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The promised pan-African passport was launched and the financing of the African Union (AU) was among the many issues discussed by heads of state at the 27th AU Summit in Kigali, Rwanda over the weekend.Discussions centred on the continent’s actions regarding the AU’s Agenda 2063.This strategic framework sets a path for socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. It was adopted at the Organization of African Unity (OAU) / AU 50th Anniversary Celebration, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2013.Agenda 2063 lies at the heart of the future Africa envisions for itself. The leaders who signed it imagined a prosperous continent at peace with itself.One of the foundations of Agenda 2063 is the AU vision: “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in global arena”.The summit, which started on 10 July and ended yesterday, is themed 2016: African Year of Human Rights. Leaders in Kigali focused particularly on the rights of African women.ElectionsElections were held on Sunday, 17 July for a new chairperson of the AU Commission to replace South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, along with a roster of new AU commissioners. The new commissioner was to be announced as the summit closed on Monday.The three candidates for the post AU Commissioner, two of them women, were: former Uganda vice-president Specioza Wandira Kazibwe, Botswana foreign minister Pelonomi Venson Moitoi, and Equatorial Guinea foreign minister Agapito Mba Mokuy, according to the international multimedia broadcasting service, Voice of America.Leaders from across Africa gather in Kigali for the 27th AU Summit, from 10-18 July 2016. (Image: 27th AU Summit)Briefing the media on 15 July, AU chief of staff Jennifer Chiriga, said that African heads of state would meet for the first time at a closed session the following day. “They will be discussing strategic issues, particularly the financing of the union. We have a report that will be represented.“We also had a special envoy who has been going around the continent, getting views of the heads of state on how we can improve our peace fund,” she said.The out-going Commission has three months from the election date to compile a handover report before exiting. Chiriga said the highlight of the summit would be the elections. “We are anticipating the summit will be electing a chairperson and a deputy chairperson. The executive council will elect eight commissioners. They will form a new Commission.”Pan-African passportThe Pan-African passport, which will be made available to diplomats and heads of state first, will allow free movement across national borders. Louise Mushikiwabo, foreign affairs minister of Rwanda, explained that although security was a major concern, this would not stop them. “Our strategic thinking is that the fear of insecurity should not stop Africans from moving freely from one country to another.”Passports would be delivered symbolically to some heads of state, foreign ministers and a few officials of the AU, she said. Thereafter each AU member state would discuss country-specific design of the passports. “How soon the passports will be implemented will depend on each country and their preparation to distribute widely,” she said.The first two recipients were the leaders of Chad and Rwanda. Chadian President Idriss Déby, the body’s current chairperson, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame were presented with the passports by Dlamini-Zuma.The passport was launched on Sunday, 17 July at the opening ceremony of the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union:Video of first @_AfricanUnion passports being issued at #27thAUSummit #KigaliConvention pic.twitter.com/rgiVrWrcYs via @abi_negn— Calestous Juma (@calestous) July 17, 2016South SudanThe most critical issue that was discussed was the resurgence of violence in South Sudan, Mushikiwabo said on 14 July. “We are expecting the secretary-general of the United Nations to meet some leaders on the continent on this matter. This is a very important topic on everybody’s mind.”Their first concern was the protection of civilians in South Sudan, and then the political process could be put back on track, she added.Agenda 2063In her statement on Sunday, Dlamini-Zuma said they were hopeful regarding the implementation of Agenda 2063. “Work started on the Agenda 2063 flagship projects and the first Ten-Year Implementation Plan, and over two-thirds of countries and (regional economic communities) began domesticating this collective vision of the Africa we want.“On the sidelines of this summit, the commission met African editors, discussing the role they should play in popularising Agenda 2063, in holding up a mirror that reflects Africanstories in their great diversity, in changing mindsets, shaping an African narrative that is pan-African and promoting our Renaissance. To do this, they told me to transmit humbly to the excellencies, they require freedom of the press and not to be persecuted for telling the truth,” she said.Dlamini-Zuma also spoke about the third High Level Panel on Gender Equality.“Over 400 mainly women and some men from across the continent and the diasporarepeated their call to strengthen financing for gender and the role of women inpeace processes.”The AU and the OAUThe OAU was founded by 32 African countries at a meeting in Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia in 1963. By 2002, membership had grown to 53, when the organisation of African states was renamed the African Union. In 2011 it grew by one, when South Sudan became a member following that country’s creation.According to the AU website, the OAU’s main objectives, as set out in the OAU Charter, were:to promote the unity and solidarity of African states;to co-ordinate and intensify their co-operation and efforts to achieve a betterlife for the people of Africa;to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states;to rid the continent of colonisation and apartheid;to promote international co-operation within the United Nations framework;and,to harmonise members’ political, diplomatic, economic, educational, cultural,health, welfare, scientific, technical and defence policies.Source: Rwanda Broadcasting Agency and SouthAfrica.info reporter
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Jerry HagstromDTN Political CorrespondentWASHINGTON (DTN) — At a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on the meat industry Wednesday, a representative of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association said that price discovery for cattle needs to be improved, while other meat interests said the most important goal for Congress should be approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade.Shane Eaton, a rancher and feedlot operator from Montana who serves on the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Marketing and Competition Committee, said extreme volatility and prices have marked daily cattle and live cattle futures following an August fire at the Finney County Beef Plant in Holcomb, Kansas, owned by Tyson Foods. The situation should show that Congress “needs to address the current inadequacies in the marketplace,” he said.Eaton noted in his testimony that “USCA submitted four recommendations to the CME Group that would improve the way the Live and Feeder Cattle Futures Contracts operate.”Eaton also said that members of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association are divided over whether to support the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade. On Monday, USCA President Kenny Graner wrote President Donald Trump a letter urging him to include country-of-origin labeling for beef in the agreement even though it is not included in the agreement to which U.S., Canadian and Mexican negotiators have agreed.Graner wrote, “The rural America that overwhelmingly supported you in the 2016 election due to your ‘America first’ agenda now has one simple ask, Mr. President. On behalf of our nationwide membership, we respectfully request the inclusion of a country-of-origin labeling program for U.S. beef products within the context of USMCA.”But National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jennifer Houston disagreed with USCA.“NCBA strongly supports passage of the USMCA because it allows U.S. beef producers to continue being the dominant source of beef in North America by having duty-free, unrestricted access to a strong consumer base in Canada and Mexico,” Houston said. “Additionally, it ensures continued protection from failed policies like Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (MCOOL).”There was some emphasis in the hearing on what had happened to cattle prices right after the fire at the Holcomb plant. Last week, Kansas State University released a report showing that Kansas feedyards in August lost $184.99 per head while “packer margins spiked significantly to nearly four times their annual average, or approximately $549.” KSU predicted in that same report that cattle feeders will not see a positive net return on steers or heifers until May 2020.Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., highlighted the price spread between live cattle prices and boxed beef after the Tyson Foods fire last month. Fed and feeder cattle prices are down, boxed beef is up and the packer margin is high. A reduction in packing capacity has reduced livestock prices. Once that capacity comes on line, Fischer wanted to know if live cattle prices would rise again.“If those prices do not come up, I think we can begin to explore some of the other factors that may be at play in this arena,” Fischer said.Fischer said to Houston, “Packers are doing alright. They are doing OK.” Fischer then pointed to the lower prices for feeder cattle.“Certainly, we are hearing from our members,” Houston said. “At this point, probably the feeders are being hurt the most.”Houston added that a lot of packing capacity was taken up by higher Saturday processing. Houston also noted there were times when other parts of the cattle business were making money, but not the packers.“So we hope things will stabilize pretty soon,” Houston said. “Certainly, the optics to our members are bad.”Eaton noted that when the fire happened, cattle futures fell for two and a half days. Eaton said there “is severe frustration” that packers have captured wide margins of profits. Packers have maintained margins and kept it, he said.“Our members are very worried about the way things turned out,” Eaton said.Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., also highlighted the poultry plant raids in Mississippi last month in which 680 people were arrested for allegedly being undocumented. Durbin noted a lot of immigrant workers at packing plants, “Many of them are undocumented.”“Immigrant labor, migrant labor, is critical for agriculture in America,” Durbin said. He added, “We’ve got to have a more honest conversation about this, and I’m asking all of you to step up your game a little bit.”Durbin said immigration policy cannot simply focus on bringing engineers or others with doctorate degrees into the country.“We need folks to do hard, tough work and immigrants historically have done it,” Durbin said.Other witnesses testifying at the hearing said that approval of USMCA is a top priority.Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said in an opening statement that she understands “the urgency among many agricultural stakeholders to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement because they believe it will restore stability to those markets.”But Stabenow added, “Two things are important to remember as we work on getting the best agreement possible, with strong, meaningful enforcement provisions. First, NAFTA [the North American Free Trade Agreement] is in place now, and producers need to know that the administration will keep NAFTA in place until there is a new agreement — holding the devastating threat of withdrawal over the heads of farmers and other businesses is irresponsible and it only adds to the instability.“Second, even with the USMCA in place, President Trump can still use tariffs as his enforcement tool of choice, meaning that instability, unfortunately, will still exist.”Stabenow also said that the Trump administration’s “chaotic and unpredictable trade agenda has overshadowed the progress we’ve made. Farmers are seeing very real impacts on their bottom lines. I am concerned that American farmers will endure long-term loss in market share in some of our biggest markets.”DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton contributed to this report.Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at [email protected] him on Twitter @hagstromreport(CC/AG)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. 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Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The December 2019 Miami East-MVCTC FFA Member of the Month is Justin Hawkins. He is the son of Darla and Randy Hawkins. He is a junior and third year member of the Miami East-MVCTC FFA Chapter.Justin was a recent member of the District FFA Food Science and Technology Career Development Team. Justin was the highest placing individual from Miami East at the District competition. Justin has attended FFA Camp, assisted with the Cruise-in for Suicide Prevention event, and is the Co-Chair of the Safety Committee in which he helped with the fall seatbelt awareness event. Justin’s Supervised Agricultural Experience Program consists of a large vegetable garden.Every month of the school year the Miami East-MVCTC FFA will select a student to be the FFA Member of the Month. The officer team will nominate one member that has been actively involved in the FFA chapter, school and community activities. If selected, the member will be recognized at the monthly FFA meeting, have their picture displayed in the Miami East Ag Room, and will receive a special accolade in celebration of their accomplishment.
Allen, on the other hand, went on to capture another NBA title in South Beach before calling it quits. Khristian Ibarrola /raSports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters WATCH: ’08 Celtics squad bares dispute with Ray Allen Robredo: 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 LATEST STORIES Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo View comments NU rolls to 2nd win Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side MOST READ Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim The estranged former comrades posed for a photo together, while appearing at the Super Penguin Basketball Celebrity Game at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center in China over the weekend.“Time to get the band back together,” “The Truth” wrote on Instagram, tagging the rest of the “Big 4” members, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo.“No matter what happen we all formed a special bond that can never b broken,” he added, using the hashtags #burythehatchet and #onceacelticalwaysaceltic.Meanwhile, the pair have both walked away from the NBA, with Pierce recently signing a one-day contract to retire as a member of the Celtics.NBA: Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s jersey next seasonADVERTISEMENT NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul After winning an NBA Championship together in 2008, former Boston Celtics teammates Paul Pierce and Ray Allen did not have an amicable parting of ways, as the latter left for the Miami Heat in 2012.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingBut after admitting “being hurt” by the sharpshooter’s decision to jump ship during an appearance on TNT’s “Area 21” back in May, it seems that Pierce has let bygones be bygones and reunited with Allen.ADVERTISEMENT