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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-12-26

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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

ARCHIVES

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

There are no noon briefings planned until January 5, 2008.

Developments within the UN system will be posted daily on this website daily throughout this period.

Friday, December 26, 2008

BAN KI-MOON IS HOPEFUL COMMISSION ON BHUTTO KILLING COULD BE ESTABLISHED SOON

One year ago, assassins took the life of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan. On this painful anniversary, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stands in solidarity with the Government and the people of Pakistan and assures them of his commitment to contribute to their search for truth and justice.

In response to the request that the Secretary-General establish an independent Commission of Inquiry into the circumstance of the killing, the UN Secretariat has been in consultations with the Government of Pakistan to determine the nature of the commission, the scope of its mandate and the modalities for its establishment. The Secretariat has also been in consultations on this matter with members of the United Nations Security Council.

The Secretary-General is hopeful that, with the progression of the discussions, the commission could be established in the near future.

HUMANITARIAN SUPPLIES CROSS FROM ISRAEL INTO GAZA

The Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) reports that more than 105 truckloads of food and medical supplies, including 40 for humanitarian aid agencies, were allowed to enter Gaza today.

Included among the supplies allowed in today were: six trucks containing flour and salt for the World Food Programme; three trucks containing medical supplies for the World Health Organization; and nine trucks for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) containing rice and whole milk.

Regarding fuel, 428,000 liters of industrial gas and nearly 75 tons of cooking gas -- but no petrol or diesel -- were allowed entry into Gaza today. As a result, Gazas power plant has now been able to turn on one turbine unit. But more fuel supplies will be needed soon to keep this turbine running past Sunday morning.

U.N.-TRAINED TEAM MAKES BIGGEST DRUG SEIZURE IN TAJIKISTANS HISTORY

Tajikistans Interior Ministrys Mobile Deployment Team, which has been trained and supported by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recently

seized some 560 kilos of drugs. The seizure consisted mainly of hashish, but also some 30 kilos of heroin. This is the biggest single seizure in Tajikistan's history.

The Team was established within the framework of the UNODC project "Strengthening control along the Tajik-Afghan Border," which aims to identify, investigate, and prosecute those groups involved in illicit drug trafficking.

The Team became operational in January 2008. Since then, it has carried out a substantial number of operations, including joint operations with other law enforcement agencies. As a result of those activities, 16 persons have been detained and more than 900 kilos of drugs have been seized.

COTE DIVOIRE: MISSION WELCOMES SIGNING OF ADDITIONAL ACCORD IN PEACE PROCESS

The United Nations Mission in Côte dIvoire (UNOCI) has welcomed the signing of an annex to the Ouagadougou Political Agreement. The Mission says this fourth such addition to the Ouagadougou agreement marks a step ahead in the peace process.

It notes that the signing comes at a time of encouraging progress as citizens are being registered in greater numbers ahead of a presidential election now expected to take place during 2009.

The Mission calls on all Ivorian parties to work hard to implement the relevant provisions of this latest agreement.

CHOLERA DEATHS IN ZIMBABWE TOPS 1,500

The number of suspected cholera cases in Zimbabwe has risen to 26,497 with 1,518 deaths reported as of December 25, according to the World Health Organization.

WHO reports that its technical departments are coordinating their activities to provide consolidated support to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and partners. A Cholera Control Command Centre is taking shape to coordinate the implementation of the response.

Under-resourced and under-staffed health system and inadequate access to safe drinking water and appropriate hygiene remain the main threats to health.

As the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe deepens and its health systems collapse, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, has intensified its efforts to aid pregnant women and their families by providing critical supplies to hospitals and support to health personnel.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055


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