News in Brief 20 March 2015 (AM)

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Agricultural crops destroyed by flooding and landslides caused by tropical cyclone Lusi on Santo Island, Vanuatu (March 2014). Photo: Vanuatu Humanitarian Team/OCHA

"Extensive" loss of agriculture in Vanuatu

Strong winds, heavy rains and floods resulting from Tropical Cyclone Pam have caused extensive damage to agriculture throughout Vanuatu, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The banana crop throughout the Pacific island country has reportedly been almost entirely destroyed, as have most coconuts and much of the vegetable crop.

FAO has underlined its readiness to work closely with the government of Vanuatu to help rebuild people's lives and livelihoods, particularly in the rural areas.

World Down Syndrome Day marked at United Nations

The UN is reiterating on World Down Syndrome Day that people with the disability are entitled to the full enjoyment of all human rights.

Down syndrome occurs when an individual has extra genetic material which leads to physical characteristics such as decreased muscle tone, a flat face, and eyes slanting up.

The UN is calling on the global community to ensure that new sustainable development goals in 2015 address equality and help build a life of dignity for all, including people with Down syndrome.

UN chief calling for efforts to "fill world with happiness"

Happiness for the entire human family is one of the main goals of the United Nations, according the UN Secretary-General.

On Friday, the Organization kicked-off its global celebrations marking the annual observance of the International Day of Happiness.

In collaboration with the global music streaming service MixRadio, the UN has launched the #HappySoundsLike campaign, appealing to citizens around the world to nominate a song that brings a smile their face.

Songs can be shared at

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 1’42″

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