Top UN relief official in Central African Republic urgently appeals for halt

“I condemn the violence and call on all belligerents to respect and protect humanitarian workers who provide assistance to thousands of people affected by conflict in the country,” said Humanitarian Coordinator Marc Vandenberghe in a statement issued in Bangui, the capital of the CAR.He strongly condemned the attack against a World Food Programme (WFP) food convoy on 18 July near Baboua, in the north-western part region. The convoy of 20 vehicles escorted by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) peacekeepers, received gun shots that fatally wounded the driver and his vehicle immediately reversed causing injuries to other passengers. “Humanitarian access continues to be hampered by various constraints in the country, particularly violence against civilians and humanitarian workers,” the humanitarian coordinator said. “The upsurge in armed attacks on the Main Supply Route 1 from the west of the country threatens the continuity of humanitarian activities in the country.”He underscored the urgent appeal of the humanitarian community in the country to all parties to the conflict to refrain from attacking humanitarian workers, “and they allow them to do their jobs and save lives safely in the whole country.”More than two years of civil war and sectarian violence have displaced thousands of people in CAR amid ongoing clashes between the mainly Muslim Séléka alliance and anti-Balaka militia, which are mostly Christian. The United Nations estimates that some 450,000 people remain displaced inside the country while thousands of others have sought asylum across the borders. read more

Nissans Zero Emission Centre of Excellence to be based in the UK

Nissan recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Gateshead College, North East England, to develop a Zero Emission Centre of Excellence (ZECE). At the heart of this new agreement will be the creation of industry-leading electric vehicle technology, jobs and apprenticeships, while further establishing the UK as a global leader in low carbon technology.Nissan already has a longstanding relationship with Gateshead College for the training and development of staff at its Sunderland plant and established the Gateshead College Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation.The new centre will provide the manufacturing base for Nissan’s cutting edge quick charger technology, which allows ChadMo compliant electric vehicles to charge to 80% in just 30 minutes. ZECE will also focus on renewable energy storage and exploring opportunities for employing used lithium-ion batteries from Nissan electric vehicles.Etienne Henry, Vice President Product Strategy and Planning, and Head of Nissan’s Zero Emission Business Unit in Europe, said, “This  project will help Nissan to investigate the unique opportunities that our electric vehicle business brings as regards to charging infrastructure and battery second life.“With production of the Nissan LEAF coming to Sunderland in early 2013, the North East will become the epicentre of electric vehicle expertise in Europe.”Richard Thorold, Principal, Gateshead College, said, “This exciting new development will build upon recent investments by Nissan, the North East of England, the UK government and the College, and takes us forward as a centre at the forefront of international automotive and low carbon technology.”Click through to discover more about UK automotive and sustainability.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more