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One in three UN employees have been sexually harassed: survey

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A third of United Nations employees have reported experiencing sexual harassment at the world body over the last two years, according to the findings of the first-ever survey on such misconduct released Tuesday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told staff in a letter that the study contained “some sobering statistics and evidence of what needs to change” to improve the workplace at the United Nations.

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One in three respondents, or 33 percent, reported at least one instance of sexual harassment in the past two years, but that figure climbed to 38.7 percent for those who reported some form of sexual harassment during their time at the United Nations.

The most common type of sexual harassment were sexual stories or jokes that were offensive, or offensive remarks about appearance, body or sexual activities.

UN employees were also targeted for unwelcome attempts to draw them into discussion about sexual matters, offensive gestures and touching, according the survey carried out by Deloitte in November.

Two out of three harassers were men and one in four were supervisors or managers. Nearly one in 10 harassers were senior leaders, according to the survey.

The survey had a moderately low response rate of 17 percent, with some 30,364 staff providing answers to a confidential questionnaire on line.

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In a letter to staff, Guterres said the survey findings on the prevalence of sexual harassment were comparable to other organizations, but that the United Nations, which champions equality, dignity and human rights, must set a high standard.

In February, the United Nations launched a 24-hour helpline for staff to report sexual harassment and UN investigators were tasked with addressing all complaints.

Guterres has vowed to enforce a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment.

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The head of the UNAIDS agency, Michel Sidibe, last month announced he was stepping down after a review of his management style found that he had enabled a culture of harassment, including sexual harassment, at the Geneva-based UN agency.


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2020 Election

Masks take center stage in presidential race as Biden slams Trump for ‘costing people’s lives’

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In an interview with CNN's Dana Bash on Tuesday, former Vice President Joe Biden laid into President Donald Trump for his comments belittling his decision to wear a mask at the Memorial Day events at the beginning of the week.

"He's a fool, an absolute fool to talk that way," said Biden. He added that "This macho stuff ... It's costing people's lives."

Trump has frequently refused to don a mask while speaking to the media, even when he is in public places where masks are required.

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“He’s a fool, an absolute fool to talk that way,” Biden to @DanaBashCNN about Trump belittling his wearing of a mask. “This macho stuff ... It’s costing people’s lives.”

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Trump says he can ‘absolutely’ force governors to reopen churches if he decides to do so

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At Tuesday's coronavirus press briefing, President Donald Trump was pressed on whether he really has the authority to force governors to allow houses of worship to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. "Can you explain what authority you had in mind when you said that you would do that?" asked a reporter.

The president emphasized that he does have the power — but did not elaborate on how specifically he would do so, and added that he doesn't think he will have to.

"I can absolutely do it if I want to," said Trump. "I don't think I'm going to have to, because it's starting to open up. We need our churches and our synagogues and our mosques. We want them open, churches, synagogues, mosques, and other — we want them open and we want them open as soon as possible."

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Trump continues pushing conspiracy theories about Joe Scarborough — immediately after reporter tells him about widower begging him to stop

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At Tuesday's White House press briefing, President Donald Trump was asked by reporters if he was aware of the letter from the widower of deceased congressional aide Lori Klausutis, begging the president to stop promoting conspiracy theories that she had been murdered by former representative and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.

The president replied, "Yeah I have." However, almost immediately after, he used the moment to continue pushing the conspiracy theory, adding, "As you know, there's no statute of limitations."

Asked if he's seen the distressed letter from the widower of Lori Klausutis about Trump turning her death into fodder, Trump says "yeah I have," then continues propagating his conspiracy nonsense, then says, "As you know, there's no statute of limitations."

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