first_imgThe origami peacock for peace is made of more than 2,000 pieces of paper. It’s three feet wide and roughly two feet tall. (Photo by Lisa Phu, KTOO – Juneau)Middle East exchange student Haytham Mohanna and the Thunder Mountain High School Art Club presented an origami peacock of peace to the Alaska State Legislature on Monday. The peacock is made of more than 2,000 pieces of folded paper.Download AudioMohanna says the peacock represents the dreams of the people of Gaza, his home country.“I hope this peacock, which symbolizes the peace, go in each mind and each heart, and really rise our mind about the wars and conflicts,” Mohanna says.Mohanna is studying at Haines High School through an exchange program funded by the U.S. State Department.He learned how to make an origami peacock from a teacher in Gaza and taught the process to Thunder Mountain art club students while he was visiting Juneau. It took the club three months to fold more than 2,000 pieces of paper. The peacock is about three feet wide and two feet tall.Art club coordinator Heather Ridgway says she didn’t immediately know where the peacock should be displayed. She wanted it to be in a place where it could inspire people.“It was like, ‘Oh, of course, we’ll take it to the capitol. They are working on major issues that require everyone to commit time and attention and do a careful job and work together and be patient, just like making this peacock. Let’s give it to the legislature,’” Ridgway says.Juneau Sen. Dennis Egan calls Mohanna an artist and says the peacock will definitely inspire visitors to the capitol and lawmakers.“I can guarantee you that people will reflect on it and hopefully bring good things and remember that, you know, we’re all trying to come in peace,” Egan says.Until a permanent place can be found for the origami peacock, it’s temporarily displayed in the House Speaker’s Chambers.last_img

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Rabat – The Court of Second Instance in Fez has postponed the investigative hearing to evaluate the charges of sexual assault of minors levied against 58-year-old Frenchman until Monday, January 22.Asmae Kabba, a social activist following the case closely and who is President of the Moroccan Association Against Violence and Homelessness, an organization that provides support to sexual assault victims, confirmed the postponement to MWN on Wednesday.Kabba said that the investigative hearing had been postponed in the absence of one of the victims. The defendant is in custody of the Police in Fez. The social activist added that the National Observatory for the Rights of the Child chaired by Princess Lalla Meryem will also join the proceedings as a civil party to advocate on behalf of the underage girls. She said that she hopes that the intervention of the princesses’ association will help speed up the process and that the defendant “will get the punishment he deserves.”Hundreds of residents in the Fez medina took to the streets once again on Wednesday to stand in solidarity with the minor girls before the Court where the French tourist previously appeared on charges of rape and sexual assault of two girls aged 11 and 14.Earlier this month, the defendant, who arrived in Morocco approximately 18 months ago and has since been introducing himself to locals in Fez as a “tourist,” was arrested on January 1 in a tailor’s workshop in the Medina after allegedly committing the sexual acts on the two little girls.In a recorded interview posted on social media, the girls claimed that the 58-year-old defendant had been grooming them with money and toys, promising gifts from France. Their identities were concealed in the film as they are filmed from behind.“When I refused to comply with his orders, he threatened me and told me that he would slaughter my family,” said one of the girls in the moving interview.During the first hearing that took place on January 5, the defendant admitted to drugging and raping the two young girls.

15 December 2009United Nations development officials held talks with Government ministers in Myanmar today aimed at boosting the impoverished country’s agricultural sector to help it reclaim its status as the rice bowl of Asia. “It is my hope these ideas and analysis will open a new space for policy discussion and a further deepening of our development partnership,” UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Executive Secretary Noeleen Heyzer said at the event held in Myanmar’s capital, Nay Pyi Taw.This development partnership, requested by the Government, provides a unique platform for eminent international scholars and local researchers to exchange experiences and ideas with government agencies and civil society, she added of this the second in a series of events being organized by ESCAP with the country’s Ministries of Agriculture and Irrigation, and National Planning and Economic Development.At ESCAP’s invitation, Nobel Prize-winning economist Professor Joseph Stiglitz and other eminent experts discussed various strategies for Myanmar to reduce poverty in light of Asia’s regional and sub-regional experiences. Mr. Stiglitz noted that Myanmar was well-positioned to learn from other countries in the region that have developed economically on the back of gains in agriculture.There are large opportunities for improvement and Myanmar should take a comprehensive approach, he said, urging the Government to promote access to appropriate agricultural financing and boost access to seeds and fertilizers. The country should also dramatically boost spending on health and education, and create well-paid jobs in construction of rural infrastructure to stimulate development and raise incomes and spending.Mr. Stiglitz also noted that well-functioning institutions were critical to success, stressing that revenues from oil and gas can open up a new era, if used well. If not, then valuable opportunities will be squandered, he warned said, adding that economics and politics cannot be separated.For Myanmar to take a role on the world stage and to achieve true stability and security, there must be widespread participation and inclusive processes, he said.Myanmar’s Agriculture and Irrigation Minister U Htay Oo welcomed the continued close cooperation with ESCAP in the development partnership series. “I look forward to the joint activities to come in 2010, in particular the regional development programme for sustainable agriculture towards inclusive rural economy development,” he said.

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