Top of the Morning: Make or Break Time for Bangkok; Turkey Invades Iraq; New Malaria Vaccine; IMF Cheery About African Growth

Top stories from today’s Development and Aid Workers News Service–DAWNS Digest.  You gotta sign up to read the full digest of global humanitarian news.

The Next 24 Hours Will Be Make or Break for Bangkok

The clock is ticking, and even the Governor is unsure if Bangkok will survive the flood waters creeping unrelenting toward city. “Soldiers, civil servants and families worked frantically Tuesday to add more than 1 million sandbags to Bangkok’s vulnerable northern flood defenses after the city’s governor warned they were needed to keep waters from swamping the capital. Gov. Sukhumbhand Paribatra said late Monday that a 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) flood wall on the edge of the city’s suburbs was vulnerable from massive pools of runoff flowing down from the north, signaling the threat to the city was still grave. He said the wall needed to be reinforced by Wednesday night. ‘Every second counts,’ said Sukhumbhand Paribatra, whose call for city residents not to let down their guard contrasted government statements that the flood threat to Bangkok appeared to be easing.” (Bloomberg http://buswk.co/ohPpqt)

Kurdish Forces Kill Dozens of Turkish Soldiers. Turkey Responds By Invading Iraq

The longstanding conflict between Turkey and the PKK has escalated perilously over the last several hours. “At least 26 soldiers have been killed in simultaneous attacks on police and military installations in southeastern Turkey, prompting a Turkish military response that has involved incursions into northern Iraq. A security source said the attacks were carried out by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in several locations in Cukurca and Yuksekova in Hakkari province near the Iraqi border, during the night from Tuesday to Wednesday. The PKK claimed responsibility for the attacks on its website, the Reuters news agency reported. The Turkish army responded with an air-supported operation against the fighters in Iraq’s northern Qandil mountains, with both airstrikes and soldiers on the ground employed. ‘As of now, wide reaching operations, including hot pursuit operations, are continuing in the region within the framework of international law,’ Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, told a news conference on Wednesday. ‘[The fighting] started, we understand, just after midnight last night, and the combat is still under way,” reported Al Jazeera’s Anita McNaught in Istanbul.’ (Al Jazeera http://aje.me/p0MfPI)

Huge Malaria Vaccine Trial Shows Great Promise

Some excellent news for the fight against Malaria. From the Gates Foundation’s Malaria Forum this week in Seattle: “Millions of small children’s lives could be saved by a new vaccine that has been shown to halve the risk of malaria in the first large-scale trials across seven African countries. The long-awaited results of the largest-ever malaria vaccine study, involving 15,460 babies and small children, show that it could massively reduce the impact of the much-feared killer disease. Malaria takes nearly 800,000 lives every year – most of them children under five. It damages many more. The vaccine has been in development for two decades – the brainchild of scientists at the UK drug company GlaxoSmithKline, which has promised to sell it at no more than a fraction over cost-price, with the excess being ploughed back into further tropical disease research. ‘This data bring us to the cusp of having the world’s first malaria vaccine, which has the potential to significantly improve the outlook for children living in malaria endemic regions across Africa,’ said GSK’s chief executive, Andrew Witty.” (Guardian http://bit.ly/nGlV0r)

IMF: Expect Strong Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa

A somewhat cherry prediction from the typically dour International monetary fund: “The economy of sub-Saharan Africa will grow by 5% on average this year and 5.75% in 2012, though fallout from global financial volatility poses serious risks for the region’s most developed countries, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday. ‘The main threat to economic activity in the region is the strong possibility that global growth will decelerate further,’ the IMF wrote in its regional economic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa. As the economy most integrated into the global marketplace, South Africa would feel the impact of such a slowdown most acutely. The IMF forecast that Africa’s largest economy will now grow about 3.5% this year. Many economists predict growth of about 3% this year for South Africa. (WSJ http://on.wsj.com/pUDY1t)

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