Ransom Payments to Al Qaeda Masked as Development Aid

How do al Qaeda affiliates in Africa fund their operations? Through ransom paid my European governments, it turns out. A rather explosive scoop. “While European governments deny paying ransoms, an investigation by The New York Times found that Al Qaeda and its direct affiliates have earned at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008, of which $66 million was paid just in the past year…These payments were made almost exclusively by European governments, who funnel the money through a network of proxies, sometimes masking it as development aid.” (NYT http://nyti.ms/1ppbDwO)

Liberia has run out of hospital beds for its Ebola patients…”in Monrovia, the capital city, there isn’t enough space in the specialized isolation unit to hold all of the city’s symptomatic cases. The Ministry of Health wanted to expand the unit at Elwa Hospital, on the outskirts of Monrovia, but the local community fought back, physically, making it impossible to secure health staff, a Health Ministry official told BuzzFeed by telephone. “The Elwa facility is overwhelmed right now as I speak to you,” said Tolbert Nyenswah, the country’s assistant minister of health.“It was built as a transit point for 18 persons, but as I speak to you we have 25 in the unit and 20 who need to be in the unit but there’s no room to put them there.” Instead most are back in their communities, and a few are waiting in ambulances, Nyenswah said.” (BuzzFeed http://bzfd.it/1rYGNNq)


A CAR mine owned by Canada’s Axmin was overrun by the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels more than year ago. It now forms part of an illicit economy driving sectarian conflict in one of Africa’s most unstable countries, despite the presence of thousands of French and African peacekeepers. (Reuters http://bit.ly/WLv5ul)

Health authorities are trying to determine who on a series of flights across West Africa last week came into contact with a man who days later died of the Ebola virus. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qgtghk)

The military spokesman for the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo says a joint military offensive with the national army in Walikale and Masisi territories has freed over 20 villages from rebels from the Mai Cheka and the Alliance for the Sovereign and Patriotic Congo groups. (VOA http://bit.ly/WLvOvH)

Through word of mouth and family ties, Somali refugees seek a temporary home in a nook of Istanbul, in order to find some respite from the political and natural disasters that have devastated Somalia for decades. (IPS http://bit.ly/1qgnwE6)

Burundi’s ruling party is carrying out a “relentless campaign of intimidation” against opposition and critics, ahead of presidential elections next year, Amnesty International said. (Yahoo http://yhoo.it/1qgw1Pr)

South African metal workers started returning to work on Tuesday after accepting a wage deal from employers, ending a four-week strike that dealt a blow to growth in Africa’s most advanced economy. (Reuters http://bit.ly/WLuQzl)

Barack Obama gave a preview of a summit he will hold with African leaders next week, saying African nations should look inward for solutions to economic woes and not make “excuses” based on a history of dependence and colonization. (Reuters http://bit.ly/WLvb5l)

The West African airline that transported a passenger sick with Ebola last week says it’s now suspending flights to the two cities hardest hit by the disease. (AP http://yhoo.it/1qgzopE)


More destruction in Gaza as Israel intensifies its military operations, including destroying Gaza’s only power plant.  Meanwhile, the Israeli government seems to be alienating the White House. The latest. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1ppchKL)

“Families [in Iraq], including those with children, are stuck in the middle of an increasingly violent war and they are paying the price,” says Human Rights Watch. (IPS http://bit.ly/WLuFnP)

A new US government report says the military has not effectively kept track of the light weapons it supplied to Afghanistan’s army and police. According to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, an independent watchdog group, the failure creates a danger that small arms such as machine guns will fall into the hands of insurgents. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qgsT6d)

Migrant workers building the first stadium for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup have been earning as little as 45p an hour, the Guardian can reveal.The pay rate appears to be in breach of the tournament organisers’ own worker welfare rules and comes despite the Gulf kingdom spending £134bn on infrastructure ahead of the competition. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1qgCl9F)


Human rights groups in and outside Pakistan are condemning as “brutalization and barbarism stooping to new lows” a mob assault on a minority Muslim community that left at least three people dead and burned many of their houses. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qgqSam)

Amnesty International says a team of four from its headquarters in London traveled to Thailand to research the human rights situation in the kingdom following the May 22 coup. (VOA http://bit.ly/WLwnWg)

A US company that supplies meat to fast-food chains in China has pulled all its products made by a subsidiary. An expose revealed some of the products were mishandled and had expired. (NPR http://n.pr/1qgm44P)

The Americas

Latin America and the Caribbean should push to achieve universal access to social services and policies to boost formal employment in order to make faster progress towards human development, the UNDP and experts recommend, while pointing to the improvement in human development indicators made in recent years. (IPS http://bit.ly/1qgCJ8m)

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qgs11q)

Hundreds of Africa’s emerging leaders are gathered in Washington for a three-day summit that includes a meeting with President Barack Obama. The summit is a highlight of a six-week U.S. fellowship that has given about 500 young Africans a chance to sharpen their skills through coursework and professional development. (VOA http://bit.ly/WLvJIi)

Genetically modified corn seeds are no longer protecting Brazilian farmers from voracious tropical bugs, increasing costs as producers turn to pesticides, a farm group said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1qgvqNR)


Is the UN peacekeeper selection process flawed? (IRIN http://bit.ly/WLyaur)

Trade Facilitation Will Support African Industrialisation (IPS http://bit.ly/WLuJDT)

The Brics have a chance to succeed where the World Bank has failed (Guardian http://bit.ly/1qgq84V)

US-Africa Leaders’ Summit Watch List (CGD http://bit.ly/1qgqmsI)

South Sudan: Is There Hope for a Durable Solution? (ISS http://bit.ly/1qgAiCH)


Inaccessible health services for people with disabilities, combined with social stigma and violence, contribute to high HIV risk – a gap that must be filled if the disabled are not to remain disproportionately vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, say health experts and activists. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1qgpPqH)

Designs for flying cars are being targeted at humanitarian organisations for use in a variety of missions, from delivering vaccines to transporting medics and patients. (SciDevNet http://bit.ly/1qgD1vR)