Asia Pacific

As bird flu spreads, UN health agency urges heightened vigilance

The United Nations health agency today voiced concern over the expanding geographical range of bird flu, which officials fear could in a worst-case scenario mutate into a deadly human pandemic, and it called for heightened surveillance and the rapid introduction of containment measures.

Envoy on UN reform meets top Myanmar officials

Ali Alatas, Indonesia’s former Foreign Minister and one of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s envoys for United Nations reform, met today with senior officials in Myanmar on ways to help forge a global consensus on development, security, human rights and UN renewal ahead of next month’s World Summit in New York.

In Afghanistan, UN agency to sponsor workshop on early marriage

Citing a strong link between early marriage and maternal mortality, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is joining forces with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs to organize a two-day workshop in Kabul for religious leaders to explore the issue of early marriage from an Islamic viewpoint.

Human pig disease outbreak in China appears to have peaked, UN health agnecy

A swine-borne disease that has infected 215 people in China, killing 39, seems to have peaked, but the movement of live pigs and trade of meat from the infected area must be carefully monitored to stop the outbreak from spreading nationally or internationally, according to the latest update issued by the United Nations health agency.

New UN-sponsored project launched to help Maldives recover from tsunami

In yet another United Nations-coordinated effort to promote recovery in the countries devastated by last December’s Indian Ocean tsunami, the Government of Maldives has launched a project financed by the Government of China that will provide $500,000 to rehabilitate two remote islands.

Annan calls for restraint in Bangladesh after ‘brazen and cowardly’ bombings

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called for calm and restraint in Bangladesh in the face of the “brazen and cowardly” bomb attacks in Dhaka, the capital, and other cities.

UN convenes scientists to study nuclear power plant risks from natural disasters

Seeking to prevent nuclear power plant disasters from being unleashed by natural calamities, the United Nations atomic watchdog agency is organizing an international scientific workshop in India this month to re-examine risks from events such as last December’s catastrophic tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

UN tsunami envoy Clinton praises Indonesia's Aceh accord as vital for recovery

Former United States President Bill Clinton, United Nations Special Envoy overseeing recovery efforts from December’s devastating Indian Ocean tsunami, has praised the peace accord signed yesterday between the Indonesian Government and separatists in Aceh as vital for rehabilitating the region worst hit by the disaster.

Sri Lanka: UN protests over hauling down of its flags in Tamil separatist area

A group of 60 people forced their way into United Nations compounds yesterday in an area of Sri Lanka controlled by the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and hauled down UN flags that were flying at half-mast as a sign of respect for assassinated Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.

Afghanistan: Despite progress, objective of stability remains to be met – Annan

While the upcoming parliamentary and provincial elections that will complete Afghanistan’s political transition are a vital step, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan warns in a new report that the overall objective – to restore peace and stability in the war-torn country under very difficult circumstances – remains to be met.