Day: October 6, 2019

Czech Government requests UN help to battle deadly flooding

In its latest report on the floods, which have killed nine people so far, OCHA said that the Ministry of the Interior has requested portable dryers, floating pumps and electric submersible pumps.As of yesterday evening, the level of the Vlatva River was still rising in Prague, and on Monday, authorities in the capital ordered the evacuation of an estimated 50,000 people as the rising water approached the city after days of rainfall swelled rivers in the south, OCHA said.The Czech Prime Minister declared a state of emergency in Prague, Bohemia, Plzen and Karlovy Vary in the Zapadocesky region in the western of the country. read more

Read More

UN health agency issues global alert on atypical pneumonia

“WHO is working with national authorities to ensure appropriate investigation, reporting and containment of these outbreaks,” the agency said in a statement in Geneva.The outbreak in Viet Nam began with a patient hospitalized for acute respiratory syndrome shortly after arriving in Hanoi from Shanghai and Hong Kong. After his admission some 20 hospital staff became sick with similar symptoms – flu-like illness with rapid onset of high fever followed by muscle aches, headache and sore throat.In Hong Kong, the hospital authority increased infection control measures today after an outbreak of respiratory illness in a public hospital. As of yesterday, 50 health care workers had been screened, 23 were found to have fever and admitted for observation, and eight developed early chest X-ray signs of pneumonia. Three other health care workers were found to have fever, two with chest X-ray signs of pneumonia.So far, no link has been found between these cases and the outbreak in Hanoi or with last month’s outbreak of “bird flu” in Hong Kong, WHO said. The outbreaks appear to be confined to hospitals and those at highest risk appear to be staff caring for the patients. In mid February, the Government of China also reported 305 cases of atypical pneumonia, with five deaths in Guangdong province.“Until more is known about the cause of these outbreaks, WHO recommends patients with atypical pneumonia who may be related to these outbreaks be isolated with barrier nursing techniques,” the UN agency said. “At the same time, WHO recommends that any suspect cases be reported to national health authorities.” read more

Read More

UN welcomes 1 million from Kuwait to help feed Iraq

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a $1 million donation by Kuwait to its emergency operations in Iraq, the first by a Persian Gulf country.”We are particularly encouraged by this contribution,” the WFP Regional Director for the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Central Asia, Khaled Adly, said in Kuwait. “It comes at a time when WFP is re-establishing the food distribution system for the entire Iraqi population.”The funds provided by the Kuwaiti Government will be used to purchase lentils, a very important source of protein, WFP said.WFP’s efforts to get aid into Iraq are picking up, with more than 92,000 tons of food shipped there since the beginning of April. Although the agency has not received any reports so far of extreme food shortages in Iraq, WFP said it expects that the most vulnerable Iraqis will run out of food in May. read more

Read More

Battle against AlQaida leaves no room for complacency – chair of UN

Despite some successes against Al-Qaida, including the arrest of senior leaders, recent bombings in Saudi Arabia, the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation, Morocco, Yemen and Afghanistan underscored the dangers and challenges ahead, Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz of Chile, chairman of the Council’s committee overseeing sanctions imposed against the Taliban, Al-Qaida and their associates, said in an open briefing to the 15-member body. Mr. Muñoz noted that the possible presence of Al-Qaida associates within their territory appeared to be a stigma to some states, and detailed information was therefore not being presented to the committee. Overall response in submitting reports had been disappointing – to date 64 reports had been received, barely 30 per cent of UN members. According to available information, individuals or entities associated with Al-Qaida were believed to be active in some way in a significant number of states that had not yet submitted a report, he added. A continuing concern, he said, involved the many Al-Qaida operatives who had received training in such activities as making improvised explosive devices or crude forms of weapons of mass destruction or conducting assassinations. Any such individuals who were known to the authorities should be listed, in order to reduce the opportunity for them to move around freely. It was also noted that Al-Qaida and the former Taliban rulers in Afghanistan who had protected them were still able to acquire adequate quantities of weapons and explosives. Regarding terrorist financing, Mr. Muñoz said that as countries improved measures, such as stifling the flow of funds, the emphasis of the international community’s efforts must move to much greater control over, and transparency of, the accounting methods of charitable foundations. The Committee was established in 1999 by Security Council resolution 1267 to report on the sanctions imposed after Usama bin Laden and other Al-Qaida leaders had been indicted in the United States for the 1998 bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The sanctions included efforts to bring the Al-Qaida leaders to justice and cut off any funding for the terrorist organization. read more

Read More

Security Council lifts number of shortterm judges on Rwanda tribunal

The Council agreed to a resolution backing a request from the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for more judges so that it can complete its trial workload more quickly.The Tribunal can now have up to nine short-term judges serve at any time, instead of the previous maximum of four, bringing the Rwanda court into line with the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.The Tribunal’s President, Judge Erik Møse, stated last month that in its current capacity the court would not finish all of its trials until 2011. He said the extra judges should allow the Tribunal to come close, if not actually achieve, the target date of the end of 2008 – the date imposed by the Security Council earlier this year.Following today’s vote, Ambassador James Cunningham of the United States, which currently holds the Council’s rotating Presidency, read a statement confirming that the Rwanda Tribunal has the power to fund the renovation of prison facilities in countries that have agreed to house prisoners convicted by the Tribunal.The statement was in response to a General Assembly resolution last December seeking clarification on whether the Tribunal does have that power. read more

Read More

Albanian president pays first official visit to UNadministered Kosovo

In a joint news conference with President Alfred Moisiu in Pristina, the capital, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative Harri Holkeri said the two agreed on the need to urge the Kosovo Albanians “to travel the extra mile to ensure that they regain the trust and confidence of their Kosovo Serb fellow citizens.” Mr. Holkeri thanked President Moisiu for Albania’s “helpful intervention” in calling for an end to the violence that erupted in Kosovo in mid-March, the worst to hit the province since the UN took over its administration nearly five years ago when NATO forced the withdrawal of Yugoslav troops after fighting between Albanians and Serbs. Mr. Moisiu said Albania wanted Kosovo to progress on the path of democratization and integration. “Violence is not the path that should be followed. The necessary and productive path is dialogue. This absolutely requires the desire of both sides and all involved, and I hope that this will be achieved with the support of UNMIK,” he added, referring to the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo. Also today, Mr. Holkeri attended a memorial service for two United States UNMIK corrections officers killed at the Mitrovica detention centre on Saturday when at least one of five Jordanian UNMIK officers opened fire. “These deaths remind us of the dangers faced by the staff of the United Nations in the work for peace, justice and development around the world,” he said. “We must do everything to protect and preserve the integrity, solidarity and trust that United Nations staff normally extend to one another. That bond must remain inviolate. Making it so is the best tribute we could pay to these courageous individuals, and to their fallen comrades around the world.” read more

Read More

Rebels release abducted UN staff and aid workers in Darfur Sudan

The aid workers were freed today after negotiations between a UN security team conducting a search for them and the rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), which had abducted the six workers in North Darfur on Saturday.The three WFP staff and the three workers for the Sudanese Red Crescent – not five as previously reported – were then flown by helicopter to El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur.WFP Senior Deputy Executive Director Jean-Jacques Graisse said the agency was delighted that the six people were released unharmed.But he warned that “any continuation or escalation of incidents such as the one just resolved is likely to have far-reaching consequences for the relief operation.”Radhia Achouri, a spokesperson for Jan Pronk, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan, told reporters today that international humanitarian law demands that aid workers have safety and security and that they also have unimpeded access to those in need.Earlier this week a separate Darfur rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), detained 22 Sudanese health workers for several hours near Nyala, the capital of South Darfur.In June the SLA detained a large group of aid workers from UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in North Darfur before eventually releasing them unharmed.SLA and JEM have been in conflict with Khartoum in Darfur, a remote, impoverished region in Sudan’s west, since early last year. Notorious militias known as the Janjaweed, who have been linked to the Sudanese Government, also stand accused of committing deadly and brutal atrocities against civilians. More than 1.2 million people are internally displaced and another 200,000 live as refugees in neighbouring Chad. read more

Read More

WHO warns of shortage of antimalarial drug suggests alternatives

As increasing demand for artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) for malaria is likely to result in a shortage in the next four months, the United Nations public health agency has advised certain countries to be prepared to use alternative medicines. Since 2001, the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) has been recommending countries where malaria is resistant to conventional treatment such as chloroquine to switch to ACTs including artemether-lumefantrine, artesunate-mefloquine, artesunate-amodiaquine and artesunate-sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine. As many as 40 countries – half of them in Africa – have officially adopted these medicines since then, when WHO concluded an agreement with Novartis Pharma AG. Novartis provides its co-formulated artemether-lumefantrine product (Coartem) to WHO at cost for supply to the public sector of malaria endemic in developing countries.vCoartem, which is the only ACT that has been pre-qualified by WHO, is accepted for procurement by UN agencies. The demand for artemether-lumefantrine has increased since 2001, when WHO requested 220,000 treatment courses for the public sector. In 2004, demand of 10 million treatment courses was forecast. For 2005, WHO projects demand for 60 million treatment courses. WHO said it would be unable to procure the quantities of artemether-lumefantrine required by countries during the coming months due to insufficient supply of the drug from Novartis’ Chinese suppliers. Recommending the use of quinine as “second-line” anti-malarial treatment, the UN agency said it would offer technical assistance to any country facing interrupted supply of artemether-lumefantrine. read more

Read More

Gaza children receive school kits under UNICEF education plan

Some 10,000 Palestinian children in impoverished areas in the occupied Gaza Strip have received school supplies under a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) initiative to support their commitment to education.“There are many children in schools affected by the conflict or in marginalized areas where basic educational supplies are really needed,” said Dan Rohrmann, UNICEF’s Special Representative in the occupied Palestinian territory. “The children are very committed to pursuing education and we would like to ensure that the commitment is supported through the provision of these basic materials.”Included in the “school-in-a-box” kits are exercise books, pencils, erasers, plastic cubes for counting and other materials needed by first to fourth graders to boost efforts to ensure educational activities continue in an innovative manner.Teaching aids that help teachers carry out hands-on training are also included, making teaching more pedagogical and participatory. read more

Read More

Senior UN officials head to Darfur to assess humanitarian political situations

Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Deputy Special Representative for Humanitarian Affairs and Development, Manuel Aranda Da Silva, will visit the Kalma camp in South Darfur on Wednesday, along with Sudan’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister. They will assess the situation in what has become the largest camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Darfur, with a population of approximately 140,000. Citing banditry and security incidents, the Sudanese Government has imposed a blockade that cuts off commercial traffic to the camp. In addition, displaced persons cannot travel to nearby Nyala.Meanwhile, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk, will participate in a mission to measure the progress achieved in the year after the signing of the Joint Communiqué between the Secretary-General and the Sudanese Government. The Joint Implementation Mechanism (JIM) visit to West Darfur is scheduled to take place on 15 and 16 June. Security incidents of the past weekend included attacks on humanitarian and commercial trucks, a tribal militia attack on a village and an alleged rape of four girls. read more

Read More

FAO Italian cooperation launch redevelopment effort in tsunamihit Sri Lanka

In another United Nations-supported tsunami rehabilitation effort, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Italian Cooperation organization have concluded today a workshop in Colombo, Sri Lanka, designed to put the mechanisms in place for the development of ravaged coastal fishing communities.UN-HABITAT announced on Thursday that it and UN Development Programme had signed an agreement to help local government in Thailand with the rehabilitation planning for the areas hit by the tsunami last December.FAO said today that the workshop in Sri Lanka, which opened on 27 July, was designed to consolidate the planning tools used for the Italian Cooperation-financed project called “Integrated programme for the rehabilitation of the fisheries sector in the tsunami-affected districts of Hambantota, Ampara and Batticaloa”. With a total budget of $5.6 million, this two-year project supports tsunami-affected communities through both the rapid distribution of fishing inputs and a longer-term support for the development of sustainable fisheries-based livelihoods in 14 communities in the three districts, FAO said.It also said that around 5,000 fishers were killed by the tsunami waves in Sri Lanka and tens of thousands of others saw their houses destroyed and their means of earning a living – their boats and nets – washed away. FAO said its objective was to restore and enhance fisheries and agricultural based livelihoods to reduce vulnerability and increase self-reliance. The workshop, which opened on July 27, included 15 experts from 6 countries. Various agencies were represented including FAO, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, University of Peradeniya, STREAM Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia Pacific (Thailand), National Aquaculture Development Authority of Sri Lanka, and A.P. Remote Sensing Application Centre (India).Next, three field teams composed of livelihood analysis experts will spend at least ten days in each of the selected communities. Through this exercise, the project will gain better knowledge on the capacity and strengths of people to take up livelihoods activities. Based on the outcomes of this consultation, the project will fund activities dealing with a special focus on Livelihood Diversification and Small Enterprise Development (LDED). The project will also fund pilot aquaculture projects for the selected villages. read more

Read More

Feds investigate Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute SUVS for complaints about sticky

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by News Staff Posted Jul 17, 2012 6:46 pm MDT Feds investigate Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute SUVS for complaints about sticky throttles DETROIT – Government safety regulators are investigating complaints that throttles can stick on older-model Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute SUVs and cause them to crash.The probe, announced Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, affects 730,000 SUVs from the 2001 to 2004 model years that are powered by V-6 engines.The safety agency said it has received 99 complaints from owners of the SUVs alleging 13 crashes, nine injuries and one death caused by the problem. The throttles on the SUVs can fail to return to idle when the driver takes his foot off the gas pedal, according to agency documents.Sixty-eight of the complaints were about the Escape, and 31 involved the Tribute, a nearly identical vehicle made by Ford for Mazda. Dearborn, Mich-based Ford used to own about one-third of Mazda. But Ford began cutting ties in 2008, and in 2010 lowered its ownership to 3.5 per cent.Investigators are looking into whether the sticky throttles could have been caused by repairs made as part of a 2004 recall of the same vehicles. About 590,000 of the vehicles were recalled in December of 2004 to fix an accelerator cable defect, and the documents say the repairs could have damaged the cruise control cable.The investigation is among the larger probes started by NHTSA in 2012. While many affect fewer than 100,000 vehicles, the agency this year began looking into door fires affecting 1.4 million Toyota Camry midsize sedans and RAV4 small SUVs. It also expanded a fuel tank fire probe in older-model Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs to include 5.1 million vehicles.NHTSA investigations are the first step toward a recall, but they don’t always cause cars and trucks to go back to dealerships for repairs.The SUV investigation comes just over a week after the Center for Auto Safety, a Washington, D.C., advocacy group petitioned NHTSA to investigate the Escape and Tribute problems. The group also wants a hearing on whether Ford and Mazda met obligations to notify owners and fix defects in their vehicles.But NHTSA said in documents filed Tuesday that it has denied the group’s petition because the agency has been looking at the Escape and Tribute problems since early in 2012. The agency said it began gathering information after the driver of a 2002 Escape was killed in a crash in Payson, Ariz., this past January. read more

Read More