By: Mark Leon Goldberg on June 05, 2014 Seriously. “Mobile phone users in the Central African Republic who try to send text messages are getting the response: “SMS not allowed”. “The use of any SMS by all mobile phone subscribers is suspended from Monday June 2, 2014, until further notice,” the ministry said in a letter to mobile phone operators in the conflict-torn country. It said the decision was made by Prime Minister Andre Nzapayeke. Since last week there has been a resurge of violence in the capital Bangui, as well as a call for a general strike relayed by SMS in the past few days.. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1nOJUb6) Conflict Minerals Legislation Taking Effect…For the first time, nearly 1,300 UScompanies have filed reports on whether the products they manufacture or sell are made with minerals that have bankrolled conflict in the Great Lakes region of central Africa. (IPS http://bit.ly/1pRlQRX) Get these stories delivered directly to your inbox every morning. Africa UNICEF officials in South Sudan said that men in uniform are occupying at least 30 schools in five different states, interrupting the education of tens of thousands of children whose lives have already been disrupted by six months of conflict. (VOA http://bit.ly/1nOGPrz) Health officials are warning that a cholera outbreak in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, which has left 23 people dead and forced more than 670 others to seek treatment, could be getting worse. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1pRj0fV) South Sudan can only avoid famine if a shaky ceasefire holds and people displaced by more than five months of fighting are able to return home in the next few weeks to plant crops before the rains, a senior U.N. official said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1nOIFJ3) Senior United Nations officials are in the DR Congo to draw attention to the fact that continued insecurity and a decrease in financial resources is causing millions of people to go hungry. (UN News Centre http://bit.ly/1pRm8s7) As security forces in Kenya continue to round up and detain thousands of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, most of them Somali, an agreement between the UNHCR and the Kenyan and Somali governments on the voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees is coming under strain. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1pRiSwE) While the number of patients appeared to be in decline, new cases of Ebola have been reported in Guinea and Sierra Leone. The virus has already affected more than 300 people in West Africa. (MSF http://bit.ly/1pRp1ZK) MENA Separate groups of gunmen in Libya shot dead a Swiss national working for the International Committee of the Red Cross, fired a grenade at the prime minister’s office and tried to kill a renegade general on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1nOMmOP) Saudi Arabia announced a jump of nearly 50 percent in deaths from the MERS virus after re-examining old data that also showed the number of infections since 2012 was a fifth higher than previously reported. (VOA http://bit.ly/1nOGxRD The International Organization for Migration reports tens of thousands of migrants have been rescued while making the perilous sea crossing from Libya to Italy this year. (VOA http://bit.ly/1pRjmCZ) Asia The coup in Thailand is causing problems for hundreds of thousands of migrant workers from neighboring Cambodia and Burma. (VOA http://bit.ly/1nOGIfP) Indonesia’s health ministry and child protection advocates are calling for chemical castration for convicted pedophiles. (VOA http://bit.ly/1nOH0mR) Japan has temporarily halted its official development assistance to Vietnam as Hanoi continues its probe into bribery allegations on a railway project. (VOA http://bit.ly/1pRjMcx) The World Food Program says it distributed more than 2,500 tons of food in North Korea last month, the largest amount so far this year. (VOA http://bit.ly/1pRk0k3) United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay called on China to reveal the truth about the army’s violent suppression of mass pro-democracy protests on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square 25 years ago. (AP http://yhoo.it/1nOJEsF) The Americas Mexico increased the minimum prison sentences for kidnapping to 40 years after a dramatic surge in the crime in recent years. (BBC http://bbc.in/1nOFXmI) Although Venezuela has 520 long rivers, taps often run dry, many poor neighbourhoods depend on tanker trucks, water rationing remains a reality, and in some areas water quality is very poor. (IPS http://bit.ly/StJMzt) Opinion/Blogs Making Democracy Soup in Africa: how one bad ingredient can spoil the lot (African Arguments http://bit.ly/1hajpdf) Is Brazil’s social/economic miracle running out of steam just as the World Cup arrives? (From Poverty to Power http://bit.ly/1kLQjvE) Will US take global environmental lead by cutting coal emissions? (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/1nOI764) Why Malawi took so long to declare an election winner (ODI http://bit.ly/1ocLu4p) The importance of Live Below The Poverty Line (WhyDev http://bit.ly/1jSiicY) Lessons for Australia from DFID’s underperforming private sector development efforts (DevPolicy http://bit.ly/1ocLQYQ) The New Chinese-Backed Infrastructure Bank: Will it Tame the Corruption Dragon? (The Global Anticorruption Blog http://bit.ly/1jSjsW2) Research/Reports Aiding institutional reform in developing countries: lessons from the Philippines on what works, what doesn’t and why (ODI http://bit.ly/1pRj9Qk) What non-food items best meet needs of women and girls in emergency situations? (GSDRC http://bit.ly/1pRlLxG) Italy announced plans to give citizenship to children born of refugees who have been granted asylum, as the government faced growing anti-immigrant sentiment over an influx of migrant arrivals by sea. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1pRoFm9) The UK government’s $629 million Newton Fund aims to ‘end the need for aid’ in 15 countries by fostering ties between researchers in developing countries and the UK that will boost their economic development. (SciDevNet http://bit.ly/1nOQ0Z6) 75% of Australians think poverty reduction most important for aid: Lowy Poll (DevPolicy http://bit.ly/1jSjfC5) Get these stories delivered directly to your inbox every morning.