UN says 100,000 ‘trapped’ in Syria’s Afrin

A picture taken on March 19, 2018 shows a body covered with a blanket in a street in the Syrian Kurdish city of Afrin a day after Turkish-led forces entered the city. (AFP)
Updated 20 March 2018
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UN says 100,000 ‘trapped’ in Syria’s Afrin

BEIRUT: UN officials say some 100,000 people are “trapped” in rural areas of Syria’s northern Afrin district and need humanitarian aid after Turkish and allied Syrian forces drove out a Syrian Kurdish militia.
Spokeswoman Marixie Mercado of children’s agency UNICEF says it hasn’t been able to deliver health and nutrition supplies to the district in 20 days, and water trucks have stopped deliveries since Thursday.
UNICEF estimates 50,000 children are among those who need humanitarian aid in Afrin.
On Twitter, Syria country representative Sajjad Malik of the UN refugee agency wrote Tuesday that “looting, destruction of properties & exodus of civilians continues” in Afrin, and “100,000 civilians stay trapped inside in rural areas.”
Earlier, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, raised doubts about Turkish aid efforts in Afrin, saying “the credibility of the Turkish Red Crescent working in Afrin with the Kurdish population is close to zero.”
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said Maurer’s statement was “far from truth and inacceptable.”


UAE launches ‘Ministry of Possibilities’

Updated 30 min 6 sec ago
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UAE launches ‘Ministry of Possibilities’

DUBAI: The UAE on Tuesday unveiled a new branch of government, a Ministry of Possibilities, three years after launching a department in charge of happiness.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the UAE’s premier and ruler of Dubai, said the “unconventional” ministry would function “without a minister” but with input from the whole cabinet.
“We launched the world’s first virtual ‘Ministry of Possibilities’, a new government work system in the UAE,” he said on Twitter.
“The virtual ministry, administered by the cabinet, will address pressing national portfolios and build future government systems.”
It would also cut waiting times for government services, according to the Dubai government’s media office.
Sheikh Mohammed said: “Future challenges require the constant development of the government structure... and impossible is not in our dictionary.”
In 2016, the UAE created ministries of happiness and tolerance.