News in Brief 31 May 2017 (AM)

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An aerial view of Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo: UNAMA/Ari Gaitanis

The UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has condemned Wednesday's "indiscriminate suicide attack" in the capital, Kabul, which has left dozens dead and more than 300 injured.

The blast took place during rush hour in an area crowded with civilians, in the diplomatic area of the city.

In addition to the hundreds killed and injured by the car bomb, "considerable damage to the immediate and surrounding area was caused with some embassies seriously affected," said a statement from UNAMA.

The Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, said that the deliberate attack was "morally reprehensible and an outrage," especially during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

He said it was a clear act of terror and a serious violation of humanitarian law.

"The use of explosive weapons in civilian-populated areas must stop," he added.

News reports said that the Taliban extremist group had denied responsibility for the attack.

Kabul witnessed the highest number of civilian casualties than any other region in Afghanistan last year, said UNAMA.

Victims of Cyclone Mora include Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi hosts

Victims of Cyclone Mora which hit south-eastern Bangladesh on Tuesday and killed at least six people, include refugees who fled across the border from Myanmar.

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said that hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas staying in camps had been affected along with their host communities.

They fled following a military crackdown against the mainly-Muslim minority last October in Myanmar's Rakhine state, which used to be home to around 1.1 million Rohingya.

The UN on Tuesday appointed a three-person team to investigate grave allegations of human rights abuses against the Rohingya.

UNHCR's Representative in Bangladesh said more than 20 refugees had been injured in camps, but were receiving treatment.

Initial reports suggest around 20 per cent of all refugee homes were completely destroyed, and most had suffered damage due to the high winds and falling trees.

WHO chief hails "remarkable results" from investing in health

The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) has hailed the "remarkable" results that come from investing in global health, in her final speech to the annual World Health Assembly.

Margaret Chan said that the end of the 70th assembly marked an historic moment, adding that it had been a record-breaking assembly that had reached new agreements on non-communicable diseases, chemicals management, and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Speaking in Geneva, she also welcomed the new three-year strategy agreed to prevent epidemics of so-called vector-borne diseases in all countries.

She also paid tribute to her successor, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who was elected last week, stressing the need for UN Member States to provide healthcare for all.

"Investment in health produces remarkable, measurable results also as a poverty reduction strategy. The world is hungry for success stories; WHO is well positioned to deliver them. Under the leadership of Dr Tedros, I have every confidence that WHO will do so."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’46″

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