Major attack on hotel in Mogadishu

Meanwhile, the Pentagon also confirmed another drone strike against an al Shebab commander. “Witnesses in Somalia’s capital say at least 10 people were killed and more than 15 others wounded when militants attacked a major hotel Wednesday.  Somali lawmaker Mohamed Ismail Shuriye told VOA that two parliamentarians, Abdullahi Jama Kaboweyne and Mohamud Gure, were killed during the attack. He said a third lawmaker, Abdullah Hashi, was injured…The assault on Mogadishu’s Ambassador Hotel came hours after Somali officials said a top commander of militant group al-Shabab was killed in a late-night military operation. Mohamed Mohamud, better known as Dulyadeyn, allegedly masterminded the April 2015 attack on Kenya’s Garissa University College that left 148 people dead, nearly all of them students.” (VOA

This is getting uglier by the day… “Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye’s treason trial began Wednesday with the prosecutor saying he could not be brought to court for security reasons. Besigye, who claimed fraud after coming second in February’s presidential election, was arrested last month for holding a mock swearing-in ceremony and charged with treason. He is being held at the maximum security Luzira Prison in the capital Kampala. State prosecutor Lino Angunzu told the judge that Besigye could not be brought to court because of “a specific security threat” and requested that further hearings be held inside the prison.” (AFP

After four years, aid finally reaches Daraya… “A convoy carrying much-needed aid, including medicine and baby milk, has reached the besieged suburb of Daraya in Syria’s capital. Less than a month ago, a convoy was turned away by government forces. The International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations and the Red Crescent — an aid organization active in the Muslim world — coordinated the effort to get supplies to the Damascus suburb. It’s the first delivery of its kind to the town since 2012.” (NPR

Dire economic warning of the day…The world economy risks getting caught in a “low-growth trap” if governments don’t spend more on investments, open up to trade, and make reforms, a top economic forum warned Wednesday. (AP


A dead baby plucked out of the sea whose picture sparked international outrage this week was probably a six-month-old Somali boy whose mother also most likely died in the shipwreck, Italian police said on Wednesday. (Reuters

One Chinese United Nations peacekeeper has been killed, and four injured, after an attack in Mali, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, calling for an investigation into the incident to bring the perpetrators to justice. (Reuters

The International Criminal Court says it hopes to complete the trial of an Islamic radical accused of involvement in the destruction of historic mausoleums in the Malian desert city of Timbuktu in just a week because the suspect plans to plead guilty. (AP

Zimbabwe is seeking support from its neighbors to be allowed to engage in international trade in ivory and will not burn its 70 tonnes of ivory stocks as Kenya did last month, the environment minister said on Wednesday. (Reuters

A project to build dams and irrigation systems to bring water to parched fields in Zimbabwe is set to help – and could protect at least some families against the more frequent droughts climate change is bringing in southern Africa. (Reuters

Ethiopia has grand ambitions for its tiny auto industry, seeking to transform a handful of assemblers that bolt together imported kits into a network of factories that can make the country Africa’s biggest car manufacturer over the next two decades. (Reuters

A severe drought in southern Africa has triggered a surge in food prices preventing central banks from loosening monetary policy to spur economic growth. (Reuters

Botswana is battling to repair its troubled 600 megawatt power station before a surge in power demand during the approaching winter season, its power supplier said on Wednesday. (Reuters

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved $175 million in financing to help mitigate the impact of forced displacement on refugee-hosting communities in the Horn of Africa. (World Bank

Fearful of the Mediterranean crossing and confused by reports of a European refugee lockdown, Syrians are seeking the precarious safety of Mali – which is itself on humanitarian life support and faces severe security challenges. (Guardian


The U.N. children’s fund on Wednesday issued a stark warning to Iraqi troops and Islamic State militants in the battle for Fallujah to spare the children, the most vulnerable among tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the city west of Baghdad. (AP

A besieged suburb of Syria’s capital received humanitarian aid Wednesday for the first time since 2012, as the United Nations said it was looking into “every possible means” to reach besieged Syrians now that a deadline set by world powers has passed. (AP


Three local employees of an international aid organization affiliated with the Aga Khan Development Network were shot and killed by gunmen in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, officials said. (Reuters

Thailand’s military-led cabinet could formally agree as soon as next week to pursue Trans-Pacific Partnership membership after clear signals from cabinet members in favor of joining history’s most expansive trade agreement. (VOA

The Philippines will not distance itself from its long-time security ally, the United States, but neither will it be a lackey to any foreign power, incoming Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay told Reuters on Wednesday. (Reuters

A Pakistani police official says a female teacher has died after being beaten and set on fire for refusing a marriage proposal from a man twice her age. (AP

Authorities in Malaysia have uncovered an immigration racket involving the sabotage of a computerised passport-screening system at its main international airport, police said on Wednesday, raising worries about human-trafficking and security. (Reuters

The Americas

The United Nations is showing the first signs of compromise over the Haiti cholera epidemic, after more than five years in which it has consistently refused to accept responsibility for a disaster that has claimed tens of thousands of lives. (Guardian

Youngsters whose asylum applications are handled by the U.S. government’s regional offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles are far more likely to win approval from asylum officers than those applying in Chicago or Houston, according to data obtained by The Associated Press under a Freedom of Information Act request. (AP

Transgender people in the socially conservative U.S. territory of Puerto Rico have claimed another victory. The island’s electoral commission has ruled that transgender voters are allowed to change their gender on voter ID cards. The ruling comes one week after a registered voter requested to change her listed gender. (AP

…and the rest

The targeting of hospitals and humanitarian workers in war is quickly becoming a “new normal”, a top official at Médecins Sans Frontières has said, describing permanent members of the UN security council as complicit in the killing of medics. (Guardian

The German government says the European Union’s anti-migrant smuggling operation in the Mediterranean sea has intercepted and destroyed 103 boats in its first year of operation. (AP

Germany expects up to 100,000 undocumented migrants to leave the country in 2016, a number Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere Wednesday hailed as high but insufficient after last year’s record influx. (AFP


In Mali, peacekeepers have become the target of an insurgency. This is unprecedented. (UN Dispatch

How long before North Korea can nuke a U.S. city? (Reuters

Islamophobia: Why Are So Many People So Frightened? (Inter Press Service

The astounding increase in New Zealand aid, and other woes (DevPolicy

Why is the US defending the honor of the International Criminal Court? (Africa is a Country

Fancy a holiday in a former Taliban stronghold? (IRIN

How to turn Africa from a “borrowed continent” to a global powerhouse (The Conversation

Hissène Habré, Chad’s former dictator, just got a life sentence for crimes he committed in the 1980s (Monkey Cage