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THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS - page 53 / 62

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And turning to Somalia, the World Food Programme (WFP) says that it was stepping up a drive to deliver food to almost one third of the 365,000 people driven from their homes in Mogadishu by the recent fighting.

And meanwhile, on behalf of the UN refugee agency, WFP yesterday airlifted 14 tons of urgently needed relief supplies to Baidoa.  And there’s more on that upstairs as well.

**World Health Organization/United Nations Children’s Fund

In a joint policy statement issued today in Geneva, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF are urging countries, donor agencies and NGOs to fund and promote the use of vaccine vial monitors.

The monitors are printed directly on vaccine vials, and change colour when a vaccine may have been damaged by heat and rendered ineffective.

WHO says the monitors not only allow health workers to recognize and replace millions of doses of unusable vaccines, but also allow them to keep tens of thousands of unrefrigerated doses that are still effective and previously might have been discarded.  And there’s a press release on that.

**United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime/World Bank

We also want to flag to you a joint report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Bank on the high rate of crime and violence in the Caribbean and its threat to growth and prosperity.

The report is being released in Washington, D.C., at 1 p.m.  And there’s an embargoed press release upstairs on that.

**World Press Freedom Day

And as you are no doubt aware, today is World Press Freedom Day.

In a message to mark the occasion, the Secretary-General notes that more than 150 media professionals lost their lives in the line of duty in the past year.  He also appeals once again for the immediate and safe release of BBC journalist Alan Johnston.

We have copies of his message upstairs, as well as a message from the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour.

UNESCO, meanwhile, is marking World Press Freedom Day by holding a two-day seminar in Medellin, Colombia, where it plans to award its Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize posthumously to slain Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

Here in New York, UNESCO is also sponsoring a luncheon at 1 p.m. on “Press Freedom, Safety of Journalists and Impunity”.  And at 1:15 p.m. in Conference Room 5, there will be a panel discussion on “The citizen journalist:  The Internet as a tool for freedom of speech”.

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