Catastrophe in Ecuador

At time of publication, the death toll stood at 235, with expectations that it may rize. 1500 people were injured in Ecuador’s worst earthquake in decades, which registered with a 7.8 magnitude.  Coastal areas nearest the epicenter were worst affected, especially Pedernales, a rustic tourist spot with beaches and palm trees, which appeared largely flattened. “There are people trapped in various places, and we are starting rescue operations,” Glas said.Authorities said there were 163 aftershocks, mainly in the Pedernales area. A state of emergency was declared in six provinces. The quake has piled pain on the economy of OPEC’s smallest member, already reeling from low oil prices, with economic growth this year projected at near-zero. It has also propelled Glas – a possible candidate in Ecuador’s February 2017 presidential election – into the limelight.” (Reuters


Impeachment for Rousseff? At press time, the impeachment vote was underway. The outcome was uncertain. It’s clear that Brazil is in political chaos. “Some MPs tried to disrupt the session as it got under way. Several thousand rival protesters are gathered outside the Congress building. Ms Rousseff denies the charge and accuses opponents of mounting a “coup”. She has been lobbying MPs amid indications there may be enough votes for the impeachment motion to carry. A two-thirds majority – 342 out of 513 votes – are needed to send the motion to the upper house, the Senate, where a simple majority would be enough to suspend Ms Rousseff from office for up to 180 days during an impeachment trial.” (BBC


Quote of the day: “May all of our brothers and sisters on this continent, like the good Samaritan, come to your aid in the spirit of fraternity, solidarity and respect for human dignity,” Pope Francis, in Lesbos. He took 12 asylum seeker back with him to Italy.  (WaPo




Three Gambian opposition party members have died in detention following a demonstration earlier this week calling for electoral reforms in the tiny West African nation, the United Nations said Sunday. (WaPo


The death toll from a raid carried out by South Sudanese gunmen in western Ethiopia has risen to 208 people and the assailants kidnapped 108 children, an Ethiopian official said on Sunday. (Reuters


The African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia apologised for accidentally killing four civilians Saturday after soldiers mistook them for Shabaab fighters when they failed to stop at a roadblock. (AFP


A Burundi official said Sunday that four members of the country’s ruling party were killed in an attack in continuing violence associated with the extended tenure of President Pierre Nkurunziza. (AP


Mali bid a final farewell on Saturday to Malick Sidibe, an award-winning photographer considered a national treasure for his unique studio portraits and candid black-and-white depictions of popular culture in his West African homeland. (Reuters




French President Francois Hollande met with Syrian refugee children in eastern Lebanon on Sunday before he was to head to Egypt as part of a four-day regional tour. (AFP


The United States on Saturday transferred nine Yemeni detainees from its wartime prison at Guantánamo Bay to Saudi Arabia, completing a long-sought diplomatic deal ahead of a planned visit to Riyadh by President Obama in the coming week. (NYT


The Syrian opposition’s chief negotiator on Sunday said there could be “no compromise” on Bashar al-Assad’s ouster, as he called for renewed attacks on regime forces despite a truce. (AFP


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a cabinet meeting in the Golan Heights for the first time on Sunday, declaring that Israel would never return the territory to Syria. (WSJ


The United Nations said its staff had returned to Tripoli and Libya’s unity government vowed further steps to assert its authority Sunday, on the eve of a crucial confidence vote. (AFP


Many Syrian refugees in Lebanon say their lives have ground to a halt since new measures made it almost impossible for them to obtain or renew their residence permits. (AFP




Police in Bangladesh questioned a prominent journalist and close aide of opposition leader and ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia over the weekend for his alleged role in a conspiracy to kidnap the only son of the current prime minister. (AP


Myanmar’s new president has pardoned 83 prisoners held for political crimes, officials said Sunday, just weeks after the first government in half a century not connected to the military took office. (Reuters


Urban warfare has caused a spike in deaths and injuries among women and children in Afghanistan this year as the Taliban intensifies their campaign against the Kabul government, the United Nations said on Sunday. (Reuters


India and oil-rich Iran today decided to significantly expand engagement in their overall ties, particularly in boosting Indian investment in joint ventures in oil and gas sectors in the Persian Gulf nation where foreign investors from major economic powers are rushing in to get early footholds after lifting of nuclear sanctions. (Economic Times


The Indian government on Sunday announced that it proposes to simplify procedures for grant of Indian citizenship to minority Hindus from Pakistan. (Times of INdia )


The slow trickle of Afghan refugees returning home is at historic lows, dwarfed by the hundreds of thousands being displaced by ongoing fighting and economic problems, according to United Nations officials. (Reuters


Rescuers used shovels to dig through mountains of soil Sunday as they raced against the threat of more landslides to reach people still trapped by two big earthquakes in Japan. (AFP


The head of Papua New Guinea’s police anti-corruption unit has been sacked after arresting several high-profile figures close to the government, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. (Reuters


The Americas


Heavy rains have caused severe flooding and cut water service to 4.5 million people around Chile’s capital, Santiago, officials said Sunday. (AP


Storms and floods in Uruguay have killed seven people and driven 2,000 from their homes in recent days, authorities said Sunday. (AFP


Colombia’s FARC leftist rebel force called on Sunday for Pope Francis’s support to prevent other armed groups from disrupting its efforts to seal a peace deal with the government. (AFP


US Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has rung alarm bells around the world with his proclamations on foreign policy, but his targets are increasingly shrugging off his barbs. (AFP


Two major financiers of the Agua Zarca dam project in Honduras have suspended their financial support in the wake of the high-profile murders of Berta Cáceres and Nelson Garcia, activists who opposed the dam. (GlobalPost


…and the rest


The Czech Republic cannot rule out legal action if the European Union tries to put in place any permanent quota system for distributing asylum seekers, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Sunday. (Reuters


Thousands of people have rallied in Brussels for a “march against hate” in the wake of the suicide bombings in the city last month which killed 32 people. (AP




Peru’s Very Not Normal Election (UN Dispatch


7 questions we want the candidates for U.N. secretary-general to answer (Humanosphere


GiveDirectly just announced a basic income grant experiment. Here is how to make it better. (Development Impact


GiveDirectly is about to provide guaranteed basic income to 6,000 low-income Kenyans for 10-15 years (Africanist Perspective


While everyone was focused on Zika, yellow fever quietly became a global threat (Vox


Here’s why some people think Brazil is in the middle of a ‘soft coup’ (Monkey Cage


The Epidemiologist Who Gave CNN Sass For Asking A Stupid Question (Goats and Soda


No, aid doesn’t cause corruption – the problem starts with us (WhyDev


The solution to the migrant crisis is jobs in low income countries (Guardian


Maturing Microfinance Institutions: Gauging Results (Prosper CSIS


#allmalepanels in international development are about more than just the absence of women (Aidnography