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August 19, 2013
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Giving aid workers their due on World Humanitarian Day
Today is World Humanitarian Day, which honors the efforts made daily by humanitarian aid workers in challenging environments to improve people's lives. "The world needs to understand how peace is important; peace is one of the expressions of love. Peace is the key [to] development and happiness," says Eddy Mbuyi of Oxfam International. IRINNews.org (8/16), BBC (8/17)
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Above the Fold
 
Quote of the Day
@UNFoundation: Happy World Humanitarian Day! Check out these amazing photos of aid workers around the globe: bit.ly/14hpusn #WHD2013
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UN Dispatch
"August 19 is now commemorated in UN circles as World Humanitarian Day, which honors the sacrifices of aid workers killed in the line of duty." UN Dispatch (8/19)
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United Nations
UNHCR: Influx of Syrian refugees into Iraq could be largest
More than 20,000 refugees have entered Iraq's Kurdistan region since Thursday, says the United Nations refugee agency. The refugees crossing into Iraq via a pontoon bridge may be the largest influx since the Syrian conflict began in 2011. "The factors allowing this sudden movement are not fully clear to us," says UNHCR's Adrian Edwards. Reuters (8/19), BBC (8/18), The Guardian (London) (8/17)
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Health & Development
Mental health services are key to overcoming emergencies, WHO report says
Emergencies are opportunities to strengthen mental health services or provide them in areas where they are nonexistent, says a World Health Organization report. "[S]ocieties that go through major emergencies need to recover, and mental health is essential for recovery of these events for the functioning of society, for the resilience of society," says Mark Van Ommeren of WHO. Voice of America (8/19)
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Women & Girls
UN agency: Somalia has crisis of gender-based violence
The United Nations refugee agency says sexual and gender-based violence is pervasive in Somalia, with displaced women and girls most at risk. In the first half of 2013, there were at least 800 cases of sexual violence in Mogadishu. "Rape continues to be perpetrated by unknown armed men and men wearing military uniform. Sexual and gender-based violence also includes domestic violence, harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation, and early and forced marriage," says Jens Laerke of UNHCR. Voice of America (8/16)
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Climate and Energy
Better planning needed for coastal cities to cope with climate change
Flooding from climate change will especially affect coastal cities in developing countries, says a World Bank report that calls for better planning. "No city is doomed, but we have to expect huge disasters in the future. And better international coordination to provide support for the affected countries is really important," says the World Bank's Stephane Hallegatte. SciDev.net (8/18)
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Peacekeeping and Security
Violence in Egypt continues as Mubarak likely to go free
Violent clashes continue in Egypt, with more deaths and destruction of property. The U.S. is halting non-military aid to the country. Meanwhile, an ambush in the Sinai has killed 24 Egyptian policemen, and former President Hosni Mubarak is likely to leave jail after a criminal case against him collapsed. BBC (8/19), The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (8/18), Reuters (8/19), The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (8/18), The Guardian (London) (8/18)
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UN Radio
Close to 20,000 Syrians have crossed the border into northern Iraq since Thursday of last week. UN Radio (8/19)
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