Gabon is Sinking Deep into Crisis

A disputed election result is plunging this tiny country deep into crisis that could have region-wide implications. “Gabon’s opposition leader Jean Ping has told the BBC a presidential guard helicopter bombed his headquarters and killed two people. A government spokesman said the operation was to root out ‘criminals’ who had set fire to parliament. Protestors took to the streets on Wednesday claiming fraud after it was announced that President Ali Bongo had been narrowly re-elected. Some 1,000 people have been arrested, officials say. In a national address, Mr Bongo said ‘democracy does not sit well with an attack on parliament’. Protests and gunfire continued in the capital Libreville on Thursday.” (BBC

Massive Protests in Venezuela…Thousands took to the streets here on Thursday to demand the ouster of President Nicolás Maduro in what appeared to be the year’s largest display of frustration with Venezuela’s economic collapse and leadership. The march, which protesters called “the taking of Caracas,” was organized by political opponents of the country’s ruling leftists. The marchers took over a major highway and several avenues in Caracas, the nation’s capital, and poured into the city’s plazas in an effort to gain momentum for a referendum to recall Mr. Maduro.” (NYT

Quote of the day: “The politicians said after the deaths in my family: Never again! Everyone claimed they wanted to do something because of the photo that touched them so much. But what is happening now? People are still dying and nobody is doing anything about it.”  The bereaved father of Aylan Kurdi the three-year-old Syrian boy whose death became a rallying cry last year. Germany’s Bild daily. (AFP  


The European Union said on Thursday that the official announcement of election results in Gabon had plunged the African country into a “deep crisis” and said that verification of each polling station result was required. (Reuters

Violence broke out on Thursday between supporters of rival Congolese opposition parties, exposing deep divisions among President Joseph Kabila’s adversaries over whether to engage in talks about a delayed presidential election. (Reuters

The U.N. Security Council is expected to arrive in South Sudan on Friday for a rare three-day visit to the troubled nation on the edge of renewed civil war. (AP

South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan denied Thursday that he was failing to cooperate with a police investigation, in a worsening row that has shaken the government as the economy weakens. (AFP

Liberia has the highest proportion of children missing out on primary school education, the United Nations said on Thursday, with nearly two-thirds of its children never stepping inside a classroom. (Reuters

Telling your child that you’re HIV positive is hard, but one South African group is giving advice and support to mothers living with the virus. (Guardian

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered police to arrest and make an example of government officials accused of stealing food aid intended for victims of Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria, the president’s spokesman said on Thursday. (Reuters


Holding their crying babies in their arms, dozens of Egyptian mothers have rallied on a major Cairo road, blocking traffic to protest severe shortages of subsidized baby formula. (AP

Suspected government warplanes carried out several airstrikes in Syria’s Hama on Thursday, killing at least 25 people, amid a lightning advance by insurgents on government-controlled areas of the central province. (AP

Israeli troops clashed with Palestinian protesters at a flashpoint shrine in the occupied West Bank overnight, leaving one soldier shot and wounded, authorities said on Thursday. (AFP

The UN Syria envoy on Thursday criticised Damascus’ “strategy” of forced evacuation from Daraya following a brutal four-year government siege, warning that other besieged towns could follow. (AFP

Syria’s opposition plans to unveil its plans for a political transition to help end the country’s five-year war at a meeting of ministers in London next week, a delegate said. (Reuters

Turkey’s disaster management agency AFAD said on Thursday it had started work on delivering aid to the Syrian border town of Jarablus, where Syrian rebels backed by Turkish tanks and special forces pushed out Islamic State fighters last week. (Reuters


Hong Kong schools are becoming a new battleground in a nascent campaign for the city’s independence, with some young activists starting the new term on Thursday by defying authorities with calls for a split from mainland China. (Reuters

US lawmakers are pressing Washington to get tough on institutionalized sexual slavery of boys by Afghan forces, with some invoking a human rights law that prohibits American aid to foreign military units committing such violations. (AFP

Pakistan’s military on Thursday said it has halted Islamic State’s attempts to expand there, arresting more than 300 people, including some Syrians, who were involved in plotting attacks on government, diplomatic and civilian targets. (Reuters

The legacy of the Vietnam War and its enduring consequences will feature prominently during a visit next week by Barack Obama, the first ever by a US president to Laos. (AP

A Thai man accused of masterminding the smuggling and trafficking of Rohingya migrants fleeing Myanmar has been jailed for 35 years, a court said Thursday. (AFP

China intensified its checks on people and goods arriving from Singapore on Thursday, as an outbreak of the Zika virus in the small city-state was confirmed to have spread to at least one person in neighboring Malaysia. (Reuters

The Americas

Brazil’s new leader Michel Temer began his presidency in earnest Thursday vowing to heal the crisis-stricken Latin American giant after senators fired his defiant rival Dilma Rousseff in an emotional impeachment trial. (AP

Hermine gathered strength to reach hurricane status on Thursday as residents of Florida’s northern Gulf Coast scrambled for sandbags, stocked up on food and evacuated low-lying areas ahead of what their governor called “a life-threatening storm.” (Reuters

President Enrique Pena Nieto’s meeting with Mexico’s most-disliked man is turning into a public relations disaster for a leader already struggling with historically low popularity ratings. (AP

Donald Trump is retreating from his vow to deport everyone living in the United States illegally, even as he sticks with an aggressive tone on illegal immigration and remains committed to building a physical wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. (AP

…and the rest

Germany’s military launched a pilot project Thursday to help Syrian refugees learn civil reconstruction skills, in hopes that they will eventually be able to help rebuild their homeland. (AP

Three small opposition parties in Hungary are calling for a boycott of a government-sponsored referendum seeking support for opposing any future European Union plans to resettle refugees among member countries. (AP

Pope Francis called on Thursday for concerted action against environmental degradation and climate change, renewing a fierce attack on consumerism and financial greed which, he said, were threatening the planet. (Reuters

British health officials are bracing for an unprecedented five-day junior doctors strike announced for mid-September. (AP


How the UN is Shoring Up the Historic Peace Deal in Colombia (UN Dispatch

Hope that a woman will be the next U.N. secretary-general is fading (Humanosphere

Honduras still a death trap for environmental activists six months after Berta Cáceres’ slaying  (Inter Press Service

Five myths about women’s economic empowerment (ODI

Saving Africa’s elephants: ‘Can you imagine them no longer existing?’ (Guardian

Still Doing the Right Thing (Africa is a Country

Calcutta Isn’t Just The City Of Mother Teresa (Goats and Soda

Making it count: a new way to measure development finance (ODI