Eritrea, Still Terrible

The country has been a major source of refugees fleeing to Europe. A new report confirms that things are as bad as ever. “U.N. rights investigators accused Eritrean leaders of crimes against humanity including torture, rape and murder on Wednesday and called on the Security Council to impose sanctions and refer the case to the International Criminal Court. Atrocities – including an indefinite military national service programme that amounted to mass enslavement – had been committed since the country’s independence in 1991 and were ongoing, the U.N. Commission of Inquiry said…The inquiry said there had been no improvement since a year ago when it published a 484-page dossier describing extrajudicial killings, widespread torture, sexual slavery and enforced labour. (Reuters

Terror in Tel Aviv…”Two Palestinian gunmen opened fire on civilians in a popular restaurant area in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night, killing three and wounding several others, the Israeli police and hospital officials said. The police called the shootings a terrorist attack. According to initial reports, security officers shot one of the assailants near the scene. The assailants were identified by the police as Palestinian cousins in their 20s from the town of Yatta, which is south of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.” (NYT

Terror in Port Moresby…”More than 20 people have been wounded after police in Papua New Guinea opened fire on a student protest Wednesday in the capital of Port Moresby, with reports, that at least four people had been killed.” (VOA

Stat of the Day…The world’s expensive slide into violence and unrest continued last year, with conflict, terrorism and political instability costing the global economy $13.6 trillion, according to the annual global peace index. (Guardian

Dropped Quote of the Day…Narendra Modi did not read a passage from his prepared remarks to US Congress that said he and Obama “have agreed” that making India a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council “has to be an intrinsic part of this century’s new reality.”  (WaPo


Nearly 100 people have been kidnapped in northeast DR Congo during an attack blamed on Uganda’s rebel Lord’s Resistance Army, the United Nations said Wednesday. (AFP

Some 2,000 troops from regional military powerhouse Chad headed to neighbouring Niger on Wednesday, where Boko Haram insurgents inflicted heavy losses in the town of Bosso last week, a military source said. (AFP

The newly reconciled leaders of South Sudan have called for a South Africa-style truth commission to heal the scars of war in the world’s youngest country. (Guardian

An Eritrean man suspected of running a huge human trafficking network that sent thousands of migrants to Europe, leaving many to die on the way, was extradited from Sudan to Italy overnight, officials said. (Reuters

The Niger Delta Avengers militant group on Wednesday rejected a truce offer to end attacks on key oil infrastructure that has cut output in Nigeria, and claimed another strike. (AFP

Nearly 6 million school children’s education could be affected by Ethiopia’s worst drought in 50 years. (Save the Children

Democratic Republic of Congo’s government said it would launch a fresh crackdown on criminal gangs and defended its previous such operation against allegations from a human rights group that it executed 51 people. (Reuters

Tanzanian police banned all opposition protests till further notice after security forces used tear gas to disperse a crowd rallying against “undemocratic actions” by President John Magufuli’s government. (Reuters

South Africa’s economy contracted by 1.2 percent at the start of the year in a surprisingly sharp downturn for Africa’s most industrialised nation, official statistics showed Wednesday. (AFP

For a large majority of Euro-MPs, the G7’s decision to base its program for food security in Africa on intensive agriculture is a mistake. The European parliament took its first official stance on the subject with the adoption of a report on the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. (Guardian


Syrian government airstrikes on rebel-held neighbourhoods of divided second city Aleppo killed at least 15 civilians on Wednesday, a monitor said. (AFP

A Libyan navy spokesman says 117 migrants, including six pregnant women, have been rescued off the North African country’s Mediterranean coast. (AP


A United Nations report is warning that poor air quality and climate change are the two greatest threats to public health in a vast zone stretching from Europe to central Asia. (AP

Four Malaysian sailors kidnapped by Filipino gunmen in April were freed on the southern Philippine island of Jolo on Wednesday, a Philippine army spokesman said. (Reuters

Online retail giant Amazon is investing $3 billion into its India operations, according to founder Jeff Bezos, who was speaking at the U.S.-India Business Council Annual Leadership Summit in Washington, DC, on Tuesday as a part of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s U.S visit. (VOA

The Americas

Peruvians waited Wednesday to learn who their next president will be, as ex-Wall Street banker Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s camp called his lead insurmountable and controversial rival Keiko Fujimori insisted she still had a shot. (AP

Just 11.3 percent of Brazilians support the government of Brazil’s acting president Michel Temer, according to a survey released Wednesday. (AFP

Video report: El Salvador is contending with an epidemic of gang violence. (IRIN

While some people in Venezuela hunt through the garbage piles for food they can eat, many more are drawn by the opportunity to fetch a few bolivar bills by rescuing and reselling bruised produce. (AP

…and the rest

A report released by The Small Arms Survey shows the alarming rate at which the trade of small arms and light weapons has been increasing. (IPS


No group illustrates the potential impact of long term refugee status like Palestinians (UN Dispatch

In Indonesia, attempts continue at addressing 1965 massacre (Humanosphere

When disaster strikes, should China do more? (IRIN

Why can’t South Sudan have truth and trials? (Guardian

Why is the World Bank providing support to Côte d’Ivoire? (Africa Can End Poverty

Are UK aid contractors doing enough to make local firms competitive? (Devex

Saudi Arabia has been given a free pass to bomb schools and hospitals in Yemen (Guardian

Unearthing the Hidden Gems of Africa’s Funk Era (VOA

Britain’s progress on the SDGs is ‘insufficient’ (ODI

IRC chief: No summit success until it changes life on the ground (Devex

Unpacking Rudd’s strategy in the race for UN chief (The Inerpreter