News and Press Release

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No school for Gaza’s children as new term starts amid fighting

As children around the world prepare to return to school for the new school year, young people in Gaza are being denied their right to education.

Schools were due to reopen for the new term on Sunday 24 August, but the current conflict means that has been delayed indefinitely.

Over the last six weeks more than 200 school buildings have been damaged or destroyed, and many of the remaining schools are still hosting the tens of thousands of people who have been displaced from their homes.

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Emery’s story: An Ex-Combatant working for a peaceful election.

Emery Minani is a 31 years old ex-combatant who was born in Gitega, central Burundi. He was 13 years old when he was forced to join the rebels in 1996.

“I firstly joined the CNDD (National Council for the Defence of Democracy) rebellion but deserted in 2000. I did not take arms because I wanted to kill people; I did it because I was recruited by force” said Emery.

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Two year jail terms for hiding Ebola victims in S.Leone

08/22/2014 16:19 GMT

FREETOWN, August 22, 2014 (AFP) - Sierra Leone, battling a deadly outbreak of Ebola, passed a law on Friday that will see anyone harbouring a victim of the disease facing a two-year jail term.

The attorney general announced the new measure as a top parliamentarian lashed out at neighbouring countries for failing to do more to help resolve the crisis.

Sierra Leone has been one of the hardest hit by the epidemic, with 374 deaths and 907 cases since the outbreak began.

Agence France-Presse:

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RDC: la fièvre hémorragique d'origine indéterminée "sous contrôle"

08/22/2014 16:44 GMT

KINSHASA, 22 août 2014 (AFP) - Le ministre congolais de la Santé, le Dr Félix Kabange Numbi, a annoncé vendredi que la fièvre hémorragique d'origine indéterminée qui a fait treize morts depuis le 11 août dans le nord-ouest de la République démocratique du Congo était "sous contrôle".

Agence France-Presse:

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Conflict Alert: Protecting Pakistan’s Threatened Democracy

A little over a year ago, Pakistan entered an unprecedented second phase of democratic transition, with one elected government handing power to another by peaceful, constitutional means. This fragile transition will be gravely threatened unless a fast-escalating political crisis is urgently defused. The protests rocking Islamabad threaten to upend the constitutional order, set back rule of law and open the possibility of a soft coup, with the military ruling through the backdoor.

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Talks resume to end Pakistan political drama

08/22/2014 16:48 GMT

by Masroor GILANI

ISLAMABAD, August 22, 2014 (AFP) - The party of Pakistani opposition politician Imran Khan said Friday it was resuming talks with the government aimed at ending tense protests, even as it submitted the resignations of 34 lawmakers from parliament.

Former cricketer Khan and populist cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri have led thousands of supporters demonstrating outside the legislature this week calling for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to go.

Agence France-Presse:

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The SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict calls for the full implementation of the two action plans by the Federal Government of Somalia to end and prevent recruitment and use as well as the killing and maiming of children

Concluding her four-day visit to Somalia and two days in Nairobi, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, called for the full implementation of the two Action Plans signed by Somali Government in 2012 to end and prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers, as well as the killing and maiming of children.

Somalia is one of the seven countries involved in the Campaign “Children Not Soldiers”, launched by the SRSG and UNICEF in March 2014 to end the recruitment and use of children by government forces by 2016.

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Iran to send aid to Gaza via Egypt

08/22/2014 17:09 GMT

TEHRAN, August 22, 2014 (AFP) - Iran plans to send aid to the beleaguered Gaza Strip after Egypt said it would allow the shipment to enter the Palestinian territory, an Iranian diplomatic source said on Friday.

The official IRNA news agency said Cairo had agreed to transfer humanitarian aid bound for the coastal enclave, citing a foreign ministry source in Tehran.

The source said a first Iranian Red Crescent shipment of 100 tonnes of medicine and food would be flown "soon" to Cairo.

Agence France-Presse:

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Centrafrique: un nouveau gouvernement d'ouverture qui ratisse large

08/22/2014 17:05

Par Christian PANIKA

BANGUI, 22 août 2014 (AFP) - Après trois semaines de longues tractations, les dirigeants de la transition centrafricaine ont nommé vendredi un nouveau gouvernement élargi mais au final peu renouvelé, qui aura la lourde tâche de mettre fin durablement aux violences et de reconstruire le pays.

Agence France-Presse:

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170 migrants feared lost at sea off Libya: coastguard

08/22/2014 17:42 GMT

TRIPOLI, August 22, 2014 (AFP) - A Libyan coastguard official said on Friday a boat carrying 170 illegal migrants from sub-Saharan Africa was feared lost at sea off the capital Tripoli.

"We are looking for 170 African passengers on a wooden boat that has foundered off the Guarakouzi area" some 60 kilometres (35 miles) east of Tripoli, coastguard official Abdellatif Mohammed Ibrahim told AFP.

"A few miles off the coast, we found the remains of a wooden boat which had had some 200 migrants on board," he said.

Agence France-Presse:

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Central Africa unveils new government after deadly clashes

08/22/2014 17:52 GMT

BANGUI, August 22, 2014 (AFP) - The Central African Republic unveiled its new government on Friday, a broad coalition including representatives from rival armed groups, after fresh fighting between warring militias killed at least eight.

Prime Minister Mahamat Kamoun, who was appointed earlier this month, has been tasked with bringing rebel groups back into the mainstream to try to end the ethnic and religious violence gripping the country.

Agence France-Presse:

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World + 1 other
Nigerian engineers join forces with IITA to halt devastation by weeds

Efforts to control weeds in cassava farms received a boost with Nigerian engineers joining forces with experts from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to seek sustainable solutions to tackle the menace.

The team of engineers drawn from members of the academia, IITA, public and private sectors are exploring mechanical weeding options used elsewhere in the world with the hope of adapting them to African cropping systems.

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Separatist forces in Ukraine accused of threatening mass ‘executions’

Report
Amnesty

The armed group calling itself the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) must not carry out 'executions', including a reported threat of killing prisoners facing life sentences, Amnesty International said today.

On Friday Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council announced that fighters from the group had seized a penitentiary institution in Donetsk and threatened to kill all prisoners facing life sentences, forcing the others to join their ranks.

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Gabon + 3 others
Ebola: le Gabon suspend les liaisons aériennes et maritimes en provenance des pays touchés

LIBREVILLE, 22 août 2014 (AFP) - Le Gabon a suspendu les liaisons aériennes et maritimes en provenance des pays d'Afrique de l'Ouest affectés par l'épidémie d'Ebola, et délivrera les visas "au cas par cas" aux voyageurs venant de ces pays, a annoncé vendredi le gouvernement gabonais.

Les autorités gabonaises ont décidé "la suspension des vols et des navires en provenance des pays touchés par l'épidémie" - la Guinée, le Liberia, la Sierra Leone et le Nigeria - a déclaré le ministre de la Santé, Fidèle Mengué Me Engouang, lors d'une conférence de presse.

Agence France-Presse:

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Guatemala: A Story of Resilience

In the 1990s, WFP worked with the Government of Guatemala to support the most vulnerable and food-insecure communities through Food Assistance for Assets (FFA) programmes. Today, almost 20 years later, these communities continue implementing and improving the activities from the initial programme and are considered resilient.

In rural Guatemala, droughts and recurrent natural disasters make it difficult for many families to cover their basic food needs.

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Finland + 1 other
Finland grants 500,000 euros for the victims of the conflict in Ukraine

By decision of Minister for International Development Pekka Haavisto, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs grants 500,000 euros in humanitarian aid for Ukraine. The aid will be delivered to its destination through UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency , which has a key role in assisting Ukrainians forced to flee their homes.

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EU provides assistance to people displaced by Libya conflict

Responding to the deteriorating security situation in Libya which has led to an increase in casualties and displacement, the EU is providing some €215 000 to support the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC). More than 600 people have been killed since the attacks in July and August, and at least 10 000 families have been displaced.

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Liberia + 3 others
Ebola virus disease, West Africa - update 22 August 2014

Epidemiology and surveillance

Between 19 and 20 August 2014, a total of 142 new cases of Ebola virus disease (laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases) as well as 77 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

Health sector response

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ECHO and UNICEF join forces for families affected by violence in Central African Republic

BANGUI/BRUSSELS, Central African Republic, 22 August 2014 – The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is providing EUR 1 million to help the UNICEF-coordinated Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) to reach affected populations in Central African Republic (CAR) , especially in places where due to security and access constrains there is virtually no humanitarian presence.

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West Africa - Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak: Work Report 7

Situation Update

Two weeks after World Health Organization (WHO) announcement on the outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in West Africa, there are still no obvious signs of control on the overall situation. As of 20 August, the cumulative death toll stands at 1,350 people with a cumulative number of cases attributed to EVD in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria rose to 2,473 since March.