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OSLO, July 4, 2018 (News Wires) -The traditional concert after the annual awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10 in Oslo will not be staged this year due to financial difficulties, the organisers said.

"There will be no Nobel Peace Prize concert" in 2018, said a statement from the Nobel Institute, Warner Bros Norway and the Gyro Event company.

"The decision emerges from a wish to re-think the concert format and content but also reflects the challenging financial situation of the concert in recent years," it added.

Live television audiences for the concert, which has been paid for solely by private patrons, have fallen away in the age of smartphones and the organisers said they would consider new platforms.

The Dagbladet newspaper reported that Norway's supermarket giant Rema 1000 has pulled its sponsorship leaving the organisers unable to make up for the lost amount.

The show has attracted more than 100 leading acts ranging from Whitney Houston to Lady Gaga since it was launched at Oslo's Spektrum arena in 1994.

Gazette Staff

CAIRO, June 1, 2018 - China's Special Envoy on the Middle East Issue Gong Xiaosheng has said that Egypt and Israel asked Beijing to play a big role in the peace process, the official Middle East News Agency (MENA) said.

During a press conference held at the Chinese Embassy in Cairo on Thursday night, Gong said that his country was looking forward to increasing coordination and cooperation with Cairo on Palestine and the peace process.

"Israel also proposed that China play a bigger role, and this is a positive development as Tel-Aviv always insisted that the United States is the only party involved in negotiations," Gong said.

The Chinese envoy voiced deep concern over recent tensions, referring to escalations between Palestinian factions and the Israeli Gaza Strip army over the past two days, the largest since the 2014 war.

"The international community should pay more attention to the Palestinian Cause, as much as any other issue in the region, and efforts should be made to resume peace negotiations stalled since 2014," the envoy said.

"China supports the Arab peace initiative and all other initiatives in line with Palestinian interests,’’ Gong added.

The Arab peace initiative adopted at the Arab League summit in Beirut in 2002 calls for the withdrawal of Israel from the Arab territories occupied in 1967, the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and a settlement of the refugee crisis based on UN Resolution 194.

ADEN, May 26, 2018 (News Wires) - In his first interview following his appointment as Yemen’s foreign minister, Khalid Hussein al-Yamani told Al Arabiya that the Houthi militias are in a difficult position, have suffered major losses and have accepted UN-backed proposals of a political resolution to the conflict.

Yamani revealed that the United Nations received messages from the Houthis stating that they were ready for the peace process, their withdrawal from cities they have occupied and handing over their weapons to the state.

Meanwhile, the United Nations condemned the increasing restrictions on the work of relief organizations and humanitarian agencies, the detention and intimidation of its staff in the northern areas under Houthi control in Yemen.

The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said: “Humanitarian staff are being detained and intimidated and visas are being delayed and denied. Programmes and missions are being interfered in ways which contradict humanitarian principles.”

The UN official said that one quarter of Yemen’s children are out of schools, and not only deprived of education but also at risk of recruitment by armed groups and exploitation as the statement puts it.

He said that public employees in the health and education sectors in the northern region under the control of Houthi militias have not been paid their salaries till now.

Expressing his concerns regarding the humanitarian situation in Yemen, Lowcock said that more than 22 million Yemenis are in need for humanitarian assistance or protection, of whom around 8.4 milion are at risk of starvation.

“If conditions do not improve, a further 10 million people will fall into this category by the end of the year,” cautioned Lowcock.

He welcomed the decision of by all parties to open a medical air bridge from Sana'a to Saudi Arabia and Egypt to transport patients with conditions that cannot be treated in Yemen to facilities where they can receive the help they need

Lowcock urged all parties to engage meaningfully with the UN, without preconditions, to achieve a lasting, negotiated settlement towards sustainable peace.

VATICAN CITY, May 6, 2018 (AP) — Pope Francis has offered a prayer in St. Peter's Square for an end to violence in the deeply impoverished Central African Republic, which he visited 2½ years ago.

Francis during his traditional on Sunday blessing recalled the serious violence in recent days that left many, including a priest, dead. He called for an end to vendettas "to construct peace together."

At least 19 people were killed and 98 wounded in the renewed sectarian violence in the Central African Republic's capital of Bangui, with targets including a church, a mosque and health facilities. The country has faced deadly interreligious and intercommunal fighting since 2013, with thousands of people killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.

During his November 2015 visit, the pope delivered a message of reconciliation.

STOCKHOLM, April 22, 2018 (MENA) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that there is a long path to achieve peace in Syria, the UN News Center reported on Sunday.

"Everything is needed to be put on track, and there was still a long way to go," Guterres told reporters in Sweden in response to a question on whether the 15-member Council had a road-map for a solution to end the conflict.

The UN chief added that a closed-doors session in Sweden provided an opportunity for the Council to prove that it "can be effective when it is united."

"The problem is that in many aspects, we have not yet been able to have a united Security Council," he said.

ALEXANDRIA, March 10, 2018 - Japanese Ambassador to Cairo Takahiro Kagawa on Saturday urged Egyptian youth to work on achieving their dreams and ambitions as well as spreading peace.

Ambassador Kagawa was addressing students at the 2nd science forum of the Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST), which was held at its premises in Borb El-Arab district of Alexandria.

"You should understand the main purpose of your academic study and the knowledge you are studying. You have to return the favour to your society, your country and the humankind as whole. This is the role of youth to do so," Mr Kagawa told the gathering.

The Japanese diplomat spoke about his personal experience to benefit the attended students. He revealed that he always dreamt of achieving peace, and he took steps to do that. "When I finished my academic study, I joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There, I was ordered to learn Arabic," Mr Kagawa added.

"I was astonished," he went on to say, "As I didnít study anything regarding the Middle East.  Despite the fact that this region is an important pillar in the international politics through centuries, it is also an important pillar in achieving the world peace."

Mr Kagawa added that Egypt was the first foreign country he had ever visited.

 "I came here to study Arabic at the American University in Cairo. I am still remembering the hospitality of  the Egyptian family with whom I lived in their home for two years, during which I was very close to the Egyptian culture. Egypt has been generous to me personally and professionally," he remembered.

The Japanese diplomat pointed out that after he finished studying in Egypt, he took part in peace-related activities in other countries.

He joined the peacekeeping forces in Cambodia and Iraq. Mr Kagawa said that he stayed with the Japanese soldiers who were serving in the north of Iraq, as he was  providing the humanitarian aid to the schools and hospitals there.

Mr Kagawa urged the young people to support peace, highlighting that the university must have a role in the society and not to be separated from its issues.

He said that he was pleased to work in Cairo as a diplomat who has contributed to a number of development projects, of which establishing the E-JUST.

The University, he added, was previously limited to graduate studies. "But now it accepts Thanawiya Amma students," he said.