News in Brief 28 October 2016 (PM)

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A child standing in front of his ground-flattened school after a bombardment in Ainjara village in rural Aleppo, Syria. Photo: UNICEF/Khalil Alshawi

Reported attack on western Aleppo school condemned

A reported attack on a school in the Syrian government-held western part of Aleppo city on Friday, which killed a number of children, has been condemned as a possible war crime by the UN Secretary-General.

In a statement, Ban Ki-moon said that those responsible for such attacks "must be brought to justice."

The UN chief repeated his call on the Security Council, to refer such attacks on schools in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The UN chief and other senior UN officials have demanded an immediate investigation into Wednesday's attack on a school in Hass, in rebel-held Idlib province, which if deliberate, would amount to a war crime.

More than 20 children were killed in Idlib, and UNICEF said that five schools had been hit since 11 October.

UNICEF negotiates release of nearly 900 children detained by Nigeria

Almost 900 children, who were being detained by Nigerian military forces in the north east of the country, have been freed following negotiations led by the UN Children's Fund, UNICEF.

UNICEF's Manuel Fontaine told a press conference in Geneva that he had visited the city of Maiduguri where the youngsters were being held in army barracks.

He said it was unclear how long they had been held there.

The children had been detained following army operations to retake land previously held by Boko Haram extremists.

Mr Fontaine added that the army had been detaining some civilians, suspecting collusion with the militant forces.

"We fear that there are kids being at least temporarily detained because they are being released from Boko Haram areas by the army, but then kept for a while. This is part of the advocacy we are having with the authorities that we feel that children, particularly the youngest ones, have nothing to do (with) those situations."

Plan launched to eradicate highly-contagious "sheep and goat plague"

A 15-year strategy to eradicate a highly-contagious animal virus, known as the "sheep and goat plague" or PPR, has been unveiled by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

OIE is partnering with the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the agencies say wiping out the disease by 2030 will be a major economic boost to pastoral communities across the world.

Annual losses attributable to PPR range from US$1.4 billion to US$2.1 billion.

The disease is lethal to small agricultural animals, killing 90 per cent of all those infected.

Here's UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.

"This disease causes major losses in regions home to millions of the world’s poorest people. Since it was first identified in Côte d’Ivoire in 1942, it has spread to 70 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia — in September 2016, Mongolia reported its first-ever case."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'31"

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