Scientists Warn of Drought and Famine in the Sahel

There are already 300,000 to 400,000 people in the region without access to a secure food supply. “A global weather phenomenon could cause a famine in the Sahel this year by combining with already dry conditions to create a ‘double whammy’ for the region, scientists and aid groups have warned. Professor Adam Scaife, a long term forecaster at the UK Met Office Hadley Centre, said models now agreed an El Niño event was likely and the first impacts may be felt as early as June. El Niño is caused by a reversal of trade winds in the Pacific that allow warm water to spread east, across the ocean. The two to seven year cycle plays havoc with weather across the world…In west Africa, Scaife said conditions were aligning in a similar way to the massive 1972 drought that devastated the Sahel with famine. During this event, drying from El Niño tipped the region into full blown drought.” (Guardian http://bit.ly/1eAKwOD)

Meet The New Leader of the African Development Bank….Nigeria’s Agriculture Minister Akinwumi Adesina won an election on Thursday to be the new president the African Development Bank, the pan-African lender announced in its Twitter account. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1LLZOec)

Latest from India…Hospitals in India battled Thursday to treat victims of a blistering heatwave that has claimed nearly 1,500 lives in just over a week — the highest number recorded in two decades. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1PQzTrQ)

Community Bulletin…The Humanitarian Evidence Program, a partnership between Oxfam GB and the Feinstein International Center, is accepting proposals to synthesize humanitarian evidence in the fields of child protection, urban humanitarian action, mental health in emergencies, and WASH in humanitarian settings: www.oxfam.org.uk/hep

Quote of the Day: “In my time in this role I have seen the very worst of what people are capable of and also the very best of humanity.”  Valerie Amos, in her final briefing as OCHA chief, to the UNSC yesterday. The topic was Syria, naturally. Full text: bit.ly/1AAQjNX

Africa

Three United Nations troops were wounded on Thursday when a convoy including the head of peacekeeping in Mali triggered landmines in the country’s restive north, sources within the force said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HPdR4e)

The European Union has suspended its mission to observe elections in Burundi because it cannot fulfill its role in a climate of media curbs and intimidation of the opposition, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Thursday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1LLYfwQ)

More than 40 percent of South Sudan’s 11 million people need food aid, the latest analysis shows, the highest hunger levels recorded in the world’s youngest country, where fighting erupted 18 months ago. (TRF http://bit.ly/1QdmjcP)

An Angolan journalist was given a six-month suspended sentence on Thursday after he was convicted of slander for accusing generals of human rights abuses at diamond mines, concluding a high-profile trial in one of Africa’s most repressive states. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1HPdS8j)

The International Organization for Migration warns that thousands of migrants may die during the long desert crossing from Niger, the main staging post for West Africans seeking to cross the Mediterranean. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1HPcClI)

Niger courts released a journalist and human rights activist on bail after he was arrested for “collaborating” with Boko Haram Islamists earlier in the week, his lawyer. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1PQzSnE)

Most of the 15 members of the UN Security Council believe that elections scheduled for next week in Burundi should be postponed, the council’s Lithuanian chair said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1LLYEzE)

The World Health Organization on Thursday warned against complacency about the deadly Ebola virus, saying that the crisis isn’t over. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1FFKopR)

Police in Uganda said Thursday they have arrested a man suspected of involvement in the assassination of a top prosecutor engaged in high-profile cases including the trial of alleged bombers from Somalia’s Shebab Islamist group. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1LLZKez)

MENA

BREAKING: There are reports of massive car bomb attacks in Baghdad, including at the Sheraton Hotel.

Iraqi authorities have exhumed the remains of 470 people believed to have been summarily killed by Islamic State (IS) near the city of Tikrit last June. (BBC http://bbc.in/1LNVjiP )

The U.S. military has started training Syrian opposition fighters in Turkey to combat Islamic State, an expected expansion of a program that first launched in Jordan weeks ago, a U.S. official said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FFKlKM)

Two Saudi border guards were killed and five wounded by shells fired from Yemeni territories, an Interior Ministry spokesman said late on Wednesday, as the United Nations said the war’s death toll was close to 2,000. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FFKo9h)

Armed protesters entered a palm oil plantation in southeastern Liberia, taking several people hostage and injuring a senior government official, police officials and the company that owns the project said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1HPebjA)

Asia

Kyrgyzstan has the highest maternal mortality rates among central Asian countries, but a three-year $11m program aims to improve quality of care”. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1J5nzQk)

Six years after the end of Sri Lanka’s long and bloody civil war, a “silent” conflict is being waged across the island, with tens of thousands of government troops continuing to occupy the north and east and the army expanding its property developments on land belonging to displaced Tamils, a new report claims. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1J5nLz1)

Six “yellow shirt” protesters in Thailand have been sentenced to two years in prison for breaking into the prime minister’s office during massive anti-government protests in 2008. (VOA http://bit.ly/1HPebQs)

The Dalai Lama has urged fellow Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do more to help Myanmar’s persecuted Muslim Rohingya minority amid a worsening migration crisis. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1PQzRjw)

A meeting in Bangkok aimed at addressing Southeast Asia’s migrant crisis is unlikely to produce a binding agreement or plan of action to save thousands of people believed stranded on boats in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, participants said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FFKkX4)

Two garment factories in Bangladesh on Thursday became the first to be declared safe under a scheme set up to prevent a repeat of one of the world’s worst industrial disasters. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HPdJBV)

The Americas

Texas prepared for more flooding on Thursday while still reeling from torrential rains that killed at least 16 people, inundated major cities and set a record for the wettest month in the state’s history. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1PQzTYG)

…and the rest

Corruption is a leading indicator for political instability and 64 countries where fraud and bribery are widespread risk falling into violent upheaval, a global think tank said in a new report. (TRF http://yhoo.it/1HPdRkQ)

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has condemned the “action of individuals” for bringing “shame and humiliation” on football in a corruption scandal. But he said that although many held him “ultimately responsible” for the football community, he could “not monitor everyone all of the time”. (BBC http://bbc.in/1d21KDr)

The United Nations Security Council condemned the frequent attacks against journalists worldwide and demanded an end to the impunity enjoyed by those guilty of violent crimes against members of the press. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1LLYHvh)

In the shadow of the famed Sacre Coeur basilica, hundreds of migrants have poured into a makeshift tent camp on a bridge over Eurostar train tracks to Britain — the country that many see as a cherished final destination. (AP http://yhoo.it/1FFKjCv)

The World Bank will on July 15 hold a first of its kind auction worth $25 million for U.N.-backed carbon credits from projects designed to cut methane emissions, the bank said on Thursday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1PQzSE1)

Opinion/Blogs

What are the millennium development goals on child mortality and maternal health all about? (Guardian http://bit.ly/1J5nfRF)

Let’s End Chronic Hunger (IPS http://bit.ly/1d21UL7)

Power generation alone won’t deliver energy to Africa’s poor (ODI http://bit.ly/1J5nv38)

What next for EU migration plans? (IRIN http://bit.ly/1dA6DEz)

Dear Mr O’Brien a letter of advice to the UN’s new Emergency Relief Coordinator (Humanitarian Practice Network blog http://bit.ly/1J5npZm)

Empty promises mean African mothers are dying of preventable diseases (Guardian http://bit.ly/1Qd9L5d)

A Critical Moment to Fortify Nuclear Test Ban (IPS http://bit.ly/1d20lNe)

Nine ways to tackle obesity and undernutrition (Guardian http://bit.ly/1J5n6O2)

At First Global Fund Partnership Forum, a Chance to Hear Africa’s Voice (GFO http://bit.ly/1HPedb6)

Niger: Vaccine shortages causing delay in the fight against meningitis (MSF http://bit.ly/1LM0kZI)

Hopes of Peace Are Receding in Mali. (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1FFHIss)

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