UNSC Visits Burundi. Message in Tow

Can the UNSC convince the government to accept peacekeepers? “The delegation is seeking an end to the violence that has gripped the country since last April, when President Pierre Nkurunziza’s announced his ultimately successful re-election bid. Upon arrival Thursday, the UN team was greeted by hundreds of protesters backing the government, carrying signs in English that said ‘genocide will not happen’ and “stop interfering in Burundian affairs”. At a meeting planned for Friday, the council hopes to persuade Nkurunziza to agree to an African Union proposal of 5,000 peacekeepers, which his government has branded an ‘“invasion force’”. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1OAsFEO)

New USA Visa Restrictions Go Into Effect…The Obama administration on Thursday announced changes to a visa-waiver program that will make it harder for travelers to enter the United States from Europe if they have dual citizenship from Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria, or have visited one of those countries in the last five years. Those travelers will now have to go through the more rigorous regular visa application process to enter the country. The Department of Homeland Security, which announced the changes, said they would take place immediately. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1OAriWH)

Syria Peace Talks Set to begin Monday…Here’s a curtain raiser. “A major obstacle for United Nations officials organizing the upcoming Geneva talks is deciding who will represent the fragmented Syrian opposition, which include radical Islamist fighters and peaceful and secular opponents of Assad’s government. There is agreement that two of the major armed opposition factions — Islamic State and Al Nusra Front, the official Al Qaeda franchise in Syria — will be excluded from the talks. But the participation of other radical Islamist groups, such as Ahrar al Sham, cofounded by an Al Qaeda operative, have not been ruled out. Militant Sunni Islamist factions dominate the armed opposition on the ground in Syria. The dispute about who will represent the opposition in Geneva is playing out against a backdrop of foreign powers’ deep involvement in the complex, multi-sided Syrian conflict.” (LAT http://lat.ms/1OAr6H0)


A suicide car bomber rammed the gates of a restaurant near a beach in Somalia’s capital before gunmen fought their way into the building in an attack claimed by an Islamic extremist group that killed at least three people on Thursday, a police official said. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1OAqP6K

Aid agencies have warned that security issues are harming the health, education and nutrition of children in Mali, where the unchecked spread of Islamic extremist violence has left many schools and health centres beyond the reach of humanitarian programmes. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1OAqMrE)

Despite a slight drop in poaching numbers in South Africa, the total numbers of rhinos killed reach a new record of 1,305 across the continent, according to conservation group TRAFFIC. Most of those slaughtered were in South Africa, which saw its numbers drop slightly from 1,215 in 2014 to 1,175 last year. (CNN http://fxn.ws/1OArc1g)



A bomb attack killed six people, including three policemen, on Thursday near a road leading to the pyramids in the Cairo suburb of Giza, security sources said. (Reuters http://reut.rs/1OAqSQ1)

Egyptian authorities have intensified a crackdown on dissent ahead of next week’s anniversary of the country’s 2011 Arab Spring uprising, with police raiding apartments seeking signs of plans for organized protests and checking people’s social media accounts. (NYT  http://nyti.ms/1OAqWPN)

Palestinian officials said Thursday they have started discussions over a new United Nations Security Council resolution that would declare Jewish settlements in the West Bank illegal. (WSJ http://on.wsj.com/1OAr027 )

UN agencies and international organizations have urged people to join an appeal to end the war in Syria. The groups said the more than 260,000 people who have died in the war need to be seen as more than a statistic. (DW http://bit.ly/1OArSDX)


A court in India’s Kerala state has found a millionaire guilty of murdering his security guard after deliberately ramming his car into the man. (BBC http://bbc.in/1OArKnT)

For seven years, the young Swedish man had directed a nongovernmental organization in Beijing that offered legal aid to Chinese citizens in trouble. Now he was a captive of China’s legal system, forced in police detention to speak on video about his so-called crimes. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1OAsZTW)

The Americas

Members of the United Nations Security Council on Thursday received a draft of a resolution that calls for establishing a U.N. mission to oversee disarmament should Colombia’s government and leftist FARC rebels reach a final peace deal. (Reuters http://tmsnrt.rs/1OAsaun)

Gunmen killed a prominent ally of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, prosecutors said, a crime the socialist leader suggested was politically motivated. (AP http://yhoo.it/1KskExQ)

Bloomberg is putting together a committee of regional thought leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean who are charged to select four city applicants to receive grants of $1 million each with one grand prize city receiving $5 million for an innovation initiative. (Gov Tech http://bit.ly/1OArxB6)

…and the rest

Three U.N. aid agencies are appealing to European countries to help prevent sexual abuse of women and girls in refugee camps. (AP http://yhoo.it/1T7xb0F)


A brilliant young academic discusses her new study into the the psychology of drone strikes. (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/1ZElhvc)

Empire state of mind – why do so many people think colonialism was a good thing? (Guardian http://bit.ly/23gqyxq)

A war on drugs? We’d be better off paying for a war on hunger (Guardian http://bit.ly/1JZgLFv)

Why Indonesia should join the TPP (The Interpreter http://bit.ly/1OyrGF3)

UCTs: What do we still need to know? (WhyDev http://bit.ly/1JZgN0i)

What Happens To The Body And Mind When Starvation Sets In? (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/1JZgLpa)

News: GJN asks – is the Gates Foundation always a force for good? (Dev Truths http://bit.ly/1JZgLp8)

A Portrait from The Hague:  All You Need to Know About What Laurent Gbagbo Wants You to Know (Justice in Conflict http://bit.ly/23gqvlx)

Roving Bandit: Are good teachers ‘born’ or ‘made’? (Roving Bandit http://bit.ly/23gqvBW)