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Zimbabwe UN envoy stresses urgency of helping millions facing food shortage

While donors have been responsive, only $82 million – or one-third of the UN’s $285 million appeal for Zimbabwe – has been received to help to country overcome widespread food shortages, caused in part by natural disasters and policy-related issues.Mr. Morris’ urgent appeal was made after visiting Bindura, north of the capital Harare, where thousands of people gathered for a food distribution. The Special Envoy arrived in Zimbabwe on Wednesday as part of a two-week UN mission to the six countries affected by the crisis.”The magnitude of hardship was engraved on the faces I saw. I was struck by the tragic stories people told,” said Mr. Morris, who is accompanied by Carolyn McAskie, Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator for the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as well as representatives from several UN agencies. “Clearly every day is a massive struggle to survive and the situation will only worsen over the months ahead.”During meetings with key government ministers, Mr. Morris and his team focused discussions on building cooperation between the international aid community and Harare. Other pressing issues included the importation of food aid containing genetically modified organisms, the urgent need for more non-governmental partners to help implement programmes, the situation of unemployed farm workers, as well as the politicization of humanitarian assistance.”Overall, discussions with the political and humanitarian players have been conducted in an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual understanding about the severe crisis at hand. I feel encouraged that progress has been made,” said Mr. Morris. read more

Canadian subsidiary of French defence giant gets 52 billion contract

Kevin McCoy, president of Irving Shipbuilding, leads a tour as workers construct components of the Arctic offshore patrol ships at their facility in Halifax on Friday, March 4, 2016. The Canadian subsidiary of French defence giant Thales has been awarded a multibillion-dollar contract to service Canada’s new fleet of Arctic offshore patrol ships and joint support vessels.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan Canadian subsidiary of French defence giant gets $5.2 billion contract by The Canadian Press Posted Aug 17, 2017 8:38 am MDT Last Updated Aug 17, 2017 at 2:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email OTTAWA – The Canadian subsidiary of French defence industry giant Thales has been awarded a multibillion-dollar contract to service Canada’s new fleet of Arctic offshore patrol ships and joint support vessels.The federal government said Thursday Thales Canada, in a joint venture with the company’s Australian arm, will provide in-service support for the vessels under a contract that could total $5.2 billion over 35 years.Acting Procurement Minister Jim Carr announced the awarding of the contract along with parliamentary secretary Steven MacKinnon at news conferences in Halifax and Ottawa.The contract starts with an eight-year, $800-million service period.Carr said it will provide “men and women in our military with the equipment they need to conduct their operations effectively while creating good middle-class jobs for Canadians.”But the Union of National Defence Employees said the government is relying too much on the private sector when it should be doing the ship service work in house.Rear Admiral John Newton said Thursday the Royal Canadian Navy maintains a “fine balance” between in-house capabilities and industry support.“We are constantly migrating our in-house capability very slowly to keep a balance between what industry can provide, readiness of ships when we demand it, international deployments, and what we (the Royal Canadian Navy) can provide with specialized teams and specialized operational equipment, weapons and sensors,” said Newton, commander of Canada’s East Coast navy.“We’ll have a navy that’s ready for operations globally and it’s a good navy that thrives on this kind of relationship.”MacKinnon said the announcement is part of building the capacity for Canadians to do the work in the future.He said Canada has suffered by allowing its shipbuilding capability to deteriorate, and the government is in the process of rebuilding from the floor up.“We are literally, under the shipbuilding strategy, rebuilding an industry,” MacKinnon said in Ottawa. “This contract . . . does bring new capability to Canada. It brings new efficiencies to Canada, it brings experience from across the world.“But at the same time, it’s Canadians doing work on Canadian vessels that were paid for by Canadian tax dollars,” he said. “We’ll be building capabilities benefiting from the experience of our partners from around the world and using that right at home, using Canadians.”Carr said the federal government received four strong bids. Winning bidder Thales Canada will retrofit, maintain and repair the ships, and will also provide training.Officials say Thales will be required to hire subcontractors to complete the work in regions across the country to ensure economic benefits.Work is to be completed in Canada, except when the ships need work overseas.Thales Canada president and CEO Mark Halinaty said the company isn’t yet sure which shipyards will be used to do the maintenance and repair work.“That’s all part of the competitive process that we plan to undertake,” he said.The previous Conservative government originally launched the national shipbuilding strategy in 2010, budgeting $35 billion to rebuild the navy and coast guard fleets while also creating a sustainable shipbuilding industry on both the east and west coasts.Six Arctic patrol vessels are being built by Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax, with the first expected next year.Under the contract, Thales is required to subcontract work for ships delivered in the east to companies in the Atlantic provinces, Quebec and Ontario, whereas work on ships delivered in the west must be completed in the western provinces and territories.John MacLennan, national president of the Union of National Defence Employees, said privatizing repair work puts public sector jobs at risk.He also expressed concerns related to national security and the quality of the workmanship that will be done by subcontractors on the ships.“The quality of work is very important. There is a pride and professionalism in the public service,” MacLennan said.Carr said there will be no job losses because of the contract, estimating it will create or maintain 2,000 jobs over 35 years.He added that everybody involved in the work will have a top security clearance.“We’re fully confident that all the safeguards are in place,” Carr said. “This contract will conform to the highest standards of security for Canada.”— Story by Brett Bundale in Halifax and Terry Pedwell in Ottawa. read more

Transgender people encouraged to become priests in Church of England diversity drive

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “And to those who seek to treat us as a problem, to harm and dismiss us and deny our gifts and callings – that their behaviour will no longer be tolerated.”  The organisation added that it “understands that other dioceses are doing work along similar lines to Lichfield”. Last year the Church released new guidance about homophobic and transphobic bullying in its 4,700 schools. At the time the Archbishop of Canterbury said: “All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide.”Central to Christian theology is the truth that every single one of us is made in the image of God.”Priests and bishops in the Church of England are allowed to enter civil partnerships, but not same-sex marriages. They are allowed to enter into same-sex relationships only on the understanding that they will remain celibate. Several gay priests have left the church in order to get married, while one, Jeremy Pemberton, lost a discrimination case after he was prevented from taking up a post as a hospital chaplain having married his male partner.  Progressive groups within the church welcomed the move. OneBodyOneFaith, which works to promote LGBT inclusion, said the guidance was “encouraging”. The organisation’s chair of Trustees, Canon Peter Leonard, said: “It’s my hope that the work being undertaken by Lichfield diocese, and this clear statement, will send a very strong signal to LGBT+ people that they’re welcomed and valued on equal terms with our brothers and sisters.   The new guidance, which is signed by three other bishops within the diocese, warns clergy that they may not “tell or insinuate to people that sexual orientation or gender identity will be changed by faith or that homosexuality or gender difference is a sign of immaturity or a lack of faith”.If they are approached by someone unhappy with their sexuality, they must “be alert to the power relations involved in such prayers and conversations, and the possibility of spiritual or emotional abuse,” the guidance says.  It adds: “As Archbishop Justin has made clear, the perception that the Church is homophobic and transphobic is harming our mission, especially to young people. “We need to challenge this perception by reaching out to LGBT+ people with the good news of God’s love, modelling God’s welcome and care for all people.” Transgender people are being encouraged to become Church of England vicars as bishops launch a diversity drive. Bishops in the diocese of Lichfield have issued new guidance to parishioners and clergy reminding them that LGBT people “can be called to roles of leadership and service in the local church”.The guidance, titled “welcoming and honouring LGBT+ people”, warns that the church’s reputation as being unwelcoming towards gay and transgender people is stopping young people attending. “We very much hope that they, like everyone else, feel encouraged to serve on PCCs, or as churchwardens and worship leaders, for instance, and are supported in exploring vocations to licensed lay and ordained ministries,” the guidance says.”Nobody should be told that their sexual or gender identity in itself makes them an unsuitable candidate for leadership in the Church.”The group, led by diocesan bishop The Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, also warn against “intrustive questioning about someone’s sexual practices or desires, or their experience of gender”, saying it is “almost always inappropriate”. Last year the Church’s general synod voted to call on the Government to ban so-called “conversion therapy”, which is aimed at helping gay people change their sexuality. It also voted to support the introduction of a new liturgy for transgender people, though bishops announced earlier this year that one was not needed, and that people in this circumstance could instead use the existing liturgy for affirmation of baptismal faith.  read more