News in Brief 31 May 2016 (PM)

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Boys play on a destroyed Syrian army tank in north-western Aleppo. Photo: UNICEF/Romenzi

UN concerned about 8,000 Syrians trapped in Aleppo

The fate of Syrians living on the outskirts of the city of Aleppo in areas at risk of attack by the Daesh terrorist group has become a major concern for the UN.

Around 8,000 civilians are trapped by fighting around two towns in northern Aleppo following advances by Daesh into areas controlled by armed groups.

An unknown number of people are also unable to flee due to fighting and the closure of the main road leading north towards the town of Azaz in north-western Syria.

The UN Resident Coordinator for the country, Yacoub El Hillo has called on all parties to the conflict to allow people to move freely and to protect civilians trying to reach safety.

Judgment against former Chad leader "historic" says UN Chief

The delivery of a judgment against the former President of Chad has been described by UN chief as a "historic" day for its people, the region and beyond.

The Extraordinary African Chambers in the Senegalese Courts found Hissène Habré guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The judgment also sends a strong signal to those who would perpetrate serious crimes of international concern that they will be held accountable for their actions, Ban Ki-moon noted.

It also includes, he said, those at the highest echelons of political power.

Gaza executions condemned

The execution of three men by authorities in Gaza on Tuesday has been condemned by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The death sentence was carried out despite "serious and widespread" concerns that the men did not get a fair trial and in spite of appeals by local and international actors to halt it.

The Palestinian President Abbas had not approved the capital punishment as required under Palestinian law, effectively denying these men their right to seek pardon or commute their sentence.

The Human Rights Office expressed deep concern about further planned executions, and reiterated that death sentences carried out following unfair trials are in violation of international law.

WHO: Cancelling the 2016 Olympics will not alter spread of Zika 

Cancelling or changing the location of the 2016 Olympics will not significantly alter the international spread of the Zika virus, the UN health agency has said.

The Olympic Games are scheduled to start in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro on 5 August 2016.

Zika first appeared in the Western Hemisphere last May after what was described as a "mysterious outbreak" was reported in Brazil.

According to media reports, doctors and medical experts backed an open letter to the WHO Director-General and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) calling for the Games to be moved or postponed in the name of "public health".

The agency has identified pregnant women as "most at risk" and advises them not to travel to Brazil or any other area with ongoing Zika virus transmission.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 2’58″

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