UNITED NATIONS

Refugee crisis

is 'unprecedented'

Armed conflicts driving millions to flee their homes have intensified over the last year and created an "unprecedented" refugee crisis that will require $16.4 billion to address next year, United Nations aid agencies warned Monday.

The humanitarian disaster in Syria continued to escalate this year, leaving the U.N. World Food Program with a $64 million shortfall that forced it to suspend a rationing program last week for 1.7 million of the displaced living in neighboring countries.

Syria, South Sudan, Iraq, and the Central African Republic, all consumed by intractable battles, account for 70 percent of the relief demands placed on the international community, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in launching its appeal for 2015.

- Los Angeles Times
MEXICO

Remains identified

Mexico has identified the first remains of 43 missing college students in a case that has spurred nationwide protests demanding that the government strengthen the rule of law. DNA tests from bone fragments collected where a drug gang allegedly dumped them identified 21-year-old Alexander Mora, Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said Sunday. - Bloomberg

SIERRA LEONE

Ebola spreading

Ebola cases in Sierra Leone now total 7,798 as of Friday, passing its West African neighbor Liberia, where the outbreak is stabilizing. Sierra Leone added 163 confirmed, probable, or suspected Ebola cases from Dec. 3 to Dec. 6, the World Health Organization said in a report Monday. The spread of the disease in Sierra Leone was part of the reason the United Nations fell short of a Dec. 1 goal of treating 70 percent of Ebola cases in West Africa. - Bloomberg