International Labour Organization predicts global unemployment will rise to 200 million

The International Labour Organization, a U.N. agency that focuses on labour standards and social protection, predicted in its World Employment and Social Outlook report that by 2017, joblessness will surpass 200 million for the first time ever. The organization said global unemployment will increase by about 2.3 million this year to 199.4 million and 1.1 million in 2017 to more than 200 million. The agency said the increase in unemployment is a result of last year’s economic stagnation; unemployment will hit countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Middle East, especially in areas with developing markets, the hardest.

UN seeks more than $1 billion in humanitarian aid for South Sudan

The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Eugene Owusu, said $1.3 billion is the least amount needed to aid 5.1 million people suffering life-threatening circumstances. Since civil war broke out in South Sudan in 2013, more than 10,000 people have died, and 2.3 million people became displaced. The war between the government and its opposition has also crushed South Sudan’s economy, namely its oil industry, on which the country’s funds for public spending relies. Since last year’s peace deal, each side has accused the other of violating the agreement, and neither can settle on a plan for a nationally unifying government.

Almost 20,000 ISIS-related deaths in Iraq in less than 2 years

The United Nations said in a report that at least 18,802 civilians have died in under two years due to ISIS-related violence. The U.N. recorded 55,047 civilian casualties — 18,802 people killed and 36,345 injured — between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31 of last year, reporting that ISIS continues to commit “crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide.” The terrorist group’s activity has also displaced 3.2 million people, almost half of whom are school-age children. In addition, ISIS holds approximately 3,500 people captive, most of whom are Yazidi women and children forced into sexual slavery.

Facebook attempts to thwart hate-speech in Europe

The social media giant launched a continent-wide campaign to combat extremist posts in response to German politicians’ concerns over an increase in online xenophobia linked to the arrival of refugees. Facebook began its “Initiative for Civil Courage Online” in Berlin, Germany, and pledged approximately $1.09 million to efforts against racism and xenophobia. Germany received more than one million migrants last year, and the resulting racists’ comments on Facebook prompted German Chancellor Angela Merkel to push for Facebook to enforce its policy against bullying, harassment and threats. The country’s Justice Ministry implemented a task force with Facebook, other social media sites and Internet service providers that will target and remove online hate speech.

New Argentinian president aims to improve relations with Britain

After a centuries-long sovereignty dispute over the Falkland Islands that culminated in a war, newly elected Argentine president Mauricio Macri pledged to start a “new era” in Argentine-British relations. In an interview with The Guardian, Macri said he wants to “sit down and start talking about the subject and in the meantime find in which ways we can cooperate.”  In 2013, 99.8 percent of the inhabitants of the disputed territory voted for to remain a British territory despite Argentina’s long-standing claims to the islands. Macri traveled to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, from Jan. 20 to 23, the first time an Argentinian president has attended the yearly gathering in more than 10 years.

 95-year-old man to be tried for serving at Auschwitz

After an appeals court ruled that Hubert Zafke, 95, was fit for trial, a German court said the man will go on trial on 3,681 counts of accessory to murder on Feb. 29. Zafke, a former Schutzstaffel sergeant, allegedly served at the Auschwitz death camp under the Nazis as a medic in an SS hospital. The Schutzstaffel, abbreviated SS, was an elite corps of political soldiers who served under the Nazis, and Zafke’s role at the hospital helped the death camp function, according to prosecutors. Ninety-four-year-old Reinhold Hanning, another former member of the SS, will go to trial on Feb. 11 for serving as an Auschwitz guard.

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