Lahore, the Aftermath

At least 29 kids were among those killed. “Pakistan has decided to launch a paramilitary crackdown on Islamist militants in Punjab, the country’s richest and most populous province, after an Easter Day bombing killed 70 people in the provincial capital Lahore, officials said on Monday. Sunday’s suicide bombing at a public park was claimed by the Pakistani Taliban’s Jamaat-ur-Ahrar faction, which once declared loyalty to Islamic State. The group said it was targeting Christians. The brutality of the attack, Jamaat-ur-Ahrar’s fifth bombing since December, reflects the movement’s attempts to raise its profile among Pakistan’s increasingly fractured Islamist militants.” (Reuters http://reut.rs/1ohF6wi)

Prominent Anti-Mining Activist Murdered in South Africa…”The South African government has sent a team to try to reduce tensions in an area where people are divided over a plan by an Australian company to mine titanium. An anti-mining activist was shot dead there last week. Police are investigating the death of Sikhosiphi Rhadebe, who was killed last Tuesday at his home in the Xolobeni area of Eastern Cape province. Supporters of the mine project say it will raise living standards in the region. Opponents want to preserve ancestral land and allege they have been targeted by violence and intimidation. Rhadebe, also known as “Bazooka,” was the chairman of the Amadiba Crisis Committee, an anti-mining group. In a Facebook posting, the group said two men knocked at Rhadebe’s door, saying they were police, and then shot him eight times in front of his son. (ABC http://abcn.ws/1ohELJW)

Report of the Day…”UNICEF and the WHO, in a new report, warn Southeast Asia faces a child nutrition crisis amid increasing numbers of undernourished and obese children despite decades of economic growth. The agencies are calling for greater regulation of junk food and limiting sugary drinks for children, as well as tackling malnutrition that has resulted in chronic levels of stunted children living in poverty.  The joint UNICEF and WHO report, released Monday, says Southeast Asia is facing mounting health costs as a result of child malnutrition and obesity – a double burden – increasingly apparent in the middle income countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. The report says in Indonesia alone child malnutrition undermines child development, leading to non-communicable diseases at an annual cost of $248 billion a year.” (VOA http://bit.ly/1PB0XES)

Africa

Niger’s opposition said Monday it was ready to open a dialogue with President Mahamadou Issoufou after boycotting his contested re-election. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1XYrnqf)

A court in Angola on Monday sentenced 17 youth activists, including a well-known rapper, to between two and eight years in jail for rebellion against President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1ShdZcG)

The Central African Republic’s new president takes office Wednesday, faced with the challenge of reconciling a divided population and rebuilding a shattered country. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1ShdW0z)

The South African government has sent a team to try to reduce tensions in an area where people are divided over a plan by an Australian company to mine titanium. An anti-mining activist was shot dead there last week. (AP http://yhoo.it/1qbxTzq)

Malawi has joined forces with UNICEF to explore whether drones could be used to accelerate the testing and diagnosis of HIV in infant. (Guardian http://bit.ly/25sE2HC)

MENA

A Syrian expert for the UN’s cultural body said Monday she was “very doubtful” the destruction caused to Palmyra’s ancient monuments during its occupation by the Islamic State group can be repaired. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1PAYIlc)

The Palestinian government asked the United Nations on Monday to launch an investigation into alleged extrajudicial killings by Israel following the deadly shooting last week by an Israeli soldier of a wounded Palestinian assailant as he lay on the ground. (AP http://yhoo.it/1PAYNoN)

Rebels who control the Yemeni capital Sanaa have released nine Saudis in exchange for 109 Yemenis, the Riyadh-led coalition fighting them said Monday, in the latest sign of tensions easing before peace talks. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1ShglIB)

Israel pulled back on Monday after a monthslong diplomatic standoff with Brazil over plans to install a former settler leader as its ambassador there, reassigning him to a post in the United States after the government in Brasília refused to approve his appointment. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1UxPY7E)


Asia

Afghanistan’s security chief is directly blaming neighboring Pakistan’s military intelligence agency for being behind the Taliban’s expanded insurgent activities in his country. (VOA http://bit.ly/25sCD3Z)

Reports of a historic dip in China’s carbon dioxide emissions in the past two years are premature because of uncertainty over data showing the pace of a decline in coal use by the world’s biggest consumer, a study showed on Monday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1UXjthA)

Azeri human rights activist and lawyer Intigam Aliyev was freed from jail on Monday, his lawyer said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/25sCGN7)

Thailand is the grip of its worst drought for decades, with 22 of its 76 provinces affected. So the Thai Department of Royal Rainmaking – an airborne team which seeds the clouds over the kingdom –  is sending up its planes to try to cajole the clouds into producing rain. (AFP http://yhoo.it/25sEcil)

Bangladesh’s high court on Monday rejected a petition by secular activists to scrap Islam as the state religion in the wake of nationwide protests by hardline Islamist groups. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1UqdC5K)

A new scheme offers free degree courses at the Asian University for Women to improve the prospects for workers in Bangladesh’s clothing factories. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1PB0VwW)

China has ordered power transmission companies to provide grid connectivity for all renewable power generation sources and end a bottleneck that has left a large amount of clean power idle, the country’s energy regulator said on Monday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1ShgfAL)

The Americas

Brazil’s largest party will decide on Tuesday to break away from President Dilma Rousseff’s floundering coalition, party leaders said, sharply raising the odds she will be impeached amid a corruption scandal. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1ShdUFX)

A leading human rights group is warning that the deal between the Colombian government and rebels to end the country’s decades-long civil war could grant impunity to military members who presented civilians as guerrillas killed in combat. (AP http://yhoo.it/25sCDkp)

Cuba’s Fidel Castro signaled continued resistance to rapprochement between Washington and Havana, writing in an opinion piece on Monday that his country “has no need of gifts” from the United States. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1UqdxPu)

Brazil’s former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is raising hackles after warning that the mega Petrobras corruption probe is paralyzing essential sectors of the Brazilian economy, like oil and construction. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1ShgkV3)

The risk of a damaging earthquake in the next year is as great in parts of north-central Oklahoma and southern Kansas, where oil and gas operations have set off man-made quakes for about five years, as it is in high-hazard parts of quake-prone California, federal seismologists said Monday. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1ohEEhy)

…and the rest

Greece said Monday it would make use of loudspeakers at a migrants’ camp on the Macedonian frontier to dispel “irresponsible rumours” that the border is about to reopen. (AFP http://yhoo.it/25sCFIZ)

The lawyer for a U.N. spokeswoman-turned-whistleblower says his client is still behind bars at the same prison complex as many of the war criminals she spent her career trying to expose. (AP http://yhoo.it/25sCDRs)

Turkey has protested over the presence and behaviour of consuls from EU states at the espionage trial of two journalists, an official said Monday, in an escalating spat between Ankara and its Western allies. (AFP http://yhoo.it/25sCHAy)

Opinion/Blogs

Meet Anna Therese Day, an American journalist who was jailed at an infamous prison in Bahrain. (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/1Uqr9tS )

Does Donald Trump know how much the USA pays the United Nations? (UN Dispatch  http://bit.ly/1MNc6CI)

The dangers of a new Libyan intervention (IRIN http://bit.ly/25sE2r0)

Saving Children’s Lives Through Drones (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/1ShgoEj)

The Long Fight Over Trade and Medicines: In a new interactive on CFR.org, Senior Fellow Tom Bollyky examines new evidence that suggests U.S. trade deals may not be spurring the large drug price increases and shifts away from lower-cost generics in U.S. trading partners that many predicted. (CFR http://on.cfr.org/1ohDLFv )

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