Syrian children stand in the entryway of their tent shelter in the Bab Al Salame camp for internally displaced persons in Aleppo Governate. Photo: UNICEF/Giovanni Diffidenti

Major NGO Booted from Syria

Mercy Corps provides relief to hundreds of thousands of people on both sides of the border. “In the increasing welter of warfare in northern Syria, one of the biggest U.S.-based humanitarian organizations operating in the area has become collateral damage, at least temporarily—and perhaps a sign of worsening relations between the government of Turkey and the Trump Administration. Mercy Corps, based in Portland, Ore., and one of the biggest non-government relief organizations in the world, was abruptly told on March 7 to shut down all its operations in Turkey, which are overwhelmingly aimed at providing cross-border aid to hundreds of thousands of refugees in neighboring northern Syria. The shutdown affects some 300 relief workers. Expatriates among them would have to leave the country and local workers would be laid off.” (Fox

Yet Another Attack on Medical Workers…“Gunmen disguised as doctors stormed a military hospital in the Afghan capital on Wednesday, leaving at least 30 people dead and scores injured after a bombing and a six-hour gun battle. The assault was claimed by the Islamic State extremist group. A suicide bomber detonated explosives at the front gates, then gunmen opened fire on guards stationed inside the fortified medical compound. Several attackers were able to reach the second floor, where they fought police special forces much of the day. Military officials said the attack was quelled by about 4pm local time.” (SMH

Taking the World Bank to court…Peasants in Honduras have sued a branch of the World Bank over its financing of the corporation Dinant, which has vast palm oil plantations in Bajo Aguán valley in the country’s north. Lawyers for the farmers say they are seeking compensation for alleged attacks and killings, including actions by the company’s private security forces. (Guardian


Backing out of backing out of the ICC…South African authorities have been asked to appear at the International Criminal Court on April 7 over the failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir during a visit two years ago, a senior official said on Wednesday. (Reuters




Three mass graves have been discovered in central Democratic Republic of Congo, where hundreds have been killed since July in clashes between security forces and a local militia, the top U.N. rights official said. (Reuters


Burkina Faso’s cotton sector has settled a dispute with U.S. seed maker Monsanto over what it said were revenue losses caused by the introduction of genetically modified cotton, the head of the country’s main cotton company said. (Reuters


UN human rights experts called for an international investigation into horrific abuses committed in South Sudan, reiterating warnings of “ethnic cleansing” in the war-ravaged country. (AFP


Officials in Madagascar say a cyclone that made landfall in the northeast of the country has killed at least three people, left nearly 500 people homeless and damaged schools and other buildings. (VOA




The United Nations envoy for the disputed Western Sahara territory has offered his resignation after eight years of trying to bring the Polisario independence movement and Morocco back to negotiations to end their conflict. (Reuters


In Saudi Arabia, a group of women are preparing an unusual event to mark International Women’s Day — a campaign to highlight the changing role and economic potential of women in the deeply conservative Islamic kingdom. (VOA


A key monitoring group says Syrian troops backed by Russian air power have regained control of a key pumping station near the Turkish border from Islamic State extremists. (VOA




Pakistan said it will temporarily open two border crossings with Afghanistan that were closed after a string of militant attacks, while a new wave of assaults targeting several military posts near the porous frontier killed six Pakistani soldiers. (AP


The BBC World Service has stopped broadcasting from one of its major global transmission stations situated in Thailand, AFP has learned, after talks broke down with a junta riled by its uncensored coverage. (AFP


Rights activists and groups are welcoming a Thai government decision to drop legal cases against three rights activists who authored a report last year accusing Thai security forces of abuse and torture in restive southern Thai provinces. (VOA


The killing of a German tourist in the Philippines is adding urgency to talks between the government of crime-fighting President Rodrigo Duterte and armed Muslim rebel groups with different agendas. (VOA


The Americas


A blaze has swept through a crowded children’s care home in Guatemala, killing at least 19 girls, according to officials. (Al Jazeera


Almost 400 people have fled their homes in Colombia’s northwestern Choco region in fear for their lives, after a criminal gang entered the area, Amnesty International said. (VOA


Mexico objected to the United States about a potential plan to separate immigrant children from their parents if they try to illegally enter the US, an official said. (AFP


Brazil’s President Michel Temer launched an infrastructure concessions program on Tuesday that he said should raise $14.43 billion in investment in building and operating roads, port terminals, railways and power transmission lines. (VOA


Brazil’s federal environmental agency, Ibama, launched a centralized database to track timber from source to sale, a vital step in the fight against illegal logging in the Amazon. (VOA


…and the rest


Global warming will disrupt four-fifths of the world’s oceans by 2050 if greenhouse gas emissions keep rising, threatening fish that are the main source of food for a billion people, scientists said. (Reuters




Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030 (Inter Press Service


It’s time for donors to embrace women’s equality. Here’s how. (Devex


Rebuilding Syria’s rubble as the cannons roar (IRIN


How hard is it to elect a female head of state? Liberians made it look easy. (PRI


10 Bold Things Women Have Done to Challenge and Change the Status Quo (This is Africa


Neglected under ISIS, schools in eastern Mosul overflow with students once again (CSM


Another Somalian Famine (Inter Press Service


Age No Bar: Elderly Indian Women Go to School for First Time (VOA
How women farmers are battling climate change in Zimbabwe (IRIN