Top of the Morning: USA Buys TV Ads in Pakistan to Soothe Tensions; ICRC Warns of Water Shortage in South Sudan; Deadly Mogadishu Blasts

Top stories from DAWNS Digest.

USA Takes Out TV Ads in Pakistan to Soothe Tensions Over The YouTube Film

With anti-American riots over the crude, anti-Islam YouTube film threatening to rage on, the USA is launching a new ad campaign. “The United States has paid Pakistan TV stations to air advertisements of president Barack Obama which are aimed at soothing public opinion against an anti-Islam movie made in California. The US embassy in Islamabad spent about $70,000 to run the feature clips of Mr Obama and secretary of state Hillary Clinton underscoring US respect for religion and declaring the government had nothing to do with the movie. State department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said it was felt the ads were the best way to get the message across. ‘In order to ensure we reached the largest number of Pakistanis, some 90 million as I understand it in this case with these spots,’ she said. ‘It was the judgment that this was the best way to do it.’ The US announcement aired as Washington warned Americans to avoid non-essential travel to Pakistan, one of the mostly Muslim countries hit by a wave of anti-American demonstrations.” (ABC Australia

ICRC: Water Shortages at South Sudan Refugee Camps Reaching Crisis Levels

A dire warning from a group not typically inclined to make dramatic announcements. “Severe water shortages in refugee camps close to the Sudanese border have contributed to a rise in mortality and malnutrition rates to alarming levels, in what is a major humanitarian crisis. The ICRC has launched a project to improve water access for about 37,000 people in Yusuf Batil camp. Fleeing armed conflict, many thousands of Sudanese refugees from Blue Nile state in Sudan have flooded into South Sudan’s Maban county, Upper Nile state, since September 2011. Their numbers have been increasing since May. Living in remote areas at home, most arrive exhausted after an arduous journey on foot that can last weeks. They have found shelter in isolated camps whose stretched resources are often insufficient to cover peoples’ basic needs. ‘The humanitarian situation in Yusuf Batil camp in particular is extremely worrying. Conditions are dire and survival remains a struggle. Owing to the lack of clean water, people are drinking contaminated surface water. Children are especially vulnerable to death from water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea,’ said Melker Mabeck, head of the ICRC delegation in South Sudan. ‘The ICRC is tackling this emergency by expanding the camp’s water infrastructure and distributing jerrycans and buckets so people are better able to collect and store water.’” (ICRC

Suicide Blast at Mogadishu Restaurant Kills 15. Several Journalists Killed

Suicide bombers struck a hangout in Mogadishu popular with local journalists. Many members of the media were victims of this blast. “Suicide bombers set off at least two explosions at a popular restaurant in Mogadishu late Thursday, killing about 15 people including journalists and two police officers, authorities said. The Village Restaurant is owned by Ahmed Jama, a British Somali profiled in The Times last month who has several restaurants all with the same name. The one hit Thursday is located in central Mogadishu, opposite the National Theater — itself the target of a suicide bombing in April — and is popular with Somali journalists and civil servants. No group had claimed responsibility for the blasts. The Al Qaeda-linked Islamic militia Al Shabab, which has carried out many bombings in the capital in the past, did not issue an immediate commented. Some witnesses reported two blasts, while others said there were three. Witnesses described a scene of mayhem, with blood spattered across the floor, the bodies of dead and wounded people strewn among the plastic chairs and cups.” (LAT