News in Brief 29 October 2015 (PM)

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A group of refugees disembark from an inflatable boat after reaching the Greek island of Lesvos (30 September 2015). Photo: UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis

More migrant deaths at sea

At least 15 people have died and scores are missing following five incidents this week involving smugglers' boats carrying refugees and migrants to Europe, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) reports.

The most serious incident involved a wooden boat with at least 300 passengers which sank off the Greek island of Lesvos on Wednesday evening.

More than 240 people were rescued and authorities confirmed seven deaths.

Several children between three months and 10 years old were hospitalized for hypothermia.

The UNHCR and the Greek authorities have been attempting to locate their parents.

The agency says worsening weather requires an urgent scale up in search-and-rescue efforts at sea.

UNHCR has received reports that smugglers in Turkey are now seeking out larger vessels so they can transport hundreds of people at a cost of up to 2,500 Euros per person.

5G mobile technology on the way

A road map for establishing what's being described as "lightning-speed, ultra-reliable" mobile communications is now in place, the UN announced on Thursday.

The organization's telecommunications agency, the ITU, has endorsed a resolution on timely development of 5G mobile technology, thus paving the way for innovations that will determine how people communicate in the future.

For example, future wireless systems will likely involve machine-to-machine communication, and even driverless cars using vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-road communication.

Devices will also have enhanced capabilities such as Ultra-High Definition displays, mobile 3-D projections, immersive video conferencing and expanded "mixed reality" displays and interfaces.

Businesses pledge to be more inclusive of disabled persons

Eleven major companies have committed to promote and include persons with disabilities in their operations across the globe as part of a UN network.

The companies have signed a charter covering areas such as protecting staff with disabilities from discrimination to making work premises and communication more accessible.

"Employing persons with disability is not just a good moral cause, it is also good for business,” according to Guy Ryder, head of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which is behind the initiative.

The ILO Global Business and Disability Network was established in 2010 and facilitates member requests to develop tools and share knowledge on disability issues.

The UN estimates that more than one billion people worldwide experience some form of disability.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’49″

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