UN relief workers concerned about civilians in Mosul threatened by Iraqi forces

Speaking to reporters in New York, the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General said that some 360,000 people are believed to be caught between the fighters.“Families continue to arrive at the newly established mustering point at Badoush, northeast of Mosul, along the Syrian highway, where emergency assistance and basic services are being provided by humanitarian partners,” Stéphane Dujarric said, citing information from UN humanitarian authorities. Aid workers are responding to these and families still trapped inside “wherever access allows.” They are providing emergency response packages with basic food, water and hygiene items. Some 2.6 million people have received aid since October. The UN and partners is trucking 3.1 million litres of water per day into eastern Mosul to meet water shortages. That figure was about 2.3 million litres at the end of April. In addition to aid, the UN is concerned about the high trauma and casualty rates. Since 17 October, health care partners report over 12,000 people have been referred to hospitals in Mosul and neighbouring governorates, and nearly half of these reported cases were from west Mosul only, Mr. Dujarric said. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said that new field hospitals have also been created, one for emergency reproductive and obstetric healthcare. read more

Wednesdays Daily Brief Women boost work profits saving biodiversity UK loses Chagos

The head of the UN relief and works agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) warned on Wednesday that despite weathering a “truly existential crisis” over funding last year, money to continue operations in the Gaza Strip will only last until mid-June. Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl told the Council it was “absolutely critical to avoid a breakdown of our food pipeline” and called on partners – 42 of whom increased their contributions to UNRWA last year after the United States withdrew funding – “to actively mobilize in support of our efforts”. He was briefing via video-link, along with the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, on the overall political and humanitarian situation surrounding the Israel-Palestine conflict. Our full report is here. UK Government austerity measures created ‘record levels of hunger and homelessness’: Independent UN expert  Businesses perform better – sometimes by as much as 20 per cent – when they employ more women in top positions, UN labour experts said on Wednesday, warning nonetheless that most still pay lip-service to the idea of gender equality in the boardroom. In a report covering 13,000 firms in 70 countries, the International Labour Organization (ILO), said that globally, around six in 10 agreed that gender diversity improved their business, with almost as many citing gains in creativity, innovation and reputation. In terms of profits, almost three-quarters of companies that tracked gender diversity in management positions reported increases of between five and 20 per cent, while the majority saw 10 to 15 per cent growth.  Read the full story here. Preserving biodiversity vital to reverse tide of climate change, UN stresses on International Day  With potential to boost profits by up to 20 per cent, a woman’s place is at work: ILO  The food people eat around the world is becoming “alarmingly homogenous” according to UN data, even though access to a wide variety of nutritious food has never been greater.  That’s one of the warning signs being discussed as the world marks the International Day for Biological Diversity on Wednesday, which this year highlights the impact of environmental neglect on food security and public health. The day themed “Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health” aims to leverage knowledge and spread awareness of how much all life depends on biodiversity. Full story here, and here’s our report from earlier this month on the key biodiversity study showing the cost of human behaviour for species worldwide.  UK’s ‘unlawful’ occupation of the Chagos Archipelago condemned by large majority in UN General Assembly  The UN General Assembly has backed a motion censuring the United Kingdom’s administration of the Chagos Islands, in the Indian Ocean, urging the island chain to be reunified with neighbouring Mauritius within six months. There were 116 votes for the motion, with more than 50 abstentions, and just five votes against, including the UK, United States, and Hungary.  The vote followed on from an Advisory Opinion issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the end of February (UN News report here), which stated the UK was “under an obligation” to ends its administration of the islands “as rapidly as possible”. The UK retained sovereignty over the islands after Mauritius gained its independence from Britain in 1968, following a reported compensation deal between the two States. The entire Chagossian population was forcibly removed from the territory between 1967 and 1973 and prevented from returning. The Court said that ending UK control was a necessary step to full decolonization of Mauritius in a manner “consistent with the right of peoples to self-determination. The islands are known by the UK Foreign Office as the British Indian Ocean Territory. The resolution is not binding on the UK to act, but according to news reports, the overwhelming vote against, followed a robust lobbying campaign at the UN and in national capitals.  Palestine refugees’ relief chief warns Security Council money to fund Gaza operations will run out in June  “The results of the austerity experiment are crystal clear. Record levels of hunger and homelessness, falling life expectancy for some groups, even fewer community services and greatly reduced policing.”  This damning assessment of the UK Government’s austerity policies comes from Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, whose report on the UK was released in Geneva on Wednesday.  Mr. Alston condemned austerity as an “ideological project” which has seen UK standards of well-being descend fast “in a remarkably short period of time, as a result of deliberate policy choices.” Although the UK unemployment rate is at a historic low, said the independent UN expert, millions of workers rely on charity to make ends meet. Close to 40 per cent of children are predicted to be living in poverty by 2021, and 16 per cent of people over 65 live in relative poverty. The report comes some five months after his fact-finding mission to the country, which saw him warn that Brexit – the UK’s delayed departure from the European Union – risks driving more people into poverty. Algeria and Argentina officially recognized as malaria-free  Two more countries are officially free from one of the world’s leading killers: malaria. The UN health agency, WHO, announced on Wednesday that the disease is no longer present in Algeria and Argentina. WHO guidelines say that a country can be said to be malaria-free if it can prove that it has interrupted transmission of the disease for at least three consecutive years. In Argentina’s case, malaria was last reported in 2010; in Algeria, the disease last surfaced in 2013. The announcement follows years of improved surveillance, free diagnosis and treatment in both countries, that has allowed for “every last case” of malaria to be rapidly identified and treated, WHO said in a statement.  Fighting hate crimes in the courts: UN justice experts meet at Vienna conference    Warning in April of a “disturbing groundswell of intolerance and hate-based violence,” UN chief António Guterres identified the fight against hate crime and hate speech as one of his top priorities for 2019. Following the Secretary-General’s launch of a UN system-wide plan of action to tackle hate speech, the responsibility of criminal justice systems in preventing and countering these kinds of crimes, is being debated at the 28th Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, currently taking place in Vienna. Speaking at the opening session, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said that crimes motivated by intolerance or discrimination can only be countered through international collaboration, and by ‘strengthening effective, fair, humane and accountable criminal justice systems that protect people and their rights.” Listen to, or download our audio News In Brief for 22 May, on SoundCloud: read more

Woman in critical condition after being punched by robber riding pillion on

The robbers made off on the vehicle in the direction of Stag Lane and no arrests have been made.Detective Sergeant Richard Lewsley said: “This was a horrific attack, the victim had her bag on her shoulder when the males approached her. “She resisted for some time until the pillion passenger punched her, causing her to fall backwards.”She is currently in a critical condition and we need to catch these males before they strike again.”Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting CAD 7898/04 June. You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. A scooter inside Watches of Switzerland on London’s Regent Street after raiders on scooters armed with knives and hammers entered the store and stole several items of propertyCredit:PA/John Stillwell A woman is in a critical condition after she was punched when a moped gang stole her mobile phone in north London. It was the second moped-related crime of the day on the streets of the capital Monday after comedian Michael McIntyre was a victim of a similar gang when the windows of his Range Rover was smashed by two men wielding hammers in Hampstead. In a separate incident on Tuesday, a gang armed with knives stormed Watches of Switzerland on Regent Street and stole several items. The woman, 24, was walking along a tree lined residential street when she was approached by two thugs on a moped in north London just after 9pm Monday.They tried to grab her bag and phone and in the struggle the pillion passenger punched the lone woman knocking her off her feet.During the incident she suffered a head injury and was taken to a central London hospital where she remains in a critical condition. A scooter inside Watches of Switzerland on London's Regent Street after raiders on scooters armed with knives and hammers entered the store and stole several items of property Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more