Saudi Falcons Club: Experts praise the impact of the International Saudi Falcons and Hunting Exhibition as global breeders attend the fourth edition in Riyadh

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Aug. 30, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Falcon experts from breeding farms around the world have been singing the praises of this year's International Saudi Falcons and Hunting Exhibition just two days into the event.

Now in its fourth year, the exhibition is larger than ever with visitation expected to top 500,000 over the course of the event, which runs from 25th August – 3rd September. Over 350 exhibitors are in attendance and many have shared their delight at the impact the exhibition is having on the industry.

Held at the Saudi Falcons Club HQ at Malham, attendees are greeted by the vast auditorium packed with falconry stalls, memorabilia, technology, equipment, photographs and items detailing the rich history of falconry in Saudi Arabia, including a huge stand showing the important work the Saudi Falcons Club does to promote the art of falconry and also the conservation of birds of prey. Namely with its Hadad project that helps the conservation of both two migratory falcons – the Saker falcon and the Peregrine falcon, along with the two resident birds, the Barbary falcon and the Lanner falcon.

International falcon breeders have been showcasing their stunning birds, with farms being represented from around the world. Numerous breeders from Europe include the UK's Fox and Desert falcons, France's SB Falcons and Hura Falcons from Belgium. From further afield, Sullivan Mews are attending from USA while more locally Gulf Falcons are in attendance from Bahrain.

French Breeder Philippe Hertel from SB Falcons said: "It's my second participation at the exhibition and we are very proud and happy to have our farm here. For us it's very important to be a part of the event as the business in Saudi Arabia there is a lot of falconers so of course we should be here to present our birds. We specialize in racing and so we have very fast falcons, we have had some winners in the past, so it's important for the people here to see what we have to offer. The organization of the event is very good, from the shipping to the accommodation etc. It's the best in the world compared to other events.”

German Breeder Ulf Voss from Voss Falcons said: "It's the first time we are here, we are very happy to have been invited! We have 38 falcons with a great racing and hunting history. We try to bring the best racing falcons while making some great contacts for the future. We hope to increase our business with Saudi Arabia and so we are here getting our brand name out there to the people within the industry, it's the most important thing for us right now. Saudi Arabia is the place to be for falconry at the moment and so it's a really interesting market right now."

Belgian Breeder Giel Van Haecke from Hura Falcons said: "It is very well organized, and it's a great place for people to gather, connect and meet. You can't get any better for the breeder, it's a great place to sell birds and you need an event like this to make your name. Everyone is very friendly and there is a lot of different birds this year and when you breed quality there is no problem."

The exhibition has a special section dedicated solely to the history of falconry both in Saudi Arabia and around the world. This area is full of interactive exhibits in place to educate and inspire the next generation of falconers in the Middle East. Other areas include an art gallery, featuring Saudi artist Hila Alhmod who is displaying a stunning Peregrine falcon, which has been created by pyrography. There is also an impressive auction hall for the daily falcon auctions. Education is a huge theme this year and experts are giving daily talks on the art of falconry, and there's a big emphasis on encouraging the next generation of falconers through motivational speaking and children's learning areas.

Now in its fourth year, the International Saudi Falcons and Hunting Exhibition 2022, has been welcoming visitors and exhibitors from over 30 participating countries, making it the biggest edition of the event thus far. The event, taking place in Riyadh, runs until 3rd September 2022.

Media Contact: Ahmad AlRefaie – +966 54 501 7470 – ahmad.alrefaie@xpotential–

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at–f957–43a0–94c1–8429d510453f

Meco Limited announces the launch of world first advanced solar-electric cryptocurrency mining rigs for enhanced performance.

LONDON, Aug. 30, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Meco Limited (Mecobit) unveiled the much–anticipated Ultimate Solar Power System (a solar power system with amazing backups and cryptocurrency miners) at an elite launch event at the Hong Kong Technology Bureau in August 2020.

Compact Solar Station Solar Panel Kit (Complete) Solar Array M4000 Highlights one of the most memorable solar powered crypto equipment in the world. Essential equipment that helps keep running or affects equipment such as appliances, dryers, pool siphons or electric car chargers, or even cryptocurrency mining equipment. We are looking for a boost from the global problems of fossil fuel by–products, high levels of electricity consumption. “It improves the way we approach imagination and planning. Moreover, make this progress reasonable for the customer,” said B. FRANCI, CEO of MECO LIMITED.

With the solar–focused part of the controlled hash rate seemingly easy to develop, many see the potential for sustainable electricity use in Bitcoin mining as a cycle of justice "" Mecobit provides an extreme boost to cryptocurrency mining by enabling the mission to use sustainable electricity. The cheapest electricity imaginable will encourage more tasks to focus exclusively on environmentally friendly sources such as solar energy.

Key features of our miners:

Meco Rack:

Capacity: BTC–4850 TH/s, ETH/ETC–20000 MH/s

Calculation: SHA256, Ethash

8 x Nvidia RTX 3090 (includes warranty)

2 x Mining Frame/Shelf

3 x 930W 110–220V fully modular power supplies.

M100 miner:

Hash Rate: BTC 450TH/s, ETH/ETC 2000MH/s

Power: 1400 watts

Calculation: SHA256, Ethash

Connection: Ethernet/Wireless

M200 miner

Hash Rate: BTC 650 TH/s, ETH/ETC 2300 MH/s

Power: 1800 watts

Calculation: SHA256, Ethash

Connection: Ethernet/Wireless

About Mecobit

It was launched in 2015 with the determination to create and demonstrate to the world a solar–powered digital currency mine, and depending on the miner's inclination, Ethash, SHA–256 or Scrypt innovations can be used. The organization says it is the absolute first solar–powered digital currency mining project on Earth. “We need to disrupt the solar charger business by providing more power at a more reasonable value than was recently thought to be the case.” – B. Franci (founder). Based on Chiswick High Road in London, UK, Mecobit has locations in various urban communities around the world, including the US. Additional information about the organization and its projects is available on the organization's website

Contact: Ben Lukas,, 852–3001 1453

MACCO Restructuring Group Leads Successful Efforts to Captain and Transit Semi-Submersible Oil Drilling Rig Across Gulf of Mexico

HOUSTON, Aug. 30, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — MACCO Restructuring Group, a national, middle–market–focused interim leadership and financial advisory firm, recently announced that MACCO Managing Director David Weinhoffer, serving as Chief Restructuring Officer for LaForta – Gesto e Investimentos, Sociedade Unipessoal, Lda., successfully assumed control of and transited La Muralla IV, a sixth generation, semi–submersible oil drilling rig. La Muralla IV is the primary asset of LaForta, which filed a voluntary petition under chapter 11 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division on June 16, 2022. Under Weinhoffer's leadership, the massive drilling rig, capable of operating in 10,000 ft of water and drilling to a 35,000 ft depth, has been successfully towed across the Gulf of Mexico from Tampico, Mexico to Freeport, Grand Bahamas.

MACCO, which has extensive restructuring experience in energy, including both onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration and production, was able to ensure the safe transit of the drilling rig. Weinhoffer led the complex international efforts to assume control of the rig and assure its safety and that of its crew despite numerous operational and regulatory challenges. His deep knowledge of seafaring, marine operations, business restructuring and bankruptcy were central to the successful transit.

La Muralla IV is being readied for a marketing and sale process expected to commence in earnest next month. Under the proposed bid procedures, available at, Weinhoffer will direct the marketing and sale process, including by soliciting and evaluating bids for La Muralla IV. The proposed bid deadline is October 26, 2022, with sale approval expected 3 weeks later and sale consummation by the end of November. If you are interested in being a bidder for La Muralla IV, please contact Weinhoffer at to gain access to the Data Room and schedule an in–person inspection.

LaForta is also advised by Counsel, Rebecca Blake Chaikin, Genevieve M. Graham, and Veronica A. Polnick of Jackson Walker, LLP; Special Corporate Counsel, Jennifer Demarco and Sarah Campbell of Clifford Chance; and Ole' Aagvaard, Project Manager, of ABW Vessel Management, Ltd. The Backstop Lenders are advised by Counsel, Mark Shinderman, Casey Fleck, and Brian Kinney of Milbank, LLP; Michael Warner and Benjamin Wallen of Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl & Jones, LLP; and Kristen Bodden of Maritime Finance Ltd.

Drew McManigle, Founder and CEO of MACCO said, "David and the MACCO La Forta team working collaboratively with legal counsel, accomplished what initially appeared, almost unachievable. He successfully navigated international troubled waters in order to preserve stakeholder's value."


MACCO Restructuring Group, LLC is a national, middle–market focused interim leadership and financial advisory based in Houston with offices in Las Vegas, Denver, Oklahoma City, Wilmington/Philadelphia, and New York City. MACCO's professionals possess real world business experience and have managed and led companies across a wide array of industries while acting as CEOs, CROs, CFOs, Senior Workout Lenders, and Fiduciaries. For more information, please visit:

Media Contact:
Annie Graf
KCSA Strategic Communications

Company Contact:
Drew McManigle
Cell: (410) 350–1839

Vertex unveils tolling tech designed to ease Tel Aviv road congestion

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL, Aug. 30, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Vertex Company, a V2X company (NYSE: VVX), announces a brand–new technology for the proposed Tel Aviv congestion pricing zone. The Optical Detection Intelligent Network, ODIN, is an advanced, compact tolling system that can be deployed to city locations where street–spanning gantries or toll booths are not possible.

ODIN integrates the functionality of multiple different devices from traditional all–electronic tolling systems into a single sensor, making it small enough to fit on a typical city light post. The primary sensor is an ultra–high–resolution camera for image–based tolling, eliminating the need for vehicle transponders.

"The Vertex Company brings engineering excellence and innovative technology integration to tolling projects," said Aileen Amirault, Vice President & General Manger at The Vertex Company. "We provide reliable, high–tech tolling that processes millions of tolling transactions a day at more than 400 locations worldwide."

Congestion zones, also known as cordon pricing, is a form of tolling that charges drivers who drive into and/or within a specific area. It is generally used to manage traffic in dense, congested areas, like city centers.

ODIN was developed and tested on roadways in Canada and the United States and is now approved for congestion zone pricing projects around the world.

"Today's announcement adds a new, attractive option for the Tel Aviv congestion pricing project," said Colleen Murphy–Vincent, Director of Transportation, Technology & Tolling Solutions at The Vertex Company. "Our system provides tolling revenue for our customers without disrupting traffic. ODIN allows vehicles to move at the speed of traffic as we accurately detect, track, classify and image vehicles in all weather and light conditions."

The Vertex Company has more than 25 years of all–electronic tolling experience, serving customers across 10 time zones as they collect more than $2 billion in annual customer transactions. Vertex Systems Israel, an LLC of The Vertex Company, has been a provider for the Cross–Israel Highway, known as Highway 6, since 2001.

The Vertex Company provides vertically integrated turnkey lifecycle support from concept definition, to engineering and manufacturing, through end–of–life support of complex systems. Our offerings include all levels of aviation maintenance, worldwide contractor logistics support, systems engineering and integration, specialized onsite mission execution, high consequence training programs and integrated supply–chain solutions.

In July 2022, Vertex and Vectrus merged to form V2X, a leading provider of critical mission solutions and support to defense clients globally. The company delivers a comprehensive suite of integrated solutions across the operations and logistics, aerospace, training and technology markets to national security, defense, civilian and international clients. The global team of approximately 14,000 employees brings innovation to every point in the mission lifecycle, from preparation, to operations, to sustainment.

For more information on The Vertex Company, visit

Humanitarian Crisis Unfolds With Pakistan in the Eye of Fiercest Climate Change Storm

Escaping the flood waters is a family with their livestock. The family was caught in devastating flows in the Taluka Jhudo, District Mirpurkhas. Credit: Research and Development Foundation (RDF)

Escaping the flood waters is a family with their livestock. The family was caught in devastating flows in the Taluka Jhudo, District Mirpurkhas. Credit: Research and Development Foundation (RDF)

By Zofeen Ebrahim
KARACHI, Aug 30 2022 – The heavy and incessant monsoon downpours across Pakistan in the last two months have triggered floods wreaking havoc across the country, submerging entire villages and vast tracts of land and entrapping people. Anything coming in the way of the relentless water is being destroyed, including roads, bridges, and standing crops.

The Pakistani government has declared a national emergency with more than 30 million without shelter. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 66 districts have officially been declared ‘calamity hit’ by the government of Pakistan – 31 in Balochistan, 23 in Sindh, nine in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), and three in Punjab. Many have likened the destruction to the 2010 super floods.

With government resources stretched and communications networks disrupted, flood survivors complain that help is scarce.

Families take refuge on higher ground. Credit Azra Gandehi

Flimsy coverings make keeping dry in the incessant rain an impossible task. Credit Azra Gandehi

Flimsy coverings make keeping dry in the incessant rain an impossible task. Credit Azra Gandehi

Saeeda Khatoon, 28, likened her village of Zakaria Mahesar to the famous 3rd millennium BC Moenjodaro ruins of the ancient Indus civilization, in her district of Larkana, in Sindh province, after the rains destroyed over 200 houses, some made of mud and straw and others, like hers, of brick. She, along with 11 members of her family, has found temporary shelter on higher ground, on the outskirts of the village, under the open sky, unprotected from the vagaries of the unpredictable monsoon rains.

“The water gushed into our home suddenly, and we rushed out just moments before the roof caved in,” she said, rendering them homeless. With water still waist deep, she said there was no way of retrieving their belongings from under the debris.

The monsoon season hit Pakistan this year in June, earlier than usual. Torrential rains continued well into July, with 181% above average rainfall. The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) said it rained 177.5mm against its normal of 63.1mm, making this July the wettest since 1961.

“July 2022 rainfall was excessively above average over Balochistan (+450%) and Sindh (+307%), both rank as the wettest ever during past 62 years,” said the PMD’s monthly summary. And the rains continue to batter the country well into the end of August, spreading more destruction across the provinces of Punjab, KP, and the mountainous region of Gilgit-Baltistan, after annihilating Balochistan and Sindh.

According to the National Disaster Management Authority, the rains have caused havoc across Pakistan, claiming nearly 1,000 lives and more than 1400 rain-related injuries since June. More than half the casualties are from Balochistan and Sindh province.

Over 3,000 km of road network has been damaged, of which over 2,300 km is in Sindh, making it difficult for the government and non-governmental organizations to reach and rescue. “The whole province is inundated with flood water, and roads are battered; it is difficult to reach and provide relief,” said Inayatullah Ismail, senior manager, coordination at the non-profit Al Khidmat Welfare Society. “We are providing tents to the displaced people and will be setting up kitchens on the highways where people are seeking refuge.”

“Since the last three days, our teams have been distributing cooked food to nearly 30,000 flood victims who have set up makeshift camps around RDF offices,” said Soomro.

“Giving cooked meals is best as it is difficult for the displaced to cook having lost everything,” said Aqsa Iqbal, who volunteers with Serve Humanity Together. She suggested: “All those who are providing cooked food to affectees may also want to add drinking water bottles, packed snacks or biscuits, juices and fruits (dates) as well, so that they could have something that does not get spoiled, and they can consume over the next few days.” She also said most people urgently needed tents, plastic sheets, and medical aid.

Further, she said, rescue and relief workers were finding it difficult to reach people stuck in remote villages, surrounded by stagnant rainwater.

“Many of these people are young volunteers with a lot of zeal but not professionally trained. Wading through water, even shallow, was difficult, and there is always the fear that they could be bitten by snakes or fall in open potholes,” said Iqbal. That is why, she said, it would be best to bring the flood affectees to dry land, where it is easier to provide them with food, water, and medicines.

So far, the NDMA has recorded nearly 680,000 houses affected, of which over 58,000 are in Sindh alone. Up to 19,000 of these homes in Sindh have been destroyed.

A father and son remove their belongings from their flood-damaged home in Taluka, Shujabad, District Mirpurkhas Taluka, Shujabad, District Mirpurkhas. Credit: Research and Development Foundation (RDF)

A father and son remove their belongings from their flood-damaged home in Taluka, Shujabad, District Mirpurkhas Taluka, Shujabad, District Mirpurkhas. Credit: Research and Development Foundation (RDF)

“I have never seen a greater catastrophe in my life,” said Sindh chief minister Murad Ali Shah after visiting various flood-affected districts of Sindh. He said his government was stretched for funds and had run out of tents and food. Over 10 million people in Sindh have been rendered homeless.

The government of Sindh has formally reached out to NGOs requesting help with rescue and relief work.

Despite being surrounded by water, the women from the Taluka Jhudo region have to walk for miles to access clean water for their families and cooking. Credit: Research and Development Foundation (RDF)

Despite being surrounded by water, the women from the Taluka Jhudo region have to walk for miles to access clean water for their families and cooking. Credit: Research and Development Foundation (RDF)

Rani Malukhani, a social activist from Khuda Baksh Marri, a village in Sanghar district, said they were starving and sitting on the roadside with nothing to protect them from the lashing rain. “Where is the government; where are the NGOs?” she said over a WhatsApp video phone call, showing how her community was sitting stranded on the roadside.

“Our homes and standing crops have been destroyed,” she cried in distress.

“There are close to 700 people in this village, and all are sitting on both sides of the 2-3 km long road under the sky,” confirmed Azra Gandehi, who works with the NGO, Research and Development Foundation (RDF). She was visiting the village for a preliminary survey and assessment of the damage so she could return with assistance. “The water is chest deep, and all had to evacuate along with their livestock.”

In the neighbouring Mirpur Khas district, things are no better. Motan Bheel, 52, and her five children and two goats, belonging to Jhudo village, had to wade through waist-deep water to reach the safety of the bank of Puraan (a sub-drain that collects saline water, agricultural effluent, and floodwater to the Arabian Sea). “There is water all around us, but not a drop to drink,” she said. “We have not received any help from the government, NGOs or philanthropists.”

Irfan Hussain, working with RDF and helping the district government in Mirpur Khas with rescue work, explained: “They have to walk nearly three kilometres to fetch water, but because they don’t have enough vessels to carry water and big containers to store, they have to keep going back and forth.”

Bheel said her 14-year-old was running a high fever for the last two days and fears it may be malaria. “There is nowhere to go to seek help, and I don’t have the money,” she said.

Hussain said she and half the villagers (from 250 households) staying on either side of the bank urgently need tents, mosquito nets and healthcare to fight malaria, diarrhoea, and scabies.

The government has turned schools and factories into relief camps, but Gandehi, who visited some, found them “too crowded”.

Indus Resource Centre, an NGO, has been running 17 schools, managing five government schools and 25 non-formal post-primary centres, in Khairpur district, for the last 22 years. Sadiqa Salahuddin, heading IRC, sent an appeal for help. She said ten IRC schools, including five government schools, have been turned into camps housing nearly 7,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), and the number was increasing daily.

Contemplating his losses, a man stands in front of his house in Taluka Sanghar, District Sangha. He is among the millions displaced by the floods. Credit: Research and Development Foundation (RDF)

Contemplating his losses, a man stands in front of his house in Taluka Sanghar, District Sangha. He is among the millions displaced by the floods. Credit: Research and Development Foundation (RDF)

The Larkana district administration has set up around 290 camps where around 28,500 people have been shifted. But people are unhappy with the lack of facilities saying they spend sleepless nights “owing to the huge swarm of mosquitos”. The government has registered nearly 184,061 people in camps set up in 117 districts across the country.

The RDF is also helping the livestock department vaccinate animals to reduce the threat of an outbreak of diseases.

Over 17,600 animals were vaccinated and 8,000 dewormed in the last two days in Tando Allahyar, Matiari, Mipur Khas, Thatta and Tharparkar districts during the floods,” said Ashfaque Soomro, executive director of RDF. “The campaign will continue, and we will increase our outreach in ten other districts.”

The government has launched an international appeal for relief and rehabilitation. The European Union announced €350,000 as crucial humanitarian assistance focusing on addressing the urgent needs of the hardest-hit districts of Jhal Magsi and Lasbela in Balochistan.

Prime Minister Sheh­baz Sharif also appealed to the nation for Rs 80 billion needed for carrying out relief work in addition to “hundreds of billions of rupees” to rehabilitate the victims.

IPS UN Bureau Report


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A Tale of the Spanish Neckties and Other Made-in-Europe Things

"Wildfires – well known for their disastrous consequences in southern Europe – are now occurring as far north as Scandinavia". Credit: Unsplash/Fabian Jones.

“Wildfires – well known for their disastrous consequences in southern Europe – are now occurring as far north as Scandinavia”. Credit: Unsplash/Fabian Jones.

By Baher Kamal
MADRID, Aug 30 2022 – Shortly before the 25 August approval by the Spanish Parliament of the government’s plan to save energy, the country’s right and far-right opposition parties revived their debate about an earlier suggestion of not wearing neckties in the Spanish Congress and Senate and other official institutions.

The suggestion was made by Pedro Sanchez, President of the Spanish government, as a way to help save energy.

The idea was that neckties increase the feeling of warmth, now that the country has to face two great problems: energy shortage and unprecedented heatwaves that increase the consumption of electricity.

The Spanish-approved plan includes limiting the air condition temperature to 27 degrees C, and the winter heating devices to a maximum of 18 degrees, among many other measures.

The European Commission hailed the Spanish plan to reduce around 7% of its energy consumption. Other European Union member countries allocated different percentages. And one of the most dependent European powers on Russian oil and gas–Germany, plans to reduce its energy consumption by 15-20%.

As expected, the Spanish right and far-right parties voted against the plan, alleging that it falls short, that it demonstrates the failure of the government, that it increases the citizens’ suffering, that promoting public transportation and providing financial assistance to the most hit sectors, are not the solution.

They say that the way out is to reduce taxes. No wonder, now they are focused on the next regional and municipal elections that they hope will lead them to the central government

No wonder, they now focused on the next regional and municipal elections that may hitch them up to the government.


The argument

Likewise other European countries, Spanish politicians and the media continue to tirelessly blame the Russian Federation’s President Vladimir Putin for their harsh energy crisis, much too often attributing it to what they call the ‘Russian blackmailing.’

The point is that this crisis has emerged as a consequence of the United States-led severe sanctions on Moscow following the beginning on 24 February 2022 of the ongoing proxy war in Ukraine.

The sanctions include, above all, the prohibition of importing Russian oil, gas and other products like grains and fertilisers; the withdrawal and blockage of Western business activities, and a very long etcetera.

The sanctions were immediately implemented by the chorus of well-mannered US allies in Europe and elsewhere.

Then came the 30 June Summit in Madrid of the Western “defensive” military alliance – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which decided to double Europe’s military spending on weapons as a way to face the “Russian threat.”


All this happened before the Ukrainian war

While the United States continue to rank top oil and weapons producers, the world’s citizens are, once more, to pay the price: skyrocketing energy and food prices, unprecedented inflation rates, economic slowdown and the risk of a great recession, just to mention some.

The Ukrainian war is absolutely condemnable as are all wars. Once more, diplomacy has failed or even unwanted to be seriously tried. Meanwhile, Western powers continue to update the former US president George W. Bush and his allies list the “Axis of Evil.” Vladimir Putin now tops it.

Anyway, the Made-in-Europe current crisis –both Russia and Ukraine are European countries– just adds to earlier disasters. Indeed, likewise everywhere else, Europe now faces unprecedented heatwaves. And devastating fires.

These emergencies: war, energy, heat and fires are not new. They are just some of the symptoms of a much bigger, untreated disease: climate change.

Such a disease is much more dangerous that any other pandemic. Indeed the whole world population, in particular the poor, has been severely infected.


The ‘POP’ and the ‘POS’

Being ‘part of the problem,’ Europe is not ‘part of the solution.’ Even if European politicians continue to show shameful indifference toward the unspeakable suffering -and death- of other regions’ human beings, they don’t pay attention even to those of their own citizens.

See what the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Regional Director for Europe stated on 22 July 2022.

“Unprecedented. Frightening. Apocalyptic. These are just some of the adjectives used in news reports as vast swathes of the WHO European Region suffer from ferocious wildfires and record-breaking high temperatures amid an ongoing, protracted heatwave,” said Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge.

Heat kills, he said, and reminded that over the past decades, hundreds of thousands of people have died as a result of extreme heat during extended heatwaves, often with simultaneous wildfires.

“Wildfires – well known for their disastrous consequences in southern Europe – are now occurring as far north as Scandinavia, and this week fires in London have destroyed 41 homes. This scorching summer season is barely halfway done,” the WHO representative went on.

Extreme heat exposure often exacerbates pre-existing health conditions. Heatstroke and other serious forms of hyperthermia – an abnormally high body temperature – cause suffering and premature death. Individuals at either end of life’s spectrum – infants and children, and older people – are at particular risk, warned Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge.


And the consequences are…

A simple equation would say that more heat and more fires cause greater land degradation, droughts, desertification, loss of fertile soils and water resources, fewer crops, less food supplies, growing demand, more market speculation, higher prices, rising inflation, among others, all of them harshly impacting the already hard lives of the lay citizens.

Talking about water in Europe. As reported in a previous IPS article: Not Enough Clean Water in Europe? Who Cares…, two specialised bodies –the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and the European branch of the World Health Organization (WHO)– have warned that plans to make water access possible in the face of climate pressures “are absent” in the pan-European region.

And “in most cases” throughout the region there has also been a lack of coordination on drinking water, sanitation and health during the Thirteenth meeting of the Working Group on Water and Health held on 19-20 May 2022 in Geneva.


The poor?… What is that?

This short story has addressed the case of the highly industrialised, rich Europe.

What about the rarely severe impacts of all that on the so-called low-income countries?. No mention of them in European political speech, let alone the mainstream media.

No matter if the number of hungry humans now amounts to one billion? No matter if the world’s billions of poor have by no means caused the current catastrophe, while bearing the burden of its severest consequences?

They don’t have silk neckties to wear.

Lantronix Announces 2022 SmartEdge Channel Partner Program Award Winners

IRVINE, Calif., Aug. 30, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Lantronix Inc. (NASDAQ: LTRX), a global provider of secure turnkey solutions for the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and the Intelligent IT market, today announced the winners of its SmartEdge Partner Program Awards, highlighting its best channel partners of 2022. Winners were named in three regions: North America; Asia Pacific; and Europe, Middle East and Africa. Awards were given for Partner of the Year, Newcomer, Innovation and Software/Services.

The winners are:
North America
SmartEdge Partner of the Year: WWT
Smartedge Newcomer: Softchoice Canada
SmartEdge Innovation: Charter Telecom
SmartEdge Software/Service: SHI

Asia Pacific (APAC)
SmartEdge Partner of the Year: ADT
SmartEdge Newcomer: PSI
SmartEdge Innovation: Sapply
SmartEdge Software/Service: Bay Datacom

Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA)
SmartEdge Partner of the Year: Atlantik Elektronik
SmartEdge Newcomer: SOL
SmartEdge Innovation: Linkwave
SmartEdge Software/Services: Data Equipment

"We are pleased to honor this year's SmartEdge Partner Program winners, all of which have exceeded our program requirements and expectations in driving sales and building long–term relationships with our mutual customers," said Roger Holliday, VP of Worldwide Sales at Lantronix.

About the SmartEdge Partner Program

Lantronix's SmartEdge Partner Program was designed to help Value–Added Resellers (VARs) and Systems Integrators (SIs) drive revenues by differentiating their offerings with Lantronix's innovative Industrial Internet of Things (IoT), Remote Environment Management (REM), Out–of–Band Management (OOBM) and Mobility/Connectivity solutions.

For more information on the Lantronix SmartEdge Partner Program, visit

About Lantronix

Lantronix Inc. is a global provider of secure turnkey solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT) and Remote Environment Management (REM), offering Software as a Service (SaaS), connectivity services, engineering services and intelligent hardware.

Lantronix enables its customers to accelerate time to market and increase operational up–time and efficiency by providing reliable, secure and connected Intelligent Edge IoT and Remote Management Gateway solutions.

Lantronix's products and services dramatically simplify the creation, development, deployment and management of IoT and IT projects across Robotics, Automotive, Wearables, Video Conferencing, Industrial, Medical, Logistics, Smart Cities, Security, Retail, Branch Office, Server Room and Datacenter applications. For more information, visit the Lantronix website.

Learn more at the Lantronix blog, which features industry discussion and updates. Follow Lantronix on Twitter, view our YouTube video library or connect with us on LinkedIn.

2022 Lantronix, Inc. All rights reserved. Lantronix is a registered trademark. Other trademarks and trade names are those of their respective owners.

Lantronix Media Contact:
Gail Kathryn Miller
Corporate Marketing &
Communications Manager

Lantronix Analyst and Investor Contact:
Jeremy Whitaker
Chief Financial Officer

Lantronix Sales:
Americas +1 (800) 422–7055 (US and Canada) or +1 949–453–3990
Europe, Middle East and Africa +31 (0)76 52 36 744
Asia Pacific + 852 3428–2338
China + 86 21–6237–8868
Japan +81 (0) 50–1354–6201
India +91 994–551–2488

Shaping Our Digital Future

By Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana
BANGKOK, Thailand, Aug 30 2022 – Asia and the Pacific is the most digitally divided region of the world, and South-East Asia is the most divided subregion. The Covid-19 pandemic detonated a “digital big bang” that spurred people, governments and businesses to become “digital by default;” a sea change that generated vast digital dividends. These benefits that have not been distributed equally, however. New development gaps have emerged as digital transformation reinforces a vicious cycle of socioeconomic inequalities, within and across countries.

Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

Bridging these divides and ensuring advances in technology can benefit everyone will be a key challenge as the region seeks to achieve a more inclusive and sustainable post-pandemic recovery. A new ESCAP report, Asia-Pacific Digital Transformation Report 2022: Shaping our digital future, identifies five key “digital divides;” fault lines that separate those who can readily take advantage of new technology from those more likely to be left behind. These divides are related to age, gender, education, disability and geography.

Typically, those most comfortable with technological innovation are younger and better educated people who have grown up with the Internet as ”digital natives”. Older persons may be more distrustful, or slower to acquire the necessary skills or suffer declines in aptitude. But at any age, poor communities – especially those in rural areas – are most at risk as they may be unable to afford electricity or digital connections or lack the relevant skills, even if the necessary infrastructure and connectivity are there.

The most significant driver of digital transformation is business research and its development and adoption of frontier technologies. Another major component is e-government; the delivery of public information and services via the Internet or through other digital means. This has the potential for more efficient and inclusive operations; especially when linked to national digital ID systems. However, because e-government services often evolve in complex regulatory environments, providing appropriate levels of accessibility for older generations, the disabled, or those with limited education has become more challenging.

It is clear that digital technologies are enabling the delivery of previously unimagined services while enhancing productivity and optimizing resource use that helped reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and pollutants. These technologies also helped track and contain pandemic spread. Social networks are fostering and diversifying communications among people of all ages sharing common interests, irrespective of location. This helps them stay in touch, broaden their experiences, continue education or deepen subject knowledge. This provided a veritable lifeline that has continued as we enter the post-pandemic era.

At the same time, the risks have also proliferated. Social networks also created social ”echo chambers” and generated torrents of misinformation and hate speech. New cryptocurrencies have opened the way to speculative financial bubbles, while cybercrime increased alarmingly as it assumed prolific variations. In addition, digital gadgets and the Internet are thought to contribute to more than 2 per cent of the global carbon footprint. The manufacture of electronic hardware can also exhaust supplies of natural resources such as rare-earth elements and precious metals like cobalt and lithium.

Moreover, digital transformation has led to the creation of an immense amount of digital data which become an essential resource to understand digital transformation. However, it raises concerns about the ethical and responsible use of data for privacy protection. A common understanding among countries on the operationalization of such principles has yet to evolve.

The Asia-Pacific Digital Transformation Report 2022 highlights the importance of digital connectivity infrastructure as “meta-infrastructure.” 5G and other high-speed networks can make all other infrastructure – such as transport and power grid distribution – much smarter, optimizing resource use for sustainable development. To contribute to these needs, the Report recommends three pathways for action, which are not mutually exclusive and are aligned with the ESCAP Action Plan of the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway initiative for 2022-2026.

The first pathway focuses on the supply side and provides relevant policy practices for the development of cost-effective network infrastructure. The second addresses the demand side and recommends capacity-building programmes and policies to promote uptake at scale, of new, more affordable and accessible digital products and services. The third involves improving systems and institutions that are related to collecting, aggregating and analysing data in a way that builds public trust and deepens policymakers’ understanding of the drivers of digital transformations.

Finally, in a world where digital data can flash around the globe in an instant, the report highlights the importance of regional and global cooperation. Only by working together can countries ensure that these technological breakthroughs will benefit everyone; their peoples, economies and societies, as well as for the natural environment, in our new “digital by default” normal.

Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana is an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

IPS UN Bureau


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How France Underdevelops Africa

By Anis Chowdhury and Jomo Kwame Sundaram
SYDNEY and KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 30 2022 – Most sub-Saharan African French colonies got formal independence in the 1960s. But their economies have progressed little, leaving most people in poverty, and generally worse off than in other post-colonial African economies.

Pre-Second World War colonial monetary arrangements were consolidated into the Colonies Françaises d’Afrique (CFA) franc zone set up on 26 December 1945. Decolonization became inevitable after France’s defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and withdrawal from Algeria less than a decade later.

Anis Chowdhury

France insisted decolonization must involve ‘interdependence’ – presumably asymmetric, instead of between equals – not true ‘sovereignty’. For colonies to get ‘independence’, France required membership of Communauté Française d’Afrique (still CFA) – created in 1958, replacing Colonies with Communauté.

CFA countries are now in two currency unions. Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo belong to UEMOA, the French acronym for the West African Economic and Monetary Union.

Its counterpart CEMAC is the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, comprising Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Chad.

Both UEMOA and CEMAC use the CFA franc (FCFA). Ex-Spanish colony, Equatorial Guinea, joined in 1985, one of two non-French colonies. In 1997, former Portuguese colony, Guinea-Bissau was the last to join.

Such requirements have ensured France’s continued exploitation. Eleven of the 14 former French West and Central African colonies remain least developed countries (LDCs), at the bottom of UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI).

French African colonies
Guinea was the first to leave the CFA in 1960. Before fellow Guineans, President Sékou Touré told President Charles de Gaulle, “We prefer poverty in freedom to wealth in slavery”.

Guinea soon faced French destabilization efforts. Counterfeit banknotes were printed and circulated for use in Guinea – with predictable consequences. This massive fraud brought down the Guinean economy.

Jomo Kwame Sundaram

France withdrew more than 4,000 civil servants, judges, teachers, doctors and technicians, telling them to sabotage everything left behind: “un divorce sans pension alimentaire” – a divorce without alimony.

Ex-French espionage documentation service (SDECE) head Maurice Robert later acknowledged, “France launched a series of armed operations using local mercenaries, with the aim of developing a climate of insecurity and, if possible, overthrow Sékou Touré”.

In 1962, French Prime Minister Georges Pompidou warned African colonies considering leaving the franc zone: “Let us allow the experience of Sékou Touré to unfold. Many Africans are beginning to feel that Guinean politics are suicidal and contrary to the interests of the whole of Africa”.

Togo independence leader, President Sylvanus Olympio was assassinated in front of the US embassy on 13 January 1963. This happened a month after he established a central bank, issuing the Togolese franc as legal tender. Of course, Togo remained in the CFA.

Mali left the CFA in 1962, replacing the FCFA with the Malian franc. But a 1968 coup removed its first president, radical independence leader Modibo Keita. Unsurprisingly, Mali later re-joined the CFA in 1984.

The eight UEMOA economies are all oil importers, exporting agricultural commodities, such as cotton and cocoa, besides gold. By contrast, the six CEMAC economies, except the Central African Republic, rely heavily on oil exports.

CFA apologists claim pegging the FCFA to the French franc, and later, the euro, has kept inflation low. But lower inflation has also meant “slower per capita growth and diminished poverty reduction” than in other African countries.

The CFA has “traded decreased inflation for fiscal restraint and limited macroeconomic options”. Unsurprisingly, CFA members’ growth rates have been lower, on average, than in non-CFA countries.

With one of Africa’s highest incomes, petroleum producer Equatorial Guinea is the only CFA country to have ‘graduated’ out of LDC status, in 2017, after only meeting the income ‘graduation’ criterion.

Its oil boom ensured growth averaging 23.4% annually during 2000–08. But growth has fallen sharply since, contracting by -5% yearly during 2013–21! Its 2019 HDI of 0.592 ranked 145 of 189 countries, below the 0.631 mean for middle-ranking countries.

Poor people
With over 70% of its population poor, and over 40% in ‘extreme poverty’, inequality is extremely high in Equatorial Guinea. The top 1% got over 17% of pre-tax national income in 2021, while the bottom half got 11.5%!

Four of ten 6–12 year old children in Equatorial Guinea were not in school in 2012, many more than in much poorer African countries. Half the children starting primary school did not finish, while less than a quarter went on to middle school.

CFA member Gabon, the fifth largest African oil producer, is an upper middle-income country. With petroleum making up 80% of exports, 45% of GDP, and 60% of fiscal revenue, Gabon is very vulnerable to oil price volatility.

One in three Gabonese lived in poverty, while one in ten were in extreme poverty in 2017. More than half its rural residents were poor, with poverty three times more there than in urban areas.

Côte d’Ivoire, a non-LDC CFA member, enjoyed high growth, peaking at 10.8% in 2013. With lower cocoa prices and Covid-19, growth fell to 2% in 2020. About 46% of Ivorians lived on less than 750 FCFA (about $1.30) daily, with its HDI ranked 162 of 189 in 2019.

CFA’s neo-colonial role
Clearly, the CFA “promotes inertia and underdevelopment among its member states”. Worse, it also limits credit available for fiscal policy initiatives, including promoting industrialization.

Credit-GDP ratios in CFA countries have been low at 10–25% – against over 60% in other Sub-Saharan African countries! Low credit-GDP ratios also suggest poor finance and banking facilities, not effectively funding investments.

By surrendering exchange rate and monetary policy, CFA members have less policy flexibility and space for development initiatives. They also cannot cope well with commodity price and other challenges.

The CFA’s institutional requirements – especially keeping 70% of their foreign exchange with the French Treasury – limit members’ ability to use their forex earnings for development.

More recent fiscal rules limiting government deficits and debt – for UEMOA from 2000 and CEMAC in 2002 – have also constrained policy space, particularly for public investment.

The CFA has also not promoted trade among members. After six decades, trade among CEMAC and UEMOA members averaged 4.7% and 12% of their total commerce respectively. Worse, pegged exchange rates have exacerbated balance of payments volatility.

Unrestricted transfers to France have enabled capital flight. The FCFA’s unlimited euro convertibility is supposed to reduce foreign investment risk in the CFA. However, foreign investment is lower than in other developing countries.

Total net capital outflows from CFA countries during 1970–2010 came to $83.5 billion – 117% of combined GDP! Capital flight from CFA economies was much more than from other African countries during 1970–2015.

IPS UN Bureau


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Mental Health as a Human Right Left Behind for Children in Fragile and Humanitarian Settings

Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait and Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council meet students at the Souza Gare school in the Littoral region, Cameroon. The school hosts displaced children who have fled the violence in the North-West and South-West regions. Credit: ECW/Daniel Beloumou

Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait and Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council meet students at the Souza Gare school in the Littoral region, Cameroon. The school hosts displaced children who have fled the violence in the North-West and South-West regions.
Credit: ECW/Daniel Beloumou

By Joyce Chimbi
Copenhagen, Aug 30 2022 – Hiding in basements during bombings, fleeing their homes, going hungry, and facing the devastating and life-transformative traumas of losing their loved ones as their childhoods go up in flames of war. These are the lived experiences of crisis-impacted children and adolescents.

“They have also seen militia, army and may have been subjected to war crimes, violations of international law, sexual violence and torture. When you go through such experiences, without a doubt, you are going to suffer some form of trauma,” says Yasmine Sherif, Executive Director of Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises

She tells IPS that this is the reality for many of the 222 million crisis-impacted children. At the forefront of extreme, unrelenting violence and brutality, but left furthest behind in accessing a most critical human right, mental health services.

“It is imperative that for every child, every adolescent that lives in this complex humanitarian crisis, that their mental health is safeguarded and supported that they receive psychosocial services working with their resilience. For they indeed have a resilience that took them that far and enabled them to survive,” she says.

Sherif stressed that acknowledging and addressing the need for student and teacher mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) is fundamental for children and adolescents to be able to learn. That if they are going to resume education, it is critically important that they receive psychosocial support.

“We must ensure that education investments always entail a strong component of mental health and psychosocial support. ECW has integrated mental health and psychosocial services into all our investments. There is no investment in any of the 44 countries where we have invested which does not have a component of mental health and psychosocial services,” Sherif tells IPS.

“Crisis-impacted children and adolescents receive psychosocial support through the education that we have invested in. It is therefore very important that financing for education through ECW dramatically increases so that we can provide even better context-specific mental health services and psychosocial support.”

Speaking against the backdrop of the Nordic Conference on MHPSS in Fragile and Humanitarian Settings, Sherif unpacked safe, inclusive, and quality education as child-centered, holistic education that includes, amongst others, school feeding, teachers, water and sanitation as well as mental health and psychosocial support.

“ECW has reached 7 million children and adolescents in less than five years, and MHPSS is at the core of our work with our partners. To have an impact on MHPSS, we need funding, long-term investments, and working across organizations and disciplines,” Sherif remarked during the conference’s opening panel.

Over 13,800 learning spaces now feature mental health and/or psychosocial support activities, and the number of teachers trained on mental health and psychosocial support topics doubled in 2021, reaching 54,000.

“It costs money to save the world. To give a holistic education centered on MHPSS requires a minimum of 150 dollars per child, and we are speaking about 222 million crisis-impacted children. We have the greatest dream and science on earth, but if we cannot pay for that, it is not going to happen,” Sherif emphasizes.

Co-hosted by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Danish Red Cross, the inaugural conference “A Human Right Left Behind: A Nordic Conference on MHPSS in Fragile and Humanitarian Settings” was held on August 29 and 30, 2022, in Copenhagen.

The conference aimed to solidify Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) as a priority concern in all humanitarian responses and address urgent needs to increase access to quality MHPSS.

Recognizing the need for meaningful, collaborative approaches and solidarity in MHPSS, the conference’s Steering Committee includes the IFRC PS Centre for Psychosocial Support, Danish Red Cross, International Children’s Development Program Norway, MHPSS Collaborative, Save the Children Denmark and War Child Sweden.

The conference marks the beginning of a process and movement of joint strategies and collaborative action between multilevel MHPSS stakeholders.

Conference themes include localizing and strengthening MHPSS systems, direct MHPSS interventions, child-, youth-, and caregiver-focused MHPSS, cross-sectoral integration/coordination mechanisms, and innovative approaches.

Conference outcomes include a Nordic Network on MHPSS Launch, 2022-2030 Joint Nordic Roadmap on MHPSS in Humanitarian Settings, and a Copenhagen Declaration on Prioritizing MHPSS in Humanitarian Action.

ECW’s most recent estimates released in June 2022 show 222 million school-aged children and adolescents are caught in crises globally, 78.2 million who are out of school. An estimated 65.7 million of these out-of-school children, 84 percent, lived in protracted crises.

Approximately two-thirds of them, or 65 percent, are in just ten countries, including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Yemen.

The difficulties they face from sustained conflict and forced displacement are now multiplied by climate-induced disasters and the long-term effects of COVID-19.

Within this context, Sherif urges the global community to respond with an education package centered on healing the brutalized minds of the affected children.

ECW’s landmark Technical Guidance Note on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) in Education in Emergencies, and Protracted Crises (EiEPC) provides practical guidance to grantees to ensure children and adolescents receive a holistic education that protects and promotes student wellbeing.

ECW’s MHPSS in EiEPC Technical Guidance Note aims to be used as a reference in partners’ guidance and standards, such as in UNICEF/WHO/UNHCR’s Minimum Service Package for MHPSS in education in emergencies.

An education that is blind to the special mental health needs of children and adolescents in fragile and humanitarian settings, she says, will simply not keep the promise of a safe, inclusive, and quality education for the world’s most vulnerable children.

To keep the promise of holistic education, ECW’s High-Level Financing Conference will take place in Geneva in February 2023. Hosted by Switzerland and Education Cannot Wait – and co-convened by Germany, Niger, Norway, and South Sudan – through the 222 Million Dreams campaign, the conference calls on government donors, private sector, foundations, and high-net-worth individuals to turn commitments into action by making substantive funding contributions to ECW.

Through these contributions, targeted crisis-impacted children and adolescents will be reached with mental health and psychosocial services that include counseling, social group work, online counseling, training of teachers, and other means of providing mental health support.

“We really appeal to all governments, private sector, and high net individuals to make pledges at the upcoming conference to enable us to expand mental health support and education at large,” Sherif concludes.

IPS UN Bureau Report


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