Top of the Morning: Goma and Gaza Updates; New HIV Rates Drop Sharply; EU May Drop Foreign Aid Budget Axe

Top stories from the DAWNS Digest mobile app and global news aggregation service.

Goma Update: Relief Operations Undermined By Fighting; Security Council Condemns M23 Rebels; Rebels Vow To Take Fight To Kinshasa

MSF said it plans to scale up operations in the region. WFP suspended work with the 447,000 IDPs, but sources say that the organization has no plans to cease operations or pull out of the city. There are some indications that WFP may relocate its operations to the border with Rwanda, but that is speculative at best. Meanwhile, the Security Council has passed a resolution late yesterday, calling on the M23 rebels to cease its advance and imposing sanctions on some M23 leaders. The resolution but did not go as far as issuing sanctions against Rwanda. However, it did call for further investigation into external support of M23.  At a massive rally at a stadium in Goma, the M23 rebel commanders were full of bluster, vowing to take their fight to the Congolese capital. (Boston Globe )

Gaza Update: Bus in Tel Aviv Destroyed By Bomb; Intensified Strikes in Gaza; Ceasefire Elusive

Early reports yesterday of a ceasefire seem to have been unduly optimistic. Rocket fire from Gaza to Israel and Israeli strikes in Gaza intensified into the night. Hillary Clinton and Ban Ki Moon both met with Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday as part of a wider efforts to negotiate a ceasefire. In Tel Aviv, 11 people were injured in a bomb attack on a passenger bus. Back in New York, the USA blocked a Security Council statement calling for a ceasefire. Latest updates. (Guardian

UNAIDS: Big Drop in New HIV Infections

A new report from UNAIDS shows a significant decline in HIV infection rates in low and middle income countries.  “The report shows that a more than 50% reduction in the rate of new HIV infections has been achieved across 25 low- and middle-income countries––more than half in Africa, the region most affected by HIV. In some of the countries which have the highest HIV prevalence in the world, rates of new HIV infections have been cut dramatically since 2001; by 73% in Malawi, 71% in Botswana, 68% in Namibia, 58% in Zambia, 50% in Zimbabwe and 41% in South Africa and Swaziland. In addition to welcome results in HIV prevention, sub-Saharan Africa has reduced AIDS-related deaths by one third in the last six years and increased the number of people on antiretroviral treatment by 59% in the last two years alone.” (UNAIDS

Aid Hangs Below EU Budget Axe

A budget crunch in the European Union may hit foreign aid.“EU’s aid programmes for some of the world’s poorest countries face steep cuts ahead of a crunch EU budget summit starting on Thursday. With Britain among those calling for cuts, not just a freeze, in the EU’s 2014-20 €1 trillion budget, campaigners fear the organisation’s aid budget will take a disproportionate hit. The president of the European council, Herman Van Rompuy, last week proposed cutting the European development fund (EDF), which mainly targets sub-Saharan Africa, by 11% compared with figures put forward by the European commission.” (Guardian