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UN: Escalating war in Yemen fuels hunger and economic collapse

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Hundreds of civilians were killed and thousands displaced in Yemen over the past month, and conflict continues to escalate, while aid is coming short.

Escalating military action in Yemen has left the Arab world’s poorest nation facing growing hunger and economic collapse with no political solution in sight.

More than 15,000 people were displaced over the past month, and more than 350 civilians were killed or injured in December, senior UN officials said on Wednesday.

In the seventh year of conflict, the warring parties seem to be seeking military victory, UN special envoy Hans Grundberg told the UN Security Council.

“There is no sustainable long-term solution to be found on the battlefield” and both sides must talk even if they are not ready to lay down their arms, he added.

358 civilians were reportedly killed or injured in December, “a figure that is tied for the highest in three years,” Ramesh Rajasingham, the UN’s deputy humanitarian chief, said.

READ MORE: Civilians killed in Houthi missile attack on Yemen fuel station

“An escalatory cycle”

“We appear to once more be entering an escalatory cycle with predictable devastating implications for civilians and for the immediate prospects of peace,” Grundberg told the council.

Iranian-backed Houthi rebels are pressing their assault on the key city of Marib, the last government stronghold in northern Yemen, Grundberg said, as he expressed concern that battles could intensify on other fronts.

There is already renewed fighting in the southern province of Shabwa. Elsewhere, airstrikes have increased and fighting continues along dozens of front lines, as attacks have increased on neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

He also called accusations that ports in mainly Houthi-controlled Hodaida – a lifeline for delivering aid, food and fuel to the country – are being militarised “worrying.”

READ MORE: Saudi-led coalition pushes against Houthi gains in Yemen

Funding shortages

Moreover, programs providing food, water, protection for civilians and reproductive health services were forced to scale back or even close due to funding shortages in 2021, Rajasingham said.

Last year’s UN appeal for about $3.9 billion to help 16 million people was only 58 percent funded, the lowest level since 2015, and UN expects this year’s aid operation to need roughly as much money.

Rajaingham urged donors to sustain and if possible increase their support this year, while especially calling on the Houthis to improve access for humanitarian staff and to stop attempts to interfere with their work.

While humanitarian aid is essential, Rajasingham stressed that the biggest drivers of people’s needs are economic collapse accelerated by conflict.

Humanitarian needs could be reduced by a resumption of foreign exchange injections through the Central Bank, and policy decisions to lift import restrictions, Rajasingham added.

READ MORE: New realities in the Gulf: What’s in store for 2022?

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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Chief of Defence Force inducted into International Fellows Hall of Fame

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Chief of Defence Force Major General Abdulla Shamaal has been inducted into the International Fellows Hall of Fame at the National Defence University (NDU) in Washington, DC, United States (US).

Major General Shamaal received the award at the International Fellows Hall of Fame induction ceremony held at the Sydney Sheraton Grand Hotel. Lieutenant General Michael Plehn, the President of the NDU, presented the certificate and memento of induction into the International Fellows Hall of Fame.

Major General Shamaal is the first Maldivian to be awarded the honour. He and four others from four countries have been awarded the honour. He completed a Master of Arts in Strategic Security Studies from the NDU in 2012 and was awarded the Distinguished Honour Graduate of the course.

The International Fellows Hall of Fame was established in 1999. The purpose of the programme is to provide a prestigious and visible means of honouring NDU graduates who have attained through merit the highest positions in their nation’s armed forces, service component, or government, or who have held an equivalent position in a multinational organisation. The members of the International Fellows Hall of Fame are recognised in a formal ceremony on the NDU campus. Their photographs are displayed in Marshall Hall in the Hall of Fame area.

 

Source: psmnews

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Media urged to highlight nations’ joint BRI efforts

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A senior official underlined on Tuesday the important role of media in boosting high-quality cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative, urging international media outlets to tell about participating countries’ joint efforts to promote peace and prosperity, open, green and innovative development, and cultural progress.

Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, made the remark in a video speech at the 2022 Media Cooperation Forum on Belt and Road, which was held in Xi’an, Shaanxi province.

Huang said that jointly building the Belt and Road was a significant initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping in line with the trend of global development and in answering the call of the times, with a view to advancing the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Since the initiative was proposed, infrastructure connectivity has advanced, the synergy of rules and standards has made progress and the bonds among people in countries involved in the initiative have been strengthened, Huang said.

The efforts to enhance Belt and Road cooperation have been deepened with fruitful results, and the initiative has become a global public good and a platform for international cooperation welcomed by the international community, he added.

Emphasizing the media’s important role in promoting the communication of information, enhancing mutual trust and building consensus, Huang said jointly building the Belt and Road is inseparable from the active participation of the media outlets worldwide as well as their sincere exchanges and pragmatic cooperation.

Looking forward, Huang expressed his hope that international media organizations will actively promote the perspective of civilization that features equality, mutual learning, dialogue and inclusiveness, make the voices of win-win cooperation heard and contribute to high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.

The forum was held in both an online and offline format. It was jointly organized by People’s Daily, the CPC Shaanxi Provincial Committee and the Shaanxi provincial government. More than 120 media representatives from over 40 countries and international organizations attended the forum.

By the end of March, a total of 149 countries and 32 international organizations had signed cooperation documents with China on jointly building the Belt and Road.

From 2013 to 2021, the volume of trade in goods between China and countries involved in the Belt and Road amounted to around $11 trillion, and two-way investment exceeded $230 billion, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

 

Source: China Daily

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Management plans to be implemented this year for two protected areas in Baa Atoll

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The Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve Office has stated management plans will be formulated and implemented this year for two more areas in the atoll declared as protected areas.

Baa Atoll currently has 10 protected areas, of which three areas have a management plan. These three areas are Hanifaru, Olhugiri and Mendhoo region.

The Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve Office revealed management plans are being formulated for two more areas, to be implemented this year. As such, management plans are to be implemented this year for the areas of Angafaru and Goidhoo Koaru.

Angafaru was declared protected on June 6, 2009. The protected area includes Dhonfanuthila, Dhiguthila and Mahaanagaa. The area used to be a breeding ground for both grey and white tip reef sharks. However, reef shark numbers have dramatically decreased from the site due to overfishing

Goidhoo Koaru, located on the northern side on the inhabited island of Goidhoo, was declared protected on June 5, 2011. This area has the highest biodiversity and largest mangrove forest within Baa Atoll. It is one of the largest mangrove ecosystems within the nation and has a high biodiversity population of mangrove associated vertebrates and invertebrates. This site is also a popular roosting site for migratory birds such as the Ruddy Turnstone and Northern Shoveler.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has declared Baa Atoll as a biosphere reserve for an additional 10 years. UNESCO has instructed the Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve Office to formulate and implement effective management plans for all protected areas in the region.

 

Source: psmnews

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