WHO Convenes Zika Meeting

They are also holding a press conference later in the day. The key question is whether the WHO will formally declare Zika a “public health emergency of international concern,” which sets into motion certain bureaucratic processes to facilitate a global response to the emerging crisis. (Reuters http://reut.rs/1UrUG32)


Zika reaches more European countries…Denmark and Switzerland on Wednesday joined a growing number of European countries to report Zika infections among travellers returning from Latin America, where the mosquito-borne virus has been blamed for a surge in birth defects. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1KFcjXy)


The Zika-Poverty Nexus….Mark interviews Dr. Peter Hotez about the outbreak, it’s potential impact on the health systems of countries like Haiti, and why poverty in the southern United States may exacerbate the crisis. (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/1Sc9OEd)


Stat of the day: More than 6 billion people live in countries where serious levels of public sector corruption are fuelling inequality and exploitation and locking millions of men, women and children into poverty, according to the annual index of perceived corruption. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1OYU41c)




South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar is taking his campaign against President Salva Kiir’s plan to create 28 states to the African Union today. (VOA http://bit.ly/1OYSMTM)


Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has ordered the opening of his country’s border with South Sudan for the first time since the latter seceded in 2011. (BBC http://bbc.in/1UrTQmS )


Three youths were seriously injured in clashes with police in Sierra Leone after authorities ordered village traders to shut up shop while they hunted for people who may have had contact with an Ebola victim, witnesses said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1PE66CE)


African states are trying to push President Pierre Nkurunziza to accept peacekeeping troops at a summit this week to prevent Burundi sliding back into ethnic conflict but there is little hope that he will agree, officials said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1SJXyur)


Cameroon closed most of its northern markets on the border with Nigeria after a series of bomb attacks Monday left at least 35 people dead and 70 wounded in the town of Bodo. (VOA http://bit.ly/1PB5kjR)


With El Nino affecting countries in southern Africa, threatening agricultural production due to a massive heat wave, the World Food Programme has urged the international community to support the upscaling of climate smart agricultural technology for resilience. (IPS http://bit.ly/1KFcpym)


Namibia is currently experiencing chronic food insecurity as a result of drought. Assessments indicate it is the worst crop performance in 80 years. An estimated 578,480 people have been affected with at least 16 per cent of the population in need of urgent food support, now and through the next harvest in April. (ICRC http://bit.ly/1PB5h7x)


As the humanitarian system debates how to reshape the way aid is delivered, Dadaab offers some practical examples of how camp-based communities can play a positive role in the management of their own affairs. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1PE4au4)


South African comedian Trevor Noah, the host of America’s “The Daily Show”, will release a book about being the child of an illegal mixed race relationship under apartheid, his publishers said Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1KFcn9K)



Italy’s coast guard said on Tuesday it had coordinated the rescue of 1,271 migrants from rubber and wooden boats in several operations off the coast of Libya. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1OYSOen)


A U.N. panel is asking the Security Council to set up an inquiry into alleged violations of international law by all sides in Yemen. (VOA http://bit.ly/1OYU3KA)


With new peace talks set to begin this week, humanitarian agencies called Tuesday for unimpeded access to millions of besieged people in Syria and for the funds needed to support lifesaving operations there. (VOA http://bit.ly/1PE66To)


The United Nations launched an appeal on Wednesday for $393 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan to help millions of vulnerable people this year. (AP http://yhoo.it/1PE4kld)


Amnesty International says scores of youths in Iran are languishing on death row for crimes committed under the age of 18, under laws that permit girls as young as 9 and boys as young as 15 to be executed. (VOA http://bit.ly/1OYU1m5)


As worsening levels of air pollution in the Indian capital impact the health of citizens, New Delhi has begun taking steps to tackle the menace. But experts are urging long-term action to clean up what the World Health Organization said is the world’s dirtiest air. (VOA http://bit.ly/1KFcrGI)


The head of the bureau that gathers China’s economic data is under investigation by the anti-graft agency in a possible expansion of an anticorruption campaign that has shaken state companies and securities firms. (AP http://yhoo.it/1PE6bq9)


The Americas


Brazil’s Federal Police on Wednesday launched the latest stage of a sweeping investigation into corruption at state-controlled firms, with six arrest and 15 search warrants issued in the states of São Paulo and Santa Catarina. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1SJXwmk)


U.S. President Obama will propose in his 2017 budget next month that families who qualify for subsidized school meals be given a special electronic benefits card that will allow them to buy an additional $45 in groceries per child each month when school is out. (NPR http://n.pr/1KFcnH1)


The outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil and other countries has raised concern that the pathogen could start spreading widely in the United States, as well. But federal health officials and other infectious disease specialists say so far that seems unlikely. (NPR http://n.pr/1OYU15m)


The rapid spread of the Zika virus has raised interest in a British company that has developed a genetically modified mosquito. Oxitec has produced a genetically engineered line of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the mosquito that carries dengue fever and chikungunya. (NPR http://n.pr/1OYTXCX)


…and the rest


More aggressive tactics by authoritarian regimes, an upsurge in terrorist attacks and a global economic downturn have contributed to a disturbing decline in global freedom in 2015, according to a U.S.-based international human rights group. (VOA http://bit.ly/1PB5hUX)




The World is Ever Shrinking for Syrians. And Not Just for Refugees. (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1PEaxO0)


Focus On Poverty – Could Half-Built Homes End Slums? (SciDevNet http://bit.ly/1OYSPPD)


Analysis: US student arrest renews scrutiny of NKorean tours (AP http://yhoo.it/1SJXr1R)


Is it time to redefine ODA? (Devex http://bit.ly/1SK0FCx)


Fighting ISIS on social media: Why swing back when we can swing first? (The Interpreter http://bit.ly/1Qs6C3C)


Introducing the Australian Aid Tracker (DevPolicy http://bit.ly/1JEPnwR)


Secret aid worker: ‘I was the obscure African girl in a room full of white faces’ (Guardian http://bit.ly/1OYWexM)


What’s really going on with Zimbabwe? (Cherokee Gothic http://bit.ly/1PE9o97)


More Phony Numbers–This Time on the Anticorruption Impact of Open Data (Global Anticorruption Blog http://bit.ly/1PEaEcn)


Seven ideas on how to finance the SDGs (Guardian http://bit.ly/1JERiBE)