ISIS is very much stepping up its attacks near the Iraqi capital. The Iraqi government seems unable to cope. “A truck bomb at an Iraqi checkpoint south of Baghdad killed at least 60 people and wounded more than 70 on Sunday, medical and security officials said, and Islamic State claimed responsibility for the blast. The suicide attack, involving an explosive-laden fuel tanker, is the second deadliest this year after one on Feb. 28 that killed 78 people in Sadr City, a Shi’ite district of Baghdad. This was also claimed by the ultra-hardline Sunni group that controls vast swathes of territory in Iraq and in Syria. The escalation in Islamic State bombings suggests that Iraqi government forces are being stretched thin after their recent gains against the group in the western and northern provinces.” (Reuters http://reut.rs/1nq6PKA)

This is how the UN North Korea sanctions are supposed to work…“The Philippines will become the first country to enforce tough new United Nations sanctions on North Korea when it initiates formal procedures on Monday to impound a cargo vessel linked to the reclusive nation, a government spokesman said on Sunday. The Jin Teng, which is suspected of being a North Korean ship, arrived Thursday at Subic Bay, a commercial port about 50 miles northwest of Manila. It will be impounded, its crew will be deported and it will most likely be inspected by a team from the United Nations, said Charles Jose, a spokesman for the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.” (NYT http://nyti.ms/1nq6ZBK)

Quote of the day: The Deputy UN Secretary General Jan Eliasson says countries are enthusiastic for implementing the SDGs. “They are already starting to implement them on a national level.  This is the first year, this is the second month, and already we have close to 25 nations wanting to tell us, in summer when we have a big meeting about implementation, what they are doing.” (VOA http://bit.ly/1nq7JH3)

Africa

Nigeria’s army said it would pay for the education of at least four children for each soldier killed in the counterinsurgency fight against the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in parts of the country’s north. (VOA http://bit.ly/1Yk2Xsf)

The United Nations Security Council traveled to northern Mali on Saturday to push for implementation of a fragile peace deal aimed at ending a cycle of internal uprisings and allowing the government to combat the growing threat of Islamist militants. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1p0KODf)

Benin began counting the votes after an election on Sunday to choose a successor to President Thomas Boni Yayi, who is stepping down after two terms, leaving 33 candidates to compete for power in the West African country. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1p0KPY2)

Armed men killed 12 people in villages in Central African Republic, local officials said on Sunday, in the first violence since Faustin-Archange Touadera was confirmed as president last Tuesday after an election many hoped would help end attacks. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1L9zI9x)

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Sunday he has asked his envoy for Western Sahara to work to relaunch talks between Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario Front on the disputed desert territory. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1L9zUpg)

Arab and Asian investors this week participated in the first ever African Halal Business Forum in the Senegalese capital, Dakar. (Africa News http://bit.ly/1nq77Bf)

MENA

A rocket and mortar barrage struck a government-controlled neighborhood in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo on Sunday, killing 13 civilians and wounding 40, the government and an opposition group said. (AP http://yhoo.it/24KqRBp)

Two Italians kidnapped last July in Libya returned to Italy on Sunday to a mute homecoming, amid questions over why two others snatched with them were killed. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1QvTUBx)

An Indian priest missing after an attack on a care home run in Yemen is being held by the assailants, likely militants from the Islamic State group, officials said Sunday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1QvU0J9)

Egypt’s prosecution ordered on Sunday six members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood accused of assassinating Public Prosecutor Hisham Barakat in June to be detained for 15 days, state news agency MENA reported. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1L9zKOG)

A total of 135 people were killed in the first week of a partial truce in Syria in areas covered by the deal, a monitoring group said on Saturday, highlighting its fragile nature just days before the United Nations attempts to reconvene peace talks. (VOA http://bit.ly/1nq5XWt)

Egypt said Sunday that members of the Muslim Brotherhood trained in the Gaza Strip by the Palestinian militant group Hamas carried out the bombing that killed the country’s chief prosecutor in Cairo last year. (WaPo http://wapo.st/1nq734y)

Asia

Overstretched Afghan forces are pulling back from violent southern districts without a fight, ceding key territory to the resurgent Taliban as part of an unprecedented “strategic retreat” that has stoked fears government control is slipping. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Tkhftm)

An American woman was infected with the Zika virus while visiting the Philippines, health department officials said Sunday, the first case detected in the country for several years. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1L9zEGO)

The western Indian state of Gujarat was placed on high alert Sunday after officials said they received intelligence reports that around 10 suspected militants from Pakistan had entered the state. (AP http://yhoo.it/1QvTZ81)

China’s ruling Communist Party said Sunday that it punished nearly 300,000 officials for corruption last year. (AP http://yhoo.it/1QvTWJn)

China’s take on parliamentary democracy kicked off its annual session Saturday to address national priorities at a time of slowing economic growth. Unlike legislatures elsewhere, China’s does little in the way of legislating, is carefully stage-managed and allows no foreign leader to address it. (AP http://yhoo.it/1TkhiFB)

The Americas

Honduras’ governing party on Sunday proposed the sitting president as their candidate for 2017 elections, a decision likely to stir fresh debate over re-election, a contentious issue at the heart of a coup just six years ago. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1nq62cO)

…and the rest

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann has urged Germany to set a clear limit on the number of asylum seekers it will accept to help stem a mass influx of refugees that is severely testing European cohesion. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Tkhkx4)

Thousands of migrants remain stranded at the Greece-Macedonia border as European Union leaders prepare to meet their Turkish counterparts to discuss the crisis at an emergency summit in Brussels Monday. (VOA http://bit.ly/24KqQgX)

Hundreds of women have marched in Warsaw to demand greater accessibility to abortion, better working conditions and more state support in raising children. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Yk2WV8)

Greece could pay down its foreign debts by hosting deportation centers, giving Europe another option in tackling the migrant crisis, Czech President Milos Zeman said on Sunday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1L9zKOz)

Opinion/Blogs

Achieving a larger Australian aid program will require broader budget changes (Dev Policy http://bit.ly/1p0MhJM)

Toms Shoes A Hit At Oscars, But Does Shoe Giveaway Hit The Mark? (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/1QvVQtG)

Just Give them the Money: why are cash transfers only 6% of humanitarian aid? (From Poverty to Power http://bit.ly/1QvVUth)

The potential for inclusive businesses gains attention in SDG era (Devex http://bit.ly/1QvVXp0)

How the World Bank is ‘nudging’ attitudes to health and hygiene (Guardian http://bit.ly/1Yk6mae)

Uganda Belongs to Us (Africa is a Country http://bit.ly/1p0P2ec)

The global childcare crisis: who bears the burden? (ODI http://bit.ly/1Yk9NOh)

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