*[Enwl-eng] S. Asian COVID-19 surge threatens pandemic progress

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May 8, 2021, 1:12:02 PMMay 8
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May 7, 2021
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Surging coronavirus case numbers in India and its South Asian neighbors threaten global gains made against the pandemic, says UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia George Laryea-Adjei as the World Health Organization advises that new virus variants and slow distribution of vaccines could prompt a third wave in Africa. WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says there have been more new COVID-19 cases reported worldwide in the last two weeks than in the first six months of the pandemic.
Full Story: The Tribune (India)/Press Trust of India (5/6),  CGTN (China)/Agence France-Presse (5/7),  Voice of America (5/7) 
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United Nations
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is calling for pharmaceutical companies to waive patent rights on COVID-19 vaccines to allow businesses in poor regions to begin manufacturing doses of their own. Several world leaders, including the presidents of the US and France, have endorsed the idea, but concerns about the ability of hard-hit countries to produce vaccines remain.
Full Story: Reuters (5/5),  The Associated Press (5/6) 
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Health & Development
The pandemic has led to job losses for around 255 million people, and many countries are taking on unmanageable levels of debt in an effort to weather the pandemic -- factors that will only exacerbate the existing hunger crisis, says World Food Programme chief economist Arif Husain. UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore has highlighted the threat rising hunger levels pose to children, while United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the global community must address both food shortages and conflicts to end hunger.
Full Story: Prensa Latina (Cuba) (5/6),  Voice of America (5/7) 
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Climate and Energy
The global community must drastically reduce the amount of methane gases released into the atmosphere to head off the effects of climate change and increasingly severe weather events occurring around the world, a report from the United Nations Environment Programme says. The world has the capacity to cut methane emissions by 45% by 2030, a move that would help meet climate goals, reduce crop losses, prevent deaths caused by air pollution and, in some cases, make money, the agency says.
Full Story: The Guardian (London) (free registration) (5/6),  CNBC (5/6) 
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The success of a United Nations climate summit to be held this November in Scotland depends on developed countries making good on promises to provide $100 billion annually to help other countries address climate issues, says United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. "I call on the leaders of the G- to take the lead, with other developed countries following, to make substantial climate finance pledges for the coming five years," Guterres said this week ahead of a G-7 climate meeting set for June.
Full Story: Reuters (5/6),  MSN (5/6) 
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Peacekeeping and Security
Human rights institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean are facing a rising number of threats, abuse, political pressure and attempts to discredit them, says United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. "I urge governments across the region to abide by their responsibilities, and respect and protect the independence of the national human rights institutions," Bachelet says, noting that assaults on rights groups' work have been reported in a dozen countries in the region.
Full Story: India Blooms News Service (5/7) 
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UN News
Highlights from the United Nations Department of Global Communications
UN Catch-Up Dateline Geneva - Madagascar crisis, Africa COVID alert, US lifts vaccine protections, South Sudan schools reopen
Full Story: UN News (5/6) 
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UN Dispatch
Commentary and coverage on the UN and UN-related issues
"Why the Battlefield Death of Chad President Idriss Deby Has Big Global Implications"
Full Story: UN Dispatch (5/6) 
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Subject: S. Asian COVID-19 surge threatens pandemic progress
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