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The Trillion Dollar Scandal

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The activists at the ONE Campaign are setting their sights on a type of corruption that stymies international development. “Anti-poverty organization ONE is urging leaders of the 20 largest economies to act decisively at an annual summit in November against money laundering, bribery, tax evasion and corruption which it estimates costs the world’s poorest countries more than $1 trillion a year. The Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group launched its report on the economic cost of corruption on the developing world on Wednesday in the Australian capital Canberra at a Parliament House event attended by diplomats from the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. ONE is lobbying Australia to use its presidency of the G20 leaders’ summit in the city of Brisbane on Nov. 15-16 to end what it calls a culture of secrecy that allows corruption and criminality to thrive in many countries. (AP

And here’s ONE’s report:

Nigeria now has 18 Ebola cases, after a fourth case surfaced in Port Harcourt, home to Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry, the health minister said on Wednesday. (Reuters

Another American missionary doctor has tested positive for Ebola in Monrovia, Liberia. He is the third American health care worker to contract the virus. (NPR

Decades of corruption, deep-rooted mistrust of government and weak public services in Liberia have hastened the spread of the Ebola virus, and much more needs to be done to bridge a communication gap between government and citizens, say civil society groups and analysts. (IRIN

Guinea’s government said on Wednesday that Ebola had spread to a previously unaffected region of the country, as U.S. experts warned that the worst ever outbreak of the deadly virus was spiralling out of control in West Africa. (Reuters

The cost of getting supplies needed to West African countries to get the Ebola crisis under control will be at least $600 million, Dr David Nabarro, the senior United Nations Coordinator for Ebola Disease, told reporters on Wednesday. (Reuters

The Ebola outbreak in Africa is beginning to have an impact on agriculture and shipping as far away as Asia, with Thailand’s rice industry among the first to experience a serious impact. (VOA

A British nurse infected with Ebola while working in Sierra Leone was discharged from a London hospital on Wednesday after recovering from the disease following treatment with the experimental drug ZMapp.

More than 1,900 people have died in the world’s worst outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, the head of the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, marking a major acceleration in fatalities from just over 1,500 last week. (Reuters


Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane returned to State House in the capital Maseru on Wednesday, four days after he fled to South Africa following an apparent bid by the military to oust him, an aide said. (Reuters

One group is addressing the problem of public health by providing sealed floors to households that once had dirt ones, in Rwanda. (NPR

African leaders are meeting in Nairobi Tuesday to discuss how to tackle terrorism and extremism across the continent. (VOA

Britain has sent another $50 million to help South Sudanese who are suffering in the young country’s conflict, International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone said at the start of a three-day visit to South Sudan. (VOA

Ugandan MPs have begun work on reintroducing tough anti-gay legislation, a month after the east African nation’s constitutional court declared a previous law “null and void”, a report said. (AP


The International Monetary Fund approved a $553 million loan for Yemen to help the struggling country stabilize its finances and boost growth.

The UN peacekeeping chief strongly denied on Wednesday allegations from the Armed Forces of the Philippines chief that Filipino peacekeepers in the Golan Heights were ordered to surrender their weapons to Islamist militants who had trapped them.(GMA News


Police have arrested three men over the suspected rape and murder of a teenager who had protested against village elders’ harassment of her father in India’s east, an officer said.

Activists in Asia warn of a harmful regression in the World Bank’s safeguard policies, claiming that proposed changes being considered this autumn could weaken the rights of indigenous people, and others in danger of displacement and abuse as a result of Bank-funded development projects. (IRIN

The Americas

The number of immigrant children caught alone illegally crossing the Mexican border into the United States continued to decline in August, according to figures disclosed Wednesday by the Homeland Security Department. (AP

The racist Peruvian television show La Paisana Jacinta loses prime-time slot following a UN admonishment, but racism against indigenous people and African-Peruvians far from eradicated. (Guardian

A United Nations panel reviewing the US record on racial discrimination has expressed unusually pointed concern over a new pattern of laws it warns is criminalising homelessness. (IPS

Mass deportations and obstacles to travel are not keeping Hondurans from migrating to the US. (IPS

US major pharmacy, CVS Caremark, has pulled cigarettes from its shelves a month ahead of schedule. (NPR

Central America’s years of neglect of agriculture, poor water management and lack of planning to help farmers cope with climate change are worsening food shortages caused by a widespread drought, aid agencies say. (TRF


With Sewing and Sowing, Self-reliance Blooms in Central Asia (UN Women

Israel’s Settlement Push Damages Peace Chances (VOA

Africas economic rise does not reflect reality (Guardian

Global Prosperity Wonkcast: Unpacking WHO’s Shocking Ebola Maps (CDG

Who Are You Calling Corrupt? Good Governance Begins at Home (Think Africa Press

‘Beyond our two minutes’: which international bodies are good/bad at consulting civil society organizations? (From Poverty to Power

Solving Political and Development Issues in Africa’s Food Security (Development Diaries

How to (Not) Win Friends and Influence Voters (Cherokee Gothic


The Executive Director of the Stockholm International Water Institute Torgny Holmgren said water should be a dedicated Sustainable Development Goal in the UN’s post-205 development agenda. (IPS

More women are choosing to have bilateral mastectomies when they are diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, even though there’s little evidence that removing both breasts improves their survival compared with more conservative treatments.The biggest study yet on the question has found no survival benefit with bilateral mastectomy compared with breast-conserving surgery with radiation. (NPR

A new study says the growing popularity of the Western diet could help worsen climate change. As more people make meat a principal part of their diet, the authors say it will be very difficult to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (VOA

Economic prosperity is the worst enemy of minority languages, said researchers Wednesday who listed parts of Australia and North America as “hotspots” for extinction risk.

Nearly three billion people risk ill health and early death merely from breathing the air in their homes that is polluted by fires made for cooking and heating, researchers said. (AFP

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credit: UN Foundation

3 Truths About the Ebola Outbreak

World Health Organization director Dr. Margaret Chan and the top UN official responsible for coordinating the UN’s response to the Ebola outbreak, Dr. David Nabarro, held a series of meetings in New York and Washington, DC this week to brief officials–and the press–about the ebola outbreak in West Africa. Their remarks provide a stark warning about the current state of the fight against ebola. But we should not despair—not yet at least.

Here are three big takeaways from their remarks this week.

1) The outbreak is out of control. There are over 2,500 cases of ebola and over 1900 deaths–and it will get worse.  Senegal confirmed its first case this weekend, which was imported from Guinea by a student who evaded detection. In Nigeria, the outbreak had been confined to Lagos — and pretty much under control in that city. But today, the WHO warned that an infected individual escaped quarantine in Lagos and travelled to Port Harcourt. There, he spread the infection to a doctor, who in turn likely spread it to many more people–including his patients and family members. There are now three confirmed cases in Port Harcourt.

In Liberia, the situation is as grave as ever, with the country’s health system in freefall. Things are comparably better in Sierra Leone and Guinea where there’s relatively greater awareness about how ebola is spread, but it is still placing an exacting burden on those country’s relatively rudimentary health system. In the meantime, the international community has not been able to effectively respond to the disease. “The outbreak is racing ahead of control efforts,” Dr. Chan forthrightly stated in a press conference today.  And in a report last week, the WHO predicted that as many as 20,000 people may succomb to the disease before it’s brought to heel.  

2) The Outbreak Can Be Brought Under Control.   Ebola is not very easily spread. It is not airborne like flu. Rather, its spread through bodily fluids. The reason that so many health workers have been infected is that they are dealing directly with bodily discharge of affected patients. Similarly, ebola spreads within families because of close contact.

This is doable with the institutions we have,” said Dr. David Nabarro, the UN’s ebola response coordinator.  “But the scale up that is needed is in order of three to four times of what is in place.” In other words, the WHO, CDC, UN system and national governments can curb ebola. They just need more money and resources to do the job — and fast. How much? Dr. Nabarro estimated at least $600 million. That is a great deal of money, but from a budgetary perspective of donor countries it’s a drop in the bucket. Still, the money has not been coming in fast enough. Doctors need to get paid, patients need their hospital bills covered and basic protective equipment needs to be bought and distributed. Several hundred more international experts need to be deployed to affected countries.

The pace at which personpower and resources are harnessed for the ebola fight is the key determinant of whether or not this can be controlled. If sufficient money and manpower arrives quickly, the outbreak can — and will — be contained.

3) There are Very Big Barriers to Bringing It Under Control. The funding issue is key. If the money does not come quickly, the outbreak will get worse.  Another huge impediment to ebola control efforts has been irrational fear of ebola which has resulted in the cancellation of nearly all commercial airline flights to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

International experts who want to travel to Liberia to help fight ebola have no way of getting there. “We have experts mobilized by the WHO that are doing pro-bono work to provide infection control, but we are not able to deploy them,” said WHO director Margaret Chan. To make matters worse, some countries in the region have closed their airspace and airports to any planes returning from countries, including UN Humanitarian Air Service flights. CDC chief Thomas Frieden, the WHO’s top epidemiologist Keiji Fukuda, and the UN’s David Nabarro have all had flights to the region cancelled. These are arguably the three most important people on the planet to the fight against ebola!

The big takeaway: Ebola is out of control, but can be brought under control if the international community rapidly scales up its response and removes harmful barriers to getting the job done.

Bonus content: A view from Liberia of the Ebola crisis. I speak with journalist Jina Moore:


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The Hong Kong 1 July protests, credit Ross Pollack, via Flickr

Why Hong Kongers Are Protesting in Record Numbers

Far from the more dramatic headlines of the summer, pro-democracy protests have rocked Hong Kong. Unlike in mainland China, there is a strong protest culture in Hong Kong but these protests – and the underlying issues that belie them – may mark an indelible turning point for the special relationship Hong Kong shares with Beijing, with neither side willing to back down or compromise with the other.

When the British handed over control of the former colony to China in 1997, there were plenty of questions about how the capitalist and democratic city would fit within communist China. The notion of “one country, two systems” and the city’s status as the country’s first Special Administrative Region gave hope that Hong Kong could continue to function unimpeded by the political limitations often found in mainland China. In the years since, while Hong Kong does enjoy more freedom than the mainland, it also increasingly faces political pressures from the central government. Like pro-democracy activists in mainland China, those in Hong Kong have faced crackdowns in recent years as Beijing is willing to give the locals a leash, but not one long enough to stray from the central tenants of the communist government.

Frustration with these limitations is the reason behind Occupy Central with Love and Peace (OCLP), a pro-democracy protest movement advocating for universal suffrage in Hong Kong ahead of the 2017 elections. The election will be the first where the region’s Chief Executive is elected directly by the people rather than a small committee of electoral legislators choosing the Chief Executive. However, what control Beijing would exert over the elections remained a serious question. Last year the Chairman of the Law Committee of the National People’s Congress, Qiao Xiaoyang, stated that the executive would have to be someone who did not confront the central government. Such statements put the local population on notice and provided one more sign of Beijing’s encroachment following the current Chief Executive odd choice to give his 2012 inaugural speech in Mandarin, the language of Beijing, rather than the Cantonese language spoken by most of Hong Kong’s people.

As a result, OCLP vowed to protest throughout 2014. And protest they have. Although the July 1 anniversary is typically marked with protests, this year saw the largest protest in a decade. It, and other protests like it since, have been repeatedly cleared by police. But the issue is not going away. Days before the 17th anniversary of Chinese rule, an unofficial referendum on universal suffrage put on by OCLP saw nearly 800,000 people vote on the issue. Rather than be persuaded, local and national leaders declared the vote illegal and began cracking down on key pro-democracy activists and media outlets.

Thus it comes as little surprise that China announced this past weekend that rather than allow unimpeded universal suffrage, any candidate for Chief Executive would have to first gain the approval of a pro-China nominating committee, a procedural obstacle that will likely block more liberal or pro-democracy candidates before the election even begins. The new regulations are considered more limiting than the current system and provides the worst possible outcome for OCLP. It also sets the stage for even deeper divisions between Hong Kong and Beijing.

Given the growing frustrations in Hong Kong and the low approval ratings for Beijing, such tensions should not be ignored. Even if the OCLP movement fades in the coming weeks as many predict, the underlying struggle will not. Beijing’s recent actions suggest it is not ready for an actual “one country, two systems” framework while the Hong Kong protests suggest it is no longer willing to compromise. While most media outlets focus on potential conflict between China and its neighbors over competing claims in the South China Sea, it is possible the next major conflict could come much closer to home. That conflict is more likely to look like Tiananmen than Nanking but would still have lasting consequences for all involved and could reshape China as we know it today.


Photo credit, Ross Pollack via Flickr CC license. 

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map of somalia

USA Launches Airstrikes in Somalia

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A rather audacious attack, blatantly designed to kill al Shebab’s top commander. “The Pentagon said Tuesday that it tried to kill the leader of the militant group al-Shabab in an air attack in Somalia, firing several Hellfire missiles and dropping other munitions on an encampment in the southern part of the country. It was unclear, however, whether the target of the strikes, Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, a jihadist leader widely known as Ahmed Abdi Godane, perished in Monday’s operation. “We are still assessing the results,” said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary.” (WaPo

Boko Haram Reportedly Makes a Big Strategic Gain…Boko Haram militants have reportedly seized another town in Nigeria`s far northeast after heavy fighting with government troops, with experts warning the region is on the brink of a “takeover”. The claims were followed by an attack by the group on a nearby border crossing with Cameroon in which 40 Boko Haram members were said to have been killed. Nigeria`s military denied that the northeastern town of Bama had fallen, but residents and a local lawmaker claimed the insurgents had driven out the troops and taken control of a military base.” (Zee News

Global Dispatches Podcast: The first Senate confirmed out-gay United States Ambassador, Michael Guest discusses his long career in the foreign service and why he was compelled to resign to take a stand for equality.


The United Nations is warning that the world’s worst outbreak of the Ebola virus has put harvests at risk and sent food prices soaring in West Africa. (VOA

Japanese researchers said Tuesday they had developed a new method to detect the presence of the Ebola virus in 30 minutes, with technology that could allow doctors to quickly diagnose infection.

The death toll from the (separate) outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Djera region of northern Democratic Republic of Congo has risen to 31, the government said on Tuesday, as the World Health Organization confirmed there was no link with an epidemic in West Africa. (Reuters

The world’s “disastrously inadequate response” to West Africa’s Ebola outbreak means many people are dying needlessly, the head of the World Bank said on Monday, as Nigeria confirmed another case of the virus. (Reuters


Four United Nations soldiers were killed on Tuesday and another 15 were wounded when the convoy they were traveling in struck a landmine in northern Mali, a spokesman for the country’s U.N. peacekeeping mission said. (Reuters

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says more than 1 million Somalis are in need of humanitarian assistance, and at least 200,000 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished as drought hits southern and central Somalia. (VOA

Citing corruption and a lack of development, there are growing calls among Liberia’s diaspora for the resignation of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. (VOA

Southern African countries say they will send an envoy and an observer team to Lesotho following an apparent coup attempt over the weekend. (VOA

The new UN chief for South Sudan arrived in the conflict-wracked country Tuesday, a week after gunmen shot down a UN helicopter to break the fourth ceasefire deal in nine months.

Authorities in Uganda have raised fears that the east African nation’s children are being left vulnerable to abuse and exploitation by a staggering increase in unchecked overseas adoptions.


Rights group Amnesty International says Islamic State militants in northern Iraq have carried out “ethnic cleansing on a historic scale” in a bid to wipe out non-Arabs and non-Sunni Muslims. (VOA

The Palestinian Authority has strongly signaled that it will seek redress at the ICC. (NYT

A second detained American journalist was beheaded by ISIS. (NYT
The political chaos and unrest in Libya is taking a serious toll on health services, with the departure of medical staff and humanitarian agencies increasing the strain on health workers seeking to treat those injured in the clashes taking place since June. (IRIN

A record 4.1 million people in Syria received food rations in August due to more convoys being able to cross front lines and borders from Turkey and Jordan, the U.N.’s World Food Program said on Tuesday.


A report on Malalai Maternity Hospital, the only health center in Afghanistan with a section devoted to coping complications faced by women during childbirth. (IPS

Pakistan’s parliament is set to hold an emergency meeting Tuesday as part of efforts to rally political support for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is refusing to resign despite weeks of opposition protests. (VOA

A fashion photo shoot featuring five victims of acid attacks is drawing wide attention in India. While the country keeps no official statistics on acid attacks, there are regular reports in the media of attackers targeting victims to disfigure or blind them, often because of spurned sexual advances. (AP

Floods triggered by two weeks of intense rain have affected two million people in northern Bangladesh and left up to half a million homeless. While the country’s disaster response capacity has been enhanced in recent years, experts argue that with people displaced and crops destroyed the flooding is testing response mechanisms. (IRIN

The America

Congress in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila legalises same-sex marriage and adoption by gay couples, despite opposition by conservatives. (BBC

Cuba’s experiment with free-market reforms has unintentionally widened the communist-led island’s racial divide and allowed white Cubans to regain some of the economic advantages built up over centuries. (Reuters


What’s missing in the Ebola fight in West Africa (The Washington Post

Why Principle Matters at UN Human Rights Council (IPS

Who Are You Calling Corrupt? Good Governance Begins at Home (Think Africa Press

Now Is the Time to Act on Climate Change (Huffington Post

Zhao Zhong: Lessons from the Bottom Up (Policy Innovations

Avoiding the Resource Curse in Mozambique (AfricaCan End Poverty

Lessons Learned from the Ebola Epidemic (On the Ground

What is It Like to be a ‘Digital Immigrant’ in a Developing Country? (Center for Financial Inclusion blog

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Amb. Michael Guest

Episode 31: Amb. Michael Guest

Michael Guest is a trailblazer. In 2001 he became the first out-gay senate confirmed United States ambassador. In 2007 his long and distinguished career in the foreign service was cut short when he resigned after failing to secure the kind of benefits and rights for his family that are routinely granted to heterosexual spouses.

Amb. Guest tells Mark about his long career working European and NATO policy during the height of the Cold War and as the Soviet Union disintegrated. He discusses how growing up the son of a Southern Baptist preacher helped shape his worldview and describes his path to the foreign service. They kick off with a discussion of the ways in which the Obama administration has mainstreamed LGBT rights into the US foreign policy and human rights agenda. Have a listen!



Previous Episodes

The Deadly Fear of Ebola

South Sudan’s Looming Famine

Episode 30: Jeff Sachs, economist

Sex Slaves in Iraq, an interview with Zainab Hawa Bangura, the UN Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict

Episode 29: Chris Hill, former Ambassador to Iraq and North Korea nuke negotiator

Kevin Jon Heller discusses the  International Criminal Court’s Palestine Problem

Episode 28: Nancy Birsdall, founder of the Center for Global Development

The WHO explains Why this Ebola Outbreak is So Hard to Contain

Episode 27: Daniel Drezner, counter-intuitive wonk

Michael W. Hanna on How to Negotiate a Gaza Ceasefire

Episode 25: Helene Gayle, CEO of CARE, USA. Long-time AIDS-Fighter

One Campaign’s Erin Hofhelder How Humanity is Winning the Fight Against AIDS

Episode 24: Joseph Cirincione, Nuclear Policy Wonk 

A Migrant’s Story: Why are So Many Children Fleeing to the USA?

Episode 23: Live from the UN 2014 (Volume 2); A special edition with a slew of UN officials.

Inside the Iran Nuke Talks

Episode 23: Jillian York, Digital Free Speech defender

Turkey’s Strategic Interests in Iraq

Episode 22: Live from the UN, 2014 (Vol 1); A special edition, featuring the President of the General Assembly,  the UN Ambassadors from Vietnam and Jamaica, the head of the UN Association, and more!

The UN’s View of the Iraq Crisis

Episode 21: Thomas Pickering, former Ambassador to the UN, Israel, Jordan, Russia, India and more.

Dying for the World Cup

Episode 20: Jessica Tuchman Matthews, foreign policy trendsetter

Egypt After the Counter Revolution 

Episode 19: Louise Arbour, human rights pioneer.

What Obama Left Out of His Big Foreign Policy Speech

Episode 18: Zalmay Khalizad, former US Ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the UN.

Why Libya is Suddenly on the Verge of a Civil War 

Episode 17: Gov Bill Richardson, he frees hostages.

The Foreign Policy Implications of India’s Elections

Episode 16: Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children

What Boko Haram Wants

Episode: 15 Laura Turner Seydel, philanthropist

Episode 14: Douglas Ollivant, Iraq expert

Episode 13: Gary Bass, historian

Episode 12: Mark Montgomery, demographer

Episode 11: Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watcher

Episode 10: Live from the UN, Volume 2.

Episode 9: Mia Farrow, humanitarian activist and Goodwill Ambassador

Episode 8: Suzanne Nossel, Big Thinker

Episode 7: Live from the UN, Volume 1. 

Episode 6: PJ Crowley, former State Department Spokesperson

Episode 5: Octavia Nasr, reporter

Episode 4: Arsalan Iftikhar, “The Muslim Guy”

Episode 3: Dodge Billingsley, filmmaker.

Episode 2: Laura Seay,  @TexasinAfrica

Episode 1: Heather Hurlburt, national security wonk


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Screen shot 2014-09-02 at 9.27.30 AM

Ebola Spreads to Yet Another African Country

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So far, the one case in Senegal has been imported with no-confirmed in-country transmissions. But we are still very much in the incubation period. “Senegalese authorities on Monday were monitoring everyone who was in contact with a student infected with Ebola who crossed into the country, and who has lost three family members to the disease.he 21-year-old left Guinea on Aug. 15, just days after his brother died of the disease, according to Guinea’s Health Ministry. It said that the brother apparently caught Ebola in Sierra Leone… The student traveled by road, crossing into Senegal despite a border closure. He arrived in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, on Aug. 20, according to the World Health Organization, and was staying with relatives on the outskirts of the city. (AP

Trouble in Lesotho…“Lesotho’s prime minister has asked southern African states to send peacekeepers into his mountain kingdom to restore order after an apparent coup over the weekend, his aide said on Monday. Thomas Thabane fled Lesotho for South Africa early on Saturday, hours before the army surrounded his residence and overran police stations in the capital Maseru, in what the prime minister called a coup by the military. The unrest stems from a power struggle between Thabane, who is supported by the police, and Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, who has the loyalty of the army, diplomats said.”  (Reuters


Nigeria has a third confirmed case of Ebola disease in the oil hub of Port Harcourt, bringing the country’s total confirmed infections to 16, with around 200 people under surveillance, the health minister said on Monday. (Reuters

A hospital in the Swedish capital is investigating a possible case of Ebola, Swedish media reported. (Reuters

Residents of Liberia’s West Point neighborhood are jubilant now that the government has lifted a 10 day-old quarantine of the densely populated borough of the capital, Monrovia. (VOA

USAID is providing an additional $5 million to help combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The announcement brings USAID’s commitment for the Ebola response to nearly $19.6 million since the outbreak was first reported in March 2014. (FrontPageAfrica

Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has rejected the World Health Organization’s prediction that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa could infect more than 20,000 people before it is brought under control. (The New Dawn

Nearly 260 health workers in West Africa have been infected, and 134 have died. Dr. Robert Garry of Tulane University, who worked with five who died, discusses the devastation in the community with NPR.


 A grouping of former Seleka rebels in Central African Republic said it had expelled from its ranks several members serving in a new government seeking to stop a cycle of deadly clashes between Muslims and Christians. (Reuters

A Somali clan leader who fought for years to retake a strategic southern port city he once controlled has laid down arms and joined talks, bolstering government efforts to show it can restore order to a chaotic nation. (Reuters

 Frustrated by a resurgence of intercommunal conflict, Kenya’s top humanitarian official has called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to make good on a threat to deploy the army in perennially restive areas in the country’s northeast. (IRIN

 Extreme poverty drives some Kenyans to scavenge through rubbish dumps for materials to sell for recycling. At the main dump in Eldoret, a town in Kenya’s Rift valley with a population of 280,000, people sift through debris, despite the risks of disease and injury, and the threat of violence. (Guardian

China aggressively pursues and locks in economic opportunities using, according to analysts, suitcases full of cash when it is needed to close the deal. Another tactic used by Beijing is the “gift” of building and donating public works projects to African states that have raw materials and other things that China wants access to. (VOA


At a time when HIV rates have stabilised or declined elsewhere, the epidemic is still advancing in the Arab world, exacerbated by factors such as political unrest, conflict, poverty and lack of awareness due to social taboos. (IPS

At least 13 people have been killed and 45 wounded in clashes between Islamists and forces of renegade general allied to the regular army in Libya’s eastern Benghazi city, medics said. (Reuters


Protesters carrying sticks and stones clashed anew with police in Pakistan’s capital Monday. The demonstrators have been protesting for weeks, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Despite heavy rain, crowds of protesters tried to break through police lines to push their way to the prime minister’s residence in Islamabad. (VOA

India’s economy is showing signs of recovery with the rate of growth at its fastest pace in over two years. The government says it expects the trend to continue. (VOA

A major ethnic group, the Karen National Union, has suspended its membership in the coalition group that has been working with the government of Myanmar on a nationwide cease-fire agreement. (VOA

A blaze at a vast rubbish dump home to six million tonnes of putrefying trash and toxic effluent has kindled fears that poor planning and lax law enforcement are tipping Thailand towards a waste crisis.

Japan is urging local authorities to be on the lookout for further outbreaks of dengue fever, after confirming another 19 cases that were contracted at a popular local park in downtown Tokyo. (AP

The Americas

Cuba restricts the amount of foreign goods that travellers can bring into the country, where locally-made items are scarce and expensive. (BBC

Parts of Latin America are severely parched. The drought is fueling clashes, forcing rationing, decimating crops and affecting travel through the Panama Canal. (NPR


Africans’ Land Rights at Risk as New Agricultural Trend Sweeps Continent (IPS

Lesotho: What’s Going on in Lesotho? A Rough Guide (VOX

Hunger in the Land of Enough (Daily Maverick

Putting our money where our mouths are? Donations to NGOs and support for ODA in Australia (DevPolicy

The UN’s technocratic answer to the ‘data revolution’ (Aidnography

What’s so bad about development? (Guardian

Making progress in foreign aid research (Devpolicy

Poverty continues what the Khmer Rouge started (WhyDev

What are all these violent images doing to us? (Dart-Throwing Chimp


Our collective interest: why Europe’s problems need global solutions and global problems need European action (ODI

The world will fail to meet international targets to eradicate poverty and hunger unless countries improve the way they use rainwater, which billions of people depend on to grow food, leading water experts said. (TRF

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