Haiti escapes serious damage from Hurricane Irene UN reports

Irene is gaining strength as it approaches the south-eastern Bahamas but is losing its capacity to threaten northern Haiti, with rains there expected to decrease during the day.The “red alert” which Haitian authorities issued for the entire country has been lifted, although an “orange alert” is still in force in three northern departments, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.There are isolated areas of damage in the northern regions, but OCHA has deactivated the emergency joint operation centre it was coordinating. The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), meanwhile, is keeping its regional crisis management centres active until local authorities and humanitarian actors decide they are no longer needed.Shipping activities are still interrupted but international and domestic flights have resumed.Only one of the more than 160 evacuation sites has been used so far, by 500 people, and some roads have been cut by landslides.MINUSTAH, which has been in the country since mid-2004 after then president Jean-Bertrand Aristide went into exile amid violent unrest, had put some of its nearly 12,000 peacekeepers on emergency standby in case they should be needed for rescue operations.Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is still struggling to recover from the devastating 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people and displaced 2.3 million others, and from Hurricane Tomas, which caused widespread flooding in November, unleashing a cholera epidemic that killed hundreds and infected some 20,000 people. 24 August 2011Hurricane Irene has left impoverished Haiti relatively unscathed, with only isolated damage from flooding and no widespread serious emergencies in a country that is still struggling to recover from last year’s devastating earthquake, the United Nations reported today. read more

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Boyzone to perform in Sri Lanka as part of farewell tour

“We all feel that we should now call time on our lives together as Boyzone and go out on a real high,” said the group in a statement, according to the BBC.Formed in 1993, the group had UK number ones with such hits as Words, No Matter What and All That I Need. Irish band Boyzone will be performing live in Sri Lanka in August as part of their farewell tour.The band is scheduled to perform at the CR&FC Grounds on August 16th. “It was a bittersweet experience to hear all our voices together again. It’s the closest the five of us will ever get to being in a room together again making music.” Boyzone have announced they are to split after releasing a “final” album and staging the farewell tour. Yet they also experienced heartbreak when much-loved band member Stephen Gately died in 2009.In advance of their Thank You & Goodnight album, out in November, the band have released a new track called I Can Dream that features his vocals.“We came across a demo that he originally recorded for his solo album in 2002 and we’ve had the opportunity to re-work the song and add our harmonies alongside his lead vocal,” said the band. 444.lk is the official ticketing partner of the event and a sponsor. Organisers said that tickets are selling fast so log into 444.lk and book your tickets soon. The four surviving members – Ronan Keating, Keith Duffy, Michael “Mikey” Graham and Shane Lynch – will sign off with 13 dates in January and February.“We would love for you to raise the roof one last time as we head out on our farewell UK and Ireland arena tour,” they wrote in a message to their fans. (Colombo Gazette)This story first appeared on Leisure Plus<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span> read more

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Security Council president says Mideast crisis will top August agenda

The ongoing crisis in the Middle East is expected to dominate the Security Council’s work this month, said Ambassador Nana Effah-Apenteng of Ghana, which holds the Council presidency for August, but African issues will also receive priority attention.“It is evident that the Mideast crisis, particularly Lebanon, is going to feature prominently on our agenda,” he said, noting that the Council expected to receive Secretary-General’s report on the attack on the Lebanese city of Qana within a week and would “most likely” hold closed-door talks on it.Asked about the need for action on the issue, he said all Council members appreciate the sense of urgency, but cautioned that careful preparation is needed. “The Council on such a crucial issue would be better serving the international community if it acts unanimously and presents a united position and therefore we don’t think that they should take any course of action that would cause more division.”African issues were also expected to play a significant role on the Council agenda. A preliminary briefing on the recent elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is slated for tomorrow, said Ambassador Effah-Apenteng. On the topic of Sudan, discussions would continue on progress in carrying out the Darfur Peace Agreement and other developments.He said it was also important for the Council to monitor the implementation of the road map in Côte d’Ivoire in the hope that elections would go ahead as scheduled for the end of October. Ghana would also chair a ministerial-level open debate on peace consolidation in West Africa on 9 August.In other work, Mr. Effah-Apenteng noted that the mandates of several UN missions were expiring in August, including those in Iraq, Haiti and Timor-Leste. He said all of those mandates would be reviewed and extended. With Kofi Annan’s second and final five-year term as Secretary-General set to expire at the end of this year, the Council president said it had not been decided whether there would be another straw poll on his replacement, but added that if it were to be held, it would probably take place towards the end of the month. read more

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Newbridge Credit Union taken over by Permanent TSB

first_imgThe Central Bank was expected to make the application to have the loans and assets of the credit union transferred to the state-backed bank today, but an order of transfer was signed in the High Court yesterday.A statement from the Central Bank said that the move was necessary due to financial difficulties in Newbridge.The Central Bank’s priority at all times is the protection of members’ savings and the maintenance of the financial stability and well-being of credit unions generally, in line with the Bank’s mandate.The Central Bank has been seeking to address both financial and governance issues at Newbridge Credit Union since 2008, which ultimately led to the appointment of the Special Manager in January 2012.The original plan had been to merge Newbridge with Naas Credit Union, but Naas baulked at that idea late into proceedings, forcing the Central Bank to look elsewhere.Few credit unions in the country have the capacity to take on Newbridge’s loan book and fewer would want the headaches that a transfer of engagement of that size would bring.The Central Bank says that the transfer to Permanent TSB was the “only viable solution”, with the alternative being a full-scale liquidation, which would hit unsecured depositors.Newbridge Credit Union will be open today as usual and will continue to trade until it is fully merged with the bank’s branch in the town.Newbridge is not affiliated to the Irish League of Credit Unions, who moved to assure members that their money is “secure as always”.Read: Central Bank to apply to have PTSB take over Newbridge Credit Union – reportsRead: Newbridge Credit Union members “will default on loans” if merger goes through A GROUP CAMPAIGNING to save Newbridge Credit Union have threatened to take their case to Europe after the Central Bank was granted permission to have Permanent TSB take over the institution.Willie Crowley of Save Newbridge Credit Union told RTÉ that the deal confirmed what the group had long believed.“We are shocked, but it finally confirmed what we have believed since this process started – that the plan was to merge credit unions into banks.“We’re devastated, as are the 37 staff.We will be lodging an immediate appeal to the High Court and we were informed that there is a possibility to appeal to European Courts.last_img read more

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