UN Secretary António Guterres on Saturday received the Lamp of Peace award , a major honour from the Catholic Church, which he said recognises the work of UN personnel “striving for peace around the world”.
Reminding that after the horrors of World War in the 20th Century, “the UN was created in the name of peace”, he affirmed that “we are united here today in our pursuit of peace”.
“Peace remains our guiding star and most precious goal,” Guterres said, accepting the accolade bestowed upon those seeking the peaceful coexistence of peoples.
The Franciscan Lamp of Peace is a replica of a glass oil lamp that glows at the monastic grave of Saint Francis of Assisi, who, throughout his lifetime, inspired environmental ethics.
The award was first presented in 1981 and past recipients included Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama, Saint Teresa of Calcutta and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
“As a person of faith with a deep appreciation and respect for the mission of St Francis, this award and ceremony are especially meaningful,” the UN chief said.
From the start of his first term, the UN chief has made the promotion of peace his top priority.
And having seen some of the worst impacts of conflict during his tenure as UN High Commissioner for Refugees, he launched “a surge in diplomacy for peace”.
“I put greater emphasis on prevention, establishing more rigorous systems and frameworks to analyse risks, reinforce decision-making and support Member States to take action before violence escalates,” he informed the ceremony, via videolink.
“When COVID-19 first took hold, I understood it would be a new threat to peace and called immediately for a global ceasefire to fight our common enemy – the virus”.
As an honest broker, bridge builder and messenger of peace, the Secretary-General is determined to use his good offices to build on those initiatives.
“But the struggle for peace is often a Sisyphean task, given the complexity of today’s interlinked conflicts”, he said. “We live in a world where peace is elusive, and under enormous threat”.
Guterres painted a picture of countries and regions suffering from prolonged conflicts and places where peace is routinely undervalued and undermined, underscoring that these make moments like this even more important to “honour peace, and reflect on our duty to uphold and promote it”.
Because it is not a passive acceptance of the status quo but a concrete act, and sometimes a difficult choice, the top UN official said, “peace makes demands of us”.
“But in our fractured, troubled world, it is a vital one. It is the only one. It remains the driving force behind the work of the United Nations, every day, in every country,” he added.
Quoting Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli Tutti, the Secretary-General reiterated that only by walking the path of peace, in solidarity, can we build a better future for all, “because peace can achieve wonders that war never will”.
“In a world where we can choose anything, let us choose peace,” he concluded. (NAN)
Akeredolu appoints chairmen, members for Ondo parastatals
The Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, has approved the appointment of some members of the state All Progressives Congress to the state boards and parastatals.
The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Richard Olatunde, made this known in a statement on Thursday.
According to the statement, a former speaker of the state House of Assembly, Victor Olabimtan, was appointed the Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board.
The governor equally approved the appointment of Sam Erejuwa as the Chairman of the Ondo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission .
Similarly, Olajide Akinroluyo has been appointed as the chairman of the Pool Betting and Lotteries Board.
“The appointments take immediate effect,” the statement read.
The statement also noted that the governor has approved the appointment of Rafiu Akinkuolie as member of the Judicial Service Commission. His name has been forwarded to the Ondo State House of Assembly for screening.
Akeredolu congratulated the new appointees and charged them to justify the confidence reposed in them by performing excellently in their new offices.
Google appeals $2.8bn shopping fine at EU court
Google on Thursday appealed an EU court decision to uphold the bloc’s 2.4-billion-euro ($2.8-billion) fine for abusing its search engine dominance.
The tech giant said it would go to the European Court of Justice, the EU’s highest court, after the General Court confirmed in November a decision by the European Commission in 2017.
At the time, the fine was the European Union’s biggest ever. But it was later exceeded by a 4.3-billion-euro fine against Google over its Android smartphone operating system.
“After careful consideration, we have decided to appeal the General Court’s decision because we feel there are areas that require legal clarification from the European Court of Justice,” a short statement by the company said.
The case centres on Google’s shopping service and is one of three against the search engine giant currently moving through the EU’s drawn-out appeals system.
The new appeal could take up to two years to reach an outcome, stretching the case out to well more than a decade after the commission launched its investigation in 2010.
The court confirmation on Google Shopping was a win for the EU’s anti-trust supremo Margrethe Vestager, who burst onto the scene in Brussels by scrapping her predecessor’s more conciliatory approach to the US internet giant.
Vestager had lost in the same court in a different major case, against Apple and Ireland, in which her teams had ordered the iPhone maker to repay 13 billion euros plus interest to the Irish taxpayer. The EU has appealed that ruling.
The fine for Google came after seven years of investigation launched by complaints from other price-comparison services that saw traffic plummet against Google Shopping.