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Experts call for more women and youth participation in AIDS vaccine trials

With women at least twice as likely to become infected with HIV as men when exposed to the virus that causes AIDS - and six times as vulnerable in parts of sub-Saharan Africa - HIV vaccine clinical trials must be geared towards meeting their needs, the United Nations health agency said today.

UNESCO chief pleads for release of French journalists abducted in Iraq

The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today issued an urgent plea for the release of two French reporters held hostage in Iraq, vigourously condemning for the second time in a week the “shameful targeting” of journalists in the strife-torn country.

Moroccan Olympics star El Guerrouj to bring gold to UN child development plan

Morocco’s double Olympic gold medallist Hicham El Guerrouj will be using his popularity and fame on the track later this year to promote a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) early childhood development campaign targeting children in the critical toddler phase.

UN calls on Southeast Asia to redouble efforts to halt child landmine deaths

With landmines and other unexploded ordnance (UXO) continuing indiscriminately to maim and kill children across Southeast Asia, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is calling on regional governments to redouble their efforts to clean up the devastating waste from decades of war.

Agreement reached on repatriating 10,000 DR of Congo refugees from CAR

Some 10,000 people who fled the fighting in the northwest Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and sought refuge in the Central African Republic (CAR) up to two years ago could return home by the end of December under a new agreement between the two governments and the United Nations refugee agency.

Annan condemns Palestinian attack in Israel, calls for end to 'heinous crimes'

The United Nations today strongly condemned the double deadly terrorist attack in the Israeli city of Beersheba, with Secretary-General Kofi Annan calling on the Palestinian Authority to do everything possible to bring the perpetrators to justice and "put an end to such heinous crimes."

Number of asylum seekers in industrialized countries plunges to 1987 level

The average number of people seeking asylum each month in over two dozen industrialized countries has plummeted to a low point not seen in 17 years, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today.

Sudan: UN undertakes search for missing staff and aid workers in Darfur

United Nations officials are conducting a search-and-rescue operation in the strife-torn Darfur region of Sudan to find three UN humanitarian workers and five staff from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who have not been heard from since Saturday.

Bangladesh: UN renews call for urgent aid to victims of worst flooding in years

With only a third of the $210 million flash appeal for last month's devastating floods in Bangladesh in hand, drinking water in short supply, and farmers in urgent need of seeds, the United Nations Resident Coordinator for the country today urged donors not to forget the disaster which killed 900 people and displaced 4 million more.

Monitoring Group reports progress in follow-up to peace pledges in Côte d'Ivoire

Reinforcing its commitment to a 2003 peace pact that ended Côte d'Ivoire's fierce civil war, the Government has followed through on pledges made last month at a summit co-hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan by transferring sweeping powers from the President to the Prime Minister, a group set up to monitor progress says in a report released today.