The Food Crisis in Southern Africa is Now on Par with Syria and South Sudan

The World Food Program has activated its own internal emergency response mechanism, elevating the food crisis caused by El Nino in southern Africa to a “level 3” emergency. That’s the highest level, putting it on par South Sudan, Yemen, Iraq and Syria. Speaking from Malawi, World Food Program executive director Ertharin Cousin says the WFP is planning to reach 11.8 million people in the region with food assistance between now and March 2017. But to do so, they need some $549 million and raising this money has been difficult because the crisis in Southern Africa is a slow burning and off the headlines. “We have not received much attention from the world community as this situation escalates,” she said. Of this $549 million, Cousin says $204 million is needed “urgently” to preposition food ahead of a coming rainy season that is expected to be particularly intense as El Nino’s sister weather phenomenon, La Nina, sets in. (UN Dispatch

Big Iraq Pledging Conference as Coalition Sets Sights on Mosul..”Kerry said the goal was to raise at least $2 billion in new aid for Iraq to help communities get back on their feet once Islamic State militants have been driven out. The battle for Mosul is expected to be difficult, but the aftermath could be tougher, Iraqi, United Nations and U.S. officials say. Plans are being finalized to provide urgent humanitarian aid and restore basic services and security for residents and as many as 2.4 million displaced people.” (Reuters

Quote of the day…”We take the world that’s been given to us, and we try to make it just a little bit better. Then somebody else picks it up, and they do their part.”  President Obama, getting reflective at the White House Global Development Summit. Seriously, go watch this section of his speech

Quote of the Day 2…“It is time to mobilize a global response to hepatitis on the scale similar to that generated to fight other communicable diseases like HIV AIDS and tuberculosis.” WHO chief  Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the UN World Health Organization (UN News Center )

Pokemon no-go…Indonesian officials have banned the playing of “Pokemon Go” from the presidential palace. (AP


Kidnappings in Central Africa by the Lord’s Resistance Army hit a six-year high in the first half of 2016 just as Uganda threatened to roll back its involvement in an operation to hunt down the rebels, monitoring groups said on Wednesday. (Reuters

Dozens of people have disappeared in the past two years at the hands of counterterrorism forces in Kenya, Human Rights Watch said in a report released Wednesday. (VOA

At the AIDS Conference in Durban, USAID and Elton John announced the first-ever recipients of their new joint LGBT fund. (PEPfAR )

A U.N. goal to get seven out of 10 HIV positive people to take a test, start medication and suppress the deadly virus in their blood is achievable, a study in East Africa showed on Wednesday, raising hopes of ending the AIDS pandemic. (Reuters

Dozens of people have fallen ill with suspected cholera in South Sudan’s capital of Juba, while a U.N. food warehouse was looted and destroyed, incurring $20 million of damage, the United Nations said. (Reuters

After African leaders endorsed a new roadmap aimed at malaria elimination from across the continent by 2030, Rwanda has been called upon to be consistent in the fight against the disease if the country is to meet the target. (The New Times

When the acting boss of South Africa’s public broadcaster stepped down this month, he said he had deliberately limited reporting on one of the main opposition parties. (Reuters

AIDS is rampant in Swaziland but programs to treat pregnant women and encourage men to get tested are slowly having an impact. (Guardian

China is sending its special envoy for Africa to the continent to help with efforts to resolve the political crisis in South Sudan, China’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday. (Reuters


The Purge Continues…Turkey issued a ban on professional travel for all academics and opened top-to-bottom investigations into military courts Wednesday as security chiefs planned the next steps in sweeping crackdowns after last week’s failed coup attempt. (WaPo )

Libya’s U.N.-backed government is moving to tackle chronic power outages in a key test of the Tripoli-based administration’s ability to take executive control and win support by improving living conditions. (Reuters

France and the United States are preparing a coordinated strike against Islamic State on the militant group’s stronghold in Mosul, Iraq, French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said. (Reuters

President Francois Hollande said on Wednesday three French soldiers were killed in a helicopter accident in Libya during an intelligence-gathering mission in the North African state. (Reuters


In a rare admission, Myanmar’s still-powerful military said on Wednesday that soldiers had killed five villagers during an interrogation last month in northern Shan State, and promised to prosecute the perpetrators. (Reuters

Government forces in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir on Wednesday removed dozens of black and Pakistani flags hoisted by residents observing a “black day” to protest the killing of a top rebel leader. (AP

The Americas

Colombia wants a permanent opening of its border with Venezuela and will not allow further temporary crossings, the foreign minister said, after tens of thousands of Venezuelans streamed in during the weekend to buy items scarce in their own country. (Reuters

Brazil’s intelligence agency said on Tuesday it was investigating all threats to next month’s Rio Olympics after a presumed Brazilian Islamist group pledged allegiance to Islamic State less than three weeks before the Games. (VOA

…and the rest

Rights group Human Rights Watch is calling on Greece to immediately end the holding of unaccompanied migrant children in police station cells, saying the country must find space for them in facilities where they can receive adequate care. (AP

Access to the Wikileaks website in Turkey has been blocked after the group announced, following a failed coup by Turkish military units, that it would release a trove of documents on the country’s power structure. (AP


Kenya: What Say Do Women Have in Peace and Security? (ISS

The returnees: what happens when refugees decide to go back home? (Guardian

‘Honor Killings’ Are A Global Problem — And Often Invisible (Goats and Soda

Answering THE big question in global education: Why is Vietnam such an outlier? (Roving Bandit

Five lessons for better partnerships (From Poverty to Power

The gender agenda: what has Obama done for women and girls? (Guardian

A cure for HIV: what science knows, and what it doesn’t (The Conversation

This Is Europe’s Last Chance to Fix Its Refugee Policy (Foreign Policy
Bridges to Nowhere: Corruption in the BRICS (Foreign Affairs