News in the Humanosphere: Nearly 500,000 Syrian children living under siege, says UNICEF

People wait to leave the besieged town of Madaya, northwest of Damascus, Syria, where Doctors Without Borders says dozens of people have died of starvation since September. File Jan. 11, 2016. (Credit: AP)

As violence continues to escalate across Syria, the number of children living under siege has doubled in less than one year. Nearly 500,000 children now live in 16 besieged areas across the country, almost completely cut off from sustained humanitarian aid and basic services. “For millions of human beings in Syria, life has become an endless nightmare – in particular for the hundreds of thousands of children living under siege. Children are being killed and injured, too afraid to go to school or even play, surviving with little food and hardly any medicine,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director. “This is no way to live – and too many are dying.” (UNICEF http://uni.cf/2gke7O9)

Fighting in western Uganda…At least 55 people have been killed in fierce fighting that erupted in western Uganda between security forces and a separatist militia linked to a tribal king, according to police. “Yesterday a joint Uganda police and UPDF (army) operation, patrolling in Kasese town… came under attack by royal guards of the kingdom. The attackers threw an improvised grenade which exploded and injured one soldier. Security forces reacted and shot in self-defense, killing four attackers,” said Kaweesi. “That incident set of an explosion in all local sub-counties.” Fighting continued all day and was still underway on Sunday, with the King Charles Wesley Mumbere holed up in his palace as heavy gunfire sounded outside, according to his spokesman.” (Al Jazeera http://bit.ly/2gkhyUK)

Major new HIV vaccine trial to start in South Africa…A new vaccine against HIV, to be tested in a trial to be launched in South Africa Wednesday, could be “the final nail in the coffin” for the disease if it is successful, scientists say. The study, called HVTN 702, aims to enroll 5,400 sexually active men and women aged between 18 and 35 at 15 sites across South Africa. It will be the largest and most advanced HIV vaccine clinical trial to take place in South Africa, where more than 1,000 people a day are infected with HIV. (Bloomberg http://bloom.bg/2gkeGaC)

Top Stories

Two graves containing the bodies of Iraqi Yazidis believed to have been killed by the Islamic State group have been discovered in northern Iraq, a local official said. (AFP https://yhoo.it/2gMIFvj)

A regional administrator says a local militia in Congo’s northeast allegedly has killed at least 35 civilians with machetes and guns. (AP https://yhoo.it/2gzT2zw)

The UN envoy for Yemen announced a new bid for peace talks between the government and rebels, after the latest ceasefire failed to end the 20-month conflict. (AFP https://yhoo.it/2gMFQu6)

Turkish authorities detained two reporters working for foreign news organizations in southeast Turkey, the latest journalists taken into custody as part of the government’s sweeping crackdown following a failed coup in July. (AP https://yhoo.it/2gl4sql)

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh warned on Sunday that anyone involved violence or unrest during the country’s presidential election in four days time would be dealt with harshly. (VOA http://bit.ly/2gMIJex)

Hundreds of gay rights activists marched in a parade in New Delhi on Sunday, highlighting the continuing discrimination India’s LGBT community faces and demanding the repeal of a law criminalizing homosexual acts. (VOA http://bit.ly/2gMMqAR)

The Cuban government must move toward enacting greater freedoms for its people and giving Americans something in return if it wants to keep warmer U.S. relations initiated by President Barack Obama, top aides to President-elect Donald Trump said Sunday. (AP https://yhoo.it/2gzNN2Q)

Czech humanitarian organization Clovek v Tisni has been banned from the Doneck area in eastern Ukraine by separatist authorities, the aid group said in a statement. It said it was one of two international aid groups in the Doneck area, and was helping residents with water and food supplies as well as home repairs ahead of winter. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2fFY7HO)

Opinion/Blogs

Fortification: It’s a bit more complicated than “add, stir and distribute” (Development Horizons http://buff.ly/2gMHBaG)

VIVA FIDEL! (Africa is a Country http://buff.ly/2gMK5Gl)

Should Child Marriage Be Talked About In The Classroom? (NPR Goats and Soda http://buff.ly/2gzOcma)

Friday rant: ‘development’ is not the same as ‘aid’. Got that? (From Poverty to Power http://buff.ly/2fpezOc)

What will Raul Castro do? (NYT http://nyti.ms/2gkhtAt)

The end of Zika? (IRIN http://buff.ly/2gweFzz)

Backpacks of cash: How to make payments when all the options are bad (Devex http://buff.ly/2fphy9e)

Demonetization in India Is Causing More than Economic Harm (CFI http://buff.ly/2gwfhW1)

What are the causes of non‑tariff barriers in the East African Community? (ODI http://buff.ly/2gwahAR)

The Clock is Ticking – Keeping South Africa in the ICC is a Tall, but Not Impossible, Order (Justice in Conflict http://buff.ly/2gwhGzZ)

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