Nearly 180 soldiers, civilians and police in U.N. peacekeeping missions have been targeted for disciplinary action since the beginning of 2004 for sexual abuse and exploitation, and the problem persists, a U.N. spokesman said Thursday.
Despite the U.N.'s "zero tolerance," Stephane Dujarric said, "acts of sexual exploitation and abuse by U.N. peacekeeping personnel continue to occur."
Since January 2004, Dujarric said, the U.N. has investigated 319 peacekeeping personnel in all U.N. missions.
"These resulted in the summary dismissal of 18 civilians and the repatriation on disciplinary grounds of 17 police and 144 military personnel," he said.
Dujarric was responding to a BBC investigation that said children have been subjected to rape and prostitution by U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti and Liberia. The BBC said girls told of regular encounters with soldiers where sex was demanded in return for food or money.
28 people charged in July train bombing
Formal charges were brought against 28 people for suspected involvement in the July 11 train bombings in Mumbai that killed more than 200 people.
Thirteen of the accused are in police custody and the rest are still at large, said police prosecutor Raja Thackeray.
The 28 were charged with murder, handling explosive substances, committing terrorist acts and causing damage to public property in Mumbai, formerly called Bombay.
If convicted, they could face the death penalty.
Police say the 28 suspects belong to Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group, as well as the Students' Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI, a banned group based in northern India.
U.S. wrestling shows pulled after death
An Indonesian TV station has pulled several popular U.S. wrestling shows off the air amid allegations that a 9-year-old boy may have died while children he was playing with were imitating the moves of their muscle-bound heroes.
A police investigation into the death of Reza Fadillah is under way. Officials have declined to comment on their findings.
The Stamford, Conn.-based World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. issued a statement saying it was "confident" its shows had nothing to do with the fatality.
By Wednesday, Lativi TV had pulled SmackDown and all other WWE programs off the air, following weeks of pressure from parents and educators who say the shows encouraged violent behavior in children, a spokeswoman said.
Reza died Nov. 16, several weeks after three friends threw him to the ground and pinned him, his father said Thursday. He said the boy's X-rays showed internal chest wounds.