6 October 2008The top United Nations envoy to Afghanistan today stressed the need for a political “surge” to boost the prospects for peace in the strife-torn nation and to respond to urgent humanitarian concerns such as access for the delivery of vital food aid. The top United Nations envoy to Afghanistan today stressed the need for a political “surge” to boost the prospects for peace in the strife-torn nation and to respond to urgent humanitarian concerns such as access for the delivery of vital food aid. “None of us can deny that there are very serious problems and none of us can deny that the security situation has deteriorated,” Kai Eide, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, told a news conference in the capital, Kabul. At the same time, Mr. Eide warned against pessimism and asserted that there is a strong international commitment to reverse the negative trends in the country. A key element in doing so is to focus on the agenda set by the Government and international partners at a major meeting in Paris in June. The International Conference in Support of Afghanistan, held on 12 June, saw fresh pledges of resources for the country’s rebuilding efforts, as well as the launch of the Government’s five-year plan to reduce poverty and promote economic and social development, known as the Afghan National Development Strategy (ANDS). Mr. Eide pointed to recent progress on the implementation plan for the ANDS, improved work of the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board, the agreed expansion of the national army, closer scrutiny of aid effectiveness, and the launch of a new anti-corruption agency. “We have made some progress, but we need to accelerate that work,” he stressed. “What we need most of all is a political surge – more political energy.” This is particularly crucial, he noted, to address urgent humanitarian needs, such as food delivery. Some 4.5 million Afghans face possible food shortages during the coming winter months due to a combination of insecurity, drought and high food prices. “We should all, and I repeat all, come together to ensure that food reaches those who need it most,” said Mr. Eide, who is also head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). “I will take this opportunity to appeal to the Taliban and to appeal to its leaders to ensure access for food distribution and to expand the humanitarian agenda that we should share,” he said. “There are disagreements on so many things – but let us demonstrate that we can share this humanitarian agenda.” In a recent report, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote that the deterioration of the security situation has hampered UNAMA in carrying out its efforts, with 90 of the country’s nearly 400 districts identified as areas of extreme risk. Attacks on aid-related targets and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have also become more frequent and more deadly.
OTTAWA — Trouble in Canada’s anemic labour market continued into July as a paltry 200 jobs were added during the month, falling spectacularly short of estimates.[np_storybar title=”‘Disappointing’ July jobs: What the analysts say” link=”https://business.financialpost.com/2014/08/08/canada-adds-only-200-jobs-in-july-what-the-analysts-say/”%5D“There was a shocking drop in full-time jobs, down almost 60,000. We did see a drop in the unemployment rate, however, that drop only came on the back of the participation rate, so it’s not encouraging at all.“Overall, it goes in line with what we’ve seen seasonally in the July report, which is that it tends to miss expectations over and over again.“All in all, it highlights a very disappointing pace of job gains in Canada.”– Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at ScotiabankRead more [/np_storybar]Economists had expected the economy to bounce back from the unexpected 9,400 decline in June by adding around 20,000 new jobs.Canada’s unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a point to 7.0% for the month, but that’s only because 35,400 people stopped looking for work.The participation rate, which tracks how many people are actively searching for jobs, declined to 65.9% from 66.1% in June. That’s the lowest it’s been since late 2001, BMO senior economist Benjamin Reitzes noted in a report.The Bank of Canada, which pays close attention to the labour participation rate, says it will not consider a hike in rates until the economy shows lasting signs of a recovery and employment picks up.“Soft job growth and modest wage gains will keep the Bank of Canada singing a dovish tune,” Mr. Reitzes said in his report.The Canadian dollar hit a session low of U.S. 91.20 cents shortly after Statistics Canada released the employment data.Hourly WagesScotiabank economists Derek Holt and Dov Zigler said in a report to clients they were taken aback by some rare offsetting numbers in the employment report.“What caught our attention was a series of remarkable coincidences that while not statistically impossible to explain collectively nevertheless arise with the regularity of asteroids hitting our planet.”For instance, between June and July, the number of full-time jobs fell by 59,700 while part-time jobs increased by 60,000.Finance Minister Joe Oliver told reporters in Toronto on Friday that StatsCan is producing data objectively, and he’s working with the numbers as they’re presented to him.What caught our attention was a series of remarkable coincidences that while not statistically impossible to explain collectively nevertheless arise with the regularity of asteroids hitting our planet“Sometimes coincidences happen. I’m sure that represents the best data that we have. Data is often revised after when you have all the numbers in, but this is the best information that we’ve got,” he said.“Canada is rapidly becoming a nation of part-timers,” said Paul Ashworth, chief North American economist at Capital Economics in Toronto.“Over the past 12 months, full-time employment has actually declined by a cumulative 3,100, while part-time employment has increased by 118,500.”Most of the month’s job losses came in construction, health care and social assistance. However, employment in educational services and in information, culture and recreation rose in July.The majority of new jobs were concentrated among people between the ages of 15 and 24, Statistics Canada said, while there were losses among people aged 55 and older.Regionally, Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba were the only provinces to show job growth, while employment fell in New Brunswick. The rest of the provinces remained mostly unchanged.The Canadian Press with files from the Financial Post and Bloomberg News