News in Brief 29 November 2017 (PM)

Progress stalls on ending malaria: WHO

Progress "has stalled" in the fight against malaria, which still kills more than 440,000 people each year, according to the 2017 World Malaria Report, published by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that major gains had been made in recent years, but "we are now at a turning point."

"Without urgent action, we risk going backwards," he said, adding that the global malaria targets for 2020 and beyond, would be missed as they required a reduction of at least 40 per cent in the mortality rate.

A major problem is a lack of funding, said WHO, both domestically and internationally.

The Special Envoy for Health in the UN's Agenda 2030, which includes malaria targets, said that the estimated seven million lives saved since the beginning of the century showed how important it was to protect "hard-won gains".

Ray Chambers said "we must double-down on our commitments, bring new technologies to bear, and increase investments."

Hague Tribunal extends condolences to family of convicted war criminal

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), has extended its condolences to the family of Slobodan Praljak, who drank what he himself described as poison in the dock on Wednesday, as his guilty verdict was being affirmed.

Mr Praljak was one of six defence appellants hearing their final appeal, after being found guilty of war crimes in the city of Mostar, during the Bosnian war in the mid-1990s.

During the reading out of the judgement re-affirming his 20-year prison sentence, Mr Praljak began protesting his innocence, and then drank from a small vial of liquid.

His words were spoken, at the time, by an interpreter.

"Slobodan Praljack is not a war criminal. I am rejecting the court ruling. (Judge) Stop please, please sit down. (Praljak) I have taken poison."

In a statement released after the dramatic incident, the ICTY said that the defendant fell quickly ill, and was assisted immediately by medical staff, while an ambulance was called.

He was then taken to hospital, where he died.

The statement added that "at the request of the ICTY, the Dutch Authorities (in the Hague) have initiated an independent investigation which is currently ongoing."

Food supplies insufficient to stop "humanitarian catastrophe" in Yemen

Food supplies which are beginning to re-enter war-torn Yemen following a three-week Saudi blockade, are not enough so far to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe, warned the UN on Wednesday.

The Saudi-led coalition, which is battling Houthi rebels for control of the country, closed all access to Yemen following a rocket attack on the Saudi capital.

Aid flights began again at the weekend, and two commercial vessels carrying food have arrived at the port of Hodaidah, with wheat and flour on board.

Three other ships carrying vital food supplies are awaiting Saudi permission to enter the port.

Here's UN Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric.

"Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that, while some food has started to reach Yemen, it is not sufficient to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. In Yemen itself, the cost of diesel as doubled, while the price of petrol has risen by more than 70 percent and cooking gas by 18 percent. It is critical that fuel reaches all Yemeni ports immediately � fuel is essential to operate generators for hospitals and water pumps, as well as to deliver drinking water and food."

Source: United Nations