Earlier on Thursday Australian authorities claimed that a boat with some 200 asylum seekers on board capsized near Christmas Island closer to Indonesia and that the boat had originated from Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan navy on Friday insisted that security along the maritime boundary of the island nation remains tight and there is no possibility of any asylum boat heading to Australia directly from Sri Lanka undetected.Navy spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuriya told Xinhua that despite the end of a 30-year war with the Tamil Tiger rebels three years ago and the relaxing of several restrictions on fishing in some areas, the navy still remains on guard. Australian Home Minister Jason Clare on Friday told reporters that according to information he had received, those on board the vessel were mostly Afghan nationals.Sri Lanka and Australia have an agreement on combating human smuggling after hundreds of Sri Lankans had reached Australia by boat over the past several years seeking asylum.The Sri Lankan police last month arrested 113 people while they were attempting to go to Australia by boat illegally, and earlier this month the Sri Lankan navy arrested 53 illegal asylum seekers who were also heading to Australia. (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry on Friday said that based on preliminary reports there were no Sri Lankans on board the ship which capsized the previous day.The Sri Lankan embassy in Indonesia also said that there were no Sri Lankans among the 110 survivors who were rescued from the vessel. “There is no chance of that happening. We maintain tight security along our maritime boundary so no boat can slip through,” Warnakulasuriya said.
“The CAR remains one of the most poorly-funded emergencies. The underfunding is badly hampering our ability to provide even basic survival assistance for the refugees and even less to host communities,” Babar Baloch, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva. “The new refugee arrivals show signs of the brutal violence they have escaped in CAR. [They] have walked for weeks through the forests with little to eat or drink. In April and May, as many as 40 per cent of all the new refugees, children as well as adults, were suffering from malnutrition. We fear that for some children the assistance may be coming too late.” The appeal, backed also by 16 other agencies providing life-saving relief, is a revision of a Regional Refugee Response Plan covering the four asylum countries – Chad, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Republic of Congo – initially launched in April 2014. Today’s revised plan puts the required needs at $210 million for a targeted beneficiary population of 306,500 by December 2014. To date the amount is only 31 per cent funded. “Serious gaps in assistance remain in shelter and water, sanitation and hygiene. This poses particular concern now that the rainy season has begun,” Mr. Baloch said, stressing the need for resources and life-saving supplies. Over 357,000 CAR refugees are in Cameroon, Chad, DRC and the Republic of Congo and some 160,000 of them have fled since December 2013 after clashes intensified between the Seleka alliance and anti-Balaka militia. The situation is particularly worrisome in Cameroon, where a majority of the refugees are arriving. To deal with the influx of refugees there, the Revised Plan requested $111 million, almost double of what was sought earlier. “UNHCR has seen particularly serious malnutrition rates in Cameroon for over 118,000 arrivals in the last six months. Over 60 per cent of the refugees are women and children, with a high number of unaccompanied children,” he said. Children have indeed been affected by the region’s conflict. Since December 2013, some 17,500 have arrived in Chad, over 15,000 in DRC, with another 9,000 in the Republic of Congo.Also calling attention to the growing humanitarian crisis was UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and actress Mia Farrow who spoke to reporters at UN Headquarters in New York today. “There’s never going to be a time that [Central African Republic] will have the attention that it deserves,” she said. Recalling her first trip to CAR in 2007, Ms. Farrow said, “I came away thinking that the people of Central African Republic are surely the most abandoned people on Earth.” She said that in those early trips she did see tensions rising and a “sense of the otherness” between the Muslim population and the non-Muslim population but she never thought it would rise to such a level of systematic killing. In November 2013, she travelled to the town of Bossangoa, where she witnessed a chaotic scene of 30,000 non-Muslims “trapped” in a church and Muslims in an abandoned school. “Both populations were extremely traumatized with not enough of anything and NGOs [non-governmental organizations], and UNICEF and partners were working very hard to reach them with drinkable water and food. But it was the level of fear that I came away with.” When she returned this year, she said that the entire town of Bossangoa, virtually all Muslims, had been cleansed. “Truck loads” of people had gone either to Cameroon or to Chad. Christians, too, were driven out of their homes and were seeking shelter in churches.She said Central Africans were very much looking forward to September when UN peacekeepers will be on the ground. The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in CAR (MINUSCA) will take over from the existing African-led MISCA force. “We can’t look to them to eliminate the problem but they can quell the killing and hopefully give humanitarian aid workers access to the population.”
That ground-breaking agreement, following the first talks between the warring parties in more than two years, includes a ceasefire in and around the vital port city of Hudaydah – the conduit for nearly 80 per cent of Yemen’s life-saving food, medical aid and fuel. The truce entered into force on 18 December.Unanimously adopting resolution 2451 (2018), the Council “insisted” that all parties fully respect the ceasefire agreed for Hudaydah governorate as well as the commitment to redeploy their forces away from Hudaydah city and the port areas, to agreed locations outside, “within 21 days of the ceasefire coming into force.”The draft, penned by the United Kingdom, also urged the parties to continue to “engage constructively, in good faith and without preconditions” with Martin Griffiths, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, including by working to stabilize the war-battered economy and reopening Sana’a airport, as well as committing to another round of peace talks, in January 2019.Further in the resolution, the 15-member Council authorized the Secretary-General to establish and deploy, “for an initial period of 30 days”, an advance monitoring team on the ground, to support and facilitate the immediate implementation of the Stockholm Agreement.‘Deep regret’ at loss of livesThe Security Council also expressed “deep regret” at the loss of life and injuries in the conflict, the use of children on the battlefield, and stressed that all those fighting need to ensure that civilians are protected and allowed safe passage.It also called on all warring parties to comply with applicable international law, including humanitarian law to respect and protect medical facilities and personnel allowing them safe transit; protect civilian infrastructure including schools; reliable food distribution networks; processing and storage, and to withdraw any military personnel from civilian buildings and areas.The Council also underlined the need to allow and facilitate safe, rapid and unhindered access for humanitarian and medical personnel to all those in need, and reiterated that “aid should be disbursed on the basis of need and be gender and age sensitive.”The adoption of the resolution, originally scheduled for the morning, was delayed until early afternoon, allowing time for consultation among the Council members.According to reports, a second draft resolution, penned by the United States, concerning Yemen, was not tabled at the Council and instead, some of its elements were included in the UK draft.
Loadscan, the global supplier of load volume scanning technology, says it is following global demand and expanding its operations by opening up an office in New South Wales in Australia. Established in 2012, Loadscan’s headquarters is based in Hamilton, New Zealand, and the company has exported their load volume scanner (LVS) worldwide to a variety of industries wanting to accurately track the movement of bulk material.“The Loadscan load profiling system gives real-time data, including live 3D imaging, of every load so that fill factors and correct loading can be monitored. It provides an exact picture (with +/- 1% accuracy) of the quantity of material being extracted/hauled and scanning trucks on their return route will allow companies to monitor (and manage) wasteful carry-back.Carey West, Owner and Managing Director said: “We got our foot in the door in Australia when our load volume scanner was a proven success in Aeris Resources Tritton mine and increased their trucking factors by 10%. Now we’ve opened an office in NSW as we want to focus on Australia – there’s a huge market here that can benefit from our technology.” Tritton is a copper operation with much expansion potential.With a current high demand in the Australian mining, quarrying and other sectors for volume scanning technology, Loadscan has hired seasoned sales and support staff to strengthen service in-country. “With over 400 operating mines in Australia there’s a significant change in the industry to strive for improvement across the value chain. Earlier this year, Loadscan hired a mining sales manager based in Australia, Gavin Selth. Gavin brings a wealth of engineering and mining experience to the Loadscan team and has worked within the mining industry for a number of years. To respond to rapidly growing demand in the quarry and civil construction industries Loadscan has recently hired product specialist Luke Jackman. Luke’s previous experience in various senior sales and account management roles within the ICT sector means he comes to Loadscan with an appreciation for good data and intuitive software. Drew Harding is Loadscan’s newest customer and product support technician. Drew will be on call to assemble and configure to customer requirements as well as providing technical know-how and after-sales support.”
Epiroc says it has donated a COP 1238K rock drill to the Excavation Engineering and Earth Mechanics Institute (EMI) at the Colorado School of Mines in the US.The COP 1238K hydraulic rock drill for tunnelling and drifting applications updates testing equipment at EMI, the largest independent rock drilling and excavation research facility in the world, according to Epiroc.Located in Golden, Colorado, the Colorado School of Mines is known globally for its expertise in topics related to earth, energy and the environment. EMI was established in 1974 to enhance education and research in the field of excavation technology for mining and civil underground construction, and the institute has become one of the world’s leading research facilities.Epiroc said: “Over its 45 years of existence, EMI has developed a suite of physical property tests, cutter and cutterhead evaluation procedures for performance prediction, project costing, and design of mechanical rock excavation tools for all types of mechanical excavators in mining, civil underground construction, and microtunneling.“The developed test procedures and performance/cost prediction models have been validated with extensive field data from excavation and drilling projects around the world.”The rock drill donation came about through collaboration between Shawn Cheney, Epiroc Business Line Manager – Rock Drilling Tools, and Jamal Rostami, Director of the Earth Mechanics Institute. A member of the EMI industrial advisory board, Cheney facilitated the donation of the COP 1238K to replace EMI’s decades-old testing drill, Epiroc said. The new test cell installation was completed in February 2019.Cheney said: “Epiroc has tremendous appreciation for and confidence in the work that EMI does. We recently partnered with EMI on a project related to the cutting technology on our Mobile Miner. We’re honoured to donate equipment that will help EMI continue to serve as a valuable resource for the mining and civil underground construction industries.”The COP 1238K is developed to maximise impact power while optimising durability in underground applications, according to Epiroc, with its sweet spot being hole diameters from 2-3½ in (51-89 mm). It has a power rating of 12 kW.The rock drill features a built-in reflex damper that contributes to improved drill steel economy and reduces wear on the rock drill, feed and boom, according to Epiroc. “A powerful stepless variable and reversible rotation motor provides high torque and excellent speed control. In addition, a long, slender piston matched to the drill steel delivers optimal impact power without damaging the drill steel,” the company said.Rostami said: “The COP 1238K rock drill donation gives EMI the opportunity to perform full-scale testing using the latest in rock drilling technology. This test unit will drive research that contributes to more efficient and safer drilling operations in the industries we support.”