BEIJING, Dec. 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Chairman and CEO of Piaggio & C. S.p.A. (PIA.MI), Roberto Colaninno, and the Vice General Manager of Foton Motor Group, Wang Shuhai, signed a preliminary agreement in Mantua for the development of a new range of four-wheel electric light commercial vehicles. The agreement consolidates the partnership set up by the two groups in September 2017 for joint development of innovative solutions for the light commercial vehicles market.

Over the coming months, a team of representatives from the two groups will work on the development and approval of a production and commercial plan and on the contractual documents with a view – in the event of a successful outcome of the above activities – to finalising the technical documentation for the project and the contracts by Spring 2023.

Park Place Technologies Acquires CentricsIT Global Services Division

Purchase Strengthens Park Place as Global Leader for all IT Infrastructure Solutions, as Economy and Skills Gap Challenges Impact Global Business.

CLEVELAND, Dec. 08, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Park Place Technologies, the leading global data center and networking optimization firm, has acquired the TPM and Professional Services assets of CentricsIT, an IT services provider based in Atlanta, Georgia.

The demand for Professional Services is growing globally, driven by economic conditions and skills gaps. Park Place’s Professional Services offering will benefit from the acquisition with greater capabilities in IMAC, ITAD, Remote Hands, and deployment services, including cabling, wi-fi surveys, data center installs and refreshes, and network installations. Park Place clients will benefit from a state-of-the-art Professional Services portal developed by CentricsIT that provides real-time project status, reporting, and collaboration tools. Park Place’s Project Management Office function will be enhanced with the addition of Project Management Institute-certified CentricsIT employees worldwide. CentricsIT customers will gain access to Park Place Technologies’ unique portfolio of products and services, including automated monitoring and managed services.

Chris Adams, President and CEO of Park Place Technologies, said in addition to investing in Professional Services, Park Place continues to focus on providing exceptional customer service and support. “When acquiring businesses, we always search for companies that are intensely focused on customer service and have a similar culture and value set to PPT. CentricsIT delivers that and more,” he said. “Our combined Professional Services capabilities are evolving to meet client needs, and this will accelerate that CX agenda. CentricsIT’s EVP of Global Services, Patrick Keuller, will join the global Professional Services group. Patrick brings decades of experience and understands the growing needs of companies around the globe that are struggling to recruit skilled stafff and stretching budgets to efficiently manage their infrastructures.”

CentricsIT has been a global leader in IT lifecycle management solutions and professional services since 2007. As the company transitions its professional services and TPM divisions to Park Place Technologies, it will retain its server, storage and networking resale division.

“We’re pleased to have found the right fit in Park Place Technologies for our services practice to grow and thrive,” said CentricsIT founder and CEO Derek Odegard. “We know they will continue to excel in service delivery and client support.”

This is Park Place’s fourth acquisition in 2022.

“Agile Equity provided investment banking services to CentricsIT and facilitated the transaction,” Odegard said. “We enjoyed working with the Agile Equity team. Their expertise in the data center infrastructure industry was very beneficial throughout the transaction.”

Founded in 1991, Park Place Technologies is powered by the world’s largest on-the-ground engineering team, a robust group of hundreds of advanced engineers and its fully staffed 24x7x365 Enterprise Operations Center. Park Place leverages a global parts supply chain, automation, machine learning and a comprehensive portfolio of services and products to optimize networking and data center uptime and performance.

About Park Place Technologies

Park Place Technologies is a global data center and networking optimization firm. Powered by the world’s largest on-the-ground engineering team, a robust group of advanced engineers and our fully staffed, 24x7x365 Enterprise Operations Center, we offer a robust portfolio of IT solutions to optimize networking and data center uptime and performance. Our services include third-party data center hardware maintenance, professional services, infrastructure managed services, network performance monitoring and hardware sales. Through our unique and fully integrated DMSO (Discover, Monitor, Support, Optimize) approach, customers enjoy streamlined infrastructure monitoring and management, cost efficiencies, less chaos, and faster mean-time-to-resolution – ultimately providing the freedom to think bigger. Park Place’s industry-leading and award-winning services include Park Place Hardware Maintenance™, Park Place Professional Services™, ParkView Managed Services™, Entuity Software™ and Curvature Hardware sales. For more information, visit Park Place is a portfolio company of Charlesbank Capital Partners and GTCR.

Jennifer Deutsch
Park Place Technologies
(440) 991-3105

Michael Miller
Park Place Technologies
(440) 991-5509

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8711279

No Justice for Victims of Forced Disappearances in Uganda

In recent weeks, Ugandan media has been awash once again with reports of armed men linked to the state security forces kidnapping people and taking them to unknown locations, where they have no access to lawyers or family.

On November 28, three men in civilian clothes accosted Yahya Mwanje, a Muslim cleric, outside a Kampala mosque and drove off with him in a Toyota HiAce van, locally known as “Drones.” That same day in Kampala, plainclothes men picked up opposition politician and former presidential candidate Joseph Kabuleta inside his office and took him away in a Drone to an unknown destination.

Mwanje and Kabuleta were later revealed to have been detained by security forces: Mwanje by the military, while two days later police charged Kabuleta with “promoting sectarianism.”

Many other people, mostly opposition supporters, remain missing.

On November 29, the National Unity Platform, Uganda’s main opposition political party, reported to the Uganda Human Rights Commission that 25 of its supporters have been missing since as far back as 2020. Six of them, the party said, had been abducted in various locations in Kampala in November by a man in military uniform and three armed men in civilian clothes.

In March, Human Rights Watch published a report documenting years of similar arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, and the use of illegal detention centers by Ugandan security officers. These abuses escalated in the two months before the January 2021 general elections and continued for several months afterwards. At the time, security forces arbitrarily arrested and forcibly disappeared critics of the government, opposition leaders and supporters, and alleged protesters.

In June, Human Rights Watch presented these findings personally to President Yoweri Museveni. He pledged to hold the perpetrators accountable and to look into the case of Frank “Kaka” Bagyenda, the former director of the Internal Security Organisation, who we found played a central role in such abductions and unlawful detentions. But since that meeting, there has been no indication that steps are being taken to hold Bagyenda or any other alleged perpetrators to account for these crimes.

The government’s failure to investigate these abuses and hold errant security officers to account has only emboldened them to continue. Instead of merely making promises, Museveni’s government should take concrete steps to ensure that victims of enforced disappearance and their families receive justice.

Source: Human Rights Watch

Mozambique – Complex Emergency and Tropical Cyclone Fact Sheet #1 Fiscal Year (FY) 2023

697,000 Estimated Number of People in Need as a Result of Tropical Cyclone Gombe

UN – June 2022

1.5 MILLION Number of People in Need of Humanitarian Assistance

UN HRP – June 2022

302,000 Estimated Population in Hard-to-Reach Areas of Northern Mozambique

UN – July 2022

946,508 Estimated Number of IDPs in Cabo Delgado and Surrounding Areas

IOM – June 2022

1 TO 2.5 MILLION Estimated Number of People in Need of Food Assistance Through May 2023

FEWS NET – November 2022

NSAG activity continued to spread through southern Cabo Delgado Province from late October into November, generating new displacement and exacerbating humanitarian needs among conflictaffected populations. As of November 22, NSAG attacks had newly displaced approximately 28,000 people in two districts previously unaffected by violence, according to IOM.

Ongoing insecurity and internal displacement continue to exacerbate the protection needs of vulnerable populations— particularly women and girls—throughout northern Mozambique, according to the UN.

Nearly 2.2 million people—including households still recovering from tropical storm systems that made landfall in early 2022—could be affected by heavy rains, floods, and tropical cyclones during the upcoming rainy season, Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction reports.

Source: US Agency for International Development

Iran: Killings of Children during Youthful Anti-Establishment Protests

The Iranian authorities’ arbitrary arrest, intimidation and harassment of relatives of children, unlawfully gunned down or beaten to death by security forces in connection with protests, exposes their inconceivable cruelty and sinister attempt to cover up their crimes, said Amnesty International today.

In updated research, Amnesty International has documented how the unlawful killings of children by Iran’s security forces continue unabated, detailing the names and details of at least 44 children and the heartless violence inflicted upon their families.

“The authorities have been killing children in a bid to crush the spirit of resistance among the country’s youth and retain their iron grip on power at any cost.”

Heba Morayef, Amnesty International

“The authorities have not only condemned families of children killed to a lifetime of inconsolable sadness, but they have also inflicted extreme mental anguish upon them through cruel restrictions on burials, commemorations and relentless intimidation aimed at enforcing silence. These practices violate the absolute prohibition on cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“The recent establishment of a UN fact-finding mission to collect, consolidate and analyse evidence of such violations sends a clear message to the Iranian authorities that they can no longer commit crimes under international law and other grave violations of human rights without fear of consequences. Amnesty International now urges all states to exercise universal jurisdiction to criminally investigate Iranian officials involved in militarized attacks on demonstrators, including children.”

Amnesty International’s research has shown that Iran’s security forces shot 34 of the identified child victims with live ammunition in the heart, head or other vital organs. At least four were killed by metal pellets unlawfully fired by the security forces at close range. Five other children, four girls and one boy, died from injuries consistent with fatal beatings, and one girl was killed after being struck on the head with a tear gas canister. The recorded child victims include 39 boys, aged between two and 17, and five girls, three of whom were 16 years old, one 17 years old, and one aged six.

Children represent 14% of overall deaths of protesters and bystanders recorded by Amnesty International, which exceeds 300 since the protests erupted. Our investigations into killings by security forces continue and the number of those killed, including children, is believed to be higher (For more information on the organization’s methodology, see here).

The Iranian authorities have routinely harassed and intimidated the families of child victims to coerce them into silence or to force them to accept narratives absolving authorities of responsibility for the deaths of their loved ones in written statements or video recordings broadcast on state television. Amnesty International has identified such practices against the relatives of at least 13 child victims. Information obtained by the organization from informed sources indicates that security forces subjected them to coercion including arbitrary arrest and detention, threats to bury the bodies of their loved ones in unidentified location, and threats to kill, rape, detain or otherwise harm bereaved parents and their surviving children.

The father of Koumar Daroftadeh, a 16-year-old boy killed by live ammunition said on 13 November in an interview with Radio Farda, an independent media outlet:

“They [security and intelligence agents] summoned me and told me that I should say whatever they dictate to me… The authorities killed my son and must be held accountable.

**Cruel restrictions on burials and commemorations **

Security and intelligence agents often threatened not to return the bodies of child victims for burial unless families commit, in writing, to remaining silent and observing restrictions on funeral and memorial ceremonies.

In some cases, officials prepared the bodies of victims for burial without notifying families, then handed them the bodies, wrapped in shrouds, minutes before the scheduled burial, denying families their right to wash and prepare their loved ones for burial in accordance with their own religious and cultural traditions.

Other restrictions included forcing families to bury their loved ones in remote villages, banning the use of word “martyr” and prohibiting relatives from hanging large memorial banners or sharing images of victims and funeral posters on social media.

Denying responsibility for unlawful killings of children

The Iranian authorities have publicly denied responsibility for the killing of at least 19 of the child victims. They have blamed 12 of these deaths on attacks by either “hired terrorists” or “unknown persons”, attributed three to suicidal or accidental falls from heights, one to a suicidal or accidental drug overdose, one to a dog bite, one to a motorcycle accident and another to a stampede.

For nine other children, all from the oppressed Baluchi minority, the authorities have questioned their deaths, claiming in their reports to member states of the UN Human Rights Council that “there is no death record” for the children concerned in the Sistan and Baluchistan province.

Children from persecuted minorities most targeted

Over 60% of the children killed were from Iran’s oppressed Baluchi and Kurdish minorities. These communities have long suffered from systemic discrimination and persecution by the authorities.

A family member of a child unlawfully killed in Sistan and Baluchistan told Amnesty International:

“They did not pay any attention to us. They [Iranian authorities] do not consider us [Baluchis] human. There are many witnesses [to the killings], but their testimonies are worthless against the Islamic Republic because the authorities do not accept them.”

Of the 44 recorded child victims, 18, which amounts to 40%, belonged to Iran’s oppressed Baluchi minority. Thirteen of them were killed by security forces on 30 September in Zahedan, Sistan and Baluchistan province, during the deadliest day of the authorities’ crackdown on the protests, widely known to Iranians as “Bloody Friday”.

Ten of the children killed, which amounts to 20%, were from the Kurdish minority and were killed in eight cities or towns in the Kurdish populated provinces of Kurdistan, Kermanshah and West Azerbaijan.

The remaining 16 child victims were killed in six other provinces across Iran.

“The authorities have been killing children in a bid to crush the spirit of resistance among the country’s youth and retain their iron grip on power at any cost. And yet despite that, many children have courageously continued to take to the streets in search of a future without political oppression and inequality,” said Heba Morayef.

Source: Amnesty International