Quick Tip: Converting Text to Masks in After Effects

first_imgNo more tracing by hand! Here’s an easy step-by-step guide to converting text to masks in After Effects.The ability to transform alpha channels into masked layers is an incredibly helpful feature built into After Effects. By converting your text layers into masks, you can create accurate masks without having to trace text and alpha layers by hand.The following steps outline the process of converting text to masks in After Effects.1. Select Text LayerCreate a text layer in your scene. The best way to optimize your text for the auto-tracing process is to choose a bold sans-serif font. However, you aren’t limited to just text. This effect will work with any layer.2. Select Auto-TraceWith your text layer selected go to Navigate>Auto-Trace.3. Adjust Settings As-NeededUnder “Options” you will be given the option to select a channel. Make sure it is set to “Alpha”. The default settings are usually good for most circumstances, but you might need to adjust as needed.4. Click “OK”After you click “OK” After Effects will create a new layer with your masks applied. If you want to add the mask to a new layer, simply select select the mask and copy using Command+C. Then select your desired layer and hit Command+V to paste.Your auto-traced layer will look something like this.Want to learn even more quick tips in After Effects? Check out these 10 After Effects quick tips found exclusively here on PremiumBeat:Prepping Vector Files for After EffectsMinimizing Pixelation and ArtifactsHow to Change the Render SoundCreating VariablesLayer Styles in After EffectsLinking Layers to CheckboxesChanging Label ColorsExporting with Alpha Channels in After Effects3 Ways to Fix Banding in After EffectsSaving Presets in After EffectsHave any other tips for using the auto-trace feature in After Effects? Share in the comments below.last_img read more

Gonzales picks up emotional first win in ONE Championship

first_imgLATEST STORIES Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad  Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  Indians bounce back after win-streak snapped Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC “I’m so emotional earlier because this is my first win in ONE in my three fights. I’m just so happy,” Gonzales said in Filipino.Exuding confidence from the start, Gonzales (2-2) waited for the perfect opportunity and it came in the second round when he locked Liu (2-3) in a triangle choke to force the tap out at the 1:52 mark and finally taste success at ONE.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“That was our second option, to finish it on the ground. Even if we’re standing, we know that we can match. But I felt I can beat him from the beginning and I just continued being aggressive in the second round until the end of the fight,” he said.With his first victory in ONE Championship in the bag, Gonzales seeks to continue improving his conditioning as he returns to the lair of Hitman MMA a winner as he set his sights for bigger challenges in the future. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Read Nextcenter_img Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president View comments “Whoever ONE gives me, I’ll be sure that I’m ready,” he said. “I’ll continue working on my strength and conditioning because I learned that fights will all depend there. You can’t be out of air.” WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Photo from ONE ChampionshipJAKARTA — The feeling of victory was so foreign for Ramon Gonzales that he was a bit shocked when members of the media approached him after his fight.But after his impressive showing against Liu De Ri Ge Hu of China on Saturday at ONE: Total Victory here, it won’t take long before he gets the hang of it.ADVERTISEMENT LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight MOST READlast_img read more

Froome’s teammate Thomas crashes out of Tour de France

first_imgRobredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Valtteri Bottas wins Austrian GP; Sebastian Vettel second El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes LATEST STORIES Britain’s Chris Froome, wearing the overall leader’s yellow jersey, talks to a team BMC rider during the eighth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 187.5 kilometers (116.5 miles) with start in Dole and finish in Station des Rousses, France, Saturday, July 8, 2017. (Photo by PETER DEJONG / AP)CHAMBERY, France — Geraint Thomas has crashed on a descent and been taken to a local hospital with a suspected broken collarbone, depriving Chris Froome of a key Sky teammate as he seeks a fourth Tour de France title.Thomas went down on a slick road coming off the Col de la Biche with slightly more than 100 kilometers (60 miles) remaining in Stage 9 – which is considered one of the race’s toughest.ADVERTISEMENT LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR MOST READ China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Thomas began the stage second overall, 12 seconds behind Froome, despite having crashed in several other stages, including Stage 8 on Saturday, when he tumbled over a barrier on a descent.It’s been an unfortunate year for Thomas, who also exited the Giro d’Italia in May following a crash caused by a police motorbike.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsSeveral other riders also crashed in the 181.5-kilometer (113-mile) stage from Nantua to Chambery.Robert Gesink of Team Lotto Jumbo and Manuele Mori of UAE Team Emirates were also forced to abandon. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

IPL 11: Delhi Daredevils appoints Ponting as head coach

first_imgRELATED File photo of former Australian captain Ricky Ponting.   –  PTI File photo of former Australian captain Ricky Ponting.   –  PTI cricket IPL retention: Dhoni goes back to CSK, MI keeps Rohit, Virat stays with RCB COMMENT SHARE SHARE EMAIL Published on January 05, 2018 IPL 11: Gary Kirsten, Nehra to coach RCB Replaces South African coach Paddy Upton, with whom the franchise parted ways last year at the end of his two-year contract. null × Indian Premier League (IPL) side Delhi Daredevils have appointed former Australian captain Ricky Ponting as their new head coach for the 2018 season, the franchise said. Ponting replaces South African coach Paddy Upton, with whom the franchise parted ways last year at the end of his two-year contract.Delhi failed to qualify for the playoffs last season after finishing sixth in the eight-team event, with six wins from 14 matches. They have yet to win the title in 10 attempts.Ponting, who announced his retirement from international cricket in 2012, guided Mumbai Indians to their second IPL title in 2015 during his two-year coaching stint with the franchise. The 43-year-old was also named the assistant coach of Australia for the Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka last year.The IPL announced on Thursday the list of players who have been retained by their teams ahead of the auction later this month for the April 4-May 27 tournament. Australia skipper Steve Smith and his vice captain David Warner were each retained for Rs 12 crore each by Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively. Indian captain Virat Kohli was retained by Royal Challengers Bangalore for Rs 17 crore, while South Africa’s AB de Villiers will be paid Rs 11 crore. IPL 2018 SHARE COMMENTSlast_img read more

PHF announces World XI will tour Pakistan in January

first_imgKarachi, Nov 25 (PTI) The under-fire Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has announced that a World XI would tour the country from January 10 next year as a first step towards revival of international hockey in the country.PHF president Brig. Khalid Sajjad Khokhar told a media conference in Islamabad that the government has given clearance for the World XI tour, which also has the support of the International Hockey Federation (IHF).”The situation is gradually changing and we are confident that after the World XI tours Pakistan, it will also pave the way open for foreign players to take part in our hockey league that we plan to launch sometime in 2018,” he said.Without revealing details about the composition of the World XI or where they would play matches, Khokhar said the PHF was now on the lookout for sponsors and to sell broadcasting rights of the matches.He said that India has become a high profile hockey nation after hosting several FIH events while, in comparison, Pakistan had been deprived of international events at home because of security concerns.”A lot of critics talk about Indian hockey but they forget that a lot of money has been channelled into Indian hockey in recent years by private and state sponsors and the Indian hockey league has been a big boost for them,” he said.Khokhar also said that the PHF had already done its homework to ensure the national senior team got visas to participate in the World Cup next year in India.advertisementMeanwhile, on recent criticism over the national teams poor show in the Asia Cup and a four-nation invitational event in Australia, Khokhar said: “We are sincere about reviving hockey as our national sport and we need time.”Khokhar ruled out removing former captain Shahbaz Ahmed as secretary, who is facing allegations of financial mismanagement to the tune of 220 million rupees.He said that the PHF accounts are audited and they would also be sent to the Auditor General of Pakistan.”I myself hate corruption of misuse of funds given to the federation. All those who are talking about financial mismanagement are free to come and inspect our audited accounts,” Khokhar said. PTI Cor CM CMlast_img read more

10 months agoWim Kieft: Ajax playing Real Madrid just at right time

first_imgWim Kieft: Ajax playing Real Madrid just at right timeby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Holland striker Wim Kieft believes Ajax will be facing Real Madrid just at the right time.The two teams will meet next month in the Champions League round of 16.After Madrid’s defeat at home to Real Sociedad, Kieft said: “The way Real Madrid plays … There is no tempo, there is no joy in playing, there is no willingness, it always starts with willingness.”If you see with what ball pace is played by Real Madrid, then it is for Ajax to hope that they can match this level, because then you have a very good chance.”Real Madrid are painful to watch.” About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img

Worlds 1st Hybrid Retrofit for Short Sea Ship Unveiled

first_imgIn December 2018, Finnish technology company Wärtsilä inked an agreement with Norwegian shipping company Hagland Shipping AS for a hybrid retrofit installation onboard Hagland Captain, a general cargo vessel. As informed, it will be the first project of its kind ever in short sea shipping applications.The installation of a Wärtsilä battery hybrid propulsion solution is expected to significantly enhance the ship’s environmental performance by reducing its emissions, fuel consumption, and noise.According to the company, included in the solution are a shore power connection to provide power for loading/unloading operations and for battery charging, a new reduction gear with power take-off (PTO) and power take-in (PTI) technology, and a Wärtsilä NOx Reducer (NOR).It is estimated that the total reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions after the retrofit could be as much as 80 to 90 percent, while overall fuel cost savings are expected to be in the range of 5 to 10 percent.In addition, the battery capacity will be sufficient to sail in and out of harbor on electric power for approximately 30 minutes, which will effectively reduce noise and pollution levels in the vicinity of the harbor.The project is in response to a collaborative agreement between Hagland Shipping and NOAH AS, the Norwegian environment and resource company, whereby the shipping of materials to the island of Langøya in Norway is required to be via environmentally sound vessels. Non-profit NGO, Bellona, has also given its input to the project concept.“We believe our mutual project will have a considerable impact in the market and will further the environmental drive towards sustainable solutions in short sea shipping,” Oivind Wendelboe Aanensen, COO, Hagland Shipping AS, commented.“Environmental considerations are increasingly important for fleet owners around the world. The need for the latest smart marine technologies has been seen for some time already in deep sea shipping, and this project is evidence that the need also exists in short sea transportation,” Paul Kohle, Director, Sales & Sales Support, Asset Management Services, Wärtsilä Marine, said.“Wärtsilä is responding to these developments with its Smart Marine Ecosystem approach, which through the use of high levels of digitalisation and connectivity, is creating greater efficiencies, increased safety, and more sustainable solutions,” Kohle added.The company’s hybrid solutions are based on a ‘first-of-its-kind’ fully integrated hybrid power module which combines engines, an energy storage system using batteries, and power electronics optimized to work together through a newly developed energy management system (EMS).Image Courtesy: Hagland Shipping AS. An impression of how the ‘Hagland Captain’ will look after the retrofit.last_img read more

Say NO to mass immigration ads pulled Bernier blames leftist mob

first_imgVANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Citing overwhelming public backlash, Pattison Outdoor Advertising is removing a series of nation-wide ads promoting People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier, and his stance on immigration.The billboards — featuring Bernier’s photo and the words “say NO to mass immigration” — had been a source of controversy after they popped up in Vancouver, Calgary, Halifax, and Regina. The ads were paid for by True North Strong and Free Advertising Corp., a registered third party.For Anne Cooper, who lives in East Vancouver near where one of the billboards popped up, the message doesn’t reflect what she thinks Canada should be.“I don’t want that, I don’t want people attacking me or my family — you know, no to nuclear families or no to this, no I don’t want that,” she said.And that’s all she wrote for now. The ad is gone. @NEWS957 pic.twitter.com/zdkZeKKdOM— Dave Heintzman (@HEINTZMANEWS957) August 26, 2019Early Sunday, Pattison said in a statement the campaign did not contravene the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, and that it was not up to the company to be “the judge or arbiter of what the public can or cannot see.”But hours later, company president Randy Otto reversed course, saying “it was never my or Pattison Outdoor’s intention to offend, alienate or in any way insult the public by allowing this ad to be run.”Otto promised to review the company’s advocacy guidelines relating to political messaging, and inform True North Advertising the ads will be removed as soon as possible.“Fantastic, well good for them if they’re going to take a stand,” Cooper said after learning the billboards were being taken down due to public backlash. “It shows the power of the people.”Well that was fast. A contractor is already here to cover up the Bernier billboard. A dog walker who lives in this area says she’s fine with it, since the message runs counter to her values @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/x2N9uwUaXz— Kurtis Doering (@KDnewsguy) August 26, 2019Reacting to the statement on Twitter, Bernier accused the company of caving in to the “leftist mob”, adding “the authoritarian Left want to censor and silence anyone who disagrees with them. They will fail.”The billboards will be removed after censorship calls from the leftist mob. The PPC is the only party that rejects mass immigration and proposes to have fewer, better integrated immigrants who fulfill our economic needs.What do you think? Vote and RT. https://t.co/YANzKkJj8c— Maxime Bernier (@MaximeBernier) August 25, 2019The People Party of Canada is so far not being allowed to participate in the upcoming federal leaders’ debates. A final decision on Bernier participation will be made by mid-September.last_img read more

Bridge Collapses on a Car on A3 Highway in Casablanca

Rabat – A part of a bridge has collapsed on a car killing a woman and badly injuring her daughter.The bridge collapsed on the A3 highway in Casablanca near the Derb Sultan neighborhood on the way to Rabat, on Friday, October 19.The daughter, who was driving, was transported, in a state of shock, to Ibn Rochd Hospital while the mother was transported to the morgue. The most recent rain in Casablanca may have detached a large stone section of the bridge.Police in Casablanca have launched an investigation to determine the responsible persons for the bridge’s failure.Since Friday, drivers on the A3 in Casablanca have expressed their anger over the traffic jam caused by the repair of the bridge.Drivers have complained that there are no signs to inform them of the work in progress.“We don’t know what’s going on, there are no signs, there is nothing,” stated a motorist to 2M television channel. read more

European Powers Urge USIran Talks on Nuclear Deal

Rabat – The European signatories of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers warned that the landmark pact could collapse amid the US Iranian tensions. The group of states also called for the reopening of dialogue between Washington and Tehran in a joint statement released on Sunday, July 14.Britain, Germany, and France, who signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) four years ago in Vienna, stated that it could fall apart after the renewed sanctions on Iran by the United States. “The risks are such that it is necessary for all stakeholders to pause, and consider the possible consequences of their actions,” the joint statement released by the French president’s office said. “We believe that the time has come to act responsibly and to look for ways to stop the escalation of tension and resume dialogue.”The 2015 accord promised sanctions relief, economic benefits, and an end to the international isolation of the Islamic Republic in return for restrictions on its nuclear programme. But after the US withdrawal, the deal became fragile and the parties’ commitment uncertainTensions rose between Washington and Iran when the US President Donald Trump pulled out from the nuclear deal and imposed sanctions on Iran’s crucial banking and oil sectors, that had been previously lifted under the pact, causing the country’s economy to freefall.In response, Tehran announced in May 2019 that it would curtail its commitments to the deal, despite calls from the European parties to continue its full compliance. Since then, the Gulf country has increased its stockpile of low-enriched uranium above the agreed limit, and has begun to enrich uranium above the 3.67% permitted under the deal’s obligations.At a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday, July 15, the European actors will seek to defuse tensions in the volatile region.“The deal is on the brink; the message on Monday will be to show EU unity but make it clear to Iran that it needs to come back into line,” a European diplomat was said to Reuters news agency. “For now, nothing is reversible, so we have more room for diplomacy.”Speaking before the Brussels meeting, France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Europe has to remain united in its attempts to preserve the deal and convince Tehran to shift its decision not to comply with parts of the accord.“The Europeans have to stay united on this issue,” Le Drian told reporters.Iran’s decision to reduce compliance with the deal that the United States abandoned last year was “a bad response to a bad decision,” he said.In the meantime, Iranian foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hinted at the Europeans’ reluctance to protect Tehran from the US sanctions.“There is a serious difference between doing something and announcing your willingness,” Iranian state TV quoted Zarif saying.Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday, July 14, 2019 that Tehran is open for dialogue if the sanctions are lifted and the US returns to the nuclear deal’s pact.“We have always believed in talks; if they lift sanctions, end the imposed economic pressure and return to the deal, we are ready to hold talks with America today, right now and anywhere,” Rouhani said in a televised speech.Matters were further complicated by Iran when it made any talks conditional on being allowed to export the same amount of oil as it did before the US withdrawal from the nuclear pact.Trump has shown no sign of backing down and said he would put yet more pressure on the Gulf country with more sanctions.“We’re putting additional sanctions on; some of them are already in place,” said US President Donald Trump in June 2019. “The sanctions have hit them hard.” read more

UN environment team completes study of Gaza conflict damages

21 May 2009Experts from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have completed field work on a study of the environmental impact of the recent heavy fighting on Gaza, the agency announced today. Experts from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have completed field work on a study of the environmental impact of the recent heavy fighting on Gaza, the agency announced today. The team of eight UNEP experts spent 10 days in Gaza studying waste and waste water systems, the coastal and marine environment, and solid and hazardous waste management, including asbestos, and will make recommendations for rehabilitation this in the coming months. In the coming months, it will make recommendations which “will inform local planning and assist the planned reconstruction by the international community,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said last month when he announced he was dispatching the team to Gaza. The experts inspected 32 sites to assess environmental impacts and collect samples for laboratory analysis and also collected data for an economic evaluation of the cost of rehabilitation and restoration of the environmental damage in Gaza.Sites visited included residential areas, schools, industrial areas, sewage facilities, landfills and the coastline, where detailed sampling of water and sediments, bio-indicators, asbestos and waste water was conducted.Samples collected on the ground will be sent to an independent international laboratory and analysed in the coming weeks. The three-week Israeli offensive which began on 27 December, with the stated aim of ending rocket attacks by Hamas and other groups, killed at least 1,300 Palestinians and wounded some 5,300. The heavy bombardment and fighting also reduced buildings and other infrastructure to rubble.Shortly after the conflict ended, UNEP sent a senior staff member to Gaza in late January as part of the UN Early Recovery Needs Assessment mission, which found that the fighting had created large quantities of building demolition waste, which is often contaminated with hazardous materials such as asbestos.Even prior to this most recent conflict, Gaza did not have an appropriate system for waste segregation and disposal. Consequently, the creation of such large quantities of solid waste, within such a short time, has overloaded the already inadequate infrastructure.During the May field mission, UNEP also ran two training workshops on handling asbestos and other hazardous substances in rubble management, and on health and safety practices for demolition and disposal of damaged buildings. The team members have extensive experience in assessing the environmental impact of conflict in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Sudan and the Middle East, and in making recommendations for action, according to the agency. They also have expertise in water and waste water management, asbestos and hazardous wastes monitoring, and coastal and marine issues, it added. read more

Refugee return figures decline in first half

“It is difficult to determine why the numbers of refugees returning to Sri Lanka have fallen,” says UNHCR Representative in Sri Lanka Michael Zwack. “It is an individual decision to return home based on individual considerations,” he added. According to UNHCR’s statistics at end- 2011, there were 68,152 Sri Lankan refugees living in 112 camps in Tamil Nadu and another 32,467 living outside the camps. Worldwide there are more than 136,000 Sri Lankan refugees living in 65 countries. The overwhelming majority of refugees are returning from Indian government-run refugee camps in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu with a handful returning from Malaysia, Georgia and Hong Kong.The refugees are mainly returning to Trincomalee, Mannar, Vavuniya and Jaffna districts with smaller numbers returning to Kilinochchi, Batticaloa, Colombo, Mullaitivu, Puttalam and Kandy. The number of Sri Lankan refugees returning home with UNHCR’s help declined during the first half of 2012 compared with the same period last year.The latest statistics show that 662 individuals voluntarily returned to Sri Lanka with UNHCR’s help during the first six months of this year to end-June, nearly a third less than the same period in 2011 when 962 refugees returned. A total of 1,728 Sri Lankan refugees returned under UNHCR’s facilitated voluntary repatriation programme in 2011. read more

TULF chief tells TNA head to control Federal Party members

Anandasangaree appealed to everybody in Sri Lanka not to make statements to hurt the feelings of the people who take a lot of risk and come all the way from various places to help Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette) He told Sampanthan it is regrettable to note that with so much of experience he has in politics and also as the head of the team, he has failed in his duty to promote goodwill and friendship with India, which is now fast declining. “First of all you must realize that as our immediate neighbor, whenever we are in distress it is India that always rushed in first with our urgent needs such as medical teams, food etc. For example during the last Tsunami even before clearing the areas in their own country, the Indian teams rushed in here with urgent requirements that reached all parts of the country, irrespective of any ethnic, religious or regional differences. A new tradition has been established that in the event of a national disaster, India comes first to help us. Please don’t forget that after the end of the war, a lot of families received aids not only to build houses but also in a small way, individuals received some aid that enabled them to earn a living,” Anandasangaree said. Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) Secretary General V Anandasangaree has written to Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R Sampanthan, urging him to keep Federal Party members of the TNA under his strict control.“They can’t make statements as they like, to wound the feelings of not only a country but its people as well. I do not know whether you are aware of the immense damage caused to the friendship and goodwill of India, by the thoughtless acts and utterances, more by the Federal Party members of your alliance, than by the others who only share the blame by remaining silent, ignoring the conduct of such members. Perhaps they are helpless. Due to certain reasons, which I do not want to mention openly, there is conflict of interest between two countries in Sri Lanka that may explode one day to the detriment of both sides. It is our innocent people who will ultimately get badly affected. By our foolish utterances let us not provoke a situation for that to happen,” Anandasangaree said. read more

Senior US diplomat named as Annans next envoy for Western Sahara

Ambassador William Lacy Swing will succeed William Eagleton as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) effective 1 December.”The Secretary-General expresses his deep appreciation for Mr. Eagleton’s contribution to the efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement in Western Sahara and wishes him well in his future endeavours,” spokesman Manoel Almeida said.Ambassador Swing has served in various posts in several African countries for the United States Government, most recently as the US representative to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Peacekeeping mission in Burundi extended until December 2006

Citing “factors of instability” that remain in Burundi despite democratization and ongoing negotiations with the last major rebel group outside the country’s peace process, the Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping mission there for six months until 31 December 2006.Through a unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member body also welcomed the stated intention of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to establish a UN office to replace the mission by the end of the six-month period.By the same action, the Council also extended until 30 September Mr. Annan’s authority to temporarily redeploy a maximum of one infantry battalion, a military hospital and 50 military observers from ONUB to the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).In a December resolution extending ONUB’s mandate, the Council had first authorized redeployment of personnel between the two missions to bolster MONUC during the DRC election process and as a step toward draw-down of the Burundi force after last year’s successful elections, as the small African country emerges from its 12-year civil war. read more

UNESCO to award Arab culture prize to Bulgarian and Jordanian professors

A Jordanian who has championed intercultural dialogue and a Bulgarian who has contributed to a better understanding of today’s Arab thought and culture, will both be awarded the Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture this year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said today.University of Sofia professor Yordan Peev’s life-long dedication to understanding the contemporary Muslim world has contributed to a better understanding of today’s Arab thought and culture through teachings and lectures in Europe and several Arab states, UNESCO said. From his comparative analysis of Muslim and Christian religious systems to his studies ranging from Bulgarian Muslims to the medieval Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun, Dr. Peev has treated with discernment current principal problems of intercultural communication.Jordan’s Jamal Al-Shalabi, a professor at Hashemite University, has been strongly committed to promoting intercultural dialogue through his academic work, which focuses on the evolution of policies of the Arab states in relation to Europe, UNESCO said. Dr. Al-Shalabi has also contributed to a greater mutual understanding between Arab and Christian worlds in his books, articles and meetings, raising issues pertaining to Muslim-Christian relations.A monetary prize of $25,000 each and the awards will be given on 9 November by UNESCO’s Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura in a ceremony in Paris.The Sharjah award was created by the Executive Board of UNESCO with funds provided by the Sharjah Government in the United Arab Emirates in 1998 to honour individuals or groups that have contributed in a significant way to the development, dissemination and promotion of Arab culture in the world, as well as to the preservation of Arab cultural heritage. read more

Human rights gains in Afghanistan remain fragile – UN top official

“Afghanistan is clearly at a critical juncture with the ongoing political, security and economic transition concluding in 2014 – all of which will have an impact on the human rights of its citizens,” the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said at a press conference in the capital, Kabul.“There have been some distinct human rights achievements during the past 12 years, but they are fragile, and many Afghans are expressing fears that the overall human rights situation is deteriorating on several fronts.”Ms. Pillay said that during her visit, she focused on ensuring that gains on human rights are consolidated and not undermined. She stressed that his will require determination and courage on the part of the Government as well as civil society and the media. “They will need to stand firm, not only against rising political pressures as the election approaches, but also against the ominous background of a sharp climb in the number of civilian casualties during the first six months of 2013.”According to a report released by the by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the number of civilians killed or injured in the first half of 2013 rose by 23 per cent compared to the same period last year, owing mainly to the increased use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by insurgents. The report documented 1,319 civilian deaths and 2,533 injuries – a total of 3,852 civilian casualties – in the first half of the year. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay visited Afghanistan in September 2013. The purpose of the trip was to meet with senior Afghan officials, and representatives from civil society and the international community, in order to review progress and challenges in the area of human rights. Photo: UNAMA ‹ › Ms. Pillay said that although the vast majority of civilian casualties are caused by anti-Government forces, the number of civilian casualties caused by actions of various Afghan security forces including police has also risen, and she stressed the need to try to reduce the numbers of civilians killed and injured during military and police operations. Violence against women is another pressing issue in the country, Ms. Pillay said, noting that while the passing of the law on the Elimination of Violence against Women was a very significant achievement, its implementation has been slow, especially in rural areas, with police, prosecutors and courts being reluctant to enforce it.“Violence against women remains endemic, and I have urged the relevant authorities to do their utmost to speed up and improve the implementation of this important law, which President Karzai passed by decree in 2009,” Ms. Pillay said, adding that she was encouraged by the commitment shown by senior Government officials to advance women’s rights and improve the implementation of the law.During her visit, Ms. Pillay met with senior Afghan officials including President Hamid Karzai. She also held talks with the Chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, members of civil society and the diplomatic community. Ms. Pillay expressed concern to Government officials over the future of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), which could potentially lose its ‘A’ Status under the Paris Principles after the appointment of five human rights commissioners.“There are real concerns – which I share – that the recent process leading up to the appointment of five new members of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission was sufficiently flawed for it to lose its “A” Status,” she said. “This would be a very serious and regrettable setback for one of the current Afghan Government’s most notable achievements in the area of human rights.”Ms. Pillay said she made a strong plea to Mr. Karzai to do his utmost to strengthen the position of the AIHRC before it comes up for review in two months’ time.“I urge an extra effort by the President and his Government to ensure that the human rights gains of the past 12 years are not sacrificed to political expediency during these last few months before the election,” Ms. Pillay said.Afghanistan is scheduled to hold presidential and provincial council elections in April next year, and preparations are underway to ensure a smooth transition. Today, UNAMA acknowledged the appointments of the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC), stressing it plays an important role as an impartial dispute resolution mechanism. “These appointments represent an important next step in ensuring the preparations for the presidential and provincial council elections on 5 April 2014,” UNAMA said in a news release. “Rapid establishment of the IECC’s operational structure is now required as it prepares to adjudicate objections to candidate eligibility.”UNAMA added that donors and the international community stand ready to provide, at the IECC’s request, technical and financial assistance to support the complaints commission. read more

Despite looting of aid agencies in Central African Republic UN pledges continued

“We must continue with the emergency response,” UN Humanitarian Coordinator in CAR Aurélien A. Agbénonci said. “Access to displaced populations is crucial. The needs of displaced persons are increasing every day and our main aim is to provide assistance to those in need, regardless of their political affiliation, race or ethnicity in compliance with the humanitarian principles of impartiality, independence and neutrality.” The offices and residences of national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were looted during the sudden outbreak of violence that began on 26 September in Bangui, the capital, leaving 42 people dead and 414 injured and driving more than 37,000 people from their homes to seek refuge with host families and in 32 displacement sites in the city. Some 200 humanitarian workers were temporarily relocated out of CAR and about 100 other non-essential staff were relocated to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The security situation has deteriorated, impeding the freedom of movement of humanitarian workers since the beginning of the crisis.“Despite the security constraints, humanitarian actors continue to provide assistance to the affected population,” Mr. Agbénonci said. “We remain firmly committed to maintaining our presence in the country and to providing the necessary assistance to the population in areas where humanitarian access is possible.” Following the recent violence there are over 417,000 displaced people in CAR and about 2.7 million people, over half the population, are in urgent need of assistance.The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), set up in April 2014 to help bring peace after a breakdown of governmental authority and vicious intercommunal fighting between mainly the Muslim Séléka group and the mainly Christian anti-Balaka movement, currently maintains nearly 11,000 uniformed personnel in the country, one of the world’s poorest. read more

Report Ohio State football player Jamel Dean to leave the program

Ohio State football early-enrollee Jamel Dean is leaving the program after not being cleared to practice by the medical staff, according to reports.Dean, a defensive back from Cocoa, Fla., was “presented an opportunity for a medical hardship so he could remain on academic scholarship at Ohio State, but he opted for a release from his scholarship in an attempt to get cleared medically elsewhere,” according to Eleven Warriors, who first reported Dean’s departure.Dean’s high school coach John Wilkinson told Northeast Ohio Media Group that he is not pleased with how his former player is being treated at OSU.“It’s ridiculous,” Wilkinson told Northeast Ohio Media Group on Wednesday. “It’s totally wrong to do this to an 18-year-old kid who should be in high school, who you talked into coming up there early.”The freshman defensive back enrolled early at OSU in January and is listed at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds on the Buckeyes’ spring roster.Dean was rated as the No. 128 high school prospect in the class of 2015 by ESPN.com and was a four-star recruit. read more