News in Brief 21 June 2017 (PM)

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Tadamichi Yamamoto. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

UNAMA "doing all it can to contain political tensions" in Afghanistan

The UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is doing all it can to contain political tensions that have been exacerbated by a succession of recent terrorist attacks.

That's according to the head of UNAMA, Tadamichi Yamamoto, briefing the Security Council on Wednesday.

He noted that there had been indications since last summer that the country's "broad political consensus" was fraying, and political factions had now begun to criticize the government and demand reforms.

Mr Yamamoto said he was particularly worried that political fault-lines were emerging based on ethnicity.

"The existence of opposition is natural in any political scene, but the amount of mistrust is growing and there is an increasing resort to uncompromising slogans and statements which can fuel further violent protest. Efforts at inclusiveness and building consensus for political stability are critical."

Continuing detention of official in Colombia must end says UN

The UN is calling for the "immediate and unconditional release" of an official working for the world body, taken and subsequently detained on 3 May in Colombia.

The UN is not naming the official, but is calling on those holding him to provide proof that he is still alive.

The UN Mission in Colombia was tasked by the Security Council in 2016, to support the historic peace process there by monitoring and verifying the laying down of arms by former rebels who fought a five-decade civil war.

The final stage of disarmament was recently initiated by the FARC rebel group.

In a statement issued at UN Headquarters in New York on Wednesday, Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq had this to say.

"In accordance with human rights principles and national and international law, the UN will continue to demand the immediate and unconditional release of its colleague, as well as full respect of his personal integrity. The detained colleague has been working with dedication as a member of the UN System to serve the populations most in need. Our priority continues to be his well-being and that of his family, as well as his safe and immediate release."

Yoga for Health is main theme of International Day

The ancient practice of yoga can contribute to a healthier mind and body, in a "holistic" way.

That's the main theme for The International Day of Yoga, celebrated each 21 June.

The UN General Assembly proclaimed the day three years ago, in recognition of yoga's universal appeal, and numerous benefits.

The organizers said that Wednesday's focus on yoga for health recognized its "useful contribution to humankind's quest to achieve sustainable development," as well as a "move towards lifestyles that are in harmony with nature."

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'14"

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