30 November 2011The head of United Nations peacekeeping operations wrapped up a five-day visit to Afghanistan today by highlighting the political and economic progress achieved over the last decade and lauding the supportive role played by the world body. “The international community and the United Nations have done a good job. There is a feeling of good progress in 10 years,” Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous said during a meeting with senior Afghan journalists.It was the first visit to Afghanistan for Mr. Ladsous, who took up his post as head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) just a couple of months ago. Over the past few days, he met with senior Afghan officials, including Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassoul, civil society representatives, international community leaders and military officials.They discussed different aspects of the support provided to the Government and the population by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which is headed by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Staffan de Mistura.Mr. Ladsous also briefly visited UNAMA’s Mazar-i-Sharif operations centre in the north of the country where he met Provincial Governor Atta Mohammad Noor and UN staff. He took the opportunity to express solidarity with staff following the 1 April 2011 attack in which three international staff and four international security guards were killed.While in Mazar-i-Sharif, Mr. Ladsous said he saw “visible indications of an economic recovery” in the country, with construction underway for numerous buildings and a railway terminal.He reiterated the UN’s commitment to provide support to the Government and the people of Afghanistan past 2014, the year the ongoing security transition is expected to finish and the majority of international forces leave the country.He also highlighted the role of Afghan women in any political process saying that women’s rights are a priority for UNAMA, as well as the Secretary-General, DPKO and Mr. Ladsous’s personal agenda.Earlier today, Mr. Ladsous held a town hall meeting where he answered questions directly from UN staff. Also present was Mr. de Mistura, in what will likely be his last large meeting with staff in Kabul before he is succeeded by Jan Kubis in January 2012.The visit by the UN peacekeeping chief comes ahead of the International Conference on Afghanistan that will take place on Monday in Bonn, Germany.
ETV News stock photo by Jeff BarrettBy Loren Miller, USU Eastern Sports InformationUtah State Eastern baseball was swept on the road by the #17 Salt Lake Community College Bruins on Friday and Saturday.The Eagles began the four-game series with a 9-2 loss in game one on Friday.USU Eastern freshman Hunter Lasko hit an RBI single in the top of the sixth to tie the game at 1-1. The Bruins’ bats came alive in the bottom of the sixth and hit two homers, including a grand slam to take a 9-1 lead. Eagles’ pitcher Jake Smith went 5.2 innings and allowed five hits and threw three strikeouts in the loss.USU Eastern rebounded in game two but ultimately come up short and fell 8-6 to Salt Lake.In the third inning, the Eagles were the first to add runs on the board when Dylan Sanchez singled to center field for an RBI. The Eagles took a 4-2 lead in the top of the fifth when Dylan Rodriguez added an RBI single.However, the Bruins came back in the next half inning and added six runs to take a commanding 8-4 lead. USU Eastern wouldn’t give up easy, adding a run in the eighth and a run in the ninth off of a Ryan Curtis solo home run. Curtis had two hits, two runs and a walk in the game two loss.On Saturday, the Eagles fell to the Bruin 9-5 in game three.After trailing 5-1 heading into the top of the fifth, the Eagles scored three runs in the fifth and a run in the sixth to tie the game at 5-5. Salt Lake pulled away in the sixth inning after a two RBI single by Jaxson Otis and an error led to four runs. Karter Pope, Zac Fitch, and Cooper Kunz combined to throw four strikeouts while giving up seven hits on the mound for the Eagles.“In both games two and three, we played very good baseball. We were putting together quality at bats all game. We had quality pitching that held down a very good SLCC hitting lineup,” said USU Eastern head coach Scott Madsen.In the final game of the series, it was all Salt Lake as they shutdown the Eagles 10-0 in five innings. The Salt Lake pitching staff threw a one-hitter in game four with zero walks and two strikeouts.The four-game sweep moves the Eagles record to 3-23 overall and 2-16 in conference play. Despite the losses, Madsen said he is happy with the body of work this weekend from his team.“This weekend, I was impressed with the team as a whole. They all played really well at times. Just hoping we can put it together for nine innings this coming weekend,” said Madsen.The Eagles will now return home for a four-game series this coming Friday and Saturday against a nationally-ranked College of Southern Nevada squad. After the series against CSN, the Eagles will host the College of Southern Idaho in the final week of the regular season.Madsen said after a tough schedule on the road, he is ready to home to play in front of the home crowd. “We have had an amazing following on the road, and can’t wait to see how things look playing at home. I know some people in the community have been waiting a long time for us to play at home. It should be exciting,” said Madsen. “I think this will be a good time for us to get home and refuel heading into the region tournament.”All four games against CSN will be broadcast on the Scenic West Digital Network at scenicwestnetwork.com. Friday’s games begin at 1 p.m. at Carlson-Colosimo Field and Saturday’s doubleheader is scheduled for noon.