News in Brief 29 July 2015 (PM)

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Palestinian women walk near Israel’s barrier near Ramallah in the West Bank. File Photo: IRIN/Shabtai Gold

West Bank building condemned by UN chief

The decision by Israel to approve the construction of some 300 housing units in the West Bank settlement of Beit El has been condemned by the UN Secretary-General.

The planning and construction of nearly 500 housing units in a number of settlements in East Jerusalem has also been given the go-ahead.

The building of new settlements is illegal under international law.

Ban Ki-moon urged the Government of Israel to reverse the decisions in the interest of peace.

Iraqi cultural site receives UNESCO backing

An agreement to conserve Samarra Archaeological City in Iraq has been signed between the UN cultural agency, UNESCO, and the Iraqi authorities.

Work will begin with the restauration of the Great Mosque and Al-Malwiyah Minaret.

The site has been on UNESCO's List of World Heritage in Danger since 2007.

Iraqi Minister of State Ahmed Abdullah Abed Abed, said the country's cultural heritage was threatened by terrorist activities.

Disaster risk management standards developed for the hotel industry

Standards to manage the risks posed by natural catastrophes in the global hotel industry, have been backed by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

The guidelines are aimed at the hotel industry in Asia and the Pacific, home to 80 per cent of the world’s disaster events.

The UNISDR chief, Margareta Wahlström, said the industry is very vulnerable to major setbacks from floods, storms and earthquakes.

She said hotels have an important role to play in encouraging disaster risk management at the local level.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations.

Duration: 1’41″

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