Renewed fighting between Yemeni and Houthi forces in the port city of Hodeidah and deadly air strikes in the capital city of Sana'a could eradicate progress made earlier this week toward implementing a cease-fire deal between the two sides, says United Nations envoy Martin Griffiths. UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore is urging all parties in the conflict to allow safe access for humanitarian and health workers.
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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is urging officials from the US and Iran to show restraint as tensions between the two countries continue to escalate. Guterres has condemned attacks on Saudi pumping stations, which officials in Saudi Arabia blame on Iran.
Officials from the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS and the World Health Organization, along with the UN Secretary-General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights are marking the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia with a call for world leaders to eliminate discriminatory laws and provide members of the LGBTI community with access to health care and social services. The UNHCR is urging LGBT refugee protesters in Kenya -- where discrimination against them is rife -- to remain calm as solutions are sought.
The gap between women and men who have internet access, own mobile phones or possess computers is largest in low-income African countries, says UN Women representative in Rwanda Fatou Lo. Closing that divide could be worth $140 million to the mobile phone industry, but women and girls need equal access to the technology and training on how to use it, Lo adds.
Continued reliance on intensive agriculture, as well as deforestation, mining and the expansion of cities around the world could result in the degradation of 90% of the world's fertile soil in the next 30 years, threatening food production, warns the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. An area of soil the size of a soccer field is eroded every five seconds, the agency says.
Representatives from both sides of the Venezuelan government -- those supporting President Nicolas Maduro and those supporting opposition leader Juan Guaido -- are engaged in mediated discussions in Norway in an effort to find a solution to the country's political impasse. United Nations spokesperson Stephane Dujarric says the UN supports this development.
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