UN peacekeepers face greater threats from complex conflicts
The U.N. peacekeeping chief says the more than 66,000 United Nations peacekeepers are confronting greater threats today because conflicts have become more complex and are driven by an increasing number of factors ranging from ethnic tensions and the impact of organized crime to illegal exploitation of resources and terrorism.
Congo, Italy, UN probe ambassador's killing amid questions
An Italian Carabinieri unit is expected in Congo Tuesday to investigate the killings of the Italian ambassador to Congo, an Italian Carabinieri police officer and their driver in the country's east. In the specific area of the attack, several armed groups are active including the FDLR, the Nyatura militia and remnants of the former M23 rebels. AdIt’s unusual for a top diplomat to be targeted in eastern Congo, but attacks have been rising, Pierre Boisselet, coordinator of the Kivu Security Tracker, said. “Usually violence by armed groups targets civilians,” or civilians are hurt amid clashes between armed groups and the army. More than 2,000 civilians were killed last year in eastern Congo provinces by armed rebel groups, according to U.N. reports last week.
UN: COVID-19 could fuel more conflict, poverty, starvation
TANZANIA Top U.N. officials warned Wednesday that the COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated discrimination and other human rights violations that can fuel conflict, and its indirect consequences are dwarfing the impact of the virus itself in the worlds most fragile countries. But the full extent isnt known because testing in these fragile countries is very low and in some places many people are reluctant to seek help, perhaps fearing being quarantined or fearing they wont get useful medical treatment, he said. The better news is that it seems possible that the fatality rate from COVID-19 may be lower in these fragile countries than initially feared, he said, but the indirect impact is greater. However, many expired without extensions, resulting in little improvement on the ground, the undersecretary-general for political and peace-building affairs said. Still, U.N. envoys are pursuing Guterres call for peace negotiations and cease-fires in conflict-torn Yemen, Libya, Syria and elsewhere, DiCarlo said.
UN council at odds over peacekeeping operation in Lebanon
TANZANIA The U.N. Security Council remains at odds over the way the U.N. peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon operates on the ground, with the United States backing Israels demands for major changes. At a closed council meeting Tuesday on the mission known as UNIFIL, whose mandate is up for renewal at the end of the month, U.S. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has written to the council calling for a 12-month renewal of UNIFILs mandate, stressing the importance of maintaining high troop strength. Jan Kubis, the United Nations special coordinator for Lebanon, and U.N. peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix briefed Tuesdays virtual council meeting. Kubis urged the rapid formation of a new government following Mondays resignation of Prime Minister Hassan Diab and his Cabinet.
Holiday amid pandemic: Americans divided on how to respond
Statewide, New York reported its lowest number of daily coronavirus deaths 84 in many weeks in what Gov. To the south, Trump played golf at one of his private clubs for the first time during the pandemic the Trump National Golf Club in Virginia. He has been pushing for state and local leaders to fully reopen after months of closures and tight restrictions. New coronavirus cases reported in China were zero Saturday for the first time since the outbreak began but surged in India and overwhelmed hospitals across Latin America. Religious events helped spread the virus early in the pandemic; resuming such gatherings is an especially thorny issue.