A Disturbing Speech from Bashar al Assad

In the speech, Assad, referring to Erdogan, also said “Aleppo will be the grave where all the dreams and hopes of that butcher will be buried.” The Syrian civil war may dramatically escalate in the coming days. “Syrian President Bashar al-Assad signaled Tuesday that his government intends to escalate military efforts to crush the five-year-old uprising against his rule, saying the bloodshed will not end until he has regained control over all areas of Syria lost to the rebellion. His tough words came amid indications that Russia is preparing to reengage in the war in support of Assad, almost three months after it threw its support behind a U.S.-backed cease-fire and announced it was withdrawing most of its military from Syria…Assad’s comments, made in an address to a newly installed parliament in Damascus, suggested that he and his Russian allies are preparing for a full-scale resumption of the war, with Aleppo as their first target.” (WaPo

Massive displacement in Niger…”The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has expressed concern for some 50,000 people, who have been forced to flee a town in Niger after a devastating attack from armed group Boko Haram. Adrian Edwards, UN refugee agency (UNHCR) spokesman, told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday that tens of thousands of people were forced to flee the town of Bosso, in south-eastern Niger, after the armed group attacked a military outpost based over the weekend. Edwards said that many of those fleeing the town were headed towards Toumour, some 30km west of Bosso, living in the open and in precarious conditions.” (Al Jazeera

Big global HIV/AIDS meeting kicks off at the UN…Three days of high level meetings commence today. A who’s who of the global health community is attending the event which is intended to  “ focus the world’s attention on the importance of a Fast-Track approach to the AIDS response over the next five years.”  Here’s the full schedule (UN

Humanity affirming global health news of the day: The WHO announced that Thailand and Belarus have eliminated mother-to-child transmission of both HIV and syphilis; and Armenia and Moldova have eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and syphilis, respectively. (WHO

Distressing stat of the day: More than 10,000 people have died crossing the Mediterranean to Europe since 2014, the UN said Tuesday, as the EU unveiled fresh plans to stem the migrant flow from Africa. (AFP

For a laugh…Watch Amy Schumer, Will Ferrell and others try to pronounce the name of the global health NGO,  JHPIEGO. (People


About 50,000 people have fled a town in Niger’s troubled southeast after deadly attacks by Boko Haram insurgents, the United Nations said Tuesday. (AFP

UN whistleblower Anders Kompass, who exposed the sexual abuse of children by French and African peacekeepers in Central African Republic, is to resign in protest over what he sees as the organisation’s failure to hold its senior officials to account. (IRIN

Report: Soldiers from the Republic of Congo killed at least 18 people, including women and children, between December 2013 and June 2015 while serving as peacekeepers in the Central African Republic…A grave found near a peacekeeping base in Boali, and exhumed on February 16, 2016, uncovered the remains of 12 people identified as having been detained by the peacekeepers in March 2014. (HRW

Kenya’s government has banned all protests against the Electoral Commission, the interior ministry said on Tuesday, after an escalation of violence at the rallies held every Monday since early April. (Reuters

At least 18 albino people have been killed in Malawi in a “steep upsurge in killings” since November 2014, and five others have been abducted and remain missing, according to a new Amnesty International report. (AP

Concerned over Congolese President Joseph Kabila’s apparent attempts to cling to power, U.S. officials are pushing for sanctions against his inner circle but running into opposition from European powers wary of moving too quickly. (Reuters

Kenya was hit by a nationwide blackout on Tuesday, but efforts to restore power were underway, the country’s sole electricity distributor said. (Reuters

Tanzania: Yellow fever certificates, which are supposed to be issued only to people who have been vaccinated against the tropical disease, are on sale on Dar es Salaam streets. (The Citizen

Nepotism of the day: Uganda’s veteran leader Yoweri Museveni named a new cabinet on Monday that retained his prime minister and ministers in the key energy and finance jobs while giving the education portfolio to his wife. (Reuters


A car bomb destroyed a police vehicle near a central tourist district in Istanbul on Tuesday morning, instantly killing 11 people and wounding dozens more, Turkish officials said, the latest in a series of deadly attacks in the country. (NYT

After securing the southern edge of militant-held Fallujah, seven battalions of Iraqi special forces units have been unable to advance for two days — a delay that commanders say isn’t due to counterattacks or difficult terrain, but rather to disagreements about battlefield strategy among the disparate Iraqi forces fighting the Islamic State group. (NYT

The United Nations is still waiting for Syrian government agreement for an aid convoy to enter the besieged town of Daraya and has requested approval to airlift food into four locations if land routes are unavailable, U.N. officials said on Tuesday. (Reuters

The United Nations was forced Tuesday to defend its decision to remove the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen from a blacklist of child rights violators after rights groups expressed dismay. (AFP

The European Union on Monday proposed expanding a United Nations Security Council mandate for a European naval operation to allow it to crack down on arms smuggling in the high seas off war-torn Libya, though Russia voiced concerns about the idea. (Reuters


Suspected militants in Bangladesh hacked an elderly Hindu priest to death on Tuesday, in what police suspected was the latest in a spate of attacks by Islamists on minority groups in the majority-Muslim country. (Reuters

India has agreed to work toward joining the Paris Agreement on climate change this year, India and the United States said on Tuesday, giving momentum to the international fight to curb global warming. (Reuters

North Korea has restarted production of plutonium fuel, a senior State Department official said on Tuesday, showing that it plans to pursue its nuclear weapons program in defiance of international sanctions. (Reuters

About 200 family, friends and journalists gathered on the outskirts of Kabul on Tuesday to bury a journalist killed in a militant attack on Sunday while assisting an NPR news crew in southern Afghanistan. (Reuters

Poor families in the Philippines are pushing their children into performing live sex online for paedophiles around the globe in what one senior UNICEF official called a form of “child slavery”. (Reuters

The Americas

Venezuelan riot police blocked the opposition from marching on the electoral authority’s headquarters Tuesday, firing tear gas to break up a march demanding President Nicolas Maduro face a recall referendum. (AFP

Brazil’s political crisis heated up Tuesday, as authorities reportedly sought the arrests of senior figures behind the push to impeach suspended president Dilma Rousseff, accusing them of obstructing a corruption probe. (AFP

Venezuela’s mango season is providing some relief during worsening food shortages that are forcing the poor to skip meals and sparking a rash of lootings. (Reuters

Haiti’s interim president, Jocelerme Privert, said he will stay in office until next year to transfer power to an elected president unless parliament rules otherwise, after the electoral council on Monday scrapped the results of a disputed presidential vote. (Reuters

Mexico’s ruling party lost several bastions in regional elections to the center-right opposition, dealing a heavy blow to President Enrique Pena Nieto for failing to crack down on corruption and gang violence. (VOA

…and the rest

EU countries cannot jail illegal migrants just for crossing borders inside the passport-free Schengen area, the bloc’s top court ruled Tuesday, in a new blow to efforts to tackle the migration crisis. (AFP

The European Union unveiled plans Tuesday to seal agreements with African and Middle East countries in an effort to persuade refugees to stay close to home and to discourage people looking for jobs from heading to Europe. (AP

Norway’s parliament has agreed on a goal to cut the country’s net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2030, moving the target forward by 20 years, an official at the national assembly said on Tuesday. (Reuters

The National Gallery of Denmark has replaced the word “negro” with “African” in titles and descriptions of artworks in an effort to remove colonial terminology from its collection. (AP


Child marriage in Nepal: ‘A girl is a girl, not a wife’ (Guardian

Will Modi Seal Paris Climate Deal? (VOA

Briefing – who’s who in Burundi’s armed opposition (IRIN

A mass grave was found in CAR. Will Congolese troops face justice? (UN Dispatch

Migrant rescue at sea unites 1 family, breaks up another (AP