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Designating and Promoting Accountability for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

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WASHINGTON / PRN Africa / — Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Today, the Department of State is designating two ISIS leaders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists, under Executive Order 13224. Both individuals have committed sexual violence against Yezidis and were responsible for the abduction and enslavement of Yezidi women and girls. More than 2,700 women and children, mainly Yezidis, remain unaccounted for.

Arkan Ahmad ‘Abbas al-Matuti (aka Abu Sarhan) is a senior field military commander in Wilayat al-Jazirah, having held several positions within ISIS, including the wali of the Bulayj, Syria sector. Al-Matuti was involved in selling Yezidi women and girls, taking several Yezidi captives as sexual slaves for himself.

Nawaf Ahmad Alwan al-Rashidi (aka Abu Faris) manages ISIS financial payments to members and widows and works in the group’s smuggling operations. Al-Rashidi was involved in planning, coordinating, and conducting several attacks in Syria between 2018-2019. Al-Rashidi was also responsible for the sexual slavery and rape of Yezidi women and girls in Sinjar, Iraq.

The United States is also concurrently designating two South Sudan-based individuals, under Executive Order 13664, involved in abductions and conflict-related sexual violence.

James Nando is a Major General in South Sudan People’s Defense Forces. In 2021, forces loyal to Nando were responsible for at least 64 instances of rape and sexual slavery against civilians in Western Equatoria. In 2018, Nando was responsible for the abduction of hundreds of women and girls.

Alfred Futuyo is Governor of Western Equatoria and affiliated with Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army – In Opposition. In 2018, forces under Futuyo’s command carried out numerous attacks in Western Equatoria that resulted in the abduction of 887 civilians, of whom at least 43 were raped.

The United States remains steadfast in our resolve to promote accountability for those who violate or abuse human rights, particularly against women and girls.

As a result of these actions, all property and interests in property of those designated today that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and all U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the designated individuals.

For additional accounts from al-Matuti and al-Rashidi’s victims and other Yezidi survivors, please see: Yazidi Women Tell Their Horrific Stories, Yazidi girls tell of escape From IS, and Life in and after captivity: the story of a Yezidi survivor. For additional accounts of human rights violations and abuses in South Sudan, please see: The Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan’s report “State of Impunity: the persistence of violence and human rights violations in South Sudan.” For more information about Treasury’s actions, please see their press release page.

SOURCE US Department of State

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Salvation Army Research Finds Food Bank Usage on the Rise as Food Security Challenges Persist

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TORONTO /CNW/ – New research from The Salvation Army Canada finds that many Canadians continue to struggle to meet their basic needs with food affordability, inflation and housing security challenges persisting as top issues.

As one of the largest non-governmental direct providers of social services in Canada, The Salvation Army produces the biannual Canadian Poverty and Socioeconomic Analysis to better understand the attitudes, behaviours and experiences of Canadians on issues such as the availability of housing and food, general affordability and related health outcomes.

Salvation Army
New research from The Salvation Army Canada finds that many Canadians continue to struggle to meet their basic needs. (CNW Group/The Salvation Army)

Due to overwhelming feedback from policymakers, news media and other stakeholders, The Salvation Army will now produce the Canadian Poverty and Socioeconomic Analysis twice a year, in the spring and fall. This will allow The Salvation Army to quantify the demand for ongoing social services provided and help the organization to better serve those in need.

The most recent research shows Canadians rank health care, inflation and food affordability as their top concerns. These findings are in line with The Salvation Army’s internal data, which reveal households that were inactive in reaching out for help are now active, and the number of new households seeking assistance, such as food, clothing, furniture and emergency housing, is on the rise.

The report finds that 26 percent of Canadians polled continue to be extremely concerned about having enough income to cover their basic needs, and that concerns around food security are on the rise. While seven percent of respondents said they recently accessed a food bank, food hamper or community meal program (up from six percent in October 2023), the percentage of first-time users is up sharply, to 61 percent compared to 43 Percent in October 2023.

“The increase in first-time users of food banks is an alarming indicator of the conditions that many Canadians are facing,” said Lt-Colonel John Murray, territorial secretary for communications, The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda. “We often find that when people show up at a food bank it can be the tip of the iceberg for additional issues they may be facing. The Salvation Army is committed to a holistic approach in supporting people through partnerships that help create a positive impact on individuals and families.”

The number of respondents who said they had skipped or reduced the size of at least one meal increased to 26 percent, up from 21 percent previously (October 2023). More Canadians also said they’d bought less nutritious food to save money and had reduced their grocery bill to pay for other necessities.

On financial issues, 72 percent of respondents described challenges managing limited financial resources in the past year, including cutting back on non-essential needs (59 percent), changing habits to save money (52 percent) and using savings or going into debt to afford basic needs (36 percent).

“Despite easing inflation numbers, life is still difficult for many Canadians,” said Murray. “Food insecurity is just one symptom facing people today. At The Salvation Army, our vision is to reduce barriers and address the root causes of poverty, working together with people to achieve their goals in overcoming them.”

Last year, more than three million visits were made to The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda for assistance, including 2.1 million visits for food, clothing or practical help, 438,000 visits for Christmas food hampers and toys, and 3.2 million community meals.

Survey Methodology:

This report contains findings from research conducted by Edelman Data & Intelligence on behalf of The Salvation Army to uncover Canadians’ attitudes and experiences with poverty and related socioeconomic issues.

The study was conducted March 11-14, 2024, among a nationally representative sample of 1,515 Canadians who are members of the online Angus Reid Forum, balanced and weighted on age, gender and region. Note: Canadians living in Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut were not included in the survey.

For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. And, where a margin of error is not available, the research department provides a comparable one so that the audience can have some context to the value of the poll.

About The Salvation Army:

The Salvation Army is an international Christian organization that began its work in Canada in 1882 and has grown to become one of the largest direct providers of social services in the country. The Salvation Army gives hope and support to vulnerable people in 400 communities across Canada and in more than 130 countries around the world. Its community and social service activities include: hunger relief for individuals and families through food banks and feeding programs; shelter for people experiencing homelessness and support for those needing housing; rehabilitation for those struggling with substance-use recovery; long-term care and palliative care; Christmas assistance, such as food hampers and toys; after-school programs, camps and school nutrition programs for children and youth; and life-skills classes, such as budgeting, cooking for a family, and anger management. When you give to The Salvation Army, you are investing in the future of people in your community. 

News releases, articles and updated information can be found at https://salvationarmy.ca/
A list of regional media representatives can be found at: https://salvationarmy.ca/news-and-media/media-contacts/

SOURCE The Salvation Army

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McDonald’s USA ® Joins Forces with Elaine Welteroth & Fashion Industry Experts to Elevate Emerging Black Designers

To address underrepresentation of Black designers in the fashion industry, the Golden Arches will collectively grant $200K, provide industry mentorship and additional resources to help rising talent scale their brands and more

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CHICAGO /PRNewswire/ — McDonald’s USA is proud to introduce the Black & Positively Golden (B&PG) Change of Fashion, a game-changing program aimed at uplifting emerging Black fashion designers and equipping them with career-propelling mentorship, resources, and financial support that will accelerate their career trajectories.

Fashion
McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Change of Fashion

Although Black designers have made a transformative impact in shaping fashion – from zoot suits in the 1930s to hip hop tracksuits of the 1980s, their representation in America stands at a mere 7.3%, hindered by systemic barriers and racial disparities.[1] This imbalance allows the fashion industry to profit from Black culture while neglecting to embrace Black talent. Recognizing this disparity, McDonald’s USA, a brand embraced by streetwear icons and renowned designers, has launched the B&PG Change of Fashion program to advocate for industry-wide change.

McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Change of Fashion

Building on the brand’s annual B&PG Change Leaders program, McDonald’s B&PG Change of Fashion program pairs five emerging Black designers with five Black industry experts to complete a year-long mentorship filled with access to valuable resources, education and national exposure to industry experts that will culminate with the launch of a capsule collection.

“Having navigated the fashion industry as a Black woman, I understand first-hand the challenges around Black designers breaking through and sustaining a profitable business,” said media personality and television host Elaine Welteroth. “Partnering with a global brand like McDonald’s, I am honored to leverage my experiences as a fashion editor to mentor the next generation of designers and to ultimately help foster more inclusivity in an industry that thrives on Black culture.”

Through the B&PG Change of Fashion program, the Golden Arches and its Owner/Operators will grant funds to each designer, totaling $200,000 overall, offer one-on-one mentorship sessions, provide access to expert-led masterclasses and more. Change of Fashion Designers are featured in a national television commercial alongside their mentors, which include author and television host Elaine Welteroth, Matte Collection CEO Justina McKee, retail executive Shawn Howell, Laquan Smith COO Jacqueline Cooper, and Founder of luxury concept retail stores, McMullen, and Founder & CEO, Sherri McMullen.

“For decades, McDonald’s has leveraged its size and scale to invest in and support the diverse communities we serve,” said Tariq Hassan, Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer at McDonald’s. “The Change of Fashion program builds on that legacy, pushing new boundaries in an effort to inspire real change, not only for our five designers, but for the fashion industry at large.”

MEET THE DESIGNERS

  • Durrell Dupard, New Orleans, LA, Founder of Freddie Estelle | Inspired by streetwear, Durrell began creating custom 1-of-1 designs for close friends at 15 years old. Freddie Estelle specializes in merging streetwear trends and upcycling to create unique custom designs. 
  • Shareef Mosby, Richmond, VA, CEO of VICTIM15 |Motivated by personal adversities and a challenging upbringing, Mosby has molded his brand to transmute traditional, utilitarian fabrics and silhouettes into urban-chic, contemporary ensembles juxtaposed against traditional artistic backdrops.
  • Larissa Muehleder New York, NY, Founder of Muehleder | Muehleder isn’t just a brand—it’s a testament to the boundless possibilities that await those who dare to dream, to create, and to defy their insecurities and self-doubt. With each design, she continues to write her story and find a piece of herself in everyone. 
  • Heart Roberts, Brooklyn, NY, Founder of HEARTHROB | Their passion for denim and leather knows no bounds, particularly in the art of manipulation and distressing. Enter the realm of HEARTHROB, where sustainability intertwines seamlessly with high fashion, forging a path toward a more conscious and stylish future. 
  • Nia Thomas, New York, NY, Founder of Nia Thomas | Nia started a clothing line producing limited-edition garments and original jewelry inspired by inward discovery nourished by her worldly travels. Today, Nia is a luxe lifestyle brand with handcrafted pieces for people who own their power, sensuality, and capacity for love.

Change of Fashion designers were carefully chosen by a selection committee. To learn more about each designer, please click here. 

Since commencing in 2022 under the McDonald’s B&PG Futures 22 platform, the B&PG Change Leaders program has provided Black thought leaders nationwide with tools, resources, and more than $600K in funding. The McDonald’s B&PG Change of Fashion program is just one of the many ways the company is serving up bright futures in the communities it serves. For more than 65 years, McDonald’s and its Owner/Operators have fed and fostered the Black community by awarding scholarships to HBCU students, creating impactful partnerships with community organizations like the National Urban League, NAACP, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and more.

Fans can follow the designers’ journeys and explore the meaningful impact of Black fashion in an industry seeking greater diversity by visiting changeoffashion.com or @wearegolden on Instagram.

About McDonald’s USA
McDonald’s USA, LLC, serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to millions of customers every day. Ninety-five percent of McDonald’s approximately 13,500 U.S. restaurants are owned and operated by independent business owners. For more information, visit www.mcdonalds.com, or follow us on Twitter @McDonalds and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mcdonalds

Reference
Fashion Designer Demographics and Statistics [2021]: Number of Fashion Designers in the US (zippia.com)

SOURCE McDonald’s USA

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Fighting Food Insecurity Across the Country

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fighting food insecurity

(Family Features) To help fight food insecurity in America, Whirlpool Corp., in collaboration with meal kit company HelloFresh and logistics firm TQL, is expanding the “Feel Good Fridge” program to an additional 13 U.S. markets. Launched in 2021, the program provides refurbished refrigerators to food pantries and nonprofit organizations across the county to deliver free, fresh food for anyone in need with a target of placing 3,000 refrigerators by 2030. Find more information at whirlpoolcorp.com/feel-good-fridge.


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