Vanuatu’s President Pleads for Help

The scale of this disaster is becoming more clear by the day. The challenges for aid organizations are exceedingly complex–far more so than with Typhoon Haiyan. “Vanuatu could soon start running out of food, the president’s office warned Tuesday, after Cyclone Pam roared through the Pacific nation leaving at least 24 dead, as a massive clean-up got under way in the capital. Aid agencies have warned that conditions are among the most challenging they have faced, with mounting concerns about disease, and the nation’s President Baldwin Lonsdale has appealed for the world to help. The full scale of the disaster was unknown with communications to many of the 80 islands in the sprawling archipelago still down and Benjamin Shing, from Lonsdale’s office, said survivors would quickly run out of food…’The first week we are relying on the fact that the food crops and the gardens are still edible and they can be used for the first week, but after the first week we’ll need to get some rations on the ground,’ he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.” (Daily Mail

Filipino Nurses Kidnapped in Libya…Militants from the Islamic State affiliate in Libya kidnapped four nurses from the Philippines in broad daylight from a hospital in the city of Sirte, while several others were evacuated on Monday.

Election Day in Israel: Polls show that Prime Minister Netanyahu is on the ropes in a nail-biter of an election with profound regional and global consequences. Haaretz is your source:

The condition of the Partners in Health worker stricken with Ebola in Sierra Leone has deteriorated from serious to critical.


A United Nations investigation into human rights in Eritrea has found “very clear patterns” of violations and an absence of rule of law, an interim report said on Monday. (Reuters

The head of Nigeria’s electoral body said on Monday it was ready to conduct presidential and parliamentary elections in less than two weeks’ time, after the vote was delayed by security concerns. (AFP

The European Union has launched an advisory military mission in the Central African Republic to help the country rebuild its army. (AP

South Africans are riding out the intermittent waves of darkness with a combination of frustration and humor. Headlamps and car cellphone chargers are must-have items, according to a popular radio station. (AP

A court in Mombasa on Monday released one of the sons of slain drug baron Ibrahim Akasha and an alleged foreign accomplice on bail, pending their extradition from Kenya to the United States. (AFP

Wider smartphone and Internet access has allowed technology firms to reach remote African farmers with apps providing veterinary diagnoses, crop planting guidance and virtual marketplaces. (Reuters

Scientists are to test a new two-shot Ebola vaccine using an experimental shot from GlaxoSmithKline, which is already in clinical trials in Africa, and a new kind of booster from Emergent BioSolutions. (Reuters

“Let’s finish the job” : UN Ebola envoy (IRIN


As many as 78 nations and 40 international organisations will attend the third donors conference aimed at raising billions of dollars for war-torn Syria, host country Kuwait said Monday. (AFP

Families fled Libya’s coastal city of Sirte in their dozens on Monday after two days of clashes between Islamic State militants and fighters loyal to a government based in Tripoli, with the violence set to escalate, according to witnesses. (Reuters

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians in Lebanon are at risk of losing their refugee status due to new visa rules, the United Nations has warned. (IRIN

Four years on from the Arab Spring that swept away regimes elsewhere in north Africa, critics say Morocco is letting slide the freedoms King Mohammed promoted as a concession to the protesters of 2011. (Reuters

As the Syrian conflict enters its fifth year, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it is time to “reignite a diplomatic outcome” to a conflict that has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced millions. He left open the possibility of accepting that Bashar al Assad would remain in power. (VOA

In a few months, Sweden’s minority government has managed to antagonize both Israel and the Arab world, while also angering business leaders at home as Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom steadfastly pursues human rights and feminism. (Reuters


The U.N.’s special investigator on Iran says the human rights situation in the country has deteriorated since Hassan Rouhani became president in 2013. (AP

Finding ways to adapt to increasingly erratic and severe weather is crucial for farmers in Pakistan and around the world. But adaptation efforts can have unforeseen consequences, creating new problems that also require solutions. (Guardian

Two Buddhist monks who were among scores seriously burned during a 2012 police crackdown on protesters campaigning against a Chinese-backed copper mine said Monday that they are suing Myanmar’s home minister and police chief. (AP

Cyclone Pam has not only caused unprecedented damages to the Pacific island of Vanuatu but also lent urgency to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s plea that disaster risk reduction is in “everybody’s interest”. (IPS

Myanmar expressed “deep sorrow” on Monday for the deaths of five people across the border in China’s Yunnan province that it has been blamed for, while Beijing said it was clear Myanmar’s air force was responsible. (Reuters

Hundreds of priests, school girls and other protesters staged a peaceful rally Monday in the Indian city of Kolkata to support an elderly nun who was gang-raped at her convent school. (AFP

The Americas

The crusading host of Mexico’s top-rated national news radio program has been fired in a case that many fear is a blow to freedom of expression. (AP

Cuba and the United States meet for talks on restoring diplomatic relations on Monday, seeking more progress toward an agreement while not allowing differences over Venezuela to impede their historic rapprochement. (Reuters

The Haitian government said Sunday it would hold elections later this year, a significant step that follows years of uncertainty about the fragile Caribbean nation’s democratic process. (AFP

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff faced the biggest challenge yet of her young and turbulent second term, as hundreds of thousands of protesters took to streets in more than 150 cities to demand her impeachment and an end to corruption. (AP

An influential Mexican broadcast journalist whose report about the first lady’s mansion caused a scandal was sacked, sparking anger among supporters who called her firing an affront to freedom of speech. (AFP

and the rest…

Women are far more exposed to disasters than men given their frontline roles in the home and in healthcare, the UN says, arguing that improving gender equality is key to saving lives. (AFP

Despite the rhetoric on eradicating sexual violence in conflict, there are few signs of a commensurate increase in donor funding for programmes to protect women. Meanwhile, a lack of accurate data on what’s being spent where is hindering efforts to monitor and evaluate what is working. (Guardian

Romanian prosecutors have detained an anti-corruption official on suspicion he inflated property prices, costing the state 75 million euros. (AP

People who took folic acid supplements along with a medication for high blood pressure called enalapril, marketed in the US as Vasotec, were less likely to have a stroke than people who took the drug alone, researchers said. (AFP


A Country Was Nearly Wiped Off the Map This Weekend (UN Dispatch

Global Dispatches Podcast: Todd Moss of the Center for Global Development is a true i-dev wonk. He also writes thrillers!

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The ten richest Africans own as much as the poorest half of the continent (Let’s Talk Development

Piketty and Wealth Inequality (Conversable Economist

The NYT and Nutrition in India: Evidence-Based Wishful Thinking (Marc Bellemare

Where is the DRC’s population? (Rachel Strohm

Education Literally Saved My Life (People, Spaces, Deliberation

Campaign to keep terror out of the world’s classrooms (Guardian

Climate Change Continues, Impervious to Official Declarations (Inter Press Service