Gaza running out of fuel, medicine — UN

The UN has raised concern over a ‘dangerously short supply of essential medicines’ after 40 percent of the stocks of drugs were completely depleted. (AFP)
Updated 23 August 2018
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Gaza running out of fuel, medicine — UN

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations has run out of funding to pay for fuel needed for hospitals, water plants and other critical facilities in the Gaza Strip, the UN political chief said Wednesday.
Rosemary Di Carlo also told the Security Council that recent violent escalations between Israel and Palestinian militants “threatened to plunge Gaza into war.”
The Security Council held its monthly meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the United Nations was working with Egypt to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and halt the violence.
Di Carlo said she was “deeply concerned that funding for UN emergency fuel, which sustains some 250 critical facilities in Gaza has now run out” and appealed for $4.5 million to ensure essential services for the rest of the year.
The UN undersecretary-general for political affairs also raised concern over a “dangerously short supply of essential medicines” after 40 percent of the stocks of drugs were completely depleted.
Gaza has seen a surge of violence since Palestinian protests that began in March have been met with Israeli fire, killing 171 Palestinians.
Israel has carried out strikes in Gaza at least 125 times in response to rocket attacks fired toward Israeli towns and cities.
UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov and Egyptian officials have been seeking to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas, which rules Gaza. The two sides have fought three wars since 2008.
Israeli media have speculated that a deal could entail easing Israel’s crippling blockade of Gaza in exchange for calm on the border and the return of the bodies of two soldiers killed in 2014.
Israel is also seeking the return of two Israeli citizens believed held by Hamas.
Di Carlo called “on all parties” to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches Gaza and urged Hamas to provide information on Israeli nationals held in the strip.


New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

Updated 26 April 2019
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New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

  • The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July
  • Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues

RABAT: The Moroccan government on Thursday announced a “new social deal” with employers and the main labor unions, under which many workers will enjoy a pay rise.
The deal agreed by the General Confederation of Moroccan Businesses (CGEM) and the three main unions — the UMT, UGTM and UNMT — is the fruit of months of negotiations
The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July, except for the agricultural sector.
Government-paid family allowances will also rise.
Meanwhile public sector workers will be given a 300-500 dirham monthly pay increase over three years.
Of Morocco’s main trade unions only the Democratic Labour Confederation has not signed the social deal which, according to the government statement, is aimed at “improving spending power and the social climate.”
Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues, in particular health and education in the north African country which has been hit by protests over employment and corruption.
Mohammed VI pointed to social support and social protection programs that “overlap each other, suffer from a lack of consistency and fail to effectively target eligible groups.”
After months of stalemate, the dossier was handed to the interior ministry at the beginning of the year and the final rounds of talks were held.
The social unrest began in October 2016 after the death of a fisherman and spiralled into a wave of protests demanding more development in the neglected Rif region and railing against corruption and unemployment.
Morocco is marked by glaring social and territorial inequalities, against a backdrop of high unemployment among young people. In 2018, it was ranked 123rd out of 189 countries and territories on the Human Development Index.