Tag: Kraig

UN chief urges consensus on robust arms trade treaty as conference begins

“You are not here to initiate new negotiations. You are here to strengthen and conclude the work that has been done in earnest since the beginning of the ATT process in 2006,” Mr. Ban told representatives from 193 Member States in his opening remarks to the conference in New York.He added that now is the time for the focus and political will to negotiate the final details and arrive at a consensus outcome during the nine-day conference. “That is the clear message of the General Assembly when it decided that this is the Final United Nations Conference on the ATT.”The last negotiations on the ATT ended in July of last year without agreement. Disappointed, Mr. Ban described it as a “setback” but also noted that States had reached considerable common ground that can be built on.In today’s speech, Mr. Ban noted that international standards regulate everything from t-shirts to toys and tomatoes, and he questioned why “there are common standards for the global trade in armchairs but not the global trade in arms.” An effective and strong ATT will put on notice warlords, pirates, human rights abusers, organized criminals, terrorists and gun runners, Mr. Ban said, and require exporting countries to assess the risk that weapons will be used to commit grave violations of international humanitarian law or even fuel conflict. Armed violence, he noted, kills more than half a million people each year, including 66,000 women and girls. In addition, between 2000 and 2010, almost 800 humanitarian workers were killed in armed attacks and another 689 injured, according to the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs. “We owe this landmark UN treaty to those who have fallen victim to armed conflict and violence, to all the children deprived of a better future, and to all those risking their lives to build peace and make this a better world,” Mr. Ban said.Some 2,000 representatives of Governments, international and regional organizations and civil society have gathered at UN Headquarters to take part in the negotiations and related events. The process is overseen by Ambassador Peter Woolcott of Australia who took over today as president of the conference. “My door will always be open,” he told participants during his opening statement, adding that by “working together we can make the Arms Trade Treaty a reality.” Mr. Woolcott urged participants to focus and to reach a consensus, reminding them that “expectations are high and time is limited.” According to the conference’s website, the proposed treaty will not interfere with the domestic arms trade and the way a country regulates civilian possession; ban, or prohibit the export of, any type of weapons; impair States’ legitimate right to self-defence; or lower arms regulation standards in countries where these are already at a high level.An arms trade treaty will, it pointed out, “aim to create a level playing field for international arms transfers by requiring all States to abide by a set of standards for transfer controls, which will ultimately benefit the safety and security of people everywhere in the world.” read more

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Brock scribe cooks up a literary hit

Samantha Craggs, Web editor, Marketing and CommunicationsSamantha Craggs is a Brock University communications and news media specialist who decided to try her hand at fiction-writing.She’s off to an excellent start.Craggs, a writer and web editor in University Marketing and Communications department, is one of the top three winners in the Toronto Star 2011 Short Story Contest, the most competitive event of its kind in Canada.She received her award Wednesday (April 27) in a ceremony at the Toronto Reference Library, where she shared the podium with first-place winner Toronto novelist Richelle Kosar, and University of Toronto physicist Erik Martinez, who won second prize.Craggs, a former newspaper reporter who joined Brock’s Communications staff in 2009, won for her submission Drinking in the Basement. Set in Niagara Falls, N.Y., it is the story of a frustrated wife dealing with her husband’s alcoholism.She said she was “stunned” when she was contacted and told she was a finalist.“It still hasn’t really sunk in,” she said after this week’s ceremony. “Fiction writing is a labour of love. It’s a whole lot of rejection, even for the best of them, so to get a ‘yes’ like that was amazing.“I was especially happy to get the chance to mention Brock University.”Now in its 33rd year, the Star’s literary competition is the biggest of its type in Canada and one of the largest in North America.With national prestige and thousands of dollars in prize money on the table, the competition is stiff. This year’s contest drew more than 2,000 entries from writers — including published authors —across Ontario. Stories must be no longer than 2,500 words.The first-place winner gets $5000 plus tuition (worth about $3,000) for the Creative Writing Correspondence Course offered by the Humber School of Writers. Second prize is $2,000 and third prize is $1,000.The winning entries will be published in the Star on three consecutive Sundays, starting May 8.For more on the story, see http://www.thestar.com/news/article/981646–celebrity-drama-wins-star-short-story-contest read more

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