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UN: 29 January 2008 – Every border crossing into the Gaza Strip from Israel remains closed, except for the import of fuel supplies, United Nations officials said today, warning that Palestinians face the rising threat of malnutrition if the current lockdown continues.

Only 32 truckloads of goods have entered Gaza since 18 January, when the comprehensive Israeli closures were imposed, the Office of the UN Special Coordinator (UNSCO) reported. This compares to a daily average of 250 truckloads before June last year.

UNSCO said a backlog of 224 trucks, belonging to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), has now accumulated.

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UN: (New York): (29 January 2008): United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited a Genocide Memorial in Rwanda today and told the country’s Parliament that he will make good on international promises to protect civilians from mass atrocities.

Mr. Ban also pledged $10,000 from his personal resources to a fund set up by the Government to assist the survivors of the genocide, and help in the education of hundreds of orphans.

"Today, one of my priorities as Secretary-General is to translate the concept of our Responsibility to Protect from words to deeds, to ensure timely action so that populations do not face genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity ever again," Mr. Ban told the Parliament.

Often referred to as R2P, the Responsibility to Protect doctrine was adopted by national leaders meeting at a UN summit in 2005 and holds that States must protect their own populations – and the international community must step in if they do not.

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CAIRO (AFP) –(27/1/2008): Egypt said on Saturday it would launch a tender for offers in February to build its first nuclear reactor, the official MENA news agency reported.

nuclear energy agency will in February launch an international tender for offers to build Egypt’s first nuclear reactor worth 1.5 to 1.8 billion dollars," MENA said.

"The type of reactor and its constructor will be chosen according to international safety standards and reputation as well as costs," MENA said. "The offer is open to all countries.

"On January 10, Egypt said the first nuclear reactor will be built at Dabaa on the Mediterranean coast, west of the port of Alexandria.

Last October, President Hosni Mubarak announced the beginning of a national plan for setting up nuclear plants for peaceful uses.

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UN: 25 January 2008 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) will be unable to provide a full ration to 10,000 Palestinians on Sunday after all three crossings for goods from Israel into the Gaza Strip were closed today, UN aid officials reported.

Fuel reserves are also expected to run out on Sunday, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which has been warning all week about the deteriorating situation inside Gaza because of the closed border crossings and the restrictions on the supply of fuel, food, medicine and other essential items.

The situation now being faced by Gaza’s estimated 1.4 million inhabitants has also sparked concern from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour and other senior UN officials, with calls for Israel to immediately ease the restrictions.

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UN: (23/1/2008): UN security council members decided to postpone a presidential statement on the situation Gaza for tomorrow (Thursday, 24th January 2008); as a member delegation requested so as to consult with the government he represents. 

Libyan ambassador, Jadallah Azuz al_Talhi, whose country is current council president for this month, "There is consensus between 14 of the council’s 15 member states on the proposed draft text. The council, he added, "is waiting for this member state in order to issue the statement  which cannot be issued if consensus was not achieved" 

The ambassador added that the situation in Gaza is so dire now that something has to be done urgently.

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UN: 22 January 2008 – The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is extremely fragile, the top United Nations political official told the Security Council today as he strongly urged Israel to allow the “regular and unimpeded” delivery of fuel and other basic necessities to the area.

Stressing the support of UN for the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians living in Gaza, B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told a meeting on the situation in the Middle East that the crisis in Gaza and southern Israel has escalated dramatically in the past week.

Militants in Gaza had launched daily rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli residential areas, and the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) had launched attacks and incursions into Gaza, while Israel has also imposed tight restrictions on crossings into Gaza to try to force an end to the rocket fire.

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UN: 21 January 2008 – Progress in many areas of public health are a cause for optimism, the head of the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) told the agency’s Executive Board in Geneva today.

Assessing the events of the past year, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan pointed to three particularly encouraging trends: an increased willingness to invest in health systems; recognition of the reality of climate change by world leaders; and the resurgence of interest in primary health care.

The rise in the eagerness of development partners, UN agencies and funding facilities to devote resources towards health systems is “a striking and welcome change from the past,” Dr. Chan said in her opening address to the Board, which kicked off one of its twice-yearly sessions today.

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UN: 21 January 2008 – The United Nations-backed Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria today announced the launch of the Corporate Champions programme, an innovative way for multinational companies to significantly invest in the fight against the three diseases.

Chevron Corporation, a major international energy company, is the programme’s inaugural Corporate Champion, making a commitment to invest $30 million over three years in Global Fund-supported programmes in parts of Asia and Africa.

“Global companies with large, long-term investments in developing countries understand that fighting disease is a necessary part of their strategic investments,” said Rajat Gupta, chairman of the Board of Directors for the Fund, a partnership between Governments, civil society, the private sector and affected communities.

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UN: 18 January 2008 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed concern over Israel’s decision to close crossing points used to transport supplies into Gaza, and highlighted the potential humanitarian consequences of such action.

“If this situation endures, the closure will also cause further shortages of food, medical and relief items in the Gaza Strip,” Mr. Ban said in a statement issued by his spokesperson, calling on Israel to “refrain from actions that will harm the well-being of the general civilian population in Gaza.”

The closure interrupts the supply of urgently-needed fuel supplies to pump water and supply electricity to homes and hospitals, he said.

The statement also appealed for an immediate end to the violence engulfing Gaza and affecting communities in southern Israel.

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UNITED NATIONS –(18/1/2008):  Israel has a right to respond to security threats but should not collectively punish the Gaza population for rocket attacks from the Palestinian territory, the UN humanitarian affairs chief said on Friday.

 The United Nations also criticized Israel’s decision to close all border crossings with Gaza, preventing delivery of a UN aid shipment to the territory’s 1.5 million people, most of whom depend on foreign aid.

“We all understand the security problems and the need to respond to that but collective punishment of the people of Gaza is not, we believe, the appropriate way to do that,” said John Holmes, undersecretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs.

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