak by crushing Division III Cal Luthern, 99-60 on Saturday night.The Titans won just one of their three games at the Myrtle Beach Invitational, their final game against Monmouth, and lost at Hofstra and Sacramento State in overtime before returning home for two games.CSU Fullerton (3-5) converted 40 of 65 shots from the field (61.5 per cent) and knocked down 7 of 14 from long range.Ahmad hit all three of his shots from beyond the arc and Kyle Allman, who came in averaging 20.5 points per game, contributed 18.Austin Cole hit 3 of 5 from distance and lead Cal Lutheran with 18 points. Kyle Ferreira added another 13 points.The Titans next play host to unbeaten Loyola Marymount Wednesday.The Associated Press read more

Toronto Raptors officially sign Jeremy Lin

The Toronto Raptors officially signed veteran guard Jeremy Lin. The 30-year-old arrived just hours before tip-off Wednesday and took part in a Raptors walkthrough.“Just landed. This Canada weather not playing around,” he wrote in a social media posting showing a photo of wintry Toronto.Lin’s move to the Raptors had been widely reported but was not announced officially until two hours before Wednesday’s game against the Washington Wizards.“He’s a good player,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said of Lin. “We want to get good players on the floor … I’m excited to see him.”With Fred VanVleet out with a partial ligament injury to his left thumb, Lin immediately moved into the backup point guard spot behind Kyle Lowry.Lin averaged 10.7 points, 3.5 assists and 2.3 rebounds in 51 games with the Atlanta Hawks this season before being bought out by the club.The California native became the first American of Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA after he joined the Golden State Warriors in 2010.The six-foot-three 200-pounder appeared in 457 career NBA games over nine seasons with Golden State (2010-11), New York (2011-12), Houston (2012-14), the Lakers (2014-15), Charlotte (2015-16), Brooklyn (2016-18) and Atlanta (2018-19).“Let’s see what he looks like in a Raptors jersey,” Nurse said.After Wednesday, the Raptors are off until Feb. 22 when DeMar DeRozan and the San Antonio Spurs come to town.Pen to paper. #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/0NOBrT0UW1— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 13, 2019 read more

Ohio State mens basketball hoping to protect home court against Iowa

The Big Ten is considered by some to be the premier conference in college basketball this season. Four Big Ten teams are ranked in the top-14 of the Associated Press’ top-25 poll. No other conference has more than four teams ranked in the top-25. In the ultra-competitive Big Ten, the difference between winning the conference and finishing in the middle of the pack could be determined by a team’s ability to protect home court. The Ohio State men’s basketball team will have a chance to do that Tuesday when they host Iowa (13-5, 2-3 Big Ten). “You’ve got to protect home court in this league,” said junior guard Aaron Craft. “It’s very tough to win and be there at the end if you lose some home games.” Iowa travels to Columbus riding a two-game winning streak, after losing its first three Big Ten games. But even in losses, the Hawkeyes have proved to be a competitive ball club, falling by four to No. 7 Indiana and by three to No. 13 Michigan State. “They’ve been right there,” said coach Thad Matta of Iowa’s close losses. “They are playing great basketball right now. Our guys are fully aware of what we have to do and how we have to do it.” Tuesday’s game will also provide an opportunity for No. 14 OSU (13-4, 3-2 Big Ten) to find another scorer to aid Deshaun Thomas. The junior forward leads the Big Ten with 20.8 points per game, but scoring has not come easy for the other Buckeyes. In Saturday’s loss to Michigan State, Thomas scored a game-high 28 points, but no other Buckeye scored more than six. Craft said part of the problem is OSU’s lack of execution within the offense. “With the offense that we run, there are definitely multiple options and multiple places for different guys to score,” Craft said. “I think that at times we don’t look at those options, we kind of focus on one part of the play, and that’s part of the problem. We’re kind of taking parts of the play for granted. We have a lot of guys that are capable, it’s just finding some consistency.” Thomas agreed. “With the offense we’ve got, anyone can score,” Thomas said. “Our offense is for anyone to get a shot off. I have faith in my guys; there are guys on this team that can score in double-digits. We’ve just got to be patient within our offense and anybody can be that second scorer.” The Buckeyes are set to tipoff with Iowa Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network. read more