News in Brief 27 October 2016 (AM)

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Young Omar and his parents, who fled the Syrian city of Idlib and crossed into Turkey, have been accepted for resettlement in France. Photo: UNHCR/J.Tanner

Killing of 22 children, 6 teachers in Syria school bombing "a war crime"

The killing of 22 children along with six of their teachers in the Syrian city of Idlib, has been denounced as "a war crime" if it turns out the bombing was deliberate.

That's the view of UN Children's Fund Executive Director, Anthony Lake, who described the attack on the school compound on Tuesday as "an outrage".

The UNICEF chief said that it "may be the deadliest attack on a school since the war began more than five years ago."

He added that the bombing was "one more scar on Syria's future" and called on the international community to match revulsion "at such barbarity" with a call to stop daily atrocities against civilians.

Crop losses in Madagascar means "severe hunger" will persist

The loss of crops due to years of drought, combined with the El Niño weather phenomenon, means that "severe hunger" is likely to persist across southern Madagascar into next year.

That's according to a new report from the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Nearly 850,000 people are "acutely food-insecure" and require an "intensified humanitarian response" say the agencies.

Lack of rain in the Androy region alone, has led to an 80 per cent decline in the maize crop compared with already reduced levels for last year.

Prolonged drought has also seriously affected the cassava crop, another staple, which has fallen by half.

"Significant progress" in campaign to end statelessness: UNHCR

There has been "significant progress" made to end statelessness around the world, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, said on Thursday.

But ongoing conflicts are "putting those advances at risk", said the head of UNHCR, Filippo Grandi, speaking in Geneva on the second anniversary of the agency's #IBelong Campaign to End Statelessness.

With at least ten million people affected globally, the campaign aims to wipe out statelessness by 2024.

Since its launch in 2014, ten additional states have become Parties to the UN Statelessness Conventions.

Mr Grandi said the ravages of war were threatening to reverse gains made, especially in the Middle East and North Africa.

He said there was a danger that some of the 709,000 Syrian refugee children born in exile during the war, would end up stateless, since Syrian mothers could not transfer their nationality to their children.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'51"

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