News in Brief 06 December 2017 (PM)

“No Plan B” for Middle East Peace Process: UN chief

The UN Secretary-General has reiterated his belief that there is “no alternative” to the two-State solution for Israelis and Palestinians.

Antonio Guterres was addressing reporters at UN Headquarters in New York on Wednesday following the announcement by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“From day one as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I have consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures that would jeopardize the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians. Jerusalem is a final-status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations between the two parties on the basis of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, taking into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides. I understand the deep attachment that Jerusalem holds in the hearts of so many people. It has been so for centuries and it will always be. In this moment of great anxiety, I want to make it clear: there is no alternative to the two-State solution. There is no Plan B. It is only by realizing the vision of two States living side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition, with Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Palestine, and all final status issues resolved permanently through negotiations, that the legitimate aspirations of both peoples will be achieved.”

Italian funding allows UNICEF to continue birth registration project in Ethiopia

A project between Italy and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) aims to ensure the basic rights and protection of more than 800,000 newborns and children in Ethiopia.

The partners have signed a Euros 1 million financing agreement to strengthen civil registration for children in Oromia and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ regions (SNNP) of the country.

It covers the second phase of a project to reach the remaining 50 per cent of the area targeted, over a 12-month period.

Activities to be implemented include improving the institutional and technical capabilities of regional agencies that register vital events, as well as providing them with modern devices and transportation to better reach remote and disadvantaged areas.

South African tax on sugary drinks welcomed by WHO

A decision by South Africa’s parliament to pass a bill on implementing a tax on sugary beverages has been welcomed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The bill was passed on Tuesday and the tax is set to come into effect in April.

It is expected to result in a roughly 11 per cent increase in the price of soft drinks.

WHO Representative in South Africa Dr. Rufaro Chatora called it “a brave and powerful step towards promoting the health of the country’s citizens and reducing diet-related noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes”.

The UN agency recommends Governments should introduce effective taxation on sugar-sweetened beverages to help reduce excessive sugar intake.

Globally, more than 30 countries have either introduced a tax or passed legislation to implement such a policy.

Source: United Nations Radio

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