News in Brief 22 December 2015 (AM)

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Marie-Thérèse Keita Bocoum. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré


Human rights key to CAR elections

Upcoming elections in the Central African Republic (CAR) should be a "major step" towards reconciliation and reconstruction.

That's the opinion of a UN expert on the human rights situation in the country, Marie-Thérèse Keita Bocoum.

The election is set for this Sunday, 27 December, and Ms Keita Bocoum said respect for human rights is a "key element" for guaranteeing that the vote is free, regular and secure.

However, she expressed deep concern following an attack last week on one of the presidential candidates.

Researchers working to develop disease-resistant bananas

Experts from across the globe are researching ways to speed up breeding of disease-resistant varieties of bananas and coffee plants.

This comes as the most widely cultivated banana variety, the Cavendish, is increasingly being threatened by a new strain of a deadly fungus known as Tropical Race 4.

The joint research project is looking into how plant breeding methods, including through use of nuclear techniques, can develop plants that can resist the disease.

It is being supported by the UN's atomic energy agency (IAEA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The agencies say the primary goal is to have tools in place so that countries can fight Tropical Race 4.

The fungus was originally limited to parts of Asia and Australia but has since spread to Jordan, Lebanon and some areas in Africa.

The UN agencies cited a study showing that it is only a matter of time before it reaches Latin and America and the Caribbean, which are responsible for the bulk of global banana exports.

South Korea to accept first-ever group of refugees

For the first time in its history, the Republic of Korea will welcome refugees for resettlement, UN partner agency the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has announced.

Four families from Myanmar, who had been living in a refugee camp in Thailand, are set to arrive in the country on Wednesday.

The group of 22 people are part of a pilot refugee resettlement project which runs through 2017.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’10″

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