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Archive for the ‘ World News ’ Category

Why is Prince Charles headed to Rwanda?

The British royals are going back on tour, after two visits to the Caribbean earlier this year that were marred by anti-monarchy, anti-colonialism demonstrations.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were caught out by photo ops that some criticized for their colonialist undertones. The Prime Minister of Jamaica told the couple in public that his country would be “moving on.” Prince William later conceded that foreign tours were an “opportunity to reflect.”
A follow-up visit to the region by the Earl and Countess of Wessex then had to be rearranged to avoid Grenada, where there have been calls for the UK to pay reparations for slavery. There were concerns in the government that the issue could overshadow the visit.
A visit to Canada by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall last month was less contentious — while there is a republican movement there, it isn’t rooted to the same extent in issues of slavery and race.
The heir to the throne may be under more scrutiny in Africa next week, when he attends the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. While the Queen is the head of the Commonwealth, the role is purely ceremonial and the UK has no more power within the grouping than any other country.
Charles will represent her, which will help prepare everyone for the time when he takes over as head. The question that inevitably surfaces is whether he will be as effective as his mother, but he’s no doubt used to that. The more profound question that comes up is whether, with its origins in the British Empire, the Commonwealth is still relevant.
The Queen and Prince Charles at the last Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London in 2018.

The location of the 2022 meeting may provide one argument in favor of the organization. The host, Rwanda, only joined the group in 2009 and has no historical ties to the UK. In fact, this will be the first time a member of the royal family has set foot in the country.
“My wife and I much look forward to meeting Commonwealth leaders and, for the first time, being able to visit Rwanda,” Charles said ahead of the visit. “Over the years, I have learned a great deal from the ideas, concerns and aspirations which people across the Commonwealth have so generously shared.”
There will be other engagements built around the main event. Charles will visit a college and a wildlife sanctuary, and attend summits on sustainable business and tropical disease. Camilla will go to a library and later give a speech on violence against women and girls. Together they will lay a wreath at the Genocide Memorial and meet both survivors and perpetrators of the 1994 massacre of Tutsis.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will also be attending “CHOGM,” as the meeting is known. He won’t be able to avoid questions on his asylum policy, following a storm back home. He has tried and failed — so far — to get legal clearance to fly people seeking asylum in Britain to Rwanda for processing, with successful applicants granted asylum there instead. Charles reportedly described the plan as “appalling.” Photographers will be looking for any signs of tension between the two, though the prince will be keen to avoid any accusations of political interference.
For the inside track on the Rwanda tour, look no further than this newsletter. We will be traveling with Charles and Camilla to and from Kigali. See you back here next week…

WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING?

The Queen hits another milestone!
There were no bells and whistles this time round but Queen Elizabeth II quietly broke yet another record in the past week. On Sunday, she officially became the second longest-serving monarch in world history. The Queen overtook Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died aged 88, having achieved 70 years and 126 days on the throne between 1946 and 2016. In case you’re wondering, the record for longest-ever reign belongs to Louis XIV of France. He ruled for 72 years, 110 days, from 14 May 1643 to 1 September 1715.
The Queen smiles during a Platinum Jubilee appearance in early June.

William and Kate attend Grenfell memorial service.
The Cambridges paid their respects to bereaved relatives and survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire on Tuesday — exactly five years to the day after the tragedy. The pair chatted with attendees before taking a seat for the multi-faith service at the foot of the building. They joined the congregation in a 72-second silence in memory of the 72 victims who perished in the fire that tore through the west London high-rise. Following the memorial service, the couple laid a wreath in honor of the victims. Back in 2017, William accompanied his grandmother to the site to meet members of the community affected by the blaze.
The Cambridges mark the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire on June 14 in London, England.

DON’T MISS

Ahead of Prince Charles’ visit to Rwanda, two daughters have written a plea to the heir to the British throne for CNN. Carine and Anaïse Kanimba are the adopted daughters of Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager who inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda.” He was convicted of terrorism-related charges and sentenced to 25 years in prison last September, in what his supporters said was a politically motivated show trial. The US State Department said last month that Rusesabagina had been “wrongfully detained.” In an op-ed for CNN, his daughters are asking the visiting royal “not to remain silent” and “to not shake the hand of the tyrant who is holding our father as a political prisoner.”
Read their message for Prince Charles here.

ROYAL TEA BREAK

Most of us have read the tales of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. At the very least you’ve probably seen the 1963 Disney classic “The Sword in the Stone.” Well, it turns out the Arthurian legend has even had a few blue-blooded fans over the centuries. In fact, King Edward III was so taken with it that nearly 700 years ago he created his own group of chivalrous knights — the Order of the Garter.
Now, this elite institution still exists, and every June it gathers for the annual Garter Day procession at Windsor, after which new members are welcomed into the fold, a lunch is put on and then it’s over to St. George’s Chapel for a service. The event is pretty spectacular, as traditionally the Queen and the knights — who are now both male and female — don fabulously grand velvet robes with plumed hats for the parade. Members of the order — 24 in total, as well as certain royal family members — are personally chosen by the sovereign, in recognition of an individual’s service to the nation through public office or to the monarch personally.
The Duchess of Cornwall was installed in the Order of the Garter this year.

This year’s event caused a bit of a stir as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was invested as a member of the Order of the Garter, becoming “Sir Tony.” Beyond the castle’s walls, Stop the War activists and members of the Free Assange movement protested the former leader’s appointment to the country’s most senior order of chivalry, chanting “war criminal” and holding placards. Separately, there was some royal drama after it was revealed Prince Andrew had been blocked from attending parts of the day. A royal source told CNN Monday that the embattled royal would only be going to the private events and would not be seen in public, in what was understood to be a “family decision.”
Max went deeper into Britain’s oldest and most senior order of chivalry over on TikTok:

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Prince Charles peeks at the ponies as he and Camilla — along with several other members of the royal family — enjoyed a day at the races for Royal Ascot 2022. Sadly, the Queen wasn’t in attendance, due to her mobility problems, and was probably watching from the comfort of her Windsor home down the road, especially as she had a couple of horses running on Gold Cup day. Both ended up coming second in their races but the events would have still delighted the monarch, according to her racing manager, John Warren.
He told Britain’s PA Media news agency that he was “disappointed for Her Majesty” but “she gets it.” He explained that horses are “her passion, and the Queen would have absorbed everything that was there to be seen. She is so engaged in it that it is nice to know that she is probably seeing more than we do!”

“If we come together to raise the importance of early childhood development, we’ll soon see that healthy, happy individuals make for a healthier, happier world. Which is why every second we spend with a child, is an investment in our collective future.”

The Duchess of Cambridge

Kate, who founded the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood last year, made the remarks as the organization unveiled new research into public perceptions of early childhood development on Thursday. One of the findings revealed that while nine in 10 agree on the importance of early years in shaping a person’s future, less than a fifth recognize the “unique” importance of the period between 0 and 5. Alongside the new research, the duchess hosted a roundtable discussion with representatives from the early years sector, including the UK Secretary of State for Health Sajid Javid and Minister for Families Will Quince.

Putin lambasts the West and declares the end of ‘the era of the unipolar world’

Putin unveils imperialist mission: Taking back land he says is Russia’s 02:59

(CNN)Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared the end of “the era of the unipolar world” in a combative speech that lambasted Western countries at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday.

“When they won the Cold War, the US declared themselves God’s own representatives on earth, people who have no responsibilities — only interests. They have declared those interests sacred. Now it’s one-way traffic, which makes the world unstable,” Putin told the audience.
The much-hyped speech was delayed by more than 90 minutes because of a “massive” cyberattack. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told journalists in an impromptu conference call that the speech was postponed due to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on the conference’s systems.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack. Ukrainian IT Army, a hacker collective, named the St. Petersburg Forum as a target earlier this week on its Telegram channel.
Putin’s address at the annual conference, one of his more substantial speeches since he ordered the invasion of Ukraine almost four months ago, was seen as an opportunity for the world to get some insight into his thinking.
Once the Russian president took the stage in the western Russian city, he wasted no time on pleasantries and went straight into attacks on the United States and its allies.
“They live in the past on their own under their own delusions … They think that … they have won and then everything else is a colony, a back yard. And the people living there are second-class citizens,” he said, adding that Russia’s “special operation” — the phrase the Russian government uses to describe its war on Ukraine — has become a “lifesaver for the West to blame all the problems on Russia.”
After accusing western countries of blaming their problems on Russia, Putin tried to pin the blame for rising food prices on the “US administration and the Euro bureaucracy.”
Ukraine is a major food producer, but the Russian invasion has affected its entire production and supply chain. The United Nations has said the war has had a devastating impact on supplies and prices and warned it could push up to 49 million more people into famine or famine-like conditions.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said last week that food has become part of the Kremlin’s “arsenal of terror.”
Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of stealing Ukrainian grain, accusations that appear to have been confirmed by satellite images showing Russian ships being loaded with Ukrainian grain. On top of that, Russia is blocking maritime access to the Black Sea ports held by Ukraine, meaning that even the grain that is still under Ukrainian control cannot be exported to the many countries that rely on it.
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg on June 17, 2022.

The long-time Russian leader also blamed the West for trying to hurt the Russian economy, calling the sanctions on Moscow “crazy” and “reckless.”
“Their intention is clear to crush the Russian economy by breaking down the chain the logistical chains, freezing national assets and attacking the living standards, but they were not successful,” he added. “It has not worked out. Russian business people have rallied together working diligently, conscientiously, and step-by-step, we are normalizing the economic situation.”
The Russian president has long framed his decision to launch an invasion of Ukraine as a response to Kyiv’s growing diplomatic and security ties with the West. Last week, he hinted that his aim in Ukraine is the restoration of Russia as an imperial power.

Putin claims Russia ‘forced’ into the conflict in Ukraine

Speaking about his war on Ukraine on Friday, Putin went straight to his propaganda playbook, claiming Russia was “forced” into the conflict.
He called the invasion “the decision of a sovereign country that has an unconditional right … to defend its security.”
“A decision aimed at protecting our citizens, residents of the People’s Republics of Donbas, who for eight years were subjected to genocide by the Kyiv regime and neo-Nazis who received the full protection of the West,” he said.
The two areas — the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) — fell under the control of Russia-backed separatists in 2014.
The Kremlin has accused Ukrainian authorities of discriminating against ethnic Russians and Russian speakers in the regions, a charge Kyiv has denied. Starting 2019, Russian passports were offered to the residents of the two entities.
Finally, in late February, Putin announced he would recognize them as independent, a move that was seen as the opening salvo of the war.
He said on Friday that Russian soldiers and the separatists were “fighting to defend their people” in the Donbas and the right to “reject any attempt to impose pseudo values of dehumanization and moral degradation from outside.”
No country other than Russia recognizes the two as independent. Ukraine and the rest of the international community considers the territories to be under Russian occupation.
The European Commission announced Friday that it was recommending Ukraine and neighboring Moldova as EU candidate states, with the commission’s chief Ursula von der Leyen saying that Ukrainians are “ready to die” for the European perspective.
Speaking about the European Union on Friday, Putin said the bloc had “lost its sovereignty.”
“The European Union has fully lost its sovereignty, and its elites are dancing to someone else’s tune, harming their own population. Europeans’ and European businesses’ real interests are totally ignored and swept aside,” he said.
He later added that Russia has “nothing against” Ukraine joining the EU.
“The EU is not a military-political bloc, unlike NATO, therefore we have always said and I have always said that our position here is consistent, understandable, we have nothing against it,” Putin said during a panel discussion following his speech.
“It is the sovereign decision of any country to join or not to join economic associations, and it is up to this economic association to accept new states as its members or not. As far as it is expedient for the EU, let the EU countries themselves decide. Whether it will be for the benefit or to the detriment of Ukraine is also their business,” he said.

Biden and Trump both plan to watch the hearing

President Biden, who previewed the first prime-time hearing of the committee investigating Jan. 6, plans to watch as much as he can in between meetings and a scheduled dinner with world leaders in Los Angeles, sources familiar with his plan say.

Biden believes the committee has woven together the events of that day — including what happened before, during and after — in a way that will be informative for Americans.

As for former President Trump, who watched those events unfold from the Oval Office on Jan. 6, 2021, will also be keeping an eye on the hearings, one person says. Trump, who is often impressed but agitated by well-produced events, has urged allies to flood the airwaves with attacks on the committee.

Trump won’t be the only one paying attention. Several former members of his West Wing staff say they also plan to watch the hearing to see if it tells a compelling narrative, or falls flat.

BlackRock and UN Women to Promote Gender Lens Investing

New York, 25 May 2022 – BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE: BLK) and UN Women, the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to cooperate in promoting the growth of gender lens investing. As part of the agreement, signed at the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, BlackRock will develop strategies to mobilize capital in support of economic opportunity for women. UN Women will serve as a knowledge partner and collaborate on data and research.

BlackRock and UN Women to Promote Gender Lens Investing

Gender lens investing is defined by UN Women as the intentional allocation of capital and alignment of investment strategies, processes and products, to achieve positive and tangible contributions against women’s empowerment objectives and that has the potential to generate a financial return.

By bringing together BlackRock’s deep investment experience across public and private markets and UN Women’s convening power and gender equality expertise, the partnership aims to catalyze the growth of gender lens investing and inspire greater mobilization of capital into companies that address women’s needs in education, financial services, childcare, healthcare, and other sectors. BlackRock and UN Women are united by the conviction that investing to help enhance the lives of women and girls around the world can increase their economic participation, realizing value and unlocking greater economic growth. [1]

BlackRock, as an asset manager on behalf of clients, will aim to invest across a broad array of asset classes, regions, and investment styles. At their core is a “dual bottom line” investment thesis that aims to drive or support positive real-world outcomes while delivering attractive, risk-adjusted returns for investors. An initial set of funds will launch gradually over the coming quarters and will be available to a global investor base, across institutional and wealth channels.

Looking ahead, BlackRock and UN Women will engage the broader ecosystem of public and private sector organizations focused on gender equality, seek to strengthen data collaboration and research, and continue to explore additional opportunities to collaborate on and promote return-generating and market-based solutions that improve the lives of women and girls.

Isabelle Mateos y Lago, Global Head of the Official Institutions Group at BlackRock, commented: “We are excited to partner with UN Women, a global champion for women’s empowerment, to help scale the nascent field of gender-lens investing. We believe this partnership will help meet the growing appetite of asset owners around the world to focus more on the “S” pillar of ESG and their growing interest in investing for positive real-world outcomes alongside competitive financial returns.”

Anita Bhatia, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, commented: “UN Women’s mission is to achieve a world in which all women and girls can exercise their basic human rights and can unlock their full economic and social potential. Achieving gender equality is at the heart of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and requires strong public-private partnerships that will direct greater flows of financing towards gender equality objectives. We are pleased to partner with BlackRock, a leading global asset manager, to make a real impact and to catalyze global markets to bring gender lens investing to the fore.”

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UN Women and Blackrock representatives speaking at the press conference.

Later this year, BlackRock and UN Women will co-host an event, “Scaling Up Gender Lens Investing: Examining the Economic Case,” which will bring together leading institutional investors, policymakers, nonprofits, and academics to discuss how market-based strategies can help improve women’s economic participation and close the gender gap in funding.

About BlackRock

BlackRock’s purpose is to help more and more people experience financial well-being. As a fiduciary to investors and a leading provider of financial technology, BlackRock helps millions of people build savings that serve them throughout their lives by making investing easier and more affordable. For additional information on BlackRock, please visit www.blackrock.com/corporate.

About UN Women

UN Women is the United Nations (UN) organization dedicated to gender equality, and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women works to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. UN Women also coordinates and promotes the UN system’s work in advancing gender equality. For more information on UN Women, please visit www.unwomen.org.

The Nature Lover

International Women’s Day in 2022 celebrates the dedicated women activists who are stepping up to save the planet. UN Women presents their stories of climate courage and environmental action through a collaboration with illustrators across the Europe and Central Asia region. Read and be inspired…

The Nature Lover

Statement from UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous on Ukraine, 30 March

As the war in Ukraine continues to take its toll on women and girls, UN Women reiterates the UN Secretary-General’s urgent call for peace. The war must stop now.

Statement from UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous on Ukraine, 30 March

Since the war began, more than 10 million people have been forced from their homes in search of safety and security. UN Women applauds Ukraine’s neighbours who have already received more than 4 million people.

Women and girls constitute approximately 90 per cent of all those displaced from Ukraine, they are uniquely exposed to gender-specific risks such as trafficking, sexual and gender-based violence and denial of access to essential services and goods. Reports of some of these risks already becoming reality have begun to surface. This demands an urgent gender-intentional response to ensure the specific rights and needs of women and girls are prioritized.

Women’s civil society organizations inside Ukraine and in neighboring countries are uniquely qualified to help meet these needs. The majority of these organizations remain operational, committed to supporting Ukraine’s women and girls, increasingly at the risk of their own lives.

They are providing food and shelter, legal assistance, mental health support, and help for those evacuated and on the move. Supporting these organizations must be a priority. Ensuring safe humanitarian corridors for this work, and for the work of humanitarian agencies is imperative. We echo the UN Secretary-General’s call for a humanitarian ceasefire.

Women’s organizations lie at the heart of UN Women’s response in Ukraine. We have directly allocated immediate funds to women’s civil society organisations, with more to follow, alongside additional funds coming through the United Nations Women, Peace and Humanitarian Fund for which UN Women is the Secretariat.

We are making efforts to ensure that women’s priority needs are addressed, specifically, safety; access to shelters; necessities such as food, medicine, and hygiene products, accommodation, water and access to power and connectivity; and access to livelihoods, including the ability to work and earn an income.

We are conducting rapid gender assessments to ensure that up-to-date data and analysis on the gender dynamics of the war and its impacts are available to all those working on the response. And we are providing experts to the United Nations Commission of Inquiry established by the Human Rights Council. Our experts are equipped with the skills and experience to investigate sexual violence, abuse and exploitation of women and girls in the context of war. We invest in this work because our experience has shown that to prevent sexual and gender-based violence, it is imperative to investigate these crimes and hold perpetrators to account against these fundamental abuses of the rights of women and girls.

UN Women remains determined to give all we can of our energies, expertise and resources, alongside our partners within and outside the United Nations family. We use our voice in international political fora to ensure that women’s rights, interest, voices and leadership are fully built into the global response to the war in Ukraine.

UN Women is committed to playing our part to ensure that all women and girls everywhere are protected from the consequences of war, and will take every opportunity to support their resilience and leadership.

In Focus: War in Ukraine is a crisis for women and girls

The war has severely impacted social cohesion, community security and the resilience of local communities, especially women and girls. Lack of access to social services including schools and strained community resources have increased the care burden of local women who responsible for the care for children, disabled and elderly family members.

Recent estimates indicate that 54 per cent of people in need of assistance from the ongoing crisis are women. More than 2.3 million refugees from Ukraine – the vast majority women and children – having fled to neighbouring countries, and others displaced within the country. These numbers are expected to increase significantly as the offensive continues.

As women continue to bear different and additional burdens of war, they must be represented in all decision-making platforms on de-escalation, conflict prevention, mitigation and other processes in pursuit of peace and security for the people of Ukraine and beyond.

Ukraine: New UN Women and CARE report highlights disproportionate impact of the war on women and minorities

After more than two months of war in Ukraine, which has forced millions of refugees and displaced people to flee their homes, a new Rapid Gender Analysis by UN Women and CARE reveals that women and minorities are facing immense hardship when it comes to health, safety, and access to food as a result of the crisis. In Ukraine, women are increasingly becoming heads of households and leaders in their communities as men are conscripted, yet they remain largely excluded from formal decision-making processes related to humanitarian efforts, peace-making, and other areas that directly impact their lives.

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Moldova - People fleeing the military offensive in Ukraine. Photo: UN Women/Aurel Obreja.
Moldova – People fleeing the military offensive in Ukraine. Photo: UN Women/Aurel Obreja.

The analysis, based on surveys and interviews with people in 19 regions in Ukraine between 2 and 6 April 2022, sheds a spotlight on the gender dynamics of the crisis and recommends actions for governments, the international community, and other actors to implement in their humanitarian response.

“When it comes to humanitarian needs of displaced people, locals, and households, women do most of the work: they drive, provide hospitals and locals with medication and food, they care about their disabled relatives and children,” said a woman who participated in the survey.

The report reveals that the impact of the war is particularly disproportionate for internally displaced people and marginalized groups such as female-headed households, Roma people, LGBTQIA+ people, and people with disabilities. Many respondents from Roma communities gave testimony of severe discrimination, both in their daily struggle and in access to humanitarian aid.

The analysis also reveals that gender roles are changing in Ukraine. While many men have become unemployed and are primarily engaging in the armed forces, women report taking on new roles and multiple jobs to make up for the lost family income. Women are also performing vital roles in the humanitarian response in local communities. However, despite taking on increasing leadership roles in their families and communities, they are largely excluded from formal political and administrative decision-making processes.

With schools closed, high demand for volunteer work, and the absence of men, women’s unpaid care burden has increased significantly. Backtracking on gender equality is already evident in the ongoing crisis. The war is increasing unemployment among the entire population and will likely push women into the unprotected informal sectors of the economy and increase poverty.

Women and girls also highlighted poor access to health care services, especially for survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) and pregnant, expecting, and new mothers, as well as rising fears of GBV and lack of food, especially for those in heavy conflict areas. Many respondents also spoke of the challenges and barriers they face in accessing humanitarian aid and services, and around 50 per cent of both women and men indicated that mental health was a main area of life impacted by the war.

“It’s critical that the humanitarian response in Ukraine takes into account and addresses the different needs of women and girls, men and boys, including those that are furthest left behind”, says UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous. “This timely analysis provides the evidence of those needs, and their urgency. Women have been playing vital roles in their communities’ humanitarian response. They must also be meaningfully involved in the planning and decision-making processes to make sure that their specific needs are met, especially those related to health, safety, and access to livelihoods.”

“Our Rapid Gender Analysis allows us to consult directly with affected populations in order to accurately identify what specific needs different groups of people have, and how to best meet them,” says Sofia Sprechmann Sineiro, Secretary General of CARE International. “What we are hearing from the people of Ukraine is that certain groups—such as those with disabilities, Roma and other ethnic minorities, single mothers, and unaccompanied children—are each in need of different forms of protection and assistance. To keep our response effective and relevant, such groups must be consulted and prioritized across the aid ecosystem as this truly devastating situation continues to evolve.”

Key recommendations of the Rapid Gender Analysis:

  • Ensure that humanitarian assistance addresses the needs of women, men, girls, and boys in vulnerable situations and from different marginalized groups, especially the Roma community, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
  • Prioritize women and young people to equally lead the response and be part of decision-making.
  • Support women-led and women’s rights organizations engaged in the response through provision of financial resources and by amplifying their voices at national and international platforms.
  • Provide displaced women and men with options for vocational training and livelihoods, remaining mindful of changing gender roles.
  • Make access to shelters inclusive and non-discriminatory. Collective shelters should offer sex-segregated and/or family-segregated accommodation.
  • Alleviate home schooling burdens by encouraging families to redistribute care work.
  • Design cash assistance to reach the most vulnerable and at-risk women, especially in occupied territories, areas of active hostilities, and rural localities.
  • Fill gaps in services to respond to gender-based violence.
  • Make sexual and reproductive health and maternal, newborn, and child health care a priority, including the clinical care of sexual assault survivors and ensuring access to contraception.

A 13-year-old was behind the wheel in Texas crash that killed 9 people and left two University of the Southwest golfers critically injured

A 13-year-old boy drove the pickup truck involved in a fiery head-on collision in Texas that killed nine people, including six University of the Southwest golfers and their coach, a National Transportation Safety Board official said Thursday.

Preliminary information indicates the left front tire of the pickup was a spare that failed, causing the vehicle to pull hard to the left into oncoming traffic of a two-lane roadway, NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said.
Investigators were able to identify the remains of the driver by his size, Landsberg said. Both vehicles were probably moving close to the posted speed limit of 75 mph, he said.
In Texas, a minor can begin the classroom part of a driver education course at 14 but must be at least 15 to apply for a learner license, swarovski jewelry according to the public safety department website.
Henrich Siemens, 38, of Seminole, Texas, was in the truck with the boy, authorities said. He was among the nine people killed in the Tuesday evening crash.
The students are recovering and making steady progress, University of the Southwest Provost Ryan Tipton said Thursday.
“One of the students is eating chicken soup,” Tipton told reporters. “I spoke with the parents and they are there with them and they are recovering every day. It’s a game of inches and every hour leads to them one step closer to another day… There is no indication as to how long it’s going to take but they are both stable and recovering and every day making more and more progress.”
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), a Dodge 2500 pickup drove into the approaching lane of a highway just outside Andrews, Texas, and hit a Ford Transit van carrying members of the New Mexico university’s men’s and women’s golf teams.
DPS Sgt. Steven Blanco said “the Dodge pickup drove into the northbound lane and struck the Ford passenger van head on.”
Six students and a coach in the van were killed as were the driver of the pickup and a passenger. Two other golfers were initially in critical condition at University Medical Center of Lubbock, Texas, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The NTSB dispatched a 12-member team to investigate.
A makeshift memorial was set up at the Rockwind Community Links in Hobbs, New Mexico, Wednesday.
“It was very clearly a high speed, head on collision between two heavy vehicles,” Landsberg told reporters.
Landsberg said in it’s unclear why the full-sized spare blew out before the crash.
“On the highways 100 people (are killed) a day,” he said. “Every two days we are killing the equivalent of a Boeing 737 crashing. Now just think about that. That’s what’s putting this into perspective. And it’s long overdue that we start to do something about it.”
Emergency responders heading to the crash were told by a dispatcher there were two vehicles on fire with people trapped inside, according to recordings on Broadcastify.com, which monitors radio traffic among many emergency departments.
One of the first responders to arrive said: “All units, I’ve got wrecked units on both sides of the highway, fully involved vehicles. I’m still trying to get up on scene and see what we have.”
Members of the men’s and women’s golf teams at the University of Southwest were traveling back to their Hobbs, New Mexico, campus from a tournament in Midland, Texas, school officials said.
The remainder of the red wing shoes two-day tournament, hosted by Midland College, was canceled. There were 11 schools in the competition, which included both men’s and women’s teams, Midland College Athletic Director Forrest Allen said.
The weather in the area of the crash was clear with no fog, CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers said. There were no freezing temperatures, and the wind was light at around 5 to 8 mph.
As investigators worked to determine what caused the deadly collision, the University of the Southwest is dealing with the emotional toll on its community.
“Our institution is crushed and broken but strong,” Paula Smith, the university’s vice president for financial services, said Thursday.
Many students at the small Christian university — with an enrollment of about 1,100 students, including about 300 on campus — will be returning from spring break over the weekend, and the school is planning a memorial assembly for next week, according to Tipton, the provost.
“These aren’t the kind of things that you ever even dream of happening. And they shouldn’t happen,” he said.
Tipton said officials have said they may never know what caused the pickup truck to veer into the van’s path.
“For any of you that have lost a loved one or a member of your family, it’s the same feeling here,” he said. “They’re not only students and coaches. They are loved ones to us. They are members of our family here on campus.”
One victim was Laci Stone, a freshman member of the women’s golf team who was majoring in global business management, according to a family member.
The six USW student athletes killed in a crash Tuesday were identified as (top row, left to right) Laci Stone, Jackson Zinn, Karisa Raines, (bottom row, left to right) Mauricio Sanchez, Travis Garcia and Tiago Sousa.
“Last night Laci’s golf team was involved in a crash leaving a golf tournament. Our sweet Laci didn’t make it.,” Laci’s mother, Chelsi Stone, posted on Facebook. “Our Laci is gone! She has been an absolute ray of sunshine during this short time on earth.”
Laci, 18, of Nocona, Texas, was one of three siblings.
“We will never be the same after this and we just don’t understand how this happened to our amazing, beautiful, smart, joyful girl,” her mother said.
The school identified the other students who died as Mauricio Sanchez, 19, of Mexico; Travis Garcia, 19, of Pleasanton, Texas; Jackson Zinn, 22, of Westminster, Colorado; Karisa Raines, 21, of Fort Stockton, Texas; and Tiago Sousa, 18, of Portugal.
USW President Quint Thurman confirmed the death of coach Tyler James, who was 26.
“Great coach and a wonderful man,” Thurman said in an email. “Don’t make them any better!”
Coach Tyler James.
James’ bio on the school website said he was in his first season as head coach and played golf at Ottawa University and Howard Payne University.
“He always cared for us and made sure we were always doing good on and off the golf course,” said freshman Phillip Lopez, who did not participate in the tournament.
“I just can’t believe that my teammates and my coach are gone,” Lopez told CNN.
Students Dayton Price, 19, of Mississauga, Ontario, and Hayden Underhill, 20, of Amherstview, Ontario, were hospitalized. GoFundMe fundraisers were started to help pay for victims’ funeral and medical expenses.

Tennis star Elina Svitolina says all prize money she wins at Monterrey Open will go to Ukrainian army

Ukrainian tennis star Elina Svitolina says she will donate all the prize money she wins at the Monterrey Open to the Ukrainian army.

The world No. 15, wearing the yellow and blue of Ukraine, defeated Russia’s Anastasia Potapova — who was not competing under the Russian flag following new sanctions from the International Tennis Federation (ITF) — 6-2 6-1 to reach the second swarovski jewelry round in Mexico.
Svitolina had originally said she would not compete on the WTA Tour against players from Russia or Belarus competing under their respective flags following the invasion of Ukraine but reversed her decision after Tuesday’s joint ruling from the ITF, WTA and ATP.
“It’s a very, very special event this one for me. All the prize money that I’m going to earn here is going to the Ukrainian army,” she said in her on court interview. “So thank you so much for your support.
“In general, I was just focused,” she added. “I was on a mission for my country.”
Elina Svitolina will donate her prize money to the Ukrainian army.
Svitolina, the No. 1 seed in Monterrey and its 2020 champion, will face Bulgarian qualifier Viktoriya Tomova in the second round.
“It’s a very special atmosphere each time that I play here and especially today it’s a very special match for me and moment,” she said.
“I’m in a very sad mood, but I’m happy that I’m here playing tennis — it’s nice to play in front of you, thank you.”
READ: Worried for her parents, Elina Svitolina says she has been suffering sleepless nights
In the Lyon Open, fellow Ukrainian tennis player Dayana Yastremska sank to her knees after beating Romania’s Ana Bogdan 3-6 7-6 7-6 in what she called “the hardest match of my life.”
The 21-year-old, who saved red wing shoes two match points in the three-hour epic, fled Ukraine by boat last week after spending two nights sheltering in an underground car park with her younger sister.
Yastremska traveled to Romania and then Lyon, where she had a wildcard for the tournament.
“I’m happy that I won for my country, but at the same time, I’m very sad,” she said in her on court interview, the Ukrainian flag draped over her shoulders. “My heart stays at home and my mind is fighting here, so it’s very difficult to find the concentration, to find the balance.
“This win, compared to what’s going on in my country, is nothing, but I’m happy. At least, I’m also fighting for my country. I’m really proud of the Ukrainians and they are really heroes. I hope everything is going to finish soon.”