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Dec 15, 2013

Insight: Syria uses red tape, threats to control U.N. aid agencies

BEIRUT/GENEVA (Reuters) – It is a 15-minute drive from the five-star hotel that houses U.N. aid staff in Damascus to rebel-held suburbs where freezing children are starving to death.

Yet it is months since convoys from the United Nations and other agencies have delivered food or medical care to many such areas – prevented by a Syrian government accused of using hunger as a weapon of war against its people.

Dec 15, 2013

Syria uses red tape, threats to control U.N. aid agencies

BEIRUT/GENEVA, Dec 15 (Reuters) – It is a 15-minute drive
from the five-star hotel that houses U.N. aid staff in Damascus
to rebel-held suburbs where freezing children are starving to
death.

Yet it is months since convoys from the United Nations and
other agencies have delivered food or medical care to many such
areas – prevented by a Syrian government accused of using hunger
as a weapon of war against its people.

Dec 12, 2013

Brahimi sets deadline for naming Syrian delegations to peace talks

GENEVA (Reuters) – International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi has given Syria’s warring sides until December 27 to name their delegations to planned peace negotiations next month, officials said on Thursday.

About 30 ministers from big powers, regional countries and others are due to gather in the resort of Montreux on January 22 to give their blessing to the negotiations between the government of President Bashar al-Assad and rebels fighting to oust him.

Dec 10, 2013

U.N. plans first aid airlift to Syria from Iraq as winter grips

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations’ first relief airlift to Syria from Iraq will deliver food and winter supplies to the mostly Kurdish northeast this week with the permission of both governments, the UNHCR refugee agency said on Tuesday.

The airbridge, using Ilyushin-76 commercial cargo planes to Hassakeh from Arbil in northern Iraq, will begin on Thursday. Up to 12 flights are scheduled through Sunday, said Amin Awad, director of UNHCR’s Middle East and North Africa Bureau.

Dec 6, 2013

Hosting Games one of Mandela’s last wishes

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – Anti-apartheid campaigner and IOC member Sam Ramsamy wants to bring the Olympics to South Africa so that he can fulfil one of Nelson Mandela’s last wishes.

As the world mourned a man hailed as one of the greatest humanists of our time, South Africa’s International Olympic Committee representative Ramsamy said it “was is a time to celebrate the achievements of Nelson Mandela”, who died on Thursday aged 95.

Dec 6, 2013

Hosting Olympics one of Mandela’s last wishes

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – Anti-apartheid campaigner and IOC member Sam Ramsamy wants to bring the Olympics to South Africa so that he can fulfill one of Nelson Mandela’s last wishes.

As the world mourned a man hailed as one of the greatest humanists of our time, South Africa’s International Olympic Committee representative Ramsamy said it “was is a time to celebrate the achievements of Nelson Mandela”, who died on Thursday aged 95.

Dec 6, 2013

Olympics-Hosting Games one of Mandela’s last wishes

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Anti-apartheid campaigner and IOC member Sam Ramsamy wants to bring the Olympics to South Africa so that he can fulfil one of Nelson Mandela’s last wishes.

As the world mourned a man hailed as one of the greatest humanists of our time, South Africa’s International Olympic Committee representative Ramsamy said it “was is a time to celebrate the achievements of Nelson Mandela”, who died on Thursday aged 95.

Dec 5, 2013

Swiss expert contests French finding that Arafat not poisoned

GENEVA (Reuters) – A Swiss scientist who examined samples from the body of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said French experts had made weak arguments in concluding that he could not have died of poisoning in 2004.

French forensic examiners commissioned by magistrates investigating Arafat’s death in a Paris hospital assessed on Tuesday that he had not been killed with radioactive polonium found in abnormally high levels in his body and clothing.

Dec 5, 2013

Syria top priority for Red Cross in 2014 despite limited access

GENEVA (Reuters) – Desperate civilians in a swathe of Syria from Aleppo in the north to the southern border are largely out of reach of aid workers, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday.

Throughout the country, the wounded are often denied medical treatment by either government officials or rebels, while hospitals and ambulances remain targets of unlawful attacks, ICRC President Peter Maurer said.

Dec 3, 2013

U.N. falls short of feeding Syria’s hungry as winter bites

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations said on Tuesday it had delivered food to 3.4 million people in Syria in November, falling short again of its monthly target of 4 million as heavy fighting kept it from reaching hungry people in contested areas.

As winter bites, the number of children in Syria deemed vulnerable and in need of assistance has nearly quadrupled from a year ago to 4.3 million, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said.