News in Brief 30 May 2017 (PM)

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Street scene in Baghdad, Iraq. Photo: UNAMI/Sanaa Kareem

UN will continue to stand by Iraq in fight against terror, pledges Guterres

The UN will continue to stand by all Iraqis in their fight against terror, following bombings on Tuesday that killed more than 30 civilians, according to news reports.

That was the message conveyed to reporters at UN Headquarters in New York, from UN chief António Guterres.

News agencies said one car bomb blew up shortly after midnight on Monday, as large numbers of crowds broke their fast in observance of the holy month of Ramadan.

Another bombing occurred a few hours later.

The Secretary-General expressed his deep sympathies to the families of the dead and wished a speedy recovery to those injured.

The Daesh, or ISIL terror group claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Here's UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, speaking on behalf of Mr Guterres.

"He reiterates that the United Nations will continue to stand by the Government and people of Iraq in their efforts to fight terrorism and hopes the perpetrators of this outrage will be swiftly apprehended and prosecuted."

Around 200,000 Iraqis still trapped in areas of western Mosul: OCHA

Around 200,000 Iraqis trapped in pockets of western Mosul still controlled by Daesh fighters, are at "greater risk" than at any stage of the campaign to retake the city.

That's the view of UN Resident Coordinator in Iraq, Lise Grande, who said that there were three neighbourhoods to the north of the Old City as well as the Old City itself, where civilians were walled in.

Last week, the Iraqi government asked civilians to flee along so-called "safe passages" out of the areas of intense fighting, but Ms Grande said the routes were fraught with danger.

"We are deeply concerned about the safety of these civilians; in fact we feel that those civilians are probably at greater risk now than at any stage of the entire campaign."

Mediterranean rescues top 60,000 as more armed gangs attack refugees at sea

More than 1,720 migrants and refugees have died or gone missing trying to cross the Mediterranean so far this year, while more than 60,000 have been rescued.

Those are the latest figures from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) which stressed that saving lives remains its top priority on the dangerous crossings.

The agency added that it had received reports of more armed criminals approaching boats, wounding and stealing from passengers.

Several who landed in Italy over the weekend were suffering gunshot wounds.

UNHCR is also appealing for urgent safe passage for 41 Syrian refugees stranded on the Algerian-Moroccan border, since 17 April.

Here's Stéphane Dujarric again.

"Both Algeria and Morocco consider the group not to be in their respective territory. The group includes children, women and babies – including at least one pregnant woman who is reportedly in need of a Caesarean section.

UNHCR calls on both governments to take instant and constructive steps to uphold international humanitarian imperatives and evacuate the refugees."

Science and technology "critical for development": IAEA chief

Science and technology are "critical for development" said the head of the International Atomic Energy Authority on Tuesday, at the opening of the IAEA's international conference on its Technical Cooperation Programme.

Director General Yukiya Amano said that "transferring nuclear technology to developing countries is core IAEA business.

"Partnerships are an essential element of our work", he added.

The IAEA's technical cooperation programme, the focus of the three-day event, is the primary mechanism for providing development assistance to Member States.

In 2016, the programme delivered support to 146 countries and territories, including 37 least developed countries.

"The technical cooperation programme has improved the health and prosperity of millions of people," added Mr Amano.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 3'16"

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