Half of Zimbabwe's population needs food aid, UN says

Half of Zimbabwe's population needs food aid, UN says New York  - Half of Zimbabwe's 12 million people would require food assistance and some households have already cut back on the number of meals a day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday.

Ban said in a statement that the news from Zimbabwe was "distressing" because of the collapse of health, sanitation and education services in addition to an escalating outbreak of cholera.

UN: "Carbon sink" Africa counters greenhouse gases' impact

UN urges stricter control of chemical compounds in anti-drug fightRome/Accra - Africa could be taking more carbon out of the atmosphere that it releases, thus helping to counter the effect of greenhouse emissions on global warning, a UN agency said Tuesday.

The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is basing its observations on a research project, CarboAfrica involving 15 institutions from Africa and Europe, including FAO.

UN condemns murder of Radio Okapi journalist in Congo

New York  - United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday condemned the killing of a journalist working for a UN radio station in the Democratic Republic of Congo - the second such incident within the past year.

Ban said he learned with "deep distress" of the murder in Bukavu Friday of Didace Namujimbo, a journalist from Radio Okapi, the station of the UN mission in Congo, which is managed in partnership with Fondation Hirondelle.

"This crime is all the more devastating as it marks the second time in less than two years that a member of Radio Okapi's staff has been brutally killed in the same city," Ban said in a statement.

African Union: Number of internally displaced in Africa increasing

Kampala  - The number of people being forced across borders into other countries on the African continent is decreasing but those displaced within their states through civil conflicts are on the increase, African Union and United Nations refugee officials said Friday.

One out of five of the world's 15 million refugees are in Africa while 15 million out of 24 million internally displaced people on earth are found on the continent, AU refugee officials told reporters in Uganda.

The AU is organizing a summit of heads of state in Uganda in early March 2009 to explore the causes, effects and solutions to the displacement of people on the continent.

UN considers deployment of 3,000 new troops in Congo

New York  - The United Nations Security Council was on Wednesday considering the deployment of an additional 3,000 military and police personnel to the Democratic Republic of Congo, diplomats said.

The extra troops were to man a separation zone between the warring parties in eastern Congo, where fighting has disrupted entire areas and displaced tens of thousands of Congolese.

The UN mission in Congo (MONUC) comprises more than 17,000 military troops, who are stretched thin in the vast Congolese territory.

The 15-nation council was discussing a draft resolution worked out by France to authorize the deployment of the new forces until December 31, with the possibility of a renewal.

UN confirms withdrawal of Congolese rebels from two fronts

Nairobi/Goma  - A Tutsi rebel group that has been battling government forces in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo is sticking to its promise to withdraw soldiers from two fronts, the UN said Wednesday.

"Since late yesterday evening we have seen them begin to withdraw," Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-Paul Dietrich, military spokesman for the UN peacekeeping mission in DR Congo (MONUC) told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. "We have been patrolling and monitoring since this morning."

Rebel Tutsi general Laurent Nkunda's National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) has routed the Congolese army and seized control of territory in the eastern North Kivu province in recent weeks.