News in Brief 16 December 2015 (AM)

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Miroslav Jenca, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, at the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Bloodshed in Israel and Palestine should not be considered "the new normal"

Bloodshed in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories should not be considered "the new normal" a senior UN official has told the Security Council.

Tension remains high between the two communities and although the number of attacks has decreased this month, 34 Palestinians have recently been killed.

Stabbings, vehicle attacks and shootings by Palestinians targeting Israelis, continue to claim victims on an almost daily basis.

Miroslav Jenca is the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs.

"The current circumstances should not be accepted as "the new normal". Israelis and Palestinians should not be resigned to living under the threat of violence. However, a comprehensive strategy to limit that threat cannot rely uniquely on enhanced security measures. It must also address the primary elements motivating Palestinian anger."

Alarm over Saudi Arabia's clamp down on freedom of expression

The growing repression of the freedom of expression in Saudi Arabia is a matter of grave concern according to a UN human rights expert.

David Kaye, a Special Rapporteur, said there had been a string of "severe punishments against individuals for the holding and expressing of opinions."

He said human rights defenders, bloggers and a poet were among those targeted.

Raif Badawi, who was recently awarded the Sakharov Human Rights Prize, was sentenced in 2014 and flogged in January.

He received 50 public lashes.

Mr Kaye said his health has since deteriorated and the authorities have reportedly transferred him to an isolated detention facility and are considering a new round of flogging.

Dissemination of cultural goods "profoundly changing"

The worldwide dissemination of cultural goods, such as music, film and books is changing "profoundly" according to the UN cultural agency, UNESCO.

The Re|Shaping (sic) Cultural Policies report shows that currently almost half of global exports of cultural goods are from the developing world. That's compared to just a quarter in 2004.

The expansion of internet coverage and the growth of social networks and the use of connected multimedia devices has driven the change.

UNESCO said that new actors are emerging in the developing world including citizen journalists and amateur film producers, who are redefining the boundaries of journalism.

Africa "lagging behind" in global exports of technology

African countries are "lagging behind" in the global export of technology products according to the UN trade and development agency, UNCTAD.

The agency's Technology and Innovation Report 2015 reveals that developing countries as a whole accounted for 52 per cent of those exports, an 18 per cent rise since 2000.

The report examines how Africa's governments can better implement science, technology and innovation policies and coordinate them with industrial policies and development plans.

The difficulty African countries experience in coordinating the two policy frameworks, is one explanation for the low exports, the report finds.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’46″


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