King Mohammed VI Thanks AU for Leaving Western Sahara to UN

Rabat – King Mohammed VI has thanked the UN and the AU for their resolve to find a political settlement in Western Sahara.Speaking last night in commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the Revolution of the King and the People, King Mohammed VI highlighted his resolve to invest more efforts and resources to solve Morocco’s youth issues, especially the quality of education and job opportunities.Despite the speech’s focus on a domestic agenda, the King also made a special mention of the recent international developments in the territorial dispute in Western Sahara. Morocco ready to negotiateThe King pointed out Morocco’s readiness to “confidently and responsibly” engage with the UN Security Council and the international community in the search of an agreed upon and mutually acceptable solution to the territorial dispute between Morocco and the Polisario Front. Moroccans have always been galvanized by values of “unanimity, cohesion and sacrifices” when it comes to upholding the country’s territorial integrity, the King said. He explained that he is “pleased to note that there is increasing compatibility between these principles and the stances adopted by the international community.”“Indeed, the recent resolutions of the UN Security Council and the African Union confirm, without a shadow of a doubt, that the United Nations Organization has exclusive authority to manage the political process relating to this question.”AU’s ‘positive reaction’ to MoroccoThe King’s mention of the United Nations’ “exclusive authority” was a direct reference to the African Union’s recent decision to refrain from having “a parallel agenda” in the Western Sahara territorial conflict.In the AU Western Sahara report presented on July 1, the continental organization said that it would respect the “required cohesion” with the UN’s stance by “prioritizing and supporting” the UN-led negotiations in Western Sahara. The report was delivered by AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat at the 31st AU Summit for Heads of States in Nouakchott, Mauritania.“The AU Conference of Heads of States and Chiefs of Governments will lend effective support to the UN-led peace process based on the relevant proposals of the UN Security Council,” the report said. It noted that the AU would act in harmony with the UN framework to push towards a “fair, sustainable, and mutually acceptable political solution.”The AU’s new stance has been perceived as a historic nod to Morocco’s position. It was the first time that the AU took such a direction in the decades-long dispute in Western Sahara. King Mohammed VI underscored his “appreciation” of the move.“I should like to take this opportunity to express my thanks and appreciation to the leaders of African sister nations who have reacted positively to Morocco’s principled stances and responded to the call of the Security Council, which invited the members of the international community to support its efforts,” the King said yesterday in his speech. read more

Baseball Ohio State baseball prepares for season opener against Kansas State on

OSU sophomore Seth Kinker (37) fires a pitch during a game against Morehead State at Bill Davis Stadium on April 12, 2016. OSU won 1-0. Credit: Lantern File PhotoThe Ohio State baseball team is coming off arguably its most successful season since 2009. The Buckeyes captured the Big Ten tournament title for the first time since 2007 and made an NCAA tournament appearance for the first time since 2009.This Friday, the Buckeyes will begin their season in an effort to build off that success when they travel to Osceola, Florida, to take on the Kansas State Wildcats in the first of the four-game Sunshine State Classic Series.But this is a new team from last season’s group of players and repeating could be a challenge without veteran leaders Ronnie Dawson and Nick Sergakis.Co-captain and redshirt junior starting pitcher Adam Niemeyer thinks that while this team is young, they are determined and ready to compete again for another Big Ten title.“Last year, we had a lot of position guys returning and not many pitchers at all, pitching was kind of a question mark,” Niemeyer said. “And this year it’s kind of the opposite. But last year it all worked out, pitchers stepped up and this year, I know the hitters are going to step up.”Scouting KSUKansas State is coming off a rough season where they finished second-to-last in its conference with a 26-31 record (8-16 Big 12).The strength of the team last year was in the lineup, where it compiled a team batting average of .284 with 335 runs scored, 30 home runs and 62 stolen bases. They were led offensively by now-senior first baseman Jake Scudder who produced team-bests in batting average (.333) and home runs (7).While the team had no trouble scoring runs, it experienced difficulty in preventing the opponent from doing the same. The pitching staff posted an ERA of 5.06 and only three pitchers had an ERA below 4.00 — none of whom were starting pitchers.Though the Wildcats had their ups and downs last season, the Buckeyes are not taking them lightly. Junior relief pitcher Seth Kinker believes this team could prove to be challenging for a young OSU team still looking to find its feet.“Kansas State’s going to be a wakeup call,” Kinker said. “They’re a good program, they’re Big 12. It’s not like we’re going out there and playing a scrappy scrimmage against a Division III school. This is a Division I school and finding that identity is key.”Fresh-faced rotation looking to get some valuable experienceOSU lost most of its starting lineup from 2016, but the team will also need to replace two weekend starters: John Havird, who graduated, and Tanner Tully, who was drafted by the Cleveland Indians.OSU pitching coach Mike Stafford announced the starters will be Niemeyer on Friday, redshirt junior Yianni Pavlopoulos at 2 p.m. on Saturday against the University of Delaware, sophomore Ryan Feltner at 5 p.m. on Saturday against the University of Pittsburgh and redshirt senior Jake Post on Sunday against Kansas State.Of those four, only Niemeyer and Feltner started in a game last season. Pavlopoulos was serving as the team’s closer while Post redshirted the year as he recovered from Tommy John surgery.Between their lack of experience and adolescence of the season, starting pitchers will be monitored by Stafford and won’t be left in the game for too long.“I’m thinking at the high-end 85 (pitches), 90 most. But hopefully in that 70 to 80 range is kind of how, in a perfect world, we’d like to keep them,” Stafford said.First pitch of the season is scheduled for noon on Friday. The Buckeyes will take the role of the away team on neutral field in Florida against Kansas State. Their first game in Columbus will not be until March 17 against Xavier. read more