UN steps up police presence in troubled province of DR Congo following

The police presence of the Mission (MONUC) was reinforced at the weekend as two UN multi-disciplinary teams arrived to investigate the circumstances around the violence in the province and the city of Matadi, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters today.Those teams will examine security issues and also the humanitarian needs of those injured or otherwise affected by the violence.MONUC said it was deplorable that local police in Bas-Congo, in the far west of the vast country, had told the public that UN troops were responsible, and added that such misinformation had led angry youths to stone two UN vehicles earlier today.MONUC has overseen the DRC’s transition from a six-year civil war that cost 4 million lives in fighting and attendant hunger and disease, widely considered the most lethal conflict since World War II, to gradual stabilization, culminating in the first democratic elections in over four decades last year, the largest and most complex polls the UN has ever helped to organize.More recently it has been concerned with violence in the DRC’s far east, where certain army elements continue to harass and terrorize civilians while renegade forces who refuse to join in the demobilization and reintegration process have engaged in rape and other human rights abuses.The Secretary-General’s Special Representative William Lacy Swing voiced grave concern about what he called mounting evidence that Congolese security forces had conducted serious human rights abuses. 5 February 2007The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has deployed an additional police unit in the troubled province of Bas-Congo, where more than 70 people were reportedly killed last week amid violent clashes following controversial local elections. read more

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Theres now only one buckabeer option left in Ontario

TORONTO — Four months after Doug Ford delivered on his campaign promise to bring back “buck a beer,” the only brewery still offering the option appears to be one in the Ontario premier’s west Toronto neighbourhood.When Ford announced incentives for companies selling beer at $1 for a bottle or can last August, two breweries took him up on the offer — Cool Brewery in Toronto and Barley Days Brewery in Picton, Ont.Loblaws also offered its President’s Choice beer for a dollar a bottle for a limited time.Ontario scraps beer tax increase planned by previous Liberal governmentPresident’s Choice to participate in buck-a-beer for limited timeOntario to offer incentives to brewers to sell their beer for a buckBut now the Liquor Control Board of Ontario says the Barley Days Brewery beer that had been available for a dollar — plus the 10 cent deposit — has raised its price to $1.65.The Crown corporation in charge of alcohol sales in the province says that as of Monday, Cool Lager was the only “buck a beer” still available on its website.The government offered businesses that agreed to sell “buck a beer” for a dollar prime spots in LCBO stores and advertising in the store magazine’s inserts. read more

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Nepals emergency preparedness saved lives in earthquake aftermath – UN health agency

According to WHO, the practice of hospital retrofitting – a process which involves everything from repairing cracks in walls to installing seismic belts and roof bracing – has been a core part of Nepal’s preparedness plans and helped keep the largest hospitals in the capital city of Kathmandu working throughout the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which struck on 25 April and the 7.3 earthquake which rattled the country on just yesterday. “Retrofitting meant that when the earthquakes struck, hospitals did not collapse,” Dr. Roderico Ofrin, WHO’s Health Response Leader, confirmed in a press release, adding that it was “clear that the investment in time and resources paid off.”“These hospitals that are standing and were retrofitted went through a process of prioritization,” Dr. Ofrin continued. “Emergency rooms, maternity wards, and operating theatres were some of the first areas where retrofitting was applied.”WHO has also been critical in assisting Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population during their implementation of emergency preparedness efforts. In 2009, for instance, it focused global attention on the need for safe facilities in emergencies through its World Health Day campaign which underscored the need for building strong health systems able to provide medical care in times of disaster and emergency. The UN agency has continued to promote this aim with direct technical and material support. However, retrofitting alone is not sufficient for an adequate healthcare response in times of disaster, the WHO has warned. Capacity building and staff training is equally important. Dr. Pradeep Vaidya, coordinator for the WHO-supported Hospital Preparedness for Emergency Programme, has noted that the response to the earthquake by Nepal’s health care providers was resilient because of pre-planning and training initiatives. “The most helpful part during the earthquake response was the hospital emergency preparedness plan,” Dr. Vaidya explained. “People knew what to do, where to meet and how things will flow when the earthquake happened. The roster management system worked well.”In Nepal, the WHO has been placing particular attention on training in triage management, putting into practice its guidelines and strategies in mass casualty systems. Due to the training, the agency said, emergency responders could quickly prioritize the injuries and save lives when large numbers of patients began to arrive in the hospitals following the recent earthquakes. read more

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