General Information

Salva Kiir Comes to His Sense (Sorta)

Kiir has come under enormous pressure, including the threat of international sanctions. And now, it looks like he’ll sign a peace deal. But will he actually abide by it? “South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has finally agreed to sign a peace deal and power-sharing accord to end a 20-month civil war, his spokesman said Tuesday…Sources in IGAD also confirmed plans for the deal to be signed in Juba on Wednesday, with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and chief mediator Seyoum Mesfin due to attend. An IGAD official said rebel leader Machar would not be there because security provisions were not yet in place.” (AP http://yhoo.it/1JjKIMQ)

Whither Accountability? A UN report details horrific abuses committed by South Sudanese government soldiers. “The U.N. experts found that a government offensive in oil-producing Unity State between April and July this year had been “intent on rendering communal life unviable and prohibiting any return to normalcy following the violence.” “The intensity and brutality of violence aimed at civilians is hitherto unseen, in what has been so far — without a doubt — an incredibly violent conflict, where civilians have been targeted by all parties to the conflict,” the experts wrote in the interim reported submitted to U.N. Security Council members. Under a so-called “scorched earth policy” government-allied forces razed entire villages, sometimes with people inside their homes, raped women and abducted children, the experts said.

Water Used As Weapon in Syrian War…Disturbing new report from UNICEF. “In recent months, up to five million people living in cities and communities across the country have suffered the consequences of long and sometimes deliberate interruptions to their water supplies.In the northern city of Aleppo, where fighting has crippled the main pumping station for months at a time, UNICEF has recorded 18 deliberate water cuts this year alone. Taps in some communities were left dry for up to 17 days in a row – and for over a month in some areas of the city.” (UNICEF http://uni.cf/1NSPoKC)

Quote of the day: “Let’s not pretend that what the EU and its member states are doing is working. Migration is here to stay,” Francois Crepeau, the U.N. special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants. (AP http://yhoo.it/1hZdBF3)

Africa

A teenage suicide bomber detonated an explosive device strapped to her body in the northeastern Nigerian city of Damaturu early on Tuesday, killing six people and wounding about 30, police said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1LuZr8l)

Around 1.5 million Zimbabweans are predicted to go hungry this year after a dramatic fall in maize production, the World Food Programme said on Tuesday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1LuZmSc)

Cameroon says it is banning and destroying cheap vegetable oil imported from Indonesia and Malaysia to protect its home industries. The central African nation says thousands of workers may lose their jobs if the country continues to import cheaper vegetable oil. (VOA http://bit.ly/1EhFzGp)

The chairman of Nigeria’s corruption-fighting Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is appearing before the Senate to answer accusations that he diverted billions of dollars. (AP http://yhoo.it/1NRUerq)

Pest experts from across Africa have recommended vast vaccination and pest eradication programs to stop trans-border animal diseases that claim between 10 percent and 20 percent of the continent’s animals yearly. The experts are gathered in the Cameroonian capital, Yaounde, under the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s program. (VOA http://bit.ly/1LuZ91l)

Gangs of children are roaming the streets of Ivory Coast’s biggest city. Known as “les microbes” (French for “the germs”), they are accused of violent robberies — and have become the scourge of Abidjan, where they are spreading terror among residents. (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1V7lMNX)

Hundreds of movie lovers gathered in front of a giant outdoor screen in Nairobi’s Mathare slum on Monday at the start of the Slum Film Festival, which aims to challenge perceptions of shanty towns as dens of crime and squalor. (TRF http://bit.ly/1LuZrW9)

MENA

Unidentified gunmen raided the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Yemeni port city of Aden on Monday, holding staff at gunpoint and stealing cars, cash and equipment, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1NRUd71)

Saudi Arabia has executed at least 175 people over the past 12 months, on average one person every two days, according to a report released Tuesday by Amnesty International. (AP http://yhoo.it/1NRU6Z2)

Around 5,300 migrants, mainly from Sub-Saharan Africa, were rescued in the Mediterranean off the Libyan coast last week, EU border agency Frontex said Tuesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Nzhiyb)

Asia

Nepal police shot dead a protester as fresh clashes erupted in the country’s southern plains Tuesday, a day after an 18-month-old boy and seven officers died during demonstrations against a new constitution. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1NRUaYX)

The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Tuesday it received substantive amounts of information from Iran aimed at quelling concerns its nuclear past had military elements, although it was too early to say whether any of it is new. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1NRUcjl)

India and the United Nations appealed for all parties to seek peace in Nepal, where hundreds of security forces on Tuesday were patrolling a western town after ethnic protesters demanding statehood attacked police a day earlier, leaving 11 people dead and many injured. (AP http://yhoo.it/1NzhhdJ)

An intensifying El Nino may bring the worst drought in 20 years to Papua New Guinea, the country’s prime minister said, raising fears that production of the country’s critical agricultural commodities may drop. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1NzhfTd)

The “waterman of India” will walk across five continents to raise awareness for his campaign to have the human rights to river water and access to nature recognised by the UN. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1EghjnC)

The Americas

U.S. stocks jumped at the open after China’s central bank cut interest rates to support its economy. (AP http://yhoo.it/1ETvtGf)

Gay rights activists in Panama presented a bill to lawmakers that would make hate crimes against gays, lesbians and transsexuals illegal — and punishable by up to a year in jail. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1NRU9UW)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro vowed to extend a crackdown on illegal migrants from neighboring Colombia he blames for rampant crime and widespread shortages, while authorities across the border struggled to attend to droves of returning. (VOA http://bit.ly/1Eghorr)

Colombia has condemned deportations of its citizens after Venezuela closed its border with its western neighbour last week. The crossings were shut after an attack by smugglers left three soldiers and a civilian injured. (BBC http://bbc.in/1EhFdQ6)

…and the rest

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says nearly 300,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe across the Mediterranean Sea this year. Most went to Italy and Greece. The UNHCR warns the situation is not sustainable and is calling for a comprehensive solution. (VOA http://bit.ly/1LuZ9yv)

As demand for water grows, the world must focus on how the precious resource will be shared among farmers, the energy sector and cities if it is to achieve the United Nations’ new development agenda, a World Bank expert said. (TRF http://bit.ly/1V7qaws)

Photo essay: The race to beat Hungary’s border fence (IRIN http://bit.ly/1JwKgMH)

Opinion/Blogs

Do we still care about the F word? (IRIN http://bit.ly/1LuY21C)

Confessions of a humanitarian: ‘The life of a veggie aid worker is no bed of kale’ (Guardian http://bit.ly/1EhFhiN)

Thailand, One Week After the Bombings. Is Another Free Speech Crackdown Coming? (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1JtIGXu)

Development under conflict: How to react to a crisis (Devex http://bit.ly/1MRrpyv)

Buying condoms won’t make you Africa’s “HERO” (WhyDev http://bit.ly/1ETD0VD)

China bashing: American campaign ritual or harbinger of tougher policy? (The Interpreter http://bit.ly/1ETD0oK)

5 trends that explain why civil society space is under assault around the world (From Poverty to Power http://bit.ly/1Ub771W)

A U.S. Court Jeopardizes Corporate Transparency Rules, in the Name of Free Speech (Global Anticorruption Blog http://bit.ly/1JtILun)

Rwanda’s gender gap: banks must stop failing female entrepreneurs (Guardian http://bit.ly/1V7mfQd)

Why the New Sustainable Development Goals Won’t Make the World a Fairer Place (The Conversation http://bit.ly/1Lv0LIz)

Discussion

comments…

General Government

Bombing in Bangkok

There has so far been no claim of responsibility for the worst attack in Thailand in many, many years.” A powerful explosion sent a fireball and hail of debris through a busy Bangkok district filled with shoppers and tourists Monday, killing at least 19 people near a site that also has been a hub for political rallies and clashes, police said. More than 120 people were reported injured in what authorities described as a bomb blast, and one police official said many foreigners were among the casualties. There was no assertion of responsibility for an attack whose location — near one of the city’s tourist and commercial crossroads — and timing — shortly before 7 p.m. — may have been chosen to maximize damage and bloodshed.” (WaPo http://wapo.st/1JdpEEz)

Just a little more time, please…South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir said he needs more time before he will sign a compromise deal with rebel forces led by his former deputy, mediators said Monday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1hIle2x)

Good News on the Ebola Front…Sierra Leone has not recorded a new case of Ebola in the last week, a first since the outbreak reached the country in March last year, the World Health Organization said Monday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1hjugmL)

Africa

Separatist rebels in northern Mali attacked positions of a pro-government militia on Monday in fighting that is undermining government attempts to pacify the region, sources from both groups said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1JmGZ4c)

Burundi’s foreign minister said his government is doing its best to ensure that the country does not degenerate into ethnic conflict by bringing those responsible for violence to justice. (VOA http://bit.ly/1hjfbBH)

Central African Republic refugees in eastern Cameroon are insisting on leaving refugee camps due to difficult living conditions, saying they are being poorly fed, and their children lack school and humanitarian assistance. (VOA http://bit.ly/1TPN1zj)

Rights groups are calling on leaders from the 15-nation Southern Africa Development Community to take steps to improve the rule of law and human rights as they meet for an annual summit Monday and Tuesday in Botswana. (VOA http://bit.ly/1hjff4x)

MENA

The U.N.’s humanitarian chief called attention Monday to the impact that the ongoing conflict in Syria is having on civilians in the country and the risk it poses to stability in the Middle East. (VOA http://bit.ly/1hjfi07)

U.N. and camp officials in Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region are already preparing for another wave of Iraqis displaced by war to flood into the area as the conflict against Islamic extremists rages on. (VOA http://bit.ly/1KrPfuw)

Israel on Monday offered to free a Palestinian detainee whose two-month hunger strike has left him in a coma — but only if he goes abroad, a demand his lawyer immediately dismissed. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1KrYg6N

The almost year-old UN-facilitated dialogue aimed at ending the political power struggle at the heart of Libya’s civil war has pitched its tent in several locations inside and outside the country since it began last September. Last week it was again the turn of Geneva’s Palais des Nations. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1hjfnAM)

Qatar on Tuesday officially launches one of its most “significant” labour reforms to guarantee migrant workers’ wages, but rights groups are concerned over implementation of the new regulations. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1fl8xsC)

Lebanon’s health minister says the country is on the brink of a “major health disaster” unless an immediate solution is found for its mounting trash problem. (AP http://yhoo.it/1hjugDj)

Damascus should allow greater humanitarian access to people in need inside Syria, the United Nations’ aid chief said on Monday after his first visit to the country. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1KrYf2K)

Asia

Armed men kidnapped a foreign aid worker, believed to be German, in downtown Kabul on Monday, the latest in a spate of attacks on foreign targets at a time of declining security in the Afghan capital. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1hjukmv)

Local aid groups and the United Nations are urging Myanmar to allow access to about 1,400 people who are running out of food in makeshift camps in the jungle after fleeing clashes between the military and an ethnic armed group in Kachin state. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1TPmZfx)

Aid workers warn the problem of underage sex work could get worse if not confronted by authorities as Myanmar society opens up after half a century of isolation under military rule. They say support and rehabilitation is more important than punitive measures. (TRF http://yhoo.it/1fl8Cwv)

A general strike imposed by smaller political parties protesting a proposed new constitution that would split Nepal into six federal states crippled daily life across the Himalayan nation Monday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1DYw6DP)

The Americas

Latin America’s booming urban slums look set to continue their rapid expansion as government housing policies fail to tackle an explosion in informal housing, legal experts said on Monday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1fl8vRK)

A group of prominent writers, artists and intellectuals have called on the Mexican president to address the country’s terrible record on protecting journalists who report on drug violence and other criminal activity. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1DYw6Um)

The millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States must leave, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said Sunday, as he unveiled his immigration platform. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1KrQfib)

Flooding from days of heavy rain in Uruguay has forced nearly 4,000 people from their homes, officials said Monday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1KrYfj8)

Cuba put its civil defense system on alert on Monday due to a year-long drought that is forecast to worsen in the coming months and has already damaged agriculture and left more than a million people relying on trucked-in water. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1KrYdrt)

A criminal gang attacked and killed five police officers on Nicaragua’s southern Caribbean coast, one of the Central American country’s most violent regions, authorities said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1KrYcUD)

…and the rest

Turkish coastguards have rescued almost 18,300 migrants in the Aegean Sea in the last month amid a drastic rise in the number attempting the maritime crossing to the EU, the government said on Monday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1hjuhap)

Opinion/Blogs

Global Dispatches Podcast: Mark speaks with Carne Ross, founder of the non profit Independent Diplomat and former British foreign service officer who resigned over the Iraq war. http://bit.ly/1LgEHE3

The exploitation of migrants has become our way of life (Guardian http://bit.ly/1TNcmoc)

What’s the point of international development think tanks? (ODI http://bit.ly/1KrORfv)

What does changing complex systems look like in practice? (Aid Leap http://bit.ly/1Ks1M0M)

Bright ideas for better aid (IRIN http://bit.ly/1KrPBkM)

Why is India dragging its heels over the criminalisation of marital rape? (Guardian http://bit.ly/1PhMtM1)

Africa’s Development – Myths and Missed Opportunities (News of Rwanda http://bit.ly/1NorRmI)

Does the ADB have a problem with women? (Aidnography http://bit.ly/1TNJgoS)

Discussion

comments…

General Market

EU response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa

The Current Situation and Financial Assistance

West Africa is facing the largest and most complex Ebola epidemic on record. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been the most affected countries. Over 27, 514 people have been infected, more than 11,220 of whom have died.

The EU’s total financial contribution to date to fight the epidemic is over €1.8 billion. This amount includes previous funding from the Member States and the European Commission as well as the European Commission’s new pledge of €450 million announced at the UN’s International Ebola Recovery Conference in July.  It excludes, however, further potential pledges made by individual EU Member States at the same UN conference in July. 

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the decline in the number of cases and the contraction of the geographic area affected by Ebola has stalled during the last weeks. Both in Guinea and Sierra Leone new confirmed cases are still being identified and people continue to be diagnosed with Ebola post mortem. These patterns indicate that the disease is circulating in unrecognised chains of transmission. In order to achieve zero cases, there is a need for strong community engagement, improved contact tracing and earlier identification of cases.

The recent cases in Liberia highlight the importance of maintaining the capacity of early case detection and enhanced vigilance regarding deaths with unknown causes, even in countries that have been declared Ebola free.

The European Union has been active in the response to the Ebola emergency from the start. It has mobilised all available political, financial and scientific resources to help contain, control, treat and ultimately defeat Ebola. In October 2014 the European Council appointed Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, as EU Ebola Coordinator.

Commissioners Christos Stylianides, Vytenis Andriukaitis and Neven Mimica visited the affected countries in late 2014 to reaffirm the EU’s support for the fight against the disease and to announce support measures.

On March 3 2015, the European Union organised a high-level conference on the Ebola epidemic. The purpose was two-fold: first, to take stock of the ongoing emergency response and adapt it to the evolving situation on the ground, leading to eradication of the disease; second, to plan for the long term and support the recovery and resilience of the affected countries, including the development of their health systems. The event was co-chaired by the EU, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the United Nations, the African Union, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The Statement of the Co-Chairs from the conference was endorsed by the European Council on 16th March.

In July 2015, a new conference will take place, hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in cooperation with the Governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and in partnership with the European Union, African Union, the African Development Bank, and the World Bank. This pledging conference will bring together the international community and Heads of State from the three countries affected, to ensure that recovery efforts help the countries to build back better and ensure greater resilience going forward.

The Commission will examine the lessons learnt from the Ebola epidemic in a conference that will be held in October in Luxembourg under the Luxembourg Presidency. The outcome of the conference will be the basis of Council conclusions to be adopted in December this year.

Humanitarian Aid

Since March 2014, the European Commission has allocated more than €70 million in humanitarian funding to address the most urgent needs. These funds are channelled through humanitarian partner organisations, such as Médecins Sans Frontières, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, International Medical Corps, Save the Children, the International Rescue Committee, Alima, the World Food Programme’s Humanitarian Air Service, UNICEF and the World Health Organisation.

EU aid contributes to epidemic surveillance, diagnostics, treatment and medical supplies; deployment of doctors and nurses and training of health workers; raising awareness among the population and the promotion of safe burials.

Development Aid

The Commission is already providing over €210 million in development and early recovery assistance. Most of this money is provided to stabilise the countries and assist them in recovering from the crisis and beyond.

In addition, the EU is helping to strengthen health systems in the affected countries before the outbreak, as part of its long term support, and is now redirecting existing programmes wherever it is necessary towards the Ebola efforts and crisis context.

Budget support is provided to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to help them deliver urgently needed public services – in particular health care – and also cushion the economic impact of the epidemic.

Development funding is also being used to strengthen other important areas like healthcare, education, water and sanitation.

Four mobile laboratories, deployed in Guinea and Sierra Leone, help with the detection of the virus and training of health workers. The labs can process up to 70 samples each day, seven days a week.

Furthermore, the EU supports the African Union’s medical mission in West Africa (ASEOWA), contributing EUR 5 million to pay civil and medical staff. This has so far allowed to cover the costs of the first 90 medical professionals and support staff, and to subsequently increase the total number of staff to about 150 people. The European Commission has also deployed health professionals to Guinea from the European Centre for Diseases Prevention and control. As of 29 June 2015, ECDC has deployed 85 health experts in relation to the Ebola response within and outside the EU, including 77 deployed in the West African region. Currently 16 ECDC mobilised experts are in the field. In addition, 9 experts from national fellowship programmes associated with the ECDC training programmes were also deployed by their organisations in the region by EU Member States.

The EU is equally working to strengthen preparedness against the epidemic. The EU has supported national plans in six countries for some €10.6million and has, for example:

  • Helped to refurbish and equip an Ebola treatment unit at the central hospital in Ivory Coast
  • Helped to provide a water and sanitation programme with hygiene messages on Ebola prevention in Guinea Bissau
  • Set up a facility in Burkina Faso to support the national preparedness plan

In addition, the EU is also contributing to the regional preparedness through support to WHO and the International Red Cross with a €6 million contract for each, for activities aimed at preventing the further spread of Ebola disease in West Africa.

Medical Research

The European Commission has promptly and strongly supported urgent Ebola research on potential treatments, vaccines and diagnostic tests with almost €140 million from Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation funding programme.

An initial €24.4 million were deployed to fund five projects that look to develop potential vaccines and medication against Ebola and translate their findings into available treatments. Work on these projects started in October 2014, and some have already begun producing results applicable to the current outbreak. Most promisingly, the EU-funded REACTION project announced encouraging evidence that favipiravir, an antiviral drug, is an effective treatment against early Ebola disease (Fact sheet). Another project called EVIDENT confirmed that the Ebola virus was mutated at a lower rate than feared and concluded that the diagnostic methods, treatments and vaccines under development should still be effective against the disease.More information on EU-funded projects can be found at the EU Research on Ebola website.

Additionally, the European Commission and the European pharmaceutical industry are funding eight research projects on the development of vaccines and rapid diagnostics tests, which are key to overcoming the current Ebola crisis. These projects are run under the new ‘Ebola+’ programme of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and funded with a total of €215 million, €114 million of which come from Horizon 2020.

The EU is also supporting clinical research on Ebola through the European Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), a joint effort by European and Sub-Saharan African countries to develop promising treatments for poverty-related diseases like malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis. EDCTP recently added Ebola to this list and launched a call to develop new diagnostic tools for these diseases. The Commission has also urged EDCTP to mobilise funding from the Participating States to increase the EDCTP budget for 2014 and 2015 and to coordinate relevant research activities.

The Ebola outbreak demonstrates that ‘rapid reaction’ research and innovation in health crises is needed. In this context, the European Commission and other major funders have recently founded the ‘Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness’ (GloPID-R) which will facilitate launching a coordinated emergency research response within 48 hours in case of a significant new or re-emerging outbreak.

Emergency supplies and expertise

As part of its coordinated response, the EU has provided emergency supplies and sent experts to the affected countries. The EU Civil Protection Mechanism facilitates the delivery of material support from the Member states. They have provided mobile laboratories, treatment centres, ambulances and field hospitals. The EU has organised logistical support including multiple airlifting operations and supports the deployment of navy ships to transport emergency supplies provided by the Member States, such as food aid, medical kits, clean blankets and chlorine for sanitations. EU humanitarian experts, including specialists in hazardous diseases, have been deployed to the three most affected countries.

Medical Evacuation

International health workers are the backbone of the response to the Ebola epidemic. To support their mobilisation and protection, the EU has established a medical evacuation system. Member States are making capacity available for this.

Since the beginning of the epidemic and as of 2 July 2015, 65 individuals have been evacuated or repatriated worldwide from the EVD-affected countries. Of these, 38 individuals have been evacuated or repatriated to Europe. Thirteen were medical evacuations of confirmed EVD-infected patients to: Germany (3), Spain (2), France (2), UK (2), Norway (1), Italy (1), Netherlands(1) and Switzerland (1). Twenty-five asymptomatic persons have been repatriated to Europe as a result of exposure to Ebola in West Africa: UK (13), Denmark (4), Sweden (3), Netherlands (2), Germany (1), Spain (1) and Switzerland (1).

No new medical evacuations have taken place since 18 March 2015.

The medevac system ensures evacuation to an equipped hospital in Europe for international health workers and other EU nationals diagnosed with the virus. Evacuation requests are made by WHO to the health department of the Commission (DG SANTE) which identifies medical facilities available in EU Member States through communications in the EU’s Early Warning and Response System (EWRS). Transport to Europe is then coordinated by the ERCC. To date, a total of 39 people suffering from Ebola or having had a high risk exposure to the virus, have been medically evacuated to Europe.

Advocacy, coordination and diplomatic outreach

From the onset of the crisis, the EU has been in constant contact with the United Nations, relief agencies on the ground, the governments in the region as well as with regional organisations such as the African Union and ECOWAS.

The appointment by the European Council of an EU Ebola Coordinator, Commissioner Christos Stylianides, aims to ensure that EU institutions and Member States act in a coordinated manner with each other and with international partners. To this end, an EU Ebola Task Force has been set up and meets three times a week, bringing together the Member States, Commission services, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and representatives of the UN, the Red Cross and NGOs.

More information

EU pledges €450 million to Ebola affected countries:

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-5338_en.htm

General Government

“From Cairo to Cape Town” — African Countries Take Step Towards Huge Free Trade Zone

It will be called TFTA — the Tripartite Free Trade Area. “Representatives from 25 African nations signed an initial agreement on Wednesday to create a free-trade zone linking three economic blocs that would unite 57 percent of the continent’s population. The deal would combine the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the South African Development Community (SADC), and the East African Community (EAC)…The alliance would bring together more than 60 percent of the continent’s gross domestic product, valued at $1.2 trillion, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on the last day of a week-long conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.” (Reuters http://bit.ly/1B2nrys)

But is it sure to disappoint? Some commentary and analysis from Quartz (QZ http://bit.ly/1L28O1l)

Will the EPA Start to Regulate Airline Emissions? The US Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday said greenhouse gases from aircraft endanger human health, taking the first step toward regulating emissions from the domestic aviation industry…The “endangerment finding” by the Environmental Protection Agency would allow the administration to implement a global carbon dioxide emissions standard being developed by the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1f2UiZX)

“Quote” of the Day: “The very concept of aid is, and I believe should be, a constant exploration of societies and self. For foreigners working to supply aid outside of their own countries, not to mention outside of their own homes, or in the mirror itself, it is a constant struggle.” – Sean Penn in the Huffington Post http://huff.to/1GedU6m

Africa

Burundi’s embattled president has officially delayed the presidential election, after weeks of protests sparked by his decision to run for a third term. (VOA http://bit.ly/1FS21Qh) 

Hundreds of thousands of people risk starvation in South Sudan where a resurgence in fighting and deepening food shortages have left some with nothing to eat except water lilies, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1B2npXr)

Dozens of armed men suspected of being Islamist militants attacked a police base in southern Mali early on Wednesday, security sources said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1B2nryG)

It’s estimated thousands of children in Ghana work in dangerous, unlicensed gold mines. A new report says they risk injury when mines collapse and are exposed to dust and mercury poisoning. (VOA http://bit.ly/1FS1HkE)

1-800-SUDAN…A Filipino teenager has been flown to Sudan to undergo life-saving heart surgery at a charity-run hospital that has become a world leader in complex heart operations. (AFP http://bit.ly/1KpYuz4)

Improving access to education, healthcare and jobs for women in the arid Sahel region of Africa could play an important part in rolling back poverty in one of the world’s most underdeveloped areas, the U.N. special envoy to the region said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1B2nt9E)

Public outcry and parliament have forced Malawian President Peter Mutharika to suspend the sale of a state-owned bank which has been weighed down by bad loans. (VOA http://bit.ly/1MonNjB) 

South Africa’s poultry industry could lose close to $72 million in turnover and about 6,500 jobs as a result of an agreement to allow duty-free imported chicken from the United States, an industry association said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1Kq1gnZ)

U.N. forces have deployed ground troops, attack helicopters and drones to support a campaign by Democratic Republic of Congo’s army against rebels in the northeast of the country, the head of its U.N. peacekeeping mission said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1FS9qPt) 

A child forced to marry at just 13 who then poisoned her 35-year-old husband and three friends is set to be freed in Nigeria, lawyers and a judge said Wednesday, amid fears for her safety and future. (AP http://yhoo.it/1f2UkB6) 

MENA 

Egyptian security forces have arrested dozens of activists ahead of a general strike planned for Thursday, activists and security sources say, part of what the activists describe as an unrelenting crackdown on dissent. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1MonIMC)

Police in Egypt say they have foiled an attempted suicide bomb attack at the Temple of Karnak in Luxor, one of the country’s most popular tourist sites. (BBC http://bbc.in/1L27oUH )

Tunisia’s navy on Wednesday rescued 356 migrants including a two-month-old baby girl off the country’s southeastern coast near Ben Guerdane, the Red Crescent said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1f2UmZS) 

Kuwait is to send $300 million in humanitarian aid to conflict-hit neighbours Iraq and Yemen, the foreign ministry announced Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1f2UlFj) 

Egypt’s antiquities minister issued orders on Wednesday to intensify security at antiquities sites across the country in coordination with the Interior Ministry, in comments reported by state news agency MENA on Wednesday.  (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FS9sXI) 

On a backstreet in Jerusalem sit the sparse offices of B’Tselem, an Israeli organization that has long been a bane of successive governments, tirelessly flagging military abuses in occupied Palestinian territory. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FS9tuF) 

Asia 

Recent quakes in Nepal and Malaysia have shaken the Philippines into action, with authorities scaling up earthquake preparedness drills and safety inspections of public buildings in the capital Manila. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1MonOEa)

A $6 billion hydropower dam planned for a site in Myanmar’s Shan state is drawing fierce opposition from locals who say it will flood an area nearly the size of Singapore, destroying 100 communities. (VOA http://bit.ly/1B2o9Mq)

Law enforcement officials must be prepare for a long struggle in the campaign to get corrupt officials who have fled abroad back to China, with 214 suspects being returned to the country as of the end of May, the Ministry of Public Security said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1f2Uhp8)

A joint South Korean-World Health Organization mission studying an outbreak of MERS recommended on Wednesday that schools be reopened, as they were unlikely to spread the disease, just as school boards recommended more be shut. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FS9ui8)

The Americas

The European Union has committed $133 million in investment support for Latin America and Caribbean nations at the start of their two-day summit. (AP http://yhoo.it/1FS9zCG)

Paraguay’s government has been advised to take “precautionary measures” to ensure the health of a 10-year-old girl who is pregnant after allegedly being raped by her stepfather. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1KpYtLx)

The progress that Latin America has made in reducing child mortality is cited by international institutions as an example for cutting the under-five mortality rate by two thirds. But this overall picture conceals huge differences between and within countries in the region. (IPS http://bit.ly/1GecXuQ)

A US federal appeals court upheld a controversial Texas state law requiring nearly all facilities that perform abortions to operate like hospital-style surgical centers. (NPR http://n.pr/1TbnbmF) 

…and the rest

Almost 170 million youth are trapped in child labor, deprived of education and facing a life without decent jobs, the International Labor Organization said on Wednesday. (TRF http://yhoo.it/1f2UkkC)

A global climate agreement being negotiated this week in Bonn is supposed to apply to all countries, from large industrialized economies to tiny island nations. (AP http://yhoo.it/1f2Ungo)

As the United Nations continues its negotiations to both define and refine a new set of Sustainable Development Goals before a summit meeting of world leaders in September, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed support for a new “International Decade for Water for Sustainable Development.” (IPS http://bit.ly/1GecUzg)

Opinion/Blogs

Inside Al Jazeera: Is the pan-Arab channel a propaganda outfit or an essential voice? (Al Jazeera http://bit.ly/1KpWLtu)

This is not the Middle Eastern order you are looking for (Monkey Cage http://wapo.st/1MID6nW)

The microfinance delusion: who really wins? (Guardian http://bit.ly/1f2PAM3)

Time for a new deal for Middle East’s displaced? (IRIN http://bit.ly/1f2Qh81)

Why Are Threats to Civil Society Growing Around the World? (IPS http://bit.ly/1FRZGol)

All in the Family: Explaining the Persistence of Female Genital Cutting in West Africa (Marc Bellemare http://bit.ly/1GedlcI)

India’s domestic workers need a break (Guardian http://bit.ly/1f2Q3xE)

Is World Cup Game Over for Qatar? (VOA http://bit.ly/1TbmqKe)

Justine Greening: The days of ignoring poverty because it’s far away are over (Guardian http://bit.ly/1FS6sL4)

Loan Guarantees and Financial Inclusion in the Developing World (CFR http://on.cfr.org/1QMdK9h)

What future for Development Advocacy? Three Paradoxes and Seven Directions (From Poverty to Power http://bit.ly/1IFJT32)

Turning the Digital Revolution into a Health Revolution to Achieve the SDGs (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1FJs8tv


TB–The Forgotten Health Crisis, by Eric Goosby. (The Hill http://bit.ly/1L27dbP )

Discussion

comments…