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Sep 23, 2014

Red Cross says U.S. coalition must uphold rules of war in Syria strikes

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United States and its allies must comply with the rules of war in carrying out air strikes on Islamist targets in Iraq and Syria, a senior official of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Tuesday.

The humanitarian agency is the guardian of the Geneva Conventions that lay down the rules of war, primarily aimed at protecting civilians caught up in armed conflicts.

Sep 23, 2014

Liberia facing massive shortage of foreign help against Ebola: U.N.

GENEVA (Reuters) – Liberia, the West African state hardest-hit by the worst Ebola outbreak in history, remains gravely short of foreign health care workers despite repeated pleas for help, a senior U.N. official said on Tuesday.

Efforts to tackle the Ebola outbreak, now six months old, have been too slow to stop the disease infecting more people than ever before and spreading from its origins in Guinea to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal, killing over 2,800.

Sep 23, 2014

UNHCR preparing for 400,000 exodus from Syrian town into Turkey

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday it was making contingency plans in case all 400,000 inhabitants of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani fled into Turkey to escape advancing Islamic State militants.

Some 138,000 Syrian Kurdish refugees have entered southern Turkey in an exodus that began last week, and two border crossing points remain open, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.

Sep 23, 2014

Ebola could strike 20,000 in six weeks, “rumble on for years” – study

GENEVA, Sept 23 (Reuters) – The Ebola outbreak in West
Africa could infect 20,000 people as soon as early November
unless rigorous infection control measures are implemented, and
might “rumble on” for years in a holding pattern, researchers
said on Tuesday.

In an article in the New England Journal of Medicine,
experts from the World Health Organization and Imperial College
said that infections will continue climbing exponentially unless
patients are isolated, contacts traced and communities enlisted.

Sep 19, 2014

Killings in Guinea show mistrust in Africa Ebola fight: WHO

GENEVA (Reuters) – The killing in Guinea of eight people trying to educate locals about Ebola showed how much rural populations in West Africa mistrust authorities after years of instability and conflict, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

Eight bodies were found after an attack on a team visiting remote southeastern Guinea, a government spokesman said on Thursday, showing the dangers faced by health workers fighting the deadly virus that is surrounded by suspicion and stigma.

Sep 19, 2014

Human error seen in measles vaccination deaths in Syria: WHO

GENEVA (Reuters) – A muscle relaxant appears to have been mixed mistakenly with measles vaccine, killing 15 children in Syria this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, calling it the biggest such tragedy in memory.

The WHO said it could not completely rule out sabotage, so the measles inoculation campaign remained suspended until the investigation was finished.

Sep 17, 2014

Funding woes force U.N. to slash rations for Syrians: official

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations will have to slash food rations to four million Syrians by 40 percent in October due to a shortage of funds, despite better access to areas in need, a senior U.N. aid official said on Wednesday.

John Ging, director of operations at the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said in an interview that the “break in the pipeline” means greater hunger as a fourth winter of the Syrian civil war sets in.

Sep 16, 2014

U.N. experts caution powers they must heed ‘laws of war’ in fighting IS

GENEVA (Reuters) – United Nations war crimes investigators for Syria cautioned world powers preparing military action against Islamic State fighters that the ‘laws of war’ would apply to them and they must do everything possible to protect civilian populations.

They said ISIS, which controls swathes of Iraq and Syria, had committed massacres of religious and ethnic groups and abused women. The government of President Bashar al-Assad, however, remained responsible for the majority of civilian casualties.

Sep 15, 2014

As many as 700 migrants feared drowned in Mediterranean

GENEVA (Reuters) – More than 700 people fleeing Africa and the Middle East may have drowned in shipwrecks in the Mediterranean over the last week, bringing the death toll this year to almost 3,000, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said on Monday.

In the worst incident, as many as 500 migrants are believed to have died after traffickers rammed their ship off Malta’s coast last week, an event that only came to light this weekend in testimony from two of nine survivors.

Sep 9, 2014

Motor racing: Former F1 champion Schumacher leaves hospital for home

GENEVA (Reuters) – Michael Schumacher has left hospital to continue his recovery at home but the former Formula One champion faces “a long and difficult road ahead” after his skiing accident last year, a statement said on Tuesday.

“Henceforth, Michael’s rehabilitation will take place at his home. Considering the severe injuries he suffered, progress has been made in the past weeks and months,” said the brief statement issued by manager Sabine Kehm.