News in Brief 21 January 2016 (PM)

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attends a trilateral luncheon with (l to r) Espen Barth Eide, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, President of the Republic of Cyprus and Mustafa Akinci, Leader of the Turkish Cypriot Community, in Davos, Switzerland.UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Cypriot leaders encouraged to capitalize on current "positive momentum"

The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus have been commended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for progress made in ongoing reunification talks.

Mr Ban held his first meeting with Greek Cypriot leader, Nicos Anastasiades, and Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akıncı, on Thursday while at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

He described it as a "very good opportunity" to hear about their efforts since resuming negotiations last May.

"Significant progress has been made in this leader-led process over the past eight months, demonstrating that with political will, it is possible to reach compromises even on the most difficult issues. At the same time, it is also clear that a number of sensitive and difficult issues still remain. I encouraged the leaders to capitalize on the current positive momentum. It will be crucial as they move forward to tackle outstanding issues across the different chapters."

The UN has been working to bridge differences on Cyprus since 1964, following fighting between the two communities.

Ethiopia urged to end deadly crackdown on protestors

Authorities in Ethiopia are being urged to end a violent crackdown on peaceful protestors who oppose plans to expand the boundaries of the capital, Addis Ababa.

The appeal is being made by UN human rights experts who say security forces have reportedly killed more than 140 people and arrested scores over the past nine weeks.

The four experts have welcomed the government's recent decision to suspend the expansion plan, which reportedly could lead to mass evictions, seizure of agricultural land and deforestation.

However, they said, this move cannot be seen as a "sincere commitment" until the crackdown ends.

Panel to advocate for water and sanitation for all

The Presidents of Mexico and Mauritius will head a panel aimed at ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all people.

The panel will comprise a group of heads of state from developed and developing countries and has been convened by the UN Secretary-General and the President of the World Bank Group.

The announcement was made at the World Economic Forum, which concludes on Saturday in Davos, Switzerland.

Ensuring water and sanitation for all is among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders in September.

The panel will advocate for financing to meet this target.

Although there is enough fresh water on the planet, the UN says millions of people die from diseases linked to inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene.

Most of them are children.

Furthermore, 2.4 billion people lack access to toilets and other basic sanitation.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’51″

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