News in Brief 25 March 2016 (AM)

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the press. UN File Photo/Amanda Voisard

UN remembers missing and detained staff

UN and humanitarian workers who are being held in captivity or who have gone missing are being remembered this Friday, the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff.

It is marked each year on  the anniversary of the abduction of Alec Collett, a former journalist who was working for the UN agency that assists Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

Mr Collett was abducted by armed gunman on 25 March 1985.  His body was finally found in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley in 2009.

In his message for the day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki moon called for respect for the rights, privileges and immunities of the organization's personnel.
Mr Ban said in 2015, six UN staff were abducted and held hostage and later released while 20 others remain in detention.
The UN chief also called for those who murder UN staff to be brought to justice.


World Bank boosts public education efforts in Lebanon

A US$100 million initiative by the World Bank Group will support the education of children in Lebanon and their Syrian counterparts living in the country.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim made the announcement in Beirut on Friday.

Lebanon is hosting more than one million Syrian refugees which has put pressure on its educational system, with many schools operating double shifts twice daily to meet the demand.

Despite these efforts, some 200,000 Syrian refugee children there are not going to school.

The financing will help improve the quality of the public education system while also expanding access to all Syrian children between the ages of three and 18.

The World Bank President is in Lebanon alongside UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. They will also visit Tunisia and Jordan.

Their mission comes ahead of a High-level meeting on Global Responsibility Sharing for Syrian Refugees on 30 March in Geneva.


Asia-Pacific: Paperless trade could yield billion-dollar benefits

A new treaty signed by Asian countries this week could generate more than US$250 billion a year for the region, the United Nations said on Friday.

The agreement will promote cross-border electronic trade, thus making the process more timely, efficient and transparent, according to the UN regional office, ESCAP.

ESCAP research shows that paperless trade could generate export gains of US$257 billion a year.

Export times would also decrease by nearly half while costs would be reduced by about one-third.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’37″



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