USAID Suspends Millions in Syria Aid Amid Graft Allegations

This could seriously impact aid delivery in Syria. “The U.S. Agency for International Development’s independent government auditor said it had ‘established grounds resulting in the suspension of 14 entities and individuals involved with aid programs from Turkey.’ Among the revelations, it said in a statement Friday, was ‘a network of commercial vendors, NGO employees, and others who have colluded to engage in bid-rigging and multiple bribery and kickback schemes related to contracts to deliver humanitarian aid in Syria.’ USAID did not identify any of the charities, but among those affected are the International Medical Corps (IMC), the Irish charity Goal and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), headed by former British foreign minister David Miliband, humanitarian sources told AFP. All the allegations relate to buying goods in Turkey, with NGOs systematically overpaying.” (Daily Star

Hiroshima…”President Barack Obama will travel to Hiroshima this month in the first visit by a sitting American president to the site where the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb. The White House announced the visit in a statement Tuesday morning, saying Obama will visit along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a previously scheduled visit to Japan. Obama’s visit will “highlight his continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapon,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. The U.S. bombing at Hiroshima killed 140,000 Japanese on Aug. 6, 1945.” (Asahi Shimbun )

Quote of the day…“The normal U.S. practice and the normal international practice is that communities anywhere have the right, or have the ability to decide what they are going to be called. And normally when that happens, we would call them what they asked to be called. It’s not a political decision, it’s just a normal practice.” the US Ambassador to Myanmar Scot Marciel, on his decision to use the term ‘Rohingya’ despite the Myanmar government’s objections. (ABC

Welcome to Obock...A town in Northern Djibouti that is a haven for refugees fleeing Yemen and a departure point for east African migrants headed there.  (IRIN(


Hammered by plunging commodity prices, Africa’s political and business leaders meet for three days from Wednesday to discuss diversification and entering the digital economy to kickstart growth. (Yahoo!

A state-affiliated broadcaster in Ethiopia says at least 50 people have been killed in flooding and landslides triggered by heavy rains. (AP

Unrest at Sudan’s University of Khartoum continued at the weekend as students torched a building where others were staying after they were forced to move out their dormitories. (Radio Dabanga

At least 12 people have been confirmed dead and scores still missing following a landslide that hit Uganda’s Bundibugyo district Tuesday morning. (AllAfrica


Four young Egyptians have been remanded in custody accused of making fun of the government in a satirical video posted on social networks. (AFP

Although protesters demanding political reform have retreated from Baghdad’s streets, the underlying challenge to Iraq’s leadership and stability is not over. (VOA

Russia’s foreign ministry on Tuesday said global powers would gather in Vienna on May 17 to discuss the crisis in Syria, where a recent surge in fighting has threatened peace efforts. (AFP

Yemen’s government and Iran-backed rebels agreed Tuesday to free half of the prisoners and detainees held by both sides, in the first breakthrough in peace talks that began last month. (Yahoo!


At least 10 people were killed and 23 wounded on Tuesday when a suicide bomber blew up his car near the house of a pro-government militia commander in the Afghan province of Nangarhar. (Reuters

Bangladesh hanged Islamist party leader Motiur Rahman Nizami on Wednesday for genocide and other crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. (Reuters

Myanmar and the US appeared to agree to disagree Tuesday on what to call the Southeast Asian nation’s beleaguered Muslim minority that most of the world know as Rohingya. (AP

Villagers from northeast Thailand traveled to Bangkok on Tuesday to demand that police and human rights groups investigate the disappearance of a prominent land rights activist. (Reuters

The Americas

Bolivian officials say the country’s Congress will investigate 95 offshore companies listed in the latest “Panama Papers” leak. (AP

Supporters of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff have set up burning barricades and blocked roads in cities across the country in protest against moves to impeach her. (BBC

Chile’s southern coast has been hit by the biggest ever “red tide” in history, and the local fishing economy is struggling to cope. (BBC

Allegations of torture of suspects by Mexican police have cast doubt on the convictions after the September 2014 disappearance of 43 college students. (AP

…and the rest

Despite bold efforts, responses to the large movements of refugees and migrants – due to such issues as conflict, poverty and disasters – have been largely inadequate, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today in a new report. (AllAfrica

Laws to protect breastfeeding against the growing multi-billion-dollar breast-milk substitute business are inadequate in most countries, exposing small children to a greater risk of childhood diseases. (AllAfrica


How Aid Became Big Business (Pulitzer Center

Don’t just condemn humanitarian law violations. Stop them (Guardian

Africa: Replacing Dlamini Zuma Won’t Be Business As Usual (ISS

We’re losing $240bn a year to tax avoidance. Who really ends up paying? (Guardian

What Kenya Can Teach The U.S. About Menstrual Pads (Goats and Soda

Innovation Needs the Right Partners to Have Impact (

Can innovation help fix the world’s overwhelmed humanitarian system? (Guardian