News in Brief 25 January 2016 (AM)

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Voting in the second round for the senatorial and parliamentary elections and the first round for a new president in Haiti's capital Port au Prince, 25 October 2015. Photo: UN/MINUSTAH/Igor Rugwiza

Reject "violence and intimidation" in Haiti: UN chief

Reject "violence and intimidation" in Haiti's political process, and complete elections without delay.

That's the message from the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, after the postponement of presidential elections on Sunday, and a rising tide of violence on the streets.

In a statement, Mr Ban called on "all political actors" to work towards a peaceful resolution that will allow the completion of presidential and parliamentary elections, following allegations of vote-rigging during the first round in October.

The run-off vote was postponed indefinitely on Friday, although the constitution calls for a transfer of power to a new government, by February 7.

More than US$500 million sought for West African refugee crisis

More than half a billion dollars is being sought this year to help hundreds of thousands of people fleeing conflicts in Nigeria and the Central African Republic.

The appeal was launched on Monday by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) together with dozens of other aid organizations.

It aims also to provide support for communities hosting refugees in neighbouring countries.

UNHCR's Regional Relief Coordinator, Liz Ahua, said that "suffering in great and the needs acute" among both the displaced and their hosts.

The UN and partner agencies also announced a Humanitarian Response Plan for Cameroon in order to help and protect more than a million people affected by violence and instability there.

Syria polio-free for 2 years, thanks to "dedication and grit" of health workers

Syria has managed to stay polio-free for two years, despite the huge challenges faced by the country which is entering its sixth year of civil war.

The World Health Organization's (WHO) Representative to Syria, Elizabeth Hoff, described it as a "major milestone" that reflected the "determination and grit" of health workers to protect civilians from the killer-disease, through mass-vaccination programmes.

Polio resurfaced in Syria in 2013 after being absent for 14 years.

Ms Hoff said the country was still at high risk of the disease, and that only vaccinating campaigns aimed at children in hard-to-reach areas would prevent another outbreak.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’50″

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