“Remembering is a necessary rebuke to those who say the Holocaust never happened or has been exaggerated,” said Mr. Annan in a video message that was part of a two-hour ceremony observing the UN’s first International Day of Commemoration.The Secretary-General invoked the day’s theme – “remembrance and beyond” – and urged all to “pledge ourselves to even greater efforts to prevent genocide and crimes against humanity.”Although unable to personally attend the gathering because he is travelling in Europe, Mr. Annan and his wife, Nane, marked the Day in Zurich, Switzerland, where they met with Auschwitz survivors and a group of young members affiliated with the International Auschwitz Committee.Nane Annan is the niece of Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from Nazi persecution during the Second World War.In comments to reporters after meeting with the Auschwitz survivors, Mr. Annan invoked his wife’s late uncle. “How come there were so few Wallenbergs, where were the others?” he asked. “We all have a responsibility in trying to ensure that we do protect society and each other.”Mr. Annan also emphasized that the Holocaust must not be denied or forgotten, and warned against complacency in the face of hate. “There are bigots today who would deny that the Holocaust occurred, that unique experience of Holocaust occurred, and that should be countered,” he said.“We see racism, humiliation of the other, and that is how it begins. You start with humiliation, you start with discrimination, you demean the other and before you know it, it has moved onto incredible levels,” he warned.About 2,000 people – Holocaust survivors, their family and friends, UN staff members and the public – gathered to in New York to hear the message from Mr. Annan as well as speeches by Under-Secretary-General Shashi Tharoor, the Acting President of the General Assembly, Brazilian Ambassador Ronald Mota Sardenberg, Israeli Ambassador Gillerman, and other dignitaries who shared the podium with survivors and activists.Many members of the audience were moved to tears as Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein emotionally recounted how former U.S. Army lieutenant Kurt Klein, a German Jew who fled Nazi Germany in 1938, liberated her in Volary, Czechoslovakia, and later became her husband. He died in 2002.“I weighed 68 pounds. I was in rags. I had white hair,” said Ms. Klein of her condition when Mr. Klein arrived at the former bicycle factory where she and other survivors had ended a 350-mile death march ordered by her captors. She was two days shy of her 21st birthday after a six-year ordeal that began when Germans invaded her southern Polish town in 1939. She lost every member of her family, except for one uncle who was living in Turkey.After starting the ceremony with two minutes of silence to honour the victims, Mr. Tharoor said it was appropriate that the liberation of Auschwitz be commemorated at the UN, which was built on the ashes of the Holocaust.“When they were confronted by the full horror of what had been done in the death camps of Europe, world leaders were inspired, indeed driven, to create a place where they could work together to change our world for the better,” Mr. Tharoor said.Mr. Sardenberg, who spoke on behalf of Assembly President Jan Eliasson, said it was crucial for the international community to remember the horrendous crimes that occurred in Nazi death camps in order to prevent new horrors from occurring in the years ahead.He recalled that in adoption its resolution designating the Day, the 191-member General Assembly rejected “any denial of the Holocaust as an historic event, either in full or part.”The General Assembly chose 27 January for the annual commemoration because it was that day, in 1945, that the Auschwitz concentration camp fell to Allied Forces.Israeli Ambassador Daniel Gillerman gave a vivid speech in which he urged the crowd to imagine “the shattering of skulls and the burning of flesh” as he recounted the horrors of the Nazi death camps.And in a touching display that brought the Holocaust tragedy to a personal level, individual photos of more than a dozen victims – from an infant to a 60-year-old man, were shown on a large screen as Mr. Tharoor read brief, gripping narratives of their lives.The event also included a performance by the Zamir Chorale of Boston and a lecture by Yehuda Bauer, an academic advisor to Yad Vashem and the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research.The meeting, which was web cast, culminated a weeklong series of events held at UN Headquarters that encompassed people of all ages and included film, candlelight vigils, photo exhibits and poetry readings. read more

first_imgAECI, the leading explosives and speciality chemicals company in Africa, and Thiess, one of the world’s largest mining contractors, have signed a five-year agreement for AECI’s entry in to Australia. Under the agreement, AEL Mining Services (AEL), a wholly owned subsidiary of AECI, will provide leading-edge explosives, initiating systems and technical services to Thiess in Australia. AECI says its entry into Australia “is aligned with the company’s clearly defined international growth strategy.” In addition to Australia, other geographies of interest are Africa, Brazil, Chile and Indonesia. Australia is one of the world’s largest producers of metallurgical and thermal coal and ferrous and non-ferrous metals. “The explosives industry is nearly six times the size of South Africa’s,” AECI reports.To prepare the groundwork, AECI Australia was registered as a legal entity in 2014. At the same time, a Managing Director was appointed, an office was opened in Brisbane and a site was developed in Bajool near Rockhampton in Queensland. The site includes an ammonium nitrate emulsion manufacturing facility imported from South Africa, as well as storage space. The modular design of the manufacturing facility is deployed globally and gives AEL the flexibility to grow capacity easily in the future. All the necessary regulatory approvals are in place. “The first 140 t of emulsion were manufactured on 25 November 2014 and a trial blast involving 550 electronic detonators was completed on 10 January 2015. Full explosives supply will commence in February,” says Mark Dytor, Chief Executive of AECI.“Recently, Thiess concluded an extensive review of the Australian explosives industry, particularly in terms of products and services. After identifying the need for a world-class service provider committed to delivering added value in a challenging commodity cycle, they decided to approach AEL with whom they have a long-standing working relationship in Indonesia,” AECI further reports.According to Michael Wright, Executive General Manager of Thiess in Australia, AEL is a world leader that employs highly skilled people, provides a comprehensive range of products and services and offers an international footprint that matches its global mining aspirations. “Most importantly, however, they’re fully committed to developing R&D programs that have the capacity to drive lower cost outcomes for mines. Given the competitive and complex state of mining, the partnership has the potential to be a real game-changer in the Australian mining industry.”Moving forward, AECI’s assets in Indonesia will be leveraged to facilitate the development of a regional supply chain framework. The company’s Australian leadership team, headed by Nigel Convey as Managing Director, is also progressing a new business pipeline, ensuring AECI’s emergence as a key role player in the Australian mining industry.last_img read more