A New Crisis in Myanmar

Long simmering tensions between an ethnic minority community living along the Chinese border and the national government flared up last week. Now, a major humanitarian crisis is brewing. “Nearly 90,000 civilians in northeastern Myanmar are believed to have fled clashes between troops and ethnic rebels, an official said Wednesday, as sporadic violence hampered efforts to evacuate those still trapped. Rebels fear the national army is planning a major assault following the imposition of a state of emergency in the Kokang region of Shan state on Tuesday. Whole towns and villages lie empty in the rugged, remote area as tens of thousands of residents have fled their homes — some on foot. At least 30,000 people, mainly the ethnic Chinese Kokang, have crossed the border into China’s Yunnan province, sparking alarm in Beijing.” (AFP http://yhoo.it/19x0ZRn)

Aid worker killed…A British aid worker with the Carter Center in South Sudan was shot dead late Tuesday in the capital Juba.(AFP http://yhoo.it/1CILfUY)

Remember Emma Watson’s Impressive UN Speech?  It launched in a blaze of social media glory with a viral speech that rocketed around the world, and five months on from the launch of U.N. Women’s groundbreaking HeForShe campaign, the real work is well underway. (IPS http://bit.ly/1G3xdyd)


The military spokesman for South Sudan’s armed opposition has defected from the group, due to concerns about the movement’s leadership. It is not yet clear what effect the move will have on the conflict or ongoing peace talks with the government. (VOA http://bit.ly/1FtAHMV)

The mutilated body of an albino toddler has been found in Tanzania with his limbs hacked off, the latest such killing for body parts for witchcraft, the police said Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1ASJDc6)

A French boy was abducted from outside his school in southwest Madagascar, authorities said Wednesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1G36ems)

Sierra Leone launched a two-week door-to-door search Wednesday for Ebola patients as part of sweeping efforts to stem the spread of the virus in the west of the country. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1ASKoSC)

The Gambia marked its 50th year of independence on Wednesday, with festivities overshadowed by growing complaints over its rights record and the regime increasingly seen abroad as a pariah. (AFP http://yhoo.it/19x0Zkp)

Islamist group Boko Haram has vowed to make voting impossible in Nigeria’s upcoming election after a spate of deadly attacks in the country’s violence-wracked northeast. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1CILgrU)

A further postponement of Nigeria’s general elections beyond the rescheduled polling day of March 28 would be “unconstitutional”, the country’s election chief, Attahiru Jega, said on Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1G36UIC)

A radio show host in Burundi who was detained last month after he refused to identify a guest who said he been involved in the murder of three Italian nuns, was freed on bail on Wednesday, his lawyer said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/19x0xTf)

A Senegalese special prosecutor is seeking a seven-year prison sentence for Karim Wade, the son of a former president, on charges of illicit enrichment, Wade’s lawyer said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/19x11J7)

A man suspected of poisoning the traditional beer that killed more than 70 people has been arrested, Mozambican police said Wednesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1G36UZ3)

South Africa’s headline inflation fell to 4.4 percent in January, the lowest rate in nearly four years, official statistics showed Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1ASJFkd)


Recent savage terrorist acts – culminating in the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians – highlight the “imminent danger” confronting Libya, its people and the wider region, the United Nations envoy to the country warned today, urging swift agreement among the main parties on resolving the crisis and ending the military and political conflict. (UN News Center http://bit.ly/1E7GnKU)

Battles in and around the Syrian city of Aleppo have killed at least 70 pro-government fighters and more than 80 insurgents after the army launched an offensive there, a monitoring group said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1ASJAx7)

The United Nations envoy to Syria said Tuesday he has received a commitment from the Syrian government to suspend airstrikes and artillery shelling on the city of Aleppo for six weeks to allow a proposed U.N. plan to “freeze” hostilities in the country’s largest city to be tested. (AP http://yhoo.it/1ASKlpR)

Nearly four years since it began, Syria’s civil war has defied all diplomatic attempts to broker a peaceful resolution. While the conflict has recently been overshadowed by the U.S.-led international battle against the Islamic State extremist group, Syria’s war has continued its devastating march, with the death toll now at least 220,000 people. (AP http://yhoo.it/1G36dPr)

Hundreds of Sunni tribesmen in the central Yemeni desert parade in pickup trucks toting heavy machine guns and singing martial songs to raise morale. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1G36iCL)

Delegates attending a UN-sponsored meeting on the crisis in Syria are appealing to all warring factions to allow humanitarian agencies to deliver desperately needed aid to millions of people who currently are out of reach. (VOA http://bit.ly/1G3x65V)


Thailand’s cabinet has approved a $240 million budget to alleviate drought in the country and tackle “water emergencies”, a government spokesman said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1ASJFAU)

While vaccine distrust has sparked debates amid a measles outbreak in the United States, Pakistan is in a deadly battle to wipe out polio. (AP http://yhoo.it/1CILLlN)

The Indian government is under pressure to explain what caused a Pakistani fishing boat to explode, killing four people on board in mysterious circumstances, after a senior Indian coast guard official said it was deliberately targeted. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1G36ZvY)

A special tribunal dealing with war crimes involving Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war convicted and sentenced a leading collaborator to death Wednesday for crimes including mass killing, arson and looting. (AP http://yhoo.it/1CILL5r)

Pakistan’s northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province plans to supply solar power to 5,800 off-grid households in 200 villages, promoting clean energy amid conventional electricity shortages. (TRF http://yhoo.it/1ASJC8h)

The number of civilians killed or wounded in fighting in Afghanistan climbed by 22 percent in 2014 to reach the highest level in five years as foreign troops concluded their combat mission, the U.N. said in an annual report released Wednesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1ASKlWX)

The Americas

Heavy rains during Brazil’s four-and-a-half-day Carnival holiday offered the first relief in months for the country’s drought-stricken and economically crucial southeast, but was unlikely to end fears of water and electricity shortages. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1G36gec)

…and the rest

Scientists said Wednesday a new drug tested on monkeys provided an astonishingly effective shield against an animal version of the AIDS virus, a major gain in the quest for an HIV vaccine. (AFP http://yhoo.it/19x0BCk)

A rash of sex discriminatory laws – including the legalisation of polygamy, marital rape, abduction and the justification of violence against women – remains in statute books around the world. (IPS http://bit.ly/1G3aSRq)


The careless, astonishing cruelty of Barack Obama’s government (Guardian http://bit.ly/19x3qU4)

Should We Celebrate 10 Years of the Global Tobacco Control Treaty? (IPS http://bit.ly/19x46su)

The Grandpa Who Saved His Granddaughter From Ebola (NPR http://n.pr/1G3bnem)

Lung Cancer Surpasses Breast Cancer As Leading Cause of Death in Women in Developed Countries – Why It Should Serve As a Warning to Us (The Star http://bit.ly/1EQYbrM)

Where Is the ‘A’ in ‘Brics’? (GEG Africa http://bit.ly/19xqsKp)