Sudan’s Gloomy Birthday

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South Sudan celebrated its third independence day and things have never been worse. “A political crisis that devolved into fighting last December has displaced 1.4 million people and left an estimated 10,000 people dead. Activists working in and around the young nation are concerned about its future.Chief among the concerns is humanitarian problems caused by protracted instability. Assistance is only reaching 2 million of the 4.5 million in need, said Noah Gottschalk, Senior Policy Advisor for Oxfam America , in a press briefing yesterday. That is not even what is most worrying. ‘South Sudan is at very serious risk of experiencing a famine this year,’ said Gottschalk. ‘We have the opportunity now to prevent a famine.’ (Humanosphere

Plus…A group of seven major international aid agencies said they face a shortfall of $89 million just when the South Sudan humanitarian crisis edges closer to the risk of famine. Speaking out on the 3rd anniversary of the country’s independence they warned their aid efforts to help hundreds of thousands of people caught up in the conflict was under threat due to a lack of funds.

And…Floods, malaria and malnutrition are making life worse for internally displaced people staying at camps in South Sudan. (VOA

Afghan Civilian Deaths on the Rise…”The number of Afghan civilians, including children, killed in violence rose by nearly 17 percent in the first half of this year, compared with the same period in 2013 as the fight is increasingly taking place closer to homes in populated areas, the U.N. said. (AP


Warning about the deteriorating situation in the Central African Republic, WFP said that the violence there was threatening humanitarian assistance and creating major difficulties for relief workers in the field. (UN News Centre

The world is tantalizingly close to wiping out Guinea worm, a 3-foot-long parasite that emerges from a blister in the skin. Only 17 cases have occurred so far this year. Next year there could be zero. (NPR

With around 365,000 DRC nationals dispersed across several countries in the Great Lakes region, many of them for almost two decades, the traditional triad of “durable solutions” – going home, integrating for good locally, or moving to a third country – remain “largely elusive”, according to the UN Refugee Agency. (IRIN


Iraqi security forces found 53 corpses, blindfolded and handcuffed, in a town south of Baghdad early on Wednesday, local officials said. (VOA

The sarin gas possibly used in Syria was originally supplied by a British firm in the 1980s. (The Independent

More than 35,000 people have been displaced in Yemen’s Omran province, a local government refugee agency said on Wednesday, a day after Shi’ite Muslim tribal fighters overran the provincial capital following fighting that killed more than 200 people. (AP

Bahrain interrogated its top opposition leader on Wednesday after expelling a senior U.S. diplomat for meeting him, a remarkable slap at Washington from the ally that hosts the U.S. Navy’s Middle East fleet. (VOA


Leaders of the BRICS nations will launch their long-awaited development bank at a summit next week and decide whether the headquarters should be in Shanghai or New Delhi, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Wednesday. (Reuters

India’s new government presents its inaugural budget this week in the first substantive test of whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver on ambitious promises to revive stalled economic growth. (AP

The rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl on an overnight train in Thailand have prompted a nationwide call for stricter enforcement of rape laws and a weekend rally that will defy military restrictions on public gatherings. (Reuters

Sri Lanka has banned civil activist groups from holding news conferences and training for journalists, with the organizations rejecting the move as unconstitutional. (AP

The Americas

Barack Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 billion to address an immigration crisis that has seen tens of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America cross illegally into the US. (VOA

British companies will be able to sue the Colombian government in the international courts for the first time under a controversial investment treaty that critics say will make it harder for the Latin American country to carry out land reform a key component of its ongoing peace process. (Guardian


Getting at the root of extreme weather’s connection to civil conflict (Humanosphere

Environment Should be Priority in China’s Urbanisation Spree (IPS

Q&A on push to treat young immigrants as refugees (AP

South Sudan: little to celebrate as war and hunger mar independence day (Guardian

Analysis: Iraq’s minorities under fire (IRIN

Health service gaps in Africa led to Ebola epidemic (ODI


The 48 least developed countries, described as the poorest of the world’s poor, want to be an integral part of the UN’s post-2015 development agenda currently under discussion. (IPS

An AIDS research team at Iowa State University will not get the final $1.38 million payment of a National Institutes of Health five-year grant after a team member admitted last year to faking research results, the NIH said. (AP

Britain has played a key role in galvanising international attention towards the problem of undernutrition, but the government needs to target its policies on those most in need and better engage the private sector in its efforts, according to the UK aid watchdog. (Guardian

Despite effective drugs having been available for over 50 years, TB still kills a million people a year, making it the world’s single deadliest infectious disease after AIDS. (IRIN