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Zimbabwe UNICEF urges protection for children from potential electoral violence

“At times of great uncertainty, such as during an election, it is important that homes, communities, and schools continue to be havens of safety for children and that they have uninterrupted access to basic social services,” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in a press release.“Children are not political and should be sheltered, in all countries, from political turbulence,” he stated.Speaking at the end of a two-day visit to the southern African country, Mr. Lake wished Zimbabweans a peaceful election, saying it was everybody’s duty to ensure that children and women suffered no violence and disruption to their lives during the 16 March referendum and later general elections.The referendum will decide a new constitution which, if adopted, will pave the way for elections after June when the current presidential and parliamentary terms expire.Last month, independent UN experts urged Zimbabwean authorities to ensure that fundamental rights are respected in the run up to the referendum, following reports of civil society organizations being subjected to searches, harassment and intimidation by the police.While in Zimbabwe, Mr. Lake met with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Nicholas Goche, and welcomed their assurances on the protection of children. He also visited St. Joseph’s rural health clinic and St. Vincent Primary School which have received medicines and textbooks, respectively, through a donor-supported funding mechanism managed by UNICEF. read more

Bengals beat Lions despite Johnsons big day

Cincinnati Bengals’ Marvin Jones catches a touchdown pass against Detroit Lions’ Chris Houston during second-quarter action at Ford Field Sunday, Oct. 20. Credit: Courtesy of MCTFor the second straight week, the Cincinnati Bengals (5-2) won on a field goal by Mike Nugent, this time a 27-24 victory over the Detroit Lions.Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton threw for 372 yards and three touchdowns and played with confidence and composure the entire game. He found his favorite target A.J. Green six times for 155 yards and a touchdown. Dalton now has six touchdowns and only one interception over his last two games.Meanwhile, the running game totaled just 51 yards against one of the league’s worst rush defenses. The secondary allowed Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford to throw for 357 yards and three scores and star receiver Calvin Johnson (nine receptions, 155 yards and two touchdowns) to run wild.Not long before the game, it was not even known how much Johnson would play. He had been dealing with a knee injury that kept him out two weeks ago and limited him to 25 yards receiving last week.But Johnson showed that at even less than full strength, he is capable of lighting up Cincinnati’s secondary.This was especially the case after former Pro Bowl cornerback Leon Hall went down with an achilles injury. After Hall was sidelined, Johnson was lined up against veteran Terence Newman and even triple teamed at times. Nonetheless, he hauled in two touchdowns in the second half. The one known as “Megatron” simply overpowered his opponents.Of course, the Bengals have an equally impressive receiver of their own. Green totalled just as many yards as Johnson (155) on seven fewer targets. This week seven matchup against two first place teams was an entertaining display of the amazing young talent at the wide receiver position in the NFL today. With over 700 combined yards in the air, the game came down to who had the ball last. In this case, the Bengals came away with their fifth win of the season behind their clutch kicker, in the former Ohio State Buckeye Nugent.The win puts the Bengals two up in the division ahead of the 3-4 Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns. read more