Top of the Morning: Suicide Attacks in Afghanistan; Trials Against NGO Workers in Egypt; A Potential Dengue Vaccine!

Top stories from the Development and Aid World News Service–DAWNS Digest. (If you want the full digest, sign up for it here).

Suicide Attack Near NATO Base Kills Dozens

Two suicide bombers on Wednesday struck a staging area for supply trucks waiting to enter NATO’s biggest base in southern Afghanistan, killing at least 22 people and injuring dozens of others. All the dead were believed to be civilians. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place about four miles from NATO’s sprawling Kandahar Airfield, in a crowded area of small shops clustered around a truck stop. The base lies east of Kandahar city, which is the main urban hub of southern Afghanistan and the traditional home base of the Taliban movement. Ahmad Javid Faisal, a spokesman for the Kandahar governor, said the first attacker approached the busy bazaar by motorbike in the late morning, setting off a powerful blast that killed and maimed scores of passersby, truck drivers and shopkeepers. (LAT

Foreign NGO Workers Face Trial in Solidarity with Egyptian Co-Workers

Trials started yesterday for 43 NGO workers in Egypt, including for very prominent groups like NDI, IRI and Freedom House. To raise pressure on the Egyptian authorities, two Americans and one German elected to stay behind and be tried (likely on trumped up charges) with their local staff. Needless to say, this raises the diplomatic stakes in the legal proceedings. “One had stayed behind when the US paid millions of dollars in bail to spirit six other Americans out of the country on a private jet. The other, an Egyptian-American, was in the US when the charges were announced, but returned to Egypt voluntarily Sunday to stand trial. Both have thrown a wrench into the US government’s plan to extricate itself from what had become the biggest crisis in US-Egypt relations in decades. Both men, who could face up to six years in prison, said they came back because they think it is important to fight the charges, which they say are false and politically motivated,  in part because the outcome of the case could impact the future of civil society in Egypt. And both say they also felt a duty to stand with their Egyptian colleagues on trial, who don’t have the luxury of watching the drama play out from the safety of the US.” (CSM

A Potential Dengue Fever Vaccine!

This would be huge. “The Paris-based firm [Sanofi] hopes for positive results in September from a key trial among children in Thailand that would set it on course to market a shot in 2015 which would prevent an estimated 100 million cases of dengue infection each year. Of 20,000 annual deaths, many are of children. For Sanofi, which has invested 350 million euros ($440 million) in a new French factory to make the three-dose vaccine, it could mean a billion euros in yearly sales as half the world is exposed to the disease, notably in fast-expanding tropical cities from Rio and Mexico to Manila and Mumbai. But like British rival GlaxoSmithKline, whose new malaria shot has shown promise against another mosquito-carried scourge, Sanofi is also preparing for pressure to make its drug accessible to billions too poor to pay the likely market price.” (Reuters