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June 13, 2012 | News covering the UN and the worldSign up  |  E-Mail this  |  Donate

Syrian conflict is tantamount to civil war, UN official says

The violence in Syria can now be characterized as a civil war, said the head of peacekeeping for the United Nations, Herve Ladsous. "Clearly what is happening is that the government of Syria lost some large chunks of territory, several cities to the opposition, and wants to retake control," Ladsous said Tuesday, the same day UN observers were kept away from the town of Haffah by crowds and were shot at while traveling to Idlib province. UN monitors for the first time were able to verify that helicopters were being used to attack rebels. Al-Jazeera (6/13), The Globe and Mail (Toronto)/Reuters (6/12), Los Angeles Times/World Now blog (tiered subscription model) (6/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

The Future We Want: Counting down to the #RioPlus20 sustainable development conference. #futurewewant"


"Last week, an attack on the Ivorian side of the Côte d’Ivoire/Liberia border left at least 15 people dead, including seven UN peacekeepers from Niger. This attack, apparently perpetrated by a nebulous group of Ivorian and Liberian rebels, is not the first cross-border assault since former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo was deposed last year."

UN Dispatch

United Nation
  • Slow progress on draft agreement for Rio+20
    A week before the start of the Rio+20 conference in Brazil, differences remain over the draft agreement on sustainable development goals for the world. Only one-fifth of key issues had been settled with three days of talks remaining. BBC (6/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Health and Development
  • Mosquitoes successfully altered to be malaria-free
    Scientists have engineered a mosquito that is unable to transmit the malaria virus, a development that could potentially change the global landscape plagued by the deadly disease. The Anopheles stephensi mosquito species, which transmits malaria in India and the Middle East, was genetically altered to produce antibodies that attack the infectious version of the malaria parasite, according to researchers at the University of California, Irvine, and the Pasteur Institute in Paris. The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.) (6/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Food emergency in Africa's Sahel
    The onset of dry months in the Sahel region of Africa, combined with the continued shortfall in funding, mean that the worst is yet to come for more than 18 million people in West Africa, aid agencies warn. UNICEF on Monday appealed for approximately $238 million to help Sahel's children. The Guardian (London) (6/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Women and Girls
  • A tale of "2 Indias" for women
    Among Group of 20 countries, India is the worst place to be a woman, according to a poll of gender specialists. Nearly half of all women there are married before they turn 18, and incidences of domestic violence, molestation, rape and trafficking are rife. "There are two Indias: one where we can see more equality and prosperity for women, but another where the vast majority of women are living with no choice, voice or rights," said Sushma Kapoor, deputy director for UN Women in South Asia. Reuters (6/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Climate and Energy
  • Report: Land grabs in Africa "hydrological suicide"
    The land deals that have given control of millions of acres of African farmland to foreign investors are leading to increased water consumption, depleting the continent's valued resource and blocking access to water for millions of people, according to a report by Grain, a nonprofit that supports small farms. Agreements usually do not specify how projects must take into account water issues. The Guardian (London) (6/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Report assesses G-20 countries on renewables ahead of Rio+20
    Europe, the U.S. and certain smaller states have had varying degrees of success in expanding the use of renewable energy and developing supportive policy, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. At Rio+20, "[w]hat's really need is targeted short-term commitments to really scale up renewable electricity in terms of cities, companies and countries as opposed to one global target," said Jake Schmidt of the NRDC. (6/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  • Kiva's small loans boost small-scale clean energy
    U.S. nonprofit Kiva Microfunds has been issuing microloans for small clean-energy projects in the developing world, including clean cookstoves and solar-powered lamps. One project supported by donations to Kiva uses a biodigester to convert livestock waste into fuel and fertilizer. Bloomberg/Sustainability (6/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Peacekeeping and Security
  • NATO is falling short in Libya, UN official says
    NATO has failed in Libya to adapt from mistakes made in Afghanistan, as the alliance has yet to "investigate civilian casualties, acknowledge and make amends" at nine targets, writes Marc Garlasco, senior military adviser to an independent commission of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The alliance's actions in Libya were justified and harming relatively few civilians, he writes. "Instead of dealing with the United Nations investigation openly and admitting mistakes, NATO's secrecy has fed Chinese and Russian conspiracy theories of massive civilian casualties," he writes. The Washington Post (6/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
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