News in Brief 5 January 2017 (AM)

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A school of Moorish Idols cruise over the coral reef, Ha'apai, Tonga. Photo: UNEP GRID Arendal/Glenn Edney

Climate change threatening coral reefs

One of the planet's most important ecosystems, coral reefs, is under threat from climate change.

That information comes from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), citing research published recently in a scientific journal.

UNEP said coral reefs are home to at least one-quarter of all marine life and generate roughly US$375 billion annually from fisheries, tourism and coastal protection activities.

The UN agency explained that coral reefs are vulnerable to climate change because they are easily affected by warmer than usual water.

When sea temperatures rise, the algae that give coral its bright colours leave their host, causing it to look white: a process known as coral bleaching.

The new research warns that if current trends continue and countries fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, severe bleaching will occur every year on 99 per cent of the world's coral reefs within this century.

The prediction is based on high-resolution projections using global climate models which estimate when and where annual bleaching will occur.

The projections show that reefs in Taiwan and around the Turks and Caicos islands in the Caribbean will be among the first affected.

Security Council condemns deadly attack on peacekeepers in the CAR

The killing of two Moroccan peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR) on Tuesday has been condemned in the strongest terms by the UN Security Council.

The blue helmets were part of a convoy from the UN mission in the country, MINUSCA, which came under attack while escorting trucks transporting fuel.

Two of their colleagues also sustained injuries.

The Security Council underlined that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute a war crime.

Members called on the authorities in the CAR to swiftly investigate the incident and bring those responsible to justice.

Italy donation supports shelter and education in Gaza

A one million euro contribution from the Government of Italy will help to provide shelter and basic education for thousands of Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip, the UN agency working in the region, UNRWA, has reported.

The funding, which amounts to just over US$1 million, will go towards one month of cash assistance for transitional shelter for some 2,330 families.

It also will support 75 staff at two primary schools serving more than 1,900 children.

UNRWA pointed out that the Italian contribution has come as winter is fast approaching.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’34″

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