USA Launches “Let Girls Learn”

A new US government initiative aims at reducing barriers to education access for adolescent girls worldwide. USAID is spearheading this new effort. “The White House announced a new initiative today to expand its efforts to help adolescent girls worldwide get a quality education through an initiative called “Let Girls Learn.” The new initiative will elevate existing programs and public-private partnerships, seek out new ones, and challenge organizations and governments to commit resources to lift up adolescent girls across the globe.” (USAID

Also, First lady Michelle Obama will travel to Japan and Cambodia this month as part of this new initiative. (VOA

Fair Trade, Human Rights and Palm Oil…Cultivating the world’s most popular vegetable oil can also be a source of human rights abuses. Now, a new alliance spearheaded by Humanity United is doing something about it.  Today, an unprecedented and diverse alliance of international human rights and environmental organizations announced the release of Free and Fair Labor in Palm Oil Production: Principles and Implementation Guidance.  This first of its kind guide represents an opportunity for companies that source, trade, or produce palm oil to fully embrace their responsibility to ensure that the rights of palm oil workers are respected.” (Humanity United

About that award…Save the Children has apologised to those who were upset by its decision to give Tony Blair a “global legacy award” last year, saying the prize was bestowed solely for the former British prime minister’s work on Africa and was not intended as a celebration of his “wider legacy”. (Guardian


Liberia’s president on Tuesday called for an Ebola “Marshall Plan” to help rebuild economies in West African nations devastated by the virus. (AP

Leaders from the three West African countries hardest hit by Ebola are calling for more international aid to help them emerge from the devastating outbreak. (VOA

Yields of cassava, a key crop feeding millions of people across Africa, are not keeping pace with population growth despite its tolerance for climate change, a leading scientist said. (Reuters

Health officials botched more than 20 Ebola blood tests in January and February which led to the release of at least four positive patients, two of whom later died, Guinea’s anti-Ebola coordinator and other health officials said. (Reuters

A former Washington-area taxi driver who was on the FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorists” list has been detained and is in the custody of the Somali government, a U.S. government source said on Monday. (Reuters

Uganda’s government on Tuesday hit back at mounting criticism of plans to ‘export’ over 200 health workers to the Caribbean, insisting it was only seeking to regulate an existing labor market and prevent abuses. (AFP

Assailants in Mozambique on Tuesday killed a prominent academic and expert in constitutional law by firing on the car he was riding in along a central thoroughfare in Maputo, the capital, authorities said. (AP

South Sudan’s army on Tuesday ordered a rogue general the United Nations says has abducted perhaps hundreds of child soldiers to return to headquarters for questioning. (AFP

South Sudan’s rebels on Tuesday warned that peace talks with the government could fail if the government does not make concessions, especially on the issue of how to share power in a possible unity government. (AP

The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday established a sanctions regime for South Sudan but stopped short of imposing worldwide travel bans and asset freezes on officials in the conflict-torn country or an arms embargo. (Reuters


The United Nations will resume peace talks with Libya’s warring factions “later this week” in Morocco and is calling for an immediate ceasefire, the U.N. mission to Libya said on Tuesday. (Reuters

A United Nations delegation in Syria met the governor of Aleppo on Tuesday as the UN pushes a plan to freeze fighting in the divided northern city, officials said. (AFP


India’s main public health programs, aimed at millions of rural poor, have been in disarray for months because the government changed the way that over $1.3 billion in federal funds were distributed, according to data and letters seen by Reuters. (Reuters

For the past eight weeks in Bangladesh, more than 100 people have died in bomb attacks on public vehicles and alleged police shootouts, as the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its allies continue a nationwide transportation blockade. (VOA

North Korea has lifted severe restrictions on foreign travel it imposed last year to keep the Ebola virus from crossing its borders. (AP

Human waste left by climbers on Mount Everest has become a problem that is causing pollution and threatening to spread disease on the world’s highest peak, the chief of Nepal’s mountaineering association said Tuesday. (AP

Student protesters calling for education reform on Tuesday defied an order to disperse in a tense standoff with hundreds of riot police in central Myanmar. (AFP

Indonesia is nearly ready to execute by firing squad nine foreigners and an Indonesian condemned for drug smuggling as diplomatic squabbles persist over the executions. (AP

A U.N. envoy urged Sri Lanka’s new government on Tuesday to address skepticism among ethnic Tamils about its efforts to promote post-war reconciliation, saying there should be more progress in accountability and in human rights issues. (AP

The Americas

The approval rating for Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has plunged to its lowest level since she took office last year as a bank loan scandal involving her son chips away at her popularity. (AP

…and the rest

The Food and Agriculture Organisation has launched an emergency appeal for $697 million to help 30 million people in 31 crisis-hit countries, a senior official with the U.N. agency said on Tuesday. (TRF

The Carter Center’s Trachoma Control Program is working to eradicate the eye disease called Trachoma that often causes blindness. If left untreated, the disease causes the eyelids and lashes to grow inward, scratching the cornea. (VOA


Media and NGOs: 12 leading reporters on aid and development (Humanosphere

Fighting Ebola requires a culture change in the west, as well as west Africa (Guardian

A marriage of convenience: the UK military and NGOs (IRIN

15 ways NGOs can attract positive media attention (Guardian

For Women in Asia, ‘Home’ Is a Battleground (Inter Press Service

“Justice, not charity, is what is needed in the world”: A new pamphlet looks to put the politics back into international aid (New Statesman

Inching Towards Peace in Mali (UN Dispatch

Strung out in Tanzania (Al Jazeera America

A Thin Line of Defense Against ‘Honor Killings’ (NY Times

227 studies later, what actually works to improve learning in developing countries? (Development Impact

How can research help promote empowerment and accountability? (From Poverty to Power