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BRICS Launch New Development Bank

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The BRICS have finally launched their much-anticipated new international development bank …”The leaders of the five Brics countries have signed a deal to create a new $100bn (£583m) development bank and emergency reserve fund. The Brics group is made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.The capital for the bank will be split equally among the five participating countries. The bank will have a headquarters in Shanghai, China and the first president for the bank will come from India.” (BBC http://bbc.in/1p4argv)

Horrific bombing in Afghanistan…At least 89 people were killed in a car bomb attack in a remote town in eastern Afghanistan. This was the worst since attack since the toppling of the Taliban in 2001.It comes as the USA helped broker a deal to end Afghanistan’s election stand-off. “There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, and the Taliban issued a statement denying involvement, saying they “strongly condemn attacks on local people.” Several other insurgent groups operate in Afghanistan. The U.N. mission in Afghanistan said initial reports “suggest that the attacker prematurely detonated after police detected the explosives in his vehicle.” (AP http://yhoo.it/1p4bYTY)

Africa

At least 26 people were killed when suspected Islamist Boko Haram militants stormed a village in northeast Nigeria and a government warplane opened fire to repel the attackers, local residents and a security source said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1tNEeRu)

The death toll from an Ebola outbreak in West Africa has risen to 603 since February, with at least 68 deaths reported from three countries in the region in the last week alone, the World Health Organisation said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1tNEkIV)

Militant group Al-Shabab has lived up to its promise to step up attacks in Somalia, mainly against government installations and personnel, during the holy month of Ramadan, which began on 29 June. Over 30 people have been killed in Mogadishu alone. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1tNEwru)

The UK’s Department for International Development is to face a full judicial review over its alleged funding of rights abuses in Ethiopia. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1tNEIqG)

Human Rights Watch says Boko Haram militants have killed more than 2,000 civilians in Nigeria this year, nearly three-fourths of them in the northern state of Borno. (VOA http://bit.ly/1tNF2FX)

The EU is about to launch its first ever multi-donor development trust fund, in support of the Central African Republic. With an initial amount of €64 million the fund creates an effective and coordinated international instrument to help the population of the country and contribute to its stabilisation. (EC http://bit.ly/1l0xq9Q)

The Kenyan government’s continued failure to properly investigate crimes committed during the 2007-2008 post-election violence and to provide justice and reparation for its victims is having a devastating impact on their lives and livelihoods. (Amnesty International http://bit.ly/1l0xSVk)

The presence of armed groups and continued fighting causing displacement across the Central African Republic has led to an escalation of insecurity leaving women and girls vulnerable to forced marriage and extreme violence, including rape. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1l0AjqW)

At least 750,000 people are stateless in West Africa, according to UNHCR, which is calling for governments to do more to give or restore the nationality of stateless individuals, and improve national laws to prevent statelessness. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1jNhCML)

MENA

The first Israeli was killed by a Hamas rocket attack since the crisis began eight days ago. Some 200 Gazans are believed to have been killed. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1p4cwcy)

A militia shelled Tripoli airport, destroying 90 percent of planes parked there, a Libyan government spokesman said, as heavy fighting between armed groups prompted the United Nations to pull its staff. (Reuters http://reut.rs/1p4d2Hp)

As Israel continues to bomb hundreds of targets in the Gaza Strip, hospitals are facing a shortage of medical supplies. Pre-existing shortages are being exacerbated by heightened need and by the border policies of the Egyptian government. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1tNJtkc)

John Kerry warned that the escalating violence by Libyan militias was alarming and said Washington was working through its envoys to restore peace to the North African nation. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1l0H9wN)

Aid agencies said Tuesday they were ready to truck desperately-needed supplies to 2.9 million more Syrians after the UN Security Council finally passed a resolution backing cross-border convoys. (AP http://yhoo.it/1ktw1Za)

Preliminary findings of a UN survey show that while food security has improved in some areas, over 10 million Yemenis – more than 40 percent of the population – don’t know where their next meal will come from. (WFP http://bit.ly/1jNbYuf)

Asia

Warnings as another typhoon hits the Philippines there are insufficient evacuation centers available to keep people safe. (Oxfam http://bit.ly/1l0y1YU)

Bangladesh’s anti-graft agency will file charges against the owner of a building that collapsed last year killing more than 1,130 people, most of them garment workers, in a construction violation case, an agency spokesman said. (AP http://yhoo.it/1l0GSd2)

The World Bank said that it and its private sector arm have committed concessional loans of up to $4.2 billion to the Philippines to help the country reduce poverty, create jobs and sustain growth as it recovers from the impact of a devastating typhoon and separatist rebellion. (AP http://yhoo.it/1tNPRIb)

The Americas

During a visit to Haiti, the UN Secretary General promises to help fight the cholera epidemic which has killed more than 8,500 people since 2010. (BBC http://bbc.in/1l0wPoA)

Pope Francis calls for moves to protect thousands of unaccompanied children found migrating from Central America to the US every month. (BBC http://bbc.in/1l0AJO1)

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales will run for re-election in October to press on with his promise of expanding social reforms in the Andean nation, the vice president of the ruling party said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1tNLVaq)

Honduran President Juan Hernandez blamed U.S. drug policy for sparking violence in Central American countries and driving a surge of migration to the United States, according to an interview published on Monday. (VOA http://bit.ly/1oXeRHH)

Brazil’s sluggish economy faces substantial risk of falling into a light recession in 2014, and may already have done so, providing opposition candidates with extra ammunition in the run-up to October’s presidential election. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1tNQiCe)

Opinion/Blogs

How flawed are current aid responses? (IRIN http://bit.ly/1l0wUbV)

South Sudanese Debate: Should We Leave or Stay? (VOA http://bit.ly/1l0xjuR)

Why A Village Leader Ordered The Rape Of A 14-Year-Old In India (NPR http://n.pr/1tNHbl2)

No School, No Handshakes: Reporting On Ebola From Sierra Leone (NPR http://n.pr/1l0yWZm

The Caribbean: A Clean Energy Revolution on the Front Lines of Climate Change (IPS http://bit.ly/1l0z1w7)

Who Aids Whom? Exposing the True Story of Africa’s $192 Billion Losses (Think Africa Press http://bit.ly/1l0AyT7)

Much Hangs in the Balance in Indonesia’s Election (CGD http://bit.ly/1tNJhkX)

Research/Reports

Attacks on teachers and other educators are a disturbingly common tactic of war and a serious threat to education, the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack said in a new study. (GCPEA http://bit.ly/1l0xCFT)

Jens Martens, director of the Global Policy Forum, says that in general, the current list of proposed goals and targets that will follow the MDGs is not an adequate response to the global social, economic and environmental crises and the need for fundamental change. (IPS http://bit.ly/1l0zGO5)

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SG; Afghanistan; Middle East

SG: After meeting with a Haitian family affected by cholera, the SG expressed the UN’s commitment to ending the epidemic through projects such as the “Total Sanitation Campaign” launched yesterday to scale up sanitation and hygiene in rural areas.

Afghanistan: The SG condemned today’s two attacks in Kabul and Paktika. The Taliban denied involvement in the suicide attack in Paktika killing 43 civilians, but claimed responsibility for the attack in Kabul killing two people on a shuttle bus. UNAMA called on the Taliban to cease attacks on civilians.

Middle East: Referencing Egypt’s proposed ceasefire for Israel and Gaza, the SG called on Hamas to follow Israel’s willingness to accept the proposal and cooperate with the Egyptian initiative.

Syria: UN agencies and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent reached Madamiyet Elsham in Rural Damascus for the first time in two years. Food, household items and hygiene supplies reached 5,000 people on the first of four days of deliveries and is expected to reach 20,000.

Yemen: WFP reported that more than 40% of Yemen’s population remains acutely malnourished despite food security improvements in some regions of the country.

West Africa: WHO reported that nearly 1,000 cases of Ebola have been reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. A new Sub-Regional Coordination Centre is being set-up to help coordinate response efforts in the three countries.

Philippines: OCHA warned that Typhoon Rammasum is expected to reach the Philippines this evening. Flooding and landslides could affect 43 million people in the capital by noon tomorrow.

Peacekeeping: The SG expressed his gratitude for Ameerah Haq following her announcement to step down as the USG for Field Support.

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This Iran Nuke Deal Might. Just. Work.

We are now five days out from a July 20 deadline for a final deal over Iran’s nuclear program…and for the first time, I think we can be cautiously optimistic about the outcome.

This weekend, John Kerry joined the talks ongoing in Vienna between Iran and the Permanent five members of the Security Council plus Germany over a final agreement that would limit Iran’s capacity to build nuclear weapons in exchange for an easing of international sanctions. The negotiations are technically and politically complex. But with less than a week from the deadline there are a few reasons to be hopeful for a positive outcome.

Iran’a foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif gave an extended interview to the New York Times in which he outlined Iran’s current negotiating position. It satisfies many of the American demands, with the exception that all of Iran’s centrifuges would remain intact. (The USA fears that without dismantling centrifuges, Iran still has a breakout capacity should they decide to walk out on the deal.) Still, the proposal Zarif describes would effectively halt any new development of its nuclear program—which essentially extends the interim deal struck last November.

But Mr. Zarif’s decision to go public with the proposal in a 45-minute conversation before meeting with Mr. Kerry for a second time in two days was clearly tactical. His willingness to move away from Iran’s insistence that it must be free, immediately, to expand its nuclear program may give Mr. Kerry room to recommend to President Obama that the negotiations continue, for weeks or months.

Mr. Zarif’s plan follows a declaration by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, last week that Iran would not dismantle any of its infrastructure under Western pressure, but would not need a major expansion of its fuel-making facilities for at least five years. That gave Mr. Zarif, who is viewed with suspicion by Iran’s military and its clerical leadership, some wiggle room. His proposal for a freeze moves significantly in the direction that the United States and the five other nations have been urging, and brings into focus the outlines of a possible deal, though one that would be extraordinarily hard to reach by Sunday.

In a press availability earlier today in Vienna, John Kerry did not respond specifically to Zarif’s proposal. But he did cite “tangible progress.”

As I have said, and I repeat, there has been tangible progress on key issues, and we had extensive conversations in which we moved on certain things.  However, there are also very real gaps on other key issues.  And what we are trying to do is find a way for Iran to have an exclusively peaceful nuclear program, while giving the world all the assurances required to know that Iran is not seeking a nuclear weapon.

I want to underscore:  These goals are not incompatible.  In fact, they are realistic.  But we have not yet found the right combination or arrived at the workable formula.  There are more issues to work through and more provisions to nail down to ensure that Iran’s program will always remain exclusively peaceful.  So we are going to continue to work and we’re going to continue to work with the belief that there is a way forward.

But – and this is a critical point – while there is a path forward, Iran needs to choose to take it.  And our goal now is to determine the precise contours of that path, and I believe we can.

If a deal is to be struck, it will probably be struck around 11:59 on Sunday night. There is also a decent chance that sides will mutually agree that they need more time, in which case we can expect a delay. But at this point it does not look like these talks will end in total failure. And that is a positive development.

For an inside look at these negotiations, check out this recent Global Dispatches Podcast episode with journalist Laura Rozen and Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association.


 

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Crédits A.Karaghezian/ECPAD

France’s Gamble in the Sahel

Following an 18 month deployment in Mali, the French military Operation Serval is ending. French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian explained during a national interview on Sunday July 13 that “Serval has accomplished its mission. Mali had to regain its integrity, and that’s been done.”  He added that since the beginning of the French military operation, territorial integrity has been restored, elections have been held at several levels of government, and, overall, the Operation achieved its aims. “It’s the responsibility of Malian authorities to continue to manage the democratic process,” Le Drian told journalists.

But while Serval is ending, a brand new French operation is beginning in the Sahel region. Well, in fact, not so much a brand new operation as a reshuffling of current forces and footprint in the region. With a projected 3,000 ground troops, and additional support from fighter jets, helicopters, unarmed drones and the cooperation of local military partners, France hopes to quell the terrorist threat in the Sahel. “There is a major jihadist threat from the Horn of Africa to Guinea-Bissau” – in particular in the northern areas of Mali, Chad and Niger – explained Le Drian, and “the French President wanted to see a reorganization of French forces to address what are perceived to be the current challenges in the region.” The new operation, Barkhane, will be launched within days, with counter-terrorism as its main goal, in partnership with five countries (Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso.)

Operation Barkhane’s role will be to prevent “the highway of all forms of trafficking” between Southern Algeria and the northern parts of those countries from becoming a permanent location for jihadist groups to gain strength and organize. Le Drian explained that the French goal for this operation goes beyond ensuring the territorial integrity of African nations, and that there is a direct link between the security of France and what is perceived to be a growing hotbed of terrorism in the region.”The world is dangerous, especially at our own doors, and in particular at these doors just south of the Mediterranean,” Le Drian said.

Meanwhile, as the 1,700-strong Operation Serval winds down in Mali, a French officer was killed in a suicide attack on Monday. Two other soldiers were severely wounded in the bombing. This is the ninth French military death since the beginning of the Operation in January 2013. Jean-Yves Le Drian is expected in Mali mid-week to speak about the evolution of Operation Serval into its regional incarnation, Barkhane. French President Francois Hollande will be going to N’Djamena, Abidjan and Niamey in the coming days to formalize the launch of the new operation.

Given the recent suicide bombing that killed and wounded French soldiers in Gao, there is still a feeling that the Malian operation isn’t quite over yet, and, locally, some are feeling concerned about the rejigging of the French operation.  In the next few weeks we should know whether or not this redeployment of French troops in the rejoin has come too soon. 

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Global Humanitarian Funding Reaches Record Highs

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New Data on Global Humanitarian Funding…”Humanitarian funding reached a record $22 billion in 2013, yet almost a third of needs remained unmet, according to data recently released by the UK-based think tank Global Humanitarian Assistance Programme’s Development Initiatives…Government donors, who accounted for around three-quarters of total aid in 2013, gave an estimated $16.4 billion, up by one quarter in 2012. Private donors, including individuals, trusts, foundations and corporations, increased their contributions by 35 percent, to around $5.6 billion. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1jIRm6c)

It’s T minus 5 Days…until a deadline for a final deal on Iran’s nuclear program. Mark speaks with Nuclear policy wonk and Ploughshares Fund president Joseph Cirincione about the Iran nuke talks, Bush’s troubled nuclear record and why the jury is still out on Obama’s nuclear weapons legacy. (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/1oX4PVn)

Africa

Doctors Without Borders says children in parts of South Sudan are suffering from shocking rates of malnutrition. (AP http://yhoo.it/U9Nq2p)

Among the 100,000 civilians holed up in UN bases in South Sudan since fighting broke out in mid-December 2013 between supporters and opponents of President Salva Kiir are several hundred citizens from Eritrea, Somalia and Ethiopia. (IRIN http://bit.ly/U9LM0y)

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan promised on Monday that more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamist militants would soon return home, teenage Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai said after meeting him. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1jISTJI)

Ghana partially removed fuel subsidies on Sunday, just three months after reintroducing them, to cut spending and restore macro stability. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1jIT5IK)

The European Union will resume giving direct development aid to the Guinea-Bissau government after it held presidential elections rated as “free and credible,” the EU said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1jIVpiW)

 Amnesty International has said refugees in Nairobi are appealing against a controversial ruling that would force thousands of Somalis from their homes to live in squalid overcrowded camps in Northern Kenya. (Dalsan Radio http://bit.ly/1jJ1cVI)

MENA

The new crisis in Palestine is aggravating an already fragile health system heavily affected by chronic shortages and structural weaknesses. (MSF http://bit.ly/U9MjzN)

The United Nations said on Monday it is withdrawing its staff from Libya temporarily because of deteriorating security after rival militias fought over Tripoli International Airport and a renegade general’s forces continued to battle Islamist militias in the eastern city of Benghazi. (AP http://yhoo.it/U9NeA5)

Syrians found themselves without Internet access this weekend, according to a report by an Internet intelligence firm. (VOA http://bit.ly/1jIRzq2)

A senior UN official warns the growing Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon could explode into inter-sectarian violence. The official says competition between the Lebanese and Syrians for limited resources is increasing tensions between these communities to a dangerous level. (VOA http://bit.ly/1jIRFxX)

Asia

Thailand’s military government said on Monday it would send home 100,000 refugees who have been living in camps for two decades and more along the border with Myanmar, a move rights groups say would create chaos at a tense time for both nations. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1jIUaAt)

The continued use of outdated and inefficient approaches to TB are still fuelling its spread, say NGOs in Russia and international groups working to combat the disease. (IPS http://bit.ly/U9MmeP)

Philippine President Benigno Aquino is defending an economic stimulus program amid calls for his impeachment as well as the resignation of his budget secretary. (VOA http://bit.ly/1jIRsux)

Four years after a devastating landslide, displaced residents of northern Pakistan accuse the government of abandoning them. (IRIN http://bit.ly/U9NHSW)

Samsung said Monday it had temporarily suspended business with one of its suppliers in China after finding “evidence” of possible illegal child labour at the plant. (AP http://yhoo.it/U9MPxE)

UN refugee envoy Angelina Jolie has accepted an invitation to visit the small island of Nauru where Australia sends asylum-seekers for processing and resettlement, the government said. (AP http://yhoo.it/U9MMSz)

The Americas

The World Cup is over, but Brazil remains in the spotlight with this week’s BRICS summit. High on an agenda that stresses social inclusion and sustainable development are final discussions on the creation of two financial institutions that could reshape the global economic landscape. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1jIR2o2)

‘Ladies in White’ dissidents say they were detained in the Cuban capital while marking 20 years since 37 people drowned trying to flee the island. (BBC http://bbc.in/1jIVB1y)

Religious organizations, aid groups and volunteers are helping the government deal with what has become a humanitarian crisis caused by youth migration into the US. (VOA http://bit.ly/1zCdGmL)

Opinion/Blogs

Ethiopia’s Nile dam project signals its intention to become an African power (Guardian http://bit.ly/U9LZ3N)

Does Building Non-Racialism Mean Being Colour-Blind? (Daily Maverick http://bit.ly/1jJ13Bz)

 Use ‘safe zones’ to end immigrant crisis (CNN http://cnn.it/1jIW1VN)

Japan Remains Committed to ‘Advancing Vibrant Diplomacy’ (IPS http://bit.ly/1jISMh8)

Are Nigerian Electricity Tariffs Really Lowest? (Africa Check http://bit.ly/U9PEih)

New development goals need ambition  and the UK must set the agenda (Guardian http://bit.ly/1jIVSln)

Why ‘Political Economy Analysis’ has Lost the Plot, and We Need to Get Back to Power and Politics (World Bank http://bit.ly/1mbdX5O)

 Research/Reports

The Political Economy of Bad Data: Evidence from African Survey & Administrative Statistics (CGD http://bit.ly/1jIVKCo)

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SG; Syria; Libya

SG: Today the SG travels to Haiti to launch the “Total Sanitation Campaign” and inaugurate the “Sports for Hope” Centre. The SG will then travel to the DR to meet with Government officials and visit the country’s “Quisqueya sin Miseria” anti-poverty program.

Syria: The SG welcomed Resolution 2165 which permits the delivery of aid through four border crossings to the three million Syrians lacking access to food and basic healthcare.

Libya: The SG expressed concern over the increase in violence following an incident at Libya’s airport yesterday. He called on all parties to engage in dialogue to agree on a peaceful way forward. UNSMIL continues to reduce its staff in the region until security conditions improve.

Middle East: Referencing the worsening situation in the Gaza Strip, the SG urged both Israeli and Palestinian sides to end the violence and work towards peace and security. The Commissioner-General for UNRWA travelled to Gaza today and reported that 174 people have been killed, 1,100 have been wounded, and 17,000 refugees remain displaced in UNRWA’s premises.

Afghanistan: UNAMA welcomed the agreement of the two Presidential candidates in Afghanistan to break the electoral impasse. The agreement includes an audit of the election run-off and the formation of a government of national unity following the final election results.

South Sudan: UNMISS reported artillery explosions and small-arms fire yesterday in South Sudan. The Mission is protecting 97,000 displaced civilians across the country and continues to urge all parties to abide by agreements to cease hostile actions and end the violence.

Somalia: CERF allocated $1.4 million  toward an emergency campaign to combat measles in Somalia. The funding will vaccinate half a million children under five years of age.

New Climate Change Envoy: The SG appointed Mary Robinson of Ireland as the Special Envoy on Climate Change. Robinson will play a major role in mobilizing Heads of State and Governments ahead of the SG’s 2014 Climate Summit in September.

Malala Day: Today marks “Malala Day” in honor of 17-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai’s heroic stand against the Taliban to ensure education for all, especially girls.

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