News in Brief 17 May 2017 (PM)

17 May 2017

One in three young Europeans now obese: WHO

One in every three young Europeans is overweight or obese, with the highest rates found in southern and Mediterranean countries.

That’s the key finding of the World Health Organization’s latest study on childhood obesity across the continent, using data from between 2002 and 2014.

It finds that “despite sustained efforts” to tackle the issue, rates continue to rise, and WHO said it was particularly concerned about Eastern Europe, where rates have been lower in the past.

WHO Regional Director Zsuzsanna Jakab, said that “ambitious policy action” was required to reach the Sustainable Development Goal of halting the rise of obesity.

Being obese in childhood increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, asthma, and future cardiovascular disease.

Most young people will not outgrow obesity, with four out of five adolescents continuing to suffer issues relating to being overweight, said WHO.

At least 5 civilians dead in latest clashes between CAR armed groups: UN

Five civilians have died and more than 25 are injured, following more clashes between sectarian armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Earlier this month, five UN peacekeepers were killed and eight wounded following an attack on a convoy.

The latest clashes reportedly took place between the predominantly-Christian anti-Balaka militia and mostly-Muslim FPRC fighters in the town of Bria.

More details from UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric.

“Several homes were also burnt resulting in civilians seeking refuge at a camp for displaced persons as well as at another location near the UN Mission’s compound. UN peacekeepers are deployed in key areas of the town and are conducting robust patrols. The UN Mission also continues to engage with leaders of both armed groups to prevent a further escalation of violence.”

Following heavy fighting in the town of Bangassou at the weekend where dozens reportedly died, UN peacekeepers have been conducting patrols, and the situation is calm, said Mr Dujarric.

The UN has registered 5,000 displaced civilians, seeking shelter, at the town’s cathedral, and a humanitarian convoy is scheduled to arrive on Thursday.

UNHCR powers up world’s first renewable energy refugee camp

The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has flicked the switch at the world’s first refugee camp to be powered exclusively by renewable energy.

The newly-constructed solar plant on the site of the Azraq camp, in Jordan, was made possible due to funding from the IKEA Foundation’s Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign.

The campaign, established by the Swedish-owned furniture giant’s foundation, has raised 30.8 million euros for UNHCR projects.

Chief Executive Per Heggenes said that the solar farm “signals a paradigm shift in how the humanitarian sector supports displaced populations.”

The renewable energy means that 20,000 Syrian refugees in Azraq will now be able to connect a fridge, TV, fan, lights, and charge their phones, all for free - something that’s critical to keep in touch with relatives abroad, said UNHCR.

The solar farm means savings of US$1.5 million per year, which can now be ploughed back into other essentials.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'54''


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