The Paris Climate Agreement is now tantalizingly close to coming to life

Just 8% Away…”Thirty-one countries formally joined the Paris climate change pact Wednesday, bringing the total number of countries ratifying the treaty to 60 and raising hopes that it will enter into effect by the end of the year. The number is higher than the 55-country threshold needed for the treaty to enter into force. But because together those countries account for 48 percent of total global emissions — short of the 55 percent threshold — the agreement must wait for more nations to join…U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he is confident of reaching the magic number before the next U.N. climate conference, which starts Nov. 7 in Marrakech, Morocco. He urged people everywhere “to become warriors for the planet.” (AP

Rift Valley Fever Outbreak…”Health workers in western Niger are racing to contain an outbreak of Rift Valley fever that has killed at least 21 people over the past month, an aid agency said on Wednesday…The highly contagious disease, which is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes or close contact with contaminated animals, has infected 52 people in Niger’s western region of Tahoua since late August, the country’s health ministry said. The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) and Niger’s health authorities have opened an emergency treatment centre, in the region’s hardest-hit district of Tchintabaraden, to look after the infected and stop the disease from spreading. (Reuters

I can’t get no respect…Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte demanded on Wednesday the European Union show him respect worthy of a president, despite giving the bloc a one-finger gesture and a vulgar four-letter rebuke after its legislators expressed concern about his drug war. (Reuters


Congolese former rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda has ended an unprecedented hunger strike in his detention cell in The Netherlands after a two-week standoff with the judges at his war crimes trial. (AFP

The UN voiced concerns over Mali’s shaky peace deal Wednesday following deadly clashes between groups that have signed up to the agreement. (AFP

At least 44 people – including 37 demonstrators and six police officers – have been killed in protests over Congolese President Joseph Kabila’s perceived bid to extend his rule, Human Rights Watch said. (Reuters

Sudan said Wednesday it is hosting about 400,000 South Sudanese refugees who fled a brutal civil war that erupted in the world’s youngest country after it broke away in 2011. (AFP

Amnesty International accused a Nigerian police unit on Wednesday of torturing suspects and demanding bribes to free them – allegations dismissed by the police. (Reuters

At least two students were injured on Wednesday when South African police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse protests over the cost of education, university and student representatives said. (Reuters


Dozens of airstrikes battered Aleppo and its outskirts overnight, AFP’s correspondent in the battleground northern Syrian city said Wednesday. (AFP

At least nine civilians including women and children were killed in an airstrike near an oasis town in central Libya, a hospital doctor and local officials said. (Reuters

A boat carrying around 600 people capsized off Egypt’s coast, killing at least 29, officials said on Wednesday, in the latest disaster to befall migrants attempting to make the crossing to Europe. (Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry demanded on Tuesday that Russia and the Syrian government immediately halt flights over Syrian battle zones, in what he called a last chance to salvage a collapsing ceasefire and find a way “out of the carnage”. (Reuters

The Saudi Civil Defense says a citizen has been wounded by a projectile fired from Yemen into the southern border region of Najran. (AP

Egypt’s Coptic Christian church is facing criticism over its role in organizing rallies in support of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi during his visit to New York for the U.N. General Assembly. (AP


A U.N. expert is calling on the world community to do more to help North Korea cope with fallout from deadly Typhoon Lionrock and says officials in the reclusive country should allow access to those in need. (AP

When likes land you in jail…Pakistani police say they have arrested a 16-year-old Christian boy on blasphemy charges after he “liked” an “inappropriate” photograph on Facebook of the Kaaba in Mecca, one of the holiest sites in Islam. (AP

The Red Cross appealed Wednesday for $15.5 million in emergency funding to help flood-ravaged North Koreans, warning of a “secondary disaster” in the impoverished country unless urgent assistance is provided. (AFP

One of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s harshest critics was removed as the chairwoman of the Senate Justice Committee Monday in the midst of an investigation into Duterte’s alleged ties to the extrajudicial killings of drug suspected drug dealers and users. (VOA

Landslides and flash floods in Indonesia have left at least 20 people dead as torrential downpours continued to pound the nation’s many islands Wednesday. (VOA

A dozen more Philippine mines, mostly nickel projects, are in danger of being suspended in an ongoing environmental crackdown on the sector, an environment undersecretary said on Wednesday. (Reuters

The Americas

Suriname is a nation in crisis: Businesses are closing, food prices are soaring and hospitals are running out of basic supplies such as paper towels and bandages. (AP

In Argentina, teachers, students and trade unionists are protesting against mass redundancies in education, which they say are part of a process of undermining public education and a move towards a new model based on market needs. (IPS

A Brazilian judge has decided that the corruption case against former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, his wife, and six others will move forward, according to state media. (CNN

…and the rest

More than £100m of the UK aid budget will be spent on returning Somali refugees to the country they fled and encouraging people escaping war zones not to cross the Mediterranean under plans outlined by Theresa May in New York. (Guardian

Temporary home to thousands of migrants trying to reach Britain, the French city of Calais is a major battlefield for presidential candidates who are seizing on fears of immigration in campaigning for spring elections — and following in the footsteps of far-right leader Marine Le Pen. (AP

Hungarian prison inmates are ramping up their production of razor wire, working around the clock as Hungary prepares to build a second fence on the border with Serbia to keep out refugees and other migrants. (AP

A European law and human rights commission on Wednesday criticized proposed constitutional changes in Azerbaijan that would extend the president’s term, a conclusion that drew an angry response from the ex-Soviet nation. (AP

Greece has rejected asylum requests from three of a group of eight Turkish soldiers who fled there after the failed coup attempt in Turkey in July, police sources said on Wednesday. (Reuters

A U.N. official on countering torture has criticized a Turkish government decision to postpone his visit to the country saying the move “sends the wrong message.” (AP


Antibiotic Resistance on Pace to Cause Global Economic Damage Akin to the 2008 Financial Crisis (UN Dispatch

A tale of two summits for Central American refugees (IRIN

These Two Political Trailblazers Have Advice for Future Female Leaders (UN Dispatch

Calling Syrian refugees like me Skittles would be funny if it weren’t so cruel (Guardian

#MindYourOwnBusiness (Africa is a Country

Tired of war: South Sudan street artists calling for peace – in pictures (Guardian

Charity overhaul in China, but only with government approval (IRIN

UN and Obama Summits: What’s Next? (The Interpreter

Gabon’s Recount: Three Data Points (Sahel Blog
How do you scale up an effective education intervention? Iteratively, that’s how. (Development Impact