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South Sudan: Khartoum Has Declared War On Us

South Sudan says that the aerial bombing yesterday of a market in Bentiu, South Sudan was tantamount to a declaration of war. “‘Bashir is declaring war on South Sudan. It’s something obvious,” southern army (SPLA) spokesman Philip Aguer said after the Bentiu bombing. Aguer and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan said two people were killed in the air strike in Unity state where the Greater Nile Petroleum Company operates blocs. China’s CNPC leads this consortium, along with Malaysia’s Petronas and India’s ONGC Videsh. ‘Early reports indicate the bombings started at 8.30 hours and that Rubkona market has been struck,’ the U.N. mission said in a statement, without spelling out who carried out the attack. ‘These indiscriminate bombings resulting in the loss of civilian lives must stop,’ said Hilde F. Johnson, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan. The mission said its officers had seen one bomb land on the market and three near a bridge. ‘A young boy burned to death as the hut he was in caught fire from the blast in Rubkona market area,” it quoted one of its officers as saying. Bentiu is about 80 km (50 miles) from the contested and poorly marked border with Sudan.” (Reuters http://reut.rs/I7gYVv)

Top Humanitarian NGOs Issue Yet Another Dire Warning About Sahel Crisis

A joint statement from Action Against Hunger, Oxfam, Save the Children and World Vision: “A huge gap in funding for aid projects aimed at preventing the deepening food crisis in the Sahel is threatening to leave millions of people hungry in the coming months, a coalition of aid agencies has warned today. Action Against Hunger, Oxfam, Save the Children and World Vision are aiming to provide emergency assistance to nearly 6 million people across the region but say they have so far been able to secure funding for less than a third of this essential work. Nearly $250 million is needed by all four agencies, but only $52 million has been raised so far. Action Against Hunger plans to reach 1 million but so far has only managed to raise a third of what it needs. Equally, Oxfam has only raised a third of what it needs to reach 1.2 million people. Save the Children, which has plans to help 2.5 million people, has only managed to raise 15 percent of its budget and World Vision plans to help 1.1 million people are only 20 percent funded. Collectively, this shortfall is equivalent to over 2 million people being deprived of life-saving assistance and, if it remains, is likely to result in significant cutbacks in the agencies’ aid programs.” (Save the Children http://bit.ly/I7qKa6)

Myanmar Political Standoff Heats Up

The good news: Ban Ki Moon announced he will make his first visit to Myanmar later this month. The bad news: Aung San Suu Kyi and her National Democracy League Party members have refused to take their seats in parliament because they do not like the oath of office they have to take. There is word today that the  government of Thein Shein has refused to alter the oath of office in order to accommodate their needs. he Burmese President says he has no plans to change the loyalty oath for MPs in order to accommodate the demands of Aung Sung Suu Kyi. Thein Sein told reporters in Tokyo yesterday that he would like to ”welcome” the Nobel Peace Prize winner to parliament, but that it was up to her whether or not she took the seat she won earlier this month. The parliament reopened yesterday with Ms Suu Kyi refusing to take her seat. (Sydney Morning Herald http://bit.ly/I7goa8)

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