Daily Archives: June 17, 2020

The Shepherd Color Company Announces New IR Black for Recycling of Black Plastic

CINCINNATI, June 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — It seems that the Shepherd Color’s R&D team is at it again. ‘Creating Value, Brightening Lives’ has long been the Core Value of The Shepherd Color Company. The R&D Team has their pulse on the coatings and plastics industries to understand the needs of their customers: to create quality, innovative products, which bring value to not only their customers, but to the sustainability of the environment.

IR Black Recycling

One such product is a cost-effective IR Black colorant for packaging that can reflect IR wavelengths in recycling sorting facilities, so these plastics may be recycled. Black is a popular color used for plastic packaging, which is mostly carbon black pigment. The carbon black pigmentation absorbs the light from the emitter used in plastic sorting centers, which prevents the sensor from identifying the polymer used, so the material is then rejected and not recycled.

Shepherd Color has spent the last 40 years developing, optimizing, and manufacturing IR Black pigments. Based on the new balance of properties needed for the recycling application, they were able to design, prototype and scale up an IR Black pigment to meet this new need. This IR Black pigment advancement is Arctic®Black 10P925. The pigment is optimized for infrared sorting of plastics and has the following characteristics:

  • Jet masstone color
  • Non-magnetic
  • Survives multiple extrusions
  • Single pigment solution
  • Widely listed on chemical registries for global supply
  • Food packaging compliance in key EU market

Black 10P925 is not only excellent for coloring plastic articles used for producing, packaging and transporting food, but can be used in other coatings as well. This new pigment is an example of Shepherd Color’s R&D expertise in developing products that provide unique tools to solve the challenges of customers in the coatings and plastics industries.

ABOUT THE SHEPHERD COLOR COMPANY
Founded in 1981, The Shepherd Color Company produces a wide range of high-performance Complex Inorganic Color Pigments (CICPs) used in a variety of industries. These pigments are an extraordinary class of inorganic pigments that offer stable, long-lasting color for many applications. They have unbeatable weatherability, heat and chemical resistance, are non-warping and easy to disperse. More Expertise. Better Performance. Best Value. That’s Shepherd Color. Visit us at www.shepherdcolor.com and www.linkedin.com/company/shepherdcolor.

Media Contact:
Mark Ryan, Marketing Manager
513.874.0714
mryan@shepherdcolor.com

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1192394/IRBlackRecycle_10P925.jpg

 

Trina Solar unveils TrinaPro Mega, an ultra-high-power smart PV solution

CHANGZHOU, China, June 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Trina Solar Co., Ltd., a leading global PV and smart energy total solution provider, announced the global launch of TrinaPro Mega, an ultra-high power smart PV solution featuring modules with power output exceeding 500W. With further improvement in product selection and integrated design, the solution enhances the overall system performance and reduces the levelized cost of energy (LCOE). Following the debut of the Vertex ultra-high-power new 500W-plus module in February, TrinaPro Mega marks yet another benchmark for the era of the 500W power output, as it delivers an optimized solution for the application of Vertex module in downstream systems.

In 2018, Trina Solar unveiled the smart PV solution “TrinaPro” for large-scale power stations. Based on system design and software algorithms, the solution integrates bifacial and high-efficiency PV modules, smart tracking systems and reliable inverters. It features integrated services and a smart O&M management platform, lowering the balance-of-system (BOS) cost by up to 15% and increasing power generation by up to 8%.

With solar energy fast approaching grid parity, TrinaPro Mega, in its role as an improved ultra-high-power smart solution, resolves several application challenges faced by existing systems. Based on the “TrinaPro” solution, TrinaPro Mega upgrades the long-string trackers for 500W-plus power modules. Furthermore it integrates Vertex modules, Trina Solar’s independently developed TCU, smart tracking algorithms and SCADA monitoring systems. For a variety of application scenarios defined by complicated geography, uneven terrain and wind speeds, TrinaPro Mega provides clients with customized solutions to ensure system reliability and efficiency. To date, DNV.GL has completed the bankability certification for the TrinaPro Mega smart solution.

Yin Rongfang, vice general manager and vice president of Trina Solar, said: “The PV industry has embraced the 500W-plus power since the beginning of the year. As an industry pioneer, the Vertex module demonstrates Trina Solar’s strong ability at innovation and provides the industry with an entirely new technical platform. Moreover, Vertex facilitates the commercialization of new technologies and paves the way for the next module power upgrade to 600W.

“Based on the Vertex module, we launched TrinaPro Mega in a move to increase value for our clients via smart upgrades to more advanced system solutions. By enhancing ultra-high power module performance and lowering the LCOE, TrinaPro Mega brings stable investment returns”, Yin Rongfang added.

Image link: https://www.trinasolar.com/sites/default/files/tongchuan.jpg
Image Caption: A Chinese “Top Runner” PV power project in Tongchuan, Shaanxi, utilizing 30 MW TrinaPro smart solution.

About Trina Solar (688599. SH)

Founded in 1997, Trina Solar is the world leading PV and smart energy total solution provider. The company engages in PV products R&D, manufacture and sales; PV projects development, EPC, O&M; smart micro-grid and multi-energy complementary systems development and sales, as well as energy cloud-platform operation. In 2018, Trina Solar launched Energy IoT brand, established the Trina Energy IoT Industrial Development Alliance together with leading enterprises and research institutes in China and around the world, and founded the New Energy IoT Industrial Innovation Center. With these actions, Trina Solar is committed to working with its partners to build the energy IoT ecosystem and develop an innovation platform to explore New Energy IoT, as it strives to be a leader in global intelligent energy. On 10 June 2020, Trina Solar issues first A-Shares on Shanghai Sci-Tech Innovation Board, becomes the first PV product, PV system and smart energy company listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange Science and Technology Innovation Board, also known as the STAR MARKET. For more information, please visit www.trinasolar.com.

‫مدرسة كلاريون تقدم خصومات ممتدة الأمد مساندةً للعائلات التي تعاني من كوفيد-19

دبي، الإمارات العربية المتحدة, 17 يونيو / حزيران 2020 /PRNewswire/ — أعلنت مدرسة كلاريون لأولياء الأمور الحاليين والمقبلين أنها ستوسع برنامج خصومات المساندة الذي تقدمه للتخفيف عنهم ليشمل جميع العائلات التي تحتاج إلى تخفيف الرسوم الدراسية.

فقد قررت مدرسة كلاريون -مع استمرار الشعور بالأثر الذي تخلفه جائحة كوفيد-19 على الاقتصاد- تمديد فترة التخفيف من الرسوم الدراسية في المستقبل لأولياء الأمور طوال فترة تأثرهم بعواقب الجائحة.

الجدير بالذكر أن المدرسة قد وضعت حزم التخفيف من الطوارئ فور وقوع الأزمة؛ استجابة منها لنداءات المساعدة التي أطلقتها عائلات طلاب كلاريون. ومن المتوقع أن يستمر تأثير جائحة كوفيد-19 على الاقتصاد في المستقبل. لذلك تلتزم مدرسة كلاريون -في مواجهة هذا الأثر- بتقديم هذا الدعم بمساندة المتأثرين بجائحة كوفيد-19 ليكون أوفى من مجرد تخفيف فوري خلال الفصل الدراسي الثالث، بل سيتواصل التخفيف حتى العام الدراسي المقبل وطوال الفترة التي يكون خلالها أولياء أمور طلاب المدرسة بحاجة للمساندة.

وتعليقًا على ذلك، صرحت الدكتور أناهيتا ولية أمر طالب في الصف الرابع قائلة: “إنها لمبادرة عظيمة من مدرسة كلاريون دبي وتعكس الروح الاجتماعية بالمدرسة. وبصفتي واحدة من أولياء الأمور، فأنا سعيدة بمعرفتي أن دعم المدرسة لأولياء الأمور سيتواصل دائمًا طوال فترة تأثرهم بجائحة كوفيد-19. أما بصفتي ولية أمر في مدرسة كلاريون، فأشعر أيضًا بالثقة والاطمئنان إلى أن طفلي في أيد أمينة مع كل هذا الدعم الذي تلقيته من المعلمين والإداريين في المدرسة خلال تلك المرحلة من تجربة التعلم عن بعد. وأتطلع إلى العام القادم والعودة إلى المدرسة.”

وتجدر الإشارة إلى أنه لم يُحرم أي طفل من برنامج التعلم عن بعد بسبب الرسوم غير المدفوعة حتى الآن. ويتماشى التخفيف بخصومات المساندة مع سياسة المدرسة بجعل التعلم عن بعد متاحًا لجميع أطفال مدرسة كلاريون المسجلين حاليًا حتى نهاية العام الدراسي بغض النظر عن حالة الدفع. كما ستمتد حزم التخفيف إلى العام الدراسي المقبل بحسب الحاجة.

وقالت فرانسيسكا؛ وهي ولية أمر لطفل في عامه الأول من رياض الأطفال: “إن هذا التوجيه المستقبلي يمثل لي -بصفتي ولية أمر حديثة الانضمام لمدرسة كلاريون- أمرًا ذا قيمة كبيرة. ورغم أنني لم أتأثر ماديًا بالجائحة خلال هذه الأوقات العصيبة، إلا أن إمكانية حصولي على خصومات المساندة في أي وقت يمنحني إحساسًا بالطمأنينة في حال تغير وضعي الشخصي. وإنني لأتطلع إلى بداية العام الدراسي في شهر سبتمبر القادم. 

مدرسة كلاريون هي المدرسة الأمريكية التقدمية الرائدة في الإمارات العربية المتحدة وتوفر في الوقت الحالي التعليم للأطفال في مرحلة ما قبل رياض الأطفال وحتى الصف الخامس.

لمعرفة المزيد عن مدرسة كلاريون، يُرجى زيارة الرابط التالي: www.clarionschooldubai.com.

Huami’s Next Wearable AI Chip Huangshan-2 Scheduled for Mass Production in Q4, 2020, 50% Energy Saved with Faster Atrial Fibrillation Detection

Ramesh Jain – Father of Multimedia Computing Appointed as Chief Technical Advisor of Huami AI Research Institute, Announced on Huami’s 1st Innovation Conference “AI to Decode Future”

SHENZHEN, China, June 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Global Top 5 wearable brand[1], Amazfit’s mother company, Huami (NYSE: HMI) , made its second wearable AI chip Huangshan-2 public on its first Innovation Conference “AI to Decode Future”. Besides, multiple hardware and a series of Big Data and AI solutions regarding healthcare were announced. Ramesh Jain, the industry famed the Father of Multimedia computing was announced as chief technical advisor of Huami AI Research Institute.

Mr. Wang Huang announced the Wearable Device Chip Huangshan-2 and Prof. Ramesh Jain as the Chief Technical Advisor of Huami AI Research Institute

The Wearable AI Chip, Huangshan-2(MHS002) Launched.

As the platinum member of RISC-V, Huami has wide-ranging technology accumulation and investment layout in the field of semiconductors. In 2018, Huami launched the world’s first[2] RISC-V open-source instruction set wearable processor, Huangshan No.1 (MHS001), featuring four core artificial intelligence engines — cardiac biometrics engine, ECG, ECG Pro, and Hearth Rhythm Abnormality Monitoring Engine.

After 450 days, Huami unveils its next generation of AI chip, the Huami Huangshan-2(MHS002). Based on the RISC-V architecture, Huami Huangshan-2(MHS002) features high computing efficiency and low power consumption. Huangshan-2 detects atrial fibrillation 7 times faster than Huangshan-1 and 26 times faster than similar algorithms. Huangshan-2 also has on board the Always On (AON) sensor mode with ultra-low power consumption thanks to the NPU (Neural-network Processing Unit) and the C2 co-processor. Theoretically, it can reduce the overall power consumption of Huangshan 2 by 50%, making a longer battery life for products.

Huangshan-2(MHS002) is scheduled for mass production in Q4 of 2020. New wearable devices equipped with the Huangshan-2 will be hopefully available on Huami’s products in the first half of 2021.

BioTracker™ 2, the Second-generation PPG Bio-tracking Optical Sensor by Huami

Huami has been developing its own PPG bio-tracking optical sensor in the past years, which are known by its high accuracy. Compared with its predecessor, the newly launched, BioTracker™ 2 supports five biological data engines (RealBeats™, OxygenBeats™, SomnusCare™, ExerSense™, and huami-PAI™), making it the most versatile and precise biosensor ever developed by Huami.

Five Key Data Engines[3] Contribute to Huami’s AI Health Management Platform

To let human pursue the full health rights as the most, Huami’s Systematic AI Health Management Platform incorporate the AI chipset, Huangshan-2(MHS002), the new PPG sensor BioTracker™ 2 and also five key index and data engines.

  • RealBeats™ 2, the advanced AI bio data engine for heart rate monitoring. It eliminates the noise interference to heart rate signals during workout and is capable of monitoring atrial fibrillation for 1.87 times as long as the last generation at night and 6.64 times in the day. it achieved automatic AI-based detection of AVRT and frequent PVC through a heart health Big Data model.
  • OxygenBeats™, Huami self-developed oxygen data AI engine. The success rate of is 100% in contrast to less than 90% seen in similar products. Compared with the results of professional oxygen analyzers, the average error is only 1.67%, reflecting accuracy superior to that of most wearable wrist devices for blood oxygen detection. OxygenBeats™ has applied to the follow-up visits with recovered COVID-19 patients conducted by Nanshan Zhong’s medical team. Smart watches equipped with OxygenBeatsTM are expected to be available in Q3 of this year (2020).
  • SomnusCare™, an AI-driven biological data engine. The accuracy of sleep data detection exceeds 80%, and it is possible to detect naps over 25 minutes with nearly 100% accuracy. Furthermore, the OxygenBeatsTM, through sleep state analysis and blood oxygen saturation detection, can recognize the sleep apnea syndrome (SAS), an “invisible killer” to human health, and warn the user to take prompt measures.
  • ExerSense™, an AI recognition engine for motion patterns based on sports big data. This engine can match motion models in real time by detecting data with the motion sensor and heart rate sensor on Huami’s wearables, and then intelligently determine the exercise mode of a user. At present, ExerSense™ can automatically detect 19 exercise modes, including walking, running, cycling, and swimming, which cover 95% of daily exercise scenarios of users. Users do not need to perform tedious manual operations, but can enjoy senseless selection of smart exercise modes.
  • huami-PAI™, an explicit PAI score that can reflect the user’s heart rate data, together with the daily motion time and other health data, allowing users to monitor their workout and heart healthy status. huami-PAI™ can guide users to create highly personalized health assessment systems using private bio data such as age, gender, and resting heart rate. huami-PAI™ is based on the HUNT Fitness Study, which helps to reduce the cardiovascular mortality rate and improve life expectancy. The study, led by Professor Ulrik Wisloff at Faculty of Medicine of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, took 35 years with more than 230,000 participants.

Ramesh Jain appointed the Chief Technical Advisor of Huami AI Research Institute

Mr. Wang Huang, the Company’s Chairman and CEO, announced the establishment of Huami AI Research Institute. Ramesh Jain, a renowned AI expert, Father of Multimedia Computing, Professor at University of California, Irvine, and Founder of UCI Institute for Future Health was appointed as the chief technical advisor of the Huami AI Research Institute.

In the first half of 2020, Huami has set up three joint laboratories: The Smart Wrist Wearable Device Joint Lab with the team of Zhong Nanshan; the Track and Field Joint Lab with the Chinese Athletics Association; and the Brain-Computer Intelligence Joint Lab with the Institute of Advanced Technology, University of Science and Technology of China.

[1] Huami ranked the top 5 in both global watch shipment and market share, according to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker
[2] https://riscv.org/membership/6144/huami/
[3] This is not a medical device and is not intended for use in the diagnosis or monitoring of any medical condition

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1192309/Wearable_Device_Chip.jpg

 

‫زي تي إي تعين ناي في رئيسا لقسم الأجهزة الجوالة فيها لتعزيز دمج الموارد لفرص الـ 5 جي

شنجن، الصين، 17 حزيران/يونيو، 2020 / بي آر نيوزواير / — عينت شركة زي تي إي كوربوريشن (0763.HK / 000063.SZ)، وهي مزود دولي رئيسي لحلول الاتصالات، وحلول التقنية للشركات والمستهلكين، للإنترنت الجوال، ناي في رئيسا فيها لقسم الأجهزة الجوالة. وسيكون في مسؤولا بالكامل عن قسم أعمال الأجهزة الجوالة في زي تي إي مع بقائه رئيسا لشركة نوبيا تكنولوجيا كو المحدودة.

انضم ناي في إلى زي تي إي في العام 2001، وشارك في تشغيل المنتجات النهائية لشركة زي تي إي منذ العام 2004. وفي العام 2012، شارك في تأسيس شركة نوبيا كو وأصبح المدير العام لشركة الهواتف الذكية نوبيا. في شهر أيار/مايو 2019، عمل كرئيس لنوبيا.

ومع خبرة غنية في المنتجات النهائية والسوق المفتوحة المحلية والأسواق الخارجية، التزم السيد في بالابتكارات التقنية. لقد أخذ زمام المبادرة لإنشاء أول هاتف محمول كامل في الصين (Nubia Z5) . علاوة على ذلك، قاد السيد ني تصميم أول هاتف ذكي في العالم بدون حواف  (Nubia Z9)، وأول منتج في العالم بشاشة بدون حواف (Z17S)  . في العام 2018، شرع في تطوير سوق الهواتف المتخصصة في الألعاب على الإنترنت، حيث أطلق هاتف Redmagic.

وإذ تأخذ الأعمال الطرفية باعتبارها جزءًا مهمًا من قدرات الشركة الشاملة، ستستمرزي تي إيفي تعزيز المزايا التكنولوجية، وتعزيز استثماراتها في الـ 5 جي وإنترنت الأشياءومجموعة الشرائح وغيرها من المجالات ذات الصلة.

التزمتزي تي إيبتطوير سلسلة من مجموعة متنوعة من الأجهزة الطرفية 5 جي المتنوعة، لتلبية المتطلبات المتنوعة للمشغلين ومستخدمي المؤسسات والمستهلكين في سيناريوهات الخدمة المتعددة. من خلال مجموعة كاملة من الأجهزة الطرفية 5 جي، تكرسزي تي إي نفسهالتمكين مجموعة واسعة من الصناعات وإثبات قدراتها الرائدة في حلول 5 جيمن النهاية إلى النهاية.

تتجهزي تي إينحو السوق الاستهلاكية، وستلتزم بإستراتيجية الجودة وتستكشف متطلبات السوق التي جلبتها التقنيات والخبرات الجديدة، وذلك من أجل تحقيق اختراق، مع التركيز على السوق المحلية المفتوحة للهواتف المحمولة.

وفي ما يتعلق بالصناعة والأسواق الحكومية وأسواق الشركات، فإن منصة السحابة الإلكترونيةزي تي إيهي الأساس. بالتركيز على المجالات التي تعتمد على التكنولوجيا، مثل سي بي إي، الأجهزة الطرفية المركبة على المركبات، والوحدة، ستضعزي تي إيحلولًا متكاملة لإنترنت الأشياء الصناعي، وإنترنت الأشياء للمستهلك، وإنترنت الأشياء للمركبات.

وبالمضي قدمًا، سيقود ناي في الفريق لاغتنام الفرص المتوسطة والطويلة المدى لـ 5 جي وإنترنت الأشياء، لمعالجة التغييرات والتحديات في الأسواق النهائية العالمية.

زي تي إي هي مزود لأنظمة الاتصالات المتقدمة والأجهزة المحمولة وحلول تكنولوجيا المؤسسات للمستهلكين والمشغلين والشركات وعملاء القطاع العام. تلتزم الشركة بتزويد العملاء بالابتكارات المتكاملة لتقديم التميز والقيمة مع تلاقي قطاعات الاتصالات وتكنولوجيا المعلومات. وإذ تُدرج في بورصة هونغ كونغ وشنجن (H share stock code: 0763.HK / A share stock code: 000063.SZ)، زي تي إي تبيع منتجاتها وخدماتها في أكثر من 160 دولة.

In Uganda, Critics Concerned About Web and Media-Only Election Campaigning

Uganda’s 2021 election candidates will have to campaign online and through the media to reach voters as part of new rules to stem the spread of COVID-19. Uganda’s electoral commission banned mass gatherings during campaigning, which critics say will disadvantage opposition parties and voters, and may be unconstitutional.

Simon Byamukama, chairman of the electoral commission, says his team will meet with the minister of information, the Media Council and the Uganda Communications Commission about the guidelines.

“We are going to take the matter up with security officers, RDCs, government at large and make sure that these measures are effected without any hindrance,” he said.

The RDCs, or resident district commissioners, are representatives of President Yoweri Museveni stationed in every district. The RDCs, along with the police, have been known to deny members of the opposition access to the media – which has Uganda election observers worried.

Question of access

Sarah Birete, associate director of the Center for Constitutional Governance, a Ugandan NGO, says the new campaign rules put older and rural voters – who are less likely to be online or have access to electronic media – at a disadvantage during an election campaign.

“So, what happens to a rural voter that does not have access to radio, does not have access to TV or internet?” she said. “And what happens to the usual characteristics of an election where people enjoy exchange of information, exchange of ideas and voters are required to make informed decisions?”

Asuman Basalirwa, chairman of the Inter-party Organization for Dialogue that looks to bring together all political parties in the country, says the new regulations may run afoul of the constitution.

“We want to task them to explain how they are going to implement the regulations without necessarily amending the electoral laws,” Basalirwa said. “In our constitution, there’s nothing like digitalized election. So, either we have the election the normal way or we don’t have the election.”

Defending the change

However, the electoral commission says it is following guidelines set up by the Ministry of Health to ensure the safety of Ugandans, as the current law does not allow for a postponement or extension of elections to accommodate a normal electoral process.

Uganda currently has 724 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and no reported deaths from the disease.

Polling is to take place between January 10 and February 8 of next year, as the country holds local, parliamentary and presidential elections.

Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, is expected to have more than 20 challengers.

In past elections, state media has covered Museveni and members of the ruling National Resistance Movement to the near-exclusion of other candidates.

According to the Uganda Communications Commission, about 18 million Ugandans have access to the internet. However, Birete notes that many of those are teenagers, who are not eligible to vote.

 

Source: Voice of America

Malawi Lawyers Protest Government’s Role in Judiciary

Lawyers in major cities throughout Malawi took to the streets Wednesday, protesting what they call government interference in the judiciary for nullifying last May’s elections.

The demonstrations were in reaction to the government’s decision to force the country’s chief justice, Andrew Nyirenda, to go on leave pending his retirement.

John Suzi Banda, former president of the Malawi Law Society, told VOA the lawyers are concerned about constant attacks on the judiciary from the executive arm.

“They have been calling the chief justice and judges names, calling them compromised and all manner of things,” Banda said. “And this is coming from no less a person than the state president himself. We have come here to tell the executives that they should put their hands off.”

In a statement last week, the government said the chief justice has accumulated more than 500 leave days, which would take him to his retirement time.

Banda says the move violates the separation of powers, one of the key pillars of the country’s constitutional democracy that makes the three arms of government — legislature, executive and judiciary — independent of each other.

Leave days is an issue for the judiciary, not for the executives, Banda said.

“There is no reason [for] the secretary to the cabinet to be coming on these grounds, and to start pointing at judicial officers saying, ‘You go home on leave.’ And then, where is independence?” Banda added.

The relationship between the judiciary and President Peter Mutharika soured after the courts nullified last year’s elections in which Mutharika won a second term.

And at a political rally Wednesday, Mutharika made a fresh accusation against the judiciary for “conniving with opposition parties” to topple his government.

Rafiq Hajat, executive director of the Institute for Policy Interaction think tank, supports the lawyers’ argument.

“The executive should retract that statement and restore the status quo to what it was before this whole fiasco,” Hajat said. “Because if we accept actions like this without objection, we are accepting dictatorship.”

The Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association, the Commonwealth Legal Association, the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, and Judges for Judges have issued a statement asking Malawi’s executive arm to desist from interfering in the affairs of the judiciary.

But the government is refusing to budge, saying this is not the first time that chief justices have gone on leave pending retirement after accumulating leave days.

In a statement Tuesday, government spokesperson Mark Botoman said the Mutharika government sees nothing wrong in asking the incumbent chief justice to go on leave until his retirement.

Malawi’s High Court has granted two injunctions against the government’s decision.

 

 

Source: Voice of America

4 Countries Win Seats on UN Security Council; 5th Goes to Runoff

Four countries were elected to two-year terms on the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday in the first major vote held at the world body amid the coronavirus pandemic.

India, Ireland, Mexico and Norway will join the council on January 1 for the rotating term. But a decision on who will occupy a seat representing Africa will go to a second round of voting Thursday, as neither of the contenders, Kenya and Djibouti, captured the necessary two-thirds majority.

The vote was held in a sparsely populated General Assembly Hall. In mid-March, the United Nations essentially shut down its New York headquarters as the coronavirus spread across the metropolis. The city began its very limited first phase of reopening June 8, but that does not include large gatherings like the hundreds of diplomats who would normally flock to the building to cast their votes.

At the assembly hall on Wednesday, life in a COVID-19 world was on full display. Diplomats wearing face masks came one by one to fill in their secret ballots, deposit them and leave. Instead of everyone gathering and casting votes simultaneously, the process took much of the day. There were no people socializing, no goodie bags from candidate countries and definitely no kisses on the cheek.

In the final months and weeks leading up to the vote, there were none of the parties and special events that candidate countries love to put on to raise their profiles and garner votes.

Council seats are allocated according to regional blocs. In the group known as “Western Europe and Others,” Canada, Ireland and Norway were contesting two available seats.

With a two-thirds majority of 128 votes needed, Ireland and Norway both squeaked by with 128 and 130 votes respectively. For a second consecutive time, Canada lost its bid for a seat. But it garnered 108 votes, putting it within respectable reach of that needed majority.

Ireland’s win means the European Union will hold three seats on the 15-nation council.

“The race between Canada, Ireland and Norway has felt a little surreal for all involved,” said Richard Gowan, U.N. director for the International Crisis Group. “All three are well-established friends of the United Nations, and they have sometimes struggled to distinguish themselves from one another. The irony is that all three states would happily vote for each other under any other circumstances.”

Mexico was the candidate from the Latin America and the Caribbean bloc, and India for Asia-Pacific. Both ran uncontested and won overwhelming majorities.

Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s foreign minister, welcomed his country’s 187 votes on Twitter, saying, “Great recognition to our country around the world. Congratulations!!!!”

Just a day before the vote, a clash between Indian and Chinese troops along a remote Himalayan border in Eastern Ladakh left 20 Indian soldiers dead.

“India may see its term in the council as an opportunity to push back against China, which has been insisting on council debates over New Delhi’s behavior in Kashmir,” Gowan said. “After the tensions in Ladakh, Indian-Chinese relations in the council could be sparky.”

It was the race between East African nations Djibouti and Kenya that gave the day some unexpected drama. Kenya received 113 votes, Djibouti 78 – neither sufficient to achieve the two-thirds majority of 128. A second round of voting will take place Thursday morning.

The newly elected countries will replace exiting council members Belgium, Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia and South Africa. They will join current nonpermanent members Estonia, Niger, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia and Vietnam, and permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

 

 

Source: Voice of America