In Cuba Ban spotlights sustainable development human rights genderbased violence

During his visit to Old Havana, the Secretary-General gets an impromptu haircut at Solon Correo. UN Photo/Mark Garten Arriving in Cuba for the first time, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is greeted at the airport in Havana by Rodrigo Malmierca, Minister for Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment. UN Photo/Mark Garten Mr. Ban greets schoolchildren as he visits projects linked to the economic transformation of Old Havana accompanied by Eusebio Leal, city historian and UNDP Goodwill ambassador. UN Photo/Mark Garten Secretary-General Ban meets with Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers of Cuba in the Palace of the Revolution. UN Photo/Mark Garten In his remarks, Mr. Ban said the Latin American and Caribbean region has undergone “turbulent times, but has come through stronger”. That progress is visible across the work of the United Nations. Indeed, over the last 20 years, extreme poverty in the region has been cut in half and differences are being resolved through peaceful dialogue. “Many of the world’s human rights conventions have been inspired by the Latin American experience,” he said. “Of course, challenges remain in your region and far beyond: insecurity; inequality; and injustice,” the UN chief said, but stressed that in Latin America and the Caribbean, he sees countries that are determined to tackle such obstacles together and share their example with the world. “This summit is proof of just that. I pledge the support of the United Nations in all aspects of our shared agenda,” he said. Touching on the region’s efforts to close the severe inequality gap by, among others, boosting social protection and expanding health education, and in using its position as a “biodiversity superpower” to advance disaster preparedness, resilience and response, the Secretary-General also praised CELAC’s discussions on confronting the drug problem, in defending democracy and promoting the rights of migrants. “I look to you for even greater engagement and support across the full range of the work of the United Nations around the world,” said the Secretary-General, adding that regional organizations are crucial to achieving shared goals with the UN. “In our increasingly interconnected world, this is ever more important. When CELAC is stronger, the United Nations is stronger.” Following his arrival yesterday to Havana, Mr. Ban visited the Cuban National Centre for Sex Education (CENESEX) where he attended an event related to his campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women.“Violence against women is the most pervasive human rights violation in the world,” Mr. Ban said. “Our message is clear: Women and children have the right to feel safe and live with dignity – in all places, at all times – in war and peace, in poverty and prosperity, inside and outside their homes, schools and places of work,” he added.Cuba is a leader on many development issues, including expanding opportunity for women and girls, Mr. Ban said. However, as in all countries, the challenge of violence against women and girls remains. “To solve any problem, we must recognize that there is a problem – not hide or minimize it,” he said, urging young men to not raise their hands in violence but instead to raise their voices to stop it. “Thank you for sending the message: El Valiente no es violento,” said Mr. Ban quoting in Spanish ‘The Brave is not violent.’He called CENESEX’s work “magnificent” and said he was “touched and inspired” by the powerful stories he heard there. The Secretary-General tours the monuments of Old Havana, Cuba on his visit to development projects accompanied by the city’s historian, Eusebio Leal. UN Photo/Mark Garten ‹ › His audience included Mariela Castro, CENESEX director and activist for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues, who is also President Raul Castro’s daughter.Following Mr. Ban’s speech, Ms. Castro said she was symbolically giving the Secretary-General her personal commitment to join the UNiTE campaign. Launched by Mr. Ban in 2008, the campaign has gathered UN agencies and offices to galvanize action across the UN system to prevent and punish violence against women in the countries in which they work.Among his activities yesterday, Mr. Ban met President Castro with whom he discussed Cuba’s role as chair of CELAC. The two leaders also spoke about Cuba’s strong progress in achieving the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – including topics related to climate change – and a sustainable development agenda that will build on their foundation after the 2015 deadline. According to Mr. Ban’s spokesperson, talks also included Cuba’s role as host to the Colombian peace talks and its ongoing efforts in nearby Haiti, as well as the impact of the United States embargo on Cuba and human rights.The top UN official also discussed these topics with Miguel Díaz-Canel, First Vice-President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers.During his meeting with Marino Murillo, Vice-President of the Council of Ministers and Chairman of the Permanent Commission for Implementation and Development of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines, the two leaders discussed “at length” Cuba’s social and economic reforms, Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said. The UN chief also discussed implementation of the policy guidelines with Esteban Lazo Hernández, President of the National Assembly. During the talks, Mr. Ban underscored the importance of parliaments’ and women’s participation, and noted Cuba’s strong record on both, his spokesperson said.Mr. Ban’s meetings included talks with Cuban Minister of Trade and Investment, where the topics ranged from the latest UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) to Cuba’s opening of a new deepwater port of Mariel, and UN’s role in Cuba’s economic and social transformation. While in Havana, Mr. Ban yesterday toured Old Havana to look at the development and economic transformation of the area. Residents and tourists reportedly gathered around as he visited the colonial quarter, and even stopped into a barber shop for a haircut.The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and other UN agencies are working “very closely to help the Cuban Government and people to preserve this area,” Mr. Ban said.Along with speaking to CELAC delegations at the Summit, the UN chief also today addressed officials at the Latin American School of Medicine (Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina/ELAM) and met with dignitaries, including Fidel Castro Ruz, the former President of Cuba. Mr. Ban is also due to meet with the chief of civil defence, before leaving Cuba this evening for Germany. read more

Meghan Markle rings teen prodigy cellist to ask him to play at

When most people see an unknown number flash up on their mobile phone, they brace themselves for a cold call telling them about a road accident or mis-sold PPI.But Sheku Kanneh-Mason will be glad he answered one particular mystery telephone call, after picking up to find Meghan Markle on the end of the line.Kanneh-Mason, a rising star of the classical music world and teenage prodigy cellist, has described how he was “bowled over” by a telephone call from Ms Markle, personally inviting him to play at her wedding to Prince Harry on May 19.The 19-year-old cellist, who became the first black winner of the prestigious BBC Young Musician award in 2016 and has since played at the Proms, will join a line-up of wedding musicians including a gospel choir, a soprano singer, a trumpeter and the choir of St George’s Chapel.Kanneh-Mason, who comes from a family of talented musicians, said: “I’m so excited and honoured to perform at Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle’s wedding. Sheku Kanneh-Mason, winner of BBC Young Musician 2016 Sheku Kanneh-Mason, winner of BBC Young Musician 2016Credit:BBC James Vivian, Organist and Director of Music at St George’s Chapel Credit:Reuters Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry on May 19 Trumpet player David Blackadder Karen Gibson and The Kingdom ChoirCredit:PA Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry on May 19Credit:Eddie Mulholland Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Trumpet player David BlackadderCredit:Reuters Mr Vivian said: “The choristers, lay clerks, organists and I are very much looking forward to this exciting day and are pleased to be performing at the service music chosen by the couple.”We are also looking forward to welcoming to St George’s musical colleagues from near and far who will be performing at this very special and joyful occasion.”The service has been designed around the couple’s own tastes, with their spokesman previously saying: “This wedding, like all weddings, will be a moment of fun and joy that will reflect the characters and values of the bride and groom.” The chapel will echo to the gospel sounds of the Kingdom Choir founded and directed by Karen Gibson, who has previously worked on high-profile events including the Queen’s Jubilee, the Concert for Diana, and VE Day celebrations at Buckingham Palace in 1997.The palace said the British choir “has become known for its united sound, warm energy and enthusiastic performance”. “I was bowled over when Ms Markle called me to ask if I would play during the ceremony, and of course I immediately said yes.”What a privilege to be able to play the cello at such a wonderful event. I can’t wait!” They will be joined by soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, best known for her performances of Baroque masterpieces.James Vivian, director of music at St George’s Chapel, will be in overall control of the service’s music which will also feature state trumpeters from all ranks of the Band of the Household Cavalry, St George’s Chapel choir and Luke Bond, the chapel’s assistant director of music, will play the organ. Gibson, who will lead her group during the service, said: “The Kingdom Choir is truly honoured to be invited to sing at the wedding of Prince Harry and Ms Markle, and very excited to be taking part in such a historic moment.”It will be a moment that we will always treasure, and we’d like to take the opportunity to wish the couple all the very best for their coming union.”The Prince and Ms Markle may be planning to contrast the uplifting voices of the gospel singers with Baroque pieces, selecting soloists who have made their name playing music from the period. Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir The invitation came after the cellist impressed Prince Harry during an evening in London last June in aid of Antiguan charity the Halo Foundation.In a statement releasing details of the Royal Wedding music, Kensington Palace said: “Both Prince Harry and Ms Markle have taken a great interest and care in choosing the music for their service, which will include a number of well-known hymns and choral works.” David Blackadder, principal trumpet with both the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Academy of Ancient Music, will play with The Orchestra, comprised of musicians from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonia. James Vivian, Organist and Director of Music at St George's Chapel  read more