News in Brief 07 October 2015 (PM)

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The police contingent of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), along with the country's National Police, conducting a joint operation in the capital Bangui. UN Photo/Nektarios Markogiannis

Peacekeeper killed in CAR

The UN Secretary-General is calling for swift action to bring to justice the killers of a UN peacekeeper in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Ban Ki-moon has condemned the incident and repeated his call for armed groups there to put down their weapons.

The peacekeeper was part of a military escort for a convoy from the UN mission in the country, MINUSCA, which came under fire on Tuesday while travelling about 55 km north of the capital, Bangui.

The Secretary-General also reiterated the UN's commitment to support the CAR authorities in their fight against criminality and putting an end to impunity.

UN chief welcomes US move to reduce prison overcrowding

A decision by the United States government to release approximately 6,000 prisoners as a means to ease overcrowding in corrections facilities has been welcomed by the UN Secretary-General.

The move also provides some redress to people who had received disproportionately long sentences for non-violent drug-related offenses.

Mr Ban cited over-incarceration as one of the main reasons behind prison overcrowding.

He said consideration should be given to alternatives to criminalization and imprisonment of people who use drugs, with increased focus on public health, prevention, treatment and care.

Ensuring eye care for all 

Eighty per cent of all visual impairment is avoidable, according to a senior UN health official who is advocating for more action to ensure universal access to eye care services.

Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director for the World Health Organization (WHO) in South-East Asia, says strategies to prevent blindness and restore sight are among the most cost-effective interventions in health care.

She says simple measures such as placing eye care services in schools can help detect and correct issues in children, while quality surgical procedures can help get cataract patients back to normal very quickly.

'Eye Care for All' is the theme for World Sight Day, observed 8 October.

A WHO global action plan aims to improve eye health and reduce the prevalence of avoidable blindness and visual impairment by 25% over the next four years.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’18″

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