News in Brief 22 August 2016 (PM)

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The Refugee Olympic Team poses with UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees Kelly Clements and staff in Rio's Olympic Village. Photo: UNHCR

Praise for Olympic Games and refugee athletes

Brazil has been praised by the UN Secretary-General for its successful hosting of the first-ever Olympic Games to be held in South America.

Ban Ki-moon applauded the hospitality displayed at the event, which wrapped up in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

The Rio Games also marked another first: the participation of an all-refugee team in the competition.

Its 10 members came from Syria, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia.

These athletes have changed the world's perception of the 65 million people worldwide who have been forced from their homes, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The agency's Deputy High Commissioner, Kelly Clements, said they have inspired everyone to do more to work for peace and to help refugees.

Rio de Janeiro is preparing to host the Paralympic Games starting in September.

UNHCR said refugee athletes will also be taking part as members of the Independent Paralympic Team.

Security key to stability in areas destroyed by Boko Haram

Re-establishing security in rural north-east Nigeria is crucial for ensuring a better future for people there and in neighbouring countries, a senior UN official has stated.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel Toby Lanzer concluded his fifth visit to the region on Monday.

Mr Lanzer said there has been "considerable improvement" in Bama, a town in Borno State, which is among those hard hit by the insurgent group Boko Haram.

He said Bama is now "firmly under the control of the Nigerian authorities" and felt more stable and safe since he had visited the town earlier in the year.

A school and clinic have been opened there, while the World Food Programme and other UN agencies are supporting thousands of people.

Young people from Bama, who had been displaced to the state capital, Maidguri, have also returned and are assisting aid agencies, he added.

However, Mr Lanzer underscored that much more needs to be done in the town, and others in Nigeria and across the Lake Chad Basin, where nine million people are in need of emergency relief.

He said continued security is the key for sustainable peace, together with greater engagement by the authorities.

Strategy seeks to stamp out fake medicines in African countries

A strategy to ensure the availability of safe, good quality and effective medicines in African countries has been adopted by health ministers from across the continent meeting this week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the proposal will help strengthen national authorities which regulate medicines.

The aim is that by 2018, countries will ensure regular surveillance of all medical products on the market.

WHO noted that fake medicines and medical products are sold "every day" in open air markets or on unregulated websites in several African countries.

These items promote drug resistance and diminish people's confidence in health professionals, pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors, and in health systems, according to the UN agency.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3'08"

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