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Syria is the new Somalia? The President’s speech last night did not break much new ground, except for this one passage: “This counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.”  In other words, expect targeted airstrikes and drone strikes against ISIS targets in Syria, combined with limited humanitarian assistance. Full Text: http://bit.ly/1snTeTu

Conflict Mineral #Fail…A law meant to curtail the money that rebel groups in DR Congo make off the mineral trade has done more harm than good, say researchers and activists in an open letter. “Nearly four years after the passing of the Dodd-Frank Act, only a small fraction of the hundreds of mining sites in the eastern DRC have been reached by traceability or certification efforts. The rest remain beyond the pale, forced into either illegality or collapse as certain international buyers have responded to the legislation by going ‘Congo-free’.” (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/1wgorLj)

 Ebola 

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation says it is committing $50 million to help combat the growing Ebola outbreak in West Africa. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qFBaDK)

 

Health workers in Liberia reported being overwhelmed by new Ebola cases on Wednesday, as the epidemic was blamed for shattering economic growth in neighbouring Sierra Leone. http://yhoo.it/1qFCl6m

The first case of the Ebola virus detected in Senegal, a 21-year-old student who arrived from neighboring Guinea last month, has recovered from the deadly disease, a senior official said on Wednesday. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qFzASy)

Liberia’s national existence is “seriously threatened” by the deadly Ebola virus that is “spreading like wild fire and devouring everything in its path,” the country’s national defense minister told the United Nations Security Council. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1qFzF8M)

Africa

Zimbabwe has had to “cough up” $180 million in Chinese loan repayments or face losing its credit line, its finance minister said on Wednesday, in a sign Beijing is tightening its lending terms and expects debtors to be more accountable. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qFzo5J)

China is sending hundreds of troops to join the UN peacekeeping force in war-torn South Sudan, where Chinese companies have major oil interests. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qFzwC2)

Gambia’s national assembly has passed a bill to introduce the crime of aggravated homosexuality into the criminal code and make it punishable by life imprisonment in some cases, according to a copy of the bill. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1qFzHNP)

 Experts say that Africa’s extensive land subdivision is emerging as a significant threat to food security. (IPS http://bit.ly/1qFzSJ5)

 The Malawi government has presented its budget for the next financial year, which has been designed to regain donor confidence and encourage political stability at home. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1qFEZJc)

More than 3,000 families in Zimbabwe’s southeastern Masvingo Province who accuse the government of forcibly resettling them to small plots of undeveloped land, are facing hardships including a lack of adequate food, shelter, health and education facilities. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1qFA2jD)

A new medical study out of South Africa has found heartening news in the nation with the world’s highest burden of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.  Their findings reveal that South Africans with HIV can live as long as HIV patients in the United States – provided they begin antiretroviral therapy early enough. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qFAo9U)

ICRC warns hundreds of thousands of people in South Sudan are facing starvation and are in urgent need of international assistance to survive. (VOA http://bit.ly/WKmTJW)

 A Botswana newspaper editor has been charged with sedition after a story claimed the president was involved in a car accident, prompting angry allegations of stifling press freedom Wednesday. Prominent Sunday Standard editor Outsa Mokone was arrested on Monday over a story alleging Ian Khama had a night-time crash, which resulted in the other driver being given a new Jeep. http://yhoo.it/WKrmfA

MENA

A toxic chemical, almost certainly chlorine, was used “systematically and repeatedly” as a weapon in attacks on villages in northern Syria earlier this year, the global chemical weapons watchdog said. (AP http://yhoo.it/1qFCsPg)

Dozens of Egyptians have begun a hunger strike to demand the release of activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, a symbol of the 2011 uprising, and others they say are being unfairly detained in an effort to crush new-found freedoms. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/WKqNSU)

 A Yemeni draft law envisaging strict penalties for those involved in trafficking migrants, including kidnapping them and demanding ransom, may finally bring an end to decades of exploitation. (IRIN http://bit.ly/WKuo3w)

Asia

Continuing military operations in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal district are disrupting the education of more than 85,000 students in state-run schools. (IRIN http://bit.ly/WKiRkE)

One year after a violent siege terrified the southern Philippines city of Zamboanga, tens of thousands of displaced survivors feel they have been forgotten. (IRIN http://bit.ly/WKldjs)

Indonesia, one of only three countries in the Asia-Pacific region that is seeing a trend of increased HIV infections, must plug a $30 million funding gap in its fight against HIV, a U.N. health official said. (VOA http://bit.ly/WKmjM8)

Myanmar’s political opening has been hailed for loosening the ruling military’s tight grip on power and allowing for more democratic rule. But some critics, like one of the monks who led the 2007 uprising known as the Saffron Revolution, says little has changed overall. (VOA http://bit.ly/WKmAyC)

As flood-ravaged Indian Kashmir faces a communication blackout, social media posts on Facebook and Twitter are playing a huge role in tracing people stranded in the region. (VOA http://bit.ly/WKn73L)

The Americas

The Argentine government said Wednesday that its refusal to repay a group of US hedge funds that stand to profit on the country’s defaulted debt was vindicated by the United Nations’ support for a multilateral plan handling bond restructurings. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1qFATkl)

The figures were published in a report that Cuba prepares for the United Nations each year in requesting a resolution urging an end to the comprehensive US. (AP http://yhoo.it/WKoK1j)

 Haiti has received a large shipment of treatment packets to help it deal with an outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus known as chikungunya amid a rainy season expected to result in a surge of new cases in the country, officials said. (AP http://yhoo.it/WKr9sS)

 Top law enforcement officials from North and Central America are forming a multinational task force to address the massive influx of child migrants to the United States. At a meeting in Mexico City with his counterparts from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder agreed to create a working group that will focus on the criminal elements behind child migration. (VOA http://bit.ly/WKlRxs)

 Venezuela’s central bank publishes long-awaited figures showing annual inflation has reached a six-year high at 63.4%, the highest in the region. (BBC http://bbc.in/1qFziem)

Opinion/Blogs

A New European Foreign Policy in an Age of Anxiety (IPS http://bit.ly/WKkDSX)

Three Illicit Flows Targets for the Post-2015 Framework (CGD http://bit.ly/1qFAkad)

Covering Ebola: Fear And Love In Liberia (NPR http://n.pr/1qFDn2c)

The danger of programs that pay for performance (Development Impact http://bit.ly/1nMjamM)

Fresh water in a village called death (Baobab http://econ.st/1nMjbab)

Towards an Alternative Perspective: Against Hobbes (Why Nations Fail http://bit.ly/1tLpRwf)

 How to write about development without being simplistic, patronising, obscure or stereotyping (From Poverty to Power http://bit.ly/1nMjvpo)

The Things We Do: Shame is a Powerful Thing (People, Spaces, Deliberation http://bit.ly/1nMjEJw)

Research/Reports

A top-level international panel called for a major shift in global drug-control policies from prohibition to decriminalisation and regulation. (IPS http://bit.ly/WKkr6b)

Amnesty International said on Wednesday it had documented evidence of war crimes by both sides in the conflict between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. http://yhoo.it/1qFCd6C)

Discussion

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