Premier Stephen McNeil will travel to France, Germany and England to help promote trade, tourism and investment opportunities, May 31 to June 9. Today, May 31, Premier McNeil will board WestJet’s inaugural direct flight from Halifax to Paris. This new route is an important transportation link for Nova Scotia to key European markets. “We have built successful trading relationships in Europe and want to continue to advance economic opportunities and investment, as well as encourage visitors to come to our beautiful province,” said Premier McNeil. “With the recent EU trade agreement and our ongoing, historic trading relationship with the U.K. it is an important time to look at enhancing export opportunities for Nova Scotia.” The mission includes: meetings with company officials in the energy, financial investment, transportation logistics and information and communication technology sectors promotion of Nova Scotia seafood and wine at culinary events in Paris and Hamburg, Germany laying wreaths at three war memorial sites in France –Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial, the Thiepval Memorial and the Courcelette Canadian memorial a Nova Scotia-WestJet reception at the ambassador to France’s official residence in Paris to promote the new route meeting with Tourism Nova Scotia in-market representative in Cologne meeting and tour at the Cargojet facility in Cologne a celebration of Dalhousie University’s 200th anniversary at Canada House in London Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance Karen Casey will join the mission in Germany, which also includes stops in Munich and Cologne. Ms. Casey will also lead meetings in London with leaders in the financial investment industry. Officials from Intergovernmental Affairs, Tourism Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Business Inc., Department of Energy, Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and executives from Halifax International Airport Authority will participate in some activities. The EU is Nova Scotia’s third largest goods export market after United States and China. Exports have averaged $429 million over the last five years. The leading exports are seafood, paper and forestry products, and fruit.
The refugees will move from two villages on the border, near Birak, to the new camp at Kounoungo, 70 kilometres inside Chad. Nearly 4,300 refugees have already been moved to the first two camps since the operation began in mid-January. Some 110,000 people have crossed the border into Chad to escape the conflict between rebel movements, militias and the Government of Sudan, while an estimated 1 million people have been displaced inside Darfur. The daily convoys to Touloum are on hold for a few days to allow the registration of the dozens of refugees who have come to the site on their own in recent days, UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski told a news briefing in Geneva. The refugees walked to Touloum as information quickly spread of a transit centre where they could feel secure and have access to water and food. With lack of water is still a major challenge throughout the region, a UNHCR emergency airlift continues bringing some 256 tons of relief supplies for the refugees. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and its partners, meanwhile, are also trucking water to camps and constructing wells there. Today, UNICEF chief Carol Bellamy issued a strong call for an end to fighting in Darfur, saying the Sudanese Government must “enforce the rule of law and take aggressive steps to protect civilians.” She also called on the warring parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire and ensure safe access for aid agencies helping the displaced. UNICEF’s representative in Sudan, Joanna Van Gerpen, said those who have fled their homes are living in “shocking” conditions marked by insufficient food, poor sanitation, scarce water and crowded conditions which can foster the spread of disease.