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News in the Humanosphere: Aid convoys bombed as fighting resumes in Syria

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

The United Nations says initial reports indicate that many people were killed or seriously wounded in airstrikes on a convoy carrying aid to a rebel-held area northwest of Aleppo including volunteers with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. Humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien said in a statement late Monday that a Red Crescent warehouse was also hit and a Red Crescent health clinic was reportedly severely damaged. O’Brien said he is “disgusted and horrified” by “these sickening attacks,” which he condemned in the strongest terms. He said all parties received notification of the convoy, which was carrying aid for some 78,000 people, and trucks were clearly marked as humanitarian. O’Brien said there is no excuse “for waging war on brave and selfless humanitarian workers,” and warned that if they were deliberately targeted “it would amount to a war crime.” (NYT

Stat(s) of the day: If drug-resistant infections in people and animals are allowed to spread unchecked, some 28 million people will fall into poverty by 2050, and a century of progress in health will be reversed, the World Bank said on Monday. By 2050, annual global GDP would fall by at least 1.1 percent, although the loss could be as much as 3.8 percent – the equivalent of the 2008 financial crisis – the Bank said in a report released ahead of a high-level meeting on the issue at the United Nations in New York this week. (Reuters


Kenya has failed to comply with its obligations to cooperate with the International Criminal Court in the case of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, a judge ruled, referring the country for non-compliance. (Reuters

Sudan said on Sunday it would close its border with South Sudan within days if its neighbour did not expel militant groups, the government told state media. (Reuters

Nigerian police have freed 14 kidnapped oil workers in the restive southern Niger Delta region, which has been hit by a series of militant attacks on oil and gas facilities, police said. (Reuters

More than two weeks after the start of violence prompted by a contested presidential election in Gabon, the search for missing loved ones continues, sometimes with grisly results. (AFP


Amnesty International said Monday a U.S.-made bomb was used in an air strike on a hospital in Yemen, urging Washington and London to stop supplying the Saudi-led coalition with weapons. (AFP

Jordan has demanded a detailed explanation from Israel about the killing of a 28-year-old Jordanian by Israeli troops last week. (AP

The U.N.’s humanitarian chief said Monday he was “pained” that aid convoys had not deployed to eastern Aleppo, as a ceasefire in Syria teetered on the brink of collapse. (AFP

Libya’s powerful general, who answers to the parliament based in the country’s east, has criticized the U.N. envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, saying the top diplomat is “meddling” in Libyan affairs. (AP

U.N. investigators reported on Monday they found it increasingly difficult to interview newly arrived Syrian refugees in Europe and urged countries to allow access to them to help document suspected war crimes. (Reuters


A Philippine senator who led an investigation into the president’s bloody anti-drug campaign was ousted Monday from the justice committee in a vote that human rights advocates said could derail accountability in the crackdown. (AP

Cambodia’s leader responded angrily Monday to the opposition’s threat to hold nationwide demonstrations, saying such protests could sink any chances of resolving political differences through negotiations. (AP

China’s banking sector could be facing an imminent debt crisis, a global central bank watchdog has warned, fuelling fresh fears of a blowout in the world’s second-largest economy which could hit the global financial system. (AFP

China plans to provide an additional $100 million in assistance to help deal with the global refugee and migrant crisis and is also considering setting aside a $1 billion fund for the purpose, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday. (Reuters

At least eight people have been killed and thousands displaced by clashes in southeast Myanmar, rebels and border forces said Monday, violence that threatens to undercut the new government’s push for peace. (AFP

Indonesian forest fires that choked a swath of Southeast Asia with a smoky haze for weeks last year may have caused more than 100,000 deaths, according to new research that will add to pressure on Indonesia’s government to tackle the annual crisis. (AP

Opposition to Chinese-invested hydropower schemes in Myanmar is being orchestrated by “extreme” groups in the country and has been extremely damaging to joint investment projects, an influential Chinese newspaper wrote on Monday. (Reuters

The Philippines could suspend at least 10 more mines under an environmental crackdown on the sector, the minister in charge of mining said, in a move that threatens to halt the operations of half the mines in the world’s top supplier of nickel ore. (Reuters

The U.S. decision to lift trade sanctions against Myanmar has been welcomed by local economists and businessmen, who say it will remove a major constraint on international trade with the impoverished country and boost growth across its economy.  (VOA

An effort to boost large-scale solar energy production in Pakistan has hit a roadblock after the government cut the rate it pays for solar electricity, frustrating investors. (Reuters

The Americas

U.S. society is uncomfortable with powerful women and that is why the United States has not yet elected a woman president, President Barack Obama said on Sunday. (Reuters

As Colombia’s FARC rebels prepare to sign a historic peace deal with the government, dissident guerrillas are reportedly clinging to their guns deep in the Amazon rainforest, targeting its gold. (AFP

Congressional negotiators on Monday pressed to wrap up a must-do spending bill to prevent an election-season government shutdown and finally provide money to battle the threat of the Zika virus, but numerous sticking points remain. (AP

…and the rest

The United Kingdom’s contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria comes with strings attached: The country will withhold 10 percent of its pledge if the Global Fund fails to meet 10 benchmarks for improvement. (Devex

With more people forced to flee their homes than at any time since World War II, global leaders on Monday approved a declaration aimed at providing a more coordinated and humane response to the refugee crisis that has strained resources and stoked divisions from Africa to Europe. (AP

Several dozen refugees have staged a protest in an asylum center in Slovenia, complaining that the EU nation is slow in processing their asylum requests. (AP

Western governments need to tackle a growing anti-migrant backlash by helping newcomers integrate faster, the OECD said, following a sharp increase in immigration to its member states. (AFP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged Monday that there would be no repeat of last year’s “chaotic” border opening to refugees, after a stinging defeat for her party in a Berlin state election. (AFP


If the 65 Million Refugees Were A Country, This is What It Would Look Like (UN Dispatch

Podcast: Why are 63 million girls missing out on education? (Guardian

Tanzania: Are We Really Prepared for Natural Disasters? (Citizen

Caribbean: Rethinking Progress in Sustainable Development Era (IPS

What could be bad about a global campaign against xenophobia? (IRIN

‘Til death do us part (Africa is a Country

Eight ideas to fund access to water and toilets for all by 2030 (Guardian

What the ‘Uber-isation’ of domestic work means for women (ODI

How do you critique a project proposal? Learning from the Experts (From Poverty to Power


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