Election Day in Uganda

The country is very clearly on edge. “Fear of violence hangs over the Ugandan capital Kampala as the country heads to polls on Thursday to decide whether to re-elect as president a man who has held power for 30 years. President Yoweri Museveni faces challenges from his former personal physician Kizza Besigye and Amama Mbabazi, his former prime minister. Five others, including a female candidate, are also in contention for the presidency. But in a country with the traumatic legacy of the Idi Amin dictatorship and the civil war that propelled Museveni to power in 1986, the concerns of many voters were encapsulated by Sophie, a 21-year-old restaurant assistant in Kampala. Told by her boss that she needed to work on Thursday, which has been declared a national holiday, she said: ‘Oh, you want us to be teargassed or shot?’” (Guardian http://bit.ly/210aIIT)

Missive of the Day: Victor Ochen, a Ugandan civil society leader and the youngest African ever to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, pens an open letter to all candidates on the eve of the election. Money quote: “There is no shame in losing a free and fair election, just as there is no peace in ruling a violent and bloody claimed election victory.” (African Youth Initiative http://bit.ly/1LuoqXX)

Ankara Bombing…A car bomb went off in the Turkish capital Wednesday near vehicles carrying military personnel, killing at least 28 people and wounding 61 others, officials said. The explosion occurred during evening rush hour in the heart of Ankara, in an area close to parliament and armed forces headquarters and lodgings. Buses carrying military personnel were targeted while waiting at traffic lights at an intersection, the Turkish military said while condemning the ‘contemptible and dastardly’ attack.” (CBS http://cbsn.ws/210b2qW)

The Yemen Conflict is Going to Be Very Costly…The United Nations is preparing to ask international donors for $1.8 billion to pay for humanitarian aid to millions of people in Yemen this year. U.N. humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien told the Security Council the appeal will be launched on Thursday.  He laid out the effects of the devastation Yemen has experienced in the past 12 months, and said the money would pay for food, water, sanitation and urgent healthcare for up to 10.6 million people. (VOA http://bit.ly/1TqLI8I)

Shine bright like a…A massive, 404-carat diamond measuring more than 7 centimeters (2.7 inches) in length has been unearthed in the southern African nation of Angola, an Australian mining company said. (AP http://yhoo.it/1VnbTLs)


Nearly 1 million children need treatment for severe malnutrition in eastern and southern Africa due to drought that is putting millions more at risk of hunger, water shortages and disease, the U.N. children’s agency said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1VniPIF)

The successful delivery of food aid to thousands of people uprooted by Boko Haram violence in Chad and cut off from help since November may reflect improving security in the West African nation. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1mHufe6)

A group of Malian families who lost loved ones in the Saudi hajj disaster in September has criticized the kingdom’s response to the crush and stampede that killed at least 2,426 people. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Vnnx9g)

South Africa’s worst drought in over a century has pushed around 50,000 below the poverty line, the World Bank said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1QlOTbn)

Senegal’s President Macky Sall said on Tuesday he will complete a seven-year mandate that runs until 2019, ditching a promise made during his election campaign to cut the term to five years. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1TqLHlp)


German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday that it would be good for the people in Aleppo and the area around it to create “a kind of no fly zone” up to the Turkish border, reiterating comments she made on Monday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1VniMfZ)

Doctors Without Borders said Wednesday rescuers pulled three wounded people from the rubble of a hospital in northern Syria that was destroyed by an airstrike. (VOA http://bit.ly/1TqIKkR)

President Barack Obama has vowed not to let the Islamic State build a base in Libya, saying the United States would take action where there was a “clear target”. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1TqKCd6)

The United States is coming under increasingly bitter criticism for its perceived lack of leadership over Syria as the country’s brutal civil conflict heads toward new levels of intensity. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1TqKY3H)

Israel is using its world-leading expertise in cyber security to take on the growing threat of the global pro-Palestinian movement to boycott Israel. (AP http://yhoo.it/1KWu1v3)

Humanitarian aid has reached the embattled city center of Taiz in Yemen for the first time in months, the United Nations said on Tuesday, following negotiations to allow supplies into the area described as being on the brink of famine. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1TqIUZf)

At least 100 trucks of humanitarian aid were preparing to set off for besieged areas of Syria from Damascus on Wednesday, the Syrian Red Crescent said, in the latest delivery of supplies to trapped residents. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1TqIIt8)


Human Rights Watch accused Afghanistan’s Taliban of recruiting scores of children to its ranks for insurgent activities, including the production and planting of improvised explosive devices. The militant group has denied this. (VOA http://bit.ly/1TqIUIR)

Fighting broke out on Wednesday at an Indian court hearing a case against a left-wing student leader accused of sedition, a charge that has sparked protests across university campuses and criticism the government is curtailing free speech. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1TqIGS8)

Indonesia’s most influential Muslim leaders said Wednesday they reject all promotion and support for lesbian and gay groups and encouraged the government to make gay sex and the promotion of LGBT activities illegal. (AP http://yhoo.it/1QlOS7a)

Reports that China has deployed an advanced surface-to-air missile system to one of the disputed islands it controls in the South China Sea have been created by certain Western media, the country’s foreign minister said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1TqLwqe)

For many Indian farmers in Bundelkhand, blood is the new cash crop – a source of guaranteed income as they exhaust other ways of making ends meet. In India, blood donors are not usually paid. But some hospitals buy blood, even though it is against the law. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1PQKSwi)

The Americas

Celebrating Mass in Ciudad Juarez, a city just across the border from the United States, Francis delivered a stinging critique of leaders on both sides of the fence, calling the “forced migration” of thousands of Central Americans a “human tragedy” and “humanitarian crisis.” (CNN http://cnn.it/1LuocQw)

Lawmakers in Venezuela’s opposition-controlled legislature approved an amnesty for jailed foes of President Nicolas Maduro, who has pledged to veto the bill. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1TqKUAT)

…and the rest

Police in northeastern Turkey have clashed with hundreds of activists and local residents trying to prevent the construction of a copper mine in the region. (AP http://yhoo.it/1TqIHW0)

Factbox: What would ‘Brexit’ look like? (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1TqLD58)


Kanye’s misrepresentation of Africa and Development (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/1TqviNE)

There’s More Aid Than Ever, So Why Are Poorest Nations Getting Less? (Tiny Spark http://bit.ly/1KWz92j)

Requiem for a U.N. Chief Who Fought Washington — and Lost (Foreign Policy http://atfp.co/1TqSDyP)

With Zika Looming, What’s It Like At A Maternity Clinic In Colombia? (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/1KWza6D)

From potatoes to solar panels, local innovations are key to resilience (Guardian  http://bit.ly/1KWAHcN)

How to Get African Films We All Should See Onto Our Screens (The Conversation http://bit.ly/1QlKt4p)

Confusion Abounds About Zika Virus (VOA http://bit.ly/1KWwyW9)

How the LRA still haunts northern Uganda (IRIN http://bit.ly/1mHvvOy)

To Empower Communities, Empower Women (Development Diaries http://bit.ly/1PQP2nW)

Young people on Ugandan elections: ‘It is time for President Museveni to move on’ (Guardian http://bit.ly/1TqS5ZN)

Burundi’s Independent Media Finds Itself in the Crossfire of a Deadly Crisis (Global Voices http://bit.ly/1TqS9ZF)