Saying that the emergency humanitarian relief response was “hanging by a thread” the UN issued a new appeal for Iraq relief efforts. “Vital aid operations supporting millions of people affected by the conflict in Iraq risk closure unless funds are made available immediately, the official overseeing humanitarian operations in the country said today. With escalating conflict, the United Nations and its NGO partners are asking donors for US$ 497 million to cover the cost of providing shelter, food, water and other life-saving services over the coming six months. The appeal will target communities across broad swathes of the country displaced or affected by the violence between Government forces and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).” (Reliefweb http://bit.ly/1G9FyCG )

G7 Kicks Off this Weekend. What to Expect…”When President Obama and his fellow Group of Seven (G7) leaders convene this weekend at the Bavarian retreat of Schloss Elmau, they will face two tasks. The most obvious is to formulate common positions on a global agenda so sweeping that it will strain even the lengthiest communiqué. Their more subtle challenge is to signal that their advanced market democracies remain not only an anchor of order in a turbulent world but also a potential engine to drive global governance reform.” (CFR http://on.cfr.org/1G9KV4Z )

Deadly petrol station accident in Ghana…An explosion at a petrol station in Ghana’s capital killed around 90 people sheltering from a storm early on Thursday, emergency services said, in the worst disaster to strike the West African state in more than a decade. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FyfmND)

And some relatively good news….Myanmar’s armed forces discharged 51 child soldiers from its ranks on Thursday, bringing the total number of discharges this year so far to 93, the United Nations said. (TRF http://yhoo.it/1AMWI8Z)

What does the Pope think about climate change? For those of you who have been wondering, you will get an answer on 18 June. The Vatican announced that Pope Francis’s hotly-anticipated environmental manifesto will be published that day. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1ImfvdP)

Africa

Press pause…Presidential and parliamentary elections have been postponed in Burundi, an official said Thursday, following weeks of unrest in the capital over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term in office. (AP http://yhoo.it/1ImfCGs

Five men were charged on Thursday in connection with an attack by Somali Islamist gunmen on Garissa University in northeast Kenya that killed 148 students, the worst militant attack in the east African nation in almost two decades. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Qaksuu)

The UN mission in the Central African Republic is investigating a new case of child sex abuse involving one of its peacekeepers, the mission said Thursday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1FwK76m)

Rwanda’s Green Party, the country’s tiny but main opposition, said Thursday it was challenging moves to change the constitution to allow strongman and President Paul Kagame to stand for a third consecutive term in elections in 2017. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1AMWDSQ)

An aide to Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza on Thursday called for “a frank and constructive dialogue” with the opposition, who have driven weeks of street protests against his bid to stand for a third term. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1FwK2zz)

Nigeria-based Boko Haram jihadists are behind horrendous violence in neighbouring Cameroon, where they have kidnapped more than 1,000 children and used some youngsters as human shields, a top UN official said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1ImfxTa)

Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou, facing a fragmented opposition, has said he wants to ensure next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections are “transparent”. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1ImftTh)

The International Monetary Fund has urged leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo to reform their tax system as part of efforts to pay for costly upcoming elections. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1ImfwP0)

There are “no free rides” ahead for Africa as it seeks to maintain strong growth in the face of fierce global competition, business leaders told the regional World Economic Forum on Thursday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1FwK3Ub)

Madagascar has made state institutions more transparent and supported medium-term growth but the economy is struggling now due to weak commodity prices, bad weather and tax avoidance, the IMF said. (Reuters  http://bit.ly/1Ju2Nsq)

MENA

Egypt’s highest appeals court on Thursday ordered the retrial of ousted President Hosni Mubarak on charges that he failed to stop the killing of hundreds of protesters during the 2011 uprising that ended his 29-year rule. (AP http://yhoo.it/1AMWA9K)

A Turkish government official says more than 3,300 Syrians have crossed into Turkey in the past two days fleeing fighting between Islamic State militants and Kurdish forces in northern Syria’s Tel Abyad region. (AP http://yhoo.it/1FyfBrR)

Human Rights Watch on Thursday urged UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to add Israel to an annual “List of Shame” of children’s rights violators, after more than 500 children were killed in the war in Gaza last year. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1ImfrL8)

The U.N. refugee agency urged the European Union on Thursday to take in far greater numbers of refugees than planned as the number of desperate Syrians fleeing conflict continues to grow. (AP http://yhoo.it/1dPRFdV)

Islamic State militants have reduced the amount of water flowing to government-held areas in Iraq’s western Anbar province, officials said Thursday, a move that highlights the use of water as a weapon of war and puts more pressure on Iraqi forces struggling to claw back ground held by the extremists in the Sunni heartland. (AP http://yhoo.it/1FyfyMM)

Asia

Pakistan has seen a major fall in polio cases this year, after a military operation has allowed vaccinators to reach areas previously off-limits because of militant attacks. (AFP http://bit.ly/1Ju2NZb)

Myanmar said Thursday that thousands of migrants left the country to seek better jobs elsewhere, and were not fleeing persecution, a day after bringing to shore about 730 migrants, the latest arrivals in Southeast Asia’s ongoing crisis. (AP http://yhoo.it/1AMWDCi)

An international rights group says an activist in Uzbekistan has been detained and subjected to degrading treatment while documenting forced labor in this Central Asian country. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Fyfz3c)

South Korea on Thursday reported its third death from an outbreak of the MERS virus that has infected dozens of people, seen hundreds of schools closed and caused thousands to cancel travel plans. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1FwK8Hm)

Four asylum seekers rejected by Australia arrived Thursday in Cambodia, becoming the first to leave the Pacific island nation of Nauru under a deal that allows refugees turned away by Australia to be resettled in the Southeast Asian country. (AP http://yhoo.it/1ImfAhP)

The Americas

Parents of 43 missing students clashed with riot police in southern Mexico while radical teachers blocked an airport and ransacked an electoral office elsewhere in new protests against upcoming elections. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1FwK62o)

The Colombian government and FARC guerrillas said Thursday they have agreed at peace talks to set up a truth commission to probe crimes committed during the country’s half-century conflict. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Ju2PQS)

Colombian lawmakers have approved a proposal to end presidential re-election. (AP http://yhoo.it/1ImfzdJ)

California’s devastating drought has become the top concern for residents for the first time, as the most populous U.S. state experiences mandatory water cutbacks, according to a poll. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FwK8qX)

…and the rest

The new set of development goals that will address global poverty, inequality and climate change over the next 15 years are strong on vision, but weak on the methods to make them a reality, NGOs warned this week. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1FwQkPE)

More than 30,000 people on Thursday kicked off protests against a G7 summit starting at the weekend in the southern German state of Bavaria, police said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1FwK3n8)

IKEA plans to spend $1.13 billion on renewable energy and steps to help poor nations cope with climate change, the latest example of firms upstaging governments in efforts to slow warming. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Fyfyw6)

Global sustainable fishery policies could raise profits in the sector by $51 billion a year, boost the numbers of fish in the oceans and provide more food for the world’s people, research showed on Thursday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1QakuTn)

Most investors need to make a significant behavioral shift and start factoring climate change into their portfolio risk management, a study on its impact on financial market returns found on Thursday.  (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1ImfvuB)

Opinion/Blogs

What air conditioners can tell us about global development. Mark interviews the author of a fascinating new study that examines the relationship between rising income, rising temperatures, and a/c. (Global Dispatches Podcast  http://bit.ly/1dOWDHD)

The Protests Have Died Down, But Burundi is Still a Political Mess (UN Dispatch http://buff.ly/1FwQoyQ)

Was this indigenous leader killed because he fought to save Ecuador’s land? (Guardian http://bit.ly/1FwQ7fu)

Briefing: How 2.9 million Iraqis were displaced in 18 months (IRIN http://bit.ly/1MqLdFv)

Effort to Chart Global Deaths Draws Backlash (Tiny Spark http://bit.ly/1QauUCk)

Sexual Violence Against Children Is A Global Problem But Few Get Help (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/1FwQgj1)

Life without light in rural India: why solar lanterns can’t compete with the grid (Guardian http://bit.ly/1Ju2D4c)

Assessing the HIV/Aids MDGs – Does This Look Like Success or Even Progress? (Pambazuka News http://bit.ly/1cAnHsP)

Dear G7, it’s time to put girls and women at the top of your agenda (Guardian http://bit.ly/1FwQkPH)

10 transgender icons around the world who should be as famous as Caitlyn Jenner (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1FyeKr2)

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