News in Brief 19 November 2015 (AM)

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Iraqi IDP family in Tikrit inside the unfinished building that is their temporary home. File Photo: UNHCR/C. Robinson

Norway supports Iraq stabilization

A US$1.8 million partnership agreement between Norway and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) will boost stabilization efforts in areas of Iraq liberated from the terrorist group ISIL, also known as Daesh.

The funding will support priorities such as repairing clinics, police stations, water facilities and power grid.

Small grants will also be provided to businesses to help jump-start local economies, among other initiatives.

UNDP says efforts are already underway in the city of Tikrit, where more than 155,000 people have returned to their homes and are resuming their lives.

Further initiatives will begin soon in two governorates, Salah al-Din and Ninewah, with the city of Ramadi next in line as soon as it is liberated and declared free and safe.

"Huge" potential for renewable energy in 17 European countries

Attracting investment for renewable energy remains a challenge for 17 countries in South and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, despite the efforts they have made.

That's according to a new report which says these countries attracted only 0.5 per cent of global renewable energy investment in 2014, yet many have "huge" untapped potential in this sector.

It says renewable energy solutions such as solar photovoltaic cells or micro-hydro, which harness the power of the sun and water, respectively, can provide electricity to people in remote areas or in locations that suffer from frequent power outages or unstable supply.

The report was published by the UN Economic Commission for Europe and the Renewable energy Policy Network for the 21st Century, in collaboration with the International Energy Agency.

Cellular deal a "major landmark" in Israeli-Palestinian relations

An agreement to grant Palestinian cellular operators exclusive radio frequencies has been hailed as a "major landmark" by the head of the UN agency for information and communications technology, the ITU.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed the deal on Thursday to allow third generation ("3G") mobile networks in Gaza and the West Bank.

3G mobile technology provides faster service and access to the Internet.

Under the agreement, radio frequencies will now be assigned for the exclusive use of Palestinian cellular operators as well as on a shared basis by Palestinian and Israeli operators.

ITU chief Houlin Zhao said no doubt it will lead to the establishment of a modern and reliable telecommunication network for the Palestinian people.

He said the agreement could help to improve relations in the troubled region.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’46″

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