News in Brief 09 October 2015 (PM)

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Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein. UN Photo/Pierre Albouy

Appeal for calm ahead of Guinea presidential elections

The UN Human Rights High Commissioner is appealing for calm ahead of the first round of Presidential elections in Guinea this Sunday.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said his office has received "worrying reports" of violent unrest and looting in the capital, Conakry.

Clashes last week between supporters of the ruling party and members of the opposition in the southwest of the country left 45 people injured.

The human rights chief urged political leaders to use their influence to help bring an end to the turmoil.

First plant genetics data library established

The first genetics data library for food and agriculture plants has been established, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has announced.

This "international information gateway" for crop seeds will combine data from seed banks, research centres and farmers’ organisations from across the world.

FAO says that as climate change accelerates, it will be critical for farmers, scientists and plant breeders, for example, to develop new shock-resistant plant varieties so that agricultural production levels can be maintained.

The first contribution has been made by the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute which this week placed the genome sequences of more than 3,000 rice varieties into the virtual gene library.

Death penalty does not deter drug crimes: UN Secretary-General

More than 80 per cent of countries worldwide have taken steps towards abolishing capital punishment, up from 14 when the United Nations was founded seven decades ago.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is highlighting this progress in a message on the World Day against the Death Penalty, observed on Saturday, 10 October.

This year the focus is on the death penalty and drug crimes.

Mr Ban stressed that international law limits the death penalty to "the most serious crimes" which means it should only be applied to the crime of intentional killing, if it all.

He said the death penalty does not deter drug crimes, nor does it protect people from drug abuse.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’04″

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