Friday's Daily Brief: Ebola survivors top 1,000 in DR Congo, star of 'Roma' film named Goodwill Ambassador, clean air treaty enters into force

4 October 2019

A recap of Friday's stories: Milestone of 1,000 Ebola survivors counted in DR Congo; UN concerned over violent anti-government protests in Iraq and elsewhere; Oscar-nominated star named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador; Parties to Gothenburg Protocol for cleaner air, plan treaty implementation; UN scientific experts advise on elimination of hazardous chemicals.

UN highlights milestone of 1,000 Ebola survivors in DR Congo

A survivor of Ebola works in a childcare centre in Butembo in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (August 2019)

One thousand people have now survived the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): a testament to the strong leadership of the Congolese health authorities combined with the tireless efforts of thousands of local health workers and partners, United Nations agencies said on Friday.

The outbreak began in August 2018 and is the largest and longest running that the DRC has experienced, with more than 3,000 cases and 2,137 deaths. 

The latest figures released by WHO on Friday for the week ending 1 October, showed  20 new confirmed cases reported in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, versus 29 in the previous week.

Read our in-depth story here.

UN expresses concern following wave of street protests in Iraq and elsewhere


Authorities in Iraq have been urged by the UN human rights office, OHCHR, to allow citizens to exercise their right to freedom of expression after the security forces opened fire on mass anti-government protests which began earlier this week.

Reports indicate that up to 30 people have been killed in demonstrations across the country, though OHCHR said the number has not been verified.

Hundreds more were reportedly injured, including members of the security forces, while dozens of demonstrators were detained, most of whom subsequently were released.

Here's the full story.

Star of award-winning drama, Roma, named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador

The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, has named Mexican actress Yalitza Aparicio as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Indigenous Peoples

Mexican actress Yalitza Aparicio will serve as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Indigenous Peoples, a role in line with her commitments to stamp out racism, and advocate for the rights of women and indigenous peoples. 

The Oscar-nominated star made her first screen appearance in the 2018 film, Roma, and became the first indigenous Mexican woman to be recognized by the US Academy Awards. 

Ms. Aparicio has also been listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2019 by TIME magazine.

Ground-breaking clean air protocol enters into force 

An old coal-fired power plant dumps vast quantities of ash out in the open in  Kosovo (June 2008).

European and North American countries will take a major stride in cleaning up air pollution next Monday, 7 October, through the implementation of a legally binding treaty to limit the amount of emissions polluting the air. 

With 18 countries and the European Union now having ratified the amended treaty, from a total of 51 who have signed, including many of the countries which are part of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the official entry into force marks an important step to curb pollutants closely-linked to climate change, ecosystem degeneration, and potentially life-threatening human health.  

More on The amended Gothenburg Protocol, here.

 UN experts recommend elimination of toxic chemicals

Young workers are more susceptible to harm from hazardous chemicals and other agents because they are still developing physically and mentally.

Scientific experts gathering during the 15th meeting of the pollutant review committee, POPCR-15 in Stockholm, have advised for the elimination of a group of hazardous chemicals in a bid to protect human health and the environment.

A group of more than 100 scientists flagged compounds commonly found in carpets, leather goods and clothing, which are shown to have detrimental effects on the human nervous system, brain development, endocrine system and thyroid hormone.

Two additional chemicals satisfy criteria set out in the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), namely that they are toxic to both humans and wildlife, persist over long periods of time and can be transported over long distances via air or water.

Exposure to POPs has been linked to certain cancers, birth defects, dysfunctional immune and reproductive systems, and susceptibility to disease.

Listen to or download our audio News in Brief for 4 October on Soundcloud:



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