Syria: ‘Violence, displacement’ and cold kill 11 infants ‘in the past two days’
The World Health Organization (WHO) says it’s extremely concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Al-Hol camp in Syria’s Al-Hasakeh Governorate, where 11 infants are reported to have died due to cold, in the past two days alone.
Over the last two months, approximately 23,000 people, mainly women and children fleeing hostilities in rural areas of neighbouring Deir Ezzour, have arrived in the camp.
At least 29 children and newborns are reported to have died over the past eight weeks, mainly from hypothermia, while travelling to the camp or shortly after arrival.
The UN is calling on all parties to the conflict to provide unhindered humanitarian access to people in need of life-saving aid.
More from UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric:
“The situation in the camp is now critical. Its population has tripled in size in less than two months. A team supported by the World Health Organization is working around the clock to screen new arrivals and refer them to hospitals when required. Severely malnourished children are being referred to a WHO-supported hospital in Al-Hasakeh. WHO is also supporting the deployment of additional vaccination teams, setting up disease surveillance, and training camp volunteers on psychological first aid and basic counselling.”
Boom in Artificial Intelligence patents, points to ‘quantum leap’ in tech
The “upsurge” in patent applications for devices and machines powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the last five years, suggests that it could soon revolutionize all areas of daily life, a UN report revealed on Thursday.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), 50 per cent of all patents for AI – the replication of human intelligence by machines for use in industries such as transport and healthcare – have been published since 2013, adding up to more than 170,000 different patented ideas.
The United States and China dominate the field, although only a fraction of China’s patents have been filed internationally.
WIPO Director General Francis Gurry told journalists in Geneva the surge in patenting was “striking”. He noted that AI research began in the 1950s, “but there has been a quantum leap in the past six years.
“Is it good news or bad news? Well, I would tend to say that all technology is somewhat neutral and it depends on what you do with it. So, insofar as you may use AI science and techniques for developing autonomous weapons systems that are going to kill us all is not very good news, you know, but insofar as it’s being used to improve health indicators for diagnostics, for other purposes, it’s great news.”
UN appeals for more than $162 million in aid to Ukraine
The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine launched an appeal on Thursday for more than $162 million to provide aid and protection for 2.3 million of the most vulnerable people in the conflict-ravaged east of the country.
Osnat Lubrani said that five years of fighting have had a devastating impact on civilians on both sides of the so-called “contact line”, that divides the mainly pro-Russia separatists and Government forces.
The new plan will allow for 43 UN, national and international organizations to implement collective action to provide food, shelter, winterization support, access to clean water, and education, among other sectors.
Matt Wells, UN News.