Pope V Climate Change

Pope Francis’ long awaited encyclical on climate change will be released at noon, Vatican time. But thanks to early leaks, we basically know what the Pope’s missive will say. The major news outlets all have an embargoed final draft so we recommend hitting “refresh” on the New York Times or somewhere similar. In the meantime, Think Progress has this nice bit of commentary: “Pope Francis has just elevated the climate change issue to its rightful place as the transcendent moral issue of our time. And that matters because winning social movements are inevitably won on moral grounds. Using Churchillian language, the Pope just called B.S. on the do-nothing and do-little crowds.” (Think Progress http://bit.ly/1HUVSZe)

And a reminder that the Pope moonlights as a Diplomatic Ninja (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/1sDjWEW)

Hot Off the Presses: New Data on Displacement from the UN Refugee Agency.The new Global Trends report is out and it paints a damning picture: worldwide displacement is at the highest level ever recorded by the UN Refugee Agency. “UNHCR’s new annual Global Trends report shows a sharp escalation in the number of people forced to flee their homes, with 59.5 million people forcibly displaced at the end of 2014 compared to 51.2 million a year earlier and 37.5 million a decade ago. The increase since 2013 was the highest ever seen in a single year.  The main acceleration has been since early 2011 when war erupted in Syria, propelling it into becoming the world’s single largest driver of displacement. In 2014, an average of 42,500 people became refugees, asylum seekers, or internally displaced every day, representing a four-fold increase in just four years. Worldwide, one in every 122 humans is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum.” (http://bit.ly/1HUUF4e)

The needs are increasing. The funding is Flat…”The United Nations’ annual appeal for humanitarian aid has risen 500% in 10 years due to the “new norm” of multiple humanitarian crises. Only 26% of the money needed has been committed, according to a report published last night. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1GZtxSG)

Stat of the day: The world’s steady shift away from peace and into conflict inflicted a $14.3 trillion cost on the global economy last year, as nations ramped up military spending and more people were driven from their jobs, according to the latest Global Peace Index. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1GtlaLT)

Quote of the day: “I invite all of you to ask forgiveness for those who close the door on these people who are looking for life, for a family, and to be cared for.” – Pope Francis joining the migration discussion. (AP http://yhoo.it/1GZtTc6)


A large sack of home-made bombs discovered at an abandoned Boko Haram camp exploded, killing 63 people, witnesses said Wednesday of a toll many times higher than in any recent attack in northeast Nigeria. (AP http://yhoo.it/1GZtztT)

The United States plans to provide $5 million to help support a regional military force fighting Nigeria’s Islamist militant group Boko Haram, a state department official said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1GtlcU3)

The United Nations denied a media report that Sudanese troops held South African peacekeepers in Darfur hostage so Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir could leave South Africa and avoid being arrested to face genocide charges. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1GtlcU7)

Despite stigmatisation that she has been greeted with by members of her local community, a 16-year-old victim of Boko Haram, impregnated by the insurgents, has said she would keep the pregnancy because her unborn baby deserves to live. (Leadership http://bit.ly/1GZq1YH)

It’s a scandal that any family in a continent as rich as Africa, with its vast oil and mineral wealth, should be so poor they feel forced to sell their daughter, the African Union’s goodwill ambassador on child marriage said. (TRF http://bit.ly/1GtmHl5)


Oxfam wants to double to three million the number of people it can reach inside Syria with water and hygiene projects, the head of Oxfam’s British office said after meetings with officials in Damascus. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1BjsRWd)

Human Rights Watch said Wednesday that authorities from the internationally recognized government in Libya are responsible for forcing confessions, not providing medical care and denying due process to detainees. (VOA http://bit.ly/1JYxKVD)

The United Arab Emirates is paying tens of millions of dollars to support Palestinian war victims in Gaza, but the aid is also giving a boost to an exiled Fatah leader of the impoverished enclave. (AP http://yhoo.it/1QEwP2k)


Myanmar’s government is using threats, harassment and imprisonment to intimidate the media ahead of national elections later this year, Amnesty International said Wednesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BjoVoj)

Two migrants said they witnessed an Australian official hand cash to the crew of a people-smuggling boat to take its passengers back to Indonesia. (AP http://yhoo.it/1GtmAGa)

The World Health Organization says the spread of MERS from the Middle East to South Korea doesn’t merit being formally being declared a global emergency despite infecting more than 160 people in the biggest outbreak outside the Arabian peninsula.  (APhttp://yhoo.it/1GZqz0x)

Asia has made huge strides in developing clean energy over the last decade but must boost investment and its use of energy efficiency technology to meet rising demand and cope with climate change, Asian Development Bank officials and other experts said Wednesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1GZqBWc)

Decades of weak investment under junta rule in Myanmar means the vast majority of people — eight in 10 — are forced to drink from unsafe supplies such as wells, boreholes, springs and streams while only nine percent have access to tap or piped water. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1GZpOol)

The Americas

Jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has lost  26 pounds on a partial hunger-strike now in its fourth week, his family said, while students around the country escalate similar protests in solidarity. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Fn2fyr)

Tropical Depression Bill drenched large parts of Texas on Wednesday, turning streets into lakes, raising flood worries and killing at least one person in the state where severe weather killed about 30 people last month. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Bjob2B

…and the rest

EU border agency Frontex on Wednesday launched its first so-called “hotspot” in Sicily designed to bring together European and international actors to help Italy tackle the Mediterranean migrant crisis. (AP http://yhoo.it/1GZtu9o)

France will create 11,000 more places in centers for asylum seekers and housing for refugees as part of a plan to help deal with the flow of thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea, the country’s interior minister said Wednesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1GZu8Uy)

After an extensive review of United Nations peacekeeping operations, an independent panel is recommending significant changes to help the world body adapt to the rapidly evolving challenges it faces in the globe’s trouble spots.  This is the first major peacekeeping assessment in 15 years. (VOA http://bit.ly/1JUwi8n)

Hungary said Wednesday it was building a barrier on its border with Serbia to keep out migrants, as the EU struggles to deal with the massive flow of people trying to reach Europe. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1GtmJJJ)

Banks in Switzerland have reported 53 possible acts of money-laundering in the investigation of FIFA’s 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests, the country’s attorney-general said Wednesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1JYy8Uc)


The ICC, Bashir and South Africa. Things Got Weird. (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/globaldispatches)

Infographic of the Day: Humanitarian Relief;s Scary Funding Gap. (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1HUXZwb)

The Plunder of Africa (Foreign Affairs http://fam.ag/1HUgwZw)

How is our understanding of development changing? (Guardian http://bit.ly/1JYy8nd)

What the Philippines Can Learn from Morocco, Peru and Ethiopia (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/1SoDdrU)

How fossil fuel emissions could take protein from the diets of the world’s poorest people  (Guardian http://bit.ly/1FmXi8M)

Bashir Vs ICC – Where Is the African Justice? (The New Times http://bit.ly/1GZtzdk)

Could Peacekeeping Wives Deter Sexual Abuse in U.N. Overseas Operations? (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/1BjsSt3)

Inadequate Education Continues to Undermine Youth (ISS http://bit.ly/1JYxdDp)

Baku 2015: why is Unicef supporting Azerbaijan’s European Games? (Guardian http://bit.ly/1GPlLci)

Developing Countries Face Tough Transition in 2015 (The Chronicle http://bit.ly/1Gtmw9k)

Cash Transfers – Indebted to Donors (Africa Research Institute http://bit.ly/1GZtztS)

Why border controls are now a global game (IRIN http://bit.ly/1BjsPgP)

What’s Next for China’s Anti-Corruption Drive? (VOA http://bit.ly/1GZu5bi)

Cities Will Be Decisive in Fight for Sustainable Development (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/1Fn2glS)