Top stories from the Development and Aid World News Service — DAWNS Digest. 

Syria Accepts April 10 Ceasefire Deadline

I know, I know…we’ve heard this before, but it is nonetheless significant that Syria has openly pledged to stop fighting in one week. Of course that leaves 7 days in which a lot of hurt can be visited upon civilian populations. “U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan told the U.N. Security Council on Monday that Syria has accepted an April 10 deadline for ending military operations, with the opposition under pressure to cease fighting within 48 hours of that, envoys said. But Western diplomats expressed skepticism about the credibility of Syria, which has repeatedly promised to end attacks but has pressed ahead with a year-long assault on anti-government activists that has brought the country to the brink of civil war. ‘Mr. Annan reported that the Syrian Foreign Minister sent him a letter yesterday in which he said that the Syrian military will begin immediately and by April 10 will complete the cessation of all forward deployment and use of heavy weapons and will complete its withdrawal from population centers,’ U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told reporters.” (Reuters http://reut.rs/HblgbE)

Harsh Sanctions on Mali To Go Into Effect “Immediately”

ECOWAS gave the coup leaders 72 hours to restore civilian control. They did not. Now, some crippling sanctions are about to go into effect. The lights may literally go out in Bamako. “The Economic Community of West African States held an emergency meeting in the capital of Senegal on Monday. After a three-hour meeting the current chair of the bloc, Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara, emerged to say that the sanctions would go into effect immediately. They include the closing of the borders with Mali and the freezing of the nation’s account in the regional central bank, which together will likely suffocate the economy of this dirt-poor and landlocked nation. Mali imports its petroleum products from neighboring Ivory Coast and with the border being closed, the country is likely to run out of gasoline. It could also plunge the nation of over 15 million into darkness, because the electricity grid is partially powered by diesel during the hot season, when hydropower is ineffective due to the low water table.” (FoxNews http://fxn.ws/HblBL)

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