News in Brief 05 January 2016 (PM)

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Officials in Haiti begin counting ballots at the end of polling on election day, 9 August 2015. File Photo: UN/MINUSTAH/Logan Abassi

Haiti urged to take "all steps necessary" to meet power transfer deadline

Haiti needs to take "all steps necessary" to ensure a peaceful transfer of power to a new president, by February 7.

That's according to the so-called "Core Group" of countries and the UN mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) which are overseeing the Caribbean country's transition to a new government, by February's constitutionally-mandated deadline.

Delayed presidential and legislative run-off elections are due to take place by January 17, but news reports say that the official in charge of the on-going election process said Tuesday, the deadline would be "impossible" to meet.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged all involved in the election process to meet the deadline and act in a "transparent, inclusive and credible manner."

He pointed out that Parliament had not met since January of last year, and the whole political stability of Haiti was at stake.

"Immediate steps" being taken to restore calm on Israel-Lebanon border

"Immediate steps" are being taken by the United Nations to help restore calm on the border between Lebanon and Israel along the so-called Blue Line.

That's the area patrolled by the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, (UNIFIL).

The UN Secretary-General condemned the attack in the Sheba'a Farms area, south of the Blue Line on Monday, where a convoy of vehicles belonging to the Israel Defence Forces came under fire.

He also expressed concern at retaliatory strikes by Israel.

His spokesperson is Stéphane Dujarric.

"UNIFIL is investigating the circumstances of the incident in cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Israel Defense Forces. The Secretary-General calls on all parties to maintain the cessation of hostilities."

Peacekeepers scale new heights for South Sudan

New heights have been scaled by a group of Peacekeepers, hoping for an end to South Sudan's bloody civil war.

The expedition to climb Africa's tallest mountain, was undertaken by a group of Peacekeepers from the UN Mission in South Sudan, UNMISS.

They are the first group of UN Peacekeepers to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, and they hoisted a UN flag when they reached the summit in late December.

Mejaor Vikash Kumar, was one of those who reached the top, and he described what motivated him to make the climb.

"It can be correlated with the ultimate goal which we have set in South Sudan for UNMISS, total peace. I felt that way, I dreamed that way, that yes, it will be possible, and once it's possible, how beautiful South Sudan will be."

The team's flag was inscribed with the words "Kilimanjaro climb for peace."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’17″

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