News in Brief 20 June 2017 (PM)

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Migrants from the Mediterranean are rescued in the Channel of Sicily, Italy. Photo: IOM/Francesco Malavolta (file)

At least 130 feared dead following new shipwrecks in the Mediterranean

At least 130 are dead or missing following three new shipwrecks in the Mediterranean, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported on Tuesday.

The first involved a rubber dinghy which left Libya bound for Italy on 15 June which began sinking a few hours into its journey.

There were four survivors out of more than 100 believed to be on board, and another boat which left Libya on the same night also sank, said UNHCR.

Most of those lost are believed to be of Syrian and North African origin, including many families with children.

A third ship also sank on the same route, with seven feared dead.

UNHCR said the death toll was a reminder of the grave dangers faced by those trying to reach Europe by boat.

77,000 have attempted the crossing so far this year.

UN conference explores role of radiotherapy in battle against cancer

A UN conference organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is taking place in Vienna to look at the evolving role of radiotherapy in the global battle against cancer.

The Second International Conference on Advances in Radiation Oncology brings together more than 500 scientists and health professionals.

Among the topics being discussed are personalized radiation medicine; future trends in diagnostic medicine and radiotherapy, and healthcare economics.

Practical demonstrations will also be taking place, including the procedure known as contouring that allows oncologists to define tumours using radiation, in order to spare healthy tissue.

Josette Sheeran appointed as new Special Envoy for Haiti

Former World Food Programme (WFP) chief Josette Sheeran has been appointed as the new UN Special Envoy for Haiti.

Ms Sheeran has a long track-record of humanitarian work on behalf of Haiti, including serving as United States Under-Secretary of State in 2006, where she visited the island as part of a UN High-Level Panel looking at development assistance.

As head of WFP, she worked with the Haitian government on hurricane preparedness and guided the agency's US$279 million relief operation following the 2010 earthquake.

As Special Envoy she will be in charge of the UN's new approach to reduce the impact of cholera in Haiti, and support national efforts towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

The Secretary-General's office on Tuesday also announced the appointment of Sri Lankan Jayathma Wickramanyake as the next UN Envoy on Youth.

She has represented, and motivated, global youth development on the international stage since she was 21, and helped transform the sector in her home country.

And the new Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility will be Maria Soledad Cisternas Reyes of Chile.

The UN Spokesperson said she would lead a concerted effort to ensure people with disabilities are not left behind in the 2030 Agenda, promoting disabled rights, with particular emphasis on accessibility for all.

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’34″

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