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Ban pledges support to Bangladesh cyclone victims

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced his concern at the devastation and increasing death toll left by Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh.

Media reports say that more than 2,000 people have been reported killed as a result of Cyclone Sidr, which struck the southwest coast of Bangladesh late on Thursday local time, bringing winds of more than 240 kilometres per hour and a water surge that created waves up to five metres high. The death toll is expected to climb further.

Thousands of homes have been damaged or destroyed, large tracts of cropland have been wiped and hundreds of thousands of people have had to evacuate their home villages and towns and now depend on aid for basic necessities.

Ban expressed “his profound condolences to the people and Government of Bangladesh for the many deaths and the destruction involved, and the full solidarity of the UN system at this time of crisis.”

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WFP sends relief to Bangladesh

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is sending relief in the wake of Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh—the organization is sending food to feed 400,000 people in the affected areas.

“We have to move as quickly as possible to get food to the most vulnerable,” said WFP Bangladesh Representative Douglas Broderick, pointing out that the biscuits are critical “when there is a scarcity of clean water for drinking and cooking.”

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UN Names New Chief Prosecutor at the Hague

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has nominated Belgian criminologist Serge Brammertz as the new chief prosecutor at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

From The New York Times:

Mr. Brammertz’s candidacy became known informally this summer, but he had to complete his mandate as the head of the United Nations inquiry into the killing in 2005 of Rafik Hariri, the former prime minister of Lebanon. Mr. Ban also nominated Daniel Bellemare, a Canadian prosecutor, to take over the Lebanon investigation. Both appointments require the approval of the Security Council, which is likely.

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UN forum focuses on Internet resources and accessibility

The second meeting of the United Nations Internet Governance Forum in Rio de Janeiro tackled internet resources, access, how to use the internet to assist in development.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “The United Nations does not have a role in managing the Internet…But we do embrace the opportunity to provide, through this Forum, a platform that helps to ensure the Internet’s global reach.”

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Ban: Antarctica needs action on climate change

During Ban Ki-moon’s visit to Antarctica, the UN Secretary General said warming temperatures on the continent mark dangers of climate change.

“It is here where our work, together, comes into focus…We see Antarctica’s beauty – and the danger global warming represents, and the urgency that we do something about it.”

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WFP rushes aid to flood-hit Mexico

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is sending aid to 70,000 people affected by floods in the Mexican state of Tabasco.

“We are moving as swiftly as possible to bring critical help to the people of Tabasco, who are suffering the worst crisis in their recent history,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran.

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