Francesc Vendrel, assistant to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi, has handed in his resignation. This has been disclosed by diplomatic sources in Islamabad. The UN office in Islamabad has so far made no official statements. It is believed that Vendrel will stay in his post until January. The UN mission for Afghanistan, which Vendrel has headed for the past few years, has ceased its activities in Islamabad and transferred its base to Kabul. According to reports by the Pakistan newspaper News, differences in opinion have arisen between the UN special envoy and his assistant associated with the future direction of aid allocation to Afghanistan on behalf of the world community. In order to rebuild the country after 23 years of civil war the global community has allotted hundreds of millions of dollars; however, the question remains unresolved as to who will actually control the distribution and receipt of the funds. The main donor is the USA and they consider, for instance, that the task could be given to the World Bank, while the UN leadership and Lakhdar Brahimi insist on the international organisation's activities being extended and widened, states the paper News.
Forest fires in Siberia have been raging for three months already. They have become a disaster not only of Russian, but of global scale. The fires have already scorched 12 million hectares of land