Happy 70th, UN Charter

The treaty that created the United Nations turns 70 years old today. On June 26, 1945 leaders from 50 of the original member states gathered in San Francisco to sign the United Nations Charter. Ban Ki Moon is back in the Bay Area today for celebrations to commemorate the event. Mark speaks with historian Stephen Schlesinger who discusses the fascinating–and legitimately entertaining —  historiography of the UN Charter. A naked Winston Churchill is central to this story. UN Nerds, international affairs enthusiasts and history buffs will enjoy this conversation.  (Global Dispatches Podcast  http://bit.ly/1LsdWek)

More Trouble in Burundi. The USA and Belgium are in the Thick of It…”One of Burundi’s vice presidents has fled to Belgium, saying he had been threatened after denouncing President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term in office, an allegation denied by Burundi’s government…Rallies have petered out but the mood remains tense. Three grenade attacks in the capital on Thursday injured several people, the latest in a series of similar assaults in the past week that have killed four people and injured dozens in Bujumbura and other towns. The U.S. embassy said students camped out in a nearby construction site had fled after police entered the area on Thursday, and about 100 had taken refuge in an embassy parking area. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1SNst6C)

Pledges total $3bn for Nepal Recovery…”International donors and multilateral agencies have pledged about $3 billion in aid to help rebuild Nepal as it struggles to recover from a devastating earthquake.  The Himalayan nation got the largest pledges from its two giant neighbors, India and China.” (VOA http://bit.ly/1SNrFia)

And the most peaceful country in the world is…According to the nonprofit Institute for Economics and Peace, Iceland, the thinly populated island in the midst of the North Atlantic has retained its place as the most peaceful country in the world. (CNN http://cnn.it/1GtAbuW)

Should I stay, or should I go? South Africa said it may withdraw from the International Criminal Court after controversy rose last week over its refusal to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on genocide charges. (VOA http://bit.ly/1Jlyi9E)

Quote of the Day: “We must face hard truths — if the current rate of new HIV infections continues, merely sustaining the major efforts we already have in place will not be enough to stop deaths from AIDS increasing within five years in many countries,” said Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1QRLcAr)


Authorities in Sierra Leone quarantined three doctors and 28 nurses in the capital Freetown when a mother tested positive for Ebola after giving birth, the health ministry said on Thursday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1GKkyS1)

Guinea will put four villages under a 21-day quarantine as part of a robust strategy to stamp out a lingering Ebola epidemic after new cases of the disease were discovered there. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1Jlzda9)

The United Nations said it has started an emergency program to distribute planting seeds and medical aid as a food and health crisis looms in northern Cameroon. The region is hosting thousands of refugees and people internally displaced by Boko Haram fighting. (VOA http://bit.ly/1GKkxha)

Warring forces in South Sudan have abducted as many as a thousand more child soldiers in the latest abuses in the 18-month long civil war, monitors said Thursday, amid fresh efforts to bring rivals back to talks. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Lxr42W)

Africa can create jobs, improve social services and cut poverty if its governments can stem the $50 billion a year lost in illicit outflows, mainly through multinationals, campaigners said on Thursday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1LxqYIK)

A Tanzanian court ordered an Islamist rebel leader on Thursday to be extradited to Uganda to face murder charges, though he said he would appeal against the decision. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1Lxrian)

The British government told Ethiopia on Thursday its treatment of an imprisoned opposition figure, who is also a British national, was unacceptable and that the case risked hurting ties between the two countries. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Lxr6bb)

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, joint operations by the Congolese army and the United Nations mission MONUSCO have weakened one of the most active rebel groups in the country.  The mission chief said that about a quarter of the combatants with the FRPI rebel group have been taken out of action in the past four weeks. (VOA http://bit.ly/1GKkzFJ)

China’s Defence Ministry on Thursday declined to confirm a report that it was in talks for a military base in Horn of Africa country Djibouti, though it said all countries had an interest in regional peace and stability. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1Jlz5aA)


Show me the money…United Nations aid agencies said on Thursday that a $4.5 billion appeal to tackle the Syrian refugee crisis in 2015 was less than a quarter funded, putting millions of vulnerable people at risk, and had already led to cuts in vital assistance. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Lxr5DZ)

Eight international NGOs delivering desperately needed food, blankets and medical aid to war-torn Syria have finally been granted legal status in Turkey after years of deadlocked applications. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1Jlyt4Z)

Journalists face unprecedented threats in President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s Egypt, a watchdog group said Thursday, with the highest number behind bars since it began keeping records in 1990. (AP http://yhoo.it/1GKkthp)


The worst heat wave to hit Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi for nearly 35 years has killed more than 1,000 people, a charity said on Thursday, as morgues ran out of space and public hospitals struggled to cope. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Lxr3Mj)

South Korea on Thursday announced a $14 billion stimulus package to boost its troubled economy, hammered by the deadly MERS outbreak which has dented consumer spending and business sentiment. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1GKkrGb)

The Americas

A US House of Representatives Homeland Security subcommittee held a hearing Wednesday on the possible security risks involved with resettling some of the estimated 4 million refugees from the brutal civil war in Syria in the United States.  (VOA http://bit.ly/1Lxrgiy)

President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced a reform of U.S. policies for dealing with kidnappers. Mr. Obama said the U.S. will use “all instruments of national power” to recover Americans held by terrorists in other countries. (VOA http://bit.ly/1LxriHd)

As spotlight returns to decades-long violence against native women and girls in Canada, calls for national inquiry have been rebuffed but groups refuse to give up. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1QRL4kz)

…and the rest

Britain’s Foreign Office has launched an inquiry into its foreign aid spending after a tabloid newspaper reported that it had spent thousands of pounds on initiatives such as Hamlet workshops in Ecuador and a television game show in Ethiopia. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1SNs4kv)

Faced with increasing chaos at its borders, the EU Commission is urging member states to take a tougher stance on migrant returns. Draft conclusions from Thursday’s EU summit in Brussels note that “all tools shall be mobilised to promote readmission of illegal migrants to countries of origin and transit,” and that an increased budget will be made available to support more effective returns. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1QRKRO6)


The Perfect Package for Reducing Poverty Is Made Up of Different Parts (The Conversation http://bit.ly/1QRL5Vr)

Health sector first casualty of Myanmar aid cuts (DevPolicy http://bit.ly/1LFQbxx)

When foreign companies want local land (WhyDev http://bit.ly/1KcNp41)

Internet in Africa – Empowerment or Exploitation? (DW http://bit.ly/1LxriqV)

Ten reasons why European governments should back a global tax body (Reuters http://bit.ly/1Jly4zz)

Development finance’s $83bn question: who will pay for gender equality?(Guardian http://bit.ly/1SNs1oO)

Just when I despair that decades of intellectual work on development have fallen on deaf ears, comes stuff like this (Chris Blattman http://bit.ly/1BM8O2R)

Tackling Grand Corruption: Guatemala’s Successful Experiment (Global Anticorruption Blog http://bit.ly/1KcOXuQ)

Who is the richest man in history? (From Poverty to Power http://bit.ly/1KcOd8X)

Term limits in central Africa: utility or artifact? (Eyes Wide Open http://bit.ly/1KcOkBm)
This giant mural in downtown Oakland Commemorates the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations Charter. (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1Lx3R0X)