This is the News in Brief, from the United Nations.
Ethiopia: arrested UN staff must be released, says UN chief
In Ethiopia, UN Secretary-General António Guterres repeated on Wednesday, his call for the immediate release of United Nations staff members detained there.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, the UN chief said that the staff members were being held without charge, and that no specific information had been provided about why they were arrested.
UN staff carry out “critical and impartial work” in Ethiopia, Mr. Guterres added, before expressing concern over reports of arbitrary arrests and detentions.
These only “serve to widen divisions and resentment between groups”, he warned, as he reiterated his call for a ceasefire – and for all parties to prioritize the welfare of civilians.
One in two youngsters in Bosnia and Herzegovina want to quit the country
To Bosnia and Herzegovina now, where a survey by the UN Population Fund, UNFPA, has shown that nearly one in two young adults are thinking of leaving the country.
A lack of opportunities and political instability was cited by 47 per cent of 18- to 29-year-olds as among the main reasons for wanting to emigrate from the Balkans State.
Twenty-four per cent said they wanted to leave permanently.
Many also said that they wanted to live in a less corrupt society, according to the UN fund, which called for increased public participation in policy making, to promote trust in the Government.
Since 2011, 200,000 people have left the country, said UNFPA, adding that this would continue “unless there is a drastic change” in tackling persistent challenges since the Bosnian war ended in the mid-1990s.
These problems include high unemployment, weak social protection, poor data, an aging population, low fertility rates and significant gender inequality.
Surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths over the last week: WHO
COVID-19 cases increased last week with 3.3 million new cases reported globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
In its weekly epidemiological update, the UN health agency noted that this marked a six per cent increase in infections since the previous week, with the highest number of new cases in the United States.
Regionally, the Americas, the European and the Western Pacific Regions all reported increases in new weekly cases, compared to the previous seven days.
In contrast, all other regions reported stable or declining trends.
In Europe there were more than 2.1 million new cases and at least 28,000 deaths in the last week – which is a five per cent rise - making it the only region not to report a stable or declining number of coronavirus fatalities.
More than a third of European countries saw COVID deaths rise by more than 10 per cent in the last week, while the greatest change was in Norway, which registered a 67 per cent increase, followed by Slovakia and Croatia.
Latest data from the WHO indicates that there have been more than 250 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and at least five million deaths.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.