Top of the Morning: Iraq Insurgents on the March

Things are getting very heavy. A battle for Baghdad is not out of question. “A day after taking over Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, militants gained nearly complete control of the northern city of Tikrit…Heavy fighting erupted inside Tikrit — the hometown of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein — as the military tried to regain control, the sources and a police official in Baghdad said. According to the witnesses in Tikrit and the Samarra police officials, two police stations in Tikrit were on fire and a military base was taken over by militants, believed to be from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS and ISIL…Suspected ISIS militants raided the Turkish Consulate in Mosul on Wednesday, capturing 48 people, including diplomats, and they also seized parts of Baiji, the site of Iraq’s largest oil refinery.” (CNN


Controversial Pick for President of the UN General Assembly. The “PGA” is a largely ceremonial position that generally involves little more than coordinating meetings. But the pick of Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa has created a great deal of controversy because of his shady past and support for Uganda’s horrible anti-gay law. (BBC

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An Ebola outbreak in West Africa that appeared to be winding down has flared up again, with officials blaming the resurgence on ignorance and a lack of experience in handling the virus. (IRIN

Inter-clan clashes over the last week in Somalia’s southern Lower Shabelle region have killed approximately 30 and have forced over 250 to take refuge in African Union Mission in Somalia bases, according to the organization. (IRIN

Ignorance and lack of understanding have blocked the route to redress for women raped in conflict in Liberia and Ivory Coast. (Guardian

Truck drivers who transport humanitarian aid from Cameroon to the troubled Central African Republic have halted deliveries after suspected Seleka rebels attacked killed three of their colleagues.  The truckers say they will not go back to work unless authorities in the C.A.R. can assure them of their safety. (VOA

A measles outbreak continues to spread in Somalia, in part due to the belief by many parents that they should keep measles-infected children at home for a week for what they call an “incubation” period. (AP

In regions controlled by Boko Haram, aid organizations find that their work is becoming more and more dangerous. German development minister, Gerd Müller, is expected to raise the issue during a trip to Nigeria. (DW

The number of centers in South Sudan offering inpatient treatment for children suffering from severe malnutrition has almost halved since 2013 due to conflict, UNICEF said amid warnings of famine. (TRF

The Fistula Foundation announced that it received a $2 million grant to support their work to treat women with obstetric fistula in Kenya, through a new program, Action on Fistula. (VOA


In the early days of Syria’s uprising, many women called on men not to take up arms in response to the Syrian government’s brutal clampdown on street protests. Now, they are trying to build peace between supporters of rebel groups and supporters of the government. (TRF


Better detection and care has led to a dramatic fall in the number of deaths from dengue fever in Sri Lanka over the past five years, but health experts warn there has been no corresponding decline in infection rates, highlighting the need for more effective prevention. (IRIN

Save the Children in Solomon Islands says two more children have died from rotavirus in the past week in Western Province. (Radio New Zealand

The Americas

From Sao Paulo to Mumbai, investors are regaining their faith in emerging markets this year. It’s a big shift from 2013, when investment in those markets dried up because of worries about their slowing economic growth. (AP

Football and politics have become entwined in Argentina as the government is accused of using sporting glory to divert attention from a range of problems that includes one of the world’s highest inflation rates. (FT

The Chilean government rejected the controversial HidroAysén project for the construction of five hydroelectric dams on rivers in the south of the country. The decision came after years of struggle by environmental groups and local communities, who warned the world of the destruction the dams would wreak on the Patagonian wilderness. (IPS


If GM is the Answer, it is Only the Answer Partly, Sometimes, Maybe (Think Africa Press

Volunteering: The paradox at the beginning of an aid career (Development Intern

Putting poverty on the map (AfricaCan End Poverty


An international protocol for dealing with rape and sexual violence in conflict was launched on Wednesday at a historic London summit on the issue, providing guidelines on the investigation of sex crimes and the collection of evidence for future prosecutions. (Guardian
The UK’s Labour party has called on the government to stop UK supermarkets stocking food produced by slaves, after a Guardian investigation into forced labour in the Thai seafood industry. (Guardian