Ban Kimoon holds first talks with head of Guatemalan probe into armed

Mr. Ban met with Carlos Castresana Fernández at UN Headquarters in New York yesterday, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters.Mr. Castresana told the Secretary-General that the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (known by its Spanish initials as CICIG) is still in its preparatory phase and is likely to start operating by the beginning of January next year.Ms. Montas said Mr. Ban voiced his full support for the work of the Commission and thanked Mr. Castresana for accepting the post.CICIG was established under an agreement between the UN and the Guatemalan Government that came into effect on 4 September. An independent, non-UN body, the Commission will be able to conduct its own investigations and also help local institutions, particularly the Office of the Public Prosecutor. One of the Commission’s tasks is to recommend public policies and any legal or institutional measures for eradicating illegal armed groups and preventing their re-emergence. The costs are expected to be borne by voluntary contributions from the international community. Over three decades of conflict in Guatemala ended with the signing of peace accords in December of 1996, but concern has been mounting in recent years that illegal security groups and clandestine security organizations have continued to operate with impunity, conducting criminal activities and violating human rights. 10 October 2007Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has held his first talks with the head of an independent body recently set up with the help of the United Nations to investigate the presence and activities of illegal armed groups in Guatemala. read more

Lowes Fiscal 2Q Earnings Snapshot

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) _ Lowe’s Cos. (LOW) on Wednesday reported fiscal second-quarter earnings of $1.68 billion.The Mooresville, North Carolina-based company said it had net income of $2.14 per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, came to $2.15 per share.The results beat Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $2 per share.The home improvement retailer posted revenue of $20.99 billion in the period, also beating Street forecasts. Ten analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $20.98 billion.Lowe’s expects full-year earnings in the range of $5.45 to $5.65 per share.Lowe’s shares have increased 6% since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has climbed 16%. The stock has fallen almost 1% in the last 12 months._____This story was generated by Automated Insights ( using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on LOW at Associated Press read more

Fight against child labour moving in right direction but not quickly enough

“We are moving in the right direction but progress is still too slow. If we are serious about ending the scourge of child labour in the foreseeable future, then we need a substantial stepping-up of efforts at all levels,” said Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO). “There are 168 million good reasons to do so.”The agency’s new report, “Marking progress against child labour,” comes ahead of next month’s Global Conference on Child Labour in Brazil. It shows that most of the progress was made between 2008 and 2012, when the global number fell from 215 to 168 million.More than half of the 168 million child labourers worldwide are involved in hazardous work. This is work that directly endangers their health, safety and moral development. The current number of children in hazardous work stands at 85 million, down from 171 million in 2000.Among other findings, the report says that the largest absolute number of child labourers is found in the Asia-Pacific region (almost 78 million), but Sub-Saharan Africa continues to have the highest incidence of child labour in terms of proportion of the population, at over 21 per cent.The incidence of child labour is highest in poorer countries but middle-income countries have the largest numbers of child labourers. Also, child labour among girls fell by 40 per cent since 2000, compared to 25 per cent for boys.Agriculture remains by far the most important sector where child labourers can be found (98 million children, or 59 per cent), but the problems are not negligible in services (54 million) and industry (12 million) – mostly in the informal economy.The report identifies a number of actions that have driven progress in the fight against child labour in recent years, noting in particular policy choices and accompanying investments in education and social protection. Other actions include the political commitment of governments and the increasing number of ratifications of the two ILO child labour conventions.“No one can take sole credit for this result, as many have helped draw attention to the negative impacts of child labour on economic growth, the future of societies and the rights of children,” said Constance Thomas, Director of the ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC).“However, the ILO’s role in leading the fight against child labour, through its standards and supervisory system, advice, capacity building and direct action, deserves special mention.” read more