National Geographic
National Geographic 8 Sep 2020

Assignment: Uplifted


Three photographers must capture a series of images that define what it means to uplift humanity through emotional connection and inspiration.

The Abbotsford School District is investigating a homework assignment given to students asking them to list 'positive' impacts from Canada's residential school system following a viral social media post by a mother of one of the students.
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"Credible threats of violence" have prompted Michigan authorities to close the state capitol to the public and shutter House and Senate offices, a spokeswoman said, on the day the Electoral College will formally declare Joe Biden the President-elect.
Daily Press Briefing by the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General, Stephane Dujarric.

- Libya
- Afghanistan
- Middle East peace Process
- Western Sahara and more...

Today, the Secretary-General is announcing the appointment of Georgette Gagnon of Canada as his new Assistant Secretary-General, Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya.
Ms. Gagnon succeeds Yacoub El Hillo of Sudan, who will complete his assignment on 5 January 2021. The Secretary-General is grateful for his distinguished service in support of the UN mandate in the country, and his work with the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
Ms. Gagnon brings to the position over twenty-five years of experience leading and implementing strategic initiatives on human rights, humanitarian action and development and coordinating multi-disciplinary teams in conflict and post-conflict situations.
Also, being appointed today is Ramiz Alakbarov of Azerbaijan as his new Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan with the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). He will also serve as the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the country.
Mr. Alakbarov succeeds Toby Lanzer of the United Kingdom, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his dedicated service.
Mr. Alakbarov also brings 25 years of experience in executive leadership, strategic planning and policy making, development programming and management, as well as humanitarian response, including as the Director of the Policy and Strategy Division in New York and the Country Representative in Haiti for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

This morning, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, briefed members of the Security Council. He said told them that the latest humanitarian needs assessment found that almost 2.5 million Palestinians - that's 47 per cent of the population of the Occupied Palestinian Territory - need aid.
Mr. Mladenov said he remains deeply troubled by continued Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Over the past year, Israeli authorities advanced controversial settlement plans that had been frozen for years. He added that the total number of units advanced this year are on par with 2019 numbers, despite an eight-month hiatus.
Also, Mr. Mladenov said that violence and attacks against civilians have continued in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He said that he's appalled that children continue to be victims - with a particularly troubling series of incidents over the past month in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He urged security forces to exercise maximum restraint and use lethal force only when strictly unavoidable to protect life.

This afternoon the Security Council will also hold a closed meeting on Western Sahara. They will be briefed by Bintou Keita, the Assistant Secretary-General for Africa, and Colin Stewart, the Special Representative and head of the UN Mission for the Referendum on Western Sahara (MINURSO).

On Ethiopia, our humanitarian colleagues confirmed that two inter-agency assessment teams are expected to enter Tigray today following official approval from the Federal Government last Saturday.
One team is destined to visit Shire and another will go to Mekelle. The aim of the missions, which are expected to last one week, is to assess the humanitarian needs.
In the meantime, the Humanitarian Response Plan for Northern Ethiopia has been updated. We now seek $116.5 million until the end of January 2021. The goal is to address the immediate needs of an estimated 2.3 million people, including 1.3 million people impacted by the recent conflict.
The plan is currently 46 per cent funded with an outstanding gap of $63.4 million.

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) said that political and security tensions increased over the weekend in the midst of the electoral campaign for the presidential and legislative elections on 27 December.
A coalition of armed groups simultaneously attacked four prefectures in the western and southern part of the country. These groups also attempted to reach the capital, Bangui. UN Peacekeepers responded proactively and exchanged fire with armed groups in several areas. No damage was reported.
On Sunday, the Mission and members of the G5+ consisting of main international partners in the Central African Republic, issued a communiqué condemning the incidents and calling on stakeholders to stop the violence and expressed their support for the holding of the elections as scheduled.

Full Text
President Donald Trump is continuing his pressure-campaign against Vice President Mike Pence, telling thousands of supporters falsely that all Pence has to do to stay in office is send Electoral College votes back to the states to be recertified. (Jan. 6)

President Donald Trump sought to tighten the screws on his most loyal soldier, trying to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to use powers he does not have to overturn the will of voters in a desperate and futile bid to undo President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the November election.

Speaking to a crowd of thousands of supporters who rallied Wednesday on the Ellipse, just south of the White House, Trump declared, "If Mike Pence does the right thing we win the election."

Beginning at 1 p.m., Pence's role is to open the certificates of the electoral votes from each state and present them to the appointed "tellers" from the House and Senate in alphabetical order. At the end of the count, Pence, seated on the House of Representatives' rostrum, has the task of announcing who has won the majority of votes for both president and vice president.

Despite his largely ceremonial assignment, Pence is under intense pressure from the president and legions of supporters who want the vice president to use the moment to overturn the will of the voters in a handful of battleground states.

"All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify and we become president and you are the happiest people," Trump said, repeating a falsehood he has been promoting leading up to the congressional session.

Pence told Trump during their weekly lunch in the West Wing on Tuesday that he did not believe he had the power to unilaterally overturn electoral votes, according to a person briefed on the one-on-one conversation. This person was not authorized to publicly discuss the private discussion, which was first reported by The New York Times, and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Trump said he spoke with Pence on Wednesday morning to urge him to act once again. "I said Mike, that doesn't take courage," he said. "What takes courage is to do nothing."

Pence has no such unilateral power under the Constitution and congressional rules that govern the count. It is up to the House and Senate to voice objections, and states' electors were chosen in accordance with state law, not fraudulently.

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