No place for children in conflict, UN chief tells Security Council
By Gistflash News
June 29, 2021
The disregard for children’s rights amid war and upheaval “is shocking and heartbreaking,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday during a high-level open debate in the Security Council, held virtually.
Guterres urged warring parties to prioritise the prevention of violations against boys and girls, and called on countries to support their protection at all times.
“There is no place for children in conflict, and we must not allow conflict to trample on the rights of children,” he said.
The secretary-general presented his latest report on Children and Armed Conflict, which was published last week.
The report revealed that in 2020, grave violations were committed against some 19,300 youngsters affected by fighting in countries such as Afghanistan, Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Recruitment and use in hostilities remained the top violations, followed by killing and maiming and denial of humanitarian access.
“Moreover, new and deeply concerning trends emerged: an exponential increase in the number of children abducted and in sexual violence against boys and girls.
“We are also seeing schools and hospitals, constantly attacked, looted, destroyed or used for military purposes, with girls’ educational and health facilities targeted disproportionately,’’ Guterres said.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for children worldwide, the crisis has magnified the challenges faced by those caught up in conflict, according to Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“We had hoped that parties to conflict would turn their attention from fighting each other, to fighting the virus,’’ she said, underlining why the agency supported the secretary-general’s call for a global ceasefire.
“Sadly, as this annual report shows, this call went unheeded”.
Instead of laying down their arms, Fore said warring parties continued to fight, making it difficult for the UN and partners to reach children in need.
“And lockdowns and travel constraints made the already challenging work of supporting these children all the more difficult.
“Affecting our ability to reach children with lifesaving support, constraining our work to release children from the ranks of armed groups, and slowing our efforts to trace and reunify children with their families and begin the long process of reintegration”.
The violations these youngsters have suffered come with long-lasting “invisible impacts”, including months or years of lost education, Academy Award-winning actor and activist Forest Whitaker told the Council.
“Such gaps will turn into jeopardized careers and reduced opportunities.
“And, in many cases, their opportunities will be also limited because of a second invisible impact of the grave violations, social stigma,” he said.
Magnitude 5.8 earthquake hits Greek island of Crete
By Gistflash News
Sept 27, 2021
A magnitude 5.8 strong quake hit Greece’s Crete island on Monday, according to the Geodynamics Institute of the National Observatory of Athens.
The tremor’s epicentre was located at a depth of 10 km, some 25 km south of the city of Heraklion, the capital of Crete island, while aftershocks up to 4.3 magnitude have followed, according to Greek scientists.
Material damage has been reported, with no injuries until now, local officials told Greek national news agency AMNA.
Earlier, the Euro Mediterranean Seismological Centre put the quake’s magnitude at 6.2, which was later revised to 6.0.
WHO investigators seeking COVID-19 origin going back to China
By Gistflash News
Sept 27, 2021
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is launching a new investigation into the origins of COVID-19, months after an earlier probe ended without drawing firm conclusions, according to a report published.
WHO was putting together a team of some 20 scientists, who will be charged with finding new evidence in China and other locales, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The group will examine whether the virus emerged from a laboratory, a theory that has been angrily rejected by China.
In December 2020, WHO investigators began visits to Wuhan, China, where the first known outbreak of the virus took place.
But their March 2021 report said they had gotten insufficient information from Chinese scientists to answer key questions about COVID-19’s origin.
In August, U.S. intelligence agencies issued a separate report saying they also could not make firm conclusions about COVID-19’s origins.
Florida Gov. appoints Nigerian-American, Joseph Ladapo Surgeon-General
By Gistflash News
Sept 25, 2021
Ron DeSantis, Florida Governor, U.S. has appointed a Nigerian-American, Dr Joseph Ladapo, as Florida Surgeon-General and Secretary of the Department of Health.
DeSantis in a statement posted on the Florida Department of Health website, stated that he was pleased to announce Ladapo for the position.
“I am pleased to announce that Ladapo will lead the Florida department of health as our state’s next surgeon-general
“Ladapo comes to us by way of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, with a superb background.”
According to him, Ladapo has had both a remarkable academic and medical career with a strong emphasis in health policy research.
The governor said: ” Ladapo will bring great leadership to the department of health, ” thanking both Dr Scott Rivkees and Dr Shamarial Roberson for their hard work on behalf of all Floridians.
Lieutenant-Governor, Jeanette Nuñez described Ladapo’s as, “an excellent choice to serve as our next surgeon general.
“Ladapo has impeccable credentials and a strong vision to effectively serve the people of Florida at the helm of our public health agency.
“Through his service to our state, we will continue Florida’s work to advance our public health goals,” Nuñez said.
Ladapo said he is honored to have been chosen by DeSantis to serve as Florida’s next surgeon-general.
“We must make health policy decisions rooted in data and not in fear.
“From California, I have observed the different approaches taken by governors across the country and I have been impressed by DeSantis’ leadership and determination,” he said.
The new surgeon-general said he was impressed by DeSantis’ leadership to ensure that Floridians were afforded all opportunities to maintain their health and wellness, while preserving their freedoms as Americans.
“It is a privilege to join his team and serve the people of Florida,” he said.
Ladapo was recently granted a professorship at the University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine.
Prior to joining UF, he served as an associate professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA),caring for hospitalised patients.
He is a graduate of Wake Forest University, who also holds an MD from Harvard Medical School and a PhD in Health Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
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