No more Hiroshimas No more Nagasakis Ban declares on anniversary of atomic

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today renewed his resolve to advance the goal of achieving a world “free of the nuclear shadow,” in a message to mark the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima. “Seven decades after their first use in conflict, this sombre occasion commemorates the tens of thousands who died that day. It honours the survivors who have suffered severe adversity in the aftermath. The United Nations stands with them, resolved to realize their vision of a nuclear-weapon-free world,” said Mr. Ban. “Your commemoration should reverberate from this city across the world, reminding all people of the need for urgent action to eliminate nuclear weapons once and for all,” he added in the message to the Peace Memorial Ceremony, delivered by Acting High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Kim Won-soo. More than 200,000 people died of nuclear radiation, shock waves from the blasts and thermal radiation resulting from bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 and of Nagasaki three days later. Additionally, over 400,000 more people have died – and are continuing to die – since the end of the Second World War from the impacts of the two bombs. Mr. Ban recalled his visit to Hiroshima five years ago, saying he will always carry the memories of meeting the survivors, witnessing the destruction and seeing the lingering effects. “The courage of those who lived through this catastrophic, man-made tragedy was deeply inspiring. The hibakusha are more than survivors – they are unparalleled champions of peace. From their searing experiences, they have forged a message of hope that someday the world will be free of these indiscriminate and destabilizing weapons,” he stated. “I pay tribute to the bravery of the hibakusha and renew my resolve to advance our common cause of achieving a safer and more peaceful world, free of the nuclear shadow.” Noting that this year also marks the 70th anniversary of the UN, the Secretary-General recalled that the first resolution adopted by the General Assembly reflected the world’s concern about the use of atomic weapons. “As you keep the memory of the bombing alive, so, too, must the international community persist until we have ensured that nuclear weapons are eliminated,” he stated. “I echo your rallying cry: No more Hiroshimas. No more Nagasakis.” read more

Adopting new resolution Security Council extends arms embargoes imposed on Somalia and

Adopting a new resolution by a vote of 14 in favour and 1 abstention (Venezuela), the Council also extended the mandate of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group until 15 December 2016, and reiterated its expectation that the Government of Eritrea would facilitate the Group’s entry into that country.Reaffirming Somalia’s sovereignty over its natural resources, the Council underlined the vital importance of the Federal Government of Somalia putting in place a resource-sharing agreement to ensure that the national petroleum sector did not become a source of increased tension. The Council condemned the ongoing export of charcoal from Somalia in violation of the total ban on charcoal exports.The Council expressed serious concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Somalia and condemned in the strongest terms increased attacks against humanitarian actors. It also expressed concern about continued reports of corruption, diversion of public resources and financial impropriety involving members of the Federal Government Administrations and the Federal Parliament, underlining that individuals engaged in acts that threatened Somalia’s peace and reconciliation process might be listed for targeted sanctions.Also by the text, the Council urged the Government of Eritrea to allow access or provide information, including to the Monitoring Group, on the Djiboutian prisoners missing in action since clashes between the two countries from 10 to 12 June 2008. read more

Sudan Ban disappointed at failure to reach truce agreement

According to a statement issued last night by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson, the Secretary-General “is disappointed” that no agreement was reached during the 9 to 14 August 2016 talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.Further in the statement, the Secretary-General strongly urged all the parties to resume negotiations, abide by the roadmap agreement, and refrain from any attempt to escalate the conflict in Darfur and the two areas. He also reiterated that there can be “no lasting alternative to a negotiated settlement” and stressed that a cessation of hostilities is “the first, indispensable step” towards achieving this goal.The Secretary-General appreciated the vital role played by the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), the African Union/UN Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and his Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan to bring about a lasting peace in Sudan, the statement said.On 8 August, the African Union-brokered roadmap for ending conflicts in the country was signed by Sudanese opposition groups. The Secretary-General, at that time, called on all Sudanese parties to maintain “this positive momentum” and urged them to continue working towards an agreement on a cessation of hostilities, humanitarian access to conflict-affected areas and the process for reaching a final, political settlement through an inclusive national dialogue. read more

Catastrophe of Aral Sea shows men can destroy the planet warns UN

‹ › Secretary-General Guterres looks out at a portion of the Aral Sea, which has now dried completely. Photo: UN Spokesperson Source: UNIC, Uzbekistan Source: UNIC, Uzbekistan Source: UNIC, Uzbekistan “The Aral Sea’s progressive disappearance was not because of climate change, it was mismanagement by humankind of water resources,” said Secretary-General Guterres after visiting Muynak, the ‘cemetery of ships’ – once a port city but now devoid of all water. “It also shows that if in relation to climate change, we are not able to act forcefully to tame this phenomenon, we might see this kind of tragedy multiply around the world,” he warned. The environmental disaster was precipitated by diversion of tributary rivers which drained into the Aral Sea for irrigation projects nearly half a century ago. Lack of fresh water feeding the sea slowly dried it up, increasing the salinity of the area, with serious impact on human health and agriculture. Terming the catastrophe “probably the biggest ecological catastrophe of our time,” one that demonstrated that “men can destroy the planet,” the Secretary-General called on everyone to make the Aral Sea a lesson and to mobilize the whole international community to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and to make sure that such tragedies will not be repeated. Earlier in the day, Mr. Guterres held a meeting with the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, where they discussed collaboration between the UN and the country in the context of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and regional matters. The UN chief also met with representatives of the civil society and visited Samarkand, one of the oldest inhabited cities in Central Asia. read more

UN delivering coordinated humanitarian response in wake of Mogadishu bombings

Read full story VIDEO: UN mobilizes in response to recent attack in Somali capital. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) are among the host of UN entities already on the ground. More than 100 UN staff have donated blood to help the injured. The UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has deployed technical advisors, medics and bomb-sniffing dog teams at the main bomb blast site near the Safari Hotel. Fire unit personnel from the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the UN Support Office in Somalia have been using specialized life-detection equipment to search for survivors. According UNSOM, youth from local universities also joined the clean-up and rescue operation earlier this week. More than 300 youth volunteers are participating in the effort and were accompanied by the Mogadishu Mayor, Thabit Abdi Mohamed, in clearing the debris and rubble. Our short video story takes you inside the post-blast recovery effort, and in a related Soundcloud, the UN Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, Vincent Lelei, tells UN News that the international community’s support to Somalia is a “silver lining” in the face of the tragedy. AUDIO: Vincent Lelei, UN Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator in Somalia, provides an overview of the atmosphere in Mogadishu. The United Nations has mobilized its staff and resources to aid Somalis affected by last Saturday’s bomb blasts in the capital Mogadishu.“We have called upon our colleagues in the UN family to donate blood. At the same time, the entire UN family is also mobilizing in support for the response by the Federal Government and the local administration,” said the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Raisedon Zenenga. Since last Sunday, the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has deployed technical advisors, medics and explosives-detecting dog teams at the main bomb blast site near the Safari Hotel. Fire unit personnel from the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the UN Support Office in Somalia have been using specialized life-detection equipment to search for survivors. On Monday, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) delivered 3.8 metric tonnes of medical supplies – donated by the United Kingdom – to Mogadishu’s Medina Hospital and a newly established National Emergency Operations Centre. UNICEF also erected three large tents for personnel tracing patients’ relatives. Earlier this week, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also delivered tents, a generator and 1,000 non-food item kits to Medina Hospital and the operations centre. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) contributed three tons of medicines and other emergency relief supplies on Tuesday to treat those wounded in the explosions. In addition, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has delivered radios to a local ambulance company and is planning to provide cash payments to hundreds of youth who have been participating in rubble-clearing operations at the main blast site. For its part, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is helping to synchronise the response of various UN humanitarian agencies and the massive donations of international partners supporting the recovery effort. On behalf of UN family in Somalia – 137 of whom have donated blood – Mr. Zenenga expressed deep sadness over the attacks that killed more than 300 civilians and injured hundreds more. While noting that many city hospitals had been overwhelmed by the number of people wounded and were running short of supplies, he said that the UN is working closely with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to ensure that they provide adequate support to federal and local government ministries and agencies. “Our support as the UN family will partly go through AMISOM, including some equipment and medical supplies,” Mr. Zenenga said. Alan Macdonald, Director of UNMAS Somalia, pointed out the important role played by the agency’s sniffer dogs in searching for secondary explosive devices around the perimeter area of the main blast site. “In the second day, the response changed, we have explosive detection dogs but we’ve also augmented that with combat engineering support where we are helping the AMISOM soldiers with heavy equipment for removing rubble at the site,” Mr. Macdonald noted. read more

UN Mission welcomes agreement to revive South Sudans peace pact

“The Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access is an important first step in the revitalization of the peace process,” said the mission in a news release, Friday. “UNMISS is committed to supporting the peace process in line with its mandate through advancing reconciliation efforts, strengthening conflict resolution mechanisms, building national cohesion and engaging in regional and international peace initiatives,” it added. The Agreement was signed Thursday between the Government and opposing groups attending the High-Level Revitalization Forum in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. It aims to revitalize efforts to implement the 2015 peace agreement in South Sudan which came under increasing strain due to violence in the country. Also in the news release, the UNMISS acknowledged the efforts of all actors involved in the Forum in reaching an agreement and thanked the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an eight-country trade bloc in Africa, for its leadership of the peace talks. “[We] urge all parties to adhere to the Agreement and end the ongoing violence so that durable peace can be achieved in the interests of the people of South Sudan,” added the UN Mission. The world’s youngest country, South Sudan has spent much of its short life mired in conflict, riven by a political face-off between President Salva Kiir and his then former Vice-President Riek Machar, that erupted into full-blown war late in 2013. read more

Venezuela A worrying destabilizing factor in the region Bachelet tells Human Rights

The UN rights chief cited reports of numerous violations and abuses by security forces and pro-Government armed groups, including the excessive use of force, killings, arbitrary detentions, torture, threats and intimidation.She said her Office was continuing to investigate reports of “possible extrajudicial executions by security forces”, naming the Special Actions Force or FAES, as reportedly responsible for killing “at least 205 persons. A further 37 were reportedly killed in the course of January 2019 in Caracas”, she added.“It appears that some of these killings have followed a similar pattern. They take place during illegal house raids carried out by the FAES, which subsequently reports the death as resulting from an armed confrontation – although witnesses report the victims were unarmed,” said Ms. Bachelet.I am also concerned about increasing restrictions on freedom of expression and of the press in Venezuela,” she said, “and the allegations that the authorities have arbitrarily used the law against hatred, adopted in November 2017, to prosecute journalists, opposition leaders and anyone expressing dissenting opinions.”Divisions are exacerbating an already critical situation” the rights chief said, arguing that there was “a need for common agreement on a political solution by all stakeholders, with actions to improve a wide range of urgent human rights issues. I call on the authorities to take steps to demonstrate their real commitment to addressing the many challenging issues reported across the country.”Minimal progress on accountability in Sri LankaTurning to Sri Lanka, Ms. Bachelet said that despite progress on some issues, “there has been minimal progress on accountability” including on setting up a special judicial mechanism to deal with the worst crimes committed during the 2009 conflict between the Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the north-east of the country.“Continuing impunity risks fuelling communal or inter-ethnic violence, and instability”, she spelled out, calling for the establishment of an independent Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a vetting process to remove officers with questionable human rights records.“This Council continues to have an essential role in accompanying the Government and people of Sri Lanka in their journey towards realizing the dignity, and rights of all members of society, irrespective of their sex, ethnic origin or belief”, she concluded.A ‘glimmer of hope’ in Yemen’s ‘dire situation’On Yemen, Ms. Bachelet noted that while the fragile ceasefire in Hudaydah presents “a glimmer of hope”, the situation across the rest of the country is “dire’.Salaries of teachers, doctors, nurses and other public employees have gone unpaid for years – UN rights chiefMore than 24 million people need aid, with 14.3 million in acute need, she told the Council. Moreover, basic resources have become “a luxury that few can afford”.“Salaries of teachers, doctors, nurses and other public employees have gone unpaid for years” she stressed.Meanwhile, “periodic airstrikes, shelling and landmines continue to kill and maim civilians” and children continue to be conscripted or enlisted into armed forces or groups, she added.The UN rights chief expressed particular concern about a recent escalation of hostilities in Hajjah governorate, where preliminary reports indicate that 22 people were killed earlier this month and thousands of families displaced.“All States, including those not involved in the armed conflict, have the obligation to take measures to ensure that parties to a conflict respect the Conventions”, she stated, calling “conditioning, limiting or refusing arms transfers” one such measure. Amid a protracted crisis from a faltering economy, political instability and violent anti-Government demonstrations, a technical team of five OHCHR staff members are currently touring the country, which rights chief Michelle Bachelet, described as “a positive first step”.She highlighted “dramatically” deteriorating “economic and social rights”, exacerbated by the recent electricity blackout and expressed concern about the “continued criminalization of peaceful protest and dissent”. read more

New malaria vaccine trial in Malawi marks an innovation milestone declares UN

The disease remains on the of the world’s leading killers, with one child dying every two minutes. Most of the fatalities are in Africa, where more than 250,000 children die each year.Known officially as the RTS,S, vaccine, it will also be introduced in Ghana and Kenya in the coming weeks. “We have seen tremendous gains from bed nets and other measures to control malaria, but progress has stalled and even reversed in some areas”, said WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus.The new #malaria vaccine has the potential to save tens of thousands of children’s lives. @WHO welcomes the Government of #Malawi’s launch of the world’s first malaria vaccine today in a landmark pilot programme. https://t.co/1gwiV6WD0E pic.twitter.com/TlKnzoayP6— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) April 23, 2019 “We need new solutions to get the malaria response back on track, and this vaccine gives us a promising tool to get there”, he added. “The malaria vaccine has the potential to save tens-of-thousands of lives.”‘Thirty years in the making’RTS,S, is the first and only vaccine so far, that has demonstrated it can “significantly reduce” malaria in children so far, during clinical trials. It was successful in approximately four in 10 cases, including three in 10 cases, where the disease was life-threatening to the young patient.WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said malaria was “a constant threat” to the communities where it was being administered in the coming weeks. “We know the power of vaccines to prevent killer diseases and reach children, including those who may not have immediate access to doctors”, she added.‘Model’ public-private partnershipThe pilot programme is a collaboration between the UN and ministries of health in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi and a range of other national and international partners, including PATH, a non-profit organization, and GSK, the vaccine developer and manufacturer, which is donating up to 10 million doses for this pilot.“We salute WHO and Malawi for their leadership in realizing this historic milestone,” said Steve Davis, President and CEO of PATH, “and we look forward to the start of vaccination in Ghana, and then Kenya later this year. A vaccine for malaria is among many innovations needed to bring an end to this disease, and we proudly stand with all countries and our many partners in progressing towards a malaria-free world.”The malaria vaccine pilot aims to reach about 360,000 children per year across the three countries. Dr. Seth Berkley, Chief Executive of the global public and private sector vaccine alliance, Gavi, said that Malaria continues to be “one of the biggest killers of children worldwide”, taking the lives of over 200,000 every year. “These pilots will be crucial to determine the part this vaccine could play in reducing the burden this disease continues to place on the world’s poorest countries,” he noted. read more

Caterham trio on show at SMMT

SMMT has welcomed the latest exhibit to its modern Westminster exhibition space this week: a trio of products from specialist manufacturer, Caterham Cars. The display follows the launch last week of SMMT’s report into the UK’s unique low volume car manufacturing industry, highlighting some of the challenges these companies face and, importantly, the opportunities for growth that can be achieved.SMMT’s report highlights how specialist car manufacturers like Caterham inspire diversity in the marketplace, provide highly-skilled jobs, positively contribute to net exports and are often at the leading edge of product design and innovation.Caterham’s mainstay product, the Seven, is based on an original design by Lotus Cars founder Colin Chapman that was first seen in 1957. In 1973, Lotus sold the rights to the Seven to Caterham, and the Surrey dealer became a UK sports car manufacturer in its own right.Since then, the company has continued to refine the original design, through technical development and innovation, and there is now a range of variants on offer. Three of these are on show at SMMT – a Superlight R300 race car, a CSR 200 and an R500.Superlight R300 race carFollowing in the footsteps of more powerful Superlight siblings like the R500, this car adheres to original Seven recipe; high performance through extensive use of lightweight materials. The R300 is the best-selling model in the Superlight range, blending a 515kg weight with a 175bhp 2.0-litre Caterham Powertrain (CPT) Duratec engine.CSR 200The CSR is the latest evolution of the Seven design. Both CSR 200 and CSR 260 feature bespoke, high performance engines tuned by engineering partner Cosworth. The model also benefits from fully-independent rear, and inboard F1-style, front suspension plus major chassis enhancements. There are no power brakes or power steering, and considerable aerodynamic improvements were developed by Caterham to increase downforce at higher speeds.Superlight R500In Caterham’s view, the Superlight R500 represents the ultimate expression of Colin Chapman’s fundamentals. The car’s name is derived from its power-to-weight ratio of more than 500bhp per tonne, which gives the R500 a 0-60mph time of just 2.88 seconds. Stripped to the bare essentials, all unnecessary comforts are removed to save weight and reduce mass, thereby boosting the car’s performance credentials.“The UK is home to more specialist car manufacturers than any other country, including some of the world’s most iconic and prestigious brands,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. “These marques boast a strong brand heritage, enviable motorsport pedigree and display a world leading use of innovative new technologies.”To download a copy of the report, Specialist car manufacturing – a uniquely British success story, visit the UK automotive publications section of the website.Click through the slideshow below to see all the photos from SMMT’s exhibition space.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more

December 2015 – EV registrations

Plug-In Car Grant: Since the launch of the Plug-In Car Grant in January 2011, there have been 47,690 eligible cars registered. Please note: this data includes only new car registrations and not commercial vehicles. For questions about these figures, or to enquire about more detailed data sets, e-mail data@smmt.co.uk.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) SMMT has published Electric Vehicle (EV) registration figures for December 2015 and the year-to-date. read more