With peace talks in stalemate, Reuters gets its hands on an exclusive scoop. The idea is so crazy it just might work. “A much-anticipated African Union inquiry calls for South Sudan’s president and his rival to be barred from a transitional government and for the oil-producing country to effectively be placed under AU control, say sources and a draft of the report. The recommendations are directly at odds with a peace deal being negotiated that would retain Salva Kiir as president and appoint rebel leader Riek Machar as deputy. The two are holding talks this week in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on forming a unity government.” (Reuters http://reut.rs/1wYZT63)

What Refugees REALLY Think of Aid Agencies…The UN published a remarkably candid report that surveys refugees in the middle east about their perception of aid agencies meant to help them. “The findings are revealing.  “Details of the interviews – conducted between November 2014 and February 2015, with a mix of men, women, youth and community leaders – have been compiled in a report shared with aid organisations, donors and government officials attending the WHS meeting in Jordan and online.   The observations make uncomfortable reading for both national and international aid agencies operating in a region where large communities of Syrian, Iraqi and Palestinian refugees, as well as other migrants, are living in a mix of camp and community settings.”(IRIN http://bit.ly/1wZ0nZO)

The end of Ebola is near in Liberia: Liberia discharged its last confirmed Ebola patient on Thursday, as it reported for the first time in nine months it had gone a full week without any new infections. “This is the last confirmed Ebola case in our country,” deputy health minister Tolbert Nyenswah told reporters as Yordoldo was given an emotional send-off. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1M9hr6n)

Stat of the Day: “A minimum of 46,000 Twitter accounts operate on behalf of the Islamic State” (NYT http://nyti.ms/1wZ0nsQ)

Myanmar cracks down on protests…Baton-wielding police beat demonstrators showing their support for students blocked from marching into Myanmar’s largest city on Thursday, arresting eight and forcing many to flee, activists and witnesses said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FeaRcK)


The World Health Organization will start large-scale testing of an experimental Ebola vaccine in Guinea on Saturday to see how effective it might be in preventing future outbreaks of the deadly virus. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Nl396a)

The UN Security Council urged Mali’s Tuareg rebel groups to sign on to a peace deal that it welcomed as an important step towards lasting peace in Mali. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1MaOMQr)

A prominent lawyer and academic who was shot dead on Tuesday in Mozambique’s capital Maputo, had recently received threats on Facebook, the country’s prosecution said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1MaOd9k)

The government of Burkina Faso ordered the exhumation of the corpse of former president Thomas Sankara, slain in a 1987 coup. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1FeaSxj)

Burundi’s national assembly has approved a draft media law, backtracking from contentious 2013 legislation that was denounced by reporters and rights groups as an assault on press freedoms. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1FeaVcm)

South Africa’s hopes of becoming one of the world’s top renewable energy hubs are dimming due to poor infrastructure and delays as cash-strapped state utility Eskom is distracted by a scramble to keep the lights on. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1w7gzgD)

Authorities in Madagascar are struggling to respond to increasingly severe flooding in the central highlands region of the country that includes the capital, Antananarivo, in addition to a prolonged drought in the south. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1aN544x)


Algeria’s parliament passed a law on Thursday criminalising violence against women, in a move criticised by both Islamist lawmakers as well as Amnesty. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1w7guJX)

Government helicopter gunships on Thursday bombed the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, killing at least 18 people and wounding dozens, activists said. (AP http://yhoo.it/1w7glpC)

The head of Syria’s Western-backed political opposition is trying to ally with opposition groups based in Syria to boost its legitimacy and help revive peace talks that center on a political transition in the country. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1MaOSaB)

Islamic State militants have set fire to oil wells northeast of the city of Tikrit, a witness said, to obstruct an assault by Shi’ite militia fighters and Iraqi soldiers trying to drive them from the Sunni Muslim city and surrounding towns. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1MaOV6e)

Military operations aimed at retaking the Iraqi city of Tikrit from the Islamic State jihadist group have caused around 28,000 people to flee their homes, the United Nations said on Thursday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1w7gucX)


A panel appointed by Thailand’s military government to draft a new constitution has proposed a two-year political ban for junta members to prevent them “hogging power”, the chairman said on Thursday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1MaOVDw)

Police say they have detained more than a dozen factory workers, who were demanding higher wages and better working conditions, in a protest that follows a crackdown on students outside Myanmar’s biggest city. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Nl32Yr)

The father of a woman who died after a savage gang-rape in Delhi said Thursday he thought everyone should watch a documentary about the attack broadcast by the BBC but banned in India. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Nl342e)

Myanmar must help “lower the temperature” along its border with China, a senior Chinese official told a Myanmar envoy, urging all parties to exercise restraint after clashes with rebels that have pushed refugees into China. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1MaOOI5)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will offer island nations in the Indian Ocean a broad range of military and civilian assistance next week in a bid to wrest back some of the influence China has gained by spending billions of dollars in the region. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Nl2YYw)

Indonesia’s attorney general will decide in a few days on the date for the execution of up to 11 convicts, mostly foreigners, a government official said on Thursday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Nl2Vfd)

Thailand is testing out floating homes in the region of the country that often faces floods. (TRF http://yhoo.it/1MaOZTB)

China has pledged to get tough on polluters and tighten enforcement in a bid to help clean up its environment, an issue that is one of the Chinese public’s biggest concerns. (VOA http://bit.ly/1FeeeQU)

A group of Afghan men marched through the capital, Kabul, on Thursday to draw attention to women’s rights by donning head-to-toe burqas that for many people worldwide have come to symbolize the suppression of women. (VOA http://bit.ly/1FeegZ1)

The Americas

Cuba and the European Union renewed talks on improving relations on Wednesday, advancing on several issues but leaving the major topics of trade and human rights until Thursday, Cuba said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1MaOclH)

The government of newly sworn-in Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez is in no hurry to implement his predecessor’s controversial world-first law allowing marijuana sales at pharmacies, an official said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Nl29PA)

Since Hugo Chavez died two years ago, Venezuela’s economy has tanked and the government has lurched toward more repressive tactics, triggering nostalgia among the late leftist firebrand’s supporters and even his opponents. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Nl2VMp)

U.S. Democrat Hillary Clinton on Wednesday broke her silence over a budding controversy involving her use of personal email for work when she was secretary of state, saying she wanted the U.S. State Department to release them swiftly. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1MaOPM5)

…and the rest

Britain’s efforts to promote security and justice in developing countries are being stymied by over ambitious targets, a lack of focus and a “naive” tendency to repeat unsuccessful initiatives, the UK’s aid watchdog has warned. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1FedkUv)

Global food prices fell 1 percent in February to their lowest in more than four-and-a-half years, with cereals, meat and sugar declining, oils steady and only dairy prices rebounding sharply, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1w7gt8L)


Why Health Systems in the Developing World Need a Shot in the Arm. Mark interviews Save the Children CEO Carolyn Miles. (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1M9b5UP)

Shame on me: Why it was wrong to cost the Millennium Development Goals (Brookings http://brook.gs/1B7BIrr)

Is Venezuela losing faith in president? (BBC http://bbc.in/1aN54kW)

The dangerous new calculus of conflict reporting (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1aN5rw3)

Bridging the Gap – How the SDG Fund is Paving the Way for a Post-2015 Agenda (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/1aN5zvq)

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