Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ivory Coast: Gay men attacked over event for Orlando victims

Ivory Coast: Gay men attacked over event for Orlando victims: "ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — 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."

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Malaysia anti-graft body detains leading opposition MP

Malaysia anti-graft body detains leading opposition MP: "The younger Lim is accused of misusing his powers as the chief state executive on a purchase of a bungalow on July 28 last year.

He is expected to be charged in the George Town Sessions Court under Section 23 of the MACC Act and Section 165 of the Penal Code.

The first charge relates to alleged abuse of power with regard to the re-zoning of land from agriculture to commercial, and the second concerns the bungalow, which he had acquired below market price."

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A Grenade Attack on a Malaysian Bar May Have Been Islamist Terrorism | TIME

A Grenade Attack on a Malaysian Bar May Have Been Islamist Terrorism | TIME:

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Islamic State suspected after suicide bombers kill 42 at Istanbul airport | Reuters

Islamic State suspected after suicide bombers kill 42 at Istanbul airport | Reuters: "Turkey pointed the finger at Islamic State on Wednesday for a triple suicide bombing and gun attack that killed 42 people at Istanbul's main airport, and President Tayyip Erdogan called it a turning point in the global fight against terrorism.

In the deadliest of a series of suicide bombings this year in Turkey, the attackers struck the busy airport, a symbol of Istanbul's role as the Muslim world's most open and cosmopolitan city, a crossroads between Europe and Asia.

Three bombers opened fire to create panic outside the airport on Tuesday night, before two of them got inside and blew themselves up. Two hundred and thirty-nine people were wounded, officials said, giving a full account of the bloodshed."

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Out with 'family' planning, in with 'future' planning | Devex

Out with 'family' planning, in with 'future' planning | Devex: "In Kenya, the “Future Fab” teen lifestyle brand is taking off. Around the world, young people are rallying around the term “future planning.” And in West Africa, youth ambassadors are mobilizing their peers to encourage their governments to invest in contraceptive security.

They’re diverse projects in different contexts addressing unique communities’ needs, but they’re all focused on making contraceptive use more accessible for youth. And in each, the term “family planning” has been purposefully set aside.

Today, the two words that have so long acted as the umbrella term for women’s ability to choose the spacing and timing of their births are no longer serving young people who aren’t managing their reproductive health in the context of marriage. Adolescents view their need for access to contraception not just as a way to decide when to become pregnant, but as a path for them to plan their education, their relationships, their finances and their futures as a whole.

Many people have “really tried very hard to undo this conundrum of words,” Jill Sheffield, president emeritus of Women Deliver, told Devex after the 2016 Women Deliver Conference. “I think that one of the challenges we need to issue to young people is to help the world come up with a new label for the concept of avoiding unintended pregnancy.”"

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Monday, June 27, 2016

The most thorough, profound and moving defense of Hillary Clinton I have ever seen.

The most thorough, profound and moving defense of Hillary Clinton I have ever seen.: ""In the course of a single conversation, I have been assured that Hillary is cunning and manipulative but also crass, clueless, and stunningly impolitic; that she is a hopelessly woolly-headed do-gooder and, at heart, a hardball litigator; that she is a base opportunist and a zealot convinced that God is on her side. What emerges is a cultural inventory of villainy rather than a plausible depiction of an actual person." —Henry Louis Gates The quote above comes from a fascinating article called “Hating Hillary”, written by Gates for the New Yorker in 1996. Even now, 20 years after it was first published, it’s a fascinating and impressive piece, and if you have a few spare moments I strongly recommend it to you. (

 And I’m reading pieces like this because now that Hillary has (essentially if not officially) won the Democratic Primary, I have become increasingly fascinated by the way so many people react to her. In truth, I sometimes think that I find that as interesting as Hillary herself. And I can’t help but notice that many of the reactions she receives seem to reflect what Gates referred to as “a cultural inventory of villainy” rather than any realistic assessment of who she really is and what she has really done.

 To conservatives she is a radical left-wing insurgent who has on multiple occasions been compared to Mikhail Suslov, the Soviet Kremlin’s long-time Chief of Ideology. To many progressives (you know who you are), she is a Republican fox in Democratic sheep’s clothing, a shill for Wall Street who doesn’t give a damn about the working class. The fact that these views could not possibly apply to the same person does not seem to give either side pause. Hillary haters on the right and the left seem perfectly happy to maintain their mutually incompatible delusions about why she is awful. The only thing both teams seem to share is the insistence that Hillary is a Machiavellian conspirator and implacable liar, unworthy of society’s trust."

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Colombia and Farc rebels sign historic ceasefire deal to end 50-year conflict | World news | The Guardian

Colombia and Farc rebels sign historic ceasefire deal to end 50-year conflict | World news | The Guardian: "The Colombian government and Farc guerrillas have declared the final day of one of the world’s oldest wars with the signing of a ceasefire agreement to end more than 50 years of bloodshed. “May this be the last day of the war,” said Farc chief Timoleón “Timochenko” Jiménez, his voice choked with tears.

“We are close to a final peace accord,” he said, after shaking hands with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos at the signing ceremony in Havana, which was attended by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon."

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Britain votes to leave EU, Cameron quits, markets plummet | Reuters

Britain votes to leave EU, Cameron quits, markets plummet | Reuters: "Britain has voted to leave the European Union, forcing the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and dealing the biggest blow to the European project of greater unity since World War Two.

Global financial markets plunged on Friday as results from a referendum showed a near 52-48 percent split for leaving a bloc it joined more than 40 years ago.

The pound fell as much as 10 percent against the dollar to levels last seen in 1985, on fears the decision could hit investment in the world's fifth-largest economy, threaten London's role as a global financial capital and usher in months of political uncertainty.

World stocks headed for one of the biggest slumps on record, and billions of dollars were wiped off the value of European companies. Britain's big banks took a $130 billion battering, with Lloyds and Barclays falling as much as 30 percent.

An emotional Cameron, who led the "Remain" campaign to defeat, losing the gamble he took when he called the referendum three years ago, said he would leave office by October."

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Mob destroys mosque as religious, ethnic tension rises in Myanmar | Reuters

Mob destroys mosque as religious, ethnic tension rises in Myanmar | Reuters: "A group of men from a village in central Myanmar destroyed a mosque in the first serious outburst of inter-religious violence in months, coinciding with a rise in tensions over how to refer to the Rohingya, the country's persecuted Muslim minority.

Villagers from Thayethamin, a remote settlement a two-hours' drive northeast of Myanmar's largest city, Yangon, destroyed the mosque on Thursday after a dispute over its construction, and beat up at least one Muslim man, media and a police spokesman said.

Religious tensions simmered in Myanmar for almost half a century of military rule, before boiling over in 2012, just a year after a semi-civilian government took power.

Hundreds died in clashes in northwestern Rakhine State between Rohingya Muslims and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, leading to the organized expulsion of Rohingya by Rakhine mobs. More violence between Muslims and Buddhists in other parts of the country followed in 2013."

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Two way street to development | Devex

Two way street to development | Devex: "Development cooperation is increasingly running on a two way street, as “developing countries” come up with novel solutions that can be borrowed by their more “developed” counterparts. At the same time, South-South cooperation is on the upswing, especially in Latin America. Triangular — or South-South-North — cooperation is also trending.

“Cooperation is becoming more horizontal,” said Rebeca Grynspan, secretary general of the Ibero-American Secretariat General, or SEGIB — an intergovernmental organization that unites 22 Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries from Latin America and Europe. “It is being done with greater humility — everyone has something to learn.”

Grynspan made her remarks during the International Economic Forum on Latin America and the Caribbean in Paris on June 3. In an exclusive interview with Grynspan — whose resume includes her role as the former vice president of Costa Rica and a stint with the United Nations Development Programme — she told Devex there are over 1,000 examples of South-South projects in Latin America."

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Democrats hold sit-in on House floor to force gun-control votes continues late into the night - The Washington Post

Democrats hold sit-in on House floor to force gun-control votes continues late into the night - The Washington Post: "Democrats took over the House floor on Wednesday in an attempt to force votes on gun-control proposals, holding their sit-in well into the evening almost 12 hours after it began.

Many House Democrats said they plan to stay in the chamber all night — even if Republicans decide to shut off the lights and the air conditioning — to call for congressional action following the recent mass shooting in Orlando.

“I don’t know how many of us or all of us are going to stay,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). “But my plan is I have a blankey.”

Democrats are demanding votes on measures that would prevent suspected terrorists from buying firearms and expand background checks for firearm purchases.

The protest started early in the day when a group of House Democrats chanting “no bill, no vote” shouted down Republican leaders’ efforts to gavel the House into session around 11:30 a.m., and then prevented the GOP from conducting regular business for most of the day.

Around 10 p.m., House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) banged the gavel and called the House back into session for a vote to override President Obama’s veto of a measure that would scale back new regulations for financial advisers. Democrats voted to sustain the veto while continuing to chant and protest.

Republicans immediately called the House into recess after the vote was completed and Democrats returned to their sit-in."

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John Lewis leads Democratic sit-in on House floor to demand gun votes.

John Lewis leads Democratic sit-in on House floor to demand gun votes.: "

Update, 11:27 p.m.: We’re going to wrap up this evening’s live blog coverage of the Democrats sit-in and pick it up in the morning. It’s been a big day on the House floor and for Periscope’s brand recognition—which picked up 535 new downloads Wednesday. The biggest winner, however, was our nation’s loveable video bot C-SPAN and its subtle rebellion after years of getting treated like Skype.
Update, 11:05 p.m.: It’s been a day full of audibles, but this the best. From earlier in the day (via the Chicago Tribune):
Rep. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran, sat with other lawmakers on the chamber's floor. She'd removed her leg prosthetics and secreted her smartphone inside one of them so the phone wouldn't be taken away."

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

About CBI | Connecting Business

About CBI | Connecting Business:

Connecting Business Initiative

The Connecting Business Initiative (CBI) is a multi-stakeholder initiative that provides a mechanism for the private sector to engage with the United Nations system, national governments and civil society in a coordinated manner on crisis risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery.  
With the scale of need fast outpacing the ability of traditional actors to respond, the necessity for coordinated and more holistic approaches to engage the private sector in disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery is increasing. The potential for the business sector to collaborate with the international community to increase community resilience and local capacity is vast. While businesses are already making significant contributions, there are still many opportunities to expand the impact.
The initiative will coordinate and facilitate access to the tools, resources and mechanisms that will enable businesses to undertake effective disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery through networks that are connected via a global coordination architecture to each other and to other actors.
The initiative rests on the notion that while Governments maintain overall responsibility for responding to humanitarian emergencies, local communities and private sector networks also play a critical role in ensuring preparedness for, response to and recovery after emergencies. Strong networks play a vital role in ensuring that individuals and communities are resilient enough to return to normalcy as soon as possible and regain access to goods and services. 
The Connecting Business initiative is meeting the demand of the private sector for engagement in a more strategic and permanent way both globally and locally. The World Humanitarian Summit Synthesis Report, drawing on consultations with over 900 businesses, recommended:
  • networks be established and supported to facilitate coordinated and effective engagement by businesses;
  • a mechanism be created to coordinate private sector engagement globally; and
  • businesses be engaged holistically across resilience, response and recovery.
The Report of the High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing appointed by the UN Secretary-General also called for the establishment of local, regional and industry-specific business networks focused on scaling business engagement.
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Foreign aid: The good, the bad and the ugly | The Voice Online

Foreign aid: The good, the bad and the ugly | The Voice Online: "At the macro level, research shows that aid has no link to economic development. But it does seem to encourage corruption and bad practises.

The best way a donor country can help a poor country is in fact to open its markets to their products. This will encourage local production, with all of the beneficial effects, and generate a value stream that multiplies in the local economy.

This is how the Marshall Plan at the end of the Second World War helped a devastated Europe to recover. The export route is a well-trodden path (ask Japan, South Korea, Germany) to wealth and prosperity and it is the one poor countries should be helped to get on. It will help avoid corruption, increase best practices and create a culture of work and enterprise. And fight corruption."

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Local Integration Key to Refugee Resettlement

Local Integration Key to Refugee Resettlement: "Ahead of Monday’s celebration of World Refugee Day, the Center for American Progress released a new report and found that once refugees are rooted in the U.S. they see a “substantial” wage gain, help expand the local economy, and learn to speak English “well” or “very well.”

For the past five years the study looked at census data and identified four groups consisting primarily of refugees — Somali, Burmese, Hmong, and Bosnians— and found they quickly became self-sufficient.

Thirty-one out of 1,000 Bosnian refugees are business owners, while 26 of every 1,000 Burmese in the labor force are business owners.

After living in the U.S. for more than 10 years, 86 percent of Somalis speak English “well” and 61 percent speak “very well.” Among Hmong refugees, 43 percent speak only English or speak it“very well.”"

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Prison Time Surges for Federal Inmates

Prison Time Surges for Federal Inmates: "Overview
The average length of time served by federal inmates more than doubled from 1988 to 2012, rising from 17.9 to 37.5 months.1 Across all six major categories of federal crime—violent, property, drug, public order, weapon, and immigration offenses—imprisonment periods increased significantly.2  (See Figure 1.) For drug offenders, who make up roughly half of the federal prison population, time served leapt from less than two years to nearly five.

 Mandatory minimum sentencing laws, the elimination of parole, and other policy choices helped drive this growth, which cost taxpayers an estimated $2.7 billion in 2012 alone.3 Despite these expenditures, research shows that longer prison terms have had little or no effect as a crime prevention strategy—a finding supported by data showing that policymakers have safely reduced sentences for thousands of federal offenders in recent years.4"

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