Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 34 n° 316

Posts Tagged ‘council’

Maragha Massacre Commemorated at UN Human Rights Council

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 27 settembre 2022

GENEVA The general debate at the UN Human Rights Council, the World Evangelical Alliance paid tribute to the 45 Armenian Christians massacred in Maragha 30 years ago, an atrocity that was documented by a team from Christian Solidarity International (CSI). Maragha is located in Nagorno Karabakh, an Armenian territory which the Soviet Union placed inside the borders of Azerbaijan, a majority-Muslim and Turkish Soviet republic. When the Soviet Union began to break up in the late 1980s, the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh sought independence. Azerbaijan responded by trying to ethnically cleanse the region of its Armenians.As the WEA explained in its statement, Maragha, “was captured by Azerbaijani forces on 10 April 1992. Our partner organization Christian Solidarity International arrived in the village one day after the Azerbaijani troops had withdrawn, and they discovered a massacre. Survivors were in a state of shock; their burnt-out houses were still smouldering.After six years of fighting, in which the nearby Republic of Armenia came to the aid of Karabakh Armenians, the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh was paused in 1994. A ceasefire left the region as a de facto independent state, where Armenians lived in safety and freedom.In September 2020, Azerbaijan and its ally Turkey launched a war against Nagorno-Karabakh, killing thousands and driving tens of thousands of Armenians from their homes. Azerbaijan’s dictator, Ilham Aliyev, has promised to “drive [Armenians] out of our lands!” Over one million Armenians were murdered by Turkish forces and their Azerbaijani allies between 1915 and 1923, in the first major genocide of the 20th century.In a parallel action, Eibner urged the incoming UN High Commission of Human Rights to use his influence within the UN system to encourage recognition of Nagorno Karabakh’s right to self-determination, the suspension of military support to Azerbaijan, and cooperation between the USA, Russia and regional powers in the search for regional peace and stability. These measures, Eibner added, would improve conditions for the peaceful coexistence of the people of the volatile region regardless of ethnicity or religion.Christian Solidarity International (CSI) is a Christian human rights organization promoting religious liberty and human dignity.

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Agreement with Council on EU Cybersecurity competence centre and network

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 14 dicembre 2020

Plans to reinforce Europe’s preparedness and resilience against cyber attacks by creating a pool for innovation and expertise were agreed on Friday between Parliament and Council.The new cybersecurity competence centre, to be based in Bucharest, will pool expertise in cybersecurity research and bring together the European cybersecurity competence community. It will also provide financial support from the Horizon Europe and Digital Europe programmes to innovative projects from start-ups and SMEs. “We have managed to reach a remarkable deal, that has the potential to really bring forward the cybersecurity research sector in Europe” said lead MEP Rasmus Andresen (Greens/EFA, DE).“Especially in times when so much of our daily activities, and even political negotiations are taking place online, it becomes all the more important that we ensure high levels of innovation in the area of cybersecurity. This new structure will ensure that all the valuable expertise that exists all across Europe – be it in research institutions, small businesses, start-ups, NGOs and the open-source community – are all included in the process of deciding European research priorities. At the same time we bring all the Member states to the table to collectively invest more in this crucial sector and pool our resources” M. Andresen said.“It has been a challenge to create a structure that involves all the actors, while also ensuring that EU research funding is aligned with European policy priorities and a clear European vision. After 5 trilogues we have now finally reached an agreement that achieves exactly that” he added.The informal agreement concluded with the German presidency of the Council will be confirmed in the Industry committee later this month.

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MEPs urge the Council to stop delaying EU accession talks further

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 10 dicembre 2020

In the run-up to next meeting of European Affairs ministers today, MEPs call on the Council to approve the negotiating frameworks for North Macedonia and Albania.In the statement on North Macedonia and Albania, signed by more than 20 MEPs, representatives of political groups urge all parties involved to find a solution to ensure that accession negotiations will begin before the end of the year. Warning that current hold-up in accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania is jeopardizing the European Union’s credibility in the Western Balkans, they call on Bulgaria and North Macedonia to find a compromise on pending bilateral issues to avoid delaying the accession process any further.Bulgaria should approve the opening of the intergovernmental conference (IGC) with North Macedonia as soon as possible and in any case in December, thereby acknowledging the country’s efforts in the EU accession process. North Macedonia, in its role as a future accession country, should also make every effort possible from its side to resolve the outstanding issues, stress MEPs in their statement.Albania also deserves to move forward on its path to EU accession, say MEPs, pointing to its comprehensive efforts to reform, in particular in the justice sector, over the last few years, as well as the Commission’s positive assessment. They add that effort is also needed by Albania in several areas, on its way to meet all the conditions laid out in the Council Conclusions.

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Parliament and Council strike a deal on the orderly termination of benchmarks

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 3 dicembre 2020

Negotiators agreed on provisions to ensure EU financial market stability, ahead of the expected cessation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) in 2021. Caroline Nagtegaal (Renew, NL), the lead MEP on behalf of the Economic and Monetary Affairs committee, said: “I am pleased that Parliament’s negotiating team has today reached a deal with the Council on this very important file. All the institutions stepped up their efforts to come to a swift agreement to ensure that the phasing out of widely-used benchmarks does not threaten financial stability within the European Union.”If necessary, the European Commission will be granted power to replace: • “critical” benchmarks, which influence financial instruments and contracts with an average value of at least €500 billion and could thus affect the stability of financial markets across Europe; • benchmarks with no, or very few, appropriate substitutes whose cessation would have a significant and adverse impact on market stability; • third country benchmarks whose cessation would significantly disrupt the functioning of financial markets or pose a systemic risk for the financial system in the Union. EU market participants will be able to use benchmarks administered in a country outside the EU until the end of 2023. The Commission will be empowered to adopt a delegated act by 15.06.2023 to prolong this extension by maximum two years until 31/12/2025, but such an extension will have to be duly motivated. The Commission will also prepare the report on legislative review by 15.06.2023 (accompanied where appropriate and motivated, by a legislative proposal). Technical work on the text is now being carried out by the services of the three institutions. Thereafter, the agreement must be approved by the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and the Parliament as a whole.

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AIDA meeting 09/11: debate with the German presidency of the Council

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 9 novembre 2020

Bruxelles. Monday 9 November 2020, 13.45 – 15.45 room József Antall (6Q1), and by videoconference. AIDA MEPs will exchange views with Thomas Jarzombek, Commissioner for Digital Industry and Start-ups, German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and Daniela Kolbe, Chair of the Bundestag Study Commission on “Artificial Intelligence – Social Responsibility and Economic, Social and Ecological Potential”.The topics under discussion will include the position of the German Presidency on the future EU regulatory framework on AI, as well as a review of the recent 800-page report of the Study Commission on AI, spanning an examination of a wide variety of societal AI applications and their policy implications.FOLLOW US ON TWITTER! Highlights, all press releases, important dates, new documents and much more are published on @EP_Artifintel

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Rule of law conditionality: MEPs strike a deal with Council

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 7 novembre 2020

For the first time, we have established a mechanism that enables the EU to stop funding governments that disrespect our values such as the rule of law”, said co-rapporteur Petri Sarvamaa (EPP, Finland) after conclusion of the negotiations.“For us it was crucial that final beneficiaries won’t be punished for wrongdoings of their governments and that they continue receiving funds that have been promised to them and that they rely on, even after the conditionality mechanism has been triggered. We can proudly say that we achieved a strong system that will guarantee their protection”, said co-rapporteur Eider Gardiazabal Rubial (S&D, Spain)“We did not compromise on the values: we made sure that the rule of law is seen in the context of all the EU values enshrined in the treaties, such as independence of judiciary. Every breach of the rule of law will be covered by the mechanism: from individual breaches to systemic or recurrent breaches for which no mechanism existed so far”, said Mr Sarvamaa.“European citizens expect us to condition the disbursement of EU funds to the respect of rule of law. The mechanism agreed today does exactly that”, concluded Ms Gardiazabal Rubial. MEPs succeeded in ensuring that the new law does not only apply when EU funds are misused directly, such as cases of corruption or fraud. It will also apply to systemic aspects linked to EU fundamental values that all member states must respect, such as freedom, democracy, equality, and respect for human rights including the rights of minorities.Parliament’s negotiators also insisted that tax fraud and tax evasion are considered possible breaches, by including both individual cases and widespread and recurrent issues. Moreover, they succeeded in securing a specific Article that clarifies the possible scope of the breaches by listing examples of cases, such as threatening the independence of the judiciary, failing to correct arbitrary/unlawful decisions, and limiting legal remedies .Crucially, MEPs succeeded in keeping a strong preventive aspect for the mechanism: not only can it be triggered when a breach is shown to directly affect the budget, but also when there is a serious risk that it may do so, thus ensuring that the mechanism prevents possible situations where EU funds could finance actions that are in conflict with EU values.To ensure that the final beneficiaries who depend on the EU support – such as students, farmers, or NGOs – are not punished for the actions of their governments, MEPs insisted that they can file a complaint to the Commission via a web platform, which will assist them in ensuring they receive the due amounts. The Commission will also have the possibility to make a financial correction by reducing the next instalment of EU support to the respective country in question. MEPs succeeded in shortening the time that the EU institutions will have for the adoption of measures against a member state, if risks of breaches of the rule of law are identified, to a maximum of 7-9 months (down from 12-13 months as initially requested by Council). The Commission, after establishing the existence of a breach, will propose to trigger the conditionality mechanism against an EU government. The Council then will have one month to adopt the proposed measures (or three months in exceptional cases), by a qualified majority. The Commission will use its rights to convene the Council to make sure the deadline is respected. The agreed compromise now needs to be adopted formally by the Parliament and EU ministers.

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Council President Charles Michel to discuss recent and next EU summit with MEPs

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 6 ottobre 2020

Bruxelles.On Tuesday morning, Council President Charles Michel will present the outcome of the summit, including on other Foreign Affairs topics such as relations with China, the situation in Belarus and the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. MEPs will also look ahead to the next regular European Council meeting, to be held 15-16 October, with a focus on the EU’s Climate Law and the state of the negotiations on the future EU-UK partnership including preparing for all scenarios after 1 January 2021.

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Council’s budget conditionality “inadequate”, Commission’s report “a good first step”

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 4 ottobre 2020

The Civil Liberties Committee discussed the proposed conditionality clause on the rule of law, ahead of negotiations with Council, and the first EC rule of law report.On Thursday, Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders debated with MEPs on the proposed clause to make EU funding conditional on respecting democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights, and on the Commission’s first Annual Rule of Law Report, published on Wednesday.The negotiations between Parliament and Council on the final shape of the rules on conditionality to protect the EU budget should commence soon, following the adoption of the Council’s negotiating mandate on Wednesday. A relevant clause would be inserted into the next EU long-term budget to correct persistent shortcomings in relation to EU values in the member states.Almost every speaker who took the floor, including Parliament’s co-rapporteurs for the Multiannual Financial Framework Jan Olbrycht (EPP, PL) and Margarida Marques (S&D, PT), and the co-rapporteur for the rule of law conditionality mechanism Eider Gardiazábal (S&D, ES), criticised heavily the Council’s position. MEPs agreed that an effective conditionality clause is of utmost importance and that the scope of Council’s position and the definition of the rule of law in it are not fit for purpose. They were also adamant that the mechanism has to be based on reverse qualified majority voting.Many stressed that priority should be given to protecting the final beneficiaries of EU funding if such a mechanism is activated. Some speakers criticised the German Presidency for accusing Parliament of causing delays, highlighting that it has taken the Council years to agree on a common stance. Several MEPs pointed out that there is significant alignment between the Commission’s proposal and Parliament’s position, asking the Commissioner to work towards a viable conditionality mechanism in the upcoming negotiations.A few MEPs took a different approach, arguing that there is no legal basis for such a mechanism in the EU founding documents. The subsequent debate focused on the Commission’s first Annual Rule of Law Report, which aims to identify backsliding on EU values by establishing an objective, uniform review mechanism to monitor developments across all member states with the help of external experts and internal stakeholders. Most MEPs welcomed the publication of the report and commended its methodology and thorough approach, while pointing out that there is room for improvement after this first iteration. Comments revolved primarily around involving Parliament and additional independent experts in future versions, and on the practical impact of the tool. Many speakers argued that, once issues are identified, it is important that they lead to concrete recommendations, and to infringement procedures where appropriate.

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ECSA welcomes Council conclusions on EU Waterborne Transport Sector

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 15 giugno 2020

The Council of Ministers of Transport adopted on 5 June its conclusions on “EU Waterborne Transport Sector – Future outlook: Towards a carbon-neutral, zero accidents, automated and competitive EU Waterborne Transport Sector”. This decision endorses the Opatija Declaration adopted at political level on 11 March 2020.However, the progress towards that vision has come to a halt since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected the whole maritime industry in Europe and the rest of the world. Despite the various difficulties the crisis has created, such as the lack of crew changes and liquidity issues, companies and employees continue to work to ensure the supply chains stay running.The Council conclusions also highlighted the essential work seafarers are performing in keeping the supply lines functioning including their right to fair treatment. ECSA, together with other European and international partners and institutions, is strongly urging governments to designate maritime workers as key workers so as to ensure crew changes are able to take place and seafarers’ rights are upheld. Crew relief is vital for the health, safety and welfare of maritime workers and the proper functioning of seaborne supply lines. (font: Ecsa)

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European Parliament for the European Council of 20-21 February 2020

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 20 febbraio 2020

European Parliament President David Sassoli will represent Parliament at the summit and address heads of state or government at 15:00. He will hold a press conference afterwards in the Council’s press room.The next long-term EU budget is about the future of Europe – about whether the EU will do more, the same, or less for its citizens after 2020.The European Parliament wants a post-2020 budget reform that matches its political commitments and ambitions for the future of the EU and ensures the continuity of the EU’s main policies like the regional and agricultural policies. This budget should also address future challenges for a stronger and more sustainable Europe. It should promote peace, democracy, the rule of law, human rights and gender equality, boost welfare, economic growth, quality employment, solidarity between member states and citizens, and contribute to fighting climate change.The proposal currently on the table for discussion between member states is not acceptable for Parliament, which expects the European Council not to adopt conclusions on this basis.

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Alcoa Joins International Council on Mining and Metals

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 24 novembre 2019

Alcoa Corporation, a global leader in bauxite, alumina and aluminum, today announced that it has been accepted as a member of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), an organization focused on enhancing the industry’s contribution to society with safe, fair and sustainable practices.Alcoa is a recognized leader in sustainability, with certifications from the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative and inclusion in the annual Dow Jones Sustainability Indices, where the Company was recently recognized as the aluminum industry leader.“Our membership in ICMM gives us an opportunity to learn, define and share best-in-class mining practices through a common set of international standards,” said Alcoa President and Chief Executive Officer Roy Harvey. “Alcoa is focused on delivering value through our strategic priorities, which includes a focus on advancing sustainably, and we are working to leverage our extensive experience to win in an evolving marketplace that will demand sustainably and responsibly produced materials. ”In bauxite mining, Alcoa has been recognized for using advanced practices through all stages of operations, including industry-leading rehabilitation methods in areas of high biodiversity value. The Company operates bauxite mines in Brazil and Australia and has joint venture mines in Guinea and Saudi Arabia. Tom Butler, CEO of ICMM, said membership into ICMM includes a rigorous third-party assessment to ensure compliance with the organization’s Sustainable Development Framework. He said: “I am delighted to welcome Alcoa to the International Council on Mining and Metals, and we look forward to learning from its significant sustainability experience, particularly in the area of biodiversity.”

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Press Statement by Commissioner Vella following the AGRIFISH Council in Luxembourg

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 31 ottobre 2019

Tonight we have taken some very difficult, but much needed decisions concerning fishing in the Baltic Sea.Indeed, many Baltic fish stocks and ecosystems are in an alarming situation. This is not only a concern for the environment, but also a concern for the many local communities whose livelihoods depend on these ecosystems.There was broad agreement around the table that if we do not address the root causes of this worrying situation, both nature and fishing businesses stand to lose.Therefore, first, we agreed on a very significant reduction of fishing opportunities for key stocks. This will ensure that six of the eight fully assessed Baltic stocks are managed in line with maximum sustainable yield.For two stocks, western herring and eastern Baltic cod, unprecedented reductions were agreed that are in line with the Baltic Management Plan. For western herring, a reduction of 65% will set the stock on path to be no longer threatened in 2023. For eastern Baltic cod, all targeted fishing will be banned and only a limited quota will be allowed for unavoidable by-catches, in order not to choke other fisheries.However, we also agreed that a significant reduction of total allowable catches was not in itself sufficient to protect some stocks. Therefore, as a second category of action, we agreed on a number of measures to close areas for several months in order to protect the spawning periods of vulnerable stocks.Third, and very importantly, Baltic Member States – for the first time – made a clear written commitment to effectively and urgently address at source other causes of unhealthy fish stocks (such as pollution, eutrophication and habitat degradation resulting from industrial and agricultural activities), through the implementation of EU rules and, where appropriate, through additional measures. This is crucial as fishing is only one – and sometimes not the main – cause of poor stock status.Finally, we recognised that, without appropriate financial support, this year’s decisions may have serious short-term socio-economic consequences for some fishermen, even if the majority of the fleets will remain profitable. Therefore, the Commission will urgently consider all possible initiatives in order to achieve the economic, social and sustainability objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy, of the Baltic Management Plan and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, and in particular to achieve and maintain a balance between the fleet and fishing opportunities. The necessary restructuring of these fleets will be an immediate priority in this context, including through funding support. I would like to thank the Finnish Presidency for an excellent cooperation. I am convinced that the package of measures agreed today will put the Baltic Sea on a path to sustainability. To the benefit of fishermen and coastal communities.

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Arizona Technology Council’s 2019

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 28 ottobre 2019

Arizona Technology Council, in conjunction with the Arizona Commerce Authority, today announced the winners of the 2019 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation (GCOI) Awards. This marks the 16th year of this prestigious gala attended by more than 850 of Arizona’s top leaders in business, technology and government. Winners were celebrated on stage during the awards ceremony at the event.“The Governor’s Celebration of Innovation is an annual showcase of our state’s incredible leadership in science and technology,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “Arizona’s forward-thinking Legislature, along with our leading universities, startup community and outstanding pool of STEM talent make our state a national force for innovation. I congratulate all of our 2019 award winners for their consistent dedication to advancing our business and technology ecosystem.” “The 2019 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation winners and honorees truly exemplify Arizona’s pioneering spirit, and their accomplishments demonstrate why Arizona has earned a reputation as a global tech hub,” said Sandra Watson, president & CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “We’re grateful for their many contributions and we congratulate them on this well-deserved recognition!”

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Business Council for Peace (Bpeace) Launches in London

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 24 ottobre 2019

The Business Council for Peace (Bpeace), the award-winning nonprofit that provides impactful business advice to companies in conflict-affected communities, where women are underemployed and where it believes more jobs can cut the oxygen to violence, has launched a new UK recruitment hub. The U.S.-based 17-year old organization has a growing volunteer base from 14 countries, and the new UK hub will expand its ability to access potential volunteers and supporters in the UK and Europe.
“Skillanthropists” volunteer their skills and knowledge, both on-site and remotely, to help businesses in conflict-affected countries grow, create jobs, become more profitable and secure a future for their workers and communities. In 2018 Skillanthropists provided $2 million in probono consulting services that in turn generated $183 million in revenue which provided over 5,000 new jobs and supported more than 20,000 family members. A majority of the businesses advised by Bpeace Skillanthropists are women owned or led. Bpeace currently advises Guatemalan, Salvadoran, Syrian and Lebanese business owners.

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Intel and PADT Executives Elected to Chair Positions on the Arizona Technology Council Board of Directors

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 22 luglio 2019

The Arizona Technology Council today announced David Tuhy, general manager, NSG Software Division, Intel®, and Eric Miller, co-founder and principal, PADT, were elected unanimously by the Council’s board of directors to serve as chair and vice-chair, respectively, for terms ending October 31, 2019.“Both David and Eric have made significant contributions to the Council’s strategy and overall success during their tenure on the board,” said Steven G. Zylstra, the Council’s president and CEO. “Their knowledge of the innovation ecosystem and expertise in their respective fields will continue to be an important asset as we advance our agenda designed to boost the economic contributions the technology industry brings to Arizona.”
In addition to Tuhy and Miller’s appointments, the following members have been elected to the executive committee for terms ending October 31, 2019 – Rebecca Clyde, CEO and co-founder,, Kerry Zunkowski, vice president of People Operations, KEAP, and Rick Nielsen, director of technology, Operations and Engineering, Cox Communications. All Officers and Executive Committee members are elected or reelected for one-year terms at the annual board meeting in October.The Council’s board of directors serve an advisory and fiduciary role by representing the interests of the state’s technology industries in the Council’s strategic planning and ongoing operations. The current board includes 36 members representing a diverse set of organizations.Tuhy, Miller, Clyde, Zunkowski and Nielsen provide deep experience in a wide range of technology sectors and possess a diverse skill set that will contribute to the Arizona technology community’s continued growth.

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New Academic Enterprise With Los Angeles Homeland Security Advisory Council

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 23 Maggio 2019

The Pepperdine School of Public Policy has announced it will form an innovative academic enterprise with the Los Angeles Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) focused on disaster preparedness, crisis management, and resiliency through engaging the public, private, and civic sectors. The new enterprise, to be called the Homeland Security Advisory Council at the School of Public Policy, is positioned to prepare the current and next generation of public leaders by harnessing the school’s unique curriculum dedicated to exploring a full range of cross-sector and information technology solutions to public policy challenges. The formation of this enterprise with HSAC, a current 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that seeks to ensure the security and resilience of the Los Angeles region in the face of threats and hazards, will include the transfer of all HSAC assets and intellectual property to Pepperdine and is a strategic step for the University in expanding its role around issues facing crisis management today.
HSAC currently offers a variety of programs focused on technology, engagement, capability building, and partnerships for crisis managers, policymakers, and public safety professionals, in addition to students pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree. Through the partnership with the School of Public Policy, HSAC will expand its current offerings, create new educational and training programs, and reach a broader participant group that includes graduate students and audiences throughout California and the nation.
“With the combination of educational programs and technology, it’s fair to say that the launch of the new Homeland Security Advisory Council at the School of Public Policy is a groundbreaking initiative in American higher education,” said Pete Peterson (MPP ’07), dean of the School of Public Policy. “Where else should something creative like this happen but here in Los Angeles?” Demonstrating a shared commitment to service, community, and the public good, the move also includes the acquisition of HSAC’s crisis and event management platform, SALUS – The Crisis Hub, which uses geographic information systems (GIS) to manage and analyze data in order to build upon existing relationships with municipal and state governments. GIS is typically used to visualize information, such as patterns and relationships, and helps crisis managers make informed decisions and gain a more complete situational awareness before, during, and after a crisis or major event. SALUS also supports and facilitates strategies that address homelessness in Los Angeles by providing a single, common platform accessible to the mayor’s office and all 16 departments in the city’s Unified Homelessness Response Center.
“Since its inception in 2002, HSAC has become indispensable to improving public safety communication and collaboration in Los Angeles,” said Peter Lowy, chair of HSAC. “The result is an L.A. region that is today better prepared, more secure, and increasingly more resilient in the face of threats and hazards. This new academic enterprise at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy is driven by our shared dedication to serving diverse communities with growing needs. I am eager to see the strength of our combined efforts in utilizing emerging technologies to advance meaningful policy solutions throughout Greater Los Angeles.”

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Council strongly criticised over failing to act to protect EU values in Hungary

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 26 marzo 2019

In the debate with the Commission’s First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Political and Security Committee Permanent Representative Călin Stoica, on behalf of the Romanian Presidency, most of the Civil Liberties Committee MEPs who joined the debate expressed their frustration with the Council’s lack of willingness to act to protect EU values, or cooperate with Parliament in this direction.They highlighted that Parliament has been raising the situation in Hungary for almost a decade and that urgent action is required to avoid further deterioration of democracy and the rule of law in the country, as well as the proliferation of these practices across EU member states.MEPs regretted that the Council has failed on several occasions to put the proposal by the Parliament to determine whether Hungary is at risk of breaching EU values on its agenda, or even provide a timetable, despite their repeated public requests. They asked once again that the Council formally include committee Chair Claude Moraes (S&D, UK) and rapporteur Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA, NL) in relevant conversations of the General Affairs Council meeting, instead of merely providing information in a fragmented, informal manner and only after the MEPs’ persistent efforts.In September 2018, Parliament requested that the Council assess whether Hungary is posing a systemic threat to the EU’s founding values. Article 7 of the Treaty of the European Union aims to ensure that all EU countries respect the EU’s common values, including the rule of law. The continuing deterioration of EU values in Hungary, including judicial independence, freedom of expression, corruption, rights of minorities, and the situation of asylum seekers, remain key concerns.

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World Jewish Congress demands UN Human Rights Council remove anti-Israel Item 7 from its agenda

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 19 marzo 2019

Geneva – The World Jewish Congress has renewed its calls on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to remove once and for all Agenda Item 7 targeting Israel, the only permanent item on the Council’s agenda against a particular country. The UNHRC is meeting now in Geneva for its 40th session.
During a debate on Item 7 on Monday, the Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories and a Commission of Inquiry accused Israel of perpetuating human rights abuses in those territories. The United States has withdrawn from the Council over its ongoing bias.
“The UNHRC has again shown its blatant discrimination and double standards, spending approximately eight critical hours of debate scapegoating Israel rather than taking the opportunity to expose the accountability of the Palestinian leadership for the deterioration of human rights in the territories under their control,” said WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer. “This one-sided approach will only contribute to the exacerbation of Palestinian suffering, as it absolves both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority of any wrong-doing, placing the blame erroneously and detrimentally on the State of Israel.”“Item 7 is only part of the problem at this Council. Later this week, member states will debate five egregious resolutions against Israel that fully ignore the realities and complexities on the ground in the region. They attack Israel and demand accountability without even a single mention of Hamas, the rulers of the Gaza Strip which indiscriminately uses civilians, including women and children, as human shields, and which routinely impose violence and stifling restrictions against its own people,” Singer said. “The UNHRC has become nothing more than a theater of the absurd. The World Jewish Congress will continue to speak out against this Council as long as the bias against Israel remains. We look forward to the day when the UN Human Rights Council resumes its focus on protecting human rights worldwide.”
In Geneva, WJC Jewish Diplomat Philippe Assouline spoke on the UNHRC floor against the Commission of Inquiry’s report accusing Israel of crimes against humanity in Gaza, calling it a “a flagrant disregard for the facts and basic decency” and a “manipulative lie.”
“Hamas’ march was a propaganda exercise to create heartbreaking images with which to abuse western compassion and indict Israel. Hamas understands well that their jihadi aggression will be eagerly supported by this body if enough children are killed for the cameras,” Assouline said. The report disregards the fact that the sole aim of the so-called March of Return last spring was to incite Palestinian civilians against their Israeli neighbors and ignores that Hamas “carefully planned this violence and ensured that children and civilians would take part – busing them in and encouraging them to attack border guards,” Assouline said.“Hamas is reported to have shot its own citizens last week for protesting the price of food. The Report would have us believe this government – a terrorist group known for targeting children and murdering dissidents — had no active hand in masses of its people violently storming an international border far from their homes, to murder families living peacefully beyond it,” Assouline added.Furthermore, the report “castigates Israel as an occupying power –revealing the anti-Israel psychosis that animates it. Gaza has been under Palestinian rule since 1994 and Israel completely vacated the territory in 2005! What a reward this report is for that brave step,” said Assouline. Assouline concluded: “This report is not merely irresponsible and embarrassing, it is dishonest. It is a blank check to terrorist groups. And its abject unfairness is why Israelis have no absolutely zero trust to the UN.”

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Data protection: MEPs endorse modernisation of Council of Europe convention

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 7 febbraio 2019

Civil Liberties MEPs recommended giving green light to EU countries to ratify the protocol amending the Council of Europe data protection convention.The amending protocol aims to modernise and harmonise the Council of Europe data protection convention (Convention 108) in response to emerging privacy challenges, and to ensure it is adequately applied. Its adoption will also facilitate the exchange of personal data based on appropriate safeguards, MEPs say.They also underline the new protocol will ease data sharing between the EU and non-EU parties to the convention. Moreover, the amending text introduces the possibility for the EU and other international organisations to join the convention.Under the currents rules only states can be parties of the data protection convention which is why the EU cannot sign or ratify the amending protocol. In the recommendation, adopted on Monday by unanimity of 44 votes, MEPs gave consent to EU countries to ratify the protocol.
The recommendation now needs to be approved by the Parliament as a whole after which the Council can authorise Member States to ratify the amending protocol.

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New rules against non-cash payment fraud agreed with the Council

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 15 dicembre 2018

New EU rules to protect EU citizens against non-cash payment fraud, such as credit card theft, skimming or phishing, were agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators on Tuesday.
Parliament and Council negotiators reached an informal agreement on combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment such as cards, electronic wallets, mobile payments and virtual currencies. Current gaps and differences among EU countries’ laws hamper prevention, detection and punishment of these crimes.The new rules would:establish the minimum penalty in cases where a judge imposes the national “maximum” custodial sentence for non-cash payment fraud,
include virtual-currency transactions in the scope of offences,
improve EU-wide cooperation and facilitate information exchange to ensure cross-border frauds are better dealt with,
strengthen assistance to non-cash fraud victims, such as psychological support, advice on financial, practical and legal matters, and
improve prevention and awareness-raising, e.g. through campaigning, education and on-line information tools with practical examples of fraud cases; special attention should be paid to the needs and interests of vulnerable people.
Non-cash payments are constantly increasing in the digital era. This has made non-cash payment fraud, such as credit card theft or fraud using newer technologies such as skimming or phishing, an important source of income for organised crime.Rapporteur Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann (S&D, DE) said: “Non-cash payments with credit cards or virtual currencies are used more and more frequently. Criminals exploit loopholes in the current legal framework which dates back to 2001. It was therefore high time to adapt the rules to fight non-cash fraud to the newest technological developments.” “We harmonised the definitions of online crime offences throughout the EU and introduced a minimum level for penalties. Moreover, the European Parliament achieved during the negotiations that the current rules for the protection of victims of non-cash fraud will be strengthened”, Ms Kaufmann added.
The agreed text now needs to be formally approved by the Civil Liberties Committee, Parliament as a whole and the Council before entering into force.

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