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MONROVIA Football icon George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai are the early front-runners in Liberia’s presidential election results, with about a quarter of the ballots declared as of Friday.Authorities, however, are urging people to wait for t…
DAKAR, West Africa is most at risk of fatal haemorrhagic fever epidemics, including Ebola, researchers said, calling for greater preparedness to save lives.A study in The Lancet medical journal assessed the likelihood of four viruses – Ebola, Lassa, Ma…
JUBA AND WASHINGTON South Sudan’s government declared this past week the country is open for business, even though the president was noticeably absent from the nation’s first global energy conference, which attracted only a few major energy companies.
Oil experts say South Sudan has 3.5 billion barrels of untapped oil and 85 billion cubic meters of natural gas, which should prove alluring to most big gas and oil companies.
South Sudan, however, also has a deadly conflict that is moving into its fourth year. Four million people � about a third of the population � have been displaced, with 2 million fleeing to neighboring countries.
Oil production is down two-thirds from its peak before the conflict broke out in December 2013. South Sudan now produces about 130,000 barrels a day, compared to 500,000 barrels a day in 2011, when the country gained independence.
Despite the challenges of investing in South Sudan, Vice president James Wani Igga, who stood in for President Salva Kiir, said South Sudan is emerging as a powerful nation with a world class oil industry.
We look forward to working and coordinating with our neighbors to build modern oil and gas industry that take into consideration such as developing a national work force, investing in technical training, knowledge transfer, promoting indigenous companies, building infrastructure and allocating resources for domestic use, said Igga.
South Sudan’s petroleum minister, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, said the government is working on a pilot project in gas exploration and is trying to establish four new oil refineries.
As for South Sudan’s insecurity, Gatkuoth said the government is putting efforts into ensuring that investors are given maximum security protection around the country, specifically mentioning the Dar Petroleum Operating Company and the Greater Pioneer Operating Company, which control major oil blocks.
We want to maintain security. All the blocks. They are all protected for those who are always questioning the issue of security and your safety and the safety of your workers, Gatkuoth said.
NJ Ayuk, executive director of Centurion Law Group, a West African company, said African governments must ensure the peace and stability of outside investors before companies are willing to send in personnel and equipment.
Investment is important, but investment has to be protected. We cannot welcome people to Africa if we don’t create enabling environment for them to invest, be protected and continue to invest, Ayuk said.
China National Petroleum Corporation, Petronas, Nilepet, Dar Petroleum, Sudd Petroleum and the Greater Pioneer Operating Consortia were some of the participants attending the two-day conference.
British firm Tullow Oil, a leading exploration firm on the continent which South Sudan officials had said appeared interested in an untapped block, was represented at the conference by its Africa president.
Source: Voice of America
UNITED NATIONS, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has stressed the importance of conflict resolution to address the root cause of famine in some African countries.Despite more aid from the international community, the numbers of people at risk of f…
While the Outer Space Treaty was a landmark instrument, some of its undeveloped aspects remained within the legal regime in order to preserve security in space, a joint ad hoc meeting of the First (Disarmament and International Security) and Fourth Committees (Special Political and Decolonization) heard today.
China’s representative emphasized the need to focus on adherence to the existing legal regime and principles. The Outer Space Treaty explicitly prohibited the placement of weapons of mass destruction in outer space, but did not touch upon other types of weapons, he pointed out. Certain space based systems could be placed and used in time of war, and with the risk of weaponization representing the most fundamental threat to security in outer space, there was need for an instrument that would prevent an arms race in outer space and fill gaps in the existing legal regime.
The Russian Federation’s representative said his country and China had drafted a treaty aimed at preventing the placement of weapons in space, but some States had been obstructive. As long as important space Powers remained outside efforts to develop a new legal regime for outer space, the advisability of continuing such efforts under United Nations auspices was questionable, he said.
However, the representative of the United States said that the delegation of the Russian Federation had joined his own in introducing a draft resolution on transparency and confidence building measures. Other proposals made within the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space were designed to add greater transparency to space activities, he added, calling upon all States to embrace them as well.
Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, said that transparency and confidence building measures in space security could constitute a first step in the progressive development of international space law. Such measures could help to reduce mishaps, misinterpretations and miscalculations, she added, noting that they could also create greater predictability and gather consensus on critical matters.
Thomas Markram, Deputy High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, acknowledged that some aspects of the legal regime remained largely undeveloped, including the lack of a common understanding on applying the right of self defence in accordance with international law while avoiding severe long lasting consequences. He observed that the Treaty was not designed to comprehensively resolve all possible challenges to outer space security, adding that concerns about the weaponization of space had been left for future deliberations.
Many delegates pointed out that space was a shared common good, emphasizing that all States were entitled to its benefits, with Yemen’s representative underlining, on behalf of the Arab Group, that the organization and regulation of space activities must take the interests of all countries into account. There could be no weapons in outer space, and there was need for a binding international regime to that effect.
Also speaking today were representatives of France, Canada, Venezuela, Australia, Indonesia (on behalf of the Non Aligned Movement), Pakistan, Cuba, Algeria, Chile, Switzerland, Argentina and India, as well as the European Union delegation.
The following panellists addressed the joint meeting: Charity Wheeden of the Satellite Industry Association; Laura Grego of the Union of Concerned Scientists; Daniela Genta of Airbus; and Jessica West of Project Ploughshares.
The Fourth Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Friday, 13 October, to continue its general debate on international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.
The First (Disarmament and International Security) and Fourth (Special Political and Decolonization) Committees of the General Assembly convened this afternoon for a joint ad hoc meeting on international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, including possible challenges to space security and sustainability.
MOHAMMED HUSSEIN BAHR ALULOOM (Iraq), Chair of the First Committee and Co Chair of today’s joint meeting, said that the question of how best to preserve outer space for peaceful purposes had been considered by both the First and Fourth Committees over the years. As such, the joint meeting would provide a forum for members of both Committees to consider the issue together. Its overarching theme would be the fiftieth anniversary of the Outer Space Treaty, taking its past, present and future into account.
THOMAS MARKRAM, Deputy High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, highlighted the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary since the entry into force of the Outer Space Treaty, describing it as a landmark instrument codifying the foundation of outer space law and establishing the shared objective of maintaining space as a realm of peace. However, the Treaty had not aimed to comprehensively resolve all possible challenges to outer space security, he emphasized, adding that concerns about the weaponization of outer space had been left for future deliberations.
He said that preventing any conflict from extending into outer space remained an urgent imperative, even as growing military dependence on outer space increased in strategic significance and exposed the inherent vulnerability of space based assets. Yet, some aspects of the legal regime in that realm remained largely undeveloped, he said, noting the lack of a common understanding on how the right of self-defence could be applied in conformity with international law without resulting in severe and long-lasting consequences.
The Secretary General had issued a report in April describing the Organization’s space activities, he said. It identified gaps and recommended ways in which United Nations entities could further assist in the implementation of transparency and confidence building measures. Furthermore, China and the Russian Federation had proposed the establishment of a new expert group intended to further the elaboration of legally binding measures to prevent an arms race in outer space. If approved by the General Assembly, the work of that group could help to narrow differences over how the legal regime governing outer space could be further codified and developed, pending the end of the stalemate in the Conference on Disarmament, he said.
SIMONETTA DI PIPPO, Director, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, said today’s panel discussion provided an innovative format in which to follow up on the 2015 joint ad hoc meeting on international cooperation in the peaceful use of outer space. The role of the Outer Space Treaty was paramount in maintaining international cooperation and understanding because it provided the fundamental principles for upholding legal order in such activities. Considering the broader perspective of space security as a fundamental pillar for meeting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, she noted that transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space could held to reduce mishaps, misinterpretations and miscalculations. They could also create greater predictability and gather consensus on matters crucial to maintaining outer space for peaceful purposes, thereby constituting a first step in the progressive development of international space law.
She went on to note that, within the framework of Earth protection, risks posed by such natural hazards as near Earth objects and space weather must also be considered. In that regard, the Office for Outer Space Affairs worked with States, international organizations and other entities to strengthen resilience and the ability to rely on space systems to respond to the impact of such hazards, she said. Concerning the maintenance of the United Nations Register of Objects Launched into Outer Space, she stressed that the Office stood ready to work with Member States in building appropriate and robust information exchange and notification procedures, building upon the long standing and treaty based Register and related principles.
RAFAEL DARA�O RAMA�REZ CARREA�O (Venezuela), Chair of the Fourth Committee and Co Chair of the joint meeting, introduced the following members of the panel: Charity Weeden, Satellite Industry Association; Laura Grego, Union of Concerned Scientists; Daniela Genta, Airbus; and Jessica West, Project Ploughshares.
Ms. WEEDEN, noting that the commercial satellite industry had been innovating over the past 50 years, said advances in camera technology had led to the production of higher quality images at a lower cost, and the provision of better information about the Earth. The revolution in space technology permeated the global economy and way of life, she said, adding that the significant benefits of satellite technology facilitated advances in health, public safety and education. Many satellites were commercially owned, and actions taken by the satellite industry ensured the sustainable use of space by all. Several opportunities were available for commercial industry to work with Governments and non governmental organizations (NGOs), including through dialogue and partnerships, she said.
Ms. GREGO said there had been plans to interfere with satellites for as long as they had been in existence. The impairment or loss of an important satellite could quickly escalate a conflict or generate other unpredictable and dangerous consequences. The space environment had changed rapidly over the last decade or two, and rapid technological advances had increased the utility of space in sometimes unexpected ways. Space was now home to tactical national security missions, not just strategic ones, she said, pointing out that space was nevertheless not insulated from conflict on Earth. Efforts to get a handle on those risks had not led to any substantive constraints, she said.
Ms. GENTA emphasized the importance of ensuring the long term sustainability of space activities. On governance issues, she said that although measures were in place, including soft law contained in General Assembly resolutions, none were binding. However, space governance could potentially be enforced through national space law, she said. Regarding responsibility and liability for, as well as jurisdiction over large constellations, she said space law may require a licensed operator to obtain third party liability insurance to ensure compensation of third parties injured by space objects under its control. Meanwhile, international and national legal frameworks must encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, she said, pointing out that the influence of private actors over regulation and space law was increasing. She expressed support for binding norms, the benefits of which would outweigh the risks.
Ms. WEST said access to outer space was flourishing. Changes brought new challenges that were old in many ways, including environmental sustainability, new users and uses, and strategic instability. The risk of warfare in outer space was growing more severe due to rising global geopolitical tensions, she noted, emphasizing that more must be done to reinforce the key values of the Outer Space Treaty. Voicing concern that fragmentation of efforts could chip away at that instrument, she said efforts to address geopolitical tensions seemed intractable. The Conference on Disarmament had been stalled for the last two decades and there were sharp divisions over the draft treaty on prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space and of the threat or use of force against outer space objects. However, the institutional focus on confidence building measures, and on advancing the Group of Governmental Experts on prevention of an arms race in outer space was promising, she said, calling for enhanced coordination at the United Nations and encouraging strategic restraint at the national level.
SUN LEI (China) said security challenges had emerged with recent developments in space technology, adding that the risk of weaponization represented the most fundamental threat to security in outer space. Recalling that the panellists had made reference to governance, he emphasized the need to focus first on adherence to the existing legal regime and principles. The Outer Space Treaty explicitly prohibited the placement of weapons of mass destruction in outer space and set out the means for maintaining the arena’s peaceful nature, he pointed out, emphasizing that its universal sanctity must be strengthened. China also called for the negotiation of a legal instrument to prevent an arms race in outer space and fill the gaps in the existing legal regime.
He went on to point out that the Outer Space Treaty did not touch upon other types of weapons, and that certain space based systems could be placed and used in a time of war. Alongside the Russian Federation, China had worked on a resolution on preventing the placement of weapons in outer space, he said, suggesting the creation of a group of governmental experts on that topic. China also called for efforts to enhance transparency and confidence building measures in outer space, which could help to maintain peace and security in that realm. However, such measures also had limitations, he cautioned, emphasizing that they should not overshadow negotiations on a legal instrument.
ALICE GUITTON (France) noted that space could not be reduced to a simple ‘race’ of technologies and exploration, because it represented a more open and strategic arena for everyone since many daily activities now depended on it. Access to space was more democratic today, thanks to the development of lightweight satellites and launching cost decreases, she observed. The granting of long lasting access to space had therefore become the relevant question at hand. Calling for pragmatic action on the management of space traffic, she said France recognized the work of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Working Group on Long term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities. Additionally, non legally binding transparency and confidence building measures that created a standard and common lexicon constituted a pragmatic means for taking up safety and sustainability challenges, she noted. In the context of the rapid development and dissemination of adequate space technologies for defence, she called for refreshed thinking, cooperation and regulation in order to maximize the benefits that everyone could reap from space as a common good.
MARWAN ALI NOMAN AL-DOBHANY (Yemen), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group and associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, said it had become difficult to distinguish between security and civilian activity in outer space. Space must remain beneficial for development and peaceful exploration, in keeping with international agreements and treaties. The militarization of outer space was a matter of concern because it could lead to a new arms race, with serious threats to international peace and security. Yemen called for all space activities to remain legal under the existing international regime, he emphasized.
He went on to underline that the organization and regulation of space activities must take the interests of all countries into account, pointing out that all States were entitled to its benefits. There could be no weapons in outer space, and there was need for a binding international regime to that effect. Emerging countries must also be involved so their special needs could be met, he said. He noted that Dubai would host the High level Forum on Space as a Driver for Socioeconomic Sustainable Development, organized by the United Arab Emirates and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, in November 2018.
DIDIER LENOIR, European Union delegation, said space activities and technologies were essential and could help greatly in reaching the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In that regard, space applications were drivers of economic growth and innovation, contributing to the competitiveness of industry, to the creation of jobs and thus to reducing poverty. They could also be instrumental in tackling major societal challenges and in preventing and managing conflict and crime.
He went on to emphasize the importance of developing and implementing transparency and confidence-building measures as a means to strengthen security and ensure sustainability in the peaceful use of outer space. The European Union supported the elaboration of a legally binding instrument that would establish standards of responsible behaviour across the full range of space activities, he said. Moreover, it supported the continuation of efforts to prevent an arms race in outer space and to develop a shared understanding of existing principles of global space governance as a measure to prevent conflict and promote international cooperation.
ROSEMARY MCCARNEY (Canada) said all space actors must conduct their activities within the existing space framework, calling in that vein upon Member States who had not yet done so to accede to the Outer Space Treaty, which remained a solid basis for the international community’s work. Voluntary measures also helped to create a climate of confidence. Turning to the legal regime and global governance of outer space, she said the lack of consensus on a code of conduct should not hold the international community back where consensus had been reached. Meanwhile, Canada was developing guidelines to address such issues as space debris, and providing guidance that would help to guide responsible behaviour by new space actors, she said. Today’s joint meeting was a positive step in and of itself, she added.
WILMER ALFONZO MA�NDEZ GRATEROL (Venezuela) noted that humanity faced risks in outer space that could affect international peace and security, and called for negotiated measures and international agreements in that realm. Some space activities were geared towards undermining United Nations principles, especially through the deployment of spy satellites that undermined State sovereignty, he said. The initiative promoted by China and the Russian Federation would be very important in the negotiation of any treaty to prevent an arms race in outer space, he said, noting that cooperation with China had enabled Venezuela to place three satellites in orbit to promote economic development and other activities.
DARREN HANSEN (Australia), pointing out that his country’s Government had recently announced plans to establish a national space agency, went on to note that the Outer Space Treaty prohibited weapons of mass destruction but did not ban conventional weapons. The international community should pursue transparency and confidence-building measures as an immediate priority, he said, expressing support for the proposal by the Russian Federation, China and the United States. Recommendations for a legally binding instrument could be taken up by the Conference on Disarmament, he said. Australia called for engaging private sector actors in space policy, especially on the critical issue of space debris.
ROBERT MATHEUS MICHAEL TENE (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, emphasized the paramount importance of strict compliance with existing arms limitation and disarmament agreements relevant to outer space, including bilateral agreements, and with the existing legal regime concerning the use of outer space. The Non-Aligned Movement remained concerned about developments related to anti-ballistic missile systems, as well as the threat of weaponization and militarization of outer space. It, therefore, reiterated its call for the start of negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament on a universal and legally binding instrument to prevent an arms race in outer space, he said. Underlining the need for a universal, comprehensive and non-discriminatory multilateral approach to the question of missiles, he said any initiative on that subject should also consider the security concerns of all States and their inherent right to the peaceful use of space technologies.
Mr. AMIL (Pakistan) expressed concern about the security and stability of outer space, emphasizing that the international community must prevent it from becoming a new realm of conflict and preserve it exclusively for peaceful purposes. The Government of Pakistan believed that transparency and confidence building measures were valuable, but they could not substitute for legally binding treaties, he said, adding that the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space had an important role to play for developing countries. He condemned space debris and other factors threatening the safety of outer space, describing that realm as humanity’s shared destiny.
HUMBERTO RIVERO ROSARIO (Cuba) described the militarization of outer space as one of the greatest threats to the human species. In that context, Cuba called upon the international community to ensure the prevention of an arms race in outer space. The militarization of outer space must be prevented, he said, adding that a legal instrument was the only way to do that. In that connection, Cuba called upon Member States to support the Russian Federation China proposal. Noting that many objects were flying through space in the twenty first century, including spy objects, he stressed that outer space should not be a pipe dream that only certain countries could tap.
VASILY GUDNOV (Russian Federation) asked whether States had a common understanding of the problems at hand and of the decisions that must be taken. Within the context of negotiations at the Outer Space Committee, the Russian Federation had proposed a number of regulatory functions to implement the recommendations of the Group of Governmental Experts in order to ensure the security of outer space activities. However, the United States had taken a different approach, calling for implementation at the national level, rather than the Russian Federation’s idea that they should be applied as international norms. It had, therefore, not been possible to resolve the difficulties encountered within the Outer Space Committee, he said. Furthermore, during a meeting of the working group on the long-term sustainability of outer space activities the previous week, many delegations had demonstrated neither interest nor readiness to draft specific responsibilities, he added.
He went on to recall Ms. Genta’s statement to the effect that outer space treaties did not need amendment, and that national legislation was key. Emphasizing that he did not understand that statement, he recalled that the last change in national legislation in some States had led to lack of understanding and could lead to further tension internationally in such areas as research and the use of space resources. The Russian Federation and China had drafted a treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in space, but unfortunately, some States had been obstructive of it for political reasons, and had not made any proposals themselves, he said. As long as some important space Powers did not try to develop a new regime for outer space, the advisability of continuing under United Nations auspices would be questionable. Turning to self-defence in space, he noted that instruments on operational activities in outer space mentioned self-defence as a customary norm of international law. The Russian Federation called upon the Outer Space Committee to consider hypothetical legal grounds for resorting to the right of self-defence in space so that hostile actions could be defined and a mutual understanding developed.
MUSTAPHA ABBANI (Algeria), associating himself with the Arab Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said outer space played a significant economic and scientific role for many countries. Algeria used its space programme to meet its development needs, and as a tool to support sustainable development and meet national needs across all sectors. Space was the common heritage of humankind and must be preserved for peaceful uses, he said, calling for international cooperation in accordance with the Outer Space Treaty. Militarization was also a matter of concern, given the risks of an arms race, he said, warning that it would have serious ramifications for international peace and security, as well as socioeconomic impacts. All space activities should be regulated under the umbrella of the United Nations, he said, commending the China-Russian Federation initiative aimed at preventing an arms race in outer space.
RAIMUNDO GONZA�LEZ ANINAT (Chile) said accountability and liability for these things flying around the Earth were very important, cautioning that it was risky to depart from the liability system and take action at the national level. Countries without satellites were being observed and the data acquired, he noted, expressing concern about information from Earth-observing satellites. There had been customary approaches to observation from space since the first satellite launch and it was important to examine how any information gathered was handled under international law, he said. Chile was disappointed that the Conference on Disarmament had not adopted any agenda for many years, he said, suggesting the creation of some sort of committee or structural link between that body and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. Overall, there was a need for steps to ensure that confidence could be built concerning the question of observation from satellites in space, he said.
NATA�LIA ARCHINARD (Switzerland) said that international norms and the global governance of space activities should be reinforced in order to successfully address new challenges. Commending the work of the Outer Space Committee, she noted that the development of voluntary guidelines was an important objective to be completed in 2018. By proposing a chair for the new working group on that thematic priority, Switzerland had demonstrated its commitment to its work, she said. Outer space must not become an area for military confrontation, she said, while suggesting that non-legally binding instruments could represent gradual steps towards legally binding ones.
GONZALO SEBASTIA�N MAZZEO (Argentina) said the limitations of the Outer Space Treaty included the fact that it did not prohibit conventional weapons in outer space, and made no mention of counter-satellites or anything of that nature. Commending recent efforts on transparency and confidence-building measures, he said it was of paramount importance to abide by existing provisions, calling for clear terminology against placing weapons in outer space. Current technology meant that private actors were increasingly involved in space, she said, adding that new measures must, therefore, be examined in the relevant forums.
KENNETH D. HODGKINS (United States) said the substantial progress made on the confidence-building measures within the Outer Space Committee was reflected in its report. Noting that the Russian Federation had joined his delegation in introducing a resolution on transparency and confidence-building measures, he said the United States welcomed that initiative. Other proposals in the Outer Space Committee were designed to add greater transparency to space activities, he said, calling upon all States to embrace them as well. The United States looked forward to continuing such discussions and increasing the adherence of Member States to the Outer Space Treaty, as well as other instruments, such as the Registration Convention, the Agreement on the Rescue and Return of Space Objects and Astronauts, among others. He urged all States to work diligently on the guidelines for the long-term sustainability of outer space activities, saying that completing them in 2018 would represent a monumental achievement in promoting international cooperation and confidence-building.
The representative of India called upon the international community to work cooperatively to enhance space security, citing the large number of existing threats to that realm emanating from different areas. Given the number of different forums addressing that issue, it was important to develop norms and to strengthen the existing regime on outer space, he emphasized. There was an opportunity now to come together to prevent a wasteful arms race in outer space through action in the First Committee, he said, adding that his country would welcome any possibility of a prevention instrument linking back to the Conference on Disarmament.
Source: United Nations
Yemen cholera cases top 820,000The number of suspected cases of cholera in Yemen is now over 820,000, the United Nations said on Friday.Yemen is in the midst of the world’s worst-ever single-year outbreak of the water-borne disease, with more than 2,15…
Sounding the alarm on famine exacerbated by conflict, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the international community to step up efforts to end violence, ensure humanitarian assistance and foster long-term development in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen and other areas of instability-rooted starvation.
Speaking in the Security Council this afternoon, he declared: Until these conflicts are resolved and development takes root, communities and entire regions will continue to be ravaged by hunger and suffering. He cited studies showing that the decline of world hunger was threatened by the proliferation of strife, with 60 per cent of the 815 million hungry people living in conflict areas.
He said that the parties to all four countries he was warning about had stated their commitment to humanitarian and human rights law, but most of them had not followed through. He called on them to facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief, only imposing constraints in good faith, and to respect and protect humanitarian personnel and supplies. Efforts to stem violent extremism, an element in each of the four famine situations, must be stepped up as well.
Emergency programmes and urgent political efforts in the conflict zones must be followed by longer-term efforts. Right now, we must urgently commit to increasing humanitarian aid and funding the programmes we have in place. Where we have not prevented or resolved conflict, we must support its victims and survivors. In the long-term, we must focus on what communities and countries need to emerge from protracted conflict and instability, he stated.
Prevention, as always, must be our watchword, he added, stating that early famine warning mechanisms, humanitarian aid and strengthened respect for international law must be complemented by investment in sustainable peace and comprehensive long-term solutions in at-risk countries, noting the complex challenges those countries faced.
Meanwhile, he stressed that adequate funding for humanitarian agencies was a matter of life and death. It is unconscionable that aid agencies must make life-or-death decisions about who gets aid because of a shortage of resources, he said.
Following the Secretary-General’s briefing, Council members welcomed his efforts to alleviate famine in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen and his appeals for stepped-up aid, with some speakers describing the additional assistance from their countries. Sweden’s representative, describing her country’s contribution, added that aid workers required full support from the international community and that targeting them was unacceptable. Speakers called on all parties to conflict to respect international humanitarian law, condemning, for example, air attacks on hospitals in Yemen.
Delegates also agreed that the achievement of sustainable development must be stepped up to eradicate the root causes of conflict and stem famine, while the collaboration of parties to conflict, the United Nations, regional organizations and all partners must be utilized to prevent and end conflicts. Terrorism was named often as a factor in causing famine, especially in the four countries spoken of. Ethiopia’s representative and others stressed the links between famine, climate change and conflict.
All speakers agreed on the link between hunger and conflict, and some, including the representative of Japan, specifically endorsed the Security Council’s engagement on mitigating famine. The Russian Federation’s representative, while recognizing the link, said it was simplistic to over-ascribe hunger to conflict; there were many contributing causes, from economic downturns to volatility in world food prices. In many of those areas, the General Assembly had primary competency.
The representative of Uruguay said that one victim of widespread suffering was the lessening sensitivity of people towards those affected by numerous food crises, shown by euphemisms such as food insecurity, when hunger was being discussed. I think we have to stop being indifferent to these evils, he said.
The representatives of the United Kingdom, United States, Senegal, Kazakhstan, China, Ukraine, Italy, Bolivia, Egypt and France also spoke.
The meeting opened at 3:12 p.m. and ended at 4:46 p.m.
ANTA�NIO GUTERRES, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that since sounding the alarm nine months ago on the fact that some 20 million people were at severe risk of famine in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and north-east Nigeria, the international community responded quickly to the warnings. Donors came forward; nearly 70 per cent of funds requested had now been received. Aid operations were scaled up. Humanitarian agencies and their partners were now reaching close to 13 million people each month with life-saving food, nutrition assistance, health care and other support in the four countries.
But while we have succeeded in keeping famine at bay, we have not kept suffering at bay, he said, noting that hunger continued for millions of people, risking stunted growth for children and other permanent damage. The needs kept rising, because the conflicts continued. Some 80 per cent of the World Food Programme’s (WFP) funding, he pointed out, was going to areas affected by conflict. Around 60 per cent of the 815 million people suffering from hunger today lived in conflict areas.
Until these conflicts are resolved, and development takes root, communities and entire regions will continue to be ravaged by hunger and suffering, he said, reviewing the situation in the four countries he had warned about and urging action by the parties and the international community to relieve the suffering in each situation.
He said that the parties to all four countries he was warning about had stated their commitment to humanitarian and human rights law, but most of them had not followed through. I call on them, and those with influence over them, to translate that commitment into practical measures and to address impunity immediately, he said. That meant allowing and facilitating rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief, only imposing constraints in good faith and respecting and protecting humanitarian personnel and supplies.
Last month, he said, a report was released called The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World that underscored that there was currently a reversal of the long-term decline in hunger. Conflict and hunger spiralled into complex disasters that exacerbated each other.
Prevention, as always, must be our watchword, he said, adding that early famine warning mechanisms, humanitarian aid and strengthened respect for international law must be complemented by investment in sustainable peace and comprehensive long-term solutions in at-risk countries and noting the complex challenges those countries faced. They are powerful examples of the complex and multidimensional challenges we face. They require a system-wide approach that addresses the humanitarian-development nexus and its link to peace, he said.
Development agencies must engage early on with innovative solutions, he added, noting that the World Bank had shown that it was possible to scale up development-oriented programmes, complimenting humanitarian response in fragile countries like Yemen. He welcomed such efforts, saying that they must include regional neighbours and frontline States.
Right now, we must urgently commit to increasing humanitarian aid and funding the programmes we have in place. Where we have not prevented or resolved conflict, we must support its victims and survivors. In the long term, we must focus on what communities and countries need to emerge from protracted conflict and instability, he stated. It is unconscionable that aid agencies must make life-or-death decisions about who gets aid because of a shortage of resources, he added.
CARL SKAU (Sweden) said that the Secretary-General’s call for action last February and early warning regarding the famine in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and north-east Nigeria had presented a model for the future. Humanitarian crises more and more were being driven by conflict, which hindered effective humanitarian responses, leading to shocking levels of human suffering. This is a worrying trend, he stressed. Emphasizing that aid workers required full support from the international community, he underscored that targeting humanitarian workers was unacceptable. Sweden’s support to the four countries totalled $131 million, he noted, welcoming engagement by development partners to build long-term resilience. Such catastrophes were not accidents but rather man-made and required political solutions. Ending the conflict meant tackling root causes, including underdevelopment, inequality and exclusion. Emphasizing the need to have the full weight of the Security Council behind the Secretary-General’s call for action, he noted the Council’s responsibility to ensuring that aid workers could carry out their life-saving work.
MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom) said that eight months ago, the Secretary-General urged a wake-up call to the plight of millions of people. While there had been some positive development in stemming the spread of famine, the absence of famine did not mean the absence of need. The need remained colossal and even greater than what it was in February. In South Sudan, there are literally more people without food than there are with food, he stressed. The impact fell more acutely on women, girls and children. The long-term solution to all those crises was to end the conflict. Aid must reach people in need quickly. The Council must overcome political barriers to resolve the situation. In north-east Nigeria, aid agencies could not access those in need due to fighting between Boko Haram and the Government. In all four countries, sustainable peace could only be achieved through addressing the root causes of the crises. The Council had been very clear about the need for increased access to Yemen, he noted, emphasizing that public-sector salaries must also be paid on time to stem the spread of cholera. In South Sudan, access restrictions also continued to impede aid deliveries. Hunger was being used as a weapon of war, he said, also adding: We have the power and duty to influence behaviour in the right direction.
NIKKI HALEY (United States) said the humanitarian needs in all four countries were unprecedented, compounded more so by devastating cholera outbreaks. Those crises were not the wrath of God but rather completely man-made. She expressed concern that people without access to food, water, basic services and economic opportunity were more likely to turn to extremist groups. She said that fighters continued to impede food deliveries to those in need. There were even reports that some warring parties were starving populations as a tactic of war. While urging all Member States to contribute to funding to alleviate the suffering, she said the main component in doing so remained access to people.
That was especially true in South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen, she continued, adding that the pervasive conflict in South Sudan had left half the population facing hunger. Attacks on aid workers were increasing. Since 2013, 85 humanitarian workers � 18 this year � had been killed in South Sudan. Meanwhile, Yemen continued to face the worst cholera outbreak in history, and like elsewhere, women and children were suffering the most. Noting that in Nigeria attacks by Boko Haram and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) continued to impede aid deliveries, she underscored the need to address the suffering of 5.2 million Nigerians in need. While in Somalia unprecedented donor contributions had helped avert famine, the threat persisted with terrorists and armed groups continuing to impede the humanitarian response. When they block aid, we have to call them out, she stressed.
GORGUI CISS (Senegal) said that famine, in addition to claiming the lives of millions of people, perpetuated the vicious cycle of poverty, which particularly affected women, children and the elderly. You rightly sounded the alarm to draw the attention to the plight of millions, he said, addressing the Secretary-General. The humanitarian crises in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and north-east Nigeria, possibly the worst since World War II, could further deteriorate if the international community failed to act promptly. He reiterated his call on all parties to the conflict to align with international humanitarian law and to enable full access to humanitarian assistance. The response to the crises required immediate, adequate and easily accessible financing, he stressed, calling for additional contributions from States as well as the private sector. Highlighting the need for a lasting response to the famine, he said that there were sufficient resources and means to eradicate hunger all over the world.
KAIRAT UMAROV (Kazakhstan) called on the Council to go beyond expressions of solidarity and immediately address the situation on the ground. It was clear that military solutions could never be an option and would only lead to more tragedy. Unemployment, poverty, and the exploitation of natural resources were root causes of tension and conflict. Response to famine required strengthened connectivity among partners and billions of dollars. Calls for funding could often be futile, however, he said, adding that it was vital to harness support. Food security and the protection of rural livelihoods were essential in reducing tensions, especially where food supplies and markets were severely strained. Support for livelihoods is the best defence, he said. Livelihood projects could help communities grow. He also underscored that neighbouring countries and organizations were critical in carrying out a timely intervention.
SHEN BO (China) welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts to alleviate the suffering in the affected countries and his appeals for aid, to which his country had responded with substantial contributions. Assistance to achieving sustainable development must be bolstered to eradicate the root causes of conflict, while the synergy of the United Nations, regional organizations and all partners must be utilized to prevent and end conflicts. In realization of the primary leadership of each country in shaping its own destiny, capacity must be built in all countries to increase their food production and strengthen their stability.
MAHLET HAILU GUADEY (Ethiopia) said that humanitarian response should be tailored to each situation, but it was evident that in all four areas discussed, conflict was exacerbating climate-induced humanitarian crisis. Short-term aid plus investing in resilience for the long term was crucial, as was political activity to end conflict. There was an urgent need to bridge the funding gap for emergency relief efforts; it was critical that all commitments were honoured and fulfilled. She pledged her country’s work on initiatives to stem famine and welcomed early warning efforts in that regard.
ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay) said that it must be underlined that it was human action that had caused all the famine crises that had been described and it was incumbent on the international community to end the suffering. He called on all parties to conflict to respect international humanitarian law, condemning, for example, air attacks on hospitals in Yemen. Terrorism was taking its toll as well. Those responsible for suffering must be held to account. One victim of all the suffering was the lessening sensitivity of people, expressed by euphemisms such as food insecurity, when hunger was being discussed. I think we have to stop being indifferent to these evils, he said.
YURIY VITRENKO (Ukraine) said that some 20 million people in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and north-east Nigeria faced a food crisis. Ongoing conflicts and violence in those countries continued to hinder an effective humanitarian response. Especially alarming was the situation in Yemen, where millions were facing a triple threat: food shortages, cholera and violence. In north-east Nigeria, people faced massive displacements, reduced agricultural activities and harvests, and market disruptions. Millions of Somalis were at risk of malnutrition and starvation. While the humanitarian workers had eased famine conditions in South Sudan, a record-breaking 1.7 million people were still on the brink of starvation. Those crises were all fully preventable, were it not for the irresponsible actions of men, he said. He urged parties to the conflict to respect and protect civilians and abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law. Humanitarian workers must be able to carry out their work.
INIGO LAMBERTINI (Italy) said the situation had not improved. Even though the famine had been contained in some areas, the overall number of those at risk had increased. The world must act to prevent such crises. It was clear that the famine was man-made and conflict-driven, he said, underscoring the connection between conflict and food security. Food insecurity fuelled conflict and forced displacement. It was critical to step up efforts focused on agricultural and food assistance to tackle the issues in a holistic manner. Early warning mechanisms were essential for breaking the cycle of violence, he said, commending the Secretary-General for his early warning, which was instrumental in providing a timely response. The growing commitment of the Security Council on humanitarian issues was a move in the right direction. A holistic approach was critical when dealing with peace and security issues. We discuss a lot about crises, this is one where we can make a difference, he said.
PEDRO LUIS INCHAUSTE JORDA�N (Bolivia) said the increase in food insecurity and the risk of famine in Yemen were of great concern. Hunger had caused a large number people to flee their homes. Parties to the conflicts had restricted transportation routes and access to airports where food could enter countries in need. Climate change was also a determining factor. This is immoral, he stressed. People were starving not because of a lack of food but rather lack of political will. He also stressed that parties to the conflict must never target humanitarian workers. He welcomed a comprehensive and sustained response through early warnings and by strengthening the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) response systems. Joint efforts of the international community and the United Nations agencies were vital.
AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) said that the crisis in Somalia was not restricted to the famine alone. it also stemmed from several security aspects given the large displacement of persons in the region. It was important to redouble efforts to support Somali institutions in terms of prevention, early warning and early response. In South Sudan, while economic and climate factors had contributed to the crisis, the main cause was armed conflict. South Sudan required the international community’s support as the needs still heavily outweighed the availability of resources. An inclusive political process was critical to ending the humanitarian plight of civilians. He expressed concern over the emergency food situation in Yemen, adding that international contributions must be scaled up. Pressure must also be placed on the Houthis to allow safe passage for aid workers. In Nigeria, the Government had facilitated access to people in need and even presented a plan to address humanitarian challenges. He underscored the need for international support, adding: Famines do not come from out of the blue or by chance, famine is avoidable.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) endorsed the resolute intent of the Secretary-General to tackle famine and its causes. Conflicts, however, were merely one of the factors behind hunger. Tying all famine to conflict was simplistic. Global economic factors and volatility in food prices, along with many other factors, all contributed. The food shortage reported showed that hunger existed in many areas that were not immersed in violence. Sustainable development, productivity, sounder supply chains and other factors were being discussed in the General Assembly and other bodies of the United Nations. His country, a food producer, had delivered humanitarian aid, including a substantial amount of food, in addition to contributions to the WFP and other organizations. He described in detail such aid that had been supplied to the countries on which the Secretary-General focused.
KORO BESSHO (Japan) expressed deep concern over the threat of famine described by the Secretary-General. He agreed that much of it was caused or exacerbated by conflict. The Security Council must help mitigate food crises. Emergency aid must be augmented by long-term planning for development and resilience. He described aid projects by Japan that provided both life-saving assistance and spurred development that helped consolidate peace and build infrastructure to boost long-term food supplies.
FRANCOIS DELATTRE (France), Council President, said that the links between international peace and security and famine were clear, which was why France had organized an Arria formula meeting last June. He was grateful for the Secretary-General’s call for action. The fight against food insecurity must be a priority for all. Constant vigilance was needed, and violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes such as the use of starvation as a strategic tactic, must be responded to. Access for humanitarian aid must be assured. He pledged France’s full support for a global mobilization to stem the threat of famine.
Source: United Nations
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. My fellow Americans: As President of the United States, my highest obligation is to ensure the safety and security of the American people.
History has shown that the longer we ignore a threat, the more dangerous that threat becomes. For this reason, upon taking office, I’ve ordered a complete strategic review of our policy toward the rogue regime in Iran. That review is now complete.
Today, I am announcing our strategy, along with several major steps we are taking to confront the Iranian regime’s hostile actions and to ensure that Iran never, and I mean never, acquires a nuclear weapon.
Our policy is based on a clear-eyed assessment of the Iranian dictatorship, its sponsorship of terrorism, and its continuing aggression in the Middle East and all around the world.
Iran is under the control of a fanatical regime that seized power in 1979 and forced a proud people to submit to its extremist rule. This radical regime has raided the wealth of one of the world’s oldest and most vibrant nations, and spread death, destruction, and chaos all around the globe.
Beginning in 1979, agents of the Iranian regime illegally seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held more than 60 Americans hostage during the 444 days of the crisis. The Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah twice bombed our embassy in Lebanon — once in 1983 and again in 1984. Another Iranian-supported bombing killed 241 Americans — service members they were, in their barracks in Beirut in 1983.
In 1996, the regime directed another bombing of American military housing in Saudi Arabia, murdering 19 Americans in cold blood.
Iranian proxies provided training to operatives who were later involved in al Qaeda’s bombing of the American embassies in Kenya, Tanzania, and two years later, killing 224 people, and wounding more than 4,000 others.
The regime harbored high-level terrorists in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, including Osama bin Laden’s son. In Iraq and Afghanistan, groups supported by Iran have killed hundreds of American military personnel.
The Iranian dictatorship’s aggression continues to this day. The regime remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, and provides assistance to al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist networks. It develops, deploys, and proliferates missiles that threaten American troops and our allies. It harasses American ships and threatens freedom of navigation in the Arabian Gulf and in the Red Sea. It imprisons Americans on false charges. And it launches cyberattacks against our critical infrastructure, financial system, and military.
The United States is far from the only target of the Iranian dictatorship’s long campaign of bloodshed. The regime violently suppresses its own citizens; it shot unarmed student protestors in the street during the Green Revolution.
This regime has fueled sectarian violence in Iraq, and vicious civil wars in Yemen and Syria. In Syria, the Iranian regime has supported the atrocities of Bashar al-Assad’s regime and condoned Assad’s use of chemical weapons against helpless civilians, including many, many children.
Given the regime’s murderous past and present, we should not take lightly its sinister vision for the future. The regime’s two favorite chants are Death to America and Death to Israel.
Realizing the gravity of the situation, the United States and the United Nations Security Council sought, over many years, to stop Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons with a wide array of strong economic sanctions.
But the previous administration lifted these sanctions, just before what would have been the total collapse of the Iranian regime, through the deeply controversial 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. This deal is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.
As I have said many times, the Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. The same mindset that produced this deal is responsible for years of terrible trade deals that have sacrificed so many millions of jobs in our country to the benefit of other countries. We need negotiators who will much more strongly represent America’s interest.
The nuclear deal threw Iran’s dictatorship a political and economic lifeline, providing urgently needed relief from the intense domestic pressure the sanctions had created. It also gave the regime an immediate financial boost and over $100 billion dollars its government could use to fund terrorism.
The regime also received a massive cash settlement of $1.7 billion from the United States, a large portion of which was physically loaded onto an airplane and flown into Iran. Just imagine the sight of those huge piles of money being hauled off by the Iranians waiting at the airport for the cash. I wonder where all that money went.
Worst of all, the deal allows Iran to continue developing certain elements of its nuclear program. And importantly, in just a few years, as key restrictions disappear, Iran can sprint towards a rapid nuclear weapons breakout. In other words, we got weak inspections in exchange for no more than a purely short-term and temporary delay in Iran’s path to nuclear weapons.
What is the purpose of a deal that, at best, only delays Iran’s nuclear capability for a short period of time? This, as President of the United States, is unacceptable. In other countries, they think in terms of 100-year intervals, not just a few years at a time.
The saddest part of the deal for the United States is that all of the money was paid up front, which is unheard of, rather than at the end of the deal when they have shown they’ve played by the rules. But what’s done is done, and that’s why we are where we are.
Iranian regime has committed multiple violations of the agreement. For example, on two separate occasions, they have exceeded the limit of 130 metric tons of heavy water. Until recently, the Iranian regime has also failed to meet our expectations in its operation of advanced centrifuges.
The Iranian regime has also intimidated international inspectors into not using the full inspection authorities that the agreement calls for.
Iranian officials and military leaders have repeatedly claimed they will not allow inspectors onto military sites, even though the international community suspects some of those sites were part of Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program.
There are also many people who believe that Iran is dealing with North Korea. I am going to instruct our intelligence agencies to do a thorough analysis and report back their findings beyond what they have already reviewed.
By its own terms, the Iran Deal was supposed to contribute to regional and international peace and security. And yet, while the United States adheres to our commitment under the deal, the Iranian regime continues to fuel conflict, terror, and turmoil throughout the Middle East and beyond. Importantly, Iran is not living up to the spirit of the deal.
So today, in recognition of the increasing menace posed by Iran, and after extensive consultations with our allies, I am announcing a new strategy to address the full range of Iran’s destructive actions.
First, we will work with our allies to counter the regime’s destabilizing activity and support for terrorist proxies in the region.
Second, we will place additional sanctions on the regime to block their financing of terror.
Third, we will address the regime’s proliferation of missiles and weapons that threaten its neighbors, global trade, and freedom of navigation.
And finally, we will deny the regime all paths to a nuclear weapon.
Today, I am also announcing several major steps my administration is taking in pursuit of this strategy.
The execution of our strategy begins with the long-overdue step of imposing tough sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Revolutionary Guard is the Iranian Supreme Leader’s corrupt personal terror force and militia. It has hijacked large portions of Iran’s economy and seized massive religious endowments to fund war and terror abroad. This includes arming the Syrian dictator, supplying proxies and partners with missiles and weapons to attack civilians in the region, and even plotting to bomb a popular restaurant right here in Washington, D.C.
I am authorizing the Treasury Department to further sanction the entire Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for its support for terrorism and to apply sanctions to its officials, agents, and affiliates. I urge our allies to join us in taking strong actions to curb Iran’s continued dangerous and destabilizing behavior, including thorough sanctions outside the Iran Deal that target the regime’s ballistic missile program, in support for terrorism, and all of its destructive activities, of which there are many.
Finally, on the grave matter of Iran’s nuclear program: Since the signing of the nuclear agreement, the regime’s dangerous aggression has only escalated. At the same time, it has received massive sanctions relief while continuing to develop its missiles program. Iran has also entered into lucrative business contracts with other parties to the agreement.
When the agreement was finalized in 2015, Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act to ensure that Congress’s voice would be heard on the deal. Among other conditions, this law requires the President, or his designee, to certify that the suspension of sanctions under the deal is appropriate and proportionate to measure — and other measures taken by Iran to terminate its illicit nuclear program. Based on the factual record I have put forward, I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification.
We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout.
That is why I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws so that the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons. These include the deal’s sunset clauses that, in just a few years, will eliminate key restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.
The flaws in the deal also include insufficient enforcement and near total silence on Iran’s missile programs. Congress has already begun the work to address these problems. Key House and Senate leaders are drafting legislation that would amend the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act to strengthen enforcement, prevent Iran from developing an inter- — this is so totally important — an intercontinental ballistic missile, and make all restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activity permanent under U.S. law. So important. I support these initiatives.
However, in the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated. It is under continuous review, and our participation can be cancelled by me, as President, at any time.
As we have seen in North Korea, the longer we ignore a threat, the worse that threat becomes. It is why we are determined that the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism will never obtain nuclear weapons.
In this effort, we stand in total solidarity with the Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims: its own people. The citizens of Iran have paid a heavy price for the violence and extremism of their leaders. The Iranian people long to — and they just are longing, to reclaim their country’s proud history, its culture, its civilization, its cooperation with its neighbors.
We hope that these new measures directed at the Iranian dictatorship will compel the government to reevaluate its pursuit of terror at the expense of its people.
We hope that our actions today will help bring about a future of peace, stability, and prosperity in the Middle East �- a future where sovereign nations respect each other and their own citizens.
We pray for a future where young children — American and Iranian, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish — can grow up in a world free from violence, hatred, and terror.
And, until that blessed day comes, we will do what we must to keep America safe.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you.
Source: White House
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