Europe Joins China-Lead Development Bank

This is a stunner. Major European economies have decided to join a Chinese based rival to the World Bank. Washington is none too pleased. “The United States lobbied its allies not to join the new China-based bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, or A.I.I.B. The U.S. sees the rival bank as duplicating and perhaps undermining the role of the Washington-based World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and also the Asian Development Bank, which has its headquarters in the Philippines, a close American ally at odds with Beijing over the South China Sea…The new bank was initially proposed by President Xi to help fund infrastructure projects in poor Asian countries, something the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank already do. China has pledged a large part of the initial $50 billion of capital, and Beijing hopes the institution will contribute to the expansion of its power base in Asia, even as its growing might, economic and military, reshapes the political dynamics of the region and beyond.” (NYT

A Darfur drawdown? Even as the International Criminal Court scolds the U.N. Security Council to make sure a defiant al-Bashir faces trial on charges of orchestrating genocide in Sudan’s western Darfur region, the United Nations appears to be easing away from the conflict. (VOA

Cold case gone hot…United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, appointed an independent panel of experts to examine new information that has emerged from the investigation into the death of former U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld. (IPS

Sierra Leone vowed to ensure the safety of its vice-president, who went into hiding after soldiers stormed his residence, as community leaders voiced fears over the stability of the west African nation. (AFP

Stat of the Day: Health officials say the number of tuberculosis cases in Europe is continuing to decline, dropping 6 percent in 2013 to about 360,000. (AP

Quote of the Day: “Access to water in health centres and even in delivery rooms has fallen between the gaps in the millennium development goals,” said Bruce Gordon, coordinator of water, sanitation, hygiene and health for the WHO. “It’s an embarrassment for the health sector that this issue is so ignored. It’s a fixable crisis. It’s a crisis because it’s hidden.”


South Sudan’s rebels confirmed Tuesday they were engaged in renewed heavy clashes with government forces in the country’s oil-rich north, but accused their rivals of initiating the fighting. (AFP

Ex-Ivory Coast first lady Simone Gbagbo has appealed the 20-year term she got for her role in post-election violence that killed over 3,000 people, her lawyer announced. (AFP

Uganda on Monday stood by plans to send more than 240 of its health workers to the Caribbean despite a Belgian threat to cut 11 million euros in aid. (AFP

The United States is defending its support of an event in Congo, where an American diplomat, activists and journalists were arrested. (AP

Lesotho has inaugurated a new prime minister, who came to power after forming a coalition government following a special election. (AP

Protesters at the University of Cape Town in South Africa tossed excrement on a campus statue of British colonialist Cecil Rhodes, arguing the monument is a tribute to the white domination of the past. Since then, student demonstrators have demanded removal of the statue and organized a “Rhodes must fall” campaign on social media. (AP


The US military said it is “concerned” about reports that Islamic State jihadists used chlorine gas in an attack against Kurdish forces, but it could not confirm the account. (AFP

North African cities are leading the way as the continent and its growing middle class lay down “solid economic roots” which are very appealing to investors, according to a new report published Tuesday. (AFP

A group monitoring the Syrian civil war said on Tuesday government forces carried out a poison gas attack that killed six people in the northwest, and medics posted videos of children suffering what they said was suffocation. (Reuters

Resources in Syria’s neighboring countries are stretched to the limit and in the Jordanian capital, workers say prices and tensions are rising quickly as international aid becomes harder to attain. (VOA

Four years since the Arab Spring that swept away regimes elsewhere in north Africa, critics say Morocco is letting slide the freedoms King Mohammed promoted as a concession to the protesters of 2011. (VOA


The survivors of Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu are desperate for water, food and safe shelter, the Red Cross said on Tuesday as it launched an emergency appeal for 3.9 million Swiss francs. (TRF

Colombia’s criminal gangs pose the biggest threat to Colombians and are responsible for human trafficking, rights abuses and for forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes each year, the United Nations said. (TRF

The U.N. human rights investigator for North Korea said on Monday that he would probe allegations of an estimated 20,000 North Koreans working in slave-like conditions abroad, mainly in China, Russia and the Middle East. (Reuters

The United Nations is concerned by the presence of Islamic State in Afghanistan but says the militant group’s power to unite insurgents is more significant than its capabilities in the war-torn country, a top U.N. official said. (Reuters

Michelle Obama won’t avoid Cambodia’s human rights record when she visits the southeast Asian nation this week, her final stop on a two-country trip to promote a new U.S. initiative to help millions of girls worldwide attend and complete school, the White House said Monday. (AP

The Americas

Brazilian prosecutors formally charged 27 more people in a broadening corruption scandal, including the treasurer of the ruling Workers’ Party João Vaccari and the former head of services at state-run oil company Petrobras Renato Duque. (Reuters

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff pledged to hold talks with her growing number of critics and said her embattled government needed to show humility, a day after massive protests erupted across the country. (AFP

…and the rest

Alarming figures on a lack of clean water in health centres have been highlighted in a joint report published on Tuesday by the WHO and UNICEF. (Guardian

Economic losses due to natural disasters have tripled over the past decade, with farmers bearing nearly a quarter of the burden in poor countries, a U.N. study said on Tuesday. (TRF


Honour amongst aid workers (Devpolicy Blog

9 Syrian artists telling the stories of a country torn apart by war (GlobalPost

Labour Beyond Aid (Roving Bandit

Will Syrian War Criminals Ever Face Justice? (UN Dispatch

Kabila’s ruling coalition frays as succession battle deepens (Congo Siasa

Time for the South to step up and help finance development? (ODI

Coaxing the dragon: Why China should join the great aid debate (IRIN

Why are protesters furious with Brazil’s President? (CNN

If You’re One Of The World’s 382 Million Diabetics, Your Wages May Dip (Goats and Soda

Helpdesk Research Report: Relationship between humanitarian and development aid