New Data on Foreign Aid

Lot’s of interesting tidbits from the OECD’s latest data drop. “Aid spending by the world’s richest states hovered around an all-time high last year, but development assistance to the least-developed countries (LDCs) fell by 16% from the year before, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has said. Member states of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) spent more than $135bn (£90bn) on official development assistance (ODA) last year, a 0.5% decrease from 2013, when a record amount of development aid was sent, according to the OECD. Huge debt relief to Burma was behind much of the fall in aid to LDCs, the OECD said in its annual report (pdf). But excluding this relief, aid flows to the world’s poorest countries still fell by 8% as donors favoured loans to middle-income states, the OECD said. Last year the world’s largest aid donors by volume were the US, the UK, Germany, France and Japan, the data showed. (Guardian

Another Dire Warning from Aden…This Time from the Red Cross “The Red Cross warned of a “catastrophic” situation in Yemen’s main southern city Aden, as forces loyal to the president battled Iran-backed Shiite rebels in the streets…International Committee of the Red Cross spokeswoman Marie Claire Feghali said the humanitarian situation across Yemen was “very difficult… (with) naval, air and ground routes cut off.” The situation in Aden was “catastrophic to say the least”. “The war in Aden is on every street, in every corner… Many are unable to escape,” she said.(AFP

Correction: It turns out that our second lead item yesterday was not true–the one about the child in Sierra Leone who died from ebola. In fact, it was a false positive, said health officials. Read more from Reuters here.

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Kenya has suspended the licences of 13 Somali remittance firms following the massacre at a Kenyan university last week, Somalia’s central bank governor said on Wednesday, and Kenyan media reported that dozens of bank accounts had been frozen. (Reuters

Police arrested five members of a pro-democracy group in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday as they protested against the illegal detention of activists in the capital Kinshasa, group members said. (VOA

Rwanda said Wednesday that France’s declassification of documents relating to the 1994 genocide will shed light on unanswered questions over the mass killings, in which Kigali accuses Paris of having an indirect role. (AFP

Kenyan university students marched in the capital on Tuesday to demand more security from the government after gunmen killed 148 people at a campus in the eastern town of Garissa last week. (Reuters

Kenya needs more help from its U.S. and European allies with intelligence and security measures to help prevent further massacres by Somali militants, Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed. (Reuters

A judge from Burkina Faso has been appointed head of the Senegalese court due to try former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre for torture, war crimes and crimes against humanity, the African Union said. (AFP

Democratic Republic of Congo authorities said that a mass grave discovered in the capital Kinshasa contained mainly stillborn babies and foetuses, in a bid to quash rumours that the bodies of opposition supporters were buried there. (AFP

The head of the African Union has urged the United Nations to add human rights monitoring to the tasks of its peacekeeping mission in the disputed North African territory of Western Sahara. (Reuters

There is a new scramble for Africa, with ordinary people facing displacement by the affluent and the powerful as huge tracts of land on the continent are grabbed by a minority, rights activists here say. (IPS


Iran is sending warships to the Gulf of Aden (Xinhua )

ISIS has released over 200 Yazidi captives who were mostly elderly and infirmed. (VOA

A boat carrying emergency medical supplies for a hospital in Aden, where heavy fighting has killed scores of people, docked in the southern Yemeni port city on Wednesday, said MSF. (Reuters

Refugees from war-torn Yemen fleeing intense airstrikes are arriving in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti, aid agencies said Wednesday, warning of a possible large influx ahead. (AFP


Nepal has signed a string of international treaties that promise gender parity – but many of these pledges have remained confined to the paper on which they were written. (IPS

Three Chinese citizens are taking China’s Ministry of Agriculture to court in a bid to make public a toxicology report supporting the approval of Monsanto’s popular weedkiller, Roundup, 27 years ago. (Reuters

An Afghan soldier shot and killed a U.S. soldier and wounded several others Wednesday before being shot dead, the first so-called “insider attack” to target NATO troops since they ended their combat mission at the start of the year. (Houston Chronicle

The Americas

From Mexico to Brazil, leaders in Latin America have largely kept silent amid charges of human rights abuses in Venezuela and are unlikely to speak out against their neighbor at this week’s Summit of the Americas. (AP

In a rare challenge to Cuba’s political system from within, two government opponents are on the ballot for upcoming elections, only to find that officials have altered their biographies to portray them as dangers to the revolution. (Reuters

California may require communities to pay for water according to how much they use and impose sanctions on those who do not conserve, in the state’s first-ever mandatory cutbacks in urban water use because of ongoing drought, regulators said. (Reuters

A vast Art Deco residential building in Rio de Janeiro that Brazil’s one-time richest man was supposed to transform into a luxury hotel ahead of the 2016 Olympics has been invaded by squatters. (AP

Fresh violence in Rio’s slums has led to growing doubts over the effectiveness of Brazil’s seven-year-old strategy of “pacifying” districts in thrall to gangs and drug traffickers. (AFP

Brazilian police and demonstrators clashed Tuesday in the capital Brasilia during a march opposing a congressional bill to increase outsourcing in the workplace. (AFP

…and the rest

A team of economists, scientists and health experts working with The Gold Standard Foundation have developed a uniform way to calculate how much black carbon is released from cooking stoves that use different technologies or fuels. It’s a first and necessary step, they say, in accessing the tens of billions of dollars it will cost to provide cleaner cookers worldwide for some 2.8 billion people still using firewood, kerosene or sundried patties made of hand-packed cow dung. (AP

Rioting youths have clashed with Greek police in central Athens, damaging vehicles and property, following a demonstration by hundreds of anarchists seeking the abolition of a maximum security prison. (AP


Could France Soon Face a Public Reckoning for its Role in the Rwandan Genocide? (UN Dispatch )

I’ve seen first-hand how palliative care in India is compromised by privatisation (Guardian

Dehumanising victims (Development Truths

A Bit More on Country-Month Modeling (Dart Throwing Chimp

Women’s organisations fighting Ebola should be funded as a first-line defence (Guardian

How to get a job in development: the definitive (368 page) guide (From Poverty to Power

More edutainment, please! (Wait..What?