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U.N. finds humanitarian aid still blocked in Syria

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have no access to medical supplies because the warring sides in the country’s civil war are blocking humanitarian relief, according to a report from the United Nations secretary-general.

The Syrian government refused to let U.N. workers deliver medicine to Douma, a suburb of the capital, Damascus, in late March, and in early April injectable medicines were prevented from being delivered to another town, the report said. Children remained beyond the reach of health workers administering polio vaccines, it said, and two new cases were confirmed in April.

The report is part of the United Nations’ second 30-day assessment of how the Syrian government and rebels fighting to overthrow it have complied with a Security Council resolution ordering them to allow humanitarian aid to enter besieged towns.

The report calls the denial of medical aid “arbitrary and unjustified, and a clear violation of international humanitarian law,” and says 216,015 people lack access to medical supplies that have been blocked from entering towns or removed from convoys. It does not say by whom, but offers examples that point to government forces.

—Somini Sengupta, The New York Times

An Ivy League newspaper may be going mostly online

NEW YORK — The battle over the future of newspapers has found an unlikely flash point, above a Pinkberry on the fringes of Columbia University’s Manhattan campus.

There, on Wednesday night, in the offices of the university’s student-run newspaper, the Columbia Daily Spectator, its editor announced a plan to stop printing daily and switch to a weekly edition beginning in the fall. The Spectator would be first Ivy League newspaper to make such a move.

The announcement has pitted a group of the paper’s alumni who are angered by the decision against those who view the move as a necessary embrace of the digital age.

“I am quite simply appalled by the arrogant, presumptuous tone of the board members, and the staff, who want so blithely to dispense with more than a hundred years of tradition,” John R. MacArthur, a trustee, the publisher of Harper’s magazine and an evangelist for print, wrote in an email earlier this month.

Michael Ouimette, the publisher of the Spectator, a nonprofit that has operated independently of the university since 1962, responded that moving to a predominantly online publication would “enable us to concentrate on the quality of our stories and our digital future.”

No formal decision has been made, said Wendy Brandes, the board’s chairwoman, and it will most likely be put to a vote among the 11 alumni trustees.

—Ravi Somaiya and Sydney Ember, The New York Times