Top stories from DAWNS Digest.
Clashes in Syria Violate Eid Ceasefire
The Syrian Army said it would respect a ceasefire for the Muslim holiday, painstakingly negotiated by the joint UN/Arab League special envoy. (BBC http://bbc.in/P6w16k) That agreement was violated when fighting between rebels and the military broke out around a military base near Maaret al-Numan. Fighting took place in other parts of the country as did post-prayer protests on Friday. “The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said protests had taken place in the northeastern city of al-Raqqa, where security forces fired tear gas, and in the southern Deraa province, where three people were injured as police fired live rounds to disperse demonstrators.” (Al Jazeera http://aje.me/R5CCdr)
Ethnic Violence Intensifies in Restive Burmese Province
Myanmar may be opening up economically and politically, but ethnic violence and discrimination is still a profound problem. “At least 112 people have been killed and thousands of houses burned as ethnic and religious violence in western Myanmar intensifies, according to news reports and community activists, as the government struggled to restore order, imposing dusk-to-dawn curfews in some areas and stepping up security. Deadly violence between Buddhist ethnic Rakhine and Rohingya Muslims reportedly has spread to at least four townships over recent days, although it’s not clear what sparked it. The most recent round of tit-for-tat attacks started Sunday, but distrust between the communities goes back decades.” (LAT http://lat.ms/VsRCUs)
World Bank: African Food Trade Can Improve if Barriers Lifted
A new report from the World Bank offers strategies for boosting local food markets in Africa. “Africa could avoid food shortages if it reduces the tangled web of rules, fees and high costs strangling regional food trade and by putting large swathes of uncultivated land to productive use, a World Bank report said on Wednesday. Just 5 percent of Africa’s cereal imports are now provided by African farmers, according to the report released on the eve of an African Union summit on agriculture and trade in Ethiopia. The bank estimated that 19 million people are in danger of hunger and malnutrition in West Africa’s Sahel region. Yet, removing cross-border restrictions could help avoid food crises if farmers were allowed to trade more easily with each other and get food to communities facing shortages.” (Reuters http://bit.ly/P6v1z7)