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Hindu temple set on fire in Pakistan over blasphemy

By Syed Raza Hassan ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Hundreds of angry Pakistanis attacked a Hindu temple and set it on fire in southern Pakistan overnight following a rumor that a member of the Hindu community had desecrated the Koran, police and community leaders said on Sunday. The incident took place just before midnight on Saturday after locals in Larkana district alleged that Sangeet Kumar, 42, had torn out pages of Islam's holy book and tossed them down on the street from the roof of his home.

Syria agrees greater access for aid supplies: UNICEF

By Dominic Evans ZAHLE, Lebanon (Reuters) - Syria's government has promised greater access for aid groups supporting millions of Syrians, but faster progress is needed to tackle a dire humanitarian crisis, the head of the United Nations children's agency said on Friday. UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake, speaking at a refugee camp for Syrians in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, said he was encouraged by "business-like" talks he held this week with Syrian officials in Damascus and Homs.

Thailand finds 200 'Turkish refugees' at secret camp

Thai police have discovered about 200 suspected Turkish refugees at a secret camp in the kingdom's deep south, officials said Thursday, describing the case as "unprecedented". Thailand has long been a hub for people trafficking, with thousands of Rohingya boat people from neighbouring Myanmar believed to have passed through the kingdom in recent years. The 200 refugees, whom police said identified themselves as Turkish, were detained after a raid on a camp in a mountainous rubber plantation on Wednesday night in the southern province of Songkhla.

Thailand finds 200 'Turkish refugees' at secret camp

Thai police have discovered about 200 suspected Turkish refugees at a secret camp in the kingdom's deep south, officials said Thursday, describing the case as "unprecedented". Thailand has long been a hub for people trafficking, with thousands of Rohingya boat people from neighbouring Myanmar believed to have passed through the kingdom in recent years. The 200 refugees, whom police said identified themselves as Turkish, were detained after a raid on a camp in a mountainous rubber plantation on Wednesday night in the southern province of Songkhla.

Aid groups fill health care gaps in failed states

Humanitarian workers are scrambling to fill a void left by the collapse of governments in three of the world's hotspots amid an unprecedented demand for help in the past year. In Syria, the Central African Republic and South Sudan, the World Health Organization is having to step in with other humanitarian groups to provide basic health services that would normally be delivered by a functioning government.

Nigeria 'atrocities' forcing thousands to flee

Thousands of refugees are fleeing harrowing scenes of atrocities and body-strewn streets in northern Nigeria, the UN said Tuesday. The UN's refugee agency said violence in the area had prompted some 2,000 people to flee into neighbouring Niger over the past four weeks alone. UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said refugees arriving in Niger's Differ region, as well as Cameroon and Chad, were speaking of "atrocities", with one woman describing "corpses strewn through houses and floating in the water."

Syria refugees in Jordan fear they may never return

Syrian refugees polled in Jordan fear they might not be able to return home despite desperately wanting go back to Syria, according to an Oxfam survey released on Wednesday. As protests against President Bashar al-Assad that erupted in March 2011 have descended into a bloody civil war, 2.5 million Syrians have fled abroad and another 6.5 million have been internally displaced. More than 65 percent of 1,015 refugees surveyed by Oxfam in three different regions in Jordan fear they will be unable to go back to their homeland, the aid organisation said.

Over 5 million children affected by Syrian conflict, U.N. says

Geneva, Mar 11 (EFE).- Some 5.5 million children, twice as many as in March 2013, have been affected by the war in Syria, the U.N. children's agency Unicef said Tuesday. The violence has forced approximately 2.8 million youngsters to leave school, a situation that, if it becomes permanent, will have a grave impact on the country's future and its possibilities of reconstruction, Unicef's deputy representative in Syria, Hamida Lasseko, said.

UN says 'timely' that Jordan opening new Syria camp in April

The opening of a third refugee camp in Jordan next month is "timely" as the number of Syrians crossing the border has swelled to around 600 a day, the UN refugee agency said Tuesday. The UNHCR said in Geneva it "welcomes a decision this week by the Jordanian government to open the country's third refugee camp -- Azraq -- in a few weeks from now, on 30 April." The camp, located some 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of Amman, will help take some of the pressure off Jordan's main Zaatari camp, which is bursting at the seams, it said.

Syria conflict affects 5.5 million children

The number of children affected by Syria's war doubled in the past year to 5.5 million, the UN said Tuesday, a heartrending picture of an entire generation on the verge of being lost. And in a report entitled "Under Siege -- the devastating impact on children of three years of conflict in Syria," the UN children's agency UNICEF warned that the situation was likely to get worse.
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