News in Brief 18 January 2016 (PM)

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Construction in the Israeli settlement of Ariel in the West Bank. Photo: Annie Slemrod/IRIN

Israeli and Palestinian leaders urged to act to address "spiral of violence"

A senior UN official is urging leaders in the Middle East to work together to tackle what he called "the spiral of violence and the targeting of civilians."

Nickolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, issued a statement on Monday condemning the recent stabbings of two Israeli women in the occupied West Bank.

The separate attacks took place within a 24 hour period.

In the first incident, a 39-year-old mother of six was killed in her home while a 30-year-old pregnant woman was seriously wounded in the second attack.

Mr Mladenov called on the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to take action to ensure that the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice.

Online platform promotes smart, sustainable cities

An online community has been established by the United Nations to assist cities to become more sustainable.

The platform aims to identify challenges that are having an impact on urban development across the world.

More than 65 per cent of the global population will live in urban centres by the year 2050, according to UN estimates.

City authorities will have to provide basic resources such as safe food, clean water and sufficient energy, to meet the demand.

The launch of the Smart Sustainable Cities online community comes ahead of the first World Smart City Forum to be held in Singapore in July.

Spanish chef brothers new UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors

Three internationally acclaimed chefs from Spain will help cook up support for the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at creating a better future for all people and the planet.

Brothers Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca have been appointed Goodwill Ambassadors with the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

Their duties will include advising on improving food industry and agricultural practices to safeguard the environment and create jobs.

The brothers are owners of El Celler de Can Roca, which won the 2015 World's Best Restaurant award.

They are the only siblings to be jointly appointed as UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors and the first to specifically focus on the SDGs which will drive global development efforts over the next 15 years.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’25″

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