Thailand UN calls for end to deadly attacks on schoolchildren in restive

“UN agencies working in Thailand are deeply concerned about the ongoing violence against schoolchildren in the provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla,” UN Resident Coordinator Joana Merlin-Scholtes said. “First we saw schools and teachers attacked; now children themselves are becoming targets.”It is estimated that the conflict in southern Thailand has taken over 2,000 lives in the past three years, including 60 teachers. Over 100 schools have been burned down.In recent weeks, three students were killed and seven others injured when assailants attacked a boarding school in Songkhla, five primary school students were injured when gunmen fired on their bus in Narathiwat, and two teenage girls were killed while on their way to final exams in Yala province. These attacks follow a rash of school burnings and attacks on teachers late last year, which led to widespread temporary school closures across the south. “This is affecting children in all the southern communities and contributes to a climate of fear across the region,” Ms. Merlin-Scholtes said. “Such attacks against innocent children are against all norms and are completely unacceptable.”UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) country representative Tomoo Hozumi called for an end to the violence “so that all children can attend school in a safe and secure environment. Education is the key to present and future development in southern Thailand, and all schools should and must be treated as ‘zones of peace,’” he added. UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) country director Sheldon Shaeffer said it was important that schools serve as “sanctuaries for children” in the South. “Genuinely child-friendly schools, where cultural, religious and linguistic diversity is respected and welcomed, can do much in the long term to stop the increasingly critical cycle of violence against children,” he added. 21 March 2007United Nations agencies today called for an end to violence against children in southern Thailand, where five children were killed recently and 12 others injured in escalating unrest in provinces bordering Malaysia. read more

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Macys plans to close 100 stores boost online investment

FILE – In this July 10, 2015, file photo, shoppers walk into a Macy’s department store at the Hanover Mall in Hanover, Mass. Macy’s reports financial results Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File) NEW YORK, N.Y. – Macy’s plans to close about 100 stores next year and boost its online investments, the nation’s largest department store chain said Thursday, as it tries to become more nimble in an increasingly fierce market. The closures represent close to 14 per cent of its stores under the Macy’s brand.The company, which operates Bloomingdale’s stores as well, said it would increase its exclusive products and would prioritize its investments in the stores that offer the highest growth potential.That follows Macy’s move to shutter 40 stores this spring, and comes as Macy’s reported another quarter of falling profits and sales. But the results were better than analysts feared. Summer weather helped drive sales of clothing, and Macy’s says it’s seeing results from efforts to add sales staff and revamping its fine jewelry area. Its shares rose 17 per cent, or $5.80 to $39.80 in midday trading.“The announcements we are making today represent an advancement in our thinking on the role of the stores, the quality of the shopping experience we will deliver, and how and where we reinvest in our business for growth,” said Macy’s President Jeff Gennette, who will succeed Terry J. Lundgren as CEO early next year.Macy’s had been a stellar performer since the Great Recession, but in the past year and a half has seen slowing sales as it battles competition on all fronts and changing shopping patterns. People are spending more on home improvement as well as experiences like travel or spas. And when they do buy clothing, they’re going to T.J. Maxx or fast-fashion chains like H&M. They’re also increasingly researching and buying online, and gravitating toward Amazon.com, which is bolstering its store private label fashion brands. Amazon.com is by some forecasts expected to surpass Macy’s as the largest online seller of clothing next year.Under Lundgren, Macy’s has been looking for opportunities to boost sales, from buying upscale beauty brand Bluemercury to launching its own off-price stores called Macy’s Backstage. But since this past May, it announced it has to accelerate its efforts to get shoppers excited.With the store closures, Macy’s will have 666 stores including 38 Bloomingdale’s locations. That’s down about 23 per cent from a peak in January 2007 of 868 stores including Bloomingdale’s. Annual net sales at the stores Macy’s plans to shutter were estimated at about $1 billion. Many of the stores will close in early 2017, with the balance closing as leases or other agreements expire or are amended. The company has not specified which locations but said it will still have a presence in virtually all major markets.Macy’s has been under pressure from investors to sell some of its valuable real estate. Chief Financial Officer Karen Hoguet told analysts the company is in talks with potential buyers of its San Francisco men’s store. The plans are for the men’s store to be recombined into its main Union Square store. It’s also looking at Herald Square in New York, State Street in Chicago and downtown Minneapolis, Hoguet told analysts.The company said it earned $11 million, or 3 cents per share, in the quarter ended July 30. That compares with $217 million, or 64 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding charges related to store closings, the company earned 51 cents, which is above the 48 cent estimate from FactSet.Revenue fell 3.9 per cent to $5.87 billion. That topped the $5.77 billion estimate from FactSet. Revenue at stores open at least a year, including licensed businesses like beauty, were down 2 per cent in the second quarter. Excluding licensed departments, sales were down 2.6 per cent. That’s the sixth straight decline for that measure.The number of transactions was down 5 per cent compared to last year but that was an improvement from the prior quarter.The company said it was sticking to its outlook. Macy’s had said in May that it expects revenue at stores, including business from licensed departments, open at least a year to be down 3 per cent to 4 per cent. Macy’s also said it still expects earnings to be in the range of $3.15 to $3.40 for the year._____Follow Anne D’Innocenzio on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/adinnocenzio Macy’s plans to close 100 stores, boost online investment by Anne D’Innocenzio, The Associated Press Posted Aug 11, 2016 6:50 am MDT Last Updated Aug 11, 2016 at 3:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

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