UNICEF mourns the death of humanitarian Eve Curie Labouisse

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today mourned the death of Eve Curie Labouisse, a widow of the agency’s former Executive Director and staunch humanitarian who supported the agency throughout her long life. Mrs. Labouisse was 102 at the time of her death on 22 October. Her late husband, former UNICEF chief Henry Labouisse, passed away in 1987. During his leadership, which spanned 17 years from 1965 when UNICEF received the Nobel Peace Prize to 1979, Eve Labouisse was known as the ‘First Lady of UNICEF’ and travelled to many developing countries that were receiving the agency’s assistance at that time. “While her husband headed UNICEF, she played a very active role in the organization, traveling with him to advocate for children and to provide support and encouragement to UNICEF staff in remote and difficult locations,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said. “Her energy and her commitment to the betterment of the world should serve as an inspiration to us all.”Mrs. Labouisse was a journalist and a humanitarian, and was also well-known for her biography of her mother, the Nobel Prize-winning scientist Marie Curie. Born in Paris in 1904, she was hailed as an accomplished pianist at a young age and performed across Europe. During the Second World War she reported from various fronts as a war correspondent. 26 October 2007The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today mourned the death of Eve Curie Labouisse, a widow of the agency’s former Executive Director and staunch humanitarian who supported the agency throughout her long life. read more

Sri Lanka to get 15 billion IMF loan to avert balance of

Sri Lanka will receive a loan of one and a half billion US dollars from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to boost foreign exchange reserves and avert a balance of payments problem, a Government minister said on Monday, according to the Reuters news agency.Sri Lanka’s finances are under scrutiny after ratings agency Fitch last week downgraded its sovereign rating by a notch, to “B+”, spurred by a ballooning fiscal deficit, rising foreign debt and sluggish growth prospects. The loan conditions, such as revising taxes to increase the government revenue, have yet to be finalised, however, he added.Talks with the IMF are due to begin this month, but could drag on, as both sides have to agree on the conditions tied to the assistance programme. Last week, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said an IMF programme by which the government commits itself to taking steps to fix its finances would help lure back investors. The government was originally looking for a loan of $2 billion from the global lender, said junior finance minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena. “We continue to believe that negotiations will be slowed by the government’s unwillingness to accept unpopular IMF conditionalities,” Sasha Riser-Kositsky, Eurasia Group’s South Asia analyst, said in a note.There would be no flexibility on reducing the fiscal deficit, said a source at the global lender who has knowledge of Sri Lanka’s loan discussions, but who declined to be identified in the absence of authorisation to speak to the media.Sri Lanka’s reserves have fallen by a third, to $6.3 billion by January, from their October 2014 peak, mainly because of outflows of $1.3 billion in government bonds since January 2015. “But now we will get about $1.5 billion in a number of disbursements,” Abeywardena told Reuters. “This is to boost foreign exchange reserves.” “What we are trying to do is to get minimum cover from the IMF,” he said. “It is important for investor confidence.”The IMF gave Sri Lanka a $2.6-billion bailout package in 2009, when it faced a balance-of-payments crisis soon after the end of a 26-year war.The IMF has long urged the government to cut the fiscal deficit, estimated to have shot up to 7.2 percent of GDP last year, as well as add tax payers and spruce up the tax system. Central bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran told Reuters last week an IMF loan could help drive down the cost of borrowing for the government to between 6 percent and 7 percent from 8.5 percent, as investors would interpret it as a vote of confidence in the $79-billion economy.The island nation’s total outstanding debt rose 12 percent to 8.27 trillion rupees in the first nine months of 2015, while foreign debt increased around 5 percent to 3.27 trillion.The government has promised farmers tax cuts and subsidies, to help consolidate its position since taking office last year. read more