Shocking before-and-after photos show how Syrian government ‘wiped entire neighbourhoods off the map’

Before and after photographs of Syrian neighborhoods.

Image: Before and after photographs of Syrian neighborhoods. - January 30th, 2014 - Ryan Lucas

The Syrian government used controlled explosives and bulldozers to raze thousands of residential buildings, in some cases entire neighbourhoods, in a campaign that appeared designed to punish civilians sympathetic to the opposition or to cause disproportionate harm to them, an international human rights group said Thursday.

The demolitions took place between July 2012 and July 2013 in seven pro-opposition districts in and around the capital, Damascus, and the central city of Hama, according to a 38-page report by Human Rights Watch. The New York-based group said the deliberate destruction violated international law, and called for an immediate end to the practice.


Indonesia Volcano Erupts Again


(Photo: Sutanta Aditya, AFP, Getty Images) - AP - February 1, 2014

MOUNT SINABUNG, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian volcano that has been rumbling for months unleased a major eruption Saturday, killing 14 people just a day after authorities allowed thousands of villagers who had been evacuated to return to its slopes, saying that activity was decreasing, officials said.

Among the dead on Mount Sinabung were a local television journalist and four high-school students and their teacher who were visiting the mountain to see the eruptions up close, said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. At least three other people were injured, and authorities feared the death toll would rise.


These $100 3-D-Printed Arms Are Giving Young Sudan War Amputees A Reason To Go On - by Eleanor Goldberg - January 23, 2014

Fifty thousand people, many of whom are children, have lost limbs in the war in Sudan. The number of victims is staggering, but one company is working to help by developing inexpensive prosthetics that can be made in about six hours.

. . . A team is capable of producing a low-cost, 3-D-printed arm for about $100.


Bird Flu Isn’t Just China’s Problem Anymore

Computer rendering of an avian influenza virus
Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF

With the Chinese New Year and the Olympics on the horizon, health officials can only watch and wait for a potential pandemic - by Alice Park - January 29, 20114

Growing Disease Burden in South Sudan Conflict


Lucky delivery: A south Sudan refugee mother takes a meal after successfully delivering her newborn at Nzjaipi health center III. A number of expecting mothers in limbo due to inadequate health facilities at refugee transit and sattlement sites in Adjumani.  Charles Akena/IRIN

GULU-NAIROBI, 27 January 2014 (IRIN) - Disease burden is growing among people who fled their homes following the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan.

The mid-December eruption of fighting between army forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those supporting former vice-president Riek Machar has adversely impacted the already weak health system.

“Even before this crisis, South Sudan’s health system was extremely fragile - 80 percent of the health services were provided by international organizations," Raphael Gorgeu, the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) head of mission for South Sudan, told IRIN in an email. “So for MSF, the current conflict exacerbates an already dire situation.”


People Surge Swells

Their grief turned into anger the following day when they joined a march that they now want to replicate in different areas across the country.

Series of protests vs Aquino govt set nationwide - by Ronald Reyes
January 28, 2014

SURVIVORS of super typhoon Yolanda and their supporters on Monday vowed to stage more protests to express their indignation at the slow government response to their needs, after last Friday’s “People Surge” demonstration gathered more than 12,000 people in Tacloban City.

“This is a People Surge – a swelling of the people demanding justice for Yolanda victims and asserting their right to food, housing, livelihood and social services,” said Sister Edita Eslopor, OSB, chairperson of People Surge, an alliance working for the victims of typhoon Yolanda.

. . . This is just the first of a series of protests that will fill the streets of major cities across the country in indignation of the Aquino administration,” Eslopor added.


With an Eye Toward the Future: Building Resilience in a Changing World - Habiba Gitay / Sofia Bettencourt
January 10, 2014

Typhoon Haiyan, the Category 5 super storm that devastated parts of the Philippines and killed thousands late last year, continues to remind us, tragically, of how vulnerable we are to weather-related disasters.

As the images of destruction and desperation continue to circle the globe, we’re also reminded that those most at risk when natural disaster strikes are the world’s poor – people who have little money to help them recover and who lack food security, access to clean water, sanitation and health services.

Over the last year, as one major extreme weather event after another wreaked havoc and claimed lives in the developing world, terms such as "resilience" and "loss and damage" have become part and parcel of our efforts here at the World Bank Group – and for good reason.


Opposition Says No to Ukraine on Power Share


Protesters lit tires aflame during clashes with riot police in Kiev. It was unclear if they would accept the president’s concessions. Volodymyr Shuvayev/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images - by David M. Herszenhorn - January 25, 2014

KIEV, Ukraine — In a striking concession aimed at defusing Ukraine’s civil uprising and preserving his own grip on power, President Viktor F. Yanukovych on Saturday offered to install opposition leaders in top posts in a reshaped government, but they swiftly rebuffed the offer to the delight of thousands of protesters on the street craving a fuller victory in the days ahead.

Report: Freedom Declined Worldwide in 2013 - by Jeff Seldin - January 22, 2014

WASHINGTON — The Washington-based group Freedom House said the cause of freedom around the globe took another hit in 2013, as the group released its Freedom in the World 2014 report Thursday. The authors warned of serious setbacks in some of the world’s more influential countries.


CLICK HERE - Report - Freedom in the World 2014

Nearly US $ 1 Billion Mobilized for Climate Change - - January 25, 2014

According to the MONRE’s report, from 2010 to now, the Ministry has built and mobilized nearly US$ 1 billion from international aid and preferential loan to implement programs and projects in response to climate change.

The Danish government provided a 40-million preferential loan in the framework of the Program of Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation. In 2013, the Support Program to Response to Climate Change supported an expected loan of US$ 270 million. The Vietnam’s National Investment Program proposed to use the Clean Technology Fund with total budget of US$ 250 million.

The international cooperation on climate change continued to recorded lots of efforts in 2013. The Ministry has organized an international donors meeting in order to call for support for the new matrix policy of the SP-RCC in the period 2013-2015. Also, the ministry has built a plan to attract financial support for climate change, proposed a loan agreement of Climate Change Development Policy Operation (CCDPO2) and ASEAN Minerals Trust Fund.

Failure to set a robust 2030 climate target will hurt our national security - January 21st, 2014 - Rear Admiral Neil Moriseti

As the European Commission prepares its 2030 climate change White Paper, more than the environment is at stake. As well as health and social issues, a changing climate poses potential risks to global security, in particular to secure, sustainable and affordable supplies of key natural resources (food, water and energy) that are essential for economic prosperity and well being.

Whether as a result of extreme weather events - such as Super Storm Sandy or Typhoon Haiyan - or the early onset of long term trends, climate change poses a threat to EU supply chains, raw materials and markets.


Don't Bet on Coal and Oil Growth - January 24th, 2014 - Kumi Naidoo

A mind-boggling sum of about $800 for each person on the planet is invested into fossil fuel companies through the global capital markets alone. That's roughly 10 percent of the total capital invested in listed companies. The amount of money invested into the 200 biggest fossil fuel companies through financial markets is estimated at 5.5 trillion dollars.


IAEA Delivers Final Report on Remediation in Fukushima to Japan

Remediation workers check bags of soil and other decontamination waste at a temporary storage site in Date city in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. (Photo: G. Tudor/IAEA) - January 24, 2014

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) handed Japan the final report from an expert mission that reviewed remediation efforts in areas affected by the Fukushima Daiichi accident.

The IAEA report, which is available online, describes the findings of the Follow-up IAEA International Mission on Remediation of Large Contaminated Areas Off-Site the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, held on 14 to 21 October 2013. The report highlights important progress in all areas to date, and offers advice on several points where the team feels it is still possible to further improve current practices.


Super Typhoon Victims Flee Again as Rains Flood Southern Philippines


A resident stands on the roof of his home that is submerged in heavy flooding brought by tropical depression ''Agaton'', in Butuan city on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao January 21, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Erik De Castro - by Erik de Castro - January 21, 2014

(Reuters) - Emergency workers evacuated thousands of people across the southern Philippines on Tuesday, including many already made homeless by a typhoon in November, after three days of rain flooded towns and farmland.

Hundreds of survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall, were forced to flee by tropical depression "Agaton" after emergency shelters were damaged or destroyed on the eastern central island of Samar.

Tents collapsed under the weight of the rain and emergency plastic sheets have been torn away, humanitarian agency Oxfam said.


10 Greatest Threats Facing the World in 2014 - - by Kim Hjelmgaard - January 16, 2014

The World Economic Forum on Thursday released its Global Risks 2014 report.

"Taking a 10-year outlook, the report assesses 31 risks that are global in nature and have the potential to cause significant negative impact across entire countries and industries if they take place," is how the WEF describes the report in a statement accompanying its release.

"The risks are grouped under five classifications — economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological — and measured in terms of their likelihood and potential impact," the statement says.


CLICK HERE - Global Risks 2014 report


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