Sub Zero Temperatures and Storms Bring Misery to Displaced Syrians

Rain, heavy snow and bitter cold are threatening the safety of at least 7 million Syrian children. “Briefing the press in Geneva this afternoon, UNICEF’s Christophe Boulierac warned that the number of children who need clothes and winter items is increasing exponentially. Six children have already died due to the extreme weather. Temperatures in parts of Syria are currently reaching -11 degrees Celsius.Living in tents, unfinished buildings and inadequate shelters, more and more children are being exposed to sub-zero temperatures, heavy snow and strong winds. This leaves them vulnerable to respiratory tract infections and other illnesses associated with cold weather.” (UN News Center

Wait, lawmakers actually cut their own pay? This is a story we do not often see anywhere in the world. Lawmakers in Burkina Faso gave themselves a 50-percent pay cut Tuesday, following a public outcry over the “indecent” wages enjoyed by members of the country’s interim assembly. (AFP

Stat of the Day: 3 million children living with HIV….A new study said HIV-positive children are much more likely to die from pneumonia than children who are not infected with the AIDS virus. It’s estimated there are more than three million children under age 14 living with HIV. The vast majority are in sub-Saharan Africa. (VOA


China is ramping up its assistance in the fight against Ebola by dispatching an additional 232 army medical workers to West Africa, state media reported. (Al Jazeera

The head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says he remains “very confident” the Ebola outbreak that has devastated West Africa can be stopped. (VOA

The rate of new Ebola cases in Liberia has plunged, Sierra Leone is beginning to turn the corner in dealing with the deadly virus and health officials are now focused on Guinea, a USAID official said on Tuesday. (Reuters

The World Health Organization says governments flouted their obligations during the Ebola crisis and wants more power to tackle health emergencies in future, documents published by the international agency showed. (Reuters


A senior Lord’s Resistance Army commander who surrendered last week to the U.S. military in the Central African Republic will be handed over to the International Criminal Court in The Hague for trial, a Ugandan army spokesman said on Tuesday. (Reuters

At least 143 Boko Haram fighters were killed in an attack on a military camp in Cameroon on Monday, a minister said, adding that it was the heaviest loss sustained by the Nigerian Islamist group in the country. (Reuters

The United Nations said that the latest wave of Boko Haram’s “vicious, ruthless attacks” in northeastern Nigeria had sent 11,320 people fleeing into Chad in a matter of days. (AFP

A surge in illegal logging is devastating native forests in coastal Tanzania’s Rufiji district, despite efforts by authorities to curb forest losses, officials said. (Reuters

China mediated talks between South Sudan’s warring factions, winning pledges from the rivals to speed up the country’s peace process. (VOA

South Africa says military intervention by its contingent of United Nations peacekeepers is now “inevitable” after Rwanda-backed rebels in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo did not comply with a January 2 deadline to disarm. (VOA

A key railway line which links landlocked Zambia to the ports in Tanzania has been shut after workers downed tools to demand five months unpaid salaries, the operating company said Tuesday. (AFP


The Islamic State released a video purporting to show a child executing two men accused of being Russian spies who tried to infiltrate the militant organization in Syria. (USA today

UNICEF says it is stepping up assistance for hundreds of thousands of Syrian children at risk of illness and death due to bitterly cold weather. (VOA

U.N.-backed negotiations between rival Libyan factions looked in doubt on Tuesday after one of the delegations said it would postpone a decision on whether to participate until Sunday. (Reuters

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi could still pardon three jailed Al Jazeera journalists who are now facing a retrial if he deems it appropriate, the country’s foreign minister said on Tuesday. (Reuters

Egypt’s high court on Tuesday overturned the only remaining conviction against former president Hosni Mubarak, opening the way for his possible release four years after the revolution that toppled him. (Reuters

Islamic State fighters must be wiped out, France’s defense minister said on Tuesday, indicating that Paris would not pull back from military operations overseas after 17 people were killed by home-grown militants in Paris last week. (Reuters


HRW says the leader of Cambodia, Hun Sen, has “repeatedly used political violence, repression, and corruption to remain in power,” as the leader nears his 30th anniversary in power. (VOA

Sri Lanka’s Marxist opposition filed a corruption complaint on Tuesday against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his relatives and asked the anti-graft body to prevent them from leaving the country. (Reuters

An Uber taxi driver accused of raping a woman passenger in New Delhi will go on trial in a fast-track court this week after entering a not guilty plea Tuesday. (AFP

The United States will provide a $1 billion loan guarantee to embattled Ukraine if the government remains on track with an IMF-backed reform program, the Treasury Department said Tuesday. (AFP

A profile of one voluntary community-based distribution worker in Laos, trained by the Laotian government and the UN population fund to spread the word about family planning and distribute free contraceptives in his community. (Guardian

The Americas

Venezuelan authorities released a dozen demonstrators who had been arrested over the weekend while protesting swelling lines at supermarkets, following several days of scattered unrest that included a group of masked assailants burning a bus. (VOA

A top FARC negotiator Tuesday reaffirmed the Colombian rebel group’s intention to observe a unilateral ceasefire so long as its forces do not come under attack. (AFP

Thousands of autoworkers in Brazil’s biggest city have blocked a major highway to protest the firing of 800 Volkswagen workers. (AP

The wife of a Mexican politician suspected of helping to plot the apparent massacre of 43 trainee teachers in September will be tried for engaging in organized crime, the federal courts authority said. (Reuters


On gay rights, Vietnam is now more progressive than much of the US (GlobalPost

The Paris Killings – A Fatal Trap for Europe (IPS

For the Good of Humanity – Towards a Culture of Caring (IPS

Boko Haram and Nigeria’s future – five key questions answered (IRIN

What made the Paris attack more newsworthy than Boko Haram’s assault on Baga? (The Guardian

Uneven Distributions: What we talk about when we talk about Ebola (IRIN

Aid failures in Haiti: exploring the fatal flaw (ReCom

Invest in Health Workers to End AIDS (USAID Impact

An informal Uber? (Development that Works

This Amazingly Resiliant 13-Year-Old-Girl Escaped Violence in the Central African Republic (UN Dispatch

The Economist on the global spread of cash transfers and Jokowi’s flying start in Indonesia (From Poverty to Power