News in the Humanosphere: Syria humanitarian pledging conference kicks off in Kuwait

A Syrian refugee woman with her children prepares food near her tent as a heavy snowstorm batters the region, in a camp for Syrians who fled their country’s civil war, in Ketermaya, Lebanon. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

The United Nations needs to raise more than $7.5 billion to provide basic humanitarian assistance for Syrians affected by the war. “As the Syrian conflict enters its fifth year, 12.2 million people remain in dire need of aid, says the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which Valery Amos heads. Nearly half of all Syrians have been forced from their homes – 3.8 million people have fled to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, and 7.6 million people have been internally displaced – making this the largest displacement crisis in the world. ‘Needs are increasing and although the amount donors are giving us is also increasing, it’s not increasing at the same pace. I really want to thank our donors for sticking with us but we all know that a political solution has to be found so that the violence that we are seeing on a daily basis calms down,’ she said. Ms. Amos’s call comes on the eve of the conference to be overseen by the secretary-general and hosted by the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The Third Pledging Conference aims to mobilize donor support and raise funds required to meet the needs set out in the 2015 Syria Response Plan and the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) 2015-2016.” (UN News Center http://bit.ly/1GHpMiu )

NigeriaDecides:  Buhari in the lead
“Opposition leader Muhammadu Buhari has opened up a slight lead over President Goodluck Jonathan in a tight Nigerian election that looks set to go down to the wire. Results from Nigeria’s  elections, potentially the closest contest since the end of military rule in 1999, trickled in on Monday  after a weekend vote marred by confusion, arguments and sporadic  violence. After announcing results in 18 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) suspended the announcement of results late on Monday night local time – saying that they would start again at 09:00 GMT on Tuesday morning.” (Al Jazeera http://bit.ly/1yuf33Y)

A Bangladeshi blogger was hacked to death in Dhaka on Monday, the second such attack on a critic of religious fundamentalism in the mainly Muslim country in less than two months. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HX4yie)

An African Takes the Helm of America’s Most Popular Fake News Show
South African comedian Trevor Noah, a relative newcomer to U.S. television, has been selected to replace Jon Stewart on Comedy Central’s parody newscast, “The Daily Show.” (Reuters http://bit.ly/1Hf5zid)

Iran Nuke Talks deadline is today
Laura Rozen’s dispatches for Al Monitor are not to be missed. (Al Monitor http://bit.ly/1GHp0C4)

Africa

A well-respected Ugandan public servant, Senior Principal State Attorney Joan Kagezi, was gunned down in a rare political assassination.  (Daily Monitor http://bit.ly/1GHpDf2)

Sierra Leoneans were once again allowed to leave their homes Sunday evening after the government announced the end of a three-day nationwide lockdown aimed at preventing a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HX4qPO)

Landslides in Burundi have killed at least 18 people with 10 more missing after torrential rains, a local governor said Monday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HX4EGq)

Voting in Nigeria’s general election was broadly credible despite widespread logistical challenges, domestic and foreign observers said in preliminary findings released on Monday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HX4DT2)

The United States and Britain said there were worrying signs of political interference in the counting of Nigeria’s votes on Monday as results from the closest election since the end of military rule in 1999 started to trickle in. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1BWGsMd)

A rights group called on Congo’s government on Monday to release youth activists who were arrested more than two weeks ago in a raid that also briefly swept up an American diplomat. (AP http://yhoo.it/1bJq78A)

French oil giant Total said Monday that it has sold its stake in a Nigerian oil field to a local company for $569 million. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HX4DCp)

A South African opposition leader says the country is on a “road to a dictatorship,” accusing the president of manipulating state security departments. (AP http://yhoo.it/1bJq7FL)

Kenya’s government said on Saturday it was “shocked and concerned” over the latest travel warnings issued by Britain and others and said security conditions in the east African country were improving. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1bJqaBr)

Racism and the financial meltdown kept Congolese master chef Christian Yumbi down and out in Belgium. Back at home, the gourmet innovator has finally won the stardom he fought for. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Hfa1xp)

President Obama will visit Kenya in July for the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit, his fourth trip to sub-Saharan Africa during his presidency, the White House said in a statement on Monday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1bJqcsN)

More than half of $18 million of treasury and public donation funds supposedly spent on fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone, where the disease has claimed 3,764 lives, lacks complete paperwork and almost a third is officially “unaccounted for” according to an audit report. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1CpJix1)

MENA

An air strike killed dozens of people at a camp for displaced people in northwest Yemen on Monday, aid workers said, as Arab warplanes bombard rebels around the country. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1BWGm7i)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called in Baghdad Monday for Iraq and the international community to increase assistance for over 2.5 million people displaced by violence in the country. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HX4AGR)

A U.N. envoy warned Monday of a “horrifying” humanitarian situation brewing in Syria as nongovernmental organizations pledged more than $500 million for refugees on the eve of a major donor conference. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1bJq8JI)

A total of 449 Chinese nationals were evacuated from conflict-wracked Yemen on Monday, state media said, as an Arab coalition continued air strikes against Shiite rebels near Sanaa. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1BWGiEr)

Asia

Hundreds of Kashmiris in both India and Pakistan moved to higher ground Monday as rain-swollen rivers swamped parts of the disputed Himalayan region placed under an emergency flood alert just six months after some 600 people died in flooding that left the region in shambles. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Hfa0JL)

Myanmar peace negotiators agreed the draft text of a historic nationwide ceasefire agreement on Monday, as the country edges closer to ending decades of conflict between ethnic minority groups and the government. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1BWGq75)

Malaysia’s government Monday proposed two new laws that would reintroduce indefinite detention without trial and allow the seizure of passports of anyone suspected of supporting terror acts in an attempt to curb militant activities. (AP http://yhoo.it/1HX4FKG)

A landslide in the Himalayan region of Kashmir killed six people and left 10 missing, police said on Monday, as unseasonal rains swept India, damaging crops and raising fears of flash floods in the mountainous north. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Hfa5gD)

An Afghan policeman who shot dead a Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press photojournalist was imprisoned for 20 years over the weekend, after his death sentence was commuted, the AP’s CEO said in Hong Kong on Monday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HX4Hly)

Thailand’s transport minister says the country’s junta leader may exercise extraordinary constitutional powers to expedite safety improvements in the aviation sector, which is facing international sanctions. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BWGnIr)

The Americas
Bolivian President Evo Morales’ governing party suffered its most serious setback of nearly a decade in power in local and regional elections Sunday, according to unofficial results. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Hf9R9c)
...and the rest
Despite sending more than half their aid to countries marked by conflict, donor states have not been successful in promoting peace and building institutions, and this failure risks torpedoing efforts to lift the world’s most vulnerable people out of poverty, according to a new report. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1HfckR5)
Opinion/Blogs

He was born in Northern Uganda. He was reared in IDP Camps. He lost his brother to the LRA. And now, he’s been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Meet the amazing Victor Ochen. (Global Dispatches Podcast http://www.globaldispatchespodcast.com/)

What’s South Africa’s anti-human rights game at the UN? (Daily Maverick http://bit.ly/1G8VXXB)

Don’t reduce the global poor to potential consumers (Al Jazeera America http://alj.am/1Dlep04)

A Major Push Forward for Gender and Environment (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/1G8VODr)

Syrian refugee crisis outstrips international aid (Seattle Times http://bit.ly/1NuRfUr)

Bill Gates Tells The World: Get Ready For The Next Epidemic (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/1abhwuU)

What Will Be Obama’s Legacy for Africa? (The Star http://bit.ly/1G8VSTD)

10 Technology Trends to Watch in Africa in 2015 (Vanguard http://bit.ly/1G8VSDg)

Crisis Resolution and International Debt Workout Mechanisms (IPS http://bit.ly/1Hf5kni)

Here’s What Happens When Global Hunger Meets American Ingenuity (Feed the Future http://1.usa.gov/1DlecKz)

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About Author

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is a New Hampshire-based reporter for Humanosphere. Before joining Humanosphere, Tom founded and edited the aid blog A View From the Cave. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, GlobalPost and Christian Science Monitor. He tweets at @viewfromthecave. Contact him at tmurphy[at]humanosphere.org.