Can One Horrible Photo Change Europe’s Refugee Policies?

It is very tough to view. But the Independent did the right thing by putting on their front page the image of a drowned Syrian toddler, washed up on a beach in Turkey. “The pictures show a small boy lying face down in the sand on a Turkish beach as an official stands over him. The child, who is thought to be Syrian, has drowned in an apparent attempt to flee the war ravaging his country. They are extraordinary images and serve as a stark reminder that, as European leaders increasingly try to prevent refugees and migrants from settling in the continent, more and more refugees are dying in their desperation to flee persecution and reach safety. The boy, pictured below being carried by the official, is one of 11 Syrian refugees feared dead after they drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean on two boats bound for the Greek island of Kos.” (The Independent

An HIV Breakthrough…Demonstrating that taking a daily pill to prevent H.I.V. infection can work in the real world, San Francisco’s largest private health insurer announced Wednesday that not one of its 657 clients receiving the drug had become infected over a period of more than two years. That outcome contradicted some critics’ predictions that so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, would lead to less condom use and more H.I.V. infections. A study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases found that the San Franciscans on PrEP, almost all of whom were gay men, did use fewer condoms — and contracted several other venereal diseases as a result. But none got H.I.V.” (NYT

Polio returns to Europe…And the conflict in Ukraine is to blame. “Two polio cases have been confirmed in western Ukraine, the first to be recorded in Europe since 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday. A 10-month-old baby and a four-year-old child were diagnosed with the polio virus in Ukraine’s southwestern Zakarpattya region, which borders four European Union member states, after paralysis associated with the disease was detected, the Ukrainian health ministry had said on Tuesday.” (BBC

Al Shebaab strike AU Base…”At least 50 African Union soldiers are believed to have been killed and another 50 are missing after Shebab militants overran a military camp in southern Somalia on Tuesday, according to Western military officials.” (AFP


At least four people have died in renewed clashes in Burundi, where tensions remain high following President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial re-election, officials and witnesses said Wednesday. (AFP

Sierra Leone Tuesday quarantined 50 people in the northern district of Kambia, where a 76 year-old woman died over the weekend from Ebola. The country had just celebrated the release from the hospital of its last known Ebola patient. (VOA

Illicit trafficking of diamonds from Central African Republic into neighboring Cameroon is helping finance the continuation of a nearly three-year conflict, an expert panel that monitors U.N. sanctions said in a confidential report. (Reuters

Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda pleaded “Not guilty” on Wednesday to crimes including the rape of child soldiers in a campaign of pillage and murder in northeast Congo’s Ituri province in the early 2000s. (Reuters

More than 300 illegal migrants, mostly Ethiopians, are detained in Malawi prisons after finishing their sentences. Government officials say the prolonged stay provides a place to live while readying for deportation. But rights groups say keeping people in prison after their term is finished is illegal. (VOA

A “cattle war” is raging amid the sectarian violence bloodying the Central African Republic, with herds massacred by grenade or machine-gun, cows stolen, breeders kidnapped or murdered and reprisal strikes staged against rival villagers. (AFP

Two years ago, Pascal Affi N’Guessan was in jail after backing the losing side in Ivory Coast’s civil war. Now he is running for president, provoking a power struggle within the opposition whose outcome will help decide the country’s future stability. (Reuters

The gold rush is on in a big way in this central Ugandan district of Mubende. So big that tens of thousands of people make their livelihood from it. Makeshift tents of blue tarps dot the green hills that are pockmarked by pools of muddy water where ore is washed, separating the gold. (AP


Two Red Cross employees were shot dead in the northern Yemeni province of Amran by an unknown attacker on Wednesday, the international aid group said, in a rare case of violence against humanitarian workers in a five-month war. (Reuters

A new United Nations report says Gaza could be “uninhabitable” in less than five years if current economic trends continue. (AP

Football World Cup 2022 host Qatar will begin enforcing a law that ensures migrant workers get paid on time from early November, labour ministry officials said on Wednesday. (AFP

Kidnapped, beaten, sold and raped: the Islamic State group is running an international market in Iraq where Christian and Yazidi women are sold as sexual slaves, a teenager who escaped told AFP on Tuesday.


Two months after foreign countries and international agencies pledged $4.1 billion to help Nepal recover from its worst natural disaster, the government has yet to make arrangements to receive the money and has spent nothing on reconstruction. (Reuters

The United States urged China to release a dozen human rights activists and religious figures it said were detained before a planned meeting with a visiting US diplomat. (AFP

India’s monsoon rains are likely to be below the prior forecast of 88 percent of the long-term average, the weather office chief said, which could make it the driest year since 2009 and worsen rural distress by cutting farm output. (Reuters

The Americas

A mass grave has been found in northern Mexico, authorities said Tuesday, as a rights group indicated it could contain 31,000 bone fragments corresponding to at least 31 bodies. (AFP

Gang violence in El Salvador left 907 people dead last month, a level of bloodshed unseen since the civil war of the 1980s, police say. (BBC

Guatemalan prosecutors wasted no time in pressing their corruption investigation of President Otto Perez Molina, persuading a judge to bar him from leaving the country just hours after a historic congressional vote to strip his immunity from prosecution. (AP

Meeting at the public National Autonomous University of Mexico, leading Latin American scientists called for the incorporation of more human climate science in research on global warming. (IPS

…and the rest

Children younger than 15 continue to work at cocoa farms connected to Nestlé, more than a decade after the food company promised to end the use of child labour in its supply chain, says a new report. (Guardian

Around 100-150 migrants staged a demonstration outside Budapest’s main international train station Wednesday as police blocked some 2,000 people from boarding trains to Austria and Germany. (AFP

Madrid said Tuesday it was joining Barcelona’s initiative to form a “network of cities” to welcome some of the hundreds of thousands of desperate migrants arriving in Europe. (AFP

The rate at which trees were cut down slowed globally for a third year in a row in 2014, but tree loss still covered an area twice the size of Portugal, an environmental research group said. (Reuters


An Open Letter to the New York Times Public Editor: Say “Refugees” (UN Dispatch

Will UN report bring justice for Sri Lanka war victims? (IRIN

Strong Words, But Little Action at Arctic Summit (IPS

Is 2015 the beginning of the end for Africa’s China-led boom? (Reuters

Map of the Day: The most common job held by migrants for each US state (A View From The Cave

Will Islamic State allow polio drive? (IRIN

Why Bill Gates is backing, and blogging about, GMOs (Devex

5 signs of overdevelopment (How Matters

A Commentary on Research Priorities in Development Economics (Africanist Perspective