Denmark Votes to Rob Refugees

The Danish government doesn’t seem to mind the global outcry over a new measure that strips the most desperate people of the world of what little valuables they may possess. “Denmark is set to pass a controversial bill on Tuesday that will require asylum seekers to hand over cash or valuables worth more than €1,300 to help cover government expenses on room and board. Outstanding issues remain on how to cash in on the valuables but [PM] Stojberg said one option may be at a public auction. She noted practical guidelines would be formulated once the bill becomes law. ‘If it is gold and it will be gold in some cases, then of course there is a world market price for gold but of course we are going to have to see’, she said.” (EU Observer

Zika is Coming to America…The Pan American Health Organization released a statement on the transmission and prevention of the Zika virus, the mosquito born disease that is causing microcephaly in babies whose mothers contract it while pregnant. The warning suggests that it’s only a matter of time before the disease spreads across the southern USA, which is in the vector of the Aedes mosquito. “Since Brazil reported the first cases of local transmission of the virus in May 2015, it has spread to 21 countries and territories* of the Americas (as of 23 January 2016). There are two main reasons for the virus’s rapid spread: (1) the population of the Americas had not previously been exposed to Zika and therefore lacks immunity, and (2) Aedes mosquitoes—the main vector for Zika transmission—are present in all the region’s countries except Canada and continental Chile. PAHO anticipates that Zika virus will continue to spread and will likely reach all countries and territories of the region where Aedes mosquitoes are found.” (PAHO

At What Point is it Fair to Ask if MSF is Being Deliberately Targeted in Yemen? Four times in three months. “The first attack took place on October 26, when airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition repeatedly hit an MSF-supported hospital in Haydan District in Saada Governorate. An MSF mobile clinic was then hit by an airstrike on December 2 in Taiz’s Al Houban District, killing one person and wounding eight people, including two MSF staff members. On January 10, the MSF-supported Shiara Hospital in Saada Province was bombed, killing six people and injuring at least seven, most of whom were medical staff and patients. On January 21, a series of airstrikes in Saada Governorate wounded dozens of people and killed at least six, including the driver of an ambulance from the MSF-supported Al Gomhoury Hospital.” (MSF

Public-Private Partnership of the Day: The UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer and Bill Gates announced £3bn (US$4.28bn) in funding over the next five years for research and to support efforts to eliminate Malaria.  (Guardian


Some 350,000 babies are expected to be born by August into severe food shortages in Ethiopia’s worst drought in 50 years, the charity Save the Children said, urging leaders to raise the alarm at the African Union summit this week. (TRF

Four suicide bombers killed about 25 people in a village in Cameroon’s Far North region on Monday, a local official said, the most deadly in a string of recent attacks in an area beset by violence connected to Islamist militant group Boko Haram. (Reuters

Former South Sudan Vice President and current rebel leader Riek Machar said he will ask Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to tell President Salva Kiir to scrap his decision to create 28 states because it is hindering implementation of the peace agreement. (VOA

In Malawi, UNICEF is carrying out a mass screening exercise for malnutrition in children under 5 years of age, in 25 of the country’s 28 districts. (VOA

UNHCR and its partners on called on donor nations for more than half-a-billion US dollars this year to help hundreds of thousands of people forced to flee conflicts in Nigeria and the Central African Republic and the host communities providing them with shelter and other basic services. (UNHCR

After almost two months of clashes between Oromo protesters and security forces in Ethiopia, authorities have scrapped a “master plan” that would have expanded the boundaries of Addis Ababa and, according to protesters, would have displaced Oromo farmers. (VOA

Activists blame Uganda’s weak legal system for the prevalence of acid attacks in the east African nation. Charges are often not brought because of insufficient evidence, corruption or lack of support for victims. (Reuters

Although Liberia – the hardest-hit country with some 4,800 deaths – was declared Ebola-free for a third time last week, the nightmare is far from over for those who survived the epidemic. (Reuters

The United Nations says it is concerned with Malawi government decision to withdraw a case against People’s Party publicist Ken Msonda who was charged with an offence of inciting people to kill gays. (Nyasa Times

Somalia has been making steady political progress ahead of a planned presidential vote this year, but these tenuous gains will not be consolidated unless the focus switches to debt relief and kickstarting the economy, says the former head of the UN mission. (Guardian

Sales of rat poison have taken off in Nigeria following an outbreak of Lassa fever that has left at least 76 people dead and sparked fears of contagion across the country. (AFP



Syrian peace talks meant to begin this week were stalled on Monday partly over the question of who would represent the opponents of President Bashar al-Assad. (Reuters

In 2011, activist Esraa Abdel-Fattah helped ignite revolution on the streets of Egypt and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Five years after the fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, she is shunned or insulted by Egyptians on those same streets. (Reuters

International lenders and the Middle Eastern countries hosting most Syrian refugees looked for ways out of a chronic aid shortage, such as offering cheap loans to hard-hit Jordan and Lebanon. (AP


Foreign NGO employees in China watched in horror last week as a Swedish rights activist went on state television to deliver what colleagues described as a “forced confession”. (IRIN

Unusually cold weather in eastern Asia has been blamed for more than 65 deaths, disrupted transportation and brought the first snow to a subtropical city in southern China in almost 50 years. (AP

Thailand has quarantined 32 people as it seeks to prevent the spread of MERS after a second case of the virus was detected on Friday, a health ministry official said. (Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is being pressed to ensure that democratic reforms and human rights are at the top of the agenda when he meets here Tuesday with Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, leader of the ruling Cambodia People’s Party. (VOA

Seven, a travelling documentary play recounting the real-life ordeals of women who have encountered violence, rape and trafficking, has become a fulcrum for debate and action among students in Bangladesh. (Guardian

The Americas

Protesters clashed with police in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince as thousands marched against President Michel Martelly’s government on a day that was supposed to see a vote to elect his replacement. (Al Jazeera

…and the rest

The British chancellor, George Osborne, and the Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, have unveiled a plan to spend billions to defeat “the world’s deadliest killer” malaria. (Guardian

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the first-ever High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment to provide leadership and mobilize concrete actions aimed at closing economic gender gaps that persist around the world. (UN News Service

A record-breaking string of hot years since 2000 is almost certainly a sign of man-made global warming, with vanishingly small chances that it was caused by random, natural swings, a study showed. (Reuters

European Union interior ministers on Monday urged Greece to do more to control the influx of migrants, some threatening to exclude it from the continent’s prized passport-free travel zone as the crisis increasingly divides the bloc’s members. (Reuters

European Union nations openly quarreled Monday over how best to tackle the migrant crisis amid the stream of new arrivals and continuing disagreements over how to seal off borders. (AP

A private company requiring asylum-seekers to wear red wristbands before they can receive food has been criticized by some British government officials who say it exposes migrants to possible harassment. (AP

A “race to the bottom” on asylum policy among European Union countries is exposing more than 360,000 child migrants to greater risk of harm as the bloc struggles to cope with a surge of refugees, rights watchdogs said. (Reuters


Why the Burkina Faso Attacks Came at Exactly the Wrong Time (UN Dispatch

Representation of aid in/and pop culture: Reading Living Level-3 (Aidnography

Waiting For Payment (AidSpeak

Egypt 5 years on: was it ever a ‘social media revolution’? (Guardian

Having a baby is hard in Ethiopia: women walk a lot, and wait a lot (The Conversation

What Does China’s Anticorruption Campaign Mean for Africa? (GAB

The oil curse (Africa is a Country

Africa Human Rights Record Shames Entire Continent (Daily News

South Sudan’s Next Civil War Is Starting (Foreign Policy

2016 Digital Trends in Africa (Portland

Climate Change Jeopardises Electricity Supply (SciDevNet

The More Women Cry, the Greater the Poverty That Besets Africa (Daily News

The memory of the Egyptian revolution is the only weapon we have left (Guardian