Security Council welcomes accord to end Lebanese political crisis

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22 May 2008The Security Council has welcomed this week’s accord to resolve the long-running political stand-off in Lebanon and called for the agreement, which paves the way for a president to finally be elected and a national unity cabinet to be established, to be implemented fully. In a presidential statement issued today, the Council congratulated the leaders and people of Lebanon for the deal, reached yesterday in Doha, Qatar, under the auspices of the Arab League.It “constitutes an essential step towards the resolution of the current crisis, the return to the normal functioning of Lebanese democratic institutions, and the complete restoration of Lebanon’s unity and stability,” according to the statement, read out by Ambassador John Sawers of the United Kingdom, which holds the Council presidency this month.The agreement has been reached after deadly violence between pro- and anti-Government militias erupted recently in the capital, Beirut, and elsewhere. Since last November, when the office became vacant, there have been 18 failed attempts to conduct a parliamentary vote to select the next president.Under the accord, a new president will be chosen, a national unity cabinet will be set up and the country’s electoral laws will be addressed.Council members said they also welcomed the decision to continue the national dialogue on ways to reinforce the authority of the State over the entire territory so as to guarantee the sovereignty and safety of the State and the people.In addition, they noted the agreement bans the use of weapons and violence as a means to settle disputes, regardless of their nature or the circumstances.The statement, which echoes a similar statement from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday, stressed the need for the accord to be implemented in its entirety, in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions and with the 1989 Taef agreement ending the civil war. read more

Brace yourself This is how much it will cost you to put

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MONTREAL — The cost of a four-year university degree for a child born in 2013 could rise to more than $140,000 due to tuition inflation, a new study says.But three-quarters of parents with children under 18 haven’t made a detailed estimate of the total cost of post-secondary education, said BMO’s Wealth Institute in a report released on Wednesday.Tuition and other costs for a four-year university degree now can cost more than $60,000, the report said.“I think that for most people if you tell them that tuition has increased two or three times the rate of inflation they will be surprised at that,” said BMO’s Caroline Dabu.This can leave parents unprepared for the costs and students with hefty loans to pay back when they graduate, Dabu said from Toronto.Over the last five years, the average annual inflation rate has been 1.6% while tuition inflation was 3.9%, the bank said.It also noted that at the beginning of the 1990s, average undergraduate tuition fees in Canada were $1,464 and they’ve risen more than three-fold to $5,581.Parents often see college or university as a long way off for their children, said Dabu, vice-president and head of BMO’s wealth planning group.“The top mistake is not starting early enough.”The report also found that 83% of parents expect to pay for their child’s college or university costs, with 44% expecting their child will also contribute.“Let them know you’re saving for their education and have them involved in how you’re saving,” Dabu said.If students have a part-time job, parents could have a portion of earnings go toward post-secondary education to help them understand budgeting, she added.Only half of parents have set up a registered education savings plan (RESP), said the inaugural report by the bank’s newly created Wealth Institute, called: “Student Tuition and Debt on the Rise: RESP’s and Beyond.”The report also found that only 34% of parents were taking full advantage of the available government grant for RESPs.The BMO report also recommends parents consider using tax free savings accounts, trusts, corporate dividends and life insurance policies to help pay for post-secondary education.“The advice we give to clients is very similar as to what we give around retirement, and that is to start saving as soon as possible,” Dabu said. read more