Rabat – Morocco and France signed, on Thursday in Rabat, a statement of intent on funding small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to foster financial and technical cooperation and training.Signed by Economy minister Mohammed Boussaid and French counterpart Pierre Moscovici, on a working visit to Morocco, the statement provides for transferring resources from the French guarantee fund, amounting to 26 million euros, to the SMEs guarantee fund set up by the Moroccan economy ministry and managed by the central guarantee fund (CCG).This operation concerns redeploying financial cooperation resources worth 16 million euros from the financial restructuration guarantee fund and provides for a mechanism totaling 25 million euros to improve SMEs’ access to loans. Another cooperation protocol was inked by the French public investment bank, the French development agency and the CCG to reinforce cooperation to broaden the scope and efficiency of their Risk-Sharing Instruments, as well as the funding of Moroccan SMEs and French ones wishing to gain a foothold in Morocco.The agreement aims to facilitate the international development of enterprises of their respective countries, director general of CCG Hicham Zanati Serghini told MAP.
Rabat- Sixteen hundred Moroccan soldiers are taking part in a significant African military operation under the auspices of the U.N. to cope with terrorism threats in the region. The Assistant General Secretary of the UNO Hervé Ladsous hailed Morocco’s contributions to the UN operations in Africa, where about 1,600 Moroccan Blue Berets are deployed, primarily in Ivory Coast and the Congo in order to address the threat of Al-Qaeda. .According to Akhbar Alyaoum, Hervé Ladsous said Thursday that ”I have to say that every time I was in one of these missions, I was eager to meet the Moroccan contingents to show them our recognition of the very good job they do.” According to the same source, Ladsous also praised Morocco’s commitment in the Central African Republic, explaining that the Kingdom “agreed to quickly deploy a military team and make it at the disposal of the United Nations mission, which is still a political mission but will possibly become a peacekeeping mission”.Edited by Jessica Rohan © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed
Rabat – Morocco has allocated 570 million dirhams to fund scientific research projects for the 2014-2015 academic year, Higher Education, Scientific Research and Executives Training Minister Lahcen Daoudi said.300 million dirhams will be granted by the ministry, while 270 million dirhams will be provided by other partners, Government Spokesman Mustapha El Khalfi said at a press briefing following the weekly cabinet meeting, citing a statement by Daoudi.According to Daoudi, 396 projects were submitted as part of the reform of higher education, which started a few years ago, stressing that the government aims to spend a budget of 1 billion dirhams to promote scientific research. The budget for college scholarships increased by 130 pc, rising from 718 million dirhams to 1.65 billion dirhams, Daoudi said.The number of students enrolled in Moroccan universities rose by 47 percent from 446,985 during the 2011-2012 academic year to 656,467 during the 2014-2015 academic year.The number of universities also increased from 382 during the 2011-2012 academic year to 392 during the 2014-2015 academic year, despite the acute problem of real estate holdings.
Rabat- The Wedding of Moroccan Prince Moulay Rachid will take place on November 13, the Moroccan daily Assabah reported in its Wednesday issue. According to the same source has been postponed twice for protocol reasons. The wedding is expected to be attended by high dignitaries from a number of countries.Prince Moulay Rachid, brother of King Mohammed VI, sealed his union with Miss Oum Keltoum Boufarès last June. Oum Keltoum Boufares is the daughter of Mamoun Boufares who was the governor of Marrakech when King Mohammed VI ascended the throne in July 1999.Moulay Mamoum Boufarès, is the son of Princess Lalla Khadija, daughter of Sultan Moulay Youssef, who is the father of the late king Mohammed V, the grandfather of King Mohammed VI. Moulay Mamoum Boufarès retired in 2009.
Rabat – Responding to reports suggesting that the Charlie Hebdo attack was carried out by Islamist militants affiliated with Al Qaeda, Tariq Ramadan, professor of contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University, said that the attack “is a pure betrayal of our religion and our principles.”Ramadan, who is considered to be one of the most prominent Muslim intellectuals in Europe, condemned the attack on the French satirical weekly that claimed the lives of at least 12 people, including four cartoonists, saying that “this is unacceptable and a betrayal to our principles and everything we stand for.”He wrote on his official Facebook page that “contrary to what was apparently said by the killers in the bombing of Charlie Hebdo’s headquarters, it is not the prophet who was avenged. It is our religion, our values and Islamic principles that have been betrayed and tainted.” “My condemnation is absolute and my anger is profound (healthy and a thousand times justified) against this horror!!! Allow me to express my deep sympathy and sincere condolences to the families of the victims,” he added.
Rabat – What may be the oldest fragments of the Koran have been found in the archives of University of Birmingham in England. According to researchers at University of Birmingham, the fragments are at least 1,370 years old, dating it back to between AD 568 and 645.“They could well take us back to within a few years of the actual founding of Islam,” University of Birmingham professor of Christianity and Islam David Thomas told the BBC. The fragments had been mixed in with a collection of other Middle Eastern books and documents for nearly 100 years, unrecognized by the university until now as being one of the earliest Korans that still exist today.The age of the texts was discovered when a PhD researcher, Alba Fedeli, decided to carry out radiocarbon dating tests after looking at the fragments more closely.The tests revealed the “startling” news that the fragments, written on either sheep skin or goat skin, could have been written “within a few years of the actual founding of Islam,” according to Professor David Thomas, University of Birmingham’s professor of Christianity and Islam.“The person who actually wrote it could well have known the Prophet Muhammad. He would have seen him probably, he would maybe have heard him preach. He may have known him personally – and that really is quite a thought to conjure with,” said David Thomas.The manuscript is written in “Hijazi script”, an early form of written Arabic. According to Dr. Waley, a curator at the British Library, the script, written in a “beautiful and surprisingly legible Hijazi hand,” dates the fragments back to a time around the first three caliphs.“These portions must have been in a form that is very close to the form of the Koran read today, supporting the view that the text has undergone little or no alteration and that it can be dated to a point very close to the time it was believed to be revealed,” said David Thomas.According to the university, the fragments will be put on display in the Barber Institute in Birmingham in October.“In any case, this – along with the sheer beauty of the content and the surprisingly clear Hijazi script – is news to rejoice Muslim hearts,” said Dr. Wales
Miami – On Tuesday, the province of Modena in Italy witnessed a tragedy. Modena’s Secchia River, in the town of Sassuolo, tragically dragged down three Moroccan-Italian sisters who were bathing. Two of the sisters fatally drowned and the third one was rescued and remains in critical condition.Despite rescue attempts, the two sisters, Hajar Louhabi, 18 years old, Khadija, only 9 years old – both drowned down the current.The third sister who was rescued from the Secchia, revived and hospitalized in Modena was the eldest, Khaoula who is 21 years old. Italy’s ANSA reports that the dramatic scene was witnessed by the youngest of the 4 sisters, who had stayed ashore and was able to call for rescue. Surprisingly, she is only 11 years old.Italy has been greatly affected by a heat wave in the last month so the 4 sisters had decided to spend their lunchtime cooling off in the river. They did not know that their refreshing mid-day dip, would end up taking 2 lives and forever damaging the family of these 4 Moroccan-Italian sisters.Authorities have expressed their condolences. Deputy Mayor Maria Savigni visited the sisters’ family and the Sassuolo City Hall published a statement saying, “The deepest dismay and grief for the terrible tragedy that took place along the Secchia River”.Furthermore, to pay respect and sympathy to the family in their deep mourning, Sassuolo Calcio will postpone their celebration scheduled for August 6th to present the soccer team.This is an unexpected and sad loss for both Moroccan and Italian communities.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission
Rabat – US Department of State has announced that online registration for 2017 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-2017) will open on October 1 and will close on November 3.A press release by the Department of State said the department will begin accepting requests to register for the DV-2017 on October 1. For the fiscal year 2017, over 50,000 diversity visas will be available.The release went on to add that Applicants who will selected in the lottery must meet simple, but strict, eligibility requirements in order to qualify for a diversity visa. People selected are chosen through a randomized computer drawing. According to the same source, there is no cost to register for the DV program. Applicants may register on this website: http://www.dvlottery.state.gov/ . Results of the lottery will be disclosed in May 2016 on the same website.The Diversity Lottery Program provides a path for foreign nationals to become permanent residents of the United States regardless of whether they have a family member or an employer willing to sponsor them.This program is administrated annually by the US Department of State.Read General Information about Diversity Visa Program© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed
Rabat – The National Federation of Amazigh Associations directed a message of protest to the High Planning Commission for not reporting the number of Amazigh-speaking Moroccans in its census results, according to a new report by Qushq.The group cited a number of “reservations” regarding the results of the December 2014 census, which does not include information on the number of Amazighi speakers in the kingdom, despite the inclusion of checkboxes regarding the matter on the census forms.In a statement to Qushq, the organization questioned the benefit of collecting information on the prevalence of the Amazigh language if the Moroccan people will not get to see the real results. The HCP’s final results included a previous figure for the portion of Moroccans who speak Amazighi based on a sample size of two percent of the population, which was followed with a “non-exclusive” indicator in parenthesis.“What does the commission want the Moroccan people to understand from this mystery?” the association said, adding that the words in the parenthesis had “no meaning” and that surveying two percent of the population could not lead to the same information gleaned from a national census.The group added that the HCP has allocated MAD 864.7 million for Amazighi education projects based on the statistic from the two-percent sample, but no government leader or civil service group has asked for clarification on the figure until now.Amazigh became an official language of Morocco, alongside French and Arabic, after the adoption of the post-Arab Spring 2011 constitution, which guaranteed the original inhabitants of the region full cultural and political rights in the kingdom.
YOKOHAMA, Japan — Toshiba Corp. has unveiled a remote-controlled robot with tongs that it hopes will be able to probe the inside of one of the three damaged reactors at Japan’s tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant and manipulate chunks of melted fuel.The device displayed Monday is designed to slide down an extendable 11-meter (36-foot) long pipe and grip highly radioactive melted fuel inside the Unit 2 reactor’s primary containment vessel.An earlier robot captured images of pieces of melted fuel in the reactor last year, but other details of the fuel’s status remain largely unknown.Toshiba’s energy systems unit said experiments with the new probe planned in February are key to determining the technologies needed to remove the fuel debris, the most challenging part of the decades-long decommissioning process.The Associated Press
Rabat – On Friday, Morocco’s General Directorate for National Security (DGSN) released a press statement denying comments attributed to Moroccan lawyer Mohammad Ziane regarding a complainant summoned in the case of detained journalist Taoufik Bouachrine.A recent report by Moroccan news outlet Al Omk featured statements attributed to Ziane, who claimed that a complainant was forced to appear before the court on Friday. Ziane’s alleged statement added that the complainant was also threatened with the release of videos of her personal life if she did not appear at the next hearing which is scheduled for March 29.To verify the statements published by the news source, the judicial police opened an investigation in accordance with the procedures of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Court of Appeal in Casablanca to determine the circumstances and veracity of the attorney’s allegations. The press release issued by DGSN added that the court is the only legitimate body in charge of informing complainants who have been summoned to appear before the court. The DGSN strenuously denied that police received any complainant last Friday, announcing that the only alleged accuser in the high-profile case was summoned last Thursday.The statement also added that the police refuted the false statements published in the report, emphasizing that the investigation and all related witness and complainant interviews done in this case are based on legitimate practices done in accordance with Moroccan judicial procedures.The statement also noted that police officers and investigators are obliged to maintain the strict confidentiality of all aspects of the investigation, including complainant statements, in accordance with relevant legal requirements.Bouachrine, who was arrested on February 28, is facing charges of sexual harassment, sexual violence, and rape. The police claim to be in possession of 50 videos that may serve to back the charges facing the prominent journalist, suggesting that some or all of the videos were recorded by Bouachrine himself.During a previous court appearance, Bouachrine’s lawyers argued for their client’s innocence, claiming the videographic evidence the police claim to possess had been “falsified” in some manner.During a press conference held on March 12, the public prosecutor said that the argument made by Bouachrine’s lawyers against the judicial police “has no legal basis” and the accusations of video falsification are “unfounded.”
OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says retail sales edged down 0.1 per cent to $50.4 billion in December as sales at gasoline stations moved lower due in large part to lower prices at the pump.Economists had expected a contraction of 0.3 per cent for the month, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.Sales at gasoline stations fell 3.6 per cent in December, while sales at electronics and appliance stores decreased 4.0 per cent.Excluding gasoline stations, retail sales increased 0.4 per cent.Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers rose 1.0 per cent, led by a 1.2 per cent increase at new car dealers.Retail sales in volume terms increased 0.2 per cent. The Canadian Press
Rabat – At the opening of the intergovernmental conference on migration in Marrakech Monday, the Moroccan foreign affairs minister, Nasser Bourita, spoke about Morocco’s leadership in migration.Speaking to the press at the conference, the official went over King Mohammed VI’s message to the participants.In his message, King Mohammed VI said, “Africa will not be the subject of the Global Compact, but the African continent will be an actor – a key one.” The monarch also emphasized the importance of sharing responsibility to tackle migration challenges.According to Bourita, the King’s message includes “strong signals in terms of dealing with the migration issue.”He added that the migration phenomenon requires in-depth international cooperation.Read Also: Angela Merkel Turns Heads in Marrakech Ahead of Global Migration PactThe minister also expressed satisfaction with the UN choice to adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in Marrakech.He said that hosting the major event in Marrakech “shows the confidence of the international community in the organizational capacity of Morocco.” He added that Morocco is committed to helping several countries under the Marrakech compact to develop their own migration policy.More than 160 countries voted in favor of the compact today.Bourita said that the Marrakech compact will serve as a reference for all countries to establish national policies. He noted that the political document will also constitute a framework for international cooperation.
Rabat – World Ocean Day will take place on June 8 and, in observance of the occasion, the embassies of Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark have been organizing a special beach clean-up. This event will happen with the theme of “Ocean and Gender.”Specifically, the objective is to use the event as a platform to sensitize the population about waste management and to educate about the role both genders must equally play in keeping the coastline and the oceans clean. The clean-up is set to start in the morning of June 8, 2019, at the shoreline of Oudayas, Rabat, from 9:00 to 11:00.Through this activity, individuals from the Nordic government offices and civil society associations, including The Green Challenge, intend to urge local commitment to discover solutions for the ecological difficulties confronting Morocco. Once the clean-up has concluded, the event coordinators will gather the waste before sorting it according to the standards of Tadweir company. Tadweir will, at that point, sort the waste in their containment facility and recycle it into new products; cloth will be used to create new fabrics and plastic waste will be turned into containers.Read Also: UN Report: Sand Mafias are Destroying Moroccan BeachesThis year, the World Ocean Day clean-up will team-up with the Chourouk Center and other NGOs to focus on the importance of gender equality and empowerment. The aim is to include women and girls in the conversation on sustainability in order to find holistic solutions to modern environmental challenges.Fortifying the sustainable management of plastic waste is essential, particularly in vulnerable coastal areas. World Ocean Day is a chance to emphasize protecting marine life by battling against plastic pollution in our seas and oceans. This will be done on a local scale, but with a global perspective in mind. l Today, we produce around 300 million tons of plastic waste every year, of which 13 million tons are released into the seas, presenting environmental, economic, health and aesthetic problems. Somewhere in the range of 80% and 90% of marine litter originates from land-based sources, which is a clear sign of the priorities in which we should center our endeavors. The other 10-20 % is from miscellaneous sources.The Nordic nations have, for many years, shared a solid commitment to the protection of nature and regard for the earth is profoundly established in Nordic values. It translates concretely into ambitious public policies; the adoption of good practices at the individual level; innovation of the clean technology industry. The Nordic nations have aspiring ideas for sustainable power sources, vitality, productivity, and the circular economy – an economic approach of reutilizing resources.
Rabat – The investigating judge at the Supreme Court in Algeria summoned Algeria’s former prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal, who served from 2012 to 2017, on Thursday, June 13. The former PM appeared before the Supreme Court to be heard in an investigation into corruption cases, Algerian media reported. After listening to Sellal’s testimony, the Judge ordered his detention. Read also: Algeria’s Hostility to Morocco Expands Into its Education SystemOn Wednesday, June 12, the same court ordered the provisional detention of another former prime minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, over allegations of corruption. Authorities have also detained Algeria’s former minister of transportation, Abdelghani Zaalane after a hearing over alleged involvement in corruption. Since former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s resignation, several wealthy businessmen have been held in custody for benefiting from government contracts through their links with senior Algerian officials.
Stressing the need for dialogue between the Government and Abkhaz sides in Georgia, where fighting 14 years ago drove nearly 300,000 people from their homes, the Security Council today extended the United Nations mission in the country for another 6 months until 15 October. In a resolution adopted unanimously, the 15-member body also condemned the attack on villages in the upper Kodori valley on 11-12 March and urged all sides to fully support the ongoing investigation conducted by the Joint Fact Finding Group, which is led by the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG). “The Security Council… decides to extend the mandate of UNOMIG for a new period terminating on 15 October 2007… [It] stresses that the situation on the ground in the areas of security, return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and rehabilitation and development must be improved and calls on both sides to resume dialogue,” the resolution states. The Council “urges the sides to address seriously each other’s legitimate security concerns, to refrain from any actions which might impede the peace process, and to extend the necessary cooperation to UNOMIG and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) peacekeeping force.” In his latest report on the work of the UN in Georgia, which was released last week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last month’s rocket attacks in the upper Kodori valley were “a major setback”, but added there have been recent signs of progress between the Georgian and Abkhaz sides. Mr. Ban cited the continued joint patrols of the valley by UNOMIG and the CIS peacekeeping force as one example of the progress being made, adding that the patrols had observed no heavy weapons and a reduction in the number of armed personnel since a similar patrol in October last year. UNOMIG was set up in 1993 and expanded in 1994 to verify compliance with a cessation of hostilities and separation of forces accord, with patrols of the Kodori valley a specific part of its mandate. But it stopped patrolling the upper part of the valley in 2003 when four mission members were held hostage. Patrols were resumed after a break of three years last December. 13 April 2007Stressing the need for dialogue between the Government and Abkhaz sides in Georgia, where fighting 14 years ago drove nearly 300,000 people from their homes, the Security Council today extended the United Nations mission in the country for another 6 months until 15 October.
26 June 2007Warning that recent violence has set back the Middle East peace process, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged media professionals and civil society representatives attending a United Nations-organized seminar in Tokyo to “explore creative approaches to spreading the message of peace and coexistence in these troubled times.” Warning that recent violence has set back the Middle East peace process, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged media professionals and civil society representatives attending a United Nations-organized seminar in Tokyo to “explore creative approaches to spreading the message of peace and coexistence in these troubled times.” “You meet at a very critical time,” Mr. Ban said in a message delivered by Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Kiyo Akasaka to the International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East. “After years of occupation, violence and mistrust, Israeli and Palestinian societies stand further apart than ever before,” the Secretary-General lamented, adding “alarming rifts have also surfaced in internal Palestinian politics, as armed clashes between rival factions spread death and destruction across the Gaza Strip.” The current outbreak of violence, while a cause for great dismay, should not lead to despair, Mr. Ban told some 100 participants attending the two-day event, organized by the UN in cooperation with Japan’s Foreign Ministry and the Tokyo-based UN University. Instead, it should serve to focus attention on finding a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. “We must take heart from the numerous opinion polls of recent years that point to consistently strong grassroots support in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories for peaceful coexistence within the framework of a two-State solution.” In his keynote address to the meeting, Michael Williams, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, urged participants not to despair amid the current state of affairs. “We must instead look at what can be done to change current dynamics and channel energies in a more positive direction.” To that end, the UN was working overtime to help address the serious humanitarian concerns emanating from the closure of the Gaza Strip, Mr. Williams added, in a message read out by UN University Rector Hans Van Ginkel. Reopening the crossings into Gaza required cooperation of all parties, and in that effort, the humanitarian imperative must be paramount, he stressed. The annual seminar focuses on ways to re-engage Israelis and Palestinians in the search for a comprehensive and lasting political settlement. Participating in this year’s gathering are two members of the Knesset, Ronit Tirosh and Avishai Braverman, the Mayors of Ashdod and Hadera and a former Mayor of Ashkelon. Palestinian participants include a former Minister of Culture, Almutawakel Nazzal, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, and the Mayor of Ramallah.
18 September 2007In a twin move to feed hungry Afghans and stimulate local production, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced the $1.1 million purchase of 4,000 metric tons of locally grown wheat in the western Herat region as a way of overcoming continuing security problems hampering deliveries from further afield. In a twin move to feed hungry Afghans and stimulate local production, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced the $1.1 million purchase of 4,000 metric tons of locally grown wheat in the western Herat region as a way of overcoming continuing security problems hampering deliveries from further afield. “When WFP can, and when a good harvest allows, it makes good sense to purchase locally grown cereals for our assistance programmes,” the agency’s Asia Regional Director Tony Banbury said. “This wheat purchase will bring food to vulnerable people in Afghanistan who really need our help, and WFP’s payments will help local farmers recover their livelihoods, a critical step for Afghanistan.” The recent break in supply affected over 100,000 people in the western region, including Afghans recently deported from Iran, vulnerable men and women who carry out community work in exchange for food, and those enrolled in vocational and literacy courses under food-for-training schemes. “Extended drought and conflict has had a devastating effect on Afghanistan’s wheat crop in recent years. But this year, we have had a better harvest, and WFP can buy a significant quantity of wheat locally,” WFP Afghanistan Country Director Rick Corsino said. “WFP makes every effort to buy wheat locally or regionally wherever it can do so without disrupting markets.” For the first time, WFP has also purchased 9,000 tons of wheat from Iran, which will be distributed in Badghis and Ghor provinces. “The purchase of wheat from Herat has also been well timed,” Mr. Corsino said. “Insecurity on the southern ring road means we have been unable to move food for well over two months. With seriously depleted stocks, poor and hungry people in the west of the country have been suffering.” Insecurity in many parts of Afghanistan, where WFP aims to provide food to 5.4 million people this year, presents a major obstacle to humanitarian deliveries and continues to threaten projects. Since June 2006, there have been 28 security incidents involving trucks carrying WFP food. The vehicles have been attacked and looted, seven people have died, and an estimated 750 tons of food has been lost. WFP’s current three-year $378 million Afghan operation is at present 64 per cent funded.
3 March 2008United Nations agencies and their partners in the international humanitarian community have appealed for more than $36 million to help bring relief to the parts of Madagascar that have been buffeted by cyclones in the past month. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced on Saturday that it is seeking the funds to tackle the immediate needs of the more than 239,000 Malagasy affected either by the cyclones themselves or by other heavy rains and winds during the annual cyclone season in the impoverished country.So far almost $6.5 million has been committed, OCHA said, and a formal request has been sent to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for money to be disbursed.UN aid agencies are working with the Malagasy Red Cross Society, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to help the affected population, ranging from emergency food rations to measures that protect water quality and prevent the spread of diseases.At least 73 people are confirmed to have been killed from the cyclones, which brought heavy rainfall to most of the island nation but struck the northwest and northeast especially hard. Subsequent floods have reached many heavily populated areas, including the capital, Antananarivo, and important farming areas, such as the Alaotra Mangoro region.
25 September 2008United Nations agencies today called for better regulation of foods for infants and young children in China in light of the contaminated infant formula crisis, reiterating their insistence that breast milk should be used exclusively for the first six months of life. “Whilst any attempt to deceive the public in the area of food production and marketing is unacceptable, deliberate contamination of foods intended for consumption by vulnerable infants and young children is particularly deplorable,” the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO) Offices in China said in a joint statement.Melamine-contaminated formula produced by Sanlu and other companies has caused more than 6,000 cases of kidney stones in infants and three deaths across the country.“We are confident that swift and firm actions are being taken by China’s food safety authorities to investigate this incident fully,” the statement said. “We also expect that following the investigation and in the context of the Chinese Government’s increasing attention to food safety, better regulation of foods for infants and young children will be enforced.”Noting that global health authorities agree that breast milk is unquestionably better for infant feeding than any formula, the agencies stressed that no formula contains the perfect combination of proteins, carbohydrates and fats to enhance infant growth and brain development as breast milk does.“No infant formula contains antibodies to protect against infection as breast milk does. No infant formula is as safe to administer as breast milk is. And no infant formula is as affordable to families as breast milk is, providing the perfect nutrition for infants while protecting them from infections,” they said.Ideally, all infants should be fed exclusively with breast milk for the first six months of life, receiving thereafter adequate and safe complementary foods while continuing to breastfeed up to at least the age of two years.Working mothers who cannot breastfeed during working hours can express breast milk and save it in a clean container for feeding the child whilst she is away, they added. Breast milk can be stored safely for up to eight hours at room temperature.