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HRW urges Sudan not to use lethal force against protesters | News

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Human Rights Watch has urged Sudan‘s government to show restraint and not use lethal force against protesters during the weeks-long demonstrations against President Omar al-Bashir.

The New York-based group, citing estimates from independent groups, said on Monday that Sudanese forces have been using tear gas and live ammunition against protesters, killing more than a dozen people. 

The statement came ahead of renewed protests on Monday, with demonstrators in the capital, Khartoum, expected to try to march on Bashir’s palace to demand he step down. 

Bashir, who has been in power since 1989, vowed in a meeting with police commanders on Sunday that his government would not tolerate any attempt to undermine the stability and security of Sudan, according to the state news agency.

He also sought to justify the killing of protesters, quoting from Islam’s holy book, the Quran, according to a video clip of his comments.

“It’s deterrence to others so that we can maintain security, which is a valuable commodity and, God willing, we will not risk the security of the citizens or the nation,” said Bashir.

“The objective is not to kill the protesters, but … to safeguard the security and stability of citizens.”



Jehanne Henry, associate director at Human Rights Watch’s Africa division, said Bashir’s speech appeared to “justify excessive use of force instead of condemning this brutality”.

“With more protests planned, Sudanese authorities should send an unambiguous message to all security forces to respect the rights of protesters and not to use lethal force,” he added. 

Amnesty International has said it has “reliable reports” that 37 protesters were killed in the first five days of protests, which began December 19.

The government has acknowledged 19 deaths.

The protests were sparked by an increase in bread prices, with demonstrators rallying against the government tripling the price of a loaf of bread from one Sudanese pound to three ($0.02 to $0.06).

Since then, demands have widened to include calls for Bashir’s resignation. 

Sudan is facing an acute foreign exchange crisis and soaring inflation despite Washington lifting economic sanctions in October 2017.

Inflation is running at 70 percent and the Sudanese pound has plunged, while shortages of bread and fuel have regularly hit several cities.


SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

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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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