Top of the Morning: Malawi Election Problems

Top stories from DAWNS Digest

Malawi’s ruling People Party has found “serious irregularities” in the counting and announcement of results from its May 20 election, President Joyce Banda said on Thursday, ordering a “manual audit” of the process. (Reuters

Nigerian teachers went on strike and staged rallies nationwide on Thursday in protest against the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls by the Islamist Boko Haram sect and the killing of nearly as many teachers during its insurgency. (Reuters

Waring forces in South Sudan are continuing to block United Nations peacekeepers as the civil war that has devastated the young nation continues to rage, the UN said. (AP

Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked Shabaab vowed Thursday to move their war to neighbouring Kenya, one of the top commanders said in broadcast urging fighters to launch attacks. (AP

Continued fighting and displacement in the Central African Republic has left tens of thousands of abandoned and severely traumatized children in critical need of mental health care, says the international organization, SOS Children’s Villages. (VOA


Syria’s presidential election is just a fortnight away and Damascenes fear rebels will mark it with fierce mortar bombardment on the capital, or even a devastating tunnel bomb similar to attacks in northern Syria. (Reuters

Syria has made no progress in relinquishing a last batch of chemical weapons it says is inaccessible due to fighting, making it increasingly likely it will miss a final deadline to destroy its toxic stockpile, Britain said. (Reuters

Turkish relief agency said it would oppose what it called an imminent Israeli offer to pay compensation for a commando raid on its Gaza-bound aid flotilla in exchange for dropping lawsuits over the attack. (Reuters


According to a new UN report, seizures of illegal methamphetamine drugs around the world last year reached a new high, in response to the growing supply and demand of the illegal drugs in East and Southeast Asia. (VOA

“Land grabs” in Laos are driving poor farmers, including ethnic minorities, off their land, away from livelihoods they know and into further poverty, activists and experts say. (IRIN

Anti-government protesters in Thailand have dispersed for the first time since the country’s latest political crisis began six months ago. (AP

An Asian Development Bank official warned Thursday of a largely unnoticed crisis in Southeast Asia: private investment in infrastructure has not recovered in the nearly two decades since the Asian financial crisis. (AP

The Americas

Democracy may have swept almost all of Latin America, but one of its pillars is looking shaky. Press freedom in the region has sunk to a five-year low. Now just 2 percent of the region’s population lives in a completely free media environment — on par with the Middle East and North Africa. (GlobalPost

Pending legislation calling for US President Barack Obama to impose sanctions against key Venezuelan officials is unlikely to defuse the ongoing crisis there and could prove counter-productive, according to both the administration and independent experts. (IPS


Ethiopia crackdown on student protests taints higher education success (Guardian