News in Brief 10 February 2016 (PM)

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Global illicit drug problem also a health concern

Addressing the global problem of illicit drugs is an important element of promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the UN Secretary-General has said.

Ban Ki-moon was speaking at a meeting in New York paving the way for a special session of the UN General Assembly in April which will focus on the issue.

Mr Ban said illicit drugs promote violence and endanger communities.

They are also connected with crimes such as corruption, terrorism, firearms smuggling and murder.

"But the world drug problem is also a health problem, linked to overdoses, the ravages of addiction and the spread of HIV and hepatitis. Such high costs are not simply paid by those who use drugs, but by their friends and families, and by overwhelmed health systems."

Iraqis demand action to counter extremism and intolerance 

The people of Iraq want their religious and political leaders to take action on countering extremism and promoting tolerance, according to the head of the UN mission in the country.

Jan Kubiš's comments came at the end of World Interfaith Harmony Week which wrapped up in the capital, Baghdad, on Wednesday.

The UN official recalled that throughout the week, participants heard stories demonstrating what he described as "the destructive impact" of sectarian, religious and ethnic violence on many communities in Iraq.

But he said they also demanded action, for example by calling on the Government to create the necessary conditions for displaced people to return to their communities.

UNESCO Director-General condemns killing of Afghan journalist

The killing of an Afghan journalist has been condemned by the head of the UN cultural organization, UNESCO.

Haji Mohammad Zubair Khaksar was a senior broadcaster for the public Nangarhar Radio and Televisionnetwork.

He was killed in the province of Nangarhar in eastern Afghanistan while on his way home from work on 29 January.

UNESCO reports that prior to his death, an unregistered local radio station had broadcast threats against media personnel in the province.

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, called the crime "an intolerable attack on the fundamental human right of freedom of expression and on freedom of information."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’24″

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