Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank Comes Alive

The Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank came to life yesterday in a signing ceremony in Beijing. It was created over US objections and a number of key US allies have joined as founding members. “Fifty countries formally signed the bank’s charter, while an additional seven are still waiting for domestic approval before they formally sign. The bank will launch with capital of $100bn, with 75 per cent coming from within Asia. Japan is yet to decide whether to join the AIIB. The bank’s charter, which specifies that at least 70 per cent of capital must come from within the region, in effect ensures China will remain the largest single shareholder. However, it limits the influence of large shareholders because 15 per cent of voting rights are allocated equally to founding members regardless of equity stakes. China’s stake is 30 per cent but its voting share is 26 per cent. This still gives Beijing veto power, as the bank requires a supermajority of 75 per cent for important decisions.” (FT

Plus…Why this shouldn’t be considered a “Chinese-led rival to the World Bank” and other interesting points from Scott Morris of the Center for Global Development, who sat down with Mark for a recent podcast interview about the advent of the AIIB. (Global Dispatches Podcast

Another Victory for LGBT Rights…Mozambique decriminalised homosexuality on Monday when a new penal code came into force that swept away old Portuguese colonial laws, in a victory for campaigners for gay rights in Africa. (AFP

Stat of the Day: It will cost $2.3 billion to send to school the 34 million children and adolescents of conflict–affected countries who are currently not attending educational institutions, which is 10 times the amount being received from humanitarian aid now, according to a new report from UNESCO. (UN News Center


Burundians voted for a new parliament on Monday after a night of sporadic blasts and gunshots and weeks of violent protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s attempt to win a third term in office. (Reuters

South Africa’s government will challenge a high court ruling that found the state erred in letting Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir leave the country despite a court order barring him from doing so. (Reuters

Sierra Leone’s government should reduce tax breaks for mining firms and roll out measures to block illicit financial flows in order to raise funds for its decimated health services and help prevent needless loss of lives, a report has said. (Guardian

The United States said on Monday it was “deeply concerned” after Lesotho’s former army chief was shot dead last week, an incident that risks sparking instability in a small mountainous kingdom of strategic importance to South Africa. (Reuters

South Sudan’s warring rival leaders held face-to-face talks in Kenya but failed to make progress as fighting continued on the ground this weekend. (AFP

The mother of a 15-year-old rape survivor, who needs a kidney transplant following a botched backstreet abortion, filed a case against Kenya’s government on Monday for denying women and girls safe access to terminations. (TRF

In 2013 90% of Kenyans were found to be against homosexuality. But a recent ruling by the country’s high court means that change may finally be on the way. (Guardian

Nigeria’s draconian law against gays has encouraged mob attacks, police torture, evictions and public whippings, according to a report Monday that urges the country’s new president to repeal the legislation. (AP

Rising incomes among Africa’s vast population have created a pool of customers willing to pay for better schooling for their children. That in turn is driving an explosion in education businesses that means Africa could soon rival Asian countries like India as the next big hit with school investors. (Reuters


A Saudi airstrike struck a UN Compound in Aden, Yemen, causing one casualty. (UN News Center

Italy’s navy said on Monday it had begun to recover the bodies of up to 800 migrants from a fishing boat that sank in the Mediterranean three months ago, a tragedy that prompted the European Union to expand sea rescue operations. (Reuters

Israel’s navy on Monday halted a flotilla seeking to defy its blockade of Gaza without the deadly force that marred a similar attempt in 2010 and was escorting one of the vessels to shore. (AFP

Fewer than 100 Syrian rebels are currently being trained by the U.S. military to fight the Islamic State group, a tiny total for a sputtering program with a stated goal of producing 5,400 fighters a year. (AP

A Palestinian held without charges by Israel for the past year is ending a 55-day hunger strike and in exchange will be released in two weeks, his wife and an advocacy group for prisoners said Monday. (AP

Qatar conceded Monday that “much more needs to be done” on the controversial issue of labour reform following fresh criticism of the 2022 World Cup hosts over the pace of change. (AFP


Chinese police have formally applied to prosecutors to arrest and charge a prominent rights activist who had called for official accountability over what he said were miscarriages of justice, his lawyer said on Monday.  (Reuters

For the first time, Afghan leaders seem willing to make sincere attempts to improve the rights of women, according to the new British ambassador to Kabul. (Guardian

Police are investigating the mob killing of a school director in northern India after two of the school’s students were discovered dead, officials said Monday. (AP

A key senator and a D.C.-based think tank are calling for Washington to step up its aid in cleaning up toxic herbicides sprayed by the United States in Vietnam during the war that ended 40 years ago. (IPS

The Americas

Legalization of marijuana has hurt drug dealers in Mexico, but their trade in heroin, meth and cocaine is thriving. (CNN

The governor warned that Puerto Rico can’t pay its $72 billion public debt as international economists released a critical report Monday on the island’s economy. (AP

…and the rest

Rapid growth in the multi-billion dollar volunteer tourism industry has prompted calls for tighter controls with concerns over exposing vulnerable communities to unskilled foreign labor and dodgy operators exploiting foreigners for profit. (TRF


Inside a community-based disaster response (WhyDev

How Clinics Have Gone Off-Grid and Onto Renewable Energy (The Conversation

South Africa: Why Trade Unions Are Even More Relevant Today (GroundUp

The ACP at 40 – Repositioning as a Global Player (Inter Press Service

“Slight Deceleration” in G20 Trade Restrictions but Continued Vigilance Needed (Inter Press Service

How Much is a Celebrity Worth? Nonprofits Pay For Star Power (Tiny Spark

Development Unplugged: Driving Progress Without the Internet (Prosper

Innovation in development… is it worth the hype? (DevPolicy

BRICS New Development Bank moves ahead quietly (The Intrepreter

How will global health financing change post-MDGs? (Devex

White supremacy, black liberation, and global development: The conversations we’re not having (How