Top of the Morning: Midwives Means More Lives Saved

More midwives means more lives saved…A new UN-backed report shows that as many as two-thirds of maternal and newborn deaths can be averted by increasing the training and number of midwives in 73 key countries. “Midwives are the unsung heroes of maternal and newborn health. Indeed they are the unsung heroes of global health,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin on a press call. (Humanosphere

The Toilet Shortage, Gender Based Violence Nexus…Those two young girls who were raped, murdered and left hanging from a tree in India last week were assaulted as they walked at night to relieve themselves before bedtime. This is a common problem. “Nine of out of ten women and girls say they have faced harassment when going to the bathroom in Bhopal, the capital of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, according a report by WaterAid in 2012. About a third said they have been assaulted, the survey said, without saying how many women it interviewed. “When women go to the fields they are easy prey for men,” said Shaibal Gupta, an economist at the Asian Development Research Institute in Patna in the eastern state of Bihar. “I struggle to describe it. It’s one of the most dastardly acts imaginable.” (Bloomberg

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Human Rights Watch has reacted angrily to Rwandan allegations of bias in its reporting on the central African nation, saying it has been “misrepresented” and its staff “disparaged.” (AFP

South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union is considering a government proposal to resolve a five-month platinum strike and will table it to its members this week, union president Joseph Mathunjwa said. (Reuters

Nigerian protesters seeking the return of more than 200 girls kidnapped by Islamist group Boko Haram said on Tuesday they would challenge a ban on their daily protests in court. (Reuters

200,000 Ugandans have signed up to a company believing it will cure all their illnesses and help them make a fortune. But it is more likely to do the opposite. (Think Africa Press

Foreign mining company personnel have left the country while others are undergoing body temperature screening at work sites, company officials said Tuesday as the death toll from an Ebola outbreak inSierra Leone rose to at least five victims. (AP


The United States says it intends, for now, to work with the new Palestinian unity government, including continued foreign assistance. (VOA

Egypt’s interim president has revoked amnesties for 52 people pardoned by ousted president Mohamed Morsi, state media reported, including Islamists affiliated with the banned Muslim Brotherhood. (Reuters

The president of the World Bank warned Tuesday that Lebanon is reaching “breaking point” in terms of its ability to deal with the massive influx of Syrian refugees. (AP


Thailand’s military is threatening to arrest those using a three-fingered salute from “The Hunger Games” movies to express opposition to last month’s coup. (VOA

An index of consumer confidence in Thailand jumped in May on hopes a military government that seized power promising to impose order after months of political chaos will drag the economy back from the brink of recession. (Reuters

Bangladesh’s leather tanneries are notoriously filthy, exposing workers and neighbours to toxic chemicals. And recent studies show that poultry feed produced from industry scraps may also be putting the health of millions throughout the country at risk. (IRIN

Swathes of India’s most populous state plunged into darkness for 12 hours a day last week as temperatures in Delhi hit their highest in 16 years, with the disruptions underlining the tough challenge a new government faces in keeping the lights on. (Reuters

The Americas

In the past 15 years, China has gone from being a relatively insignificant economic partner in Latin America to the number-one trading partner of some of the largest economies in the region. (IPS

President Barack Obama says the growing number of unaccompanied children travelling illegally to theUS has created an “urgent humanitarian situation”. (BBC

US federal law seeks to keep sexual assault victims from paying for forensic exams, but in some states they may have to cover tests and treatment for pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. (NPR


Malawi elections: Banda defeated by corruption and hunger (African Arguments

Global Prosperity Wonkcast: Deforestation by the Numbers (CGD

Why governments don’t like private schools? (Roving Bandit

Malawi: Joyce Banda Never Existed (Think Africa Press

Inclusive capitalism must fairly reward those on the bottom rung of the ladder (Guardian

Queer in Africa – Confronting the Crisis (Daily Maverick


A new report says while the need for social protections is widely recognized, many people around the world don’t have them. The International Labor Organization says less than 30-percent of the population has guaranteed access to such things as healthcare or unemployment safeguards. (VOA

Due to malnourishment, some 200 million toddlers in poor countries have under-developed brains. A study in the journal Science suggests more play time with mom can dramatically reverse the damage. (NPR

Majority of Inaugural Conflict Mineral Reports Are Inadequate (Global Witness

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Image credit: State of the World’s Midwifery report, UNFPA