Archive by Author

Stardoll and Random House Launch Interactive Virtual Story for Teens

6 Sep

Stardoll and Random House Launch Interactive Virtual Story for Teens

Stockholm, Sweden and LONDON, September 6 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Stardoll, the world’s largest virtual entertainment and social gaming site for teenagers interested in fashion, celebrity and entertainment, today announced a partnership with Random House Children’s Books to deliver Mortal Kiss, an innovative virtual story aimed at teens. Mortal Kiss is the first interactive story Random House has published on a social networking platform.

Mortal Kiss is a paranormal mystery created in collaboration between writers and editors at RHCB and artists and programmers at Stardoll, crafting everything from plot and personas to virtual environments, illustrations and wardrobes; building a synergy between the reading experience and the interactive features of the website. Mortal Kiss will be serialized globally via the Stardoll website over an 8–week period from the 6th of September until Hallowe’en. The story will deliver 3-5 minutes of reading material daily, building to a cliffhanger every week. Going beyond an ebook experience, Stardoll members are invited to shape the story as it is told – to have a voice, create images, shop for items from the story and get involved with the story’s outcome.

The story will be told through an interactive book and map of Winter Mill, a fictitious town in New England. The four main characters (Liz, Faye, Finn, and Lucas) will have character Stardolls, complete with profiles and outfits to dress up in – all drawn from the events of the story. The main story hub will be the place for Stardoll users to catch up with Mortal Kiss, gathering all the events into one central locale and providing back-story as the mystery unfolds.

The project will also include writing contests with themes from within the book and will ask members to vote on plot points, encouraging teens to read and involving them in the creative writing process at the start of the school year.

“Mortal Kiss is breaking new ground in teen publishing as we explore imaginative ways to interact with this digitally savvy group,” said Gail Rebuck, Chairman and Chief Executive of The Random House Group. “Teens will always be engaged with great storytelling and we are delighted to partner Stardoll on this innovative concept to create new ways of reaching young people and encouraging them to read.”

“We’re excited to be partnering with leading global publisher Random House,” says Mattias Miksche, CEO at Stardoll. “This initiative and new relationship combines the engagement of contemporary media with the printed page to the online game – in ways that encourage the development of creativity and individual voice among teens.”

More about Stardoll

With over 100 million registered users worldwide, the Stardoll Network is the leading group of websites devoted to young women and teens. Launched in early 2009, the network includes: Stardoll.com – the entertainment destination for young women focused on fame, fashion and friends; Piczo.com – the original platform devoted to social self expression and visual blogging; and PaperDollHeaven.com – a simpler game-play environment for the younger, female demographic. The Stardoll Network now works with the world’s biggest brands as they look to engage with an increasingly elusive teen audience. The network is the number one publisher in ComScore’s teen category, both in Europe and globally. The business is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden with offices in the US, UK and Germany, and is backed by two of the world’s top venture capital firms: Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures.

For more information, contact:
Joan Lockwood
Marketing & PR Europe
Stardoll Network
+44 020 7292 7143
joan@stardoll.com

More about Random House

The Random House Group is one of the largest general book publishing companies in the UK. The Group is based in London and has subsidiary companies in Australia, New Zealand and India, with a joint venture in South Africa called Random House Struik. The Group comprises five publishing companies: Cornerstone Publishing, CCV, Ebury Publishing, Random House Children’s Books and Transworld Publishers, boasting more than 40 diverse and highly respected imprints. The Random House Group distribution business services its own imprints as well as 60 other UK publishers. The Random House Group is an independently managed subsidiary of Random House Inc in the US, the trade book publishing division of Bertelsmann AG, one of the world’s largest and most diversified integrated media companies.

For more information, contact:
Clare Hall-Craggs
Publicity Director
Random House Children’s Books
+44 020 8231 6412
clarehallcraggs@randomhouse.co.uk

Children International Expedites Relief to Poor Children Around the World

6 Sep

CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL WEB PLATFORMChildren International uses web platform to expedite relief to poor children. (PRNewsFoto/Children International)

2 Sep 2010 14:47 Africa/Lagos

Children International Expedites Relief to Poor Children Around the World and Reduces Operational Costs With New Donations Management System

Program projected to save $3M in annual expenses

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ — Children International, a Kansas City-based nonprofit organization, announces the Aidmatrix Foundation has completed implementation of a web platform enabling the charity to accept donated supplies to help poor children and families around the world. The platform was donated in part by Aidmatrix and is valued at $250,000. Use of the system is projected to save Children International up to $3 million in annual expenses while significantly reducing the amount of time and effort used in the procurement of gifts-in-kind donations, thus freeing up more funding to help children in need.
To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click: http://multivu.prnewswire.com/mnr/childreninternational/40377/
(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100902/MM57679 )
(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100902/MM57679 )

The platform helps Children International manage their product donations more efficiently. Items such as clothes, textbooks, school supplies, shoes, hygiene items and medical supplies needed to help children and families living in poverty around the world are donated by Children International corporate partners through the website. The new web platform will also provide Children International and its international agencies throughout Latin America, Asia, Africa and the United States the ability to post their needs on the Aidmatrix Network and share them with all the members.

Children International CEO and President Jim Cook says, “We are committed to operating Children International’s Gifts-in-Kind program as effectively and efficiently as possible. Using Aidmatrix is enhancing our ability to reach out to children and families in dire need of the support from our generous corporate donors.”

Children International has a robust gifts-in-kind program that has shipped more than $52 million worth of textbooks, school supplies, clothing, shoes, hygiene items and medical supplies to their partner agencies around the world in the last year. The Aidmatrix platform will save the organization $3 million each year and a significant amount of time and effort used in the procurement of gifts-in-kind donations. Aidmatrix is a nonprofit organization and was able to grant a large portion of the Donations Management Module to Children International.

About The Aidmatrix Foundation, Inc.
The Aidmatrix Foundation, Inc. builds and operates powerful technology hubs that support diverse stakeholder groups in their efforts to work together to solve the world’s most challenging humanitarian crises. Our solutions enhance participation, amplify contributions, and accelerate results for humanitarian relief. More than 35,000 leading corporate, nonprofit and government partners leverage our solutions to mobilize more than $1.5 billion in aid annually, worldwide. The donated goods, money and services impact the lives of more than 65 million people. Aidmatrix is a 501(c)3 nonprofit headquartered in Dallas, Texas, USA, with offices in Wisconsin, Germany and India.
http://www.aidmatrix.org

About Children International
Established in 1936, Children International is a humanitarian organization with its headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. Children International’s programs benefit more than 335,000 children and their families in 11 countries around the world including Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Zambia, Honduras, India, the Philippines and the United States. For more information, visit Sponsor a Child.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
For Children International
Dolores Quinn Kitchin
Public Relations
Direct: (816) 943-3730
Cell: (816) 718-0711
Email: dkitchin@children.org

https://twitter.com/ci_doloresk

For Aidmatrix:
Melis Jones
Vice President – Programs
P: (972) 869-8171
melis_jones@aidmatrix.org

Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100902/MM57679

http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100902/MM57679

PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com Video: http://multivu.prnewswire.com/mnr/childreninternational/40377
Source: Children International

CONTACT: For Children International: Dolores Quinn Kitchin, Public
Relations, +1-816-943-3730, Cell: +1-816-718-0711, dkitchin@children.org, or
For Aidmatrix: Melis Jones, Vice President – Programs, +1-972-869-8171,
melis_jones@aidmatrix.org
Web Site: http//www.children.org

Another Tragic Sunday as Father, Kids and others Die in Ghastly Road Accident

6 Sep

Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

Another Tragic Sunday as Father, Kids and others Die in Ghastly Road Accident

A father, two kids and others were reported killed in a ghastly road accident Sunday night in Ibafo on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, just meters away from the Berger Bridge where over 40 lives were lost in a similar auto accident on August 15.

Three oil tankers, a KIA sport utility vehicle (SUV) and other vehicles were involved in the road crash.
Eyewitness accounts blamed the accident on the KIA SUV BZ 342 AKD that suddenly stopped in traffic and the speeding oil tankers behind crashed into it with loud explosions. The inferno from the explosions engulfed the tankers and jeep and spread to other oncoming vehicles.

Welcome to Lagos! Go for a Jolly Ride on the BRT Bus

4 Sep

BRT (Bus Rapid Transit)

BRT means Bus Rapid Transit.

BRT is a transport option, which relies on the use of dedicated ‘interference’ free segregated lanes to guarantee fast and reliable bus travel. The BRT buses run on physically segregated lanes and thus make them run faster in a situation where there is traffic congestion.
It is one of the several options available for tackling the huge public transport predicaments of Lagos.

BRT: Dedicated “interference’ free segregated lanes

Other options include the light rail, heavy rail, subway metro and traditional bus systems. The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) takes care of most of the problems of the other systems:

It will reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality and meet the mobility needs, particularly of the less privileged and poor masses of the Lagos metropolis.

It is a roadway-based system that looks and behaves like a subway, offering high capacity rapid transit services but on dedicated lanes or city streets.

First phase of the Lagos BRT already running from Mile 12 through Ikorodu Road and Funsho Williams Avenue up to CMS started operations on 17 March 2008. The BRT runs a 16 – hour operations from 6.00 a.m to 10 p.m. The system uses 220 buses to move more than 200,000 passengers daily. In its first two years of operation, the BRT system moved more than 120 million passengers.

More on the BRT Buses

Show me the Money!

4 Sep

Can anyone live well in the world without money?

One-in-Five Workers Have Trouble Making Ends Meet

1 Sep

1 Sep 2010 12:00 Africa/Lagos

One-in-Five Workers Have Trouble Making Ends Meet as More Indicate They Live Paycheck to Paycheck, Reveals New CareerBuilder Survey

–Nearly eight-in-ten workers living paycheck to paycheck, up from 2009– –One-in-five report they have missed payments on their bills– –Twenty-three percent started living paycheck to paycheck in 2009–

CHICAGO, Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/ — As the effects of the recession linger on, one place it continues to have a tight grip is on workers’ wallets. Nearly eight-in-ten (77 percent) workers report that they live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet. Sixty-one percent of workers said that they felt they lived paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet in 2009. Workers went on to say that sometimes they are unable to make ends meet at all, with one-in-five (22 percent) saying they have missed payments on bills in the last year. This is according to a new nationwide survey of more than 4,400 workers by CareerBuilder that was conducted from May 18 to June 3, 2010.

Twenty-three percent of workers said they started living paycheck to paycheck in 2009. As a result, workers said they have made a variety of changes to their living and spending habits to help get by. When asked what tactics they have used since the start of the recession to make ends meet, workers said the following:

– Cut back on leisure activities – 54 percent
— Used coupons or shopped at discount stores – 48 percent
— Drove less to save on gas – 37 percent
— Cancelled cable and other subscriptions – 12 percent
— Used public transportation – 5 percent

“The last 18 months have required some workers to tighten their day-to-day spending and make some adjustments to their financial futures,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder. “Our survey found that six-in-ten workers say that the recession has made them more fiscally responsible. Maintaining a budget is not only important now, but will better position workers – both personally and professionally – for the long run.”

Some workers are making ends meet by dipping into their long-term savings. More than one-in-five (21 percent) workers say they have reduced their 401(k) contributions or personal savings in the last year to get by.

Saving money is not an option for some workers, as one-third (33 percent) state that they do not participate in any programs such as 401(k), IRAs or retirement plans. One-in-three (30 percent) report that they don’t put any money aside into their savings each month, while 28 percent set aside $100 or less per month for savings and 14 percent save less than $50.

Haefner offers the following tips for riding out the economic downturn and preparing for the future:

Cut back where you can – Takeout coffee, lunches out and other common everyday expenses can make quite a dent in your checking account. Create a spreadsheet to analyze what you spend each month, and once you can see where your money goes, you can more easily see where you can cut back.

Be saving savvy – Even if it is a small amount, set aside money each month for your long-term savings. If you have trouble remembering or fitting into your budget, try setting up an automatic deposit into a savings account.

Maximize your benefits – Talk to your HR department about how you can make the most of the benefits at your organization. Find out if your company offers discounts to stores or for other services, and ask about how you can make sure you’ve selected the right benefits plans for your budget.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder.com among 2,534 U.S. hiring managers and 4,498 U.S. workers (employed full-time; not self-employed; non government); ages 18 and over between May 18 and June 3, 2010 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset of U.S. employers and/or employees, based on their responses to certain questions). With a pure probability sample of 2,534 and 4,498 one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 1.95 and +/-1.46 percentage points, respectively. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.

About CareerBuilder®

CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract their most important asset – their people. Its online career site, CareerBuilder.com®, is the largest in the United States with more than 23 million unique visitors, 1 million jobs and 32 million resumes. CareerBuilder works with the world’s top employers, providing resources for everything from employment branding and data analysis to recruitment support. More than 9,000 websites, including 140 newspapers and broadband portals such as MSN and AOL, feature CareerBuilder’s proprietary job search technology on their career sites. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) , Tribune Company, The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI) and Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) , CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit http://www.careerbuilder.com.

Media Contact:
CareerBuilder
Allison Nawoj
773-527-2437
allison.nawoj@careerbuilder.com

http://www.twitter.com/CareerBuilderPR

Source: CareerBuilder

CONTACT: Allison Nawoj of CareerBuilder, +1-773-527-2437,
allison.nawoj@careerbuilder.com

Web Site: http://www.careerbuilder.com/

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UK & Europe Trail Emerging Economies on Expat Finances

1 Sep

1 Sep 2010 07:00 Africa/Lagos

UK & Europe Trail Emerging Economies on Expat Finances

LONDON, September 1, 2010/PRNewswire/ –

– Vast Majority of Expats in the UK Note a Further Deterioration in the
Economic Climate, one in ten Actively Looking to Move Home
– Wealth gap Continues to Widen Between the East and Mainland Europe
– Stresses of Eurozone Woes Reflected in Expat Sentiment
– BRIC Countries Emerging as Expat Hotspots

The UK & Europe have been revealed as some of the least favourable locations for expat finances, according to the latest findings from HSBC Bank International’s Expat Explorer survey, the largest global survey of expats.

Expat Economics, the first report from the 2010 study, found that the UK, Belgium, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands were the worst performing locations when it came to overall wealth, with lower annual salaries, reduced levels of disposable income and fewer expats owning luxurious items.

Now in its third year, Expat Explorer surveyed more than 4,100 expats from over 100 countries, an increase of close to 1,000 additional respondents on 2009 making it once again the largest global survey of its kind. Expat Economics rankings features 25 countries in 2010, determining each location’s economic score based on three main elements:

– Annual income in excess of US$200,000
– Monthly disposable income in excess of US$3,000
– A measure of defined luxuries (such as owning either a swimming pool,
more than one property, a boat/yacht, or going on more luxurious
holidays)

Lisa Wood, Head of Customer Propositions at HSBC Bank International, said that it was clear the wealth gap was widening between the east and west, with expats in emerging economies leaving their counterparts in the Eurozone behind.

“It is clear that the economic volatility that has plagued the UK and Eurozone has had a significant effect on expat finances since 2009,” said Lisa.

“The report has revealed that these countries were the worst performing when looking at purely financial criteria and it was here that we found a significant proportion of expats who had noticed a deterioration in their respective country’s economies. Not surprisingly, a number of expats in these economies are actively looking to return home.”

Expats and the economy

Almost half (47%) of all expats surveyed believed that the economy in their current country has deteriorated since the start of 2009. Reflecting the turmoil experienced in the Eurozone, a larger number of expats based in Spain (93%), Belgium (60%), France (60%) and the United Kingdom (67%) also agreed with this statement.

This was in contrast to the economies that have escaped the worst of the economic downturn, with a smaller number of expats living in the emerging nations of Russia (45%), India (16%) and China (9%) feeling negative about their respective host economies.

Nearly one third (29%) of UK based expats said there have been reduced career opportunities and 31% say they are having to monitor their expenditure more closely – something that has become increasingly important due to the increased cost of living that UK based expats are faced with. Over half of UK based expats agreed that the cost of living was considerably higher than in their home country, with bigger spending on most items except healthcare.

The wealth gap

Mainland Europe, dominates the bottom five positions on the league table. Almost two-thirds (62%) of surveyed expats living in Spain earn below $60,000, as do almost half of the expats living in France (47%) the Netherlands (47%) and Germany (45%). This is much higher than the global average of only one quarter (26%) of expats who earn less than $60,000 and can largely be explained by the high number of expats who choose mainland Europe as a retirement destination.

Conversely, expats in Russia remain the wealthiest in the world, with over one-third (36%) of those surveyed earning over $250,000. Both Singapore (32%) and Bermuda (27%) also have a much higher proportion of expats with an annual income of over $250,000, significantly higher than the world average of 13%.

Accumulation of debt in the UK

Overall, the report revealed that only one in twenty (5%) expats were accumulating more debt and that expats are still saving a greater amount whilst working abroad, with one in five (20%) able to pay off more debt than when they lived in their home country.

Despite this, the report revealed that the UK was home to the highest number of expats who were accumulating more debt (11%) followed by Australia (9%), despite the fact that many expats in these countries are also able to save more than in their home nation (53% and 51% respectively). Spain (29%) and France (36%) have a much smaller percentage of expats saving more than in their home nation, however this is likely to be due to the larger number of retirees amongst this population.

“Whilst we have seen a different and somewhat negative picture in the UK & Europe when compared to the rest of the world, it’s important to remember that expats in these countries are still managing to earn and save more that they did in their home country,” said Lisa.

“As expats tend to be more affected by economic events, it will be interesting to see how migration patterns continue to change as the global economy continues to undergo a period of recovery.”

Follow the updates and join the debate online:

Tweet at: http://twitter.com/expatexplorer

Share your experiences: http://expatexplorer.blogspot.com/

Notes to editors:

About the Expat Explorer survey

The Expat Explorer was commissioned by HSBC Bank International and conducted by third party research company GfK. 4,127 expats were questioned through an online survey from 26th April 2010 to the 7th June 2010, with expats from over 100 countries worldwide taking part – making it a unique and the largest survey of its kind. Please note that the sampling technique used for the 2010 survey does not claim to give a fully representative sample of all expatriates. In addition, it differs substantially from the sampling technique used in 2009. Therefore, comparisons of results year on year are not statistically valid and have been made for illustrative purposes only.

A sample size of 30 or more respondents from each country was required for inclusion in the league tables, in order to be considered robust and indicative of the views and trends of the specific population it relates to. The league tables are based on a series of interrelated factors (rather than a single factor or question) to ensure a fair assessment of how individual countries rate across the full criteria. The responses of those who responded “not applicable” or “refuse to say” have been excluded. Each criterion is equally weighted to arrive at a score. The overall ranking is based on the average score for a country across the criteria.

About Expat Economics

The Expat Economics league table ranks countries in terms of three main economic factors: a.) Income, b.) Disposable Income and c.) a measure of Luxury. All countries with a sample size of 30 and above are included in the economic league table. Scores from each factor is equally weighted to arrive at an Overall ‘Expat Economic’ Score and Overall Rank. For further information on the Expat Economics methodology, please refer to the Expat Economics report available at http://www.offshore.hsbc.com

HSBC Bank International

HSBC Bank International is an award winning provider of offshore financial services, with its head office based in Jersey, Channel Islands. It also has representation in the Isle of Man, Dubai, Hong Kong, South Africa, Singapore and an affiliate office in London. Being a part of HSBC Holdings plc, HSBC Bank International has the experience to offer customers living and or working abroad, tailored offshore financial solutions.

For more information visit: http://www.offshore.hsbc.com

Media enquiries to:

Karen Butcher / Nick Woods
Hill & Knowlton
+44(0)207-413-3181 / +44(0)207-413-3515
karen.butcher@hillandknowlton.com / nick.woods@hillandknowlton.com

Source: HSBC Bank International

Media enquiries to: Karen Butcher, Hill & Knowlton, +44(0)207-413-3181, karen.butcher@hillandknowlton.com; Nick Woods, +44(0)207-413-3515, nick.woods@hillandknowlton.com

Mrs.Patience Goodluck Jonathan: From Money Laundering To Image Laundering?

31 Aug

Madam Patience Goodluck Jonathan and Gov. Amaechi Rotimi of Rivers State

“All the primary schools in Okrika are surrounded by houses and we don’t want the schools to be surrounded by residential houses where people cook and sell and distract the pupils, so we have to demolish them. We want to pay them compensation and demolish the houses”.
~ Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State in Nigeria on August 24, 2010.

“But what I am telling you is that you always say you must demolish, that word must you use is not good. It is by pleading. You appeal to the owners of the compound because they will not go into exile. Land is a serious issue”.
~ Mrs. Patience Goodluck, the first wife of President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria.

The above exchange of words between the First Lady, Mrs. Patience Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers state took place in Okrika last Tuesday August 24, 2010, when Mrs. Jonathan criticized the governor for his insistence to demolish water fronts to build a primary school. After the unpleasant incidence, she left the state without completing her tour as she angrily returned to Abuja from her civic reception ground in Okrika. She no longer visited prisons where some inmates were waiting to be released and she cancelled the inspection of the model Secondary School at Ebubu Eleme.

Madam First Lady Patience Goodluck Jonathan has been throwing her weight around and supported by the desperate camps of President Goodluck Jonathan who have been paid millions of naira, including many Nollywood actors, to use image laundering to delete the money laundering case against Mrs. Patience Goodluck and her proxies.

Lest we forget that on September 11, 2006, Mr. Osita Nwajah, the EFCC spokesman made a public declaration that a whopping sum of $13.5 million Dollars (US) was seized from Mrs. Patience Jonathan, the wife of then Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan

“Abia is number one (of corrupt state) not because it is number one alphabetically, but because we have one of the biggest established cases of stealing, money laundering, diversion of fund against Governor Kalu. The governor used his mother, daughter, wife and brother to divert N35billion to build his business empire including Slok Airlines, Slok Pharmaceuticals and newspaper house…Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu corruption is of international dimension.There is s also a petition against the Governor of Bayelsa’s wife. She was involved in laundering the sum of one hundred and four million into foreign account. She is also being investigated.”
~ Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, during the plenary section of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which held on September 27, 2006.

The case is suit number FHC/ABJ/M/340/06 filed on August 21, 2007 at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

For a detailed account of the EFCC case of money laundering implicating Mrs. Goodluck Jonathan, see
Jonathan Goodluck’s Family, Sahara Reporters, Ribadu or Adewuyi: Who Lied Against Whom? By Adebiyi Jelili Abudugana , Published 06/19/2010 in the Nigeria Matters of Nigerians In America.

Combating the Crisis of Religious Intolerance

31 Aug

30 Aug 2010 14:04 Africa/Lagos

Combating the Crisis of Religious Intolerance

Acclaimed Media Relations Veteran Leyla Turkkan Extends Pro Bono Services to Organizations and Celebrities Working Towards a Solution

NEW YORK, Aug. 30 /PRNewswire/ — To combat the state of emergency that American religious intolerance has created, Catalyst Group CEO Leyla Turkkan, a twenty-year media relations veteran, is offering pro bono consultation to organizations aiming to build bridges between people of all denominations.

“As a first-generation Turkish-American Muslim,” stated Turkkan, “I am saddened by the rhetoric that has taken over the national dialogue about religion since 9/11. The media does not provide the correct representation of over a billion peace-loving Muslims in the world. Therefore, I intend on providing a more accurate portrayal of not only American Muslims, but all Americans who wish to preserve our identity as an inclusive society. I believe it is imperative we preserve the rich tradition of diversity and religious freedom that has always defined America.”

A marketing and media strategist, Turkkan has worked with and represented a wide variety of influential, politically inclined figures and organizations, including:

– Nobel Prize winner and UNESCO Good Will Ambassador Rigoberta Menchu
— Russell Simmons
— Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and Bruce Springsteen’s Christic
Institute Benefit (Karen Silkwood defense team)
— Public Enemy’s Chuck D.
— Music industry progressive and author Danny Goldberg
— New York Civil Liberties Union

Turkkan has also given her support with the pioneering, multi-artist Tibetan Freedom Concert I, II & III, the Hip Hop Summit Action Network, the historic “Stop The Violence” movement, as well as countless fundraising efforts to provide money and raise awareness around the homeless, Hurricane Katrina victims, HIV awareness, voter registration and Freedom of Speech.

Leyla Turkkan founded The Catalyst Group in January 2007. Prior to that she held senior positions with Viacom/BET Networks/BET.com, Enclave/EMI Records, Atlantic/TAG Recordings, Columbia Records and 360HipHop.com

If you are an organization or celebrity promoting religious tolerance and understanding and would like to contact The Catalyst Group, please go to http://www.catalystgroup.biz/ for more information.

This press release was issued through eReleases(R). For more information, visit eReleases Press Release Distribution at http://www.ereleases.com/.

Source: The Catalyst Group

CONTACT: Leyla Turkkan, The Catalyst Group, +1-917-374-8020

Web Site: http://www.catalystgroup.biz/

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AU Speaks on Omar Hassan Al-Bashir Visits to Chad and Kenya

30 Aug

Omar Hassan Al-Bashir

30 Aug 2010 05:44 Africa/Lagos

African Union Commission / Press release on the decision of the pre-trial chamber of the ICC informing the UN Security Council and the Assembly of the State Parties to the Rome statute about the presence of president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir of the Sudan in the territories of the Republic of Chad and the Republic of Kenya

ADDIS ABABA, August 29, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The African Union Commission has noted with grave concern statements attributed to some members of the UN Security Council as well as the decisions ICC-02/05-01/09 of 27 August 2010 of the ICC Pre Trial Chamber informing the United Nations Security Council and the Assembly of the States Parties to the Rome Statute about Omar Al-Bashir’s presence in the territories of the Republic of Chad and the Republic of Kenya.

The said statements and the decisions assert that the two African Union Member States have “a clear obligation to cooperate with the Court in relation to the enforcement of such warrants of arrest, which stems both from the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1593, whereby the United Nations Security Council ‘urge[d] all States and concerned regional and other international organizations to cooperate fully’ with the Court, and from article 87 of the Statute of the Court”, to which the two countries are state parties. The African Union Commission further notes that the decision by the Pre-Trial chamber was made strangely in respect of the “expected attendance of Omar Al Bashir at the celebration scheduled for Friday, 27 August 2010”.

The African Union Commission expresses its deep regret that both the statements and the decisions grossly ignore and make no reference whatsoever to the obligations of the two countries to the African union, arising from decisions Assembly/AU/Dec. 245(XIII) adopted by the 13th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, wherein the Assembly “Decide[d] that in view of the fact that the request by the African Union has never been acted upon (by UN Security Council), the AU Member States shall not cooperate pursuant to the provisions of Article 98 of the Rome Statute of the ICC relating to immunities, for the arrest and surrender of President Omar El Bashir of The Sudan”, which decision was reiterated (decision Assembly/AU/Dec. 296 (XV) by the 15th Ordinary session of the Assembly in July 2010 in Kampala, Uganda. Additionally, the statements and the decisions did not take cognisance whatsoever of the obligations of AU Member states arising from Article 23 (2) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, which obligates all AU Member States “to comply with the decisions and policies of the Union”. Thus, the decisions adopted by the AU policy organs are binding on Chad and Kenya and it will be wrong to coerce them to violate or disregard their obligations to the African Union.

It is to be recalled that the repeated appeals to the UN Security Council by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union as well as the AU Peace and Security Council to defer the proceedings against President Omar Hassan Bashir of The Sudan for one year in application of the provisions of Article 16 of the Rome Statute have never been acted upon by the UN Security Council. The same UN Security Council, which has ignored this request by AU member states and which includes states that have no obligations to the International Criminal Court, has no moral authority to sit in judgement over Chad and Kenya. Indeed, by virtue of their membership of the African union, these two countries have committed themselves to “condemnation and rejection of impunity” and voluntarily negotiated the Rome Statute along with the Organisation of African Unity and joined the ICC with a view to enhancing the fight against impunity.

The African Union Commission recalls that both Chad and Kenya being neighbours of The Sudan have an abiding interest in ensuring peace and stability in The Sudan and in promoting peace, justice and reconciliation in that country, which can only be achieved through continuous engagement with the elected government of that country. Neighbouring countries do this as a matter of survival as they bear the brunt of instability or insecurity in neighbouring states. Kenya as a member of IGAD and a guarantor to the peace process in The Sudan, arising from the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the impending referendum in South Sudan, has a duty and obligation to continuously engage with President Omar Hassan Al Bashir and President Silva Kiir.

It is to be noted that engagement with the elected leaders of The Sudan is vitally and strategically essential and unavoidable for the countries of the region as well as the entire continent, which by their location are better able to understand and take into account the local realities and dynamics. The attempt to involve the UN Security Council in this matter is yet another effort to pressurise African countries to support the ICC irrespective of the complex dynamics on the ground which require a fine balance between peace and justice and, in this regard, the AU shall oppose any attempt to coerce African Countries to undermine the common African position.

The African Union will continue to fight against impunity as required by the relevant Assembly decisions as well as Article 4 of the Constitutive Act and shall oppose the pretensions and double standards that are evident from the statements being made about the two countries. The African Union believes and will continue to pursue in respect of the Sudan the interconnected, mutually interdependent and equally desirable objectives of peace, justice and reconciliation. It also requests all African Countries and Friends of Africa to reject any draft resolution that may be tabled before the UN Security Council on this matter.

Addis Ababa, 29 August 2010.

Source: African Union Commission (AUC)

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