The Race for UN Secretary General Heats Up

The Security Council held its third informal straw poll to weigh members’ preferences for each of the 10 remaining candidates to succeed Ban Ki Moon. Former High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres still leads the pack and Slovak foreign minister Miroslav Lajcak made a surprise showing for second place. Several high profile candidates fared poorly, including Christina Figueres and Helen Clark. Full results and analysis here. (UN Dispatch

Massive Bombing in Yemen..”An Islamic State group militant rammed his explosives-laden car into an army recruitment centre in Aden on Monday, killing 60 people in the deadliest jihadist attack to hit the city in over a year. Yemen’s army, supported by a Saudi-led coalition, is training young recruits to join its nationwide war against Shiite Huthi rebels and their allies, as well as Sunni jihadists. Aden is the temporary base of Yemen’s internationally recognised government, which was forced into exile after Iran-backed insurgents seized Sanaa and other parts of the war-torn country. Security officials told AFP that the attacker drove a car bomb into a gathering of army recruits at a school in northern Aden early Monday.” (AFP

Malawi is deploying a fascinating way to bring broadband to rural areas…”Being part of the global digital village requires a good fiber backbone and high-speed wireless. But these two key technologies are still uncommon in sub-Saharan Africa, where about 60 percent of the population lives in rural areas. (In Malawi, the figure is more like 85 percent.) For broadband Internet to make its way to the most remote parts of the continent, TV white space technology looks to be one of the most promising and most affordable approaches. After all, rural areas, although far removed from telecom infrastructure, enjoy a relatively uncluttered electromagnetic spectrum. So for sub-Saharan Africa, using TV frequencies to provide Internet access makes good sense.” (IEEE


Gabon’s presidential election “lacked transparency”, the head of the 73-strong EU electoral monitoring team in the country said on Monday, a day before the official results were due out. (AFP

Japan will give Kenya $9.78 million in aid to spur economic and social development, and will extend an as yet unspecified amount for a geothermal power project, the leaders of the two countries said. (Reuters

The first hybrid rice varieties developed in sub-Saharan Africa are yielding up to four times more than other improved varieties, say scientists, who are using web-based tools to identify the right climate conditions to maximise harvests. (Reuters

As thousands of South Sudanese continue to flee their conflict-ridden country, and with projections for that influx to continue over the remainder of the year, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is calling for immediate support to ensure these families receive the life-saving assistance they need. (IFRC


The United States said Monday clashes in Syria between Turkish forces and units affiliated with a U.S.-supported Kurdish-led alliance are “unacceptable” and is calling on all sides to stand down “immediately.”  (VOA

At least 34 Libyan fighters were killed and more than 180 wounded on Sunday as they closed in on the last Islamic State militant holdouts in the coastal city of Sirte, according to field hospitals. (Reuters

Women’s rights activists hailed the Egyptian government on Monday for advocating increased prison sentences for perpetrators of female genital mutilation but warned that a new law could shroud the practice in greater secrecy. (Reuters

The United States on Monday criticised clashes between Turkish forces and some opposition groups in northern Syria as “unacceptable” and called on all armed actors in the fighting to stand down and focus on the fight against Islamic State. (Reuters

Cross-border shelling from Yemen has killed three children in Saudi Arabia and wounded nine other people, the kingdom’s SPA news agency reported on Monday. (AFP


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Monday for Bangladesh to step up efforts to fight extremist violence and protect and promote human rights amid increasing concern about terrorism in the South Asian nation in the wake of a series of militant attacks. (AP

Afghanistan launched a polio vaccination campaign on Monday aimed at reaching children in areas previously controlled by Islamic State group militants, officials said. (AFP

Since mid-July, when the current wave of protests against the Indian military presence started, more than 570 patients have reported to [Kashmir’s] main government hospital with eyes ruptured by lead pellets, sometimes known as birdshot, fired by security forces armed with pump-action shotguns to disperse crowds. (NYT

China is hoping to cement its standing as a global power when it hosts leaders from the world’s biggest economies this weekend, but suspects the West and its allies will try to deny Beijing what it sees as its rightful place on the international stage. (Reuters

India is failing to help and protect journalists who are facing violent threats or attacks for their work, an international watchdog agency said Monday, noting a pattern of resistance in investigating crimes targeting reporters. (AP

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte defended his bloody anti-drug campaign on Monday, saying the nearly 1,800 deaths in two months didn’t compare with brutality in Syria or atrocities committed by Islamic State group extremists. (AP

A human rights group is beginning to build the case for the eventual prosecution of Kim Jong Un and other North Korean leaders for crimes against humanity by detailing information about thousands of individuals who have been sent to political prison camps. (VOA

An Australian aid worker kidnapped in Afghanistan four months ago was freed following a raid by Afghan special forces near the eastern city of Jalalabad, officials said on Monday. (Reuters

Despite international pressure and government promises, including by the Communist Party of Nepal themselves, Adhikari and thousands of other conflict victims are still waiting for information about loved ones who were among the 17,000 killed or hundreds who disappeared during the decade-long insurgency demanding an end to the country’s now-defunct monarchy. (AP

The Americas

Bolivian miners kidnapped and fatally beat a government minister who was seeking talks with them following weeks of protests, authorities say. (CNN

Brazil’s suspended President Dilma Rousseff has defended her record during her impeachment trial in the Senate. She is accused of illegally manipulating the budget to hide a growing deficit. (BBC

FARC rebel commanders in Colombia ordered a final cease-fire beginning at the start of Monday as part of a permanent peace deal with the government ending one of the world’s longest-running conflicts. (VOA

The Food and Drug Administration has recommended screening the entire US blood supply for the Zika virus, it announced today, noting that screening donated blood is already underway in Florida and Puerto Rico. (CNN

A $400 million cash delivery to Iran to repay a decades-old arbitration claim may be unprecedented in recent U.S. history, according to legal experts and diplomatic historians, raising further questions about a payment timed to help free four American prisoners in Iran. (AP

…and the rest

Italian naval ships and vessels from non-government groups rescued thousands of migrants off the Libyan coast on Monday, the latest surge in desperate attempts to flee to Europe driven by war, poverty, and human traffickers. (AP

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch published a report this summer detailing the use of torture and secret detentions by both the Ukrainian government and the Russia-backed separatist rebels it is fighting in the country’s east. (AP

A 16-year-old girl who stabbed a policeman at a train station in Hanover was acting under orders from Islamic State, German federal prosecutors said on Monday. (Reuters

France’s interior minister convened Muslim leaders Monday to discuss a French-style Islam that honors the nation’s secular values, a task given new urgency after deep divisions surfaced over burkini bans in 30 French beach towns and after terror attacks that also stigmatized Muslims. (AP


Global Dispatches Podcast: CNN Journalist Clarissa Ward Snuck Behind the Front Lines in Syria.

Colombia: 52 years of war, 220,000 dead, now peace (CNN

Swaziland hosts a lavish party while people starve. (Daily Maverick

Giving birth in Guinea: a life or death lottery bereft of midwives and medicine (Guardian

High poverty levels (Inter Press Service

New Report: Khartoum’s Economic Achilles’ Heel (Enough Project

Troubled waters (IRIN

Jackson Hole truth telling: Monetary policy can’t save the day alone (The Interpreter
The Countries With the Worst Bad Habits (Foreign Policy