International News-Daily Digest: 4 Key Updates
1. Myanmar military put on UN blacklist for sexual violence
A new U.N. report puts Myanmar’s armed forces on a U.N. blacklist of government and rebel groups “credibly suspected” of carrying out rapes and other acts of sexual violence in conflict for the first time.International medical staff and others in Bangladesh have documented that many of the almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims who fled from Myanmar “bear the physical and psychological scars of brutal sexual assault.” The assaults were allegedly perpetrated by the Myanmar Armed Forces, known as the Tatmadaw, “at times acting in concert with local militias, in the course of military ‘clearance’ operations in October 2016 and August 2017.”
Buddhist-majority Myanmar doesn’t recognize the Rohingya as an ethnic group, insisting they are Bengali migrants from Bangladesh living illegally in the country. It has denied them citizenship, leaving them stateless.
2. UN launches road safety trust fund
The United Nations took a major step to address the tragedy of road accidents by launching the UN Road Safety Trust Fund to spur action that could save lives and prevent the loss of opportunity associated with road accidents. The Road Safety Trust Fund will serve as a catalyst for much-needed progress towards the road safety targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.
UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is secretariat for the trust fund. The fund has potential to galvanise global efforts to address road safety situation, building on progress made and experience gained over Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.
The trust fund will support efforts along the five pillars of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety, which includes strengthened road safety management capacities; improved safety of road infrastructure and broader transport networks; enhanced safety of vehicles; improved behaviour of road users; and improved post-crash care.
The UN General Assembly also adopted a resolution on road safety, sponsored by Russia, in which it called for a host of measures to prevent road accidents and to minimising the resulting damage. One of the measures, it urged, the adoption policies and measures to implement vehicle safety regulations to ensure that all new motor vehicles meet applicable minimum regulations for the protection of occupants and other road users, with seat belts, airbags and active safety systems fitted as standard equipment.
3. World’s first long-distance electric bus line was inaugurated in Paris
German low-cost company FlixBus presented its green bus at the foot of the Eiffel tower. The service will link the French capital to the northern city of Amiens, a 160 kilometres journey which will take a little over two hours. The bus, which seats 49, has all the advantages of an electric vehicle: zero emissions, quiet, and drives more smoothly than its fuel-powered counterpart. With a maximum range of 250 kilometres (155 miles), the batteries can be fully charged in 5 hours or even just two with the use of a “super-charger”.
4. US, Britain and France launch air strikes against Syria
The US, Britain and France launched more than 100 missiles against Syrian targets in a strike against the Assad regime’s chemical weapons capabilities, but stopped short of attacking Russian or Iranian targets in order to avoid triggering a broader conflict.