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  • RSS BBC News – Africa

    • Nigeria teacher in seized girls plea April 19, 2014
      The headmistress of a school in Nigeria calls on the government to do more to save teenage girls abducted by suspected Islamist militants.
    • Egypt left-winger to challenge Sisi April 19, 2014
      Egyptian left-winger Hamdeen Sabahi submits his official bid to run for president, the only challenger so far to ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
    • 'Dozens die' in S Sudan cattle raid April 19, 2014
      Dozens of people are killed in a cattle raid in a remote herders' camp in South Sudan's northern Warrap state, local officials say.
    • Algeria's president gets fourth term April 18, 2014
      Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who suffered a stroke last year, wins a fourth term in office taking more than 81% of the vote.
    • UN outrage at South Sudan attack April 19, 2014
      The UN expresses outrage at a deadly attack on one of its bases in South Sudan, saying it could "constitute a war crime".
    • ICC calls Kenya Ruto trial witnesses April 18, 2014
      The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague summons reluctant witnesses to testify at the trial of Kenya's Vice-President William Ruto.
    • French troops free Mali aid workers April 17, 2014
      French troops in Mali free five aid workers who were kidnapped in the north of the country by suspected Islamist militants in February.
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      A Senegalese court rules that Karim Wade, the ex-president's son, should stand trial on corruption charges over his wealth, an official says.
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      Officials in Guinea-Bissau say a run-off vote will be held next month after no candidate won an outright victory in Sunday's presidential election.
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    • VIDEO: Nigeria 'should do more' on abductions April 19, 2014
      Nigeria's military has admitted that most of the teenage girls abducted by suspected Islamist militants have not been freed as it earlier stated.
    • VIDEO: High security at S Sudan UN camp April 18, 2014
      South Sudan's government has sent troops to provide security at a United Nations base where at least 48 people were killed in an attack.
    • VIDEO: Abducted schoolgirls 'still missing' April 18, 2014
      The Nigerian military has admitted that most of the 129 girls abducted by Boko Haram Islamists from their school in the north-eastern state of Borno are still missing.
    • VIDEO: Pistorius trial day 24 - in 60 secs April 17, 2014
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      Libyan author Mansour Bushnaf says Libya does not have much of reading culture because under Col Muammar Gaddafi, people were afraid of books.
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      The prosthetic leg belonging to Oscar Pistorius has been shown to the court during his murder trial. He denies murder, claiming he mistook Reeva Steenkamp for a burglar.
  • RSS BBC News – Home

    • Novice 'steered South Korea ferry' April 19, 2014
      The South Korean ferry that sank on Wednesday was steered by a ship's mate unfamiliar with the waters where the accident occurred, officials say.
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      Ukraine suspends operations against pro-Russian militants occupying government offices in the east over Easter, but the stand-off remains.
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      Police in Northern Ireland arrest a 26-year-old man over the murder of former dissident republican leader Tommy Crossan.
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      A family is left with nowhere to run when their car catches fire - in the lion enclosure at Longleat Safari Park.
    • Pakistan TV anchor shot in attack April 19, 2014
      Hamid Mir, one of Pakistan's best known television presenters, is injured in an attack by unidentified gunmen in the southern city of Karachi.
    • Teachers put strike vote on hold April 19, 2014
      The NUT conference rejects calls for a four-day autumn strike, but could still press for a summer classroom walk-out
    • Burnt boy in 'critical condition' April 19, 2014
      A seven-year-old boy who was badly burnt in an incident in Aberdeen is in a "critical" condition in hospital, police reveal.
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      Taxpayers' personal financial data could be shared with private firms and researchers, Revenue & Customs says, despite concerns over privacy and security.
    • Syria-held French journalists freed April 19, 2014
      Four French journalists held captive in Syria for months have been freed and are in "good health", says President Francois Hollande.
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      Colombia announces its own ceremony to honour author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who was cremated in Mexico, where he lived for more than 30 years.
    • Former Radio 4 presenter dies at 88 April 19, 2014
      Former BBC presenter Derek Cooper, who founded Radio 4's The Food Programme and presented a number of other shows, dies, aged 88.
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      Manchester rapper MC Tunes' second album is to get its public debut, 23 years after it was due to be heard.
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      Bottom club Sunderland earn a stunning win at Chelsea that dents the Blues' title hopes and gives Liverpool a major boost.
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  • RSS Reuters: Politics

  • RSS CNN.com – Africa

    • Luxury shoes made in Ghana April 15, 2014
      Fred Deegbe was standing outside a shop window five years ago, marveling at the shiny pair of wing-tip Oxfords he'd just bought, when he started wondering whether such beautiful designer shoes could ever be produced in his country, Ghana.
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      Here are your photos of the tastiest -- and most unusual -- African street food.
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Donors pledge $1.5 billion in aid to Syria

Posted by African Press International on February 4, 2013

KUWAIT CITY,  - In the largest ever fundraising conference in UN history, the international community pledged today more than US$1.5 billion in humanitarian aid for the people of Syria.

“What we saw in today’s conference is the entire world coming together in order to show solidarity with the Syrian people and alleviate its suffering,” Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, foreign minister of Kuwait, which hosted the conference, said in a press conference after the event. “This is what we can do right now in addition to the political track.”

The largest donors were the Gulf states (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates each pledged $300 million), the United States ($155 million) and the European Union ($136 million), though donors from as far as Iran, China and Botswana also made contributions. The final tally is still being calculated.

Most of the money will go towards the UN’s Regional Response Plan for more than 700,000 Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries and its Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan for aid within Syria, but some contributions will also go through the International Committee of the Red Cross and NGOs from the donor countries, while others have yet to be allocated.

The conference represented a big shift in the focus of major international players, who for months, aid workers argued, were more focused on political and security aspects of the conflict, while appeals to address its humanitarian impact went unheeded.

“It is important, even as major political issues are debated and we try to devise a strategy on the way forward, that we not forget the humanitarian crisis which has unfolded inside Syria and along its borders – which has gotten much worse,” Robert Ford, the US ambassador to Syria, said.

At least two million people are displaced within Syria, with more than 700,000 others having registered as refugees in neighbouring countries, where the capacity of their hosts to respond has reached its limit.

Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said there was “no light at the end of the tunnel” with the UN expecting the number of refugees to surpass one million by June.

Within Syria, one quarter of schools and one third of public hospitals are not functioning and 40 percent of ambulances have been damaged. There are shortages of bread and medicine, and hundreds of thousands of already vulnerable Palestinian refugees are now further in need.

But donors said aid in Syria was not only a question of funding, pointing to limits on humanitarian access and respect of international humanitarian law.

They repeatedly raised concerns about aid reaching all areas of the country, with some calling for more cross-border aid to enter from Turkey and others insisting that the UN find ways of reaching more people.

“I give you my pledge,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told them. “The United Nations will make sure that these resources are used in the most effective way possible to deliver life-saving aid to the people in need.”

Some donors said they were also supporting other channels to deliver assistance.

“We are prepared to fund any channel that allows help to get to people,” Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response, told IRIN. “If there is protection, security for humanitarian organizations to do good work in opposition-controlled areas, we are funding them already.”

Others, like the US, have called for more coordination with the opposition groups.

The pledging conference in Kuwait was the largest in UN history – raising more than $1.5 billion in pledges

“We believe the Syrian opposition coalition can help facilitate reliable access to areas outside government control so professional humanitarian organizations can reach those in need,” said Anne Richard, assistant secretary of state at the US Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos agreed the UN needs to further strengthen ties with opposition groups who control militias on the ground, as well as with the humanitarian aid arm of the opposition umbrella group, the Syrian National Coalition, known as the Assistance Coordination Unit.

This month, the Coalition accused the UN of “giving” the Syrian government money through its humanitarian response plan – an allegation categorically denied by the UN, which has emphasized its neutrality.

“We do not give aid to the Syrian government; we give aid to the Syrian people,” Amos told journalists.

She said more aid reaches opposition-controlled areas than is popularly realized. For example, half of the aid from the World Food Programme goes to areas controlled or disputed by rebels, but noted that there is nearly no city in Syria that is clearly controlled by one side or the other.

Still, aid workers face massive challenges, with hundreds of armed groups on the ground which do not necessarily coordinate.

Amos cited one case late last year in which the UN tried to send a convoy of supplies to the central city of Homs. They had to pass 21 checkpoints on the way from the capital Damascus. They negotiated their way through 20, but were turned back at the last one.

Diplomatic delegations said humanitarian aid would only ever be a band aid and urged the Security Council to find a political resolution to the conflict.

Nabil El Araby, secretary-general of the Arab League, called for an international meeting to agree on a ceasefire, with the quick dispatch of a peacekeeping force.

“I urge, again, members of the Security Council to feel the sense of responsibility to humanity and history,” Ban said. “We cannot go on this way.”

But, he said, the ultimate responsibility to end the killing fell on the Syrian government.

ha/oa


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