News in Brief 5 June 2017 (AM)

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Young residents of the National Tapajos forest swim in the river to cool-off from the intense heat of the Brazilian sun. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Clean-ups of beaches, parks organized to mark World Environment Day

Thousands of people around the globe are joining massive clean-ups of beaches and parks to mark World Environment Day, the UN said on Monday.

Other events include the lighting up in green of 30 iconic landmarks and an announcement by countries to protect 1,600 square kilometres of land.

Celebrated on 5 June every year, the main gatherings are being hosted by Canada under the theme of connecting people with nature.

The theme also highlights the vast benefits that clean environments provide for humanity, from food security and improved health to water supply and climatic stability, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

People are also being encouraged to "simply get back outdoors" for the day.

100,000 children in west Mosul threatened as conflict escalates

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Iraq said it has received "alarming" reports of civilians including several children being killed in west Mosul.

Some were reportedly killed as they desperately tried to flee the fighting which is intensifying by the hour, the agency confirmed on Monday.

"Children's lives are on the line. Children are being killed, injured and used as human shields," according to Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Iraq.

They are experiencing and witnessing terrible violence and in some cases, he warned, they have been forced to participate in the fighting and violence.

Mr Hawkins adds that an estimated 100,000 girls and boys remain in extremely dangerous conditions in the Old City and other areas of west Mosul.

UNICEF is calling on the warring parties in the area to protect children and keep them out of harm's way at all times, in line with their obligations under humanitarian law.

The agency also called for attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, clinics, homes, schools and water systems to cease immediately.

Cyprus leaders "agree to reconvene" for talks in Geneva in June

The leaders of Cyprus have agreed on the need to reconvene in June for a conference on the reunification of the island following a meeting with the UN Secretary-General on Sunday.

The Mediterranean island has been split since 1974 when a Turkish army invasion followed an attempted military coup supported by Greece.

UN-led talks that were being held in Switzerland came to a halt in May.

The Greek Cypriot leader, Nicos Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akıncı agreed to continue in parallel bi-communal negotiations in Geneva on "all outstanding issues" starting with territory, property, governance and power-sharing.

They both agreed that security is of "vital importance" to the two communities.

The UN has played a peacekeeping role in Cyprus for more than 50 years.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 2’37”

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