Top of the Morning: Scores Killed in Syria Blasts; South Sudan on the Brink of Fiscal Collapse

Top stories from the Development and Aid World News Service–DAWNS Digest. 

Scores Killed in Damascus Bombings

The government blames the rebels and the rebels blame the government for the attack. This is a major escalation of the conflict and the worst incident since the UN monitors arrived on the scene. “The blasts, which ripped the facade off a military intelligence building, happened at about 7:50 a.m. when employees are usually arriving at work. The outer wall of the headquarters collapsed, although the structure inside appeared intact. CBS News’ George Baghdadi says human remains and badly burned bodies littered the streets after the explosions, which also destroyed as many as 40 cars and pickup trucks. Syrian Ministry of Interior says 70 people were killed by the explosions, including 15 whose bodies were completely torn apart. Another 372 were wounded, including civilians and members of the military, the ministry added.”  (CBS

South Sudan May Face Fiscal Collapse in July

A leaked memo from the World Bank paints a very bleak picture of South Sudan’s financial stability since it shut-off its oil exports over its feud with Sudan. “The leaked memo recounts a briefing to the United States, Britain and other ‘key donors’ by World Bank official Marcelo Giugale. According to the memo, Giugale called the shutoff ‘shocking’ and told donors that ‘the World Bank has never seen a situation as dramatic as the one faced by South Sudan.’ If the government holds fast to the spending plan it adopted this year, South Sudan will run out of reserves by July, ‘at which point state collapse becomes a real possibility,’ the memo said. If it slashed spending by more than half, it would still run out of funds in less than a year, the memo said. The repercussions  would be rapid and dire, with poverty likely to soar from 51% of the population up to 83%, the memo said. The memo also quotes Giugale as saying South Sudanese officials were being unrealistic about alternative sources of income, relying on plans that might actually end up damaging the economy. It criticized South Sudanese leaders for failing to understand the consequences of their decision.” (LAT

Uganda Threatens Oxfam with Expulsion

At issue is a report in which the NGO accused President Museveni’s government of expelling people off their land to make way for timber harvesting. “Uganda has threatened to kick out Oxfam after the British charity accused the government of complicity in violent land grabs for commercial gains, according to the interior ministry. The ministry has told Oxfam and the Uganda Land Alliance, they will lose their operating licenses if they do not retract and apologise for accusations that more than 20,000 people were evicted to make way for an international forestry company…The report said that 22,500 Ugandans living in the Kiboga and neighbouring Mubende districts had been thrown out of their homes to make way for UK-based New Forests Company (NFC).” (AlterNet

Ban Ki Moon Names Chairs for post 2015 MDG Panel

The 8 Millennium Development Goals are set to expire in 2015. Should the international community create new goals? The Secretary General appointed three world leaders to think through a post-MDG development agenda. “Ban told the General Assembly on Wednesday that Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and British Prime Minister David Cameron will head a high-level panel ‘to advise on the post-2015 way forward.’ He also plans to appoint a new assistant secretary-general for post-2015 development planning.” (FoxNews