28 July 2009Civil society groups operating in Sudan’s Darfur region will be allowed to carry out unhindered voter education activities ahead of national elections scheduled for next year, the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission to Darfur (UNAMID) reported today. Civil society groups operating in Sudan’s Darfur region will be allowed to carry out unhindered voter education activities ahead of national elections scheduled for next year, the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission to Darfur (UNAMID) reported today.UNAMID said the National Elections Commission (NEC) has given an assurance to the mission that the civic organizations can conduct voter education without restriction or interference from either Sudan’s National Intelligence Security Service (NISS) or the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC).During the pre-election period, the civic organizations will operate under the auspices of the NEC, with which the NISS and HAC will raise any concerns they have about the groups’ activities.NEC also informed the peacekeeping mission that it has completed the demarcation of the national and state constituencies for the upcoming elections, which are slated to take place in April 2010.All election-related activities in the months ahead must also be cleared by committees established in each one of Darfur’s states.
“Forced evictions can only be justified in the most exceptional cases and in full compliance with international human rights law,” Raquel Rolnik, the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, said in a news release. In February the River State Government announced it would demolish all the waterfront settlements in Port Harcourt as part of an urban renewal strategy. The authorities have allegedly carried out demolitions at various sites throughout Port Harcourt in violation of a stay order issued by the Federal High Court to stop the evictions. Ms. Rolnik emphasized that evictions should not result in individuals being rendered homeless or vulnerable to the violation of other human rights.“Nigeria, as State Party to several international human rights treaties must take all appropriate measures, to the maximum of its available resources, to ensure that adequate alternative housing or resettlement is available,” she said. The Special Rapporteur reminded the Government that, according to international human rights standards, people affected by forced evictions have the right to compensation and to procedural protection, including genuine consultation, adequate and reasonable notice, and the provision of legal remedies.Ms. Rolnik also voiced concern that military personnel may assist in the forced evictions in Port Harcourt, and that this could result in multiple human rights violations.According to local sources, Port Harcourt’s military forces arrested over 1,000 residents on 5 August who were protesting against the demolition of their homes. Ms. Rolnik reports to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council in an independent and unpaid capacity, as do all Special Rapporteurs. 13 August 2009An independent United Nations human rights expert today voiced her concerns at the mass evictions planned by the River State Government in Nigeria which could leave hundreds of thousands of people homeless over the coming year.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today named Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet as his Special Representative in Haiti in succession to Hédi Annabi, who died in the earthquake that devastated the impoverished Caribbean country in January. It is the second time that Mr. Mulet, a seasoned Guatemalan diplomat who has been Acting Special Representative since Mr. Annabi’s death, will hold the twin positions of Special Representative and Head of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). He first served there from 2006 until 2007, when he was named Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations and handed over the mission to Mr. Annabi.“In the weeks following the devastating earthquake, Mr. Mulet has demonstrated his remarkable leadership and through his resilience, strength, clear-sightedness and determination has anchored the efforts of the United Nations family, the people of Haiti, Governments of the region and the broader international community,” Mr. Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky said in announcing the appointment.Before 2006, Mr. Mulet served as Guatemalan Ambassador to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg, negotiating tourism, trade and economic cooperation, as well as political issues. He also took part in preparing several summit meetings between the EU and the Latin American and Caribbean group.An active political presence in his country since 1976, Mr. Mulet promoted human rights, democracy and the resolution of indigenous issues. When Guatemala was ruled by military regimes, he was forced to leave a number of times and was wrongly imprisoned for a short period in 1981 before winning the first of many elections to Guatemala’s National Congress, where he was active in opposing the military’s “self-amnesty” law. Mr. Mulet, who has also served as Guatemala’s Ambassador to the United States, was educated in his home country, Canada, the US and Switzerland. He later attended Guatemala’s Universidad Mariano Galvez and became a lawyer.Mr. Ban also paid tribute to Mr. Annabi, a Tunisian, who he said ranked amongst the UN’s most dedicated and energetic officers. “Mr. Annabi’s commitment, integrity and diligence inspired and shaped an entire generation of United Nations officers and will continue to be the gold standard against which all who serve in the international civil service will be measured,” Mr. Nesirky said.The quake that destroyed the world body’s headquarters in the capital, Port-au-Prince, claimed the lives of 101 UN staff.MINUSTAH has been on the ground since mid-2004 after then president Jean-Bertrand Aristide went into exile amid violent unrest. Currently there are more than 9,000 military and police personnel deployed and nearly 2,000 civilian staff. 31 March 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today named Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet as his Special Representative in Haiti in succession to Hédi Annabi, who died in the earthquake that devastated the impoverished Caribbean country in January.
At their meeting yesterday, the two Presidents underlined that the thematic debate on disarmament held in the General Assembly on the same day was significant and timely.Mr. Takasu briefed Dr. Treki on the open debates held by the Council this month, including on the situation in the Middle East and post-conflict peacebuilding, as well as the forthcoming debates on the working methods of the Security Council, and on women and Peace and Security.They also exchanged views on recent developments in Africa, particularly neighbouring Chad and Sudan, and the scheduled renewal of mandates of United Nations missions this month.The President of the General Assembly holds regular meetings with the Presidents of the Principal Organs of the United Nations, as provided for in the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, to ensure enhanced cooperation and coordination in their work programmes.Dr. Treki also received the Speaker of the Bangladeshi National Assembly, Abdel Hamid Advocate, who led a delegation of his country’s parliament.The Speaker handed Dr. Treki a resolution adopted by the Bangladeshi Parliament on 5 April expressing support for the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.They also discussed important issues on the agenda of the current session of the General Assembly, including the forthcoming Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) summit in September and efforts to revitalize of the role of the General Assembly. 20 April 2010The President of the General Assembly Ali Treki has met with the President of the Security Council for April, Yukio Takasu of Japan, to discuss important issues on the agendas of the two United Nations principal organs.
22 June 2010Nearly a million people in rural Nepal have access to energy thanks to two United Nations development programmes which show that early investment by national governments and communities can attract private financing and extend access to utilities, according to a UN report released today. “High public investment in early years of capacity development is crucial to get communities to the point where a market can take shape and where you can interest the commercial sector,” Olav Kjorven, UNDP Director of Policy and Assistant Secretary-General, told journalists in New York.The report, Capacity development for scaling up decentralized energy access programmes, builds on lessons from two decentralized energy projects in Nepal that provided electricity by micro-hydro power to 250,000 people and which provided access to improved cooking stoves to 580,000 others.According to the report, the key to the programme’s success was early public investment in capacity development, which developed local and national capacities required to deliver, manage, operate and maintain the solutions to providing energy access in rural areas.Once made, these investments can help drive down the cost of utilities and attract substantial financing from communities and the private sources at later stages, as is the trend in Nepal.The benefits of the improved energy programme include better lighting in schools and hospital, reduced health risks from indoor air pollution, diversified livelihoods and increased incomes among the poorest segments of Nepalese society. “All of these development dividends translate into accelerating achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” said Kiran Man Singh, National Programme Manager of the Rural Energy Development Programme in Nepal, who also participated in the launch of the report. Its release comes three months ahead of a high-level summit planned for UN Headquarters in New York on accelerating progress towards the MDG deadline of 2015. “There is no energy Millennium Development Goal, but what we find is that expanding access to energy is something that leads to progress across all of the MDGs, so it’s a cross-cutting issue of the highest importance,” Mr. Kjorven said, referring to the eight goals which include ending poverty and hunger, reaching universal education and increasing environmental sustainability.In addition, the Secretary-General’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change has called for universal access to modern energy services by 2030.The report’s findings could have consequences for a majority of people. Nearly half of the world, or some three billion people, lives without access to modern energy for lighting, cooking, heating and mechanical power for productive activities. In addition, some two million people die every year due to health risks and fires associated with burning solid fuels indoors in under-ventilated kitchens. Nepal, whose Government helped pioneer the programmes with UNDP, is working to expand their reach to bring energy to a greater percentage of its population. Kenya and other countries are interested in applying the same strategy.
Michael Williams said he reiterated to Mr. Miqati the hope that whatever government he forms will meet the aspirations of all Lebanese.“As events in the Arab world have shown, dialogue among all sides in the country is the only way to resolve differences but also to move forward with any country’s political, social and economic needs,” Mr. Williams said in a statement following his meeting.Lebanon’s previous government, led by Saad Hariri, collapsed in January after 11 Hizbollah and allied ministers resigned, reportedly over the Government’s refusal to cease cooperation with the UN-backed special tribunal set up to try suspects in the 2005 murders of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 22 others. The court was reportedly about to indict Hizbollah members for the murders. At the end of January, Lebanese President Michel Sleiman asked Mr. Mikati, who has Hizbollah support according to media reports, to form the new Government.Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stated that any new Government in Lebanon should continue to cooperate with the tribunal. During their meeting, Mr. Williams also briefed Mr. Mikati on Security Council resolution 1701, which ended a month-long war between Israel and Hizbollah in 2006. It also calls for respect for the Blue Line separating Israel and Lebanon, the disarming of all militias in Lebanon, and an end to arms smuggling in the area.“I reiterated the expectation of the United Nations that the Lebanese Government will continue to abide by the requirements of 1701 and all of Lebanon’s international obligations,” said Mr. Williams, who also met today with Member of Parliament Fuad Siniora to discuss the latest developments in Lebanon and the region. 22 February 2011The United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon met today with Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati, who briefed him on his continuing efforts concerning the formation of a new government.
OTTAWA — Job creation in Canada returned to earth last month as employers pulled back following an apparent hiring binge in May that proved too good to be sustained.[np_storybar title=”Brightening U.S. jobs picture may draw Fed closer to tapering” link=”https://business.financialpost.com/2013/07/05/us-payrolls-jobs-june-2013/”%5DEmployers added 195,000 new jobs to their payrolls last month, the Labor Department said on Friday, while the unemployment rate held steady at 7.6% as more people entered the workforce. Keep reading. [/np_storybar]Economists had expected payback from May’s purported growth of 95,000 jobs and they got it with Friday morning’s flat reading — actually a statistically meaningless loss of 400 jobs in June.More meaningful was the decline of 32,400 jobs among full-time workers, offset by similar-sized gains in part-time jobs.That left the unemployment rate at 7.1%, where it was in May and at the start of the year.Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter said the June report should be a reminder to markets and analysts to look through the volatile monthly data for a true picture of labour conditions and give greater credence to the three-month and six-month rolling averages.Over the first half of 2013, the economy created an average of about 14,000 jobs a month, about half the pace of growth seen in the second half of 2012.“As a stand-alone report, June looks pretty sickly but given the massive, near-record job gain in May it’s actually mildly encouraging that strength was maintained,” Porter said.“I do think the bigger picture is that job growth did slow in the first half of the year and that gives a more accurate picture of what happened in the Canadian job market, not these wild (swings),” he said.“And the unemployment rate is 7.1 and it was 7.2% a year ago and that tells us there’s been precious little improvement, but there is a little improvement.”Markets reacted swiftly to the data, however, dropping the loonie half a cent to 94.55 US both on the soft Canadian data and an above consensus 195,000 jobs gain south of the border.May aside, the jobs data has been in line with an economy that has seen weak growth through the first half of 2013.However, analysts are expecting the second half of 2013 to show some improvement, and the U.S. labour report, also released Friday morning, gives some hope that the American economy is picking up steam. That would be good news for Canada, particularly the export sector, analysts say.The details in the latest Statistics Canada report were also in keeping with the theme that an adjustment was due.Besides the drop in full-time work being offset by part-time, private sector employment slipped by 5,300 amid small gains in the public sector and in self-employment.As well, hours worked dipped 0.2% and hourly wages slipped slightly to 2.2% growth from last year.The agency said flooding in southern Alberta posed some problems with its data collection in June, but that it believed the impact on the estimates was negligible.There were a few other notable data points. Among them was the loss of 5,200 jobs in New Brunswick, which pushed the small province’s unemployment rate to 11.2%, the first time it has been the highest in Canada since records have been kept. Traditionally, Newfoundland has topped the jobless list.As well, manufacturing saw a modest gain of 4,200 jobs after a generally poor first five months of the year, and construction jobs largely held steady despite a slowdown in the housing market.By sector, the big winners last month were in the professional, scientific and technical services industries, which saw an increase of 27,000 workers, while accommodation and food services shed 20,000, and information, culture and recreation slipped by 15,000.Regionally, gains and losses were evenly split among the provinces, with most of the gains and losses modest in relations to their populations.
WASHINGTON — For any snowbirds who may soon find themselves bumping into the limit for time spent in the U.S., bad news: there’s no more escaping this year’s Canadian winter.That’s because an attempt to increase the maximum stay hasn’t concluded in time to provide respite from this interminably icy season. It’s been frost-bitten by a process that can be as painful as a Canadian cold snap: the U.S. legislative system. A now-frozen immigration bill contained provisions that would have benefited those Canadians, estimated at up to 500,000, who reach the six-month maximum allowed in the U.S. over a 12-month period.But proponents have a Plan B.They hope a separate piece of legislation, currently before the House of Representatives, might advance soon despite the Republican-controlled chamber’s refusal to deal with the omnibus immigration bill passed by the Senate. They’ve received more than a dozen new co-sponsors for the bill in recent weeks, bringing to 141 the number of members from both parties who have added their names to the bill presented by Nevada Republican Joe Heck, titled the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act.They’re urging lawmakers to focus on the first word in the bill’s title — “jobs.” Proponents would rather shift this discussion away from the politically charged terrain of immigration, and towards economic grounds such as the job benefits for the U.S. tourism industry and retailers.“The problem with JOLT, frankly, is I don’t think it’s an immigration piece,” said Michael Mackenzie, head of the Canadian Snowbird Association, which has been actively lobbying for the bill alongside U.S. business interests and lawmakers from states that receive Canadian tourists and shoppers.“The fact that it’s tied to immigration reform is a bit of a problem for us right now… It’s a jobs bill.”The bill would allow people over age 50, with an American address, to spend an extra two months in the U.S. — up to eight months a year. It would be primarily used by the most ardent snowbirds who want to stay south a little longer, or who want to add additional cross-border trips in the summer.To understand the difficulty of getting immigration measures passed in the U.S., one need only ask Marco Rubio. After the Republicans lost the 2012 presidential election thanks to minuscule support from Latinos, there was talk that the party might need to accept amnesty measures for illegal immigrants in order to rebuild its fortunes with that fast-growing demographic.Rubio was immediately considered a possible front-runner for the presidential Republican nomination in 2016. Then he started talking about immigration reform and amnesty. And there went his front-runner status within the Republican party. The party leadership has wavered in the fight, blowing hot and cold. House Speaker John Boehner offered a strong hint recently as to why. With his leadership already under attack from Tea Party types after he caved on a budget battle, Boehner appears to believe he’d get beaten up for moving on immigration.“For the last 15 months I’ve been trying to move the ball down the field, only to be tackled by people that just don’t want to deal with it,” Boehner was quoted saying this month during a trip to Washington State by the Kitsap Sun newspaper.But he professes to want reforms this year, likely in series of piecemeal bills. That’s where JOLT proponents might have an opening — perhaps in time for next winter. Even if the bill passes, however, it would face two other practical hurdles. Tax rules in the U.S. would need to change, and Canadian provinces would have to relax restrictions on health-care coverage for those gone more than six months.Bob Slack, a snowbird who’s been active in the fight, said he’s confident on both fronts: provinces have been getting on board, and he expects the U.S. taxman would do the same, because of the benefits to both countries.Canadian taxpayers would save health costs for snowbirds during the winter, while still collecting their income taxes, while the U.S. collects additional tourism dollars, said Slack, a retired school principal.
OTTAWA — Jim Balsillie warns that provisions tucked into the Trans-Pacific Partnership could cost Canada hundreds of billions of dollars — and eventually make signing it the worst public policy decision in the country’s history.After poring over the treaty’s final text, the businessman who helped build Research In Motion into a $20-billion global player said the deal contains “troubling” rules on intellectual property that threaten to make Canada a “permanent underclass” in the economy of selling ideas.Last month, in the middle of the election campaign, the Conservative government put Canada’s signature on the controversial 12-country pact. The Pacific Rim agreement, which includes the massive American and Japanese economies, has been described as the world’s largest-ever trade zone.But Balsillie said parts of the deal will harm Canadian innovators by forcing them to play by rules set by the treaty’s most-dominant partner: the United States.I’m not a partisan actor, but I actually think this is the worst thing that the Harper government has done for CanadaThe fallout could prove costly for Canada because technologies created by these entrepreneurs have the potential to create huge amounts of wealth for the economy, he says.“I’m not a partisan actor, but I actually think this is the worst thing that the Harper government has done for Canada,” the former co-chief executive of RIM said in an interview after studying large sections of the 6,000-page document, released to the public last week.“I think in 10 years from now, we’ll call that the signature worst thing in policy that Canada’s ever done…“It’s a treaty that structures everything forever — and we can’t get out of it.”How TPP could actually help small dairy farmersConsumers will be winners in Trans-Pacific Partnership, full text revealsTrans-Pacific Partnership: Full text — Here’s your chance to read the mysterious trade agreement everybody is talking aboutNew cabinet minister Chrystia Freeland sees free trade as key to middle-class prosperityBalsillie’s concerns about the deal include how it would impose intellectual property standards set by the U.S., the biggest partner in the treaty.He fears it would give American firms an edge and cost Canadian companies more money because they would have to pay for someone else’s ideas instead their own.On top of that, Balsillie believes the structure could prevent Canadian firms from growing as it would also limit how much money they can make from their own products and services.Balsillie, who spent much of his time building RIM by negotiating agreements around the world, called the comprehensive final text a “brilliant piece of literature.”We’ve been outfoxed“It’s such brilliantly systemic encirclement. I’m just in awe at its powerful purity by the Americans…“We’ve been outfoxed.”And unlike legislation passed in Parliament, he noted treaties like this one set rules that must be followed forever. This deal, he added, also features “iron-clad” dispute mechanisms.“I’m worried and I don’t know how we can get out of this,” said Balsillie, who’s also helping guide the creation of a lobby group that would press for the needs of Canada’s innovation sector.“I think our trade negotiators have profoundly failed Canadians and our future innovators. I really lament it.”He said the government should have dispatched a more-sophisticated negotiating team.Harper had hailed the agreement as a means of ensuring Canadian access to a market of nearly 800 million people and before it was signed, warned Canada couldn’t afford not to take part.The deal must be ratified by all 12 countries, and then it would come into force six months later. It would require a parliamentary vote in Canada.Alternatively, the treaty can also take effect if it’s ratified by half the countries representing 85 per cent of the zone’s economy. A country can withdraw any time, on six months’ notice.The Liberal government has yet to say how it will proceed.International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland, named to cabinet a day before the finalized treaty was made public, reiterated that the Liberals believe in trade, but she was careful to note the deal was negotiated by the Conservative government.After the text was released, Freeland told reporters she wanted Canadians to send her comments about it.“I’m going to take that seriously — we’re going to review it,” she said Thursday.The government, she added, is committed to a full parliamentary debate on the deal and a vote in the House of Commons, though she had yet to set a deadline.She declined to answer questions whether the Liberals would be prepared to walk away from the deal.Balsillie warned that the Liberals’ plan to run budgetary deficits of up to $10 billion in each of the next three years could pale in comparison to what could be lost in the country’s ideas economy because of the TPP.“These provisions are more important by far — times 10 — than anything else in the agreement,” he said.“But we’re having no discussion on it.”
TORONTO — North American stock markets continued to look for direction amid a decision by the European Central Bank to hold interest rates until it knows the full impact of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.The S&P/TSX composite index was up by 32.26 points at 14,565.83, boosted by positive earnings reports from Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX:RCI.B) and Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA).Most of the Toronto subindexes were also higher, with the biggest gains seen from the gold, materials and metals sectors.In contrast, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 77.80 points at 18,517.23, the broader S&P 500 composite index dipped 7.85 points to 2,165.17 and the Nasdaq composite gave up 16.03 points at 5,073.90.The Canadian dollar fell 0.18 of a U.S. cent to 76.42 cents US, as oil prices, which often guide the loonie’s value, were also lower.The September crude contract dropped $1 at US$44.75 per barrel.August gold rose $11.70 to US$1,331 an ounce, August natural gas was up three cents at US$2.69 per mmBTU and September copper contracts were unchanged at US$2.26 a pound.
VANCOUVER — A new report from a Dutch non-profit group alleges Vancouver-based Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. has avoided paying hundreds of millions of dollars in Canadian taxes on its Mongolian mine.The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations report alleges Turquoise Hill parent company Rio Tinto used so-called mailbox companies in the Netherlands and Luxembourg to channel financing of the massive Oyu Tolgoi mine.The group says that by using the seemingly token subsidiary in the lower tax jurisdiction of Luxembourg, rather than through the Canadian subsidiary that actually controls ownership of the mine, Rio Tinto has avoided paying an estimated US$470 million in Canadian corporate income taxes.The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.The report says the Mongolian government looked to terminate tax treaties that allowed Rio Tinto to access the lower tax rates, but that the company has been able to continue to access them because of clauses in an investment agreement it signed in 2009.In light of the report, Canadians for Tax Fairness have called on the Canadian government to review its international treaties and introduce legal requirements to prevent abusive tax-avoidance practices.Companies in this story: (TSX:TRQ)
A young female doctor has been reported missing whike she was on her way from Matara to Hikkaduwa last evening.Erandi Kulasinghe, who works at Matara General Hospital, left the hospital around 6pm last evening to go Hikkaduwa driving a dark blue Nissan March (KC 5160), her friends and relatives said in messages sent around today. The last time she contacted her husband she had been near Labaduwa in Galle.A complaint has been lodged with the police over the missing doctor.
Among the promises the Government has not met, according to the JVP, is giving insurance to fishermen and farmers, allocating 6 percent of the GDP for free education and also giving permanent houses with land to people living in line houses in the estates. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna today accused the Government of failing to fully implement its 100 day programme.JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said that the Government had promised the public several concessions but only a few were offered through its interim budget. Silva said that the Government has now been in office for more than 100 days and has not been able to even use those additional days to fulfill all its promises. Tilvin Silva said that even the 19th Amendment to the constitution was passed in Parliament with the greatest difficulty as some members of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) attempted to obstruct the bill.Silva also said that the United National Party and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party are now looking at what is best for their future and not the country. (Colombo Gazette) The JVP General Secretary also said that the Government must submit the bill on the Right ti Information to Parliament soon.He also noted that an unstable situation has arisen in Parliament with opposition members who are supporting former President Mahinda Rajapaksa attempting to block bills presented by the new Government.
Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) allegedly bribed informants to obtain information related to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees Trust Fund (EPF).PTL Chief Dealer Nuwan Salgado made the allegation when making a statement at the Presidential Commission investigating the alleged treasury bond scam.
He served on a number of national commissions and statutory bodies and represented Sri Lankan in several international fora.Aziz was appointed to the constitution council as civil society members in the nomination of prime minister and opposition leader from 2015 to 2018. Former Attorney General (AG) Mohamed Shibly Aziz passed away.Aziz is a well-known and eminent President’s Counsel who has contributed extensively to the development of the legal system in the country from on or about 1968.
According to the Police, three of the suspects are being held by the Terrorist Investigations Division (TID). Over 40 suspects have been arrested over the multiple bomb attacks in Sri Lanka, the Police said.The Police said that 26 of the suspects are currently being questioned by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).
Accordingly, Army deserters who have so far failed to report to their respective Regimental Headquarters can make use of this extension and receive their discharge before 17th May 2019 by 6.00 p.m.Earlier, the General Amnesty period was effective from 22nd April 2019 to 10th May 2019. (Colombo Gazette) The General Amnesty period declared for Army deserters to receive their legal discharge has been extended by the Army Headquarters by another week.The Army media unit said that the legal discharge has been extended considering the need for more soldiers to receive their discharge.
Avaya Still on the Block, Resolution May Come Soon Beth Schultz August 14, 2019 As the company plugs away on cloud sales, CEO Jim Chirico looks to wrap up its review of strategic alternatives in the next 30 days. Avaya Continues Mulling Next-Step Options Beth Schultz September 12, 2019 In a brief update, company said strategic alternative review process continues, gave no indication of new expectations for wrapping it up. How Should Teams Influence Enterprise UC Strategy?It’s recommended that an organization break its requirements and the application’s capabilities into their constituent parts. From here, a business can develop a deployment plan that is focused on the benefits and not necessarily on adopting the application’s entire functionality at once. Tick, Tock, the Clock Is Running for Avaya Zeus Kerravala September 06, 2019 Lots of speculation surrounds Avaya’s future, but mum’s still the word on a final decision. So why does Teams seem to warrant such a hype, and is adoption as rapid as Microsoft claims? Microsoft has never disclosed how many individuals are using Teams, nor does it disclose how many of these have simply inherited Teams as pre-existing Office 365 users rather than making a conscious decision to use it. How does Teams differentiate itself from Microsoft’s previous collaboration offerings, or any other application on the market, for that matter? Dive into this topic further at Enterprise Connect, in the Monday, 2:00 p.m. session, “Transitioning to Teams: What’s Your Next Move on Microsoft?” led by consultant Kevin Kieller. If you haven’t yet gotten your pass for Enterprise Connect, coming to Orlando the week of March 18, register now to save. Get an extra $200 off your pass by entering the code NJPOSTS at checkout.Tags:News & ViewsMicrosoft TeamsUC StrategyOffice 365enterprise telephonyUnified Communications & CollaborationCloud CommunicationsEnterprise ConnectSCTCTeam Collaboration Tools & Workspaces Articles You Might Like Three partial deployment options should be considered. The first is to utilize Teams for its collaboration functionality only, without adopting any of the UC capability. The organization would retain the operation of a separate telephony and unified communications solution. The UC Side of the CoinTeams is to become Microsoft’s new, cloud-based UC solution in Office 365, replacing Skype for Business. The UC features in Teams include peer-to-peer voice and video calling, conferencing, individual and group personal messaging, plus enterprise telephony phone systems (subject to additional licensing). change_corkboard_774.png Justifying Workspace Applications: Time to Up the Game Marty Parker September 10, 2019 Communication technology vendors and their value-adding partners must take the lead in defining business justifications for their collaboration and workspace applications. On the flipside, however, putting control in the hands of the user can lead to security, privacy, and governance issues for enterprise IT. An organization must consider where it’s appropriate to store data based on who will then have access to it, as well as issues relating to backing up, archiving, and so on. Because of this, the key message applies to all vendors and offerings: Match the deployment to the requirement, and don’t be bullied into deploying all capabilities, especially when there is no business need. Mitel, Avaya Merger on Tap? Beth Schultz August 20, 2019 On the heels of word that Avaya is close to reaching acquisition deal, the focus turns to Mitel and a reported bid of $20 per share. It may aid understanding to consider Teams as two separate products: one offering for unified communications and one for team collaboration. Whilst the UC side of things is, according to Microsoft, a freshly written offering, elements of the team collaboration functionality have been recycled from existing applications. The user also benefits from a UC solution that is tightly integrated with desktop applications and information. However, this is constrained by the cloud-only limitation which does not, at present, act as a full substitute for much of the functionality of a legacy telephony system. As I’ve said, understanding of the Teams functionality can be aided by considering it as two separate products. It’s entirely understandable, however, that many consider it to be just one, as Microsoft seems eager to market Teams as an “all-or-nothing” solution. It’s this attitude that can complicate the adoption model and result in barriers to entry. Both aspects of the Teams offering present benefits and constraints to the end user. One benefit of the team collaboration functionality, for example, is how easily users are able to share work and collaborate around it. A second option is to utilize Teams for collaboration and personal unified communications, but not for enterprise telephony, retaining a traditional solution for enterprise telephony and location-based voice requirements. The third option is to utilize Teams for unified communications and telephony, whilst retaining existing legacy information storage and sharing solutions. “SCTC Perspectives” is written by members of the Society of Communications Technology Consultants, an international organization of independent information and communications technology professionals serving clients in all business sectors and government worldwide. Is the UC Landscape Changing?Collaboration products are certainly changing our outlook on unified communications, but don’t be influenced by one-size-fits-all vendor messages. Instead, match solutions to business requirements and strategic direction. There may still be a place in your organization for a separate unified communications solution; be prepared to mix and match and deploy hybrid solutions where necessary. sctcperspective_Small.png Microsoft Teams seems to have had a significant impact on the unified communications market since its release in early 2017. In fact, Microsoft claims that Teams is the fastest growing product it has ever released, with use of the app more than doubling between September 2017 and September 2018, rising from 125,000 organizations to 329,000. There is one key difference between Teams and its predecessors, however: Teams is available as a cloud-only solution — as an application within Office 365. Microsoft will no longer offer an on-premises UC solution to its customers. Team CollaborationThe collaboration side of Teams is based on the previous functionality of Office 365 Groups and includes document storage and sharing, with an automated front-end to SharePoint libraries and lists, and persistent messaging organized around channels, topics, and threads. Any of these deployment models are feasible and can often facilitate an earlier, and simpler, entry into the Teams-based unified communications and/or team collaboration space than would otherwise be possible. Be aware that your strategy may be challenged by those who have been fed the “all-or-nothing” message from Microsoft. Document your reasoning and consider how solutions are presented to your users. Explain any unused functionality to your users so as not to cause confusion. It would be advised to have a roadmap relating to omitted functionality, even if it includes non-Microsoft-based solutions. Is This Message Only Relevant to Microsoft Teams?Put simply, no. Teams may be driving the conversation, but this is mainly due to the manner in which Microsoft has created an instant user base, derived from existing Office 365 users. Many vendors are adopting a similar approach, including Cisco, with Webex Teams, and Unify, with Circuit. These offerings share two key characteristics with Microsoft Teams: They are primarily cloud-based, and their functionality centers around combining unified communications and team collaboration. Amongst other questions, the most pertinent is this: More on that later. First, let’s address our earlier question. How Does Teams Differentiate Itself?At face value, Teams seems to be a simple re-brand of Skype for Business, following predecessors Lync, OCS, and LCS. According to Microsoft, Teams doesn’t actually utilize much of the Skype for Business code, and the UC element is a total re-write. The application does, however, harness existing Office 365 Groups and SharePoint capabilities. See All in Unified Communications & Collaboration » Log in or register to post comments
“Just right” AlternativesMost mid to large enterprise or government entities want the benefits of a hosted solution — ability to scale, the latest advanced features, and minimized internal staff requirements — while at the same time desire the white glove transition treatment, implementation, and contract terms traditionally provided by premises solution providers. In the old fable, Goldilocks stumbled on the perfect solution on the third try. In the real world of unified communications, the perfect option is harder to come by — but it does exist. Log in or register to post comments So, if your search hasn’t yet led you to the perfect option, keep looking. It does exist. Avaya Continues Mulling Next-Step Options Beth Schultz September 12, 2019 In a brief update, company said strategic alternative review process continues, gave no indication of new expectations for wrapping it up. Either way, when paying a monthly fee, featured upgrade cycles are faster. Additionally, with this model little or no on-site staff are required to support the core elements of the solution itself. In this scenario, the vendor also provides SIP trunk connectivity, DIDs, and sometimes direct connection from the cloud provider’s data center to the customer location(s). The customer can quickly make desired changes by accessing the cloud management portal. The “self-service” nature of this arrangement can be appealing to smaller, nimbler organizations. The ability to scale quickly as the company grows or re-organizes is an improvement over long lead times of the past. Disadvantages of Premises-Based or Private CloudThe disadvantages of a premises-based or otherwise “owned” solution most often cited are slower rollout of upgrades and features, difficulty in scaling up and down, having to maintain the hardware and license environment, and needing to employ additional staff to maintain it. In addition, with this arrangement customers often must purchase and manage SIP trunks and other network infrastructure separately. doors_choice_774.png Over the past few years, we’ve assisted a number of clients who are upgrading from an older telephony platform to a more modern unified communications solution. When choosing between cloud and premises-based solutions, most of our clients face the same dilemma. There are advantages and disadvantage of each, with neither being a perfect fit. Just like with Goldilocks, one is too “cloudy,” the other is too “premisey,” while the third “just right” option is hard to find. Advantages of a Public Cloud or Hosted SolutionHere, we are generally referring to a cloud-based solution, on a shared instance of the application, sold as an all-inclusive, per seat per month cost. Most contracts for hosted solutions are priced per seat to include the desired features, such as mobility, minutes, and contact center. Some include end user handsets as part of the per month cost, while others sell the phones separately up front as a capital investment. See All in Unified Communications & Collaboration » Custom contracts and service agreements, and a full complement of implementation support resources to walk the organization’s team through the process, are often among the top reasons enterprise clients select a premises-based solution. Advantages of Premises or Private Cloud SolutionFor the purposes of discussion, we are generally referring to premises-based solutions or those privately hosted in the customer data center that are typically leased or purchased under a Capex model. Most vendor contracts for Capex solutions allow for refinement and customization to support specific requirements, including those covered by an RFP. There are also value-added reseller firms who bundle their implementation and management along with the hosted solution to provide a comprehensive package. Tick, Tock, the Clock Is Running for Avaya Zeus Kerravala September 06, 2019 Lots of speculation surrounds Avaya’s future, but mum’s still the word on a final decision. sctcperspective_Small.png “SCTC Perspectives” is written by members of the Society of Communications Technology Consultants, an international organization of independent information and communications technology professionals serving clients in all business sectors and government worldwide.Tags:News & Viewscloudpremises-based solutionsprivate cloudmanaged servicesUnified Communications & CollaborationCloud CommunicationsHosted CommunicationsSCTC Articles You Might Like Additionally, the standard contract terms offered by most cloud providers do not meet the legal requirements of many larger organizations, often favoring the vendor, with little flexibility to make changes. In one recent example, the contract called for the customer to commit to keeping all the originally contracted quantities of licenses on the system, while allowing the vendor to cancel the contract for no reason with just 30-days’ notice. And as far as flexibility, if the contract doesn’t allow for attrition without penalty, any advantage disappears. Disadvantages of a Public Cloud or Hosted SolutionWhile a nimble, self-service alternative may be attractive to some companies, as mentioned above, enterprise clients require a customized approached rather than a self-service model. While a public cloud model may require less internal staff to support the infrastructure itself, the initial set up and programming of all user devices and features can be daunting. When it comes to implementation, many of these organizations are disappointed to discover that the extent of the installation they purchased involves the vendor providing them access to log in to the portal so they can do the programming themselves, shipping them boxes of phones, and giving them a link to online training videos. Service-level agreements may be refined to reflect the organization’s priorities, as opposed to a contract that must be applied across a broad range of clients sharing one platform. In addition, traditional solution providers are accustomed to a hand-holding implementation style, which is often required by enterprise-level organizations. The types of companies that prefer this method have complex business needs requiring precise, phased rollouts, with high-touch project management and customized, live training plans. A team of vendor resources is expected to be available on site to guide the customer’s project and internal technical staff through the process. One alternative is to consider using a “boutique” partner firm to stand up a private instance of the manufacturer’s system with a managed service type of arrangement. With such an approach, the customer owns the equipment, but it resides in the vendor data center(s) and is managed by its staff. These firms also often offer custom contract and SLA terms to meet specific customer requirements and can be flexible with arrangements to accommodate non-standard requirements. Avaya Still on the Block, Resolution May Come Soon Beth Schultz August 14, 2019 As the company plugs away on cloud sales, CEO Jim Chirico looks to wrap up its review of strategic alternatives in the next 30 days. Justifying Workspace Applications: Time to Up the Game Marty Parker September 10, 2019 Communication technology vendors and their value-adding partners must take the lead in defining business justifications for their collaboration and workspace applications. Mitel, Avaya Merger on Tap? Beth Schultz August 20, 2019 On the heels of word that Avaya is close to reaching acquisition deal, the focus turns to Mitel and a reported bid of $20 per share.