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As the situation of 40,000 ethnic Yazidi’s in western Iraq becomes increasingly dire, the White House says it will launch military strikes against ISIS targets besieging the threatened population. “President Obama on Thursday announced he had authorized limited airstrikes against Islamic militants in Iraq, scrambling to avert the fall of the Kurdish capital, Erbil, and returning the United States to a significant battlefield role in Iraq for the first time since the last American soldier left the country at the end of 2011. Speaking at the White House on Thursday night, Mr. Obama also said that American military aircraft had dropped food and water to tens of thousands of Iraqis trapped on a barren mountain range in northwestern Iraq, having fled the militants, from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, who threaten them with what Mr. Obama called ‘genocide.’” (NYT nyti.ms/X4Eopk)

Ebola Outbreak

A Saudi man is suspected to have died from Ebola after he visited West Africa. (WSJ  http://on.wsj.com/1kpCxp6)

Police and soldiers in Sierra Leone blockaded rural areas hit by the deadly Ebola virus on Thursday, a senior officer said, after neighbouring Liberia declared a state of emergency to tackle the worst-ever outbreak of the disease. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1ogciCL)

Africa

An oil company owned by Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler said on Thursday it had discovered reserves of around 3 billion barrels in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1ogcd1N)

The scale of humanitarian operations in South Sudan is now the largest in any single country and the world’s youngest nation is on the brink of catastrophe as a famine looms, the UN deputy peacekeeping chief said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1ogcnX0)

The United States announced plans to spend $110 million a year over the next three to five years to help African nations develop peacekeeping forces that can be rapidly deployed to head off militant threats and other crises. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1lDxf4Q)

Uganda’s overturning of anti-gay laws is a win not a defeat for President Yoweri Museveni, analysts say, with the veteran leader thawing donor relations while burnishing a strongman image at home. (AP http://yhoo.it/1lDzqoS)

A recent slump in the Ghanaian currency and political stabilization in Ivory Coast, however, have tipped the balance. Ghanaian farmers are now the ones who smuggle their beans into Ivory Coast, where they get more money for them. (VOA http://bit.ly/1oge1rI)

Africa is looking to the United States for help modernizing industry and combating terrorism, according to the deputy chairman of the AU. Erastus Mwencha also said AU officials are negotiating with Washington at the U.S.-Africa summit to improve the trade framework in the African Growth and Opportunity Act to include investment opportunities for American businesses and investors as the U.S. Congress readies to begin discussions on reauthorizing the law. (VOA http://bit.ly/1lDye50)

MENA

Two Italian aid workers have been kidnapped in war-torn Syria, the Italian foreign ministry said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1ogcNwt)

Libya’s deteriorating security situation has led to an exodus of aid workers and suspension of development programmes, leaving tens of thousands of displaced and vulnerable people relying on skeleton networks manned in part by volunteers. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1lDxMUc)

For the tens of thousands of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers in Libya, the only possibility for escape lies in the hands of smugglers. (AP http://bit.ly/1ogd3M8)

A coalition of British charities is launching an appeal to help the people of Gaza recover from what the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has called the nightmare of the last four weeks. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1r0Ujxg)

Asia

A United Nations-backed tribunal has convicted two aging Khmer Rouge leaders of crimes against humanity, three-and-a-half decades after the communist group’s bloody rule left nearly a quarter of the Cambodian population dead. (VOA http://bit.ly/1ogdXYT)

China has suspended work at more than 200 factories in an eastern province for safety checks as part of a nationwide review following an explosion at an auto parts plant that killed 75 people, government officials and state media said. (AP http://yhoo.it/1lDzFQV)

The Americas

Mexico’s Congress approves sweeping changes to the country’s energy industry which will see private oil contracts awarded for the first time since 1938. (BBC http://bbc.in/1lDxtsG)

Opinion/Blogs

Poverty is not a Disease (Think Africa Press http://bit.ly/1ogd9Dk)

When land is degraded, its people and their prospects are degraded too (Guardian http://bit.ly/1lDxRHI)

Toward an Inclusive TPP Trade Pact (IPS http://bit.ly/1ogeh9W)

For Nigerian Girls, Education Is the Key That Opens Doors to Progress (IPS http://bit.ly/1ogekmf)

The U.S.-Africa Summit Missed its Chance (DW http://bit.ly/1ogfaiQ)

Entertainment Media Can Help Change Behaviors and Stop the Ebola Outbreak (World Bank http://bit.ly/1pdLCSa)

The truth about Ebola: battle starts with accurate information (Guardian http://bit.ly/1pdLEK3)

Starving for awareness (WhyDev http://bit.ly/1r0V5KL)

Research/Reports

How communities in Myanmar manage natural disasters (ActionAid http://bit.ly/1lDzxAV)

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