Iran Elects More Female Parliamentarians than Clerics


This counts as progress. “The president of Iran has congratulated voters on electing a record number of women to parliament since before the 1979 Islamic revolution. It was President Hassan Rouhani’s first reaction to the results of Friday’s run-off election, in which moderates and reformists won a working majority. The 17 women elected make up 6% of the new cohort of 290 MPs. Only 16 cleric MPs have been voted in, meaning the new parliament will include more women than religious leaders…The BBC’s Kasra Naji says the results signal “a major shift in public support away from hardline Islamic conservatives”. Friday’s run-off election was held in constituencies where no candidate had won the minimum proportion of the vote in a first round in February. Four women were elected in the run-off, joining other women who had been voted in already.” (BBC

Can Kerry salvage the Syria ceasefire? U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is due late Sunday in Geneva as part of a U.S. bid to reaffirm a U.S.-Russian mediated cease-fire as violence escalates in Syria, especially in its largest city, Aleppo. “The secretary made clear that ending the violence in Aleppo and returning ultimately to a durable, nationwide cessation is a top priority,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said before the top U.S. diplomat departed Washington. Meanwhile, Russian General Sergei Kuralenko told Russian news agencies talks are under way to halt the Syrian bombardment of the rebel stronghold in Aleppo.” (VOA

USAID wants to pay you to stop Zika…The U.S. Agency for International Development wants to crowdsource innovation to fight the current Zika outbreak and diseases of the future — using the model it employed to respond to the Ebola crisis in 2014. The agency is offering a $30 million investment pot to innovators with groundbreaking ideas for technologies to combat the virus, which is spread primarily through mosquito bites, and other emerging diseases. (FedScoop

A holiday cruise with with historic implication… “Sunny skies greeted travelers at PortMiami Sunday as they waited to board the Adonia cruise ship on Carnival Corp’s historic voyage to Cuba, the first cruise ship to depart a U.S. port to the Communist-led island in decades. “ (Sun Sentinal


Kenyan rescuers continued searching for survivors Sunday of a residential building in a low income area that collapsed Friday, as officials said the death toll has risen to 20 with 73 people remain missing. (WaPo

Al Shabaab insurgents killed 15 Somali soldiers and retook a town northeast of the capital Mogadishu on Sunday, just one day after it had fallen to government forces, the military said. (Reuters

A coalition of opponents of DR Congo President Joseph Kabila announced Sunday former regional governor Moise Katumbi as their “joint opposition candidate” for presidential elections due before the end of the year. (AFP

With US and European support, African states threatened by Boko Haram are out to smash the militant Islamist group terrorising the region — but a coordinated response is required if they are to succeed. (AFP

The Comoros constitutional court on Saturday ordered a partial re-run of the country’s April 10 presidential ballot due to “irregularities”, a decision that could reverse the close election result. (AFP

An African Development Bank-supported training for the Kenya Police and Judiciary in handling gender-based cyber violence kicked off in Nairobi, Kenya. (All Africa )


An Indian steelworker taken ill at a Qatar World Cup site has died, organisers of the 2022 tournament announced in a statement on Saturday. (AFP

Yemen’s government temporarily suspended Sunday its participation in talks with Iran-backed rebels in protest at their takeover of a military base and continued ceasefire violations, officials said. (AFP

Egyptian police prevented hundreds of workers from holding a meeting in Cairo to commemorate International Workers’ Day on Sunday, while independent trade union leaders urged the government to allow them freedom of assembly. (AP

Supporters of Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr announced their withdrawal from Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone on Sunday, packing up and leaving just a day after they stormed parliament and began a sit-in. (WaPo

Two police officers were killed and 22 people wounded in a suicide car bomb attack in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep, the governor and police sources said, in one of two attacks on the security forces on Sunday. (Reuters

Two suicide car bombs claimed by Islamic State killed at least 32 people and wounded 75 others in the center of the southern Iraqi city of Samawa on Sunday, police and medics said. (Reuters

More than 50 people have died in the April 27 airstrikes on the Al Quds hospital and surrounding areas of Aleppo, Syria, including numerous patients and at least six medical staff members, according to Doctors Without Borders, which is one of several organizations that support the hospital. (MSF


US Secretary of State John Kerry called Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and asked her to ensure a thorough investigation into the recent killing of a USAID worker. (

Ten sailors from Indonesia who had been held hostage in the Philippines for more than a month were released on Sunday, officials from both countries said. (NYT

Hundreds of people demonstrated in Vietnam on Sunday against a Taiwanese firm they accuse of causing mass fish deaths along the country’s central coast, with some also blaming the government for a sluggish response to a major environmental disaster. (VOA

The Americas

Hundreds of thousands of Cubans marched Sunday in the country’s annual May Day rally, which condemned a campaign to “destabilize” leftist governments around Latin America. (AFP

Brazil’s embattled leftist President Dilma Rousseff vowed at a protest Sunday to go down fighting ahead of what could be her final full week in power before impeachment. (AFP

Venezuelans lost half an hour of sleep on Sunday when their clocks moved forward to save power, as the country grapples with a deep economic crisis. (BBC

Puerto Rico’s governor will make a televised speech on Sunday ahead of an expected default on $422 million of debt due on Monday, as the U.S. territory’s economic crisis enters its most dire stretch yet. (Reuters

Venezuela’s president is ordering a 30 percent increase in the minimum wage, the latest move by the socialist government to grapple with high inflation and economic stagnation. (AP

…and the rest

Fifteen migrants are missing after their boat sank on Friday, the second shipwreck that day in the Mediterranean, bringing the number of lives lost to almost 100, the UN said Sunday. (AFP


Women are trying to rebuild Nepal house by house. But patriarchy is standing in the way (UN Dispatch

U.S. presidential campaign in the Humanosphere, #2

Is Jim Kim Destroying the World Bank — or Saving it From Itself? (Foreign Policy

Ebola Carriers? Why The Virus Keeps Coming Back (Goats and Soda

The world’s poorest 50% are a trillion dollars worse off – what’s going on? (Guardian

The Ghost of the IMF’s Past (Africa is a Country

Investing in climate action in Africa (Africa Can End Poverty

Clinton Global Initiative to make all commitments public (Devex

Escapism or altruism: what really motivates aid workers? (Guardian