News in Brief 17 August 2016 (PM)

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Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City speaks at ECOSOC event at UN Headquarters in NY (2014). UN File Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

Former US Mayor Bloomberg named UN Global Ambassador

Former three-time Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg has been named Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and respiratory diseases are some of the main types of NCDs.

Each year, 16 million people die from these diseases before the age of 70.

Noncommunicable diseases and injuries are responsible for 43 million deaths each year.

That's almost 80 per cent of deaths worldwide.

Mr Bloomberg has been working with WHO on tobacco control and injury prevention for the past decade.

As Global Ambassador, the former Mayor says he intends to "bring greater awareness and action to this solvable crisis".

Food rations for South Sudan refugees in Uganda to be cut by half

A funding shortage has forced a revision of survival rations for refugees from South Sudan living in Uganda, the UN warned on Thursday.

Refugees will see their food rations or cash assistance reduced by 50 per cent starting this week.

An appeal has been made to donors by the Government, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

They are asking them to urgently speed their contributions to the humanitarian response to refugees in Uganda to end the funding crisis.

Farhan Haq, the UN deputy spokesperson has more.

"Around 200,000 refugees who arrived in the African country before July 2015 will have their food ration or cash assistance reduced by 50 per cent starting this week. Low levels of funding, together with a large number of new arrivals fleeing to Uganda from South Sudan since 7 July, have left the refugee response with no choice but to re-prioritize their focus on the refugees in greatest need."

The humanitarian response was already severely underfunded before the latest outbreak of violence in South Sudan's capital Juba which has since prompted more than 70,000 to cross the border in to Uganda.

Brazil urged by UN rights expert not to judge children as adults

Brazilian lawmakers are being urged to reject a proposal that would lower the age of criminal responsibility from 18 to 16 years for heinous crimes.

A UN human rights expert made an urgent appeal on Thursday as the nation's Senate Committee moves to vote on the constitutional amendment.

Prosecuting adolescent offenders as adults would violate Brazil's obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Juan E. Méndez said.

The detention of children is inextricably linked with the ill-treatment of children, he noted.

There were heightened risks of violence, abuses, and acts of torture when deprived of their liberty.

The proposal would also worsen the currently already seriously overcrowded penitentiaries throughout Brazil.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 2’51″

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