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CARIFORUM-EU Regional Consultations open today in Kingston

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THE CARIFORUM-EU Regional Consultations on the successor to the ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement that will expire in 2020, opens today in Kingston.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, who chaired CARIFORUM Caucus and will be co-chairing the CARIFORUM-EU Consultations, said she looked forward to welcoming all visiting delegations,

“Having been an active participant in this process even before it formally started, I am truly pleased, together with my ministry team, to host nine CARIFORUM ministers, the EU and ACP chief negotiators, the secretaries general of both the ACP and CARICOM, the director general of CARIFORUM, as well as other dignitaries, right here in Kingston,” Senator Johnson Smith said.

“The meetings are important to make progress on our negotiations for a post 2020 agreement,” she added.

“The caucus took place yesterday ahead of the CARIFORUM-EU Consultation with the European Union today, where we will hold discussions on the ACP-EU Post-Cotonou Regional Protocol, with a focus on regional priorities. This is a critical phase in the negotiation process. As the public may recall, the agreement is the framework by which we will continue to benefit from EU developmental funding. It is, therefore, very important to attain our national and regional developmental goals.”

EU commissioner for international cooperation and development and chief negotiator for the EU, Neven Mimica, and chief negotiator for the ACP Group, Professor Robert Dussey, minister of foreign affairs, cooperation and African integration of the Togolese Republic and ACP chief negotiator are among those attending today’s consultations.

“Both men have been great partners and advocates for positive results for all in these negotiations,” Johnson Smith, said. She, however, expressed regret that chair of CARIFORUM, St Lucia’s minister, Bradley Felix, would be absent from the meeting due to urgent national business, and thanked him and CARIFORUM colleagues for the confidence vested in Jamaica’s chairing of the consultations.

The ACP Group is focused on addressing its future relations with the EU when the revised Cotonou Partnership Agreement expires in 2020.

The CARIFORUM Group represents the Caribbean in the ACP, and the EU is a major trading partner of many ACP States, including Jamaica.

 

 

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Bomb blast hits tourist bus near Egypt pyramids, injuring 17

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GIZA, Egypt (AFP) — A bomb blast hit a tourist bus near Egypt’s famed Giza pyramids on Sunday, wounding at least 17 people, including South Africans, in the latest blow to the country’s tourism industry.

 The roadside bomb went off as the bus was being driven in Giza, also causing injuries to Egyptians in a nearby car, medical and security sources said.

 There were no deaths reported.

 “A device exploded and smashed the windows of a bus carrying 25 people from South Africa and a private car carrying four Egyptians,” the security source said.

Video footage captured by AFP showed the bus and car with broken windows on the side of the road.

According to the security source, the wounded were being treated for scratches caused by the broken glass.

Ndivhuwo Mabaya, spokesman for South Africa’s department of international relations, told AFP that “there might be South Africans involved” but declined to give any figures.

Sunday’s incident comes after three Vietnamese holidaymakers and their Egyptian guide were killed when a roadside bomb hit their bus as it travelled near the Giza pyramids outside Cairo in December.

It also comes just little more than a month before the African Cup of Nations hosted by Egypt is to kick off.

 Egypt has been battling an insurgency that surged especially in the turbulent North Sinai region following the 2013 military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was replaced by former army general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

 In February 2018, the army launched a nationwide operation against militants, focusing mainly on the North Sinai region.

Some 650 militants and around 45 soldiers have been killed since the start of the offensive, according to separate statements by the armed forces.

Since first being elected in 2014, Sisi has presented himself as a bulwark against terrorism, promising stability and increased security.

Recently, the country’s vital tourism industry has started to slowly rebound after suffering strong blows due to deadly attacks targeting tourists following the turmoil of the 2011 uprising that toppled long time ruler Hosni Mubarak.

Figures by the official statistics agency showed that tourist arrivals reached 8.3 million in 2017, compared with 5.3 million the previous year.

Authorities have gone at great lengths to lure tourists back, touting a series of archaeological finds and a new museum next to the pyramids, as well as enhanced security at airports and around ancient sites.

 But that figure was still far short of the record influx of 2010 when more than 14 million visitors flocked to see the country’s sites.

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Is charity the new publicity stunt?

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Dear Editor, 

Recently, a famous dancehall entertainer lashed out at an Instagram follower who criticised one of her posts. 

In this particular video post, we see the entertainer delivering clothes and appliances to a needy family in Jamaica. The follower expressed that some people seem to be doing “things for fame” as their acts of charity are often posted on social media. Not surprisingly, she was subsequently hurled with some “bloody-bamboo” cloth for her comment. 

In a follow-up post, the entertainer explained that the items were donated by a number of people. Consequently, it was necessary to publicise their delivery so that the “people who donated their money can see [that] the stuff went to the people.” 

Certainly, I applaud people, such as this entertainer, for generously giving to those in need. Such an act is commendable, and many of us should really follow suit. However, like her follower, I am not always comfortable with the broadcasting of charitable acts. 

Last Christmas, I saw the showcasing of many similar charities. Several of my social media “friends,” for example, presented boxes of food to the homeless. Their kindness was heartening, but something about their doing was deeply off-putting.  

Some of these people presented the food in a manner quite akin to one presenting certificates at an award ceremony. 

They outstretched the food boxes with one hand, extended the other for a handshake, paused in position and smiled for the camera. The pictures were then plastered all over their Instagram and Facebook pages. Now, what is the real reason for doing all this? Who truly benefits? 

Growing up, I speculated that my mother gave away many of our outgrown clothes. They just disappeared. In fact, one day, I even saw a little girl in a dress resembling one I owned. However, I could only have assumed that it was mine as Mum kept all the recipients secret.

She feared that we would have flapped our mouths about these persons or worse, jeer the children for wearing “second hand”. Therefore, I learnt from very early that people may be very poor and needy, but they still have their pride. Allow people the privacy to enjoy what you give them.

Nobody wants to be on the road and constantly pointed at and talked about because he or she was broadcast on social media as a charity beneficiary. 

Please, continue to give, but you do not need to make a show of this. Charity should never be a social or political ploy. 

Shawna Kay Williams-Pinnock

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12-y-o Tameica Parry reported missing

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — A High Alert has been activated for 12-year-old Tameica Parry, student of Fairview Avenue, Kingston 11 who has been missing since Saturday, May 18.

Tameica is of dark complexion, slim build and is about 5 feet 3 inches tall.

Reports are that Tameica was last seen at home. Her mode of dress at the time she went missing is unknown. 

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Tameica is being asked to contact the Olympic Gardens Police at 876-923-5468, Police 119 emergency number or the nearest police station.

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