News in Brief 21 July 2017 (PM)

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Youth volunteers and counsellors discussing protection against HIV through correct knowledge and skills, with a group of adolescent boys in Zamboanga City, Philippines. Photo: UNICEF/Palasi

Drug-resistant HIV "a growing challenge to global health": WHO chief

A strain of HIV that is resistant to some of the most widely used HIV medicines is "a growing challenge to global health" that cannot be ignored.

That's according to the World Health Organization's (WHO) Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who called on countries  to "proactively address the rising levels of resistance" in order to achieve the global target of ending AIDS by 2030.

He said that the growing threat could undermine global progress in treating and preventing HIV infection if early and effective action is not taken.

Here's UN Deputy Spokesperson, Farhan Haq.

"The WHO HIV drug resistance report 2017 shows that in 6 of the 11 countries surveyed in Africa, Asia and Latin America, over 10% of people starting antiretroviral therapy had a strain of HIV that was resistant to some of the most widely used HIV medicines. Once the threshold of 10% has been reached, WHO recommends those countries urgently review their HIV treatment programmes."

UN chief congratulates Sri Lanka for commitment on missing persons

The UN Secretary-General has congratulated the government of Sri Lanka for setting up a so-called Office of Missing Persons (OMP), describing it as an "important step" for all citizens.

António Guterres said in a statement that it should help those who are "still looking for the truth about their loved ones" following the 26-year conflict in the country between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels.

The conflict ended seven years ago, with the UN advocating strongly for human rights to be central to forging a lasting peace.

The UN recommended that Sri Lanka set up a judicial body to deal with conflict-related grievances, a move that was agreed last year.

Here's Farhan Haq again:

"The United Nations stands ready to support this process and the Secretary-General looks forward to the OMP becoming operational as soon as possible, starting with the appointment of the independent commissioners."

Pope makes "symbolic" donation to FAO's fight against famine in East Africa

Pope Francis has made an unprecedented donation of 25,000 Euros to the Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) efforts to fight food insecurity and famine in East Africa.

The pontiff described his gift as a "symbolic contribution to an FAO programme that provides seeds to rural families, in areas affected by the combined effects of conflict and drought"

His donation was made public in a letter written to the FAO Director-General, by the Vatican's Permanent Observer to the UN food agencies in Rome.

The donation arose from a pledge he made earlier this month, and was "inspired also by the desire to encourage governments."

Pope Francis, who has made solidarity a major theme of his pontificate, is set to visit FAO’s headquarters on 16 October to mark World Food Day.

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'25"

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