A bitter war between Khartoum and rebels in Sudan's troubled Blue Nile state has sent tens of thousands of people fleeing to the transit site known only as KM 18 in South Sudan.
Having fled shelling in their home villages with little supplies, many of the 35,000 people who have sought refuge at this site 50 kilometres from the border – even children –have been reduced to gnawing at tree bark and eating leaves to survive.
"We brought a little bit of sorghum with us and water ... but then the food ran out, and we were just eating the leaves of trees," said Hawa Jema, as she gulped down rehydrating fluids in the 40 degree heat at a clinic run by Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders - MSF).AFP
UN monitors 'obliged' to stay in Syria
Twenty-eight soldiers were among 39 people killed in violence in Syria on Wednesday, a rights group said, as UN observers said they were "morally obliged" to stay in the country despite the risks.
Russia resisted Western pleas to help remove President Bashar al-Assad from power despite escalating hostilities that have battered the UN peace mission that was supposed to start with a ceasefire by both sides from April 12.
With the death toll exceeding 14,400 since the uprising against Assad's rule erupted in March 2011, according to Observatory figures, the head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria told the Security Council that the nearly 300 unarmed UN observers were "morally obliged" to stay.
"We are going nowhere," Major General Robert Mood told reporters after the closed meeting.
In a statement issued after the meeting, Mood said the first condition for a resumption of operations was a "significant" reduction in violence.
The mission's mandate ends on July 20, and Western governments have warned that it will be hard to agree a renewal if the violence continues to intensify.
U.S. President Barack Obama said he had told Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao that Assad could no longer remain in power after the massacres of large numbers of civilians.
"I wouldn't suggest that at this point the United States and the rest of the international community are aligned with Russia and China ... but I do think they recognise the grave dangers of all out civil war," Obama said.
Israel launches air raids on Gaza, militants fire rockets
Israel launched seven air raids at targets in the Gaza Strip early on Wednesday, while Palestinian militias launched ten rockets at southern Israel, on the third day of a flare-up between the sides.
Two Israeli military statements said the air raids targeted “terror activity” sites, and that “hits were confirmed,” but gave no further details.
Palestinian witnesses said one of the targets hit was a garage in south—east Gaza City, in which two new cars were totally destroyed. The other targets hit were areas used by militants to launch rockets. An Israeli army spokeswoman said 48 missiles had been fired from Gaza at Israel in the previous 36 hours. In the same period, the Israel Air Force had launched 13 air strikes, including those on early Wednesday.
Seven Palestinians have been killed in the air raids, four of them militants, and two of them teenagers, aged 17 and 18.
Palestinians said the youths did not belong to an armed group, but the Israeli military said they had been spotted handling explosives along the security fence between Israel and the Strip.DPA
Three dead in new Myanmar clashes
Fresh communal violence has left at least three dead in western Myanmar, where more than 60 people have been killed in unrest this month, government officials said on Wednesday.
Three Buddhists were killed on Tuesday in clashes in the village of Yathedaung, about 65 kilometres from Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine state, according to an official.
"The death toll could be higher," the official said.
The region has been rocked by rioting, arson and a cycle of revenge attacks involving Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya, prompting growing international concern.
About 800,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar, according to the United Nations, which describes them as one of the world's most persecuted minorities.
Neighbouring Bangladesh, where an estimated 300,000 Rohingya live, has been turning back Rohingya boats arriving on its shores since the outbreak of the unrest. Myanmar President Thein Sein has warned the violence could disrupt the nation's fragile democratic reforms.AFP