A New UN Secretary General

Antonio Guterres will be the next UN Secretary General. After six straw polls, the Security Council has unified around his candidacy. A formal vote will be taken tomorrow to seal the deal. Guterres is a former Prime Minister of Portugal. He lead the UN Refugee Agency from from 2005 to 2015 and earned high marks in that role for being both a capable steward of a large UN agency and for his outspoken advocacy on behalf the world’s most vulnerable people. The NGO community is decidedly excited about this pick. (UN Dispatch

It’s Official: Paris Agreement to Enter Into Force in 30 Days…President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the world had arrived at a “historic moment” as it was announced this week that the Paris climate agreement to combat climate changewould come into force this year. Speaking in the White House’s Rose Garden, Mr. Obama hailed the agreement negotiated by more than 200 countries to cap emissions as a key tool in the world’s attempts to mitigate the damage from man-made climate change. “If we follow through on the commitments that this Paris agreement embodies, history may well judge it as a turning point for our planet,” Mr. Obama said.” (WSJ

Public protest win of the day: A member of Poland’s conservative government said Wednesday that mass protests by women against a total abortion ban have been a lesson in “humility” for the country’s leadership and that “there will not be a total abortion ban.” (AP

Stat of the day: Out of only eight hospitals still functioning in east Aleppo, four hospitals and a blood bank were damaged by bombing in four days, one of them twice. (MSF


Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara called on parliament on Wednesday to approve a new constitution that he says will draw a line under years of turmoil and war but which the opposition calls a backward step for democracy. (Reuters

All 10 members of Kenya’s election commission have resigned, the government said on Wednesday, after months of protests by the opposition which accused the body of bias that made it unfit to oversee elections due next August. (Reuters

The Democratic Republic of Congo plans to make all of its large-scale agricultural contracts public, in an effort to increase transparency over land deals and improve management of natural resources, officials and researchers said on Wednesday. (Reuters

The UN has only limited access to Jebel Marra, the location in Sudan where Amnesty International alleges Sudanese government forces have used chemical weapons, UN Peacekeeping Chief Herve Ladsous said. (IPS

A U.S. citizen was killed and foreign-owned factories and equipment damaged during a wave of protests over land and political rights in Ethiopia this week. (Reuters

Clashes between police and students protesting about the cost of education forced South Africa’s Wits and Cape Town universities to suspend classes on Wednesday for the second time in less than a month. (Reuters

Thousands of Senegalese men set off for Europe each year, risking their lives on treacherous journeys through the Sahara desert and across the Mediterranean sea. Most fail. Many die. (Reuters



The rebel-held east of Syria’s Aleppo has officially been declared a “besieged area”, following a months-long government offensive and a lack of access for aid workers, the UN said Wednesday. (AFP

The U.N. on Wednesday released stark satellite images showing the most recent destruction of Syria’s embattled northern city of Aleppo, which has been pounded by Syrian and Russian airstrikes since the collapse of a U.S.-Russia brokered cease-fire two weeks ago. (AP

A delegation of prosecutors from the International Criminal Court is starting a five-day visit on Wednesday to Israel and the Palestinian territories, the court said, describing it as an outreach trip that will not be gathering any evidence. (Reuters

Morocco will elect a parliament on Friday for the first time since an Islamist-led government took office following Arab Spring uprisings that toppled leaders across the region. (AP


Regional powers agreed to try to revive Afghanistan’s stalled peace process after almost 40 years of conflict, the EU’s foreign policy chief said on Wednesday, as governments began to raise some $13 billion to fund the country through 2020. (Reuters

The United Nations’ highest court on Wednesday rejected nuclear disarmament cases filed by the tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands against Britain, India and Pakistan, saying it did not have jurisdiction. (AP

Campaigners are calling for Myanmar to review the convictions of 20 Muslims jailed on terrorism charges after the Southeast Asian country repealed an authoritarian law under which they were convicted. (Reuters

Thailand stopped Hong Kong teen pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong from entering the country to give a talk and sent him home, raising questions about whether it acted at China’s behest. An activist and a Thai immigration official said Bangkok responded to a request from Beijing, though a Thai government spokesman denied that. (AP

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani appealed Wednesday for sustained international help for his insurgency-wracked country, promising international donors that the government would concentrate its future efforts on tackling rampant poverty. (AP

Cambodia’s main opposition party on Wednesday welcomed a sign of cooling political tension after authorities refrained from arresting its leader, Kem Sokha, on his emergence from months of being holed up in party headquarters. (Reuters

The Americas

Brazilian President Michel Temer’s government introduced to Congress on Tuesday a landmark constitutional amendment to cap public spending, pressing ahead with unpopular reforms in the wake of last weekend’s municipal elections. (VOA

U.S. Secretary Of State Kerry spoke with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to reaffirm U.S. support for efforts seeking peace in the country, the State Department said on Wednesday, days after Colombians rejected a deal between Colombia’s government and Marxist guerrillas. (Reuters

For decades, jobs at Venezuela’s state-run oil giant PDVSA were coveted for above average salaries, generous benefits and cheap credit that brought home ownership and vacationing abroad within reach for many workers. Now, in Venezuela’s asphyxiating economy, even PDVSA employees are struggling to pay for everything from food and bus rides to school fees as triple-digit inflation eats away incomes. (Reuters

…and the rest

Greek police detained 214 Syrian refugees after they crossed a river that forms a natural border with Turkey, authorities said Wednesday. (AP

Prime Minister Viktor Orban is known for his outspoken hostility to migrants and has built a razor-wire border fence to keep them out, but he has also quietly opened Hungary’s doors to foreigners rich enough to pay to live in the country. (Reuters

Prime Minister Theresa May threw down the Brexit gauntlet to Brussels Wednesday in a speech calling for “maximum freedom” in Europe’s single market despite a backlash against her hard line on immigration. (AFP

Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged on Wednesday that her open-door migrant policy had unleashed a wave of aggression from right-wing opponents in Germany but made clear that her course was unchanged. (Reuters

Desperate and cold after spending the night out in the open, more than 100 migrants who set off on foot toward the Hungarian border to protest EU’s closed borders agreed Wednesday to end their march and return to the Serbian capital of Belgrade. (AP


We’re gonna need a lot more teachers (Humanosphere

How can we reach an SDG target when we’re moving in the wrong direction? (Guardian

Are Agricultural Cooperatives Still Relevant? (The Monitor

Colombian women struggle after ‘no’ vote against peace accord (PRI

Rwandans feel the pinch as Burundi fallout hits home (IRIN

Aleppo will eventually fall, but Syrian war will go on (Reuters

8 insights to end child marriage (Devex

They fled Aleppo. Now they’re starting a new life in rural Denmark. (PRI

What next for Colombia? (IRIN

Why A Really Big Fish Isn’t Always Good For Business (Goats and Soda