The latest on bird flu from Dr. Nabarro, the UN system coordinator for avian influenza who this week gave his first update of the year.

UN Calling Asia – a weekly 14-minute magazine programme, in English, that keeps you in touch with UN developments covering Asia and the Pacific.

In this edition:

Dr. David Nabarro (photo) told journalists in New York that governments are motivated in their efforts to control bird flu, including through setting up contingency plans to deal with the medical and economic aspects of possible flu epidemics. He reported that at the beginning of the year there were outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza among poultry, particularly in countries where the H5N1 virus has become entrenched, such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

The UN and the government of Timor-Leste have signed an agreement paving the way for the reform of the country's security sector. The UN will provide technical assistance and expert advice so that Timor-Leste will be able to respond to internal and external threats. Sophie Boudre of the UN Mission in Timor-Leste, known as UNMIT, sat down with Murray McCullogh, the chief of the team that's working with the government.

In March 1999, a Japanese man, deeply depressed and fatigued from hundreds of hours of overtime, killed himself. Yuji Uendan was only 23. Sadly, his story is not unique. Each year, up to 5,000 Japanese people take their lives for the very same reason. There's even a word for death from overwork: "karoshi." A Japanese journalist who's based in New York chronicled Uendan's story in an article which was recently recognized as the best story on labour rights by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Patrick Maigua sat down with Misako Hida in Geneva to find out what impact her article 'The Land of Karoshi' has had in the land of the rising sun.

Filed under UN Calling Asia.
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