Annan urges early agreement on new human rights council

After a year of significant commitments, this year must be a year of visible results, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today, calling on the “Group of 77” developing countries and China to pay particular attention to forging an early agreement on the new Human Rights Council.“I call on you to redouble your efforts for an early agreement on the new Human Rights Council mandated at the World Summit,” he said as the chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China passed from Jamaica to South Africa.He said the decline in the credibility of the existing Commission on Human Rights was casting a shadow over the entire UN and urged the 132 developing country members of the G77 to act quickly to ensure a seamless transition between the Commission and the Council during the Commission’s final session this March.“With your initiative, we can ensure that human rights are restored to the prominence accorded to them in the Charter,” he said.A stronger renewed United Nations, while important for all Member States, remains most important to the people of the developing world, he added.General Assembly President Jan Eliasson said according to Jamaican Foreign Minister K. D. Knight’s words during last year’s handover from Qatar, “we see that the development agenda, resource flows and disaster management were three of Jamaica’s stated priorities. I believe that the whole of the General Assembly will look back on Jamaica’s Chairmanship of the G77 and China as one in which important and very real progress was made.”A key feature of the work this year would be the need to build bridges, he said, since so many of the issues of development and poverty reduction, communicable diseases, peacebuilding, human rights, the environment, organized crime, terrorism are areas in which the whole world has a common interest.“All Member States, be they North or South, large, medium or small, need effective international cooperation and good multilateralism. We have to prove that ‘together’ is better and more effective than ‘alone’,” Mr. Eliasson said. read more

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Classic car owners warned they risk fines as thousands no longer need

Clive Robertson, who specialises in classic car law for solicitors… But the government has also exempted nearly 300,000 cars over 40 years old from MOT testing completely. The change will affect iconic vehicles like E-type Jaguars as well as less well-loved cars including early models of the Austin Allegro and Lada VAZ. Experts are concerned drivers could be caught out if they think they have carte blanche. Classic car owners are at risk of fines, experts have warned, as new MOT rules mean thousands are exempt from the annual test and could overlook problems.  Changes which came into force today for cars in England, Scotland and Wales will make it harder for polluting vehicles to pass the test. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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