@HelenClarkUNDP Tartous: Growing mushrooms 2 enhance livelihoods




Since the start of the Syria crisis, Tartous has been one the most stable governorate and is thus a natural refuge for IDPs escaping nearby conflict areas. It is a home to approximately 452,000 IDPs who came mostly from Homs, Hama, Idleb, Aleppo, Ar-Raqqa, and Deir-Ez-Zor and reside in rented apartments and shelters.

Source: Tartous: Growing mushrooms to enhance livelihoods

Khawla is one of those IDPs who used to live with her family in Aleppo governorate in peace before the crisis. Their neighborhood became suddenly under siege and violence and they suffered from malnutrition and bad health conditions as they were unable to meet their basic daily needs of food and water. A year ago, when the conditions in their area became unbearable, they fled to Tartous governorate taking refuge in Al-Kharab area.


“One of my brothers is missing, and the second one has fled out of the country” said Khawla; the 21 year old single women who found herself the sole breadwinner of her family in spite of her young age. She was living in a small apartment with 12 members including the families of her both brothers. “The rent was very expensive and we no longer could afford it. I spent long time searching for a decent work but I had no previous experience” said Khalwa, adding “I never imagined that I’ll see my family in need for the basic things in life such as food, I had to find a job to save my family”.


In response to the dire situation of the IDPs in Tartous, UNDP implemented a mushroom cultivation project to provide job opportunities for IDPs and their host community members and enhance their living conditions. Mushroom cultivation can help reduce vulnerability to poverty and strengthens livelihoods through the generation of a fast yielding and nutritious source of food and a reliable source of income, in addition that it does not require access to land.


Khawla was one of the beneficiaries who joined the project from its early beginning. She is working eight hours per day in growing mushrooms and receiving a monthly wage that has significantly improved her conditions.


“Thanks to this project, I can buy food and clothes for my small brothers’ and help my family to pay the rent of our apartment” she said with a smile, adding “I also learnt new skills and got more experience in growing mushrooms, I feel I’m a productive person and I have more confidence in myself”.


The mushroom cultivating project helped creating 50 job opportunities for IDPs and their host community members, in addition to providing 1690 kg of mushrooms to the local market at reasonable prices.

Suspecting fraud, U.S. suspends some Syrian aid programs – The Washington Post

The decision has affected the delivery of medicines, food and other vital assistance.

Source: Suspecting fraud, U.S. suspends some Syrian aid programs – The Washington Post

National Security
Suspecting fraud, U.S. suspends some Syrian aid programs
A Syrian child receives medical treatment at a field hospital in Douma, Syria, on July 21, following airstrikes on rebel-controlled areas. (Mohammed Badra/EPA)
By Louisa Loveluck July 26
While the White House has placed humanitarian aid at the heart of its Syria policy, the government agency charged with disbursing it has frozen more than $200 million in contracts, fearing significant fraud.

As fighting deepens night­marish conditions across northern Syria, the suspensions have affected the delivery of medicines, food and other life-saving aid to hundreds of thousands of civilians since December. An investigation into the suspected fraud was formally announced in April, but details did not emerge until a congressional hearing this month.

In Aleppo, a city shattered by violence, leading hospitals were brought to the brink of closure when they were left without financial support. Elsewhere, civilians displaced in baking heat received tarpaulins too small to cover an adult and food kits in which lentils had been replaced with salt.

“Despite our goodwill, bad characters have taken advantage of the complex situation for personal gain, ultimately denying Syrian people the food, clothing, health care and other aid they urgently need,” Ann Calvaresi Barr, inspector general of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), told the House Foreign Affairs Committee this month.

[A midnight strike killed a 2-day-old infant in Aleppo’s Children’s Hospital]

The agency has received at least 116 complaints of abuse, and 25 investigations have been opened, some two-thirds of which relate to theft and fraud. Contracts worth $239 million have been suspended.

At the House committee’s hearing, Thomas Melito, a senior official at the Government Accountability Office, which issued a report this month on improving oversight of Syria aid programs, said he did not believe USAID or the State Department had “any inkling” of how much money had been lost.

The problems underscore a wider dilemma: how to deliver aid in a war zone where most fear to travel. The U.S. is the leading humanitarian donor in Syria, but most of the $5.5 billion in American aid has been distributed through the United Nations and a host of partner organizations.
The United States closed its embassy in Damascus in 2012.

“When you work cross-border and without a consulate, things become very complex, very high risk, and very dangerous,” said Nancy Lindborg, president of the U.S. Institute of Peace and a former senior official at USAID. She likened the challenges of the cross-border operation to aid efforts in Somalia. There, as in Syria, aid workers have been kidnapped and killed for their work.

Earlier this month, Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced nearly $439 million in new humanitarian funding for Syria and neighboring countries.

USAID said this month that most partner organizations had not assessed the risk of fraud within their operations. The agency said that it is working to rectify this problem and that it has supplied partners with a new handbook on how to spot malpractice.

“When USAID learned about possible fraud in humanitarian aid for Syrians, we took immediate action to halt several activities in Turkey and to suspend individuals and third-party vendors from receiving U.S. funding,” spokesman Ben Edwards said. “USAID has learned from this experience and is taking additional measures to protect our assistance, including limiting the amount of relief supplies in any one warehouse, enhancing program monitoring, and ensuring that programs are immediately suspended or terminated in the event of fraud or diversion.”

International Medical Corps (IMC), a Los Angeles-based charity, said Friday that some of its USAID-funded procurement remained on hold, pending the outcome of the investigation.

In southern Turkey, current and former IMC employees said in interviews that a “mafia” of suppliers had conspired to rig bids, accepting substandard goods that did not meet invoiced specifications. “It was like a cartel,” said one senior employee, who, like others, was not authorized to speak to the media or feared repercussions.

IMC said Friday that it had also fired a handful of staff members suspected of involvement in ­“sophisticated fraud schemes.” “We are fully prepared to move swiftly should we find additional staff are involved,” said Rebecca Gustafson, a spokesperson.
The funding suspension led IMC to cut 800 employees, the organization said, most of them Syrians living in the war zone. Each of “those salaries would have supported about 10 people,” a former staffer said.

Also under investigation are the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a global charity headed by former British foreign secretary David Miliband, and GOAL, an Irish nonprofit group that supported dozens of bakeries in northwest Syria.

The IRC said Friday in a statement that it was working “openly and collaboratively with USAID to investigate this issue.” It said its Turkey-to-Syria cross-border programs have served more than 2 million people, “notwithstanding the scale, risk and obstacles associated with operating within a war-torn environment.”

GOAL said Tuesday that it also was cooperating with the investigation and that U.S. funding for procurement parts of its aid program had been suspended.

Although remote programming has brought serious challenges, aid officials say it’s now the only option to serve areas of Syria outside of government control.

U.N. aid operations run out of Damascus are limited in scope, their activities affected by the demands of President Bashar al-Assad’s government, according to some critics. The Syria Campaign, a pro-opposition advocacy group, accused the United Nations in a report last month of abandoning its neutrality through a “culture of compliance” that allowed the government to veto aid deliveries to besieged areas where figures compiled by the Syrian Network for Human Rights suggest more than 400 people have starved to death.

At a news conference after its release, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said the report “discredits the work of national and international humanitarian aid workers.”

“The U.N. has never shied away from calling out the parties in the conflict, including the Syrian government, for hampering the humanitarian work of the U.N. in Syria,” he said.

Reflecting on the corruption, a former IMC staffer said the investigation should act as a “wake-up call” for aid groups.
“You can’t get away with that sort of poor oversight and lack of procedure anymore,” the staffer said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Over 700 vital medical personnel killed in Syria: U.N.


Attacks on hospitals since Syria’s war broke out five years ago have left more than 700 doctors and medical workers dead, many of them in airstrikes, U.N. investigators said Tuesday.

Source: Over 700 vital medical personnel killed in Syria: U.N.


GENEVA: Attacks on hospitals since Syria’s war broke out five years ago have left more than 700 doctors and medical workers dead, many of them in airstrikes, U.N. investigators said Tuesday.

The U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Syria also condemned horrific violations by militants and voiced concern that Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants may have recruited hundreds of children into their ranks.

Commission chief Paulo Pinheiro told the U.N. Human Rights Council that widespread, targeted aerial attacks on hospitals and clinics across Syria “have resulted in scores of civilian deaths, including much-needed medical workers.”

“More than 700 doctors and medical personnel have been killed in attacks on hospitals since the beginning of the conflict,” he said.

Pinheiro, who was presenting the commission’s latest report to the council, said attacks on medical facilities and the deaths of so many medical professionals had made access to health care in the violence-wracked country extremely difficult – and in some areas completely impossible. “As civilian casualties mount, the number of medical facilities and staff decreases, limiting even further access to medical care,” he said.

Pinheiro also denouncedfrequent attacks on other infrastructure critical to civilian life, such as markets, schools and bakeries. “With each attack, terrorized survivors are left more vulnerable,” he said, adding that “schools, hospitals, mosques, water stations … are all being turned into rubble.”

Pinheiro said the commission was investigating allegations that the Nusra Front “and other Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups have recruited hundreds of children under 15 in Idlib.”

The brutality of Syria’s conflict is preventing millions of children from attending school, and activists have warned this is helping fuel militant recruitment drives.

Pinheiro also condemned violations committed by Daesh (ISIS).

In a report published last week, the commission warned that Daesh militants were continuing to commit genocide against the Yazidi minority in Iraq and Syria. In 2014, extremistsmassacred members of the Kurdish-speaking minority mainly based around Sinjar mountain in northern Iraq, forcing tens of thousands to flee, and captured thousands of girls and women.

“As we speak, Yazidi women and girls are still sexually enslaved, subjected to brutal rapes and beatings. They are bought and sold in markets, passed from fighter to fighter like chattel, their dignity being ripped from them with each passing day,” Pinheiro said Tuesday.

“Boys are taken from their mother’s care and forced into [Daesh] training camps once they reach the age of seven,” he said, as he called on the international community to act “to stop the genocide.”

World – Tenth Wall Defense 4 Human Rights

Source: World – Tenth Wall Defense 4 Human Rights


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macleans.ca – Andrzej Duda, it turns out, gives as good as he gets. Poland’s president was in Toronto, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Ottawa this week to meet with business leaders, members of Canada’s substantial Poli…

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ohchr.org – GENEVA (9 May 2016) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, will visit Greece from 12 to 16 May 2016 to gather information on the complex manageme…

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worldbank.org – The time has come to shift our thinking and approach.  We need to turn our attention to the behavior and motivations of the men and ask a different set of questions. What is going on with the men w…

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haaretz.com – French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Tuesday lamented his country’s vote in favor of a controversial UNESCO resolution on the Temple Mount, saying its wording was “unfortunate and clumsy” and shou…

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theatlantic.com – Elections are always clearer in retrospect than they appeared in prospect. So I thought it might be interesting to imagine the column a pundit like me might write next year, to explain an upset vic…

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airforcetimes.com – PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Air Force Gen. Lori J. Robinson on Friday became the first woman to lead a top-tier U.S. warfighting command when she took over as leader of the North American Aero…

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internacional.elpais.com – Los 43 normalistas del Estado mexicano de Guerrero desaparecidos desde el 26 de septiembre de 2014 no fueron víctimas de desaparición forzada sino ejecutados, afirmaron jueces federales en una seri…

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Poland Refuses To Accept Any Refugees “As They Pose A Threat To Security”, Will Not Comply With European “Blackmail”

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America’s Best Cities for Italian Food

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How patience can be a better balm for trauma than resilience – Samira Thomas | Aeon Essays

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aeon.co – In the Gardens of Babur in the Afghan city of Kabul stands a tree. It is now a bullet-riddled trunk in a garden originally built by the founder of the Mughal Empire. When the Taliban ruled Kabul, m…

The air is teeming with Picasso’s molecules

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Crazy Tokyo: 5 of The Best Theme Restaurants In Tokyo!

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Food in Your City: Exploring Tokyo’s Culinary Scene

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The Very First Color Photographs of the United States

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mymodernmet.com – You’re looking at some of the very first color photographs of North America! A fascinating new photography book called An American Odyssey opens the archive of the Detroit Photographic Company to r…

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Betraying Syria




Betraying Syria
Syria hovered over the negotiations with Iran. Leon Panetta, who served as Obama’s head of the C.I.A. and later Secretary of Defense said that Obama was obsessed with avoiding a conflict with Iran, even if it was at the expense of ignoring Syria’s tragedy, “If you ratchet up sanctions, it could cause a war. If you start opposing their interest in Syria, well, that could start a war, too.” When the author of the article asks Rhodes about the ability of White House officials “to get comfortable with tragedy” in reference to Syria, Rhodes’ answer is startling; “Yeah, I admit very much to that reality,” he says. “There’s a numbing element to Syria in particular. But I will tell you this,” he continues. “I profoundly do not believe that the United States could make things better in Syria by being there. And we have an evidentiary record of what happens when we’re there — nearly a decade in Iraq.”

When the author asks Rhodes why the Obama administration is “spending so much time and energy trying to strong-arm Syrian rebels into surrendering to the dictator who murdered their families, or why it is so important for Iran to maintain its supply lines to Hezbollah.” Rhodes mumbles something about John Kerry, and then says something to the effect, “that the world of the Sunni Arabs that the American establishment built has collapsed. The buck stops with the establishment, not with Obama, who was left to clean up their mess.” This cowardly denial and the claim that Obama is absolutely blameless in the slow death of Syria, is the most jarring in the article.

The Obama administration’s claims that Syrian tyrant Assad and his cohorts should have no place in the new Syria that emerges after the negotiations rings hollow. When the author describes Rob Malley, Obama’s senior advisor on ISIS and Syria as the official “currently running negotiations that could keep the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in power” the circle of deceit and the betrayal of Syria is complete. Les enfants terribles of Obama are like him; conceited, arrogant, contemptuous and proud of it.

Hisham Melhem is a columnist and analyst for Al Arabiya News Channel in Washington, DC. Melhem has interviewed many American and international public figures, including Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, among others. He is also the correspondent for Annahar, the leading Lebanese daily. For four years he hosted “Across the Ocean,” a weekly current affairs program on U.S.-Arab relations for Al Arabiya. Follow him on Twitter: @hisham_melhemimg_0429-1012

Tenth Wall Defense 4 Human Rights

Mark Geoffrey Kirshner

Mark Geoffrey Kirshner

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Tenth Wall Defense 4 Human Rights, by Mark G Kirshner: @MarkGKirshner

Source: Tenth Wall Defense 4 Human Rights

Tenth Wall Defense 4 Human Rights




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Tenth Wall Defense 4 Human Rights, by Mark G Kirshner: @MarkGKirshner

Source: Tenth Wall Defense 4 Human Rights

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