Biggest…NGO Coalition…Ever

Action2015 formally launches today. This is a collection of all the major development and environmental NGOs and advocacy groups, plus thousands of smaller ones, that are banding together to raise the profile and help maintain an ambitious agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Talks later this year. “We span environmental, development and human rights movements. We are united in our focus to make 2015 a huge breakthrough moment for people and planet,” says the coalition. #Action2015 is the hashtag for launch day events around the world on January 15.

The Ebola News We’ve been waiting for…A new study found Ebola could come to an end in Liberia by June, if the trend toward better hospitalization and preventive care continues. (VOA

More humanitarian interventions in 2015? U.N. aid chief Valerie Amos suggested more intervention in humanitarian emergencies as she said some states were aggressively asserting sovereignty rights to stop action being taken to protect civilians. (Reuters

2015 economic growth prediction cut…The World Bank, citing stagnation in Europe and Japan and a slowdown in China, downgraded its forecast for the global economy this year. It also reported that world economic growth came in below expectations in 2014. (AP

This is cool…MTN-Qhubeka will become the first African team to compete in the Tour de France after race organizers selected the South African outfit among the wild cards invited to take part this year. (AP


Even as his country registered 19 new Ebola cases over a 24-hour period, Sierra Leone’s president is predicting there will be zero new confirmed cases by the end of March. (AP

A new study by the United Nations Development Program finds the Ebola epidemic is dramatically setting back prospects for economic development in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The study urges recovery plans for West Africa’s three Ebola-affected countries to begin now and not to wait until this deadly disease is contained. (VOA

Eighty percent of people phoning a toll-free Ebola help number are prank callers, the head of the Ebola Call Centre in Sierra Leone Reynold Senessie said. (AFP

UNDP has helped the Liberian government pay thousands of Ebola workers. Over $1 million dollars in cash payments were distributed across the country in January alone.


Malawi President Peter Mutharika has declared half the southern African country a disaster zone after torrential rains over the past few days killed at least 48 people and left around 70,000 homeless. (Reuters

Nigeria’s military on Wednesday said that soldiers had repelled a new Boko Haram attack after a two-hour gun battle in the restive northeast. (AFP

South Sudan’s conflict could cost regional nations Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania a combined $53 billion if it lasts another five years as they deal with refugees, security needs and other spillover effects, a report said on Wednesday. (Reuters

The U.S. Embassy in Uganda says U.S. Special Forces in Obo, Central African Republic, have handed over a Lord’s Resistance Army commander who is charged with war crimes to Ugandan troops. (AP

Tanzania has banned witchdoctors to try and stem a surge in murders of albinos, whose body parts are sold for witchcraft, officials said Wednesday. (AFP

Former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan on Wednesday urged Nigeria to hold peaceful elections next month, warning that violence could be a set-back to progress across Africa. (AFP

Nigeria’s electoral agency said that next month’s elections will go ahead in three northeastern states worst hit by Boko Haram violence but there was little prospect of voting in militant-held areas. (AFP

Heavy flooding in Mozambique has killed 10 people and displaced nearly 20,000 more, the government disaster management office said Wednesday. (AP

Nigeria has re-registered around 10 million voters wrongly struck off the roll a year ago due to technical glitches, leaving Africa’s most populous nation with an electorate of 68.8 million, the electoral commission said on Wednesday. (Reuters

Madagascar’s president has accepted the resignation of his prime minister and government amid mounting public frustration about regular power cuts and a failure to deliver on promised improvements to daily life. (Reuters


Syrian refugee families will resort to increasingly drastic measures to survive unless the world does more to help, the U.N. refugee agency said, as it released a study showing that one in six Syrian refugees in Jordan live in “abject poverty” (Reuters

The United Nations gathered Libya’s rival factions for talks in Geneva Wednesday, amid warnings they could be the last chance to halt intensifying fighting for the country’s main cities and oil wealth. (AFP

The wife of a Saudi blogger who was publicly flogged for “insulting Islam” called for his release. (AFP


Four passengers aboard a Bangladesh bus were burned alive on Wednesday when anti-government protesters threw a petrol bomb at the packed vehicle, taking the death toll from a bloody nation-wide blockade to 18. (Reuters

The World Bank said Wednesday the Philippines can eliminate poverty within a generation as sustained economic growth in recent years has translated into more jobs and higher incomes. (AP

Authorities were investigating Wednesday how more than 100 bodies, many of them children, ended up floating in an offshoot of the Ganges River in northern India. (AP

World sea piracy fell to its lowest level in eight years in 2014, but ship hijackings rose due to attacks against small tankers off Southeast Asia’s coasts, a global maritime watchdog said Wednesday. (AP

Authorities in a north Indian state suspended 23 officials Wednesday in a crackdown on illegal liquor sales, as the death toll among villagers who drank from a bad batch of cheap alcohol climbed to 38. (AP

Rights groups in Cambodia called on the United Nations to investigate alleged rights abuses against villagers living at the sites of two large hydropower dam projects. (VOA

Hun Sen, Cambodia’s tough and wily prime minister, marked 30 years in power Wednesday, one of just a handful of political strongmen worldwide who have managed to cling to their posts for three decades. (AP

The Americas

A group of ambassadors and the U.N. special representative in Haiti said that President Michel Martelly has their support through a period of political flux that many observers worry could set the troubled country back. (AP


The TTIP trade deal will throw equality before the law on the corporate bonfire (Guardian

Islamic Reformation, the Antidote to Terrorism (IPS

Ten Reasons Why 2015 Is a Crucial Year for Africa (Africa Progress Panel

For the moment, Russia is the winner in the global geopolitical struggle (GlobalPost

How an argument over gasoline became a matter of national security in Egypt (GlobalPost


As economic losses from disasters rise around the world, more effort is needed to reduce the risks from extreme weather and earthquakes in every area, from infrastructure to health, the United Nations disaster prevention chief said. (TRF

A human ‘ring of gold’ will be formed outside St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday to mark the start of a new campaign encouraging couples to tie the knot with Fairtrade wedding bands. (Guardian