News in Brief 18 May 2017 (PM)

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Two Syrian refugees, a brother and sister, in Jordan. (file) Photo: UNICEF/Lucy Lyon

UN "alarmed" as dozens reported dead in heavy fighting around Syrian village

The UN said on Thursday it was alarmed at reports of dozens of deaths during heavy fighting in Syria, in and around the village of Aqareb.

News reports suggest that the fighting occurred between ISIL extremists and the Syrian army together with allied forces.

Aqareb is under Syrian government control.

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said the majority of the civilians caught up in the fighting were women and children.

"A large number of people were also reportedly injured due to missile shelling. In addition to the people killed and injured, several people are reportedly missing and believed to have been kidnapped."

World's deadliest weather events listed in new report

A list of the deadliest weather events ever recorded has been released by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The report puts cyclones at the top, specifically the Bangladesh cyclone of November 1970, which killed an estimated 300,000.

Bangladesh was also the location of the most lethal tornado ever recorded, which killed 1,300 people in the Manikganj district, in 1989.

A single lightening flash, killed 21 people in a hut in what is now Zimbabwe, in December 1975.

The report marks the first time that the WMO Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes has addressed the impact of major events.

WMO chief Petteri Taalas, said that "the human aspect inherent in extreme events should never be lost" adding that lessons needed to be learned from previous disasters, to prevent future ones.

New "centre of excellence" to reduce methane in mines planned for China

A new initiative to enhance mine safety and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in China, was announced on Thursday by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

UNECE signed a Memorandum of Understanding with state-owned partner, the Shanxi Coking Coal Group, to open an International Centre of Excellence on Coal Mine Methane, in 2018.

China is one of the largest emitters of coal mine methane, representing 43% of the global total, and in 2016 the industrial giant produced 3.4 billion tonnes of coal.

Most of the methane produced, escapes into the atmosphere and capturing those emissions would significantly reduce the industry's greenhouse gas footprint.

UNECE Executive Secretary, Christian Friis Bach, said that setting up the new centre was an "important step in the transition to a sustainable energy future."

"We are pleased to work with China to achieve these objectives" he added.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'13"

 

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