Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 289

Posts Tagged ‘assistance’

Food aid and basic assistance for people in need: EP adopts special measures

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 20 aprile 2020

The COVID-19 crisis is hitting the homeless and people living in poverty hardest. It is therefore crucial for MEPs that food aid and other operations supported by the EU’s Fund for the Most Deprived (FEAD) continues to reach those who need it. Specific measures need to be taken urgently to protect the most vulnerable from falling victim to this virus and to ensure that food aid and basic material assistance still reaches them, while respecting social distancing and personal protection requirements.
In light of this emergency, the Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL) quickly reacted by requesting that special measures be adopted through urgent procedure to guarantee the continued functioning of FEAD, which provides around 13 million people in the EU per year with food aid and basic material assistance.The European Parliament on Friday approved the changes to FEAD proposed by the Commission, which offer the option to finance the provision of protective equipment, temporary 100% co-financing from the EU budget for the accounting year 2020-2021 and lighter reporting and audit measures during the COVID-19-pandemic.MEPs also adopted a new provision that was added upon EMPL’s initiative and negotiated with the Council. It stipulates that food aid and basic material assistance can be delivered through vouchers in any form (not only electronic, as proposed by the Commission), to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the operations and to reach the most vulnerable and excluded, in particular homeless people.Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová, Chair of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, commented after the vote:
“Our work was focused on the urgent need to protect those who are homeless and the most vulnerable citizens, for whom access to food aid and other assistance is of even greater importance during this coronavirus crisis.With the support of all political groups, the Employment and Social Affairs Committee proposed two additional modifications to the Commission proposal, accepted by the Council. We have added paper vouchers, to complement electronic ones, to ensure that FEAD aid is as inclusive as possible and can effectively reach the most deprived without interruption. The measures adopted today will make a real difference on the ground for the thousands of people who live in very precarious situations throughout the EU and who face extreme poverty.I wish to warmly thank and congratulate the political groups, the Council and the Commission for the excellent cooperation on these measures under severe time constraints.”The amended proposal was adopted with 686 votes in favour, 7 against and 3 abstentions.The Council has to formally approve Parliament’s position. The adopted measures will enter into force once published in the Official Journal of the European Union in the coming days.

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Tecnologie utili ai tempi del Coronavirus

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 14 marzo 2020

Potenza della tecnologia e, soprattutto, dell’ingegno umano: per risolvere un problema che si trova a migliaia di chilometri non servono superpoteri e nemmeno impegnativi e costosi spostamenti di tecnici e attrezzature. Si può fare ricorso all’assistenza in remoto, sfruttando, con precisione chirurgica, le potenzialità sorprendenti della realtà aumentata. La soluzione, tra le più innovative a livello mondiale, arriva da Modena ed è il frutto di una lunga attività di ricerca e sviluppo di Pikkart che ha messo a punto AR Assistance 4.0. Dopo essere stata la prima realtà in Italia a sviluppare in proprio un ecosistema che sfrutta con diverse modalità la realtà aumentata, ora la dinamica impresa di Modena propone un sofisticato software il cui utilizzo risulta particolarmente semplice e intuitivo. Senza fare un passo e just in time, inquadrando con uno smartphone o un tablet il pezzo danneggiato o difettoso e sfruttando la piattaforma Assistance 4.0, si può contare sull’intervento di un tecnico specializzato in grado di agire “sul pezzo” in tempo reale, grazie appunto alla realtà aumentata. Ma in pratica come funziona? Tutto si avvia con una chiamata in video conferenza, successivamente inizia un dialogo con il tecnico dell’assistenza per focalizzare l’attenzione sulla parte difettosa o danneggiata. Il passaggio successivo è, almeno in apparenza, ancora più semplice: la parte da riparare, ad esempio una scheda elettronica, viene fotografata e l’immagine è condivisa con chi effettua l’assistenza. Pochi secondi dopo, grazie alla realtà aumentata, sullo schermo del dispositivo utilizzato per scattare la foto appaiono, oltre ad una serie di informazioni aggiuntive, le mani del tecnico che mostrano come intervenire correttamente e in sicurezza per risolvere la criticità emersa.“È l’ennesimo esempio di come la tecnologia più avanzata e la ricerca applicata possano trovare una sintesi efficace in soluzioni che chiunque può utilizzare. Grazie alla possibilità di visualizzare le mani del tecnico sullo schermo, anche il problema della lingua è in gran parte superato. Quasi superfluo aggiungere che i costi della manutenzione in questo modo si abbattono in modo considerevole dato che spostamenti di persone e attrezzature si riducono ai soli casi strettamente necessari. Tutto questo assume una rilevanza ancora maggiore in questo periodo fortemente condizionato dalle restrizioni legate all’emergenza Coronavirus” sottolinea Lorenzo Canali, imprenditore nell’ambito dell’ICT da oltre 16 anni,CEO e cofondatore di Pikkart.Naturalmente ogni soluzione che fa ricorso ad AR Assistance 4.0 è personalizzabile e si adatta alle situazioni più svariate, dalla manutenzione di un impianto di movimentazione, alla riparazione di una rete informatica, sino alla organizzazione di corsi di formazione a distanza con esercitazioni pratiche. Da aggiungere, infine, che la piattaforma è in grado di fornire una serie di informazioni aggiuntive che migliorano in modo significativo la rapidità e la qualità dell’intervento. Si possono avere ad esempio sempre a disposizione i manuali, i disegni esplosi della macchina, il dettaglio dei precedenti interventi.

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AIStorm Introduces Real-Time AI-in-Sensor Solutions for Driver Assistance

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 28 febbraio 2019

AIStorm, an innovator of high-performance AI-in-sensor processors, has introduced a family of semi-custom solutions for mobile handsets, IoT, and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).AIStorm CEO David Schie sees a huge opportunity to outperform approaches that need to digitize sensor data, a step that introduces latency and the potential to miss important information.“Many industry players are focused on deep submicron GPU/NPU-based solutions to accelerate AI at the edge. We believe that such solutions are not compatible with the real-time processing, power, and low-cost requirements of these applications,” said Schie. “Today, we are reshaping the landscape by enabling complete solutions that include a sensor, an analog front end, and AI processing at low cost, and suitable for even the smallest form factors — without the need to digitize input data.”
AIStorm is the pioneer and leader in AI-in-sensor processing, which eliminates the latency, power and cost associated with digital GPU/NPU-based implementations at the edge. AIStorm is headquartered in Silicon Valley and led by a team that includes industry veterans responsible for development of more than a thousand products, as well as for P&L and significant revenue growth at leading semiconductor companies.https://aistorm.ai

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Israel has proven that humanitarian aid takes precedence over political considerations

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 23 luglio 2018

NEW YORK – World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder has praised Israel, with the assistance of the United States, Jordan, Canada, and the EU, for its “critical humanitarian intervention and efforts” in helping hundreds of Syrian ‘White Helmet’ rescue workers and their families flee in a daring overnight evacuation as part of the wider ongoing “Good Neighbor” operation.“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, together with US President Donald Trump, Jordanian King Abdullah II, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the Western powers involved in today’s critical humanitarian intervention have proven that the provision of humanitarian assistance, no matter how dangerous, takes precedence and prevalence over political considerations,” Lauder said. “Over the last few years, Israel has saved the lives of thousands of wounded Syrians, opening its borders and hospitals to those in need from an enemy nation. Hundreds and thousands of Syrians are still living in imminent danger, and it is beyond praiseworthy to witness the efforts being made on their behalf,” Lauder said.

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Health Net Provides Assistance to Pawnee Fire Evacuees in Lake County

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 28 giugno 2018

Health Net of California, Inc., one of California’s largest health insurance companies, announced today that it is providing assistance to residents of Lake County affected by the Pawnee Fire.Health Net is helping ensure that plan members who have lost their homes or have been evacuated due to current wildfire activity in Lake County have access to essential prescription medications, critical Health Net information, and other healthcare services to help them cope with grief, loss, stress, or trauma.On June 25, 2018, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Lake County due to the effects of the Pawnee Fire, which has destroyed homes, buildings and continues to threaten hundreds of additional structures, necessitating the need for evacuation of residents. It has also caused power outages, the closure of roadways, and continues to threaten critical infrastructure.

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Aetna Offers Assistance to Members Affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 30 agosto 2017

Hurricane Harvey1Aetna (NYSE:AET) is offering resources to members who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey in the Texas counties of Aransas, Atascosa, Austin, Bee, Bexar, Brazoria, Caldwell, Cameron, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, Comal, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kerr, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Liberty, Live Oak, Madison, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Tyler, Victoria, Waller, Walker, Washington, Wharton, Willacy, and Wilson, and in all parishes in Louisiana.
If needed, affected Aetna members may refill their prescriptions early. Those who use Aetna’s mail-order pharmacy can either get a prescription at an alternate delivery location or refill a prescription that may have been lost, damaged or destroyed.In addition to helping with prescription refills, Aetna can help members who have been evacuated from their homes find care and behavioral health support, among other services. Aetna is also extending claim and appeal filing times.“Our thoughts are with those affected by Hurricane Harvey,” said Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna chairman and CEO. “We are committed to helping our members and employees in Texas and Louisiana get the care, medications and emotional support they need, understanding that many may have evacuated from their homes and are unable to use their usual physicians, pharmacies and hospitals.”Affected Aetna members can also seek emergency care anywhere, as needed. As part of its disaster procedures, Aetna will monitor the impact on its network doctors, hospitals and other health care providers. The company will work closely with providers to make further modifications to its policies as necessary to ensure members have access to care.Aetna has opened its Resources for Living services to the community regardless of whether they are Aetna members or not. Affected individuals can call 1-888-AETNA-EAP (1-888-238-6232) for telephonic consultation to help cope with the emotional impact of this event or for assistance with finding resources such as available shelters, government resources and referrals.

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NATO Warship Renders Assistance to Stricken Dhow

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 17 gennaio 2012

Over the weekend, ITS GRECALE, part of the NATO’s Counter Piracy Task Force Operation Ocean Shield, was tasked by NATO Task Force Commander to render assistance to the Iranian flagged dhow, Tahriri, which had reported an engine failure and was dead in the water. The dhow, with 5 Iranian and 9 Pakistani crew members, had recently been released from suspected Somali pirates by another NATO Task Force unit, HDMS ABSALON, on 7th January. On reaching the dhow, ITS GRECALE gave the crew food and water. Then a dedicated technical team worked through the night to fix the mechanical engine failure. Despite their best efforts, the ITS GRECALE team assessed that the engine was too badly damaged to repair at sea. NATO offered to transfer the crew to the closest port, but they chose to stay with their vessel. Tahriri’s crew said that after having assistance they felt safer and preferred to coordinate with their national authorities for further assistance. They expressed their appreciation for the assistance of the NATO warship.
ITS Grecale is remaining in the area to monitor the situation, ready to provide further assistance if required. NATO has contributed to the international counter piracy effort off the Horn of Africa since December 2008. The mission has expanded from escorting UN and World Food Programme Shipping under Operation Allied Provider and protecting merchant traffic in the Gulf of Aden under Operation Allied Protector. In addition to these activities and as part of the latest mission, Operation Ocean Shield, NATO is working with other international bodies to help develop capacity of countries in the region to tackle piracy on their own.

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On the conflict in Sudan

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 18 giugno 2011

It is the height of the hunger season in Sudan and the violence that has engulfed South Kordofan is hindering WFP’s efforts to reach hundreds of thousands of people in need of food assistance. As the security situation in South Kordofan state deteriorates, I would like to echo the UN Secretary General’s deep concern about the escalation in the conflict. WFP has delivered food to more than 26,000 people who have fled the most recent violence in South Kordofan, but I am deeply concerned that any further escalation in the conflict may undermine our efforts to reach the 400,000 people we were feeding in Kordofan before this latest outbreak of fighting. More than 60,000 people are reported to be on the move in remote and inaccessible areas. Many are vulnerable women and children, who will bear the brunt of the violent upheavals. The precarious security situation is preventing us from distributing food to where it is needed most. For humanitarians it is of grave concern that we have the food, but we cannot get it out to those whose lives depend on it. If we are to reach the most vulnerable in the coming days, it is vital that we have the secure and unhindered humanitarian access that is essential for our life-saving work delivering food to the hungry..

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Assistance to millions of poor afghans

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 16 aprile 2011

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) urgently requires US$257 million to continue providing food and assistance to the 7.3 million vulnerable and food-insecure Afghans it aims to support this year, mainly women and children. Though many governments have contributed generously to WFP’s multi-year food assistance operation in Afghanistan, WFP lacks half of what it needs for this year. Due to the decrease in available funds, a critical pipeline break in wheat is expected to occur in June, affecting millions of Afghans currently being assisted by WFP and partners. Wheat is the primary food staple in Afghanistan and is used in rations for nearly all WFP operations, including food-for-work activities, vocational training and literacy programmes for women and other marginalized groups, and emergency food distributions. Supplies of vegetable oil and pulses will run short in July and August respectively. Without additional funds, WFP will be forced to scale back school feeding activities by half in June, affecting more than a million schoolchildren. Shortfalls in specialized nutrition products have also forced WFP to reduce the number of children under five that it can assist – down from 62,000 per month to about 40,000 per month. Fundamental nutrients are vital during the early years when adequate nutrition is crucial for development.
In Afghanistan, it takes between 2-3 months from the time a contribution is received until the food reaches the people who need it. If new contributions cannot be secured soon, food may not be available in time. WFP is appealing to donors for a rapid injection of funds in order to begin procuring food locally and regionally to mitigate this potentially devastating break in food supplies.
WFP has been working continuously in Afghanistan since 1963, and plans to feed some 7.3 million people in all 34 provinces of the country this year.
WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries. WFP now provides RSS feeds to help journalists keep up with the latest press releases, videos and photos as they are published on WFP.org. For more details see: http://www.wfp.org/rss WFP has a dedicated ISDN line in Italy for quality two-way interviews with WFP officials.

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World Food Programme’s

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 1 dicembre 2010

Maputo – Mozambique was hailed for its pioneering role in supporting the UN World Food Programme’s innovative Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative that helps connect small scale farmers to markets as well as improving the quality and supply of their products.  “Mozambique was the birthplace of our P4P programme and it is leading the way in demonstrating how WFP’s investment and support for farmers can become an engine for sustainable agricultural development,” said WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran, who is in Mozambique to visit WFP food assistance programmes and to attend WFP’s global gathering of P4P stakeholders.  Today WFP purchases 80 percent of the food it buys from developing countries, and in the past 3 years WFP has purchased nearly 1 billion metric tons of food from African farmers to support its food assistance programmes.  P4P is a specially designed programme to include marginalised small farmers in WFPs food supply chain.  Since its inception in September 2008, P4P programmes have been launched in 20 countries around the world.  Through P4P, WFP has purchased more than 120,000 metric tons of food from small scale farmers across the world at a value of US$40 million – enough to feed more than one and a half million people for 6 months.  Farmers participating in the P4P programmes receive training from WFP and its partners in improved agricultural production, post-harvest handling of crops, marketing, agricultural financing, and how to contract with WFP.  This year alone, the successful P4P initiative in Mozambique led to the purchase of 5,350 metric tons of maize and pulses from smallholder farmers – enough to feed more than 100,000 people for 3 months.
The P4P conference – which opened in Maputo on Monday – brings together key P4P partners, including government representatives, NGOs, and small-scale farmers who are participating in P4P programmes.  WFP’s P4P programmes are supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Howard G. Buffet Foundation, the European Commission, and the governments of Belgium, Canada, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, USA, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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Haiti: Food assistance operation

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 31 gennaio 2010

The United Nations World Food Programme has today begun a major scaling up of its operation with the start of the first systematic food distribution programme to reach people affected by the Haiti earthquake.  Under the leadership of the Haitian government, and in coordination with the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the US military, and a group of key non-governmental organisations, WFP is rolling out distributions at 16 fixed sites across the Haitian capital, with the aim of reaching over two million people during a two-week period.  The scale-up of the operation will begin on Saturday with distributions of coupons across the city, and families will be targeted in coordination with local authorities. The first distributions will then take place at all 16 sites on Sunday, and continue for 15 days.  Each family will receive a 25 kilogramme ration of rice, with only women being allowed into distribution sites to collect their share. WFP and its partners will work with the local authorities to ensure that men in need of assistance are not excluded.  Separate from this new operation, distributions to those affected by the earthquake currently living outside Port-au-Prince will continue, as will specialist support to hospitals and orphanages.  WFP’s response has been hampered by the almost complete decimation of the city’s infrastructure, the destruction of the supply chain to move food and other supplies into and around the country, and the huge scale of need. The congested, densely populated urban setting has also presented the humanitarian effort with a huge challenge.  Despite all these obstacles, WFP has reached nearly 600,000 people with over 16 million meals since the earthquake struck.

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Caritas brings aid to Samoa tsunami survivors

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 5 ottobre 2009

Caritas teams delivered assistance to survivors in Samoa hours after the devastating tsunami struck the Pacific island. The tsunami caused loss of lives and destruction in Samoa, American Samoa (a US territory), and Tonga. “We were there within 5–6 hours after the tsunami struck delivering assistance. The devastation was astronomical, worse than anything I have ever seen”, said Peter Bendinelli Chair of Caritas Samoa. “Our trucks leave brimming with food, water and clothing and return full of people who have lost their homes, are sick and injured” said Mr Bendinelli.  The Caritas response to the Pacific Tsunami in Samoa is being coordinated out of the local Catholic Pastoral Centre. “Six vans and two trucks are constantly ferrying goods to the worst affected areas”, Mr Bendinelli said. “98 people are confirmed dead but many of the worst affected areas are yet to be assessed as the roads to them have been cut off. “More than 90 people are seeking temporary shelter in the Pastoral Centre having lost their homes. Yesterday we brought in a further 9 people who required emergency medical assistance and this number has been growing steadily today. “Food, clean water and shelter are the most pressing needs. All the water pipes that run along beside the roads fronting the sea have been totally destroyed as the tsunami waters receded and people are in urgent need of water.” Initial needs assessments on the South side of Upolu (including the villages of Si’umi and Falali’ili’I have indicated an immediate need for food, water and shelter.  Caritas is looking to provide support and counseling to the affected population there, and in American Samoa the Church is also assessing the best way to respond.

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Social mobility

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 4 settembre 2009

London In line with the much lauded advantages of driver assistance systems (DAS), some vehicle manufacturers (VMs) are beginning to see navigation-based DAS as the future of enhanced social mobility and as a prelude to the much bandied Vehicle to Vehicle (V-V) and Vehicle to Infrastructure (V-X) systems. New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.automotive. frost.com), Strategic Analysis of Integration of ADAS with Telematics, estimates that the market for map based/supported advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) will reach €143.0 million by 2015, triggered primarily by growing demand for safety. The following technologies are covered in this research: speed alert, curve warning, fuel economy systems, map-supported adaptive cruise control (ACC), advanced frontal lighting and map supported lane departure warning (LDW). Although navigation systems have thus far been limited to convenience applications, they can easily double as vehicle safety systems, ushering in a broad range of hitherto untapped possibilities.  However, barriers to the efficient functioning of preventive safety applications persist because current levels of map information are either inadequate or inaccurate. Strategic Analysis of Integration of ADAS with Telematics is part of the Automotive & Transportation Growth Partnership Services programme, which also includes research in the following markets: European Market Analysis for Low Speed Driver Assistance Applications, Strategic Analysis of European Automotive Interior Lighting Market and, Strategic Analysis of European Automotive Exterior  Lighting Market. All research included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, enables clients to accelerate growth and achieve best in class positions in growth, innovation and leadership. The company’s Growth Partnership Service provides the CEO and the CEO’s Growth Team with disciplined research and best practice models to drive the generation, evaluation, and implementation of powerful growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan leverages over 45 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from more than 35 offices on six continents. To join our Growth Partnership, please visit http://www.frost.com.

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Nuova Life time warranty

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 3 settembre 2009

Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) ha annunciato la Life Time warranty per i nuovi acquisti degli switch Summit fixed edge e degli Ethernet port extender ReachNXT.  La nuova garanzia supera quelle di molti altri vendor concorrenti combinando la copertura delle componenti hardware e software, l’assistenza tecnica e la sostituzione immediata delle apparecchiature hardware. Extreme Networks ha inoltre intenzione di continuare a erogare una serie di servizi aggiuntivi e opzionali, come ad esempio quello di sostituzione hardware in 4 ore, laddove ve ne sia la disponibilità geografica, e i programmi Technical Assistance Center (TAC) 24x7x365 per tutti quei clienti che hanno necessità di un diverso grado di assistenza.  Altamente performanti e affidabili, gli switch Ethernet Layer 2 e 3 di Extreme Networks vengono impiegati da oltre un decennio in alcuni dei deployment di reti IP più esigenti e complessi appartenenti ad aziende, università e provider di servizi di telecomunicazione garantendo sempre elevata disponibilità, alti livelli di Quality of Service e sicurezza integrata.  Gli switch Extreme Networks Fast Ethernet e Gigabit Ethernet, compresi i modelli Summit X150, Summit X250e, Summit X350 e Summit X450e e i port extender Ethernet ReachNXT 100-8t Ethernet acquistati dopo il 29 giugno 2009, includono già la nuova life time warranty con servizio di sostituzione hardware immediata.
Extreme Networks offre alle aziende ed ai Service Provider le Reti Ethernet a supporto della trasmissione dati, voce e video. Le soluzioni di Rete offerte si contraddistinguono per elevate prestazioni e massima disponibilità di switching in grado di offrire il massimo controllo consentendo ai clienti di risolvere le loro sfide di business. Presente in oltre 50 Paesi, l’offerta di Extreme Networks si articola su Reti LAN wired e wireless altamente affidabili, infrastrutture per data center e soluzioni Ethernet per il trasporto dati adatte al mercato dei Service Provider che possono contare anche su un servizio di supporto attivo 24×7. Per maggiori informazioni è possibile visitare il sito: http://www.extremenetworks.com.

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Caritas marks first humanitarian day

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 19 agosto 2009

Caritas Internationalis says that governments must honour their commitments to allow aid agencies access to vulnerable communities on the first World Humanitarian Day.  Established by the General Assembly (GA) of the United Nations in December 2008, 19 August is World Humanitarian Day.  The designation of the Day is a way to increase public understanding of humanitarian assistance activities worldwide. It is in part dedicated to the memory of all those aid workers who have lost their lives while bringing assistance to others, the majority of them from the communities they are trying to help. Caritas says its ability to bring support to the most vulnerable people in conflicts has been severely restricted by the actions of governments over the last 18 months.  Caritas Internationalis Humanitarian Director Alistair Dutton said, “From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, Georgia to Gaza, Sri Lanka to Sudan, we’re seeing the erosion of one of the central pillars of humanitarianism: Aid agencies must be allowed to reach the most vulnerable people in conflicts. Governments must use this first World Humanitarian Day to reassert their commitment to safeguarding this principle as part of their obligations under the Geneva Conventions. The Israeli government prevented access to the Gaza Strip during  military operations that began in December. A Caritas medical centre was destroyed. Zimbabwe suspended all aid agency field operations following contested elections. Caritas members directly fed over a million people there, and their projects helped over three million people in a country where 9 out of ten families go hungry. In Sri Lanka, Caritas was one of only two agencies able to operate in the ‘no-fire zone’ in the conflict zone in the Vanni. Staff remained working in the area alongside the people, enduring months of daily shelling and hardship.  In Darfur in Sudan, Caritas remains operational following the expulsion of 13 international NGOs from Sudan and closure of 3 national NGOs including SUDO, a Caritas partner.  260 humanitarians were victims of murder, kidnapping and serious injury in 2008. Compared to 1998 when 69 humanitarians were involved in security incidents. Caritas united in sorrow for the staff of its members and of partners who were killed as they sought to bring peace in 2009. These include “Raj” Anthonipillai Uthayaraj, 26, a volunteer driver killed in Sri Lanka in the no-fire zone on  8 May and Caritas France’s Ricky Agusa Sukaka, 27, who was shot dead in the Democratic Republic of Congo on 15 July. Caritas Vanni Director Rev. Fr. T.R. Vasanthaseelan and Rev. Fr. James Pathinathan seriously injured in shelling in Sri Lanka in April.

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