Terror in Tunisia

The cradle of the Arab Spring–and its best exemplar–was beset by a vicious terror attack on tourists at a museum. 19 people were killed, including 17 tourists. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. “While Tunisia has been spared the catastrophic levels of violence that have plagued other Arab Spring countries like Syria, Yemen and Libya, the country has still suffered from occasional but deadly attacks carried out by Islamist extremists. In 2013, 22 people were killed. This included a suicide bomber who attacked a beach resort in Sousse. Last year 45 people were killed and already this year the death toll has reached 23, with Wednesday’s museum raid following an attack on a mountain checkpoint in February that killed 4 police officers.” (BBC http://bbc.in/1Cx27Bv)

What the Israeli Elections Mean for the Prospects of Peace and the Two State Solution…If you have 15 minutes and want to understand what happened in Israel, how damaging it is to Palestinian aspirations, and what’s next for supporters of the Two State Solution listen to this Global Dispatches Podcast episode—> http://bit.ly/1Cx0W53

The USA may send marines to assist in cyclone ravaged Vanuatu (Stars and Stripes http://1.usa.gov/1Cx0ljU)

Dodge this allegation…The EU watchdog has accused the union’s bank of flouting its own transparency rules and hiding what it knows about allegations of tax avoidance by a Zambian mining firm largely owned by the Swiss commodity trader Glencore. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1MKhfgc)

(Not So Humanity Affirming) Stat of the Day: The death toll in the world’s most brutal conflicts climbed by more than 28 percent last year from 2013 with bloodshed in Syria worse than all others for the second year running, according to a study released on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1923CK8)

Africa

Hopes of an end to South Sudan’s 15-month old civil war were dealt another blow on Wednesday as President Salva Kiir ruled out a proposed power-sharing deal with rebels. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1923RVu) 

Nigeria has begun the “final onslaught” against Boko Haram, the country’s national security spokesman said on Tuesday, after the militants were ousted from the strategic town of Bama. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1ErdHch)

The Nigerian military, battling insurgency in the northeast, has had no news of more than 200 girls abducted 11 months ago by Boko Haram Islamists, the army chief said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1FAXq99)

Pro-democracy activists from Senegal and Burkina Faso arrested in Democratic Republic of Congo on suspicion of planning to destabilise the country will be expelled and banned from returning, the government announced Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1923V7L)

A withdrawal of peacekeepers from Sudan’s Darfur region should not be conditional on an end to tribal violence, Sudan said as Khartoum began work with the United Nations and the African Union on an exit strategy for the $1.1 billion mission. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1ErdGoN)

Lesotho’s new Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili was sworn in on Tuesday, admitting the tiny country faces major challenges after an alleged coup bid last year. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1FAXjKz)

A lack of accountability in South Sudan for “atrocities, sexual and gender based violence, child soldier recruitment and mass graves” hinders a bid for peace in the world’s youngest state, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FAXwgU)

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer whose economy was battered by a low-level civil war and ensuing political unrest, should see double-digit growth this year, Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1ErdPbG)

Sierra Leone’s president on Wednesday fired his vice president, who was kicked out of their political party earlier this month on accusations of fomenting violence and trying to form a new party. (AP http://yhoo.it/1923I4o)

Four people died in a gun and grenade attack on Wajir town in northeast Kenya, the latest in a series of cross-border raids by Somalia’s Shebab militants, officials said Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1BV3aZK)

Tanzania will receive a total of $380 million in loans from India to finance two major water projects in the east African nation, the president’s office said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FAXiq9)

Liberia has managed to get its outbreak under control. But many residents, especially those in northern Lofa County, which was devastated by Ebola, are concerned the deadly virus might make a comeback through visitors from neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea, which are not yet Ebola free. (VOA http://bit.ly/1H2fwCy)

Gabon’s striking public sector workers have rejected a temporary pay rise proposed by the government, trade unions said Wednesday, in a dispute that has already seen schools closed for over a month. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1MKhgAH)

MENA

Palestinian leaders on Wednesday called for international pressure on Israel and support for their unilateral moves towards statehood after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election win. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1923R7V)

Syria’s military took control of a village north of partly insurgent-held Aleppo on Wednesday, state media and a monitoring group said, giving it increased control of an area which armed groups have used as a supply route into the city. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1923Qkj)

The United States still wants a negotiated political settlement in Syria that excludes President Bashar al-Assad, and its position on the Syrian leader has not changed, top U.S. envoy John Allen told Turkish officials. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1923LNx)

Iraqi troops and militias who pushed Islamic State fighters from the northern town of Amerli last September proceeded to loot and burn down homes and businesses, Human Rights Watch said in a new report Wednesday. (VOA http://bit.ly/1H2fv1o

Asia/Pacific

International aid agencies ramped up appeals for cyclone-hit Vanuatu on Wednesday, warning that the powerful storm which affected more than two-thirds of the South Pacific island nation had wiped out crops and destroyed fishing fleets, raising the risk of hunger and disease. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FAXu8P)

Bloody conflict in a remote corner of northern Myanmar has spilled violently across the border with China, risking a rift with the mighty neighbour and threatening peace efforts with an array of rebels. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1ErdOon)

The head of India’s Catholic bishops, speaking out after a nun was raped in the east of the country last week, has said the country should be as concerned about the welfare of its people as it is about its cows. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1BV3mIy)

The United Nations’ human rights chief is voicing concern over the “rushed” trial that led to a terrorism conviction and 13-year jail term for the Maldives’ former president. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BV3bNn)

General Motors will slash production in Russia and pull its mass-market Opel brand completely in the face of plummeting sales in the economically troubled country. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BV3gk4)

A group of Thai lawyers called on Wednesday for an investigation into allegations that four suspects held over a Bangkok bomb attack were tortured while in police custody. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1923L01)

A court in Bangladesh’s capital on Wednesday indicted a leader of a hard-line Islamist group and seven students in the hacking death of an atheist blogger two years ago. (AP http://yhoo.it/1923OJg)

The Americas

Brazilian civil defense officials say more than 20,000 people have been affected by flooding in the city of Boca do Acre in Brazil’s northern state of Amazonas. (AP http://yhoo.it/1ErdHJu)

Puerto Rico’s government said Tuesday that it has sold $246 million in bond anticipation notes to refinance part of its short-term debt and help generate more money for the financially strapped island. (AP http://yhoo.it/1ErdJ3X)

Leaders from leftist Latin American regional bloc ALBA gathered Tuesday for a summit in Caracas, a show of support for Venezuela in its mounting standoff with the United States. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1FAXtBK)

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s popularity fell to a new low in a poll released on Wednesday, weakening her even further at a time when she is facing public calls for her impeachment and trying to push austerity measures through Congress. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1923N8c)

…and the rest

Violent clashes between anti-capitalist activists and German police left dozens injured and a trail of destruction in Germany’s financial capital as the European Central Bank opened its new headquarters on Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1FAXFB6)

A long-term study has pointed to a link between breastfeeding and intelligence. (BBC http://bbc.in/1H2frik)

Opinion/Blogs

Seven women peacemakers who should be on your radar (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1xeZD8W)

Why is Britain such an outlier on aid? (From Poverty to Power http://bit.ly/1MKl6tN)

Does the Development Industry really need new clothes? (Africa is a Country http://bit.ly/1MKkx36)

Why Investors Should Think Twice before Investing in Coal in India – Part 1 (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/1CtsOVZ)

Ghana’s democracy is driving great progress in health and education (Guardian http://bit.ly/1H2fsmb) 

After Israel’s elections, what prospects for Middle East peace process? (IRIN http://bit.ly/1MKgKTl)

How can we empower women in agriculture to end hunger? (Guardian http://bit.ly/1MKhhon)

Rape in Conflict: Speaking Out for What’s Right (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/1CtsOW7)

New DfID Report: Few Donor-Supported Anticorruption Policies Effective (Global Anticorruption Blog http://bit.ly/1MKkwMt)

Water, security, and the state (Reinventing Peace http://bit.ly/1MKkPH8)

Discussion

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