South Sudan Faces Unprecedented Food Crisis

Another dire warning regarding the humanitarian situation in South Sudan…“Up to 4.8 million people in South Sudan face severe food shortages in coming months, the highest level since a conflict erupted more than two years ago, U.N. agencies said on Wednesday.Clashes have continued to flare in South Sudan even though warring factions signed a peace deal in August last year to end the conflict that erupted in December 2013. But the deal has only been implemented slowly, leaving the country’s economic crisis to deepen. Rains at this time of year add to the challenge of supplying those in need by making many roads impassable. Most roads in the area are just dirt tracks. ‘The deteriorating situation coincides with an unusually long and harsh annual lean season, when families have depleted their food stocks and new harvests are not expected until August. The level of food insecurity this year is unprecedented,’ the U.N. agencies said in a joint statement. (Reuters http://bit.ly/296tb1n)

A Social Media Blunder with Life Altering Consequences…”Gay men in Ivory Coast say they’ve been assaulted and forced to flee their homes after the U.S. Embassy published a photo of them signing a condolence book for victims of this month’s killings at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The photo, published on the embassy’s website, shows the faces of six men with the caption “LGBTI community signing the condolence book.” It was taken at the embassy on June 16, the same day Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan and other officials signed the book in honor of the 49 people killed in the Orlando attack. The photo has been widely shared on social media and two of the men said that in the days after it was published an angry mob punched and kicked them while shouting anti-gay slurs. The men spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity for their safety.” (AP http://yhoo.it/296sEwC)

The “Three Amigos” Announce Big Clean Energy Goal…From a summit in Ottawa with Obama, Trudeau and Peña Nieto ”The climate action plan unveiled Wednesday includes a commitment to see half of the continent’s electricity generated by clean sources by 2025, including nuclear, hydro, other renewables and carbon capture and storage projects. The latter provides a window for carbon-based power projects to be considered clean energy. North America’s use of clean energy stood at roughly 37 percent in 2015.” (Bloomberg http://bloom.bg/29avAc8)

Report of the Day…Unmet Need for Contraception in Developing Countries: Examining Women’s Reasons for Not Using a Method (Guttmacher Institute http://bit.ly/295swLG

The United Nations Security Council agreed on Wednesday to add just over 2,500 peacekeepers to the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, which has been hit by a series of deadly attacks and has become the deadliest place to serve for U.N. peacekeepers. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/296sRzT)

The Nigerian government has announced new policies to support maternity leave, breastfeeding and nutrition for new mothers and children, along the lines of recommendations made by The Lancet.  (National Mirror Online http://bit.ly/295vsaY)

West African nations must crack down on foreign fleets fishing illegally off its Atlantic coastline and build up their fisheries to protect the livelihoods of millions of people, according to a new report from ODI (Reuters http://bit.ly/296syoJ)

At least 348 people died in extrajudicial killings in crisis-hit Burundi over the year from April 2015, the UN said Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/293fw7)

Earlier this year, the Uganda’s president signed the Immunization Act 2016, prescribing fines, a jail term of six months or both, for parents who don’t vaccinate their children in the age bracket of five days to one year old. (IPS http://bit.ly/293ktwJ)

The discovery of a vast reserve of helium in east Africa has allayed fears of a global shortage of the precious gas crucial for the running of brain scanners, major scientific facilities, and parties that require floating balloons and squeaky voices. (Guardian http://bit.ly/296sJjD)

Tensions are rising in Lebanon as security is stepped up in the wake of a double wave of suicide bombings near the Syrian border. (VOA http://bit.ly/293f2yd)

The U.S. military’s efforts to confront the Islamic State in Syria suffered another setback Wednesday after the militants routed the only group to have survived intact an ill-fated Pentagon program to train and equip moderate rebels last year. (WaPo http://wapo.st/29awk0Q)

Trucks carrying medical and food aid entered two blockaded towns near Damascus on Wednesday, meaning that humanitarian agencies have now reached all besieged areas of Syria this year, the United Nations said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/293eWXF)

Supporters of a well-known rights activist in the island kingdom of Bahrain say he has been returned to police custody a day after being hospitalized for an irregular heartbeat. (AP http://yhoo.it/293eXLc)

The Libyan wealth fund’s former deputy chief screamed and cursed at Goldman Sachs bankers in a stormy meeting over derivatives trades made on the bank’s advice that ultimately turned out to be worthless, a witness told a court. (Reuters http://bit.ly/296t4Tk)

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called on the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday to suspend Saudi Arabia from the U.N. Human Rights Council until a Saudi-led military coalition stops killing civilians in Yemen. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/296tzga)

United Nations-mediated talks to end more than a year of war in Yemen have adjourned and will reconvene in Kuwait on July 15 after the Muslim Eid holiday, the U.N. envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/296t2Ly)

Set your calendars…The Permanent Court of Arbitration said Wednesday it will deliver an eagerly awaited ruling on July 12 in a case filed by the Philippines contesting Beijing’s sweeping claims to most of the South China Sea. (WaPo http://wapo.st/29awFAM)

The United States has decided to remove Thailand from its list of worst human trafficking offenders, officials said, a move that could help smooth relations with Bangkok’s military-run government. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/294ZrjD)

Malaysian anti-corruption authorities said they had arrested on Wednesday a senior national opposition leader who has been under investigation for abusing his position as chief minister of Penang. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/293fcWm)

A police crackdown in Pakistan has rounded up and deported hundreds of Afghan refugees in recent weeks. But authorities say Afghans with legal refugee status are not being targeted, nor will they be pushed out of the country. (VOA http://bit.ly/293eXL3)

Drought in India has hit the tomato harvest, hurting farmers, hiking prices and forcing consumers to use substitutes for tomato-based dishes such as curries. (Guardian http://bit.ly/299RwEm)

Taiwan’s government will continue to look for ways to maintain dialogue with China, President Tsai Ing-wen said, after Beijing said it had halted a regular communication mechanism with Taipei. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/294ZbRF)

Myanmar’s government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, should amend and abolish laws that threaten freedom of expression, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/293eSHc)

Deadly clashes over land in Brazil constitute a reputational risk for multinational companies sourcing food from territories claimed by indigenous people, a UK-based consultancy said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/296sQf3)

A vote on whether to remove Brazil’s suspended president Dilma Rousseff from office will be postponed until after the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, a report said Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/296tlpG)

Police attempts to recapture a drug trafficker who escaped from a Brazilian hospital have led to deadly gun battles in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. (AP http://yhoo.it/293fltb)

British NGOs received €145 million from the EU’s emergency aid department, ECHO, in 2015. When the UK leaves the EU following Brexit, UK-registered non-profits will no longer be eligible for that funding, and the ECHO annual budget is also likely to shrink in the absence of UK contributions. (IRIN http://bit.ly/293fsVh)

Global stocks rose sharply Wednesday as worries eased about the uncertainty that follows Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. The British pound also rose as talks got underway among European leaders on how to handle the situation. (AP http://yhoo.it/296sAwz)

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama has arrived in Spain on the final leg of a three-nation tour to promote her global girls’ education initiative. (AP http://yhoo.it/293ffSd)

European Union leaders had made it clear that Britain could not retain access to the EU single market without accepting the right of other EU nationals to move to the country, the head of the European Council Donald Tusk said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it//296sULJ)

After Brexit, Thousands of Refugees Stuck in France May Actually Get Easier Access to the UK (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/29a9wP0)

Factbox: When will UK data show economic impact of Brexit vote? (Reuters http://yhoo.it/299RoVj)

Anti-FGM campaigner Leyla Hussein: the women who made me (Guardian http://bit.ly/293el81)

The failure in Fallujah (IRIN http://bit.ly/293eSah)

Let There Be Work: Italian Ministry of the Interior Announces Initiative on Employment of Refugees (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/293eQix)

Be bullish about investing in women, and … be better at everything (Public Spheres WB http://bit.ly/295doOu)

Closing the country: where to next for Australia’s asylum seekers? (Dev Policy http://bit.ly/29a9wyl)

Africa In The New Century (Africa is a Country http://bit.ly/29a9Ihb)

IKEA Foundation’s humanitarian aid strategy (Devex http://bit.ly/29aat9Z)

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