South Sudan Rebuffs The USA, Again

The death spiral continues. “South Sudan on Wednesday rejected a UN proposal to send a 4,000-strong regional force to the restive capital of Juba, saying it undermined the young nation’s sovereignty. The US-drafted resolution presented to the Security Council seeks to establish a protection force of African troops authorised to ‘use all necessary means’ to provide security and deter attacks against UN bases in South Sudan. But South Sudanese government spokesman Michael Makuei said his country rejected the resolution in its current form as it would “(turn) South Sudan into a protectorate and this is a situation that we will not accept.” The draft, which would also extend the current UN mission’s mandate until December, would ‘undermine the sovereignty of the Republic of South Sudan,’ Makuei told reporters in Juba. (AFP

First Zika-related infant death in the USA…”A baby born in a Harris County hospital has become the first infant to die from Zika in the U.S. and the first Zika-related death in Texas.  The Harris County Public Health Department confirms it received a positive Zika test result on the infant who was born with birth defects, including microcephaly. The mother had traveled to El Salvador during her pregnancy where it is suspected she became infected. Doctors say she didn’t know she had contracted Zika. She gave birth a few weeks ago.” (KIIITV

Meanwhile…Puerto Rico is in the midst of one of the worst Zika outbreaks of any region in the northern hemisphere.The island has been reporting roughly 1,500 new cases of Zika each week. Hundreds of pregnant women are already infected, and public health officials say the outbreak in Puerto Rico probably won’t start to subside until September or October. (NPR

Rampant Abuse of Migrants in Nauru…More than 2,000 leaked incident reports from Australia’s detention camp for asylum seekers on the remote Pacific island of Nauru – totalling more than 8,000 pages – are published by the Guardian today. The Nauru files set out as never before the assaults, sexual abuse, self-harm attempts, child abuse and living conditions endured by asylum seekers held by the Australian government, painting a picture of routine dysfunction and cruelty.” (Guardian


Sudanese authorities on Wednesday warned people living near the banks of the Nile to be wary of flooding, after two weeks of heavy rainfall killed dozens across the country. (AFP

The U.N. human rights chief urged Ethiopia on Wednesday to allow international observers into restive regions where residents and opposition officials say 90 protesters were shot dead by security forces at the weekend. (Reuters

A Texas man who managed an orphanage in Malawi was sentenced on Tuesday in federal court to 25 years in prison for sexually abusing children in his care, U.S. prosecutors said. (Reuters

More workers at South African state-run power utility Eskom joined a strike over pay, their union said on Wednesday, in defiance of a court order preventing the industrial action at the state-run firm. (Reuters

Mali and Mauritania both have many child brides, but at Mbera refugee camp, education and training offers opportunities to some young people. (Guardian


A fire tore through the maternity ward of one of Baghdad’s largest hospitals Wednesday, killing at least 12 premature babies, medical and security officials said. (AFP

The United States on Wednesday denounced the “genocide” carried out by the Islamic State group against Christians, Shiites and Yazidis, as the State Department unveiled its somber annual report on religious freedom around the world. (AFP

Libyan forces battling to oust Islamic State from Sirte said on Wednesday they had captured a convention center in the city center, seizing a base where militants once flew their black jihadist flag. (Libya

Egypt’s central bank has closed 48 foreign exchange bureaus since the start of the year for trading at black market rates and other violations, banking sources said on Wednesday, as the country tries to end speculation against the Egyptian pound. (Reuters

Egypt’s parliament approved restrictions on the police that will prevent them from providing information to the media, a move that critics saw as an attempt to further cover up high-level abuses and corruption. (Reuters


China will push for the commercialization of genetically modified soybeans over the next five years as it seeks to raise the efficiency of its agriculture sector, potentially boosting output of the crop by the world’s top soy importer and consumer. (Reuters

Last year’s twin earthquakes in Nepal disproportionately affected single women, underlining the need for equal land ownership to increase their resilience in disasters, a women’s rights activist has said. (TRF

A Chinese city has suspended preliminary work on a proposed $15 billion nuclear waste processing plant following protests by local residents concerned about health risks. (Reuters

An Associated Press investigation found South Korean authorities let Samsung withhold from sick workers and their families crucial information about the chemicals they are exposed to at its computer chip and display factories. (AP

The Americas

Brazil’s Senate voted early on Wednesday to indict President Dilma Rousseff on charges of breaking budget laws and put her on trial in an impeachment process that has stalled Brazilian politics since January. (Reuters

A judge has ordered Olympics organizers to allow peaceful protests inside venues after several fans were escorted out of stadiums for holding up anti-government signs. (VOA

Mothers searching for missing loved ones said they have found seven clandestine gravesites with remains of an undetermined number of people in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz, one of the most afflicted by drug gang violence. (AFP

Award-winning Honduran land rights activist Ana Mirian Romero spends her days fighting for her children’s future – and her nights fearing they will be killed in their sleep. (Reuters

Americans’ love for avocados and rising prices for the highly exportable fruit are fueling the deforestation of central Mexico’s pine forests as farmers rapidly expand their orchards to feed demand. (AP

…and the rest

Amnesty International warned of a buildup of migrants on Italy’s border with Switzerland and demanded clarification from Swiss authorities over reports by children that they had been sent back when trying to join their parents there. (Reuters

A complex legal dispute involving a transgender woman’s pension rights over a period when her gender had not been officially recognized has divided Britain’s Supreme Court, which referred the issue on Wednesday to the European Union’s top court. (Reuters

Danish police arrested a 22-year-old Iranian asylum seeker on Wednesday after he threatened to blow himself up on the roof of the building where he was staying. (Reuters


Does Countering Violent Extremism work? (IRIN

Can we get out of the private sector bad, public sector good trap? (Guardian

Out of sight, out of mind? Europe’s migrant crisis still simmers (Reuters

Foreign Aid – Can Tanzania Avoid Donors’ Snare? (Citizen

Pregnancy under siege (IRIN

Kenya’s Health Sector Challenges Present the Ideal Setting for Creating Shared Value (Inter Press Service

Fundraisers without Borders exists! (From Poverty to Power

Refugee team carries bittersweet message to the world (Public Spheres WB

Why The World Isn’t Close To Eradicating Guinea Worm (NPR

What are the challenges faced by academics in low income countries? (Rachel Strohm
Has Jim Kim’s re-election campaign begun? (Devex