There have been a recent spate of violent attacks in Uber Drivers in Kenya. “A war is brewing between local taxi drivers and Uber in Nairobi, with cabbies protesting against the ride hailing app’s presence in the city. They say its cheap fares are threatening to put them out of business and are demanding the government shut Uber down. Two suspects were arrested this week for allegedly attacking an Uber driver in the city. Kenya’s United Taxi Organization (KUTO), an umbrella organization for cab drivers, has denied that any of its members are behind the attacks. However, the organization has promised to bring the country’s capital to a grinding halt unless the government shuts down Uber, which is valued by investors at some $50 billion. “We will block roads if Uber is not done away with in a week’s time,” Mwangi Mubia, one of the leaders of KUTO, told reporters. “We have told our members to park their vehicles at strategic locations and all over town.’” (Quartz http://bit.ly/1Qg8mKJ)

The TPP is Signed (But Not Quite Sealed and Delivered)…”Representatives from 12 Pacific Rim nations, including the United States, have signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a wide-ranging trade and investment pact. Now the hard work and potentially bruising process of getting the agreement ratified begins. After more than five years of negotiations, the agreement was signed Wednesday evening in Auckland, New Zealand by the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. But if the two big players, the United States and Japan, can’t get the pact ratified, it won’t go into effect.” (Miami Herald http://hrld.us/1Qg91fh)

Big Pledges at the Supporting Syrians Conference…U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has pledged nearly $1 billion in new U.S. aid for Syrian refugees at an international donors conference and is calling for the Syrian government and Russia to halt attacks on rebel-held areas in order to let humanitarian aid through. The conference opened Thursday in London with donor nations exceeding their goal of $9 billion.  British Prime Minister David Cameron said pledges had surpassed $10 billion by the end of the day.  Britain, along with Germany, Norway, Kuwait and the United Nations, are hosting the Syria Donors Conference, the fourth to be held.” (VOA http://bit.ly/1Qg9aiI)

Quote of the Day...“Sufficient funding to guarantee the basics of life that these refugees need must be the bare minimum expected of us.” – David Cameroon (Guardian http://bit.ly/1Qf36Y3)

Africa

A confidential report to the United Nations Security Council accuses Rwanda of recruiting and training Burundian refugees with the goal of ousting Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1PCTolO)

Villagers from two major ethnic groups in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo clashed with machetes and batons before dispersing when army troops and U.N. peacekeepers intervened and fired into the air, a U.N. spokesman said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1Qf4udb)

Sierra Leone released 55 people from quarantine Wednesday after declaring them Ebola free. (VOA http://bit.ly/1VQK8uN)

With three weeks to go, campaigning is in full swing in Uganda, but few analysts expect the seven opposition candidates will end President Yoweri Museveni’s 30-year rule. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1SL26j1)

Sudan and South Sudan’s oil ministers have agreed in principle a new oil pipeline deal, reports said Thursday, after slumps in global prices made Juba effectively pay to export crude. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Qf3S77)

South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance party says its case against President Jacob Zuma’s private house upgrade will proceed next week as originally planned, despite the president’s offer to pay back some of the public funds used for the upgrade. (VOA http://bit.ly/23Li69G)

MENA

 

Nearly 40,000 Syrian civilians have fled a regime offensive near Aleppo, a monitor said Thursday, as Turkey warned it was bracing for a wave of tens of thousands of refugees. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1VQK1ze)

A suspected U.S. drone strike overnight killed a top Islamist militant commander in southern Yemen who had run al Qaeda’s combat operations and had a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head, residents said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/23Li3uM)

Humanitarian access to northwestern Syria could be cut off unless Russia halts its aerial bombardment of routes supplying hundreds of thousands of people with food and water, aid workers warned ahead of an international donor conference on Thursday. (VOA http://bit.ly/1PCTqdt)

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has raised concerns about Palestinian journalist Mohammed Al-Qeeq, who has been on a hunger strike for more than two months in an Israeli jail. (VOA http://bit.ly/1PCTtWB)

Iraq is trying to persuade satellite firms to halt Internet services in areas under Islamic State’s rule, seeking to deal a major blow to the group’s potent propaganda machine which relies heavily on social media to inspire its followers to wage jihad. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1VQK91G)

Abnormally dry weather across North Africa is threatening to become another financial headache for Morocco and neighbouring Tunisia and Algeria, just as each seeks to spur more economic growth and cut public spending. (Reuters http://bit.ly/23Lhgd5)

Syrian women’s organisations are demanding a meaningful role in the peace talks and proper respect as authority figures in effort to stop the radicalisation of their children. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1Qf4Bp9)

Asia

At least 139 children died of waterborne disease in January in Pakistan’s impoverished desert district of Tharparkar, which has been devastated by drought since 2013. (IRIN http://bit.ly/23Li2Xy)

A mob attack against a Tanzanian woman in India’s high-tech capital has renewed questions about racism in the country, particularly against African immigrants. (LAT http://lat.ms/1Qgaz9f)

The Americas

Brazil is not sharing enough samples and disease data to let researchers determine whether the Zika virus is, as feared, linked to the increased number of babies born with abnormally small heads in the South American country, U.N. and U.S. health officials say. (AP http://yhoo.it/1SL2wWp)

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has declared war on mosquitoes responsible for spreading the Zika virus in a recorded TV message to the nation. (BBC http://bbc.in/23Li5CM)

Cuba imports more than two-thirds of its food, spending more than $2 billion each year, despite having rich farmland and hundreds of urban farms sprouting up in old parking lots, rooftops, or other small plots of unused land. (VOA http://bit.ly/1Qf3TYU)

President Barack Obama pressed for unity in America during his first visit to a U.S. mosque as the nation’s leader, telling Muslims “We are one American family.” (VOA http://bit.ly/1Qf4yJW)

Mexico’s health ministry sought to play down any impact on its tourism industry from the mosquito-borne Zika virus, emphasizing the disease was under control and far from its main tourist centers. (VOA http://bit.ly/23Li4yS)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged up to nearly $727 million in government aid to the oil-rich province of Alberta that has been hit hard by falling crude prices. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Qf3UvZ)

…and the rest

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been subject to ‘arbitrary detention’ during the 3-1/2 years he has spent in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid a rape investigation in Sweden, a U.N. panel will rule on Friday. (Reuters http://reut.rs/1QgabHD)

Sweden’s Migration Agency said Thursday it expected around 100,000 asylum seekers in 2016, fewer than the 163,000 last year, but warned its estimates remain uncertain given Europe’s struggle to control the migration crisis. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1VQJZaO)

Tropical forests reclaiming land cleared for agriculture or livestock not only grow quickly, but absorb far more CO2 from the atmosphere than old-growth trees, according to a study released. (AFP http://yhoo.it/23Li3eh)

More than 91,000 asylum seekers arrived in Germany last month, the government said Thursday, underlining the pressure the country faces to diminish the influx of migrants. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Qf35mW)

A woman who turned in Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected ringleader of the November Paris attacks, said Thursday she feels “abandoned” and afraid of reprisals, in an interview with French broadcaster RMC. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1VQK2U0)

France’s top security official said investigators have dismantled 25 migrant smuggling networks in the country’s north in the past year. (AP http://yhoo.it/23LhgKn)

World food prices fell to near a seven-year low in January, weighed down by declines for agricultural commodities, particularly sugar, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1Qf3TrI)

Germany’s top priority at the moment is taking in and integrating the huge influx of refugees, but that will require a very strict handling of the country’s public finances, finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in a newspaper interview Thursday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1nJs3Uc)

Opinion/Blogs

Microcephaly’s Connection With Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent (VOA http://bit.ly/1T0bb8Q)

Does Zika test Catholic position on birth control? (CNN http://cnn.it/1SKUAEE)

What could possibly be wrong with promoting prosperity? (Guardian http://bit.ly/1VQK524)

Development Aid Works Over Time, but Must Adapt to 21st-Century Needs (The Conversation http://bit.ly/1nJp8ea)

Has Plan Colombia really worked? (BBC http://bbc.in/1T0d0CF)

We Can Eliminate Malaria With Strong Leadership (The Observer http://bit.ly/1Qf1zB9)

From widows to indigenous people: can the SDGs really leave no one behind? (Guardian http://bit.ly/1Qf3WDT)

What’s in store for US aid to Colombia? (Devex http://bit.ly/1T0hQQx)

Human trafficking in Papua New Guinea – small but significant progress (DevPolicy http://bit.ly/1T0hZUa)

‘It’s Genital Genocide’ (On the Ground http://nyti.ms/1T0i9Lc)

An impoverished perception of poverty (WhyDev http://bit.ly/1Qf7ZAg)

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