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Head of UN ceasefire monitor visits Yemen’s Hodeidah port | Yemen News

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The head of the United Nations team tasked with monitoring a fragile ceasefire in Yemen’s flashpoint city of Hodeidah has visited its lifeline docks, according to a port official.

Patrick Cammaert, retired Dutch general, called on Yemen’s Saudi-backed government forces and Houthi rebels to respect the hard-won truce, Yehya Sharafeddin, Hodeidah port deputy director, said on Monday.

“The [UN] official promised us that the war will end,” Sharafeddin told AFP news agency by phone after Cammaert visited the docks, through which the majority of imports and humanitarian aid enter Yemen.

“He said the Yemen war had been forgotten for years, but that the international community is now adamant about ending it,” he said.

Cammaert is heading a joint committee, which includes members of the government and the Houthi rebels, in charge of monitoring the truce in Hodeidah and its surroundings that began on December 18.

Cammaert arrived in the Red Sea city from the rebel-held capital Sanaa, after meeting with government officials in Aden.

Yemen’s warring sides agreed on the ceasefire to halt a devastating offensive by government forces and an allied Saudi-led coalition against rebel-held Hodeidah at peace talks in Sweden this month.

According to the UN, Cammaert will chair a meeting of the joint committee on Wednesday.

That meeting will be “one of the priorities” of Cammaert’s mission, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Sunday.

“General Cammaert is encouraged by the general enthusiasm of both sides to get to work, immediately,” he added.

The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution authorising the deployment of observers to Hodeidah to monitor the truce.

Sharafeddin said that Cammaert “stressed the importance of implementing the agreement” and will visit “battlefronts [in the city] at a later time”.

Shaky truce

The ceasefire, the result of intense diplomatic efforts led by the UN, has remained shaky, with both sides accusing each other of violations in Hodeidah province.

Coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki said on Monday that the Houthi rebels have violated the truce agreement 138 times since it came into effect.

The latest Security Council resolution on Yemen “puts the Houthi militias under international pressure”, he said during a press conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

The UN monitoring team aims to secure the functioning of Hodeidah port and supervise the withdrawal of fighters from the city.

The text approved by the Security Council “insists on the full respect by all parties of the ceasefire agreed” for Hodeidah.

It authorises the UN to “establish and deploy, for an initial period of 30 days from the adoption of this resolution, an advance team to begin monitoring” the ceasefire, under Cammaert’s leadership.

About 10,000 people have been killed since the coalition intervened in 2015, according to the World Health Organization, although rights groups say the death toll could be five times higher.

The conflict has unleashed a major humanitarian crisis and pushed 14 million Yemenis to the brink of famine.

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When Ontario declared a COVID-19 health emergency last spring, the first instinct of Ottawa entrepreneur Peter O’Blenis was to preserve cash.

“We basically stopped our discretionary spending,” said O’Blenis, the co-founder and CEO of Evidence Partners, which makes software for accelerating the review of scientific and medical literature, using artificial intelligence. “We cut investments in things meant to help us grow.”

It was a defensive posture born of experience. O’Blenis had 12 years earlier nearly been crushed by the global financial crisis. Another looked to be on the way.

In 2008, O’Blenis and his colleagues, Jonathan Barker and Ian Stefanison, hit a brick wall with their first venture, TrialStat, which helped hospitals manage patients’ electronic data. While TrialStat had secured $5.5 million in venture financing just a couple of years earlier, the founders had burned through most of it during a rapid expansion. When the financial world collapsed, so did their firm.

The trio played things far more conservatively with Evidence Partners, which has relied almost exclusively on customer revenues to finance expansion.

The caution proved unnecessary. Like so many other businesses, O’Blenis underestimated the government’s willingness to keep the economy afloat with easy money. Nor did he anticipate that COVID-19 would prove a significant catalyst for the firm’s revenues so soon.

Evidence Partners is hardly the only local firm with technology particularly suited for the war against COVID-19. Spartan Bioscience and DNA Genotek adapted existing products to create technology for identifying the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Ottawa-based units of Abbott Laboratories and Siemens Healthineers make portable blood analyzers that diagnose patients afflicted by the virus.

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Shepherds of Good Hope wants to expand ByWard Market operation with eight-storey housing complex

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The Shepherds of Good Hope plans to build an eight-storey building near its current shelter for the homeless in the ByWard Market that would include supportive housing for up to 48 people, a soup kitchen and a drop-in centre.

The organization says it wants to be part of the solution to the housing crisis that has fuelled a rise in homelessness in Ottawa.

People would be moved out of the emergency shelters and into their own tiny apartments in the complex, which would include a communal dining hall and staff available to help with mental health, addiction and medical problems, said Caroline Cox, senior manager of communications for the Shepherds.

Some residents in the neighbourhood are opposed, saying services for the homeless and vulnerable should not be concentrated in one area of the city.

“I was flabbergasted,” said homeowner Brian Nolan, who lives one block from the development proposed for 216 Murray St., where currently a one-story building houses offices for the Shepherds of Good Hope.

Nolan said that, in the 15 years he’s lived in the area, it has become increasingly unsafe, with home and car thefts, drug dealing, loitering, aggressive and erratic behaviour, urinating, defecating and vomiting on sidewalks and yards and sexual acts conducted in public on his dead-end street. Before he lets his son play basketball in the yard, he checks the ground for needles and his home security camera to see who is nearby.

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Carleton University Hosts the Forum Lecture: Towards a Feminist Post-COVID City

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evehe Carleton University Forum Lecture: Towards a Feminist Post-COVID City given by Leslie Kern launches Ottawa Architecture Week. Urban geographer, author and academic, Kern will discuss how the pandemic has highlighted long-standing inequalities in the design, use and inclusivity of urban spaces. The talk will share some of the core principles behind a feminist urban vision to inform a wider vision of justice, equity and sustainability.

When
: Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.
Registration: https://alumni.carleton.ca/event-registration-architecture-forum-series-with-leslie-kern-2/.

About the Speaker

Kern holds a PhD in Women’s Studies from York University. She is currently an associate professor of Geography and Environment and director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Mount Allison University.

Kern is the author of two books on gender and cities, including Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-Made World (Verso). The book discusses how our cities have failed in terms of fear, motherhood, friendship, activism, the joy and perils of being alone, and also imagines what they could become.

Kern argues, “The pandemic has shown us that society can be radically reorganized if necessary. Let’s carry that lesson into creating the non-sexist city.”

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