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News in the Humanosphere: U.N. airlifts food in ‘hard-to-reach’ part of Syria

Aid distribution in Syrian villages of Atmah and Kah, December 2012. (Photo Credit: IHH/flickr)

The U.N. began airlifting humanitarian aid to families cut off from supplies in northeastern Syria, bringing 40 tons of food on a flight that landed in Qamishli, an area controlled by the Syrian government, the World Food Program said Sunday. The WFP said the flight landed the night before in Qamishli airport in Syria’s Hassakeh province. The agency estimates that 275,000 people living in many areas of the province have been cut off from food and other supplies for more than six months. It added that it will fly at least 25 rotations between the capital Damascus and Qamishli over the course of a month. (AP

Slain journalist Marie Colvin’s family sues Syrian government…The civil complaint, filed Saturday in federal court in Washington, contends that high-ranking Syrian officials, including President Bashar al-Assad’s brother Maher and other top advisers, worked in concert to locate, track and target foreign journalists and Syrians who had helped them. It lays out new details of the events leading to Ms. Colvin’s death, citing witnesses and government sources and documents uncovered in what the family’s lawyers described as a three-year investigation.” (NYT

Beware of travel to the US…Three countries have warned their citizens to stay on guard when visiting U.S. cities rocked by sometimes violent protests that erupted after a string of police shootings of black Americans. (Reuters

Quote of the day: What do you do – stop breathing? There is no escape.” – Economics researcher Dorothy McCormick in regards to Nairobi’s worsening air pollution problem. (Guardian


Zambia’s electoral commission has suspended campaigning in two areas, including the capital Lusaka, due to escalating political violence before the Aug. 11 elections, it said late on Saturday. (Reuters

Street protests, national work boycotts and internet activism are on the rise in Zimbabwe, offering hints that opposition to aging President Robert Mugabe could be building towards a boiling point. (AFP

Madonna in Malawi on Sunday visited the construction of a children’s wing at a hospital that her charity is funding in this southern African country’s largest city, Blantyre. (AP

Four people suspected of involvement in terror-related activities in Johannesburg have been arrested, South Africa’s serious crime unit, the Hawks, told local media Sunday. (AFP


Egypt’s foreign minister paid a rare visit to Israel on Sunday, saying that his country remains a “steadfast and unwavering” supporter of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians but warning that conditions for achieving that are deteriorating. (AP

Syrian regime forces have repelled a fierce assault by opposition fighters seeking to reopen their only supply route into Aleppo city, killing at least 29 rebels, a monitor said Sunday. (AFP

Islamic State jihadists are continuing to lose control of territory they had captured in Iraq and Syria, the British think tank IHS said Sunday. (VOA

The ordeal of Laye Donzo is a cautionary story for the tens of thousands of Africans each year who take the migrant road to Libya, seeing it as the gateway to life and prosperity in Europe. Instead, for many the war-torn country has meant only torture, imprisonment, rape or death. (VOA

The Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad targeted and killed U.S. reporter Marie Colvin in February 2012 to stop her from covering government atrocities, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. court on Saturday. (AFP


The death toll in Kashmir rose to 15 Sunday as clashes between Indian troops and protesters continued despite a curfew imposed in the disputed Himalayan region to suppress anti-India violence following the killing of a popular rebel commander. (VOA

The suspect in a murder of a young woman in Seoul’s upmarket Gangnam district was indicted Sunday, in a case that triggered a public outcry over fears of violent misogyny in South Korea. (AFP

Police in Cambodia say a dispute over money led to the shooting death of a prominent political analyst at a shopping mall in the capital Phnom Penh. (AP

The Americas

Thousands of people have crossed to Colombia after Venezuela opened their common border to allow its people to buy food and medicine, officials say. The frontier, closed by Venezuela last August as part of a crime crackdown, was to open for 12 hours. (BBC

Peru’s centrist President-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said on Sunday that he would strive to cut the Andean country’s poverty rate by more than half to leave it at no more than 10 percent at the end of his five-year term. (Reuters

Brazil’s government will consider selling airports in Sao Paulo and Rio to help to reduce a large fiscal deficit next year, interim President Michel Temer told the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper on Sunday. (Reuters

Two trucks collided in northeastern Dominican Republican, killing at least 16 people and injuring another 12, Dominican authorities said Sunday. (AP

Rio de Janeiro police say they have rescued eight people who were being forced to work in a sex-trafficking ring at the beaches near the main Olympic hub. (AP

…and the rest

An American pastor who supports LGBT rights has been detained in Russia and ordered to leave the country. (AP

The United States has urged Western Balkan countries to intensify efforts to consolidate their democracies. (AP

Exhausted but hopeful, hundreds of migrants defy summer heat in a makeshift camp on the Serbia-Hungary border, determined to reach the EU member nation despite tough new measures aimed at stopping them. (AFP


Wounded in spirit, South Sudan’s people need the salve of mutual forgiveness (Guardian

Have development impact bonds moved beyond the hype? (Devex

Africa’s austerity apocalypse (Africa is a Country

What’s gone wrong in South Sudan? (Al Jazeera

The phrase ‘economic development’ has bad associations in Latin America (Guardian

Spice Girls ‘Wannabe’ Wants To Be An Anthem For Girl Power (Devex

Is this Palestinian refugee camp Syria’s next Yarmouk? (IRIN


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