A Pivotal Moment in the Battle for Fallujah

ISIS seems poised to lose key parts of the city. “Fighters battling to retake Fallujah from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group say they have secured its southern edge and have almost completely encircled the whole Iraqi city.A leader of the Iran-backed Shia coalition taking part in the offensive said on Sunday the only side of Fallujah that remained to be secured by pro-Baghdad forces was part of the western bank of the Euphrates.” (Al Jazeera http://bit.ly/1stFYQY)

Meanwhile… “‘An unidentified number of civilians have been shot and killed trying to cross the [Euphrates] river,’  the Norwegian Refugee Council said. One of the only ways for civilians to try to leave the centre of Fallujah, which is littered with booby traps and roadside bombs, is to sneak out by river. Most of those who have already reached camps lived in outlying areas and as many as 50,000 civilians are believed to remain in the centre of Fallujah, being used as human shields by IS.” (AFP http://yhoo.it/211sYNs)

NPR Team Killed in Afghanistan…”David Gilkey, an NPR journalist who chronicled pain and beauty in war and conflict, was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday along with NPR’s Afghan interpreter Zabihullah Tamanna. David and Zabihullah were on assignment for the network traveling with an Afghan army unit, which came under attack killing David and Zabihullah. David was considered one of the best photojournalists in the world — honored with a raft of awards including a George Polk in 2010, an Emmy in 2007 and dozens of distinctions from the White House News Photographers Association.” (NPR http://n.pr/1XvqM3k)

Quote of the Day: On June 5, 1981, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report on what would later be understood as the first documented cases of AIDS.  The past 35 years tell a story that bends from uncertainty, fear, and loss toward resilience, innovation, and hope.” President Obama, marking the 35th anniversary of AIDS in America. (White House http://1.usa.gov/1stFj1T)

Ramadan Mubarak!


Thousands of supporters celebrated Congolese leader Joseph Kabila’s birthday with a rally in Kinshasa Saturday, at which a party supremo floated the idea of holding a referendum to extend the president’s rule. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Xv5dQ9)

Unidentified gunmen shot dead a female journalist in Somalia’s capital Sunday, a radio producer at state-run Radio Mogadishu said. (AP http://yhoo.it/1VGrIzS)

South Sudan resumed talks with Sudan on Sunday on a raft of thorny issues, including borders and oil revenues, still outstanding from its 2011 secession. (AFP http://yhoo.it/211t2gk)

West African leaders discussed setting up a force to combat extremists in the region and will send an observation mission to Gambia before elections, the regional economic body said. (VOA http://bit.ly/25G1LDj)

Central African Republic’s security minister says a man fatally shot a fan outside the stadium where the country beat Angola in an African Cup of Nations qualifier. (AP http://yhoo.it/1VGs8X9)

The Nigerian government has recovered $580 million in cash and seized other funds and assets worth an additional $9.7 billion, Nigerian Information Minister Lai Mohammed announced on Saturday. (DW http://bit.ly/1VGsVHi)

Niger says hundreds of Boko Haram extremists attacked a military outpost late Friday, killing at least 32 soldiers and wounding nearly 70 others near its southern borders with Nigeria and Chad. (VOA http://bit.ly/25G31q9)


The bodies of 133 migrants have washed up on the shore at the western Libyan city of Zuwara in recent days, the Red Crescent said on Sunday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1U2OoYK)

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Shiite rebels in Yemen rejected on Sunday a UN report that placed it on an annual blacklist over the deaths of hundreds of children in air strikes. (AFP http://yhoo.it/211sarZ)

Almost 60 percent of Qatar’s 2.4 million population live in what the government calls “labor camps”, figures from an April 2015 census showed Sunday, highlighting the issue of the emirate’s huge migrant workforce. (AFP http://yhoo.it/25G2m7X)

The prime minister of Libya’s UN-backed unity government has ruled out an international military intervention to fight the Islamic State group, which has had a growing presence in the country since 2014. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Xv5Glt)


Powerful explosions continued to ripple through a military ammunition depot on the edge of Sri Lanka’s capital Monday, as firefighters battled huge blazes six hours after the initial blasts that have forced thousands to flee. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1stDZwa)

An Afghan member of parliament was killed by a bomb planted near his residence in the capital Kabul on Sunday, the interior ministry said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/211s2Ja)

Police in Vietnam on Sunday forcibly removed people protesting in the capital Hanoi against a perceived delay in government response to a mass fish death, just days after U.S. President Barack Obama chided the country on its human rights record. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1VGrGIh)

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is paying his first official visit to gas-rich Qatar, where he met the Gulf country’s leaders on Sunday to discuss economic ties. (AP http://yhoo.it/25G1xfF)

The Philippine president-elect has encouraged the public to help him in his war against crime, urging citizens with guns to shoot and kill drug dealers who resist arrest and fight back in their neighborhoods. (AP http://yhoo.it/1VGsT2e)

The wife of a senior Bangladeshi police official known for battling Islamist militants was stabbed and shot to death on Sunday, and machete-wielding assailants killed a Christian grocer in a separate incident. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/25G25lz)

The Americas

Peruvians chose between two conservative candidates in a tight presidential election on Sunday, with exit polls suggesting that a former World Bank economist was narrowly ahead of the daughter of imprisoned ex-President Alberto Fujimori. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Xv5CC9)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called upon Latin America on Saturday not to give in to “brutal pressure” from the United States to isolate his government, which is battling intensifying opposition at home and abroad. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Xv6cQo)

Guyanese police say a grenade was thrown at a car owned by the publisher of a leading newspaper. (AP http://yhoo.it/1WB9pNz)

Zika would have posed a challenge to Brazil’s health system at the best of times, but to make matters worse, it has come at a time when Brazil is struggling with its worst recession in two decades. Government coffers are depleted and the 2016 federal budget for Brazil’s decentralised universal healthcare system $1.1 billion. (BBC http://bbc.in/25G3hoY)

Puerto Rico has taken the first steps toward opening a commercial office in Cuba, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said on Saturday, on the sidelines of a Caribbean summit in Havana. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/25G2Db4)

The Obama administration is running out of time and options to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, so officials are scrambling to release as many prisoners as possible and considering novel legal strategies that include allowing some men to strike plea deals by video-teleconference and sending others to foreign countries to be prosecuted. (AP http://yhoo.it/1stEUN5)

…and the rest

Asylum seekers to the European Union should be held on islands rather than be allowed direct access to the continent, Austria’s foreign minister has said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/25G2vIy)

The European Union’s foreign policy chief on Sunday called on Albania to pass a key judicial reform, considering it a decisive step for the country as it strives for EU membership. (AP http://yhoo.it/211spDA)

The Swiss on Sunday flatly rejected a radical proposal to provide the entire population with a basic income. (AFP http://yhoo.it/25G3c4L)


Protecting those who defend the environment is a matter of human rights (Guardian http://bit.ly/1TQAyq9)

Lead Poisoning: A Doctor’s Lifelong Crusade To Save Children From It (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/25G1Cjl)

A closer look at the budget environment for Australian aid (Development Policy http://bit.ly/211tKtR)

A job at UN HQ? Goodbye principles and philanthropy, hello power and privilege! (Guardian http://bit.ly/211uuiN)

A Horrific Gang Rape in Brazil Instigates a Global Call to Action (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1Pdw5M1)

The 2016 Multidimensional Poverty Index was launched yesterday. What does it say? (From Poverty to Power http://bit.ly/25G3R6c)