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News in Brief 7 May 2021

  • COVID-19 spreading like 'wildfire' in India: UNICEF
  • Probe into Rio favella police operation that left 25 dead
  • Attacks force thousands to flee in Burkina Faso
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UN Catch-Up Dateline Geneva - Madagascar crisis, Africa COVID alert, US lifts vaccine protections, South Sudan schools reopen

In this week’s UN Catch-Up: a veteran aid worker’s take on the distressing scale of the humanitarian crisis in Southern Madagascar – it’s on the “periphery of famine”, he tells us, and not for the first time.

There’s an alert too from WHO on Africa where a “third wave “of coronavirus infections is feared, along with some good news – and some not so good - from South Sudan, where schools have reopened after lockdown, and positive news from the United States, which has decided to lift patent restrictions on COVID vaccines. 

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News in Brief 6 May 2021

  • COVID-19 vaccine patent waiver in US, hailed by UN chief
  • Maximize vaccines to avoid deadly 3rd wave in Africa - WHO
  • Latin America rights groups face growing threats, attacks: Bachelet
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News in Brief 5 May 2021

  • COVID-19 pandemic preparedness hub to open in Berlin to promote transparency, early warning capability
  • 155 million faced acute food insecurity last year, with conflict the main driver
  • South Asia at breaking point as COVID infections spike: UNICEF
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‘Social vaccination’ still critical amid India COVID-19 crisis, UNICEF says

As India confronts a devastating second wave of COVID-19 infections, with some 300,000 cases a day, securing essential oxygen equipment is “the need of the hour”. 

That’s the message from Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque, Representative of the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, in the country, who spoke to our colleague Anshu Sharma in Delhi.

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News in Brief 4 May 2021

  • El Salvador top court dismissals: human rights chief
  • UNHCR urges Europeans to show more solidarity with Mediterranean migrants
  • ‘Joy’ in South Sudan as schools reopen across country after 14 months - UNICEF
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UN has ‘all hands on deck’ across India to help save lives amid deadly COVID surge

The United Nations has deployed all the personnel and resources at its disposal to help Indians deal with the deadly surge in COVID-19 that has seen more than 300,000 reported new cases per day, for almost two weeks now, and left many hospitals overwhelmed.

That’s according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) India Representative, Dr. Roderico Ofrin, speaking exclusively to UN News, who told Anshu Sharma that tried and trust methods of bringing down the numbers would surely work, if India can get “ahead of the game”.

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News in Brief 3 May 2021

  • E-commerce’s dramatic rise fuelled by COVID-19 restrictions: UNCTAD
  • Press freedom 'a cornerstone of democracy' says UN chief
  • UN migration agency launches appeal to support COVID-19 shots in East Africa
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Press freedom signifies a ‘healthy political society': exiled Myanmar journalist

Press freedom should be seen as the “by-product of healthy political society", according to an exiled journalist from Myanmar, where the crisis following the military coup, is now in its fourth month.  Near daily pro-democracy protests are being held across the country, which have been met with a crackdown by security forces. There are reports that hundreds have been killed and countless more wounded, including media workers and journalists.

Just ahead of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, Julia Dean from the UN Country Team in Australia, spoke to Swe Win, Editor-in-Chief of the news agency Myanmar Now. She started by asking him how vital press freedom is for democracy.

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News in Brief 30 April 2021

  • Southern Madagascar on 'periphery' of famine: WFP
  • Top UN Middle East official calls for new and timely Palestinian elections
  • Chad: human rights office profoundly disturbed over violence against protesters
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