Top of the Morning: UN Supported Evacuation of Homs, Syria Begins

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Humanitarian Evacuation of Homs Begins

A convoy of United Nations buses has arrived in the besieged central Syrian city of Homs and started an initial evacuation of 200 women and children from its most heavily-bombarded districts.The humanitarian breakthrough comes as the Syrian deputy foreign minister has said the government will take part in a second round of peace talks in Geneva. Some 12 civilians came out on the first evacuation bus, among nearly 200 expected to be brought out during the day amid a heavy troop presence, an AFP news agency correspondent said. State television reported that two busloads left Homs with a total of 35 people on board, mostly women, children and the elderly.” (Al Jazeera

Global Measles Deaths Reach Historic Low

 Humanity affirming news from the WHO. “Measles deaths have reached historic lows, dropping more than 78% from more than 562 000 deaths in 2000 to 122,000 in 2012. The WHO attributes this sharp decline to the increased availability of vaccines, saying that 13.8 million deaths have been prevented in this time period. More than 1 billion kids in the developing world have received Measles and Rubella vaccine since 2000. This is thanks in large part to partnerships like the Measles and Rubella Initiative, which includes the American Red Cross, CDC, UN Foundation, UNICEF and World Health Organization.” (UN Dispatch


Potential Deal Reached Over Humanitarian Access to Homs, Syria

The governor of Homs said a deal was reached to evacuate civilians from the besieged old city. “The United Nations made clear that it was not a party to the deal and while it was ready to send in aid, it did not yet have the go-ahead from the government and opposition sides in Syria’s war to move on the reported agreement. ‘The United Nations and humanitarian partners had pre-positioned food, medical and other basic supplies on the outskirts of Homs ready for immediate delivery as soon as the green light was given by the parties for safe passage,’ U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement.” (Reuters

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