Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard (file)

Big shakeup in the race for the next UN Secretary General

The big test will be next week, when the next straw poll is taken.The Bulgarian government said on Wednesday it was nominating Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, for the post of United Nations Secretary-General, and that it was withdrawing support for candidate Irina Bokova.. Georgieva, a vice-president of the Commission who is responsible for sorting out the EU’s budget after Britain’s vote to leave the bloc, has a better chance to become the first woman to head the global body, Bulgaria’s prime minister said. However Bokova, director-general of the United Nations’ cultural arm UNESCO, said she would stay in the race to replace Ban Ki-moon after coming sixth among nine contenders in the latest round of voting at the U.N. Security Council on Monday.” (Reuters

And here are some broader implications of her late entry into the race…(UN Dispatch

An innovative health care plan… “A scheme aims to tackle poverty and waste in Indonesia by collecting rubbish from some of country’s poorest people giving them health insurance in exchange…Garbage Clinical Insurance is the brainchild of award-winning healthcare entrepreneur Gamal Albinsaid, CEO of health company Indonesia Medika. In a country where more than 10% live below the poverty line, the scheme encourages low-income households to recycle their rubbish and uses the revenues to finance a health micro-insurance system. The scheme offers its members access to basic healthcare services in three clinics: two in Albinsaid’s hometown of Malang, East Java, and one near Jakarta. In total, the initiative counts about 600 rubbish-collecting members, who collect on average about 3kg of recyclable materials each per month, which nets them around 11,750IDR (£0.70) from commercial recyclers.” (Guardian

Quote of the Day… “In an age when counter-terrorism shapes war, a license to kill has been issued. We call on you all—again—to revoke this license.” MSF Chief Joanne Liu, addressing a special meeting of the Security Council. (MSF


Tanzania has charged at least two senior public officials over allegations of embezzlement of earthquake relief funds, President John Magufuli said on Wednesday. (Reuters

The body of a South Sudanese journalist abducted almost four months ago was found on a farm this week, press freedom group Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday. (AFP

Six of the world’s biggest container shipping companies were raided by South African authorities on Wednesday on suspicion of colluding to inflate rates between Asia and South Africa, the country’s Competition Commission said. (Reuters

Former Congolese vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba, jailed for 18 years for war crimes, has formally appealed against his conviction by the International Criminal Court, arguing his trial was “flawed,” his lawyers said Wednesday. (AFP



An airstrike and artillery fire hit the two largest hospitals in rebel-held parts of Syria’s Aleppo on Wednesday, in what rights groups said was a deliberate strategy of targeting civilian infrastructure. (AFP

President Obama has authorized sending an additional 600 American troops to Iraq to assist Iraqi forces in the looming battle to take back the city of Mosul from the Islamic State, United States officials said on Wednesday. (NYT

Authorities at a maximum-security prison in the Egyptian capital routinely abuse political prisoners by cramming them into packed cells, cutting off access to families and lawyers, and blocking medical treatment, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday. (AP

The World Bank announced it will release $300 million in loans to help facilitate the labor market for Syrian refugees in Jordan. (AFP

Desperate parents are being asked to provide their own medicines to treat their malnourished children, as Yemen’s hospitals run out of supplies and the health system has collapsed. (Save the Children

Egyptian authorities have arrested the owner and crew members of a boat that sank last week carrying hundreds of migrants, the security chief of Beheira province was quoted as saying by state media on Wednesday. (Reuters

A concrete wall being built to stop illegal crossings along the length of Turkey’s 560-mile border with Syria will be finished by the end of February, an official at a Turkish state institution with knowledge of the project said on Wednesday. (Reuters


A gas explosion at a Chinese coal mine has left at least 18 people dead and two more missing after what Chinese officials are calling “illegal” mining activities. (VOA

In the past two days, Typhoon Megi has pounded Taiwan and the coast of southeast China and forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate amid rising floodwaters. (NPR

The Seychelles vice president will complete the five-year term of resigning President James Michel, a statement from the state house said on Wednesday, despite a shake-up of national politics after the opposition won parliamentary elections this month. (Reuters

Thai doctors are running tests to see whether Zika was the cause of microcephaly in two babies whose mothers are infected with the mosquito-borne virus, a health official said Wednesday. (AFP

Thai authorities threatened to arrest Amnesty International speakers who were set to hold a news conference Wednesday to release a report detailing allegations of torture at the hands of the military and police, causing the rights group to cancel the event. (AP

More than 70,000 people displaced by severe flooding in North Korea nearly a month ago are urgently in need of supplies and shelter before winter sets in, a Red Cross official in Pyongyang said Wednesday. (AP

When international donors and the Afghan government convene in Brussels next week, the EU secretly plans to threaten Afghanistan with a reduction in aid if the war-torn country does not accept at least 80,000 deported asylum seekers. (Guardian

A summit of South Asian leaders set for Islamabad in November may be called off, as several countries have decided not to attend amid rising tension between arch-rivals India and Pakistan, officials said on Wednesday. (Reuters

The Americas

Organizers of a cultural festival in Haiti celebrating the Afro-Caribbean LGBTQ community said Tuesday that it has been called off due to numerous threats of violence and a subsequent prohibition by a government commissioner.  (CBS

President Barack Obama on Tuesday tapped the highest-ranking US diplomat in Cuba as the first ambassador to the island in more than 50 years.  (CNN

…and the rest

Oslo’s leftist city government issued its first “climate budget” on Wednesday aiming to halve greenhouse gas emission within four years in one of the world’s most radical experiments to slow global warming. (Reuters

Turkey may have to build new courthouses to cope with thousands of prosecutions over July’s failed coup, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Wednesday, as the number of people arrested reached 32,000. (Reuters

An Iraqi man was shot dead by police in Berlin after lunging with a knife at another man who he believed had sexually abused his daughter, officials said Wednesday. (AP

Four Pakistani minors have been arrested for allegedly gang-raping a 16-year-old Pakistani boy in a Greek migrant camp, police said Wednesday. (AFP

One million women living in poverty in Britain have experienced extensive violence and abuse, a report said on Wednesday, which makes them more likely to attempt suicide, face homelessness and have mental health disorders. (Reuters

The EU said Wednesday it hopes to move the remaining 30,000 eligible refugees out of Greece by the end of next year, but appears set to fall far short of its plan to share 160,000 migrants around the bloc. (AFP


It’s morally wrong to tie food aid to a defence contract (Guardian

The UN summit’s hidden cost for migrant rights (IRIN

Could this late entrant into the race to replace Ban Ki Moon to become the next UN Secretary General? (UN Dispatch

At last, the destruction of heritage has been recognised as a weapon of war (Guardian

Ending Lingering Hunger in a World of Plenty (IPS

Insight: Inside Brazil’s battle to save the Amazon with satellites and strike forces (Reuters

Four myths about slums: ‘Don’t assume people want to leave’ (Guardian

Budgets, bureaucracy and realpolitik trump human rights advocacy (Africa is a Country

The best teachers usually don’t know who they are (Roving Bandit

The changing role of NGOs in supporting climate services (ODI
After FARC deal, 3 must-haves for lasting peace in Colombia (Devex