According to a devastating new U.N. report, nearly half of all Syrians have been displaced by the violence of the country’s ongoing civil war. As many as 6.5 million who have fled their homes are displaced within the country, and at least 3 million Syrians have left the country altogether. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said in a statement, "The Syrian crisis has become the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era, yet the world is failing to meet the needs of refugees and the countries hosting them.”
The report, which is attempting to bring greater international awareness and intervention to the crisis, also outlined the dangers facing even those who are fleeing the war. "There are worrying signs too that the journey out of Syria is becoming tougher, with many people forced to pay bribes at armed checkpoints proliferating along the borders. Refugees crossing the desert into eastern Jordan are being forced to pay smugglers hefty sums (ranging from $100 per person or more) to take them to safety” ... Discuss
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been growing steadily worse over the past few weeks, and the World Health Organization said the outbreak could eventually reach over 20,000 cases.
So far, 1,552 people have died from the virus. The total reported number of cases stands at 3,069, 40 percent of which have occurred in the last three weeks. But WHO has speculated that actual numbers of those infected could be much higher than those reported. Already, it’s the largest outbreak in history. Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO's assistant director-general for emergency operations, told the Associated Press that "This far outstrips any historic Ebola outbreak in numbers. The largest outbreak in the past was about 400 cases."
The U.S. National Institutes of Health is set to start human trials of an experimental vaccine for the virus next week. In the meantime, WHO has announced a plan to stop Ebola transmissions and spread within six to nine months, calling for increased aid and international health workers. Discuss
The latest round of violence in Gaza has come to an end after weeks of on-going fighting, airstrikes and rocket attacks. At least 2,100 Palestinians, a majority civilians, were killed in the fighting. In the Israeli military, 64 soldiers were killed, and six Israeli civilians died from rocket attacks.
The open-ended ceasefire, which was brokered by officials in Egypt, went into effect last night, and so far, it has stopped the violence that has raged in the region for the last seven weeks. Despite Hamas leaders claiming victory, the conditions of the ceasefire do not appear to contain any significant changes to pre-war status. From The Guardian: “But the terms of the deal … appeared to be almost identical to those agreed at the end of the previous war 21 months ago. Israel will open crossings on its border to allow humanitarian aid and construction materials to enter Gaza, and will extend the permitted fishing zone to six miles off the coast of Gaza” ... Discuss
Today marks 200 years since British troops lit the White House on fire, which is a sad chapter in American history that doesn't get talked about much, given how little America likes to talk about its sad chapters. The British Embassy thought they'd get a little cheeky with the event today, tweeting out the jest below with the caption "Only sparklers this time!"
Of course, America does not now and will never find America lost! to be a good punchline and enough people tweeted their complaint ("I think this is in extremely poor taste." "Is this suppose to be funny") that the Embassy sent a jovial apology a couple hours later, saying "Apologies for earlier Tweet. We meant to mark an event in history & celebrate our strong friendship today." Of course, they could have just tweeted, "too soon?" ... Discuss
According to a new report from the UN Human Rights Data Analysis Group, the number of people who have died since the start of Syria’s civil war is twice as high as it was just a year ago. The agency has verified the deaths of 191,369 people from March 2011 to April 2014. Agency chief Navi Pillay said in a statement, “Tragically, it is probably an underestimate of the real total number of people killed during the first three years of this murderous conflict.” The report sharply criticized the lack of effort from the international community and the United Nations Security Council to help the people of Syria, telling them, “I firmly believe that greater responsiveness by this Council would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives” ... Discuss