Eight women in Annapolis Royal will receive help to improve their skills and re-enter the workforce through the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers. The announcement was made today, Nov. 30, by Premier Stephen McNeil and Member of Parliament Greg Kerr on behalf of Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development). “This program helps people turn their great talents and life experiences into new opportunities,” said Premier McNeil. “These women will now have the skills and the confidence they need to not only re-enter the workforce but to start their own businesses and create jobs for others in their communities.” Together, the governments of Canada and Nova Scotia are investing over $78,000 in the Western Area Women’s Coalition’s project to help participants gain entrepreneurial skills so that they can establish their own local businesses. “The government’s top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity”, said Mr. Kerr. “Through the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers, we are helping unemployed older workers in Nova Scotia develop the skills they need so they can find jobs.” The project will help participants prepare for self-employment through training focused on marketing, budgeting, financing, operational planning and management. “Over the last few years, this program has provided training and employment for many women in the Annapolis area, benefitting both them and their families,” said Della Longmire, executive director of the Western Area Women’s Coalition. “Not only does it provide women with essential skills to open a new business, it also teaches us that a new journey can begin at any age.” The Targeted Initiative for Older Workers is one of the government of Canada’s initiatives that help unemployed Canadians stay connected to the job market, while addressing skills shortages. To date, it has targeted more than 32,000 unemployed older workers across Canada, including more than 1,100 in Nova Scotia. The initiative provides retraining for new careers and supports the government of Canada’s broader strategy to create an educated, skilled and flexible workforce. To learn more about Canada’s Economic Action Plan, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca .
At a meeting with the International Cricket Council (ICC), the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board has agreed to hold board elections by 9th February 2019.The Minister of Sports Faiszer Musthapha, Competent Authority of Sri Lanka Cricket Kamal Pathmasiri, Senior Deputy Solicitor General of the Attorney General Department Sumathi Dharmawardena and the CEO of Sri Lanka Cricket Ashley De Silva met with the ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar and its CEO David Richardson. On appointment of the election committee nominations will be called for within a period, not less than one month from the said date of appointment of the election committee.It was agreed that any party dissatisfied with any decision of the election committee can appeal within a period of one week to the appellate body consisting of three retired judges of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. The proposed election committee will have the authority to vet the voters list and to finalize the same in order to conduct the election process and to announce results. SLC said in a statement today that at the meeting it was agreed to amend regulations to appoint an election committee by the general body of the SLC consisting of two retired judicial officials of the high court and above and a retired senior member of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka or any retired public official with experience in conducting elections. Any appeal will be finalized within one week of submission to the appellate body.It was also agreed at the meeting that a Management committee consisting of four independent members with the Competent Authority will be appointed by the Sports Minister to manage the affairs of SLC until the elections are conducted. (Colombo Gazette)
High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said she is “deeply dismayed” by the recent conviction of human rights defender Waleed Abu Al-Khair, who was sentenced on 6 July to 15 years in prison. He was also handed a five-year suspended sentence, a travel ban and a heavy fine by a specialised court in Riyadh. “Abu Al-Khair’s case is a clear illustration of the continuing trend of harassment of Saudi human rights defenders, several of whom have been convicted for peacefully promoting human rights,” Ms. Pillay said in a news release issued by her office (OHCHR). “I urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release all human rights defenders held in connection with their peaceful advocacy of human rights,” she said. Ms. Pillay also expressed concern that human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia have been charged with offences that are defined in a “vague manner” in counter-terrorism legislation.OHCHR noted that Abu Al-Khair was arrested on 15 April in relation to his human rights advocacy activities. He was subsequently charged with several offences, including inciting public opinion against the State and its people, undermining the judicial authorities, inciting international organisations against the Kingdom with the intent of ruining its reputation, establishing a non-registered organisation and with gathering and publishing information, under the 2011 Law for Combatting Cyber-crimes. He is not alleged to have been involved in any violent activity, and was tried in the Specialised Penal Court, which was set up in 2008 to deal with terrorism cases. “Proceedings against human rights defenders in the Specialised Penal Court, as well as in other courts in Saudi Arabia, have fallen short of international fair trial standards,” Ms. Pillay said. “I am also concerned about the harsh sentences handed down in such cases, including long prison terms, heavy fines, travel bans, as well as corporal punishment.” On 9 March 2013, two other human right defenders, Abdullah Al-Hamid and Mohammad Al-Qahtani, were convicted by the same court for offences, including breaking allegiance to and disobeying the ruler, questioning the integrity of officials, disseminating false information to foreign groups and forming an unlicensed organisation. The Court handed down sentences of 10 and 11 years in prison, respectively, against the two men, as well as travel bans of equal duration at the end of their prison terms. Another human rights defender, Fadhel Maki Al-Manasif, was convicted on 30 June 2013 by the Specialised Penal Court on charges including participating in and filming demonstrations, posting these films online and contacting foreign media outlets aiming at undermining the State. He was sentenced to five years in prison, a 15-year travel ban and a fine equivalent to around $26,000. The conviction of Ra’ef Badawi, a social media activist, on charges of blasphemy, was upheld by an ordinary criminal court on 27 May 2014. He was sentenced to two consecutive five-year prison sentences, a 10-year travel ban, the permanent closure of the Liberal Internet Network website, a 20-year ban on participation in any media outlet and the destruction of his personal computer. The sentence also included corporal punishment in the form of 1,000 lashes to be administered in a public space. The High Commissioner urged the judicial authorities to immediately put an end to the use of lashing, a corporal punishment that is not in conformity with international human rights law, including the Convention against Torture, which Saudi Arabia has ratified. “We have also received worrying allegations that human right defenders are subject to ill-treatment while in detention,” Ms. Pillay said. Abu Al-Khair, who was held in the Al-Ha’ir Prison, south of Riyadh, claims that he was subjected to solitary confinement and sleep deprivation and denied access to his lawyer and family. The High Commissioner urged the Saudi authorities to investigate all allegations of ill-treatment in custody in a prompt, independent and impartial manner, as well as allegations of procedural irregularities in courts, including the Specialised Penal Court.